Star Tribune columnist Chip Scoggins laid out the argument in his current column by writing that trying to understand this Gophers men's basketball team is like trying to comprehend advanced mathematics.
How can a team that hasn't won a single game on the road also have victories over No. 4 Ohio State by 17 points and No. 3 Michigan by 18 at Williams Arena? How can a team with wins over five ranked opponents also have two losses to barely-above .500 Maryland by a combined 27 points?
NCAA Tournament bracket predictors around the country are trying to figure this club out, as well. So far the Gophers remain in the tournament field, according to those who spend time building brackets. But Minnesota's position isn't the strongest right now for making a tournament run.
Here's the remaining schedule:
Wednesday — at Indiana (11-9 overall, 6-7 Big Ten)
Saturday — vs. No. 5 Illinois (14-5, 10-3)
Saturday, Feb. 27 — vs. Northwestern (6-12, 3-11)
Wednesday, March 3 — at Penn State (7-10, 4-9)
Saturday, March 6 — vs. Rutgers (12-7, 8-7)
Here's how Richard Pitino's club is being seeded a month out from the start of the NCAA Tournament in Indianapolis:
ESPN — No. 10 seed facing No. 7 seed Florida. If the Gophers win, ESPN's current bracket has No. 2 seed Villanova as their probable second-round opponent. And the Big Ten is well represented in the projections by the network's Joe Lunardi with a conference-leading nine teams in the field.
CBS — No. 11 seed, and one of the eight teams facing an extra play-in game to reach the round of 64. Jerry Palm's latest bracket has Minnesota facing Drake, a match-up with the added edge of center Liam Robbins facing his former team. The winner would get Florida — a No. 6 seed right now, according to Palm — in the second round.
USA Today — No. 11 seed facing No. 6 seed Kansas. If the Gophers could sneak past an underachieving Jayhawks squad, they'd play No. 3 seed Tennessee in the second round of this bracket.
Sports Illustrated — No. 9 seed facing No. 8 seed Clemson. One of the downsides of being an eighth or ninth seed instead of a lower one: Winning in the first-round almost certainly means a second-round game against a No. 1 seed. In this case, that would be Baylor, one of two undefeated teams in the country.
Team Rankings — No. 10 seed, and while the site doesn't predict matchups, it gives the Gophers a 78% chance of making the tournament based on its statistical modeling. If you want to dream, the site's projection give the Goophers a 3% chance of being seeded amiong the top 16 teams and a 1% chance of getting the Big Ten's automatic bid by winning the conference tournament.
Bracketville — No. 9 seed facing No. 8 seed Colorado. What was that thing about the downside for middle-seeded tournament teams? Bracketville's current projection also has the Gophers looking at a second round match-up with Baylor.
The consensus: This up-and-down Gophers team is in the field, but it's clear they could use a solid stretch of play to strenghten their position before heading to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Tournament on March 10.