Instead of doing everything to stay in NCAA tournament contention this month, the Gophers basketball team has been doing the opposite.

With a 1-5 record in February and six losses in the last seven games after falling Sunday 68-64 at Rutgers, Richard Pitino has a team playing itself out of the chance at making the Big Dance.

One top bracket expert believes the Gophers are still in, though. Not even among the last four teams likely to have their bubbles burst as of Monday.

So what’s keeping the Gophers “in” based on CBSSports’ Jerry Palm’s predictions? Pretty simple, really.

“Teams are worse,” Palm told the Star Tribune on Monday. “It’s a bad bubble.”

Palm has the Gophers as a No. 10 seed even after the loss against the Scarlet Knights, who were No. 112 in NET ranking Sunday. Minnesota’s NET fell five spots to No. 59, to go along with a KenPom rank of No. 48, KPI rank of No. 47, BPI rank also of No. 59 and Strength of Schedule No. 47. Palm’s fellow longtime bracketologist Joe Lunardi moved Pitino’s team down to lead the “First Four Out” group for the first time this year in his ESPN projection after Sunday’s games.

What do all of those numbers mean? They’re basically a ranking of different factors to determine how sexy a resume is, including wins and losses, efficiency, scoring margin, schedule strength and other metrics.

Below are most of the bubble teams competing with the Gophers right now for one of the 36 at-large bids.

 

       NET

KenPom

BPI

KPI

SOS

Quad 1

Seton Hall

62

61

63

42

54

   1-7

UCF

34

46

41

37

80

   2-5

Alabama

53

57

57

44

32    

   2-7

Utah St

37

41

49

52

134

   1-2

NC State

32

35

23

58

212

   1-7

Temple

50

71

69

40

67

   2-5

Butler

49

52

46

46

19

   2-7

Arizona St

63

58

60

39

87

   4-1

Oklahoma

40

38

39

87

14

   3-9

Only Arizona State has more Quadrant 1 wins than Minnesota’s 3-8 record. The Gophers, who play Thursday at Northwestern and finish with Purdue at home and Maryland on the road, have one of the toughest schedules among the bubble teams since they play in the Big Ten, arguably the best conference in college hoops.

It might look pretty bleak right now for Pitino’s team after so many wins slipped away down the stretch, but just a few more victories (including in the Big Ten tournament) might be enough to get an NCAA at-large bid with a weak bubble this year.

    

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