After Sunday's loss at Indiana, I don't think it is a bad idea to start a weekly (or semi-weekly, or whenever I feel like writing it) NCAA Resume watch for the Gophers. Before the IU loss we were sitting safely in the tournament with a likely 7 seed. I'll comment on where we sit now but we are dangerously close to the bubble (if not already on it) and it is time to start keeping an eye on where we stand. It is important that we keep an eye not just on what the Gophers are doing but how well some of the other teams we have faced are doing as well. Hopefully it will make some of our non-conference wins look better and the losses appear not so bad.
|Record||RPI||SOS||vs. RPI 1-25||26-100||100+|
That is not a resume to boast about. Last week our RPI was in the mid-40s which is good enough. But the IU loss dropped us outside of the RPI field of 65. We have a few solid wins and a couple bad losses, which we'll talk about in a bit. But on paper the numbers above are not that impressive. Games coming up give us a chance to dramatically improve all of the numbers above.
- Michigan State (RPI-17) at home
- Northwestern (57) at home
- Ohio State (47) on the road
Those would all be very nice wins and are all very winable. Unfortunately they are also rather losable. We need a resume boost and these upcoming games give us that opportunity.
The signature win on the Gopher resume is their win over Butler. At the time Butler was ranked 10th in the country. They are still ranked, have an RPI in the top 25 and should post a gaudy season record when they finish with their Horizon League schedule.
A year ago the Gophers received a huge boost from their win over Louisville, this win isn't that big. But it is a nice win to put at the top of their resume and while it won't carry them into the tournament it is still note-worthy.
Butler on the season is currently 14-4 and 7-0 in their conference. Their RPI is currently 23rd but their league schedule won't do their strength of schedule any favors. We should be huge Bulldog fans throughout the season, the more wins they rack up and the higher their projected seed the better this looks for the Gophers. The Butler win is very nice but it would look outstanding if it were our second biggest win of the year.
Beating Ohio State at home, especially with Evan Turner in the line-up, is also a nice win. In fact it is really our only other "good win" on the season. No other wins have come against a top 100 RPI team. This is solid, but we need more.
The loss that sticks out the most is the loss to Indiana on Sunday. The loss to Portland in the 76 Classic is a close second but based mostly on RPI the Hoosier loss stings the most. IU is currently sitting with an RPI of 220! I know that road losses in conference are not unheard of but this on will sting. We actually need to hope that Indiana can pull of another upset or two to make this loss seem not so bad. Then of course we need to take care of business when they come to the Barn in February.
The loss to Portland in November is also an ugly loss. At the time Portland was hot and ended up ranked for a week. But since beating the Gophers the Pilots have gone 5-7. We REALLY need the Pilots to start winning games, and winning a lot of games. At one time there was a thought that they'd be the team to knock Gonzaga from the top of the WCC or even that they'd have a shot at getting an at-large bid. But after losing to the Zags at home by three and then losing at St. Mary's by five, Portland needs to just string a bunch of wins together and hopefully make a run through the WCC tournament.
The loss to Miami in the Big Ten / ACC Challenge is our third worse loss of the year. Miami did go undefeated in their non-conference schedule but they currently are 1-3 in the ACC and they have yet to play a game against Duke, North Carolina, Clemson or Georgia Tech. Things aren't looking good for the Hurricanes and that means this loss doesn't look good for the Gophers. The Bracket Project shows that Miami is potentially a tournament team but I think their resume strength will dwindle as they face off against and lose to the top teams in the ACC.
Texas A&M nearly gave the Gophers a little boost by nearly beating Texas last week. Losing to a Tournament team never looks all that bad on your resume and the Aggies are one non-conference game we lost that looks like they might make the Tourney. Their 23 point loss at Kansas State won't help their cause but with an RPI in the top 40 most people have A&M solidly in the Tournament. This loss isn't terrible, especially if A&M can rack up some Big 12 wins and maybe finish right behind Texas and Kansas as the third best team in the Big 12.
At Purdue and at Michigan State are not bad losses. Both are very good teams and the games were on the road. Beating one (or both) of them when they come to the Barn would be nice, but losing both on the road really shouldn't hurt us any.
When looking at various bracket projections, the Gophers are fading. Just a week or two ago we were clearly safe. But we are not a consensus 9 seed. Most BCS schools who snag those last at-large bids end up in the 10 seed range. We are dangerously close to that NCAA equivalent of the Mendoza line. Lunardi has us out, so things should be very concerning for Gopher fans, the there is still a lot of season left. The schedule has been tough and it plays out in our favor the rest of the season. Seven home games and five road games is very nice. Michigan State, Purdue and Wisconsin are all at home, winning one or two of those is critical. Would 5-2 at home and 3-2 on the road be good enough to get in? 20-10, 11-7 is solid and I think that plus one B10 Tourney win would get it done. But unfortunately that IU loss makes things a lot dicier than it should be.