It has been a strange season for the U's men's basketball team. Coach Tubby Smith guided the Gophers to a blazing start at the beginning of the season, peaking after beating ninth-ranked Louisville, and finishing their non-conference schedule without a single loss. However, soon after conference play in the talent-filled Big Ten began, the Gophers started to look like a seriously flawed team. Losses to Northwestern and the University of Michigan had fans and Smith thinking that any plans for a berth in the NCAA tournament were premature. But the Gophers started winning again, and now find themselves with more than 20 wins (formerly a benchmark for getting into the tourney), and that berth appears to be within grasp. But to make it more of a lock, the U will have to take on two other teams hungry for a shot. With a pair of wins, the Gophers could find themselves sliding off of the bubble and onto safe ground. On Wednesday they host Wisconsin, who with only 17 wins on the season are probably out of contention, but they're no slouches and are tied for fifth with Minnesota in the Big Ten standings. On Saturday the Gophers take on Michigan, whose season has been mostly disappointing, with a 7-8 conference record. $35. 7:30 p.m. Also 11 a.m. Saturday, March 7 against the University of Michigan.
Wed., March 4, 7:30 p.m., 2009