per Marcus:

Since the matchup first appeared on the screen Sunday, showing seventh-seeded Louisville vs. 10th-seeded Minnesota, Gophers upperclassmen have been filling the ears of younger teammates on what to expect on college basketball’s biggest stage.

“You need the older guys who have been there before to act like they’ve been there before,” coach Richard Pitino said Tuesday. “It’s win or go home, so you better be ready to compete. Hopefully, those guys in the locker room tell the younger guys what it’s all about.”

The upperclassmen learned the hard way. In 2017, the Gophers played their first NCAA tournament game under Pitino as a No. 5 seed against Middle Tennessee State in Milwaukee. The Blue Raiders were a popular 5-12 upset pick — not just because they were a 30-win team, but also because they had several top players back from a team that as a No. 15 seed upset No. 2 seed Michigan State in 2016.

“I did not think they should’ve been a 12 seed,” said Dupree McBrayer, now a Gophers senior guard. “They were very good.”

The Gophers’ tournament run lasted all of two hours, and they were sent home from Wisconsin in the first round.

“It’s all about experience,” McBrayer said. “Guys from Middle Tennessee had experience. They knew what to do in the moment. We were in our first time there, and we didn’t know how to handle the pressure.”

Go Gophers!!