Gopher sendoff set for 6 p.m.

Fans are invited to give the Golden Gophers a raucous sendoff as they head to the Final Four Thursday at 6 p.m.

The Gophers will practice on Thursday at 4 p.m., the first time they'll lace up their sneakers since upsetting No. 1 Duke 82-75 in the finals of the Mideast Regional Tuesday night in Norfolk, Va.

After the practice, the team will head straight to the airport, where they'll board a flight to New Orleans for this weekend's Final Four. Fans are invited to gather outside Williams Arena Thursday at 6 p.m. to give the team a sendoff.

Some 1,000 fans met the team at 2:30 a.m. Wednesday at Williams Arena after its return flight from Virginia. Coach Pam Borton and players Linday Whalen and Janel McCarville spoke with the fans, as did Minnesota AD Joel Maturi.

Minnesota will take on two-time defending national champion Connecticut on Sunday at approximately 8:30 p.m. CST.

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