Minnesota's next regular season loss will likely remove it from consideration for an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament.
Fortunately for the Golden Gophers, there are only two regular season games remaining after they kept their hopes alive Tuesday with a 95-89 victory over No. 20 Iowa. And one of those two games is at No. 16 Michigan on Saturday. A win in that one would not only keep Minnesota alive, it would bolster its case.
Senior Austin Hollins scored a career-best 27 points when his team needed it most, leading an effort in which the Gophers made 61 percent of their field goal attempts. It was only the third victory over a ranked opponent this season for Minnesota and the first since beating Wisconsin on Jan. 22.
Meanwhile, Iowa is playing for a bye in the first round of the Big Ten tournament and didn't do itself any favors by losing at Williams Arena. It has fallen to fifth place for now in the conference standings but has a favorable schedule remaining with games against Indiana, Purdue, Michigan State and Illinois remaining. The Hawkeyes lost consecutive games for the first time this season and once again lost a close game down the stretch.
- - - - - - -