There isn’t a whole lot of shame in losing to Duke, Indiana and Michigan – not in a prism, anyway.
After all, Indiana and Duke have both had extended stretches at No. 1 in the nation and Michigan, until this week, was No. 2. No, getting beat by each of those teams is understandable, even for a good squad.
Losing all of them becomes a little more uncomfortable, certainly, but the Gophers have beat a lot of solid teams this season, right?
Well … unfortunately for Minnesota, that resume doesn’t look quite as good as it might have hoped.
Let’s take a look at the Gophers’ “good” wins and how those teams are faring now:
Memphis: The Tigers have lost to the only three really strong teams they’ve played this season – Minnesota, Louisville and VCU – and has otherwise been untested in the lowly Conference USA.
Stanford: What appeared to be a promising season has turned into a 10-7 start, including 1-3 in the Pac-12. The Cardinal did win at Northwestern, but has lost to Belmont, Missouri, NC State, USC, UCLA and Washington in addition to Minnesota.
Florida State: There has been a big dropoff for the Seminoles after winning the ACC tournament a year ago. They’ve started the conference schedule, 2-1, winning at Clemson and scraping out a win at Maryland, but they’ve collected an array of questionable other losses: South Alabama, Mercer, Auburn – not to mention falling to UNC and getting blown out by Florida.
USC: Yikes. What happened to a highly improved season from the Trojans? The transfers and additions simply haven’t panned out. USC has compiled 11 losses quickly and in in the midst of a deep slide.
Michigan State: The Spartans have taken care of business since falling to Minnesota in the league opener, but they haven’t played anyone in the top half of the conference. Losses to Connecticut and Miami still raise some questions until MSU proves otherwise.
Illinois: That hot start and high ranking seem far away for the Illini, who have now lost three consecutive games to Minnesota, Wisconsin and Northwestern. Is it all a mirage? Without consistent shooting, Illinois has looked average.
All of this is not necessarily to say that the Gophers are overrated right now – only that the burden of proof that they are a great team that can compete with the elite in the league and country has not yet been met.
That said, the Gophers are still ranked at No. 8 in RPI right now despite their losses. So that formula, anyway, believes Minnesota is defeating good teams.