One measure that's frequently cited for ranking college basketball teams is called the RPI -- or Ratings Percentage Index. It's one of those formulas that takes into consideration a number of factors and spits out a ranking from No. 1 (Oklahoma, at present) to No. 351 (Central Connecticut State). The RPI is often cited when fans and experts are trying to figure out which teams, beyond the obvious choices and conference winners, will be invited into the postseason tournament field.

Right now, it's an unfortunate indication of the state of the Gophers basketball program, which remained winless in the Big Ten by losing a last-minute lead against Illinois and losing the game in overtime.

In 2012-13, Tubby Smith's final year at Minnesota, the Gophers finished the season at No. 34 before being knocked out of the NCAA tournament in the second round. (In Tubby's leaner years, the Gophers were typically in the high double-figures, with a low of 101 in 2007-08.)

In 2013-14, Richard Pitino's first season, the Gophers finished 50th and went on to win the NIT.

Keep in mind that teams below the top 68 make the NCAA field because it includes conference tournament winners from small conferences that don't do well in the RPI, mainly because they aren't playing schedules nearly as tough as the bigger names at the top.

Guessing the Gophers RPI has become something of a radio parlor game for Dan Barreiro, the afternoon drive-time host on 100.3 FM.

It's not only where the Gophers rank, but who ranks near them.

Here's where it gets ugly. Everyone has their favorite comparison. Our touchstone here is the Gophers vs. Incarnate Word University of Texas. No good reason, other than we like the name of the Southland Conference school.

Incarnate Word is No. 212, which put its 11 spots above the Gophers at No. 223.

The gap between No. 212 and No. 223 is filled by these schools: Charlotte, Sam Houston State, Manhattan, Tennessee-Martin, Florida International (Pitino's former program), Samford, Youngstown State, Arkansas State, Cleveland State and Wofford.


We'll spare you more on this page, other than to tell you that Minnesota isn't at the bottom among Big Ten teams. That would be Rutgers, at No. 233. We're hoping to find a viewing party for the Feb. 23 matchup between the Gophers and Scarlet Knights.

If you want to do a deeper dive -- or prepare for an appearance with Barreiro -- the latest RPI rankings from the NCAA are here.

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