Have the Gophers played the toughest schedule in the Big Ten through the first few weeks of the college basketball season?
The answer is definitely "No."
Michigan State lost to Arizona and Kentucky, still plays Duke in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Indiana beat Kansas and has North Carolina coming up (losing to IPFW really hurt). Purdue lost to defending national champion Villanova and faces Louisville next week. Wisconsin lost to Creighton and still has North Carolina and Syracuse on the schedule.
Minnesota won't play any heavy-hitters in nonconference, but it has stayed undefeated at 5-0 against a few teams with high Rating Percentage Index (RPI) rankings. That's why the Gophers entered Wednesday with a No. 16 RPI, tops among Big Ten teams.
Victories against St. John's (No. 31) and Arkansas (No. 32) were impressive without RPI having anything to do with them.
Regardless where the Gophers go from here, it's amazing what a difference a year makes.