MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Golden Gophers' win over No. 1 ranked Indiana on Tuesday night provided a resume-booster heading into the post-season, but more importantly it gave the team some much needed confidence.
"It boosts everyone's confidence because we know we can beat the best team in the country," said Gophers center Elliott Eliason. "I think it's just sky-high confidence."
The Gophers were coming off of a pair of blowout losses, but they looked inspired on their home court and in front of a nationally televised audience.
"Hopefully, we can use this win to catapult us, this win over Indiana, and send a message to our players," Gophers coach Tubby Smith said on Wednesday. "We are as good as anyone, not necessarily better, but as good as anyone in the country. We just have to continue to improve."
The team had the day off on Wednesday. They have three more regular season games left; Penn State, Nebraska and Purdue. None have achieved the success that Indiana has this season, but the Big Ten continues to prove that winning is never easy, no matter who you are playing.
"We can't let up," Austin Hollins said. "This is a huge win for us. Our confidence is up, but we have three games left in the regular season, so we have to take care of business."
Smith says he has been getting countless text messages and phone calls from people across the country excited about what the Gophers accomplished on Tuesday. He said it's important to realize just how special the victory was for the program and its fans.
"We are very fortunate to get a good win against a very good team," Smith said. "We have had five wins now against teams in the top 20 so are capable of playing with anybody in the country."
And knowing that could make a huge difference for the Gophers as they prepare for the post-season.
"I hope that everybody looks at us a little bit differently," guard Joe Coleman said. "Even though we've been a little bit down lately, I think we will still be OK."
"Every year is wide open, but more so this year than ever," Smith said. "I don't think there's a dominant team that you can look at like Kentucky last year."
The Gophers next game is at home against Penn State on Saturday at 2 p.m.
(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)