As much as you might not think they deserve it, the Gophers are going to make the NCAA tournament. ESPN's Joe Lunardi still has them as a No. 9 seed (vs. Colton Iverson's Colorado State squad, no less). Jerry Palm at CBS has them at No. 11. Regardless, they are getting in.

The question now is seed ... and what is best?

Well, you would think the higher the seed the better. And in terms of winning at least one game, you are right. But when it comes to making the Sweet 16 -- the benchmark for success many laid out after the Gophers got off to a strong start and what might still be considered a salvaged year for Tubby Smith and his crew -- a lower seed is better.

How much better? Substantially better.

No. 8 and No. 9 seeds have combined to reach the Sweet 16 just 14 times since the bracket expanded to 64 teams in 1985. So that's 28 tournaments. Basically every other year. So one of every 16 times (eight teams seeded times two). They always run into No. 1 seeds in the second round, and they typically lose.

Nos. 10-12 seeds? They have reached the Sweet 16 a whopping 55 times combined in that same span. So yeah, maybe the Gophers are evil geniuses and fell backwards far enough that they actually improved their chances.

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