The pressure is on as the Gophers open Big Ten tourney play

Author:
Updated:
Original:

There's no guarantee that if the Gophers beat Penn State tonight they'll be invited to the NCAA Tournament, but it's a stone-cold fact that a loss will burst their bubble and kill their tournament hopes.

It's the Gophers against the Nittany Lions in the opening-round of the Big Ten Conference Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis at 5:30 p.m.

Jerry Palm of CBS Sports believes Minnesota will need one "quality win" in the tournament to ensure an invitation to the big dance.

In the Big Ten, Minnesota is trying to fight its way back over the cut line. That will require at least one quality win in the conference tournament. The Gophers will have to beat Penn State for the second time in a week to get that opportunity.

Palm told the Star Tribune that Minnesota might need as many as three wins in the conference tournament to get in. Gophers head coach Richard Pitino's reaction was priceless: “Jerry Palm is out of his mind if he thinks we have to win three games to go to the NCAA tournament," he said.

Minnesota is 2-0 against Penn State this season, having won on the road, 68-65, and at home in the regular season finale on Sunday, 81-63. A third victory would send the Gophers to the second round where they would meet the No. 2-seeded Wisconsin Badgers.

The pressure is on.

“I just love it,” Gophers guard Andre Hollins said of playoff basketball. “The lights are on. It’s win or go home. And I don’t want to go home. I want to win, I want to keep winning. It’s another opportunity to show the NCAA committee, show ourselves, show our fans, show Minnesota that we can go out and compete with anybody and win.”

Regardless of what happens, From The Barn says the Gophers have already exceeded expectations this season. A trip to the tournament will only shatter those expectations. Pitino agrees, according to CBS Minnesota.

"If you’d told me at the beginning of the season we could maybe win a game or two, be in the NCAA tournament with returning 48 percent of our scoring, a lot of brand new guys, a lot of guys who have never played in these type of situations,” Pitino said, “I’d say, ‘Where do I sign up?'"

Here's the full tournament bracket.

Next Up

Flickr - state capitol minneosta - Ken Lund

Criminal charges possible for woman who drove on State Capitol grounds

She drove on the sidewalk and lawn, and at one point waved a large "Trump 2020" flag out the window.

training camp

10 things fans should know before going to Vikings training camp

Masks are not required, but strongly encouraged for the unvaccinated.

4852014184_b86eb6b123_k

Cases of COVID-19 linked to Provincetown outbreak found in Minnesota

There have been more than 550 cases linked to the Massachusetts tourist destination since the 4th of July weekend.

Aaron Rodgers

Reports: Aaron Rodgers set for at least one more year with the Packers

Both sides showing signs of optimism just before training camp begins.

Twitter - KARE 11 jeopardy screengrab

KARE 11 crew teases upcoming 'Jeopardy!' cameo

Some familiar local faces will be providing contestants with "Minneapolis News" clues.

Screen Shot 2021-07-26 at 1.41.24 PM

Second victim of deadly crash in Orono is identified

The crash also was fatal for the son of Gophers hockey coach Bob Motzko.

Witzmann and Coleman

Ex-Viking and ex-Gopher could be contestants for Edina's 'Bachelorette'

Michelle Young, a teacher from Edina, is the show's Season 18 star.

Mayo clinic

Mayo Clinic will require COVID-19 vaccines for all its staff

Those who decline will be required to wear masks and socially distance while on campus.

John Thompson

Rep. John Thompson once again rejects calls to resign

He spoke briefly Monday morning at a press conference organized by his supporters.

Related