WASHINGTON, D.C. (WCCO) — The Gophers take on Michigan State in the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament Friday afternoon.
Minnesota is about to tip off its postseason run and their fans are very excited about what they could see from this year’s team.
The Gophers, simply put, have their best team in a decade or two. They are the most improved team in Division I basketball this season and they have the coach of the year in this conference in Richard Pitino.
They also have a lot of unanswered questions right now after their loss in Wisconsin earlier this week, in which they did not play particularly well in the second half. It was their second worst loss of the season. Only the team they play Friday was worse.
We know how well Michigan State has been in March in years past. They looked awfully good Thursday, beating Penn State by 27 points. Tom Izzo’s team always seems to be ready when the moment calls in March.
For the Gophers, it’s pretty simple, coach Pitino said. They need to get back to the kind of basketball they played on that eight game winning streak. He said he actually liked the way they played defensively against Wisconsin, it was just the offense that was a problem.
Pressure’s off, Pitino said, they don’t need to win this tournament or really do that well to be in the NCAA Tournament. They’re already in, but that does not mean it’s not important. This team wants to restart some positive momentum heading into the NCAA Tournament. The worst possible scenario for the Gophers right now is to head into that tournament on a two game losing streak.
A big matchup against the Spartans Friday, a team that has beaten the Gophers twice already this season. Can the third time be the charm?
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