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Gophers still lingering on the bubble, but Saturday results need to swing their way

  • Blog Post by: Amelia Rayno
  • March 15, 2014 - 2:15 PM

The Gophers did themselves no favors with a loss to Wisconsin on Friday, but despite the loss, Minnesota is still clinging to a slim chance at making the NCAA tournament field.

Several things would need to go the Gophers way today in order to keep them relevant.

Florida and Virginia (locks already) helped the Gophers out already by beating a couple of bubble teams in Tennessee and Pittsburgh. The Panthers likely will slide in anyway, but their future is certainly less certain with the loss.

As of now, both ESPN's Joe Lunardi and CBS Sports' Jerry Palm have the Gophers sitting on the wrong side of the bubble, but the former doesn't have them too far away from slipping in. Minnesota is just the second team out of the field on Lunardi's S-curve.

And Minnesota's resume still contains some intriguing elements. Even after falling to the Badgers, the Gophers' RPI is 49, a respectable ranking. If they do dance, it will likely be their fifth-ranked strength of schedule that carries them there. 

Of course, the Gophers would also need a scenario in which very few teams not expected to get an at-large bid upset to win their tournament championships. We see several of those every year, and more than a couple of such wins could ruin any linger opportunity for Minnesota.

A few other games that could affect the Gophers chances today:

St. Bonaventure - St. Joe's: The latter is probably in the tournament at this point, but it's not a sure thing. A win would probably lock up their chances while a loss would make a Gophers leap-frog possible.

Duke - NC State: The Wolfpack is farther out on the bubble than Minnesota is, but a victory would put them in the championship game and add another unexpected automatic qualifier.

Creighton - Providence: The Friars are just barely in the field. Losing to Creighton would push them closer to the bubble; winning would give them an automatic bid.

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