5 on the road and 5 at home. The Gophers currently sit at 4-4 in the Big Ten. I think it is fair to say that 6-4 is the least they need to do in order to get themselves into the NCAA Tournament. That might not be enough but 5-5 would mean they have very little chance barring a B10 Tournament run to the championship.
So what is it going to take to get six more wins (or more).
Absolute MUST WINS
These games are non-negotiable. If you lose one in this group then you need to make up for it by doing something crazy like beating Purdue at home.
- @ Penn St - a month ago I assumed this was a tough game, but PSU is 0-7 in conference games and now this looks terrible if you lose it, even if it's on the road.
- Michigan - home game against a team that won't be on the bubble. Michigan is talented but at home you just have to win this one.
- Indiana - I know they just beat us, but no excuse for losing this one at home. If you get swept by Indiana, you don't deserve to play in the NCAA Tourney.
- Iowa - They are really bad and you can't lose at home.
Probably Should Win, but this is the Big Ten - you've got four games in the bag. Of the remaining six you need just two wins and they are there for the taking. I have three games in this group, all are on the road. All are winable but I'll be happy with two wins here.
- @Northwestern - I'm not sold that NU is a Tournament team and we can certainly beat them. But I don't like the match up and this game has loss written all over it. We are a more talented team so we really should win if we want to be considered a serious NCAA team.
@ Illinois - I really don't know what to think of the Illini this year. Their record, RPI and even KenPom rank would indicate that we should win this game. But we have been terrible in Champagne for a long time and if you want more logical logic, their backcourt athleticism is a bad match up for our Nolen-less squad. This being a road game is going to be tricky.
@ Michigan - Manny Harris is what makes this game dicey. But here again, the Wolverines are 3-5 in the Big Ten and just 10-10 overall. This game needs to be a win but it won't be as easy as it may appear to B10 outsiders.
Don't count on it, but a win would surely help - these games are tough match ups for whatever reason and should really be considered a loss. They would do a lot to boost the resume if you manage to win any of these games but losing them isn't the end of the world.
@ Ohio State - we did beat the Buckeyes by nine. But obviously that was at home and with help of Nolen. This game is winable but a loss, as long as it's competitive, wouldn't be that big of a deal.
Wisconsin - I usually like how we match up with the Badgers. But now I fear Trevon Hughes. This game may be the most winable of these three but I'll be surprised if we are favored here.
- Purdue - I think Purdue had their let-down portion of the season. I don't expect that we'll pull out a win at the Barn. We very well may make a game out of it, but I don't see a win. But boy would I love to be wrong.
How does it play out?
I think the four must-wins are going to be wins. Michigan is the one game that scares me but as I stated, if you want to be an NCAA caliber team you need to win games like this at home. Of the remaining six I think we go 3-3. Here is the schedule and my "expert" predictions...
- @ OSU - loss
- @ PSU - win
- Mich -win
- @ NU - win
- Wis - win
- Ind - win
- Pur - loss
- @ Ill - loss
- @ Mich - win
- Iowa - win
At Michigan and home to Wisconsin are my least confident predictions.
Time for you all to give us your final ten game predictions.