Even after a loss at Maryland, the Gophers men's basketball team could take plenty of positives from the weekend. Various outcomes went their way, and the Gophers enter the Big Ten tournament as the No. 7 seed — where they'll face No. 10 Penn State on Thursday.
The Nittany Lions have virtually no chance of getting into the NCAA field unless they win the Big Ten tournament because of some tough-luck losses. But as of Monday they're actually above the Gophers in Net Ranking (49 compared to Minnesota's 56), so a loss wouldn't do much damage.
The Gophers also avoided matching up with either Ohio State or Indiana. Those two bubble teams will play each other in the 8-9 game Thursday. It feels like the winner of that game will have the inside track on a bid, while the loser will probably stay home. And the Gophers, win or lose, should be safely in the field — barring a run of upsets in conference tournaments.
Read Michael Rand's blog at startribune.com/randball. firstname.lastname@example.org.