Tonight's Gophers-Badgers game in Madison, Wisconsin means a lot to Minnesota in terms of putting themselves in a position to reach the NCAA Tournament.
Minnesota beat the Badgers at Williams Arena last month, and they did so without leading scorer Andre Hollins, who left that game with an ankle sprain just 16 seconds in. Hollins returned to the court in a win over Indiana on Saturday, and he's starting to regain his explosiveness.
“I’m just trying to get my explosiveness and quickness back — just my reaction time,” Hollins said Wednesday, via the Pioneer Press. “Just trying to plant and go off screens, that’s what I’m trying to get back doing. It’s progressing. I practiced full time (Tuesday).”
Receiving an invitation to the big dance often requires a team to reach 20 wins, or nine victories in the Big Ten. Whether that will be the case this year is unknown, but with a record of 16-8 overall and 5-6 in the Big Ten, the Gophers are four short of both marks.
Joe Lunardi's latest bracketology at ESPN.com has the Gophers listed as a No. 11 seed in the South Region where they would play UCONN in the first round. Bracketology at CBSSports.com has the Gophers as a No. 10 seed in the Midwest Region.
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: 3-4
VS. RPI TOP 100: 5-6
BAD LOSSES (defined by us as losses to teams outside the top-68 in RPI): Arkansas, Northwestern, Purdue