The Gophers will find out their NCAA women's basketball tournament fate on Monday after the full run of conference tournaments have been played. Coach Marlene Stallings sounded certain that Friday's 90-89 victory over Iowa in the Big Ten quarterfinals was enough to give the Gophers a spot in the field. The phrase she used was "in safely."
But they are still living on the edge, according to two respected bracket updates that were published after last weekend's games, including the Big Ten tournament, which was won by Ohio State, the team that beat Minnesota in the semifinals.
Both Charlie Creme at ESPN and Russell Steinberg at Summitt Hoops have the Gophers among their "last four teams" in the tournament. Creme has Minnesota as a No. 9 seed playing Villanova and Steinberg has the Gophers as a 10th seed playing Syracuse. If one of them is accurate, they would set up the Gophers to play a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the second round if they win their opener.
The ESPN bracket is particularly miserable for the Big Ten because he lists four conference teams among the top eight that wouldn't make the field.
The Gophers are ranked No. 41 in the NCAA's Ratings Percentage Index, which quantifies teams across all conferences based on a number of factors. Beating Iowa, which is No. 21 in RPI, certainly helped their chances.
Despite having those four Big ten teams on the wrong side of the tournament bubble, Creme did say before the tournament started that "a bid should be secure" for the Gophers if they beat Iowa.