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TBT: Remembering the 1997 Minnesota Gophers Final Four Team

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Do you remember the 1996-1997 Minnesota Gophers basketball team?

Minnesota isn’t really a football or basketball school, but back in 1997 they were a basketball school as they ran off a trip to the Final Four.

Led by team MVP Bobby Jackson, Minnesota made a epic run that had the entire state and country watching during March Madness.

That season the Gophers went 31-4 and during the regular season won the Big 10 and finished the year in the coaches poll ranked #3.

They drew a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament in the Midwest Region and played #16 seed Southwest Texas State and defeated them 78-46.

Next they played the #9 seeded Temple Owls and won 76-57.

When they got to the Sweet 16 they defeated #4 seed Clemson in a high scoring affair 90-84.

The Elite 8 brought a match-up with blue blood UCLA who was a #2 seed that year.  The Gophers defeated the Bruins 80-72.

Indianapolis hosted the Final Four that year and #4 seed Arizona and #1 UNC faced off in one of the Final Four games with Minnesota taking on #1 seed Kentucky.

Minnesota gave a valiant effort but fell short 78-69.

Kentucky and Arizona would match up in the National Championship game and Arizona would claim their first NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.

The unfortunate part to the story that follows the 1997 Gophers Final Four team is that in 1999 a academic fraud scandal was unveiled and all records from that year were erased and it would be the end for Clem Haskins as head coach as well.

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