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Road to Selection Sunday: Even Optimists Have To Wonder, Are Gophers Headed Toward The Bubble?

02/11/2013, 10:15am CST
By SelectionSunday

Even this old school Goldy wants the Barn Magic to return against Bucky on Thursday night.

FEBRUARY FOSBURY FLOP, Minn. -- I'm too  frustrated to discuss the direction yet another Gopher basketball season appears headed, so let's keep it simple this dreary Monday morning. For our own sanity, we'll roll primarily with a "Field of 68" projection this week.
 
For the optimists in Gold Country, the good news is as of today the Gophers are nowhere near the NCAA Tournament bubble. Can I hear a "Hip, hip hooray" from everyone?
 
For the pessimists in the crowd -- and I must admit last night's sickening loss to Illinois moved me more in that direction -- the bad news is if the Gophers' current level of play continues they'll be fortunate to even be mentioned as a bubble team on Selection Sunday. With seven games remaining in the Big Ten regular season, I see only one "definite" win on the Gophers' slate, Penn State. The others, Nebraska and Purdue included? All bets are now off.
 
So Gopher masochists, it's time to buckle up. Anything short of a split this week against our border rivals means bubble time once again will take residence in Stadium Village. It's pretty sad that it's come to that, but that's where we're at. Tubby and Gophers, you have seven regular-season games left to state your case to the Selection Committee, including four against bottom-half opponents (Iowa, Penn State, Nebraska, Purdue), plus the B1G Tournament. What's it gonna' be? NCAA or NIT?
 
FIELD OF 68 PROJECTION (2/11/13)
America East (1): Vermont (117)
ACC (4): Duke (1), Miami (2), NC State (17), North Carolina (36)
Atlantic Sun (1): Florida Gulf Coast (94)
Atlantic 10 (5): Butler (14), LaSalle (34), VCU (39), Temple (40), Saint Louis (56)
Big East (8): Syracuse (6), Louisville (8), Marquette (16), Georgetown (25), Pitt (30), Cincinnati (35), Notre Dame (43), Villanova (63)
Big Sky (1): Montana (118)
Big South (1): NC-Asheville (156)
B1G (7): Michigan (5), Michigan State (9), Indiana (11), GOPHERS (13), Ohio State (23), Illinois (27), Wisconsin (31)
Big 12 (6): Kansas (10), Oklahoma (18), Kansas State (22), Oklahoma State (26), Iowa State (37), Baylor (54)
Big West (1): Long Beach State (99)
Colonial (1): Northeastern (131)
Conference USA (1): Memphis (32)
Horizon (1): Valpo (82)
Ivy (1): Harvard (93)
Metro Atlantic (1): Niagara (136)
MAC (1): Akron (53)
MEAC (1): Norfolk State (190)
Missouri Valley (3): Wichita State (41), Creighton (44), Indiana State (47)
Mountain West (4): New Mexico (3), Colorado State (15), UNLV (20), San Diego State (28)
Northeast (1): Bryant (134)
Ohio Valley (1): Belmont (21)
Pac 12 (4): Arizona (7), Colorado (19), UCLA (38), Oregon (42)
Patriot (1): Bucknell (58)
SEC (4): Florida (4), Mizzou (33), Ole Miss (45), Kentucky (49)
Southern (1): Davidson (110)
Southland (1): Stephen F. Austin (69)
SWAC (1): Southern U (198)
Summit (1): Western Illinois (135)
Sun Belt (1): Middle Tennessee (29)
West Coast (2): Gonzaga (12), Saint Mary's (50)
WAC (1): Louisiana Tech (51)
 
Last 4 In: North Carolina (36), Ole Miss (45), Saint Mary's (50), Villanova (63)
 
First 4 Out: UMass (52), Saint John's (55), Arizona State (66), Virginia (81)
 
Non-BCS At-Larges (10): Colorado State (15), UNLV (20), San Diego State (28), LaSalle (34), VCU (39), Temple (40), Creighton (44), Indiana State (47), Saint Mary's (50), Saint Louis (56) 
 
Others Considered (10): Southern Miss (46), Boise State (48), Stanford (57), Cal (59), BYU (60), Charlotte (61), Alabama (64), Florida State (65), Xavier (77), Iowa (92) 
 
GOPHERS NONCONFERENCE OPPONENTS IN THE RPI
1. Duke
32. Memphis
57. Stanford
65. Florida State
67. North Dakota State
68. South Dakota State
79. Richmond
104. USC
105. Tennessee State
173. Toledo
203. Lafayette
226. North Florida
262. American
 
FOR COMPARATIVE PURPOSES: GOPHERS vs. THE BUBBLICIOUS
Below are "snapshot" profiles of the Gophers' at-large resume matched up against the 8 teams I have sitting just inside or outside the tournament bubble. ...
 
GOPHERS
RPI: 13
Record: 17-7, 5-6 B1G
Overall SOS: 3
Nonconference SOS: 12 
Road/Neutral Record vs. Top 100: 4-4
Record vs. RPI Top 50: 3-6
Record vs. RPI Top 100: 10-6
Best 3 Wins/Total: #9 Michigan State, @ #27 Illinois, vs. #32 Memphis (total = 68) 
Bad Losses (RPI 101+): 1 (@ #102 Northwestern)
 
NORTH CAROLINA (last 4 in)
RPI: 36
Record: 15-7, 6-4 ACC
Overall SOS: 29
Nonconference SOS: 97
Road/Neutral Record vs. Top 100: 2-5
Record vs. RPI Top 50: 1-5
Record vs. RPI Top 100: 4-6
Best 3 Wins/Total: #20 UNLV, @ #65 Florida State, #73 Maryland (total = 158)
Bad Losses (RPI 101+): 1 (@ #159 Texas)
 
OLE MISS (last 4 in)
RPI: 45
Record: 18-5, 7-3 SEC
Overall SOS: 104
Nonconference SOS: 249
Road/Neutral Record vs. Top 100: 1-4 
Record vs. RPI Top 50: 1-5
Record vs. RPI Top 100: 5-5
Best 3 Wins/Total: #33 Mizzou, #71 Rutgers, @ #86 Tennessee (total = 190)
Bad Losses (RPI 101+): none
 
SAINT MARY'S (last 4 in)
RPI: 50
Record: 20-4, 10-1 WCC
Overall SOS: 148
Nonconference SOS: 230
Road/Neutral Record vs. Top 100: 1-2 
Record vs. RPI Top 50: 0-1 
Record vs. RPI Top 100: 3-2
Best 3 Wins/Total: @ #60 BYU, #93 Harvard, @ #96 Santa Clara (total = 249)
Bad Losses (RPI 101+): 2 (vs. #120 Georgia Tech, vs. #139 Pacific)
 
VILLANOVA (last 4 in)
RPI: 63
Record: 14-9, 6-5 Big East
Overall SOS: 38
Nonconference SOS: 177
Road/Neutral Record vs. Top 100: 0-4 
Record vs. RPI Top 50: 2-5
Record vs. RPI Top 100: 4-6
Best 3 Wins/Total: #6 Syracuse, #8 Louisville, #55 Saint John's (total = 69)
Bad Losses (RPI 101+): 3 (#101 Providence, @ #101 Providence, #229 Columbia)
 
UMASS (first 4 out)
RPI: 52
Record: 16-6, 6-3 A--10
Overall SOS: 77
Nonconference SOS: 60
Road/Neutral Record vs. Top 100: 1-4 
Record vs. RPI Top 50: 1-2
Record vs. RPI Top 100: 5-5 
Best 3 Wins/Total: @ #34 LaSalle, #79 Richmond, #84 Saint Joseph's (total = 197)
Bad Losses (RPI 101+): 1 (#126 George Washington)
 
SAINT JOHN'S (first 4 out)
RPI: 55
Record: 15-9, 7-5 Big East
Overall SOS: 22
Nonconference SOS: 113
Road/Neutral Record vs. Top 100: 2-5 
Record vs. RPI Top 50: 3-3
Record vs. RPI Top 100: 6-7
Best 3 Wins/Total: #24 UConn, @ #35 Cincinnati, @ #71 Rutgers (total = 130)
Bad Losses (RPI 101+): 2 (@ #132 San Francisco, #156 NC-Asheville)
 
ARIZONA STATE (first 4 out)
RPI: 66
Record: 18-6, 7-4 Pac 12
Overall SOS: 110
Nonconference SOS: 280
Road/Neutral Record vs. Top 100: 1-3 
Record vs. RPI Top 50: 2-3
Record vs. RPI Top 100: 4-5
Best 3 Wins/Total: #19 Colorado, #38 UCLA, #59 Cal (total = 116)
Bad Losses (RPI 101+): 1 (#192 DePaul)
 
VIRGINIA (first 4 out) -- far & away the craziest resume out there
RPI: 81
Record: 17-6, 7-3 ACC
Overall SOS: 155
Nonconference SOS: 320
Road/Neutral Record vs. Top 100: 2-0 
Record vs. RPI Top 50: 3-0
Record vs. RPI Top 100: 6-0
Best 3 Wins/Total: #17 NC State, @ #31 Wisconsin, #36 North Carolina (total = 84)
Bad Losses (RPI 101+): 6 (@ #120 Georgia Tech, @ #127 Wake Forest, @ #138 George Mason, #150 Delaware, @ #151 Clemson, vs. #319 Old Dominion)
 
B1G ROAD WINS
The Gophers probably need at least 2 more of these down the stretch:
Indiana (5)
Michigan State (4)
Michigan, Ohio State, and Wisconsin (3)
Illinois, Northwestern, and Purdue (2)
Iowa, GOPHERS, and Northwestern (1)
Penn State (0)
 
UPSET SPECIAL
Record: 2-8
Streak: W-2
Last Pick: Stanford over Oregon (W, Cardinal win 76-52)
This Week: Air Force over Colorado State (Saturday)
 
If anyone has any tournament-related questions, shoot it my way. If time allows I'll do my best to answer. The obvious Gophers question that might be front & center? Yes, if the Gophers go 9-9 in the B1G they're a cinch for the NCAA Tournament. If they finish 8-10, I'd suggest you start chewing your nails as the Gophers head to Chicago. 

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Tag(s): Gopher Basketball