MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Golden Gophers men's basketball team is headed to Milwaukee for their first NCAA Tournament appearance in three seasons.

On Sunday, the Gophers found out they earned a No. 5 in the South Region. Minnesota will play No. 12 Middle Tennessee on Thursday. Tip-off will be at 3 p.m. and will air on TNT.

Minnesota (24-9) has a sensational finish to the season, one that earned fourth-year coach Richard Pitino Big Ten Coach of the Year. The Gophers enter the tournament as one of the nation’s most efficient defenses and one of the best shot-blocking teams in the country.

Historically, the No. 5 versus No. 12-seeded matchup has been prime with upsets. Last year, Middle Tennessee defeated Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament. Holdovers F Reggie Upshaw and G Giddy Potts and Arkansas transfer F JaCorey Williams have made them even better. This year, the Blue Raiders finished with a 30-4 record and won the Conference USA Tournament.

Here's how qualifying Big Ten Conference teams were seeded: No. 4 Purdue, No. 5 Minnesota, No. 6 Maryland, No. 7 Michigan and No. 8 Wisconsin and Northwestern and No. 9 Michigan State.

Villanova, Kansas, North Carolina, Gonzaga are the No. 1 seeds in the tournament which formally begins Tuesday. Click here for the full NCAA Tournament bracket.