Gophers men's basketball beat writer Amelia Rayno answered reader questions in a recent mailbag (aMAILiaBAG) blog post:

Q @dan_zustiak: Lock for the NIT??

A I'm not so sure, Dan. NIT predicting, of course, has not been whittled down to the near-exact science our friends Joe Lunardi and Jerry Palm have figured out, so it's really all a guessing game. A prediction, updated after the Penn State loss, has the Gophers in a 5-seed. But my guess is that they'll need to win two in the Big Ten tournament to feel safe, and even then, they'll be a lower seed than what we see here.

Q @MiNRangerWhat is the deal with Pitino rarely playing Elliott Eliason through the last stretch of games?

A Playing three centers gets complicated and Pitino feels strongly that he needs to work on freshman Bakary Konate's development. Eliason has also been less productive this season when he is on the court, and I know his body language and tendency to argue with referees has frustrated Pitino at times.

Gold in the Barn: