Lucia's Gophers put themselves back in the NCAA tourney picture


The Gophers weren't an NCAA tournament team in the eyes of bracketologists just one week ago, but things have changed since Minnesota (13-10) swept Wisconsin in dominating fashion.

According to USCHO bracketologist Jayson Moy, who claims he's correctly predicted 100 percent of the NCAA tournament selections and match-ups four of the last five years, Minnesota is in position to be invited to the tournament.

Reaching the tournament seemed like a pipe dream when the Gophers were 4-7 heading into December, and it didn't seem realistic after they lost to Penn State to fall to 8-10 on Jan. 8. Since then, it's been all good for the Gophers, who have rattled off five straight wins – all of them in dominating fashion, and four of them after a local article used anonymous sources in a critical review of head coach Don Lucia.

Minnesota is ranked No. 15 in the latest Pairwise rankings, which usually serves as an accurate prediction for which 16 teams are invited to the tournament. No. 2 on the list is former Gophers WCHA foe St. Cloud State, which is tied with North Dakota for an NCAA-leading 20 wins.

  1. Quinnipiac
  2. St. Cloud State
  3. North Dakota
  4. Providence
  5. Harvard
  6. Michigan
  7. Boston College
  8. Notre Dame
  9. Nebraska-Omaha
  10. Yale
  11. Boston University
  12. Massachusetts-Lowell
  13. Denver
  14. Cornell
  15. Minnesota
  16. Rensselaer

Winning the Big Ten championship would give the Gophers an automatic bid to the dance, and the Gophers – currently leading the conference (3 points ahead of Michigan and 6 on top of Penn State) – wrap up the remaining seven weeks like this:

  • vs. Bemidji State & SCSU/MSU - North Star College Cup
  • vs. Penn State (2 games)
  • at Ohio State (2 games)
  • vs. Michigan (2 games)
  • at Michigan State (2 games)
  • vs. Wisconsin (2 games)

Then it's on to the Big Ten Tournament at Xcel Energy Center March 17-19.

If the Gophers do get in, they'll automatically be placed in the West Regional because it's being hosted at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Whatever happens, the Gophers have at least played well enough of late to put themselves back in the race.

Next Up

coronavirus, Iowa

MN health officials don't think downside of COVID-19 peak has arrived

We could be in a trough between a series of waves, Jan Malcolm said.

covid-19, coronavirus

Wisconsin reports record 104 deaths from COVID-19 Tuesday

That's roughly 10% of the total in the nation in a 24-hour period.


Husband and wife sentenced for fraud scheme through their drywall firm

The Annandale pair bilked an insurance company out of more than $300,000.


4 pedestrians suffer life-threatening injuries after being struck by vehicle

Two vehicles crashed into a car that was on the side of the road after striking a deer.

Marcus Carr

Gophers season preview: New lineup, deeper bench, more questions

Mathew Goldstein takes a deep dive into the murky waters of the college hoops season.


Photos: ViV!R, Minneapolis' new Mexican cafe and shop, is now open

The team behind the acclaimed Popol Vuh have opened the cafe in the same space.


At Wiscoy Township's sole precinct, election judges ditched masks

Voter and Wiscoy resident Kaitlyn O'Connor took a photo of the judges after asking them to wear masks, she said

paisley park

Paisley Park to open pop-up shop at Mall of America

The new store is set to open on Black Friday.


COVID-19: Here's what Gov. Walz, Republicans are proposing to help businesses

Once they come to an agreement, Walz will call a special session to pass the legislation.

Jacob Frey

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey planning to run for reelection

Frey said in a radio interview that 2020 has been a "horrible" year.