With the NCAA Tournament quickly approaching, the Minnesota Golden Gophers have been reeling of late, and losing 4 of 6 games is no way to make a statement to the NCAA selection committee.
The Gophers men's basketball team's latest loss came in triple-overtime – a 77-74 loss at Purdue on Wednesday. It was Minnesota's third straight loss since upsetting the Wisconsin Badgers. Amelia Rayno of the Star Tribune writes that this three-game stretch was supposed to help bolster their tournament resume, but now they'll likely need to win five of the final eight conference games to make the NCAA Tournament.
With a record of 15-8 overall and 4-6 in the Big Ten, the Gophers are looking more like a bubble team each and every game. Just last week the experts at ESPN and CBS Sports believed the Gophers were deserving of an eight-seed in the NCAA Tournament. Things have changed for the worse this week.
ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi dropped Minnesota to a 10-seed in his latest projection of the field of 68. The experts at CBS Sports still have the Gophers in the tournament as an eight-seed, but their latest projections were released before the loss at Purdue.
Statistical data, outside of wins, will play a large role in the Gophers’ chances of reaching the tournament. RPI and BPI, as defined below, are very important.
RPI: Rating Percentage Index, a number used to rank teams based on strength of schedule and weight said team’s wins and losses. It is one of the numbers considered heavily by the selection committee when it chooses tournament participants.
BPI: Basketball Power Index, a similar ranking system that produces a number based on not only what the RPI considers, but more in depth numbers as well.
Here’s the statistical case the Gophers are making, according to ESPN.
RECORD: 15-8 (4-6 in the B1G)
VS. RPI TOP 25: 2-3
VS. RPI TOP 50: 4-4
VS. RPI TOP 100: 6-8
BAD LOSSES (defined by us as losses to teams outside the top-68 in RPI): Arkansas, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue