The Gophers have received a fair share of national coverage in the weeks since the team cracked the top 10.
The attention isn’t anything short of deserving considering the Gophers are currently sitting at 14-1 with a date against Illinois Wednesday night in arguably the most significant game of the year.
The Fighting Illini, at No. 12, will be the highest ranked opponent Minnesota has faced on the schedule so far, but all that is about to change with games against No. 5 Indiana and No. 2 Michigan all within the next week.
Sports Illustrated’s Andy Glockner already has Minnesota, Michigan and Indiana as locks for the NCAA Tournament (your money is safe, Mr. Mbakwe) barring an epic collapse by any of the teams.
But considering Minnesota is relatively new to the upper echelon in the ultra-competitive Big Ten, the Gophers should look for two wins in their next three games.
One win ensures a victory against a top 15 opponent (big whoop, right?), but a second would guarantee a victory against a top 5 team, showing the nation that the Gophers are very well in the mix to be the top team from one of the toughest conferences in the NCAA.
Plow through the next week, and the Gophers enter seemingly the downhill part of the Big Ten schedule, playing at Northwestern and Wisconsin before homes games against Nebraska and Iowa.