Minnesota earns 5 seed in NCAA tournament, will play Middle Tennessee State

After an amazing turnaround season, the Minnesota Gophers are back in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2013.

A year after finishing with an 8-23 record, Minnesota went 24-9 this past season, earning the Gophers a 5 seed in the South Region. It is the highest seeding for Minnesota since earning a 1 seed in the 1997 tournament.

Minnesota will play 12th-seeded Middle Tennessee State in Milwaukee on Thursday.

The Blue Raiders are 30-4 and the champions of Conference USA.

The Gophers were an 11 seed in 2013, beating sixth-seeded UCLA by 20 points in their opening game before falling to third-seeded Florida.

Minnesota will be without starting senior guard Akeem Springs during its postseason run. Springs, who was averaging 9.5 points per game, tore his Achilles tendon in the Big Ten tournament.

If Minnesota wins its NCAA tournament opener, the Gophers would face the winner of Butler and Winthrop on Saturday.