The University of Minnesota men’s basketball team is headed back to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, as they will travel to Milwaukee, Wis.
Minnesota earned the No. 5 seed in the South region and will face 12-seed Middle Tennessee State on Thursday. Tip-off against the Blue Raiders will be at approximately 3:00 p.m. CT. This marks the team’s first appearance in the Big Dance since 2013.
The Gophers (24-9) earned the highest seed in program history after the largest single-season turnaround in school history and the best in the country this season. Minnesota finished the Big Ten conference season at 11-7, its highest conference win total in 12 years. The Gophers earned several honors, including Big Ten Coach of the Year Richard Pitino, All-Big Ten first team selection Nate Mason, and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Reggie Lynch. Jordan Murphy was named to the All-Big Ten second team while Amir Coffey was selected to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team.
This will be the Gophers fifth meeting with the Blue Raiders, with the Gophers leading the series 2-1. The matchups in 1993 and 1994 were later vacated. The two teams last battled in 2012, with the Gophers taking a 78-72 victory in Murfreesboro in the NIT quarterfinals. MTSU earned their NCAA berth with a school record 30 wins and 17-1 mark in Conference USA play. The Blue Raiders have won 10 straight games, including the C-USA Championship against Marshall on Saturday in Birmingham, Ala. Three Blue Raiders average double figures, led by All-Conference USA first teamer JaCorey Williams who contributes 17.3 points per game.
MNN Sports Director Mike Grimm spoke with Gopher junior center Reggie Lynch of Edina about his emotions on making the NCAA Tourney: