Gophers Legitimate Contenders for Double-Bye in Big Ten Tournament at Target Center

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Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

With March fast approaching and the Gophers pushing to make it to the big dance, they still have tasks to tackle with a few games left in the regular season. Their goal is to maintain their position within the top four of the Big Ten Conference standings to secure a double-bye at the Big Ten Tournament held at the Target Center.

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While Purdue seems secure at the top, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Illinois, and Michigan State are all in contention, fighting for top spots and the advantage of an additional day of rest before playing on Friday in the tournament.

The Gophers have a total of nine games left on their schedule, with a crucial road matchup against the Iowa Hawkeyes in Iowa City scheduled for tomorrow. Every remaining game holds significant importance.

Securing victories in five to six of them could greatly enhance their chances of earning a double bye. It could also put them in contention for a spot in March Madness, which undoubtedly is more important.

Andy Katz Can’t Count Gophers Out

Andy Katz, a prominent college basketball journalist and analyst for the Big Ten Network, identifies the Gophers as a team worth keeping an eye on as they vie for a double-bye. According to Katz, Purdue, Wisconsin, and Illinois are all expected to secure double byes, leaving space for just one more team.

“The tournament, the race for the double bye, what does that entail? It means teams don’t hit the court until Friday at the Target Center. Typically, these are quality teams with the potential to clinch favorable seeding in the tournament bracket. They’ll likely be playing on Friday.

Illinois appears set for another Friday game, despite Wisconsin’s recent slide. With a maximum of six losses, they should secure the fourth spot and the double bye. Michigan State, on the other hand, faces two tough back-to-back matchups against the Wildcats and Minnesota. It’s shaping up to be a showdown between Minnesota and Michigan State for that last spot.

Projecting out, Michigan State may end with nine losses. The final week of the regular season will be decisive. Northwestern visits Michigan State for senior night on Wednesday, while on Saturday, Northwestern hosts Minnesota for senior night. Sunday will undoubtedly settle the matter, but that last week will be pivotal in determining who snags that double bye spot.”

Andy Katz on Gophers

Katz is certain about Wisconsin, Purdue, and Illinois, viewing them as locks for the double bye. The Gophers need to build on their season’s progress, having demonstrated their competitiveness against any Big Ten opponent.

Securing the double bye at the Target Center is crucial for their chances in the tournament. They aim not only to contend for the title but also to secure a spot in March Madness, waiting eagerly for Selection Sunday.

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