The Gophers had been putting together an impressive record this season, but were pretty much under the radar of the NCAA women's basketball field until knocking off No. 23-ranked Michigan and No. 10 Maryland at Williams Area in the last five days to raise their record to 21-6.
One reward: NCAA women's basketball bracketologist Charlie Creme has moved Minnesota into the latest version of his tournament bracket after having the Gophers as one of the first four teams not to make the field in his most recent selections. Not only does Creme have the Gophers as a No. 10 seed, but he moved them past a batch of teams (including Big Ten-rival Purdue) that he considers to be the last four teams to make the field.
In Creme's bracket, Minnesota would get a first-round game with No. 7-seed Syracuse of the Big East, with the winner meeting the winner of a 2/15-seed game between Oregon and Lamar. (Remember, these brackets are for discussion and debate purposes more than anything else, and the actual match-ups are likely to be different.)
But still, that's nice recognition for a Gophers team that finished 15-16 last season and wasn't expected to improve all that much this season.
Here's the current bracket by Creme, which includes seven Big Ten teams.
Your next question: How far are the Gophers from the Top 25?
That was answered Monday morning when the newest Associated Press poll was released. The Gophers received the most points of any unranked team. In other words, that makes them the No. 26 team in the county. Oklahoma State in 25th with 73 points, Minnesota has 60 points and the team immediately below the Gophers -- Dayton -- received only 29 points.
Maryland, now 13th, and Ohio State at 14th are the only Big Ten teams in the Top 25. Iowa, Michigan and Nebraska also are unranked but getting a handful of votes.
The Gophers have only two more regular-season games -- Tuesday night at the Barn vs. Indiana (8-6 in the Big Ten) and Sunday at Illinois (0-14) -- before the Big Ten tournament begins in Indianapolis next week. If the Gophers stay among the top four teams in the conference, they'll receive a double-bye and won't play until March 2.