Depending on the expert you believe, the Gophers either clinched a bid with their victory over Northwestern Thursday in the first round of the Big Ten tournament or missed out on one with an eight-point loss against Michigan State in the quarters Friday.
The Gophers won't know until Sunday night. As frustrating as that might be for the team and its fans, Minnesota can find some solace in the fact that it has a pretty good resume that a lot of bubble teams would love to have.
The Gophers have five wins over top-50 RPI teams, including a December win over potential No. 1 seed Louisville. All of their losses were to bubble teams. And outside of a rough February that included five straight road losses, they have a pretty good portfolio.
But only the selection committee knows what kind of teams it's looking for. Hopefully for Minnesota, a bubble team with an up and down year that included more highs than lows.
MICHIGAN STATE 64, MINNESOTA 56: Down the stretch, Minnesota couldn't find its offense and the Spartans intensified their defense in a 64-56 loss in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tourney Friday. The Gophers went scoreless for a five-minute stretch in the second half, while Michigan State launched an 8-0 run and went 6-for-8 from the free throw line in the final minute-and-a-half to clinch the win.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "At that point in time, you needed a three. A two is something a little different. He hit a jump shot from way out there. I don't know the chance of that happening. That's neither here nor there. We lost the game. I decided to call a timeout. That's what I usually do." — Coach Tubby Smith, on calling the timeout that negated Lawrence Westbrook's game-tying basket against Michigan
Michigan 67, Minnesota 64
Minnesota 66, Northwestern 53 (Big Ten tournament first round)
Michigan State 64, Minnesota 56 (Big Ten tournament quarterfinal)
Awaiting postseason tournament invitation.