Richard Pitino's Gopher men's basketball team is 10-2, ranked in the top 25 and has wins over three ranked opponents, but that's not enough to land Minnesota in the top 25 of the NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) rankings.
The NET rankings are used by the NCAA selection committee for evaluating potential NCAA tournament teams. It analyzes each team's value index, which essentially rewards teams for beating quality opponents along with generating an efficiency rating based on strength of opponents and where games were played.
Minnesota is ranked No. 43 in the NET rankings, far lower than their No. 16 standing in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.
What's more is that the NET rankings were released after the Gophers dominated Ohio State 77-60 at Williams Arena on Sunday afternoon. Ohio State is 28th in the NET rankings despite losing to Minnesota and having two fewer wins and one more loss than the Gophers.
So what's the deal with Minnesota being ranked way down at 43? Despite wins over three opponents ranked in the top 30 of the NET rankings, the other seven Gopher wins were against teams ranked 119 or lower.
NET ranking of Minnesota's 10 victories:
- Saint Louis - 12
- Iowa - 7
- Ohio State - 28
- Michigan State - 119
- Boston College - 133
- Green Bay - 278
- Missouri-Kansas City - 290
- Loyola Marymount (twice) - not ranked
The Gophers' only two losses came on the road to the fourth- and 11th-ranked teams in the NET, Illinois and Wisconsin, respectively.
Obviously, Minnesota is being punished for a bit because Michigan State and Boston College are rated so low, along with beating lesser foes in Green Bay, UM-KC and Loyola Marymount. Being blown out by Illinois and Wisconsin don't help, either.
The next 10 days will give the Gophers three chances to prove the NET rankings wrong as they play Michigan twice and Iowa once. Michigan is ranked sixth in the NET and the Hawkeyes are seventh.
- Jan. 6 - Gophers at Michigan
- Jan. 10 - Gophers at Iowa
- Jan. 16 - Michigan at Gophers
The Big Ten is loaded from top to bottom and the Gophers are clearly good enough to make it to the NCAA tournament, and they can bolster their case by being more competitive on the road against the conference's best teams.