GoldMinnesota finished the 2003 season ranked No. 4 in the USA Today/AVCA Top 25 poll on Wednesday, Dec. 24. The ranking was the highest in school history, passing the previous high No. 5 ranking the Golden Gophers reached on Oct. 2, 2000.
The Golden Gophers entered the previous poll on Dec. 8, ranked No. 14 in the nation. However, Minnesota defeated No. 4 Pepperdine and No. 13 Washington in Long Beach, Calif. to advance to its first Final Four in school history. The Golden Gophers lost to eventual national champion USC in the Final Four, but vaulted up 10 spots in the top 25 poll.
Minnesota's No. 4 ranking was also the highest final ranking that the Golden Gophers have had in school history. Minnesota's previous best final ranking was No. 11 in both 2000 and 2002.
The Golden Gophers were one of four Big Ten teams that finished in the top 25. Penn State finished No. 7, Illinois was No. 15 and Wisconsin ended the season with No. 21 ranking.
Minnesota has now been ranked in the top 25 in 29 of the last 32 weeks. The Golden Gophers started the preseason ranked No. 6 and moved up two spots in the final rankings to No. 4.