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MINNEAPOLIS- The Minnesota Golden Gophers were ranked as high eighth in the country, and then they weren't ranked at all. They beat No. 1 Indiana, and then they lost to Nebraska.

They backed into the NCAA tournament as a No. 11 seed, and will face a banged-up UCLA team on Friday.

It's been a crazy season for the Gophers, filled with significant achievements and embarrassing defeats. The players hope that the mentally exhausting run will better prepare them for the wild swings in momentum at the tournament.

Minnesota has lost three in a row heading into the tourney, leading to some speculation that coach Tubby Smith's job is on the line.

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