One week ago the Golden Gophers men's basketball team looked and felt like a surefire bubble team for the NCAA Tournament. After going 2-2 over a stretch of games against top 15 opponents, the Gophers now feel like a lock for the big dance.
Minnesota pounded ninth-ranked Wisconsin, 81-68 Wednesday night. Prior to that they took No. 5 Michigan State to overtime, beat No. 11 Ohio State and lost a tough game at No. 14 Iowa.
The Daily Gopher took notice of the impressive stretch, saying the Gophers are currently "safely off the bubble."
CBS Sports released its latest bracketology (process of predicting the field of the NCAA Tournament) on Tuesday and the Gophers were in charge of the No. 9 seed in the East Region. ESPN's Joe Lunardi took the win over the Badgers into account and has Minnesota as the No. 9 seed in the South Region.
The Gophers are 15-5 overall and 4-3 in the Big Ten. The next three games look very winnable as they play at Nebraska on Sunday, versus Northwestern and on the road at Purdue.
Remember, the Gophers will likely need eight or nine conference wins to receive an invitation to the tournament.
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: 15-5 (4-3 in the B1G)
VS. RPI TOP 25: 3-3
VS. RPI TOP 50: 3-4
VS. RPI TOP 100: 5-5
BAD LOSSES (defined by us as losses to teams outside the top-68 in RPI): Arkansas