The fall of the Minnesota Golden Gophers has finally reached rock bottom. Once firmly ranked within the top 25 teams in the country, Minnesota found itself in the same situation as the Northwestern Wildcats. If either team wanted to advance to the NCAA tournament, they would have to win the Big Ten tourney.
As in the regular season finale, Northwestern downed Minnesota, this time by a score of 75-65. The Golden Gophers simply had no answer for Northwestern's Michael Thompson. Thompson torched Minnesota for 35 points on 11 of 22 shooting, including five 3-pointers. Although Minnesota gained a healthy edge in the rebounding department, Northwestern led by 2 at halftime and pulled away in the 2nd half to cruise to an easy 10-point win.
Minnesota's Trevor Mbakwe contributed 19 points and 11 rebounds in a solid performance, but did not receive too much help. Guard, Blake Hoffarber managed only 13 points on 4 of 14 shooting in 38 minutes. Northwestern, meanwhile, got solid performances from Alex Marcotullio and Drew Crawford, who added 13 and 15 points respectively.
Minnesota's once promising season comes to a disappointing end. One the other hand, the Wildcats are moving on. Northwestern keeps its dim hopes of an NCAA tournament berth alive and moves on to face the top-ranked Ohio St. Buckeyes on Friday, March 11th, at 12 PM ET.