Big Ten tourney challenge gives Pitino, Gophers last chance

Big Ten tourney challenge gives Pitino, Gophers last chance
FILE - In this Feb. 16, 2019, file photo, Minnesota coach Rick Pitino watches the team play Indiana in an NCAA college basketball game in Minneapolis. Pitino has agreed to a two-year contract extension, coming off his first NCAA Tournament win in six seasons with the Gophers. The university announced the deal, subject to approval by the board of regents, on Sunday, April 7. Pitino will now be under contract until 2024. (AP Photo/File) (Source: Bruce Kluckhohn)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Multiple late-game lapses over the past month have put Minnesota in a tough spot.

The Gophers must win five games in five days at the Big Ten Tournament just to get in the NCAA Tournament. Their 14-16 record makes an NIT bid an uphill climb, too.

This last-chance challenge stretches beyond the postseason selection process.

Star sophomore Daniel Oturu is an NBA prospect who could turn pro this summer.

Then there’s seventh-year coach Richard Pitino, whose prospects are uncertain after another low finish in the conference standings.

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