Here we are.
The moment that every season builds to, strives for, hopes to be relevant for, has arrived.
Selection Sunday is here, and after an exciting Saturday night of hoops, the University of Minnesota's position on the bubble is still as tenuous as ever.
The results of yesterday's slate of games went about as well as could be expected from a maroon-and-gold perspective. No real bid-affecting upsets in the conference tournaments shook up the bracket dramatically. The ACC, the A-10, the SEC and the Big Ten championships are all being played amongst teams who are in regardless.
Still, nearly all the predictions I've seen still have the Gophers on the outside looking in. ESPN's Joe Lunardi has the Gophers as the second team out. CBS Sports' Jerry Palm has Minnesota as the third out. The one exception is this site, which gives the Gophers a 73.87 percent chance at making it (hat tip to gopherhole.com for originally finding that link).
"I hope we get into the NCAA tournament," Gophers coach Richard Pitino said after Minnesota's loss to Wisconsin on Friday. "I feel that we played one of the best schedules in the country, and that's normally what they want you to do. But that being said, whatever tournament we are in ... I'm proud of how hard these guys have played this whole year."
Other teams in similarly shaky spots include Florida State, California, Arkansas, Missouri, Xavier, Pittsburgh, Green Bay, Dayton, Nebraska, Southern Miss, BYU and maybe even Iowa.
You've heard all the arguments both ways for Minnesota's fate. The Gophers have an outstanding strength of schedule and a solid RPI, but lack success on the road or a good record against teams in the RPI top-50. At this point, it's up to the committee to see something it likes in the Gophers. Ending the year on such an ugly game doesn't help -- even if it's not weighed more heavily, a finish like that will stick in the voters' brains. And the two previous games, both against Penn State, should inspire much awe either.
"The top-10 strength of schedule is terrific, but that only goes so far," CBS Sports' college basketball analyst Jeff Borzello said. "You need to back it up with some meat to the resume, and there's just not a lot. The top-50 record and record away from home certainly won't wow you."
The selection show will be broadcast on CBS at 5 p.m. CT.
"I think it's possible #gophers get a bid today. I'd call it 30/70 yes/no." -- @RandBall
"I feel much better about the #gophers program this selection sunday than a year ago, regardless of what the committee does." -- @FromTheBarn
"Feels like the biggest toss-up for ~ four at-larges in a decade. Combined with 1-seed speculation, this is a rare kind of Selection Sunday." -- @MattNorlander
"I'm higher on Cal than most bracketologists, but I think I'll end up having them and Minnesota as my last two out." -- @jeffborzello
"Remember, Minnesota's top player, Andre Hollins, missed loss to Northwestern at home and also loss at Nebraska due to ankle injury." -- @GoodmanESPN