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If the University of Minnesota men's basketball team fails to make the NCAA tournament this season, the players can probably point to last week as the reason why.

The Gophers lost a road game to an average Northwestern team and then Saturday blew a 13-point lead in the second half at home against Wisconsin. These are not the kinds of losses a team can afford to have with March approaching.

The Big Ten doesn't appear to be very strong this year and might not get as many tournament bids as in the past. If the league receives only five bids, that could be bad news for the Gophers.

With two victories last week, the Gophers could have been contending for a Big Ten Conference title. With two losses, they look like a team that might be on the bubble come tournament time.

Even if the Gophers do make the tournament, it doesn't appear their guard play is good enough for the team to make much of a splash.

Guy N. Limbeck

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glimbeck@postbulletin.com

Monday Water Cooler, Page 2D

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