Over the next few weeks, Gophers men’s basketball fans will watch the postseason fortunes of their team rise and fall based on how well they play — and the successes and failures of other teams around the country.
The inexact science of “bracketology” has developed over time with college basketball experts doing their best job of predicting what the 68-team NCAA tournament field will look like.
In recent years, except for the truly awful ones, the exercise involving Minnesota has been whether the Gophers will make the field.
This year’s success — a 20-7 record and five consecutive victories to push them to fifth place in the Big Ten — has focused the discussion on where they’ll be seeded.
Here’s a quick guide to some of the best-known bracketologists, and a couple of links to supporting data.
• The ESPN site featuring Joe Lunardi has Minnesota as a No. 8 seed and playing Wichita State in the opening round. The disadvantage of being a No. 8 or 9 seed is that the winner of that game is almost certain to play the region’s No. 1 seed in the second round. In Lunardi’s view, at present, that would be Kansas.
• At CBSsports.com, Jerry Palm has the Gophers as a No. 6 seed, which means they would face the winner of a play-in game between two No. 11 seeds.
• The USA Today bracketology site also has Minnesota as a No. 6 seed, playing the winner of a play-in game between Syracuse and Tennessee.
• The SB Nation site, run by @ChrisDobbertean, has the Gophers as the 25th-best team overall, placing them as a No. 7 seed.
• Another site that does predictions and rankings for all sports — teamrankings.com — also has the Gophers as a No. 7 seed and gives them a 96 percent chance of being in the tournament field.
One of the tools used in figuring and updating the bracketology sites is the Ratings Percentage Index, in which Minnesota ranks 23rd,
These rankings typically get updated Monday, which means there are only two more sets until the NCAA tournament field is announced on March 12. In other words, it’s a good time to start paying attention.