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Updated: March 15th, 2014 5:37pm
With sparse NCAA tourney hopes, Gophers look to be NIT-bound

With sparse NCAA tourney hopes, Gophers look to be NIT-bound

by Nate Sandell
1500ESPN.com
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The Minnesota Gophers' NCAA tournament hopes were hanging in the balance entering Friday.

One day later, after coming unraveled against rival Wisconsin in the Big Ten tournament, the Gophers' bubble appears to have been popped.

CBS Sports' Jerry Plam's latest bracket projection has the Gophers pegged third among his "first four out," behind Missouri and Arkansas, and one spot in front of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Early Saturday afternoon, ESPN's Joe Lunardi projected Minnesota would be the second team left off the bracket after Southern Miss.

With several conference tournament games still to be played, the Gophers in theory still could slip into the NCAA tourney if enough results fall in their favor. However, the likelihood of that happening is very minimal.

The signs are pointing towards an NIT bid for the Gophers. NIT projection site, the NIT Bracket Project, has Minnesota targeted as No. 1 seed in the secondary tournament, which would mean the Gophers would host an opening round game at Williams Arena.

Nate Sandell is a contributor to 1500ESPN.com.
Email Nate | @nsandell
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