MINNEAPOLIS - If the season ended today, ESPN Bracketology expert Joe Lunardi would have the Gophers in the NCAA Tournament, but just barely.

When a team is listed among Lunardi's last four teams in, it's a good indication that wins in the final two games of the season are important.

It's clear that the Gophers and coach Richard Pitino are fully aware that this week's when over Iowa wasn't something to rest on.

"We just want to beat Michigan," Pitino said. "We know it's going to be really hard, but the time to politic is not now, maybe in a week or two."

The Gophers face No. 16 ranked Michigan on Saturday in Ann Arbor, Mich. A loss could make the Gophers road to the NCAA Tournament very tricky.

"I say it all the time. We don't talk to the team about (the tournament), but I understand we are getting to that point," said Gophers coach Richard Pitino. "I'm not acting like it's a non-issue."

The Gophers wrap up the season on March 9 at home against Penn State. They would need to beat the Wolverines and the Nittany Lions to get to .500 in the Big Ten.