Minnesota Tournament History - The Cupboard Runs Dry

Andy Lyons

Although the Golden Gophers have been a member of the Big Ten for over a century, NCAA Tournament appearances have been hard to come by.

Minnesota Golden Gophers men's basketball was conceived in 1895. For two seasons, they were without a head coach before L.J. Cooke stepped in and took the reigns. Cooke saw copious amounts of success in his time in the Twin Cities, including obtaining the first two Big Ten Conference Championships in 1906 and 1907.

But even after doing well in the early stages of the of the conference, when it comes to success in the NCAA Tournament, or even making it itself, the Golden Gophers have struggled. And that, frankly, might be an understatement.

Since the tournament's inception in 1939, Minnesota has only put their dancing shoes on 12 times (1972, 1982, 1989, 1990, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2013). The first time they made the NCAA Tourney? 1972, 33 years after the event began. And of those 12 times, four of those tournament appearances were forfeited due to sanctions being levied on the program.

In recent years, the Golden Gophers have found success. Since 2005, Minnesota has gone dancing four times, as recently as last season. 2005, 2009, and 2010 were the others. Interestingly enough, the back-to-back appearances in 2009 and 2010 were just the third time and only second official time that the Golden Gophers had made the NCAA Tournament in consecutive years.

The others were in 1989 and 1990, and 1994 and 1995. The latter were among the four appearances that were forfeited; the others being in 1997 and 1999.

With that said, the Gophers have made good use of their times in the NCAA Tournament.

The Golden Gophers have made the Sweet 16 four times (three officially) in 1982 and then back-to-back appearances in 1989 and 1990. 1989 was a good year for the Gophers, as they hustled and bustled to the Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford, N.J. And 1990 was even more impressive as the Gophers made the Elite 8 as a 6-seed and came within a basket shy of making the Final Four in Denver.

But when it comes down to it, the cupboard is dry for the Gophers when it comes to NCAA Tournament history. Hopefully, for the Gophers' sake, Richard Pitino & Co. change that in the future.

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