The Gophers haven't been ranked in the men's basketball top 25 polls in four seasons.
On Feb. 4, 2013, Minnesota was ranked No. 18 in both the Associated Press poll and USA Today Coaches poll. Ranked as high as No. 8 in the country after a 15-1 start that year, Tubby Smith's team opened Big Ten play 3-0, but it lost four straight games. The Gophers were never ranked again after suffering back-to-back losses to Michigan State and Illinois in early February.
In Richard Pitino's second season, the Gophers started 11-2 with losses only to Louisville and St. John's. They took an eight-game win streak into Big Ten play. Pitino's team picked up 12 points in the coaches poll and two points in the AP poll on Dec. 29, 2014.
That was as close as the Gophers have been to being ranked under Pitino until a 10-1 start this year. On Monday, they received six points in the AP poll and one point in the coaches poll.
Many fans are confused about the voting procedure. The rules are that one vote for 25th in the poll equals a point. And that goes all the way up to 25 points for being picked No. 1 in the country.
Four AP voters (see them below) picked Minnesota in the top 25 this week -- and I wasn't among them. I believe the Gophers should be ranked if they can beat an NCAA tournament team from a major conference. That hasn't happened yet.
The best wins for Pitino this year have been against Texas-Arlington, St. John's, Vanderbilt and Arkansas, but only a couple of those victories are considered quality victories right now.
St. John's (5-6) has losses to Old Dominion, Delaware State and LIU-Brooklyn. Vanderbilt (5-5) lost to Middle Tennessee State (actually a borderline top 25 team). But Arkansas (8-1) hasn't lost again. UT-Arlington (8-3) lost twice after falling at Minnesota. But the Mavericks upset Texas and No. 12 Saint Mary's.
Minnesota's only loss is at Florida State, which isn't bad. The Seminoles jumped back into the rankings this week at No. 23 in both polls after upsetting No. 21 Florida on Sunday.
The Gophers might have a shot to get into the top 25 before Big Ten, but a few teams at the bottom of both polls and teams ahead of them in the others receiving votes category need to lose.
They will definitely deserve a national ranking in my opinion, if the Gophers go 12-1 through nonconference and beat Michigan State at home Dec. 27 in the Big Ten opener. But they play at Purdue on New Year's Day that weekend. Minnesota probably can't afford to lose Sunday when most voters are filling out their top 25 polls to be released Monday.
Below are the voters who picked the Gophers in the AP top 25 this week:
Craig Handel (@scoops81) News-Press Fitness and Sports reporter in Florida
Joe Leadingham (@JoeLeadingham) Sports Anchor/Reporter for WKRN in Nashville, Tenn.
Mike Barber (@RTD_MikeBarber) Richmond Times-Dispatch UVA and Virginia Tech writer*
Scott Wolf (@InsideUSC) Los Angeles Daily News staff writer
*Barber ranked the Gophers at No. 23 this week, which gave them three points.