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NEW YORK - Minnesota Golden Gophers fans who made the trip to New York for the Final Four of the NIT say they aren't any less excited to cheer on their favorite team.

The Gophers are one of just two Big 10 men's basketball teams still playing in April.

Wisconsin earned a spot in the NCAA's Final Four and while that is ultimately where coach Richard Pitino wants his team to be, everyone seems to understand that there is a benefit from playing meaningful games this late in the season.

"The more games the team plays, the better prepared they are to win the NCAA next year," one Gophers fan said.

The die-hard fans started arriving in New York on Tuesday. University officials said there are several chartered flights from Minnesota to the Big Apple.

Dozens of students are also expected to be in the stands cheering on the Gophers on Tuesday night when they face Florida State.

Tuesday's game tips off at 8 p.m. on ESPN 2.

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