Minnesota heads to NCAA tourney after successful regular season

Danny Chen

After missing the NCAA tournament last year, the Gophers are looking to regain ground in the national postseason tournament.
 
Minnesota will face Princeton in the first round on Friday in Charlottesville, Va.
 
The Gophers completed the spring season winning a share of the Big Ten regular season title and finishing in the top four at the conference championships.
 
And for the first time since head coach Geoff Young has been at Minnesota, he led his team to a 20-victory season. With how the team has performed this year,
Young said it is ready to compete Friday.
 
“They know what they’re doing, and they know what they needed to practice on this week and a half,” Young said. “We’ve done it, and I think at this point, we are just really looking forward for the match to begin.”
 
During the spring season, Minnesota finished as the 25th-ranked team in the country, while Princeton finished 36th.
 
“We played some of their players in a fall tournament,” he said. “Just a little bit there, but I don’t really remember much at all. And we haven’t [watched] any tapes on them.”
 
Despite that, senior Mathieu Froment said he is excited to compete again.
 
“We have been practicing for two weeks, and we are anxious to just play,” Froment said. “And after a bad season last year, we want to redeem ourselves.”
 
But Froment said that it’s difficult to not look ahead and study future competition.
 
“First, Princeton, but after that, it’s going to be Virginia,” Froment said. “We played them two years ago [in the NCAA tournament] and lost to them, and they went on to become national champions. But this year, I mean, we beat Illinois. They’re no better than Illinois, so we will see.”
 
For the team to advance, it will need the help from freshman phenom Matic Spec. Spec finished his first season with the Gophers with 51 total victories and only seven losses. 
 
“I’m pretty excited for [the NCAA tournament],” Spec said. “But it’s kind of hard because it’s been a long season. I guess we [have] to keep grinding and grinding until
the season is actually over.”
 
And for Young, he said there are a few things his team needs to do to win. 
 
“We [have] to keep doing the things that make us the team that we are,” Young said. “We [have] to stick to what we know and stick to the basics. If we do that, it will usually put us in a good place with a chance to win.”