This is Amelia Rayno's third season on the Gophers men's basketball beat. She learned college basketball in North Carolina (Go Tar Heels!), where fanhood is not an option. In 2010, she joined the Star Tribune after graduating from Boston's Emerson College, which sadly had no exciting D-I college hoops to latch onto. Amelia has also worked on the sports desk at the Boston Globe and interned at the Detroit News.

  Follow Rayno on Twitter @AmeliaRayno

No matter what, Gophers "probably" safe for the NCAA tournament

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players Updated: March 6, 2013 - 11:47 AM

Even though the Gophers want to finish out the season strong, they are “probably OK” to slide into the NCAA tournament, even if they were to crash and burn, CBS bracketologist Jerry Palm said.

Minnesota still has at least three games on the docket, with today’s game at Nebraska, a trip to Purdue closing up the regular-season schedule and then a first-round matchup (likely against Nebraska or Northwestern) in the Big Ten tournament. Losing any of those would constitute a “bad” loss because all of those teams are below 100 in the RPI.

The Gophers currently have just one such loss – at Northwestern on Jan. 23. In the unlikely scenario of them losing out, they could end up with four – a pretty drastic difference.

But the NCAA selection committee values good wins over bad losses – and of good wins the Gophers have plenty.

  • The Gophers have 12 wins against the RPI top-100
  • They have five wins against ranked teams, tied for second-most in the country (Memphis, Michigan State, Illinois, Wisconsin Indiana)
  • They now have a victory over then-No. 1 Indiana, a team that is No. 9 in the RPI.

Previous to the Indiana win, a loss against Nebraska or Northwestern going forward would have hurt them to the extent that it would have put them on the bubble. But the victory over the Hoosiers was strong enough that it gives the Gophers wiggle room.

The Gophers are sitting pretty at No. 17 in the RPI based on the above wins, the lack of bad losses and the No. 2 strength of schedule in the country. Three more bad losses would force a fall in the RPI rankings, but most likely not to the extent that they’d be excluded. Some of the teams at the bottom of the bracket have very little to show in their resumes, and by comparison, the Gophers have already done a lot.

Of course, that the Gophers are comfortable getting into the tournament from here has nothing to do with how an 0-3 finishing stretch against light competition would be viewed: as a collapse.

Other quick notes:

  • Last night’s Ohio State win over Indiana (what a league this is) doesn’t really affect the Gophers directly, but Iowa’s win over Illinois is very pertinent. Before last night, the Gophers were tied with the Illini at 8-8. Were they to finish in a tie with Illinois, the Illini would get the higher seed in the conference tournament based on their 1-0 record against the conference leader, Indiana (assuming the Hoosiers stay at that spot). The loss puts the ball in the Gophers’ court to win out and gain the 6-seed.
  • If the Gophers did get the 6-seed, they would play either Nebraska or Northwestern (the 11-seed) in the first round (obviously they would want Nebraska to avoid matching up against Northwestern's zone again) and then face the No. 3-seed if they advanced to the second round. 
  • Currently, Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin are all tied for the third spot, with Ohio State a tick ahead. Thursday’s game featuring Michigan State and Wisconsin will determine who would get the nod if, say, all of those teams tie, because based on head-to-head records, it would have to be one of those two teams. 
  • Wisconsin would probably be the most favorable second-day matchup in the Big Ten tournament for the Gophers, considering the options. The problem would be if all four teams tied for second, and Wisconsin got the nod there. In that case, the Gophers would get Ohio State.
     

 

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New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Toronto 104 FINAL
Indiana 91
Cleveland 103 FINAL
Detroit 95
Milwaukee 109 FINAL
Miami 102
Memphis 109 FINAL
Dallas 90
Chicago 39 2nd Qtr 6:09
Golden State 49
Washington 33 2nd Qtr 5:58
LA Lakers 49
NY Rangers 1 FINAL
NY Islanders 4
Arizona 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 4
Winnipeg 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Washington 3 FINAL
Columbus 4
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Carolina 4
Dallas 2 FINAL
Montreal 3
Detroit 5 FINAL
Florida 4
Colorado 3 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 4
Buffalo 1 3rd Prd 5:54
Calgary 3
Minnesota 1 3rd Prd
Edmonton 1
Anaheim 2 2nd Prd 12:41
Vancouver 0
Ball State 47 FINAL
Akron 59
Northern Ill 46 FINAL
Bowling Green 56
Western Mich 71 FINAL
Buffalo 77
Ohio 40 FINAL
Eastern Mich 76
Xavier 66 FINAL
Georgetown 53
Vanderbilt 62 FINAL
Georgia 70
West Virginia 65 FINAL
Kansas State 59
Central Mich 53 FINAL
Kent State 63
Saint Josephs 48 FINAL
La Salle 53
Nebraska 44 FINAL
Michigan 58
Miami-Ohio 65 FINAL
Toledo 70
Tulsa 62 FINAL
Tulane 55
George Washington 48 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 72
Pittsburgh 67 FINAL
Virginia Tech 70
Indiana State 78 FINAL
Evansville 89
Tabor College 53 FINAL
Oral Roberts 94
Florida 52 FINAL
Alabama 50
Tennessee 64 FINAL
Arkansas 69
Texas A&M 71 FINAL
Auburn 61
Baylor 53 FINAL
Oklahoma State 64
DePaul 0 Postponed
Providence 0
Michigan State 0 Postponed
Rutgers 0
Wyoming 44 FINAL
Utah State 56
Fresno State 47 FINAL
San Diego St 58
UNLV 43 2nd Half 11:34
Nevada 42
SD Christian 41 2nd Half 9:14
CS-Bakersfield 60
Colorado State 7 1st Half 13:44
Boise State 11
Temple 71 FINAL
UCF 54
Campbell 42 FINAL
Presbyterian 51
Coastal Carolina 65 FINAL
High Point 73
Gardner-Webb 49 FINAL
Radford 59
UNC-Asheville 58 FINAL
Liberty 62
Winthrop 63 FINAL
Longwood 62
Columbia International 33 FINAL
Charleston Southern 74
Tulane 63 FINAL
Houston 46
(3) Baylor 89 FINAL
TCU 67
Navy 49 FINAL
American Univ 59
Valparaiso 42 FINAL
Illinois-Chicago 60

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