Hartman: Tough schedule hurts Gophers' record, helps ranking

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 8, 2013 - 7:12 AM

The nation's third-toughest schedule enhances both the Gophers' RPI rating and their tournament chances.

If you are looking for something positive about a Gophers basketball team that is 2-5 since starting the season 15-1, you should check two important numbers that play a big part in teams getting an invitation to the NCAA tournament.

The Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) ranks the Gophers 11th in the nation, with No. 4 Michigan and No. 10 Indiana the only Big Ten teams ahead of them, despite the Gophers' 5-5 record in conference play.

And then you check the RPI strength of schedule and see that the Gophers are third nationally behind Duke and Miami (Fla.), having played 12 teams that rank in the RPI's top 100. That helps explain why they are ranked just behind Indiana, which is No. 1 in the Associated Press and coaches' polls.

So even though the Gophers have lost five of their past seven conference games, they are almost a cinch to get Tubby Smith's third NCAA tournament invitation as Gophers coach and first since 2010.

If the Maroon and Gold could go 5-3 the rest of the way -- assuming they beat Illinois, Wisconsin and Penn State at home, lose to Indiana at home and Iowa and Ohio State on the road and defeat Nebraska and Purdue on the road -- they would be 10-8 going into the Big Ten tournament.

Still, the overall record is not as good as people expected of a team that at one point was 15-1 overall, 3-0 in the conference and ranked No. 8 in the country.

A big reason the Gophers have failed to live up to expectations is because they have the Big Ten's worst assist-to-turnover ratio at minus-2.3 per game.

Shooting struggles

Another big issue for the Gophers, along with turnovers, has been their shooting struggles of late.

Through their first 16 games the Gophers were averaging 76 points. In their past seven games they have averaged only 63.4.

During their 2-5 slump, the Gophers have outshot their opponent from the field in just one contest, the 62-59 victory over Iowa on Sunday, in which the Gophers shot 44.9 percent compared to the Hawkeyes' 36.2 percent. But that's the anomaly. Overall during their past seven games, the Gophers have gone 160-for-375 from the field (42.7 percent) while their opponents have shot 154-for-338 (45.6 percent).

It's hard to understand because overall the Gophers have been a good shooting team, currently ranking 56th in the country from the field at 45.9 percent.

If there was a year for the Gophers and Smith to go far in the NCAA, this is it. With the graduation of seniors Trevor Mbakwe and Rodney Williams, the team certainly will lose strength in scoring and rebounding, and none of the current reserves nor incoming recruits Alex Foster and Alvin Ellis are going to fill that void.

Target Center upgrades

One of the reasons NBA Commissioner David Stern came to town this week was to meet with Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and City Council President Barbara Johnson to try to get action on the "project scope" of Target Center's remodeling. Under that plan, Timberwolves ownership, AEG (the firm that operates the arena), occupant Life Time Fitness and the city are supposed to come up with the $100 million needed to remodel Target Center.

Well, the word is that the city has agreed to contribute $50 million, and the other three parties will write checks to cover the other $50 million.

However, there is one problem. The city wants the Timberwolves to extend their lease, which now ends in 2025, for 10 years and the Timberwolves want to extend it for only five years.

Once that issue is resolved, look for work to start on Target Center in the near future.

Jottings

• The word is that problems surrounding the bidding amongst the contractors to build the new Vikings stadium has turned ugly and that the nomination will be delayed. The nature of the problem remains hush-hush, but perhaps it will be discussed at Friday's Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority meeting.

• The Gophers basketball team is scheduled to play in the Maui Invitational to be held Nov. 25-27. Other schools in the tournament include Syracuse, Gonzaga, Arkansas, Baylor, Dayton and California.

• Speaking of Alex Foster and Alvin Ellis, the two Gophers recruits faced off last month when Foster's Seton (Ill.) Academy squad defeated Ellis and De La Salle 57-48. Foster finished with seven points, 11 rebounds and five blocks, and Ellis ended up with seven points as well. Foster recently was invited to play in the McDonald's All-American game.

• Former Gopher Dan Coleman is playing well for Joensuun Kataja in Finland. Through three games he is averaging 10.7 points and 5.3 rebounds in 22.3 minutes. ... Another former Gopher, Vincent Grier, has played in one game for Pi Koleji Ankara in Turkey. He had one rebound and one assist in seven minutes. ... Mo Hargrow has played in three games for the Sendai 89ers in Japan, averaging 16.3 points, 3.3 assists and 2.0 rebounds.

• Former Blaine standout Dan Johnson has signed with the New York Yankees, agreeing to a minor league contract that will pay him $900,000 if he makes the major league squad. Last season Johnson batted .364 in 14 games with the Chicago White Sox, hitting three home runs and driving in six runs.

• Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson was named the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Year, meaning that $25,000 will be awarded to Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest, which helps teach students how to start and grow their own businesses.

• The Gophers men's hockey team was idle last weekend, but it remains No. 1 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine national rankings. The Gophers received 21 first-place votes and 494 points overall to keep them in front of Quinnipiac.

• The Gophers men's indoor track and field team is ranked No. 8 in the country, the second-highest-ranked team in the Big Ten, according to the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. shartman@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Minnesota 35 FINAL
Miami 37
Baltimore 13 FINAL
Houston 25
Detroit 20 FINAL
Chicago 14
Cleveland 13 FINAL
Carolina 17
Atlanta 30 FINAL
New Orleans 14
Green Bay 20 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Kansas City 12 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
New England 17 FINAL
NY Jets 16
NY Giants 37 FINAL
St. Louis 27
Buffalo 24 FINAL
Oakland 26
Indianapolis 7 FINAL
Dallas 42
Seattle 0 1st Qtr 0:44
Arizona 0
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 108 FINAL
Toronto 118
Memphis 91 FINAL
Cleveland 105
Boston 84 FINAL
Miami 100
Detroit 105 FINAL
Brooklyn 110
LA Lakers 101 FINAL
Sacramento 108
Philadelphia 96 FINAL
Orlando 88
Phoenix 104 FINAL
Washington 92
Indiana 87 4th Qtr 3:36
Minnesota 87
New Orleans 99 4th Qtr 3:47
Oklahoma City 99
Colorado 2 FINAL(SO)
Detroit 1
Dallas 6 FINAL(SO)
Edmonton 5
Buffalo 4 3rd Prd 18:12
Boston 2
Carolina 0 3rd Prd 18:56
NY Rangers 1
Toronto 0 3rd Prd 19:21
Chicago 2
Philadelphia 8:00 PM
Winnipeg
Harvard 27 FINAL
Virginia 76
Maine 69 FINAL
Army 72
Ferris State 82 FINAL
Bowling Green 68
San Francisco 65 FINAL
Cleveland State 69
Oregon State 52 FINAL
Quinnipiac 60
Coastal Carolina 72 FINAL
Central Arkansas 55
Holy Cross 48 FINAL
Canisius 67
Southern Miss 55 FINAL
Georgia State 68
Western Carolina 66 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 62
Creighton 58 FINAL
North Texas 62
Maryland 73 FINAL
Oklahoma State 64
Cornell 61 FINAL
Radford 74
Vermont 55 FINAL
Saint Louis 58
Loyola-Maryland 52 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Reinhardt 72 FINAL
Winthrop 100
Ark-Little Rock 46 FINAL
Green Bay 66
TX-Pan American 72 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 77
Alabama State 63 FINAL
Evansville 81
FIU 69 FINAL
Hartford 82
Goshen 55 FINAL
Valparaiso 82
Bryant 48 FINAL
Denver 46
Austin Peay 63 FINAL
Lipscomb 69
Tennessee St 47 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 65
South Dakota 67 FINAL
Montana 62
ULM 50 FINAL
Samford 64
Coker 52 FINAL
South Carolina 78
USC 75 FINAL
Boston College 71
Northern Ariz 66 FINAL
Hampton 75
SD Christian 61 FINAL
San Diego 71
UC Irvine 55 FINAL
Bradley 47
Troy 65 FINAL
Nicholls 64
Seton Hall 47 FINAL
Georgia 65
Appalachian St 59 FINAL
Alabama 60
North Dakota St 52 FINAL
Kent State 53
San Jose St 53 FINAL
Washington St 82
Alcorn State 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Sacramento St 9:00 PM
Seattle
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 28 FINAL
Bowling Green 33
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Cal-Irvine 55 FINAL
Denver 63
St Marys-CA 52 FINAL
George Washington 70
TX-San Antonio 49 FINAL
Nicholls 57
Portland State 71 FINAL
Columbia 66
Tenn Tech 62 FINAL
Morgan State 56
SMU 43 FINAL
Auburn 56
Quinnipiac 70 FINAL
Hartford 58
Hofstra 75 FINAL
Boston College 61
Eastern Washington 55 FINAL
Georgia Southern 42
Liberty 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 84
Fairleigh Dickinson 74 FINAL
Brown 79
Buffalo 73 FINAL
Long Island 79
Bucknell 74 FINAL
Mount St Marys 49
Stony Brook 70 FINAL
Wagner 76
FIU 83 FINAL
Wofford 75
Duquesne 56 FINAL
Providence 67
Maine 54 FINAL
William & Mary 51
Alabama State 43 FINAL
Samford 56
TX-Pan American 43 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 64
South Dakota St 64 FINAL
Marist 82
Saint Josephs 50 FINAL
(5) Notre Dame 64
Radford 60 FINAL
Virginia Tech 73
(3) Texas 67 FINAL
(4) Texas A&M 65
Rhode Island 60 FINAL
Bryant 56
South Florida 90 FINAL
Penn State 87
Sam Houston St 55 FINAL
TCU 79
Evansville 50 FINAL
IUPUI 62
(14) Maryland 110 FINAL
Coppin State 51
Mercer 59 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 72
NC A&T 43 FINAL
Chattanooga 58
Princeton 84 FINAL
Monmouth 53
Eastern Illinois 69 FINAL
Lehigh 72
Rider 67 FINAL
Binghamton 72
SC State 57 FINAL
Clemson 66
Fairfield 63 FINAL
Iowa State 76
Richmond 70 FINAL
Eastern Kentucky 56
Cleveland State 80 FINAL
Morehead St 72
Kent State 62 FINAL
Colgate 61
South Alabama 43 FINAL
UAB 73
Saint Peters 35 FINAL
Navy 71
Youngstown St 52 FINAL
Pittsburgh 78
NJIT 50 FINAL
Lafayette 66
Davidson 51 FINAL
Charlotte 86
Indiana State 73 FINAL
St Johns 67
Southern U 49 FINAL
Florida 78
Wright State 46 FINAL
Purdue 70
(19) Oklahoma St 66 FINAL
USC 62
Houston 54 FINAL
Texas Tech 60
Ark-Little Rock 66 FINAL
Tulsa 59
Dayton 71 FINAL
Vanderbilt 67
Northern Ariz 37 FINAL
New Mexico 56
UNC-Asheville 60 FINAL
USC Upstate 67
North Dakota 81 FINAL
South Dakota 86
Western Ill 57 FINAL
Marquette 65
Elon 67 FINAL
(6) North Carolina 85
Ball State 59 FINAL
Western Ky 84
(8) Kentucky 68 FINAL
(13) Duke 89
New Orleans 58 FINAL
Alabama 87
Chicago State 47 FINAL
Milwaukee 69
Bowling Green 61 FINAL
Bradley 47
Ill-Springfield 56 FINAL
SE Missouri St 73
Northern Ill 42 FINAL
Northern Iowa 51
(23) Iowa 100 FINAL
Drake 98
Central Michigan 64 FINAL
Minnesota 67
Western Carolina 45 FINAL
North Florida 62
Wyoming 71 FINAL
Colorado 76
Portland 58 FINAL
Boise State 94
Cal Poly 63 FINAL
Colorado State 65
No Dakota State 54 FINAL
Grand Canyon 69
Albany 71 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 49
Oklahoma 64 FINAL
Arkansas 71
Idaho State 63 FINAL
Seattle 55
(18) Michigan State 89 FINAL
(19) Syracuse 76
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Arizona State 88
TX-Arlington 46 FINAL
North Texas 38
Fresno State 68 FINAL
Oregon 59
St Francis-PA 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 72
UNLV 71 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 74
UCLA 50 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 86
(10) Louisville 70 FINAL
(24) California 57
Howard 53 FINAL
Virginia 74
Miami-Ohio 42 FINAL
(21) Miss State 68
Illinois-Chicago 8:30 PM
Old Dominion

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close