MINNESOTA VS. MIDDLE TENNESSEE
Date: Thursday, March 16, 2017
Time: 3:00 p.m. CT (approximately)
Location: Milwaukee, Wis.
Arena: BMO Harris Bradley Center (19,000)
Series: Fourth Meeting (2-1)*
Series (Neutral): First Meeting
Current Streak: W-2
Richard Pitino vs. MTSU: Fourth Meeting (1-2)
Minnesota vs. C-USA: 11-4*
Richard Pitino vs. C-USA: 6-6
* – excludes vacated games
• The Gophers claimed the No. 5-seed in the South region, their highest seed since earning a #2 seed in 1982 (excluding vacated seasons).
• The Gophers are making their 10th NCAA Tournament appearance (excluding vacated seasons of 1994, 1995 and 1997). This is not their first trip to Milwaukee, as the Gophers fell to sixth-seeded Xavier in 2010 in first round action at the Bradley Center. In total, the Gophers are 8-9 in the NCAA Tournament, excluding vacated seasons. Thursday’s game will mark the first NCAA berth under head coach Richard Pitino.
• Pitino is no stranger to the Blue Raiders, having faced MTSU three times while head coach at FIU during their time together in the Sun Belt Conference. Pitino’s Golden Panthers went 1-2 against Middle Tennessee.
• With a record of 24-9 to date, the Gophers are the NCAA’s most improved team. The Gophers have also now tallied five road wins in conference play, their most since 1982. The previous eight-game win streak in B1G play is the best since the 1973 stretch of nine. The Gophers also earned 11 wins for the first time in Big Ten play since 1990.
• Five members of the Minnesota basketball program were recognized with All-Big Ten accolades. Junior Nate Mason was named to the All-Big Ten first team, sophomore Jordan Murphy earned third team honors, while Amir Coffey was selected to the All-Freshman team. Head coach Richard Pitino earned the Big Ten Coach of the Year honor – the first Gophers head mentor to do so since 1982 – while redshirt junior Reggie Lynch was selected as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, also just the second time in school history that a Minnesota player earned the award.
Gopher point guard Nate Mason sat down with MNN Sports Director Mike Grimm: