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NCAA Bracketology: Minnesota still safely “in”

Gophers sit at 8-seed in Lunardi’s latest; 7-seed in Palm’s prediction

NCAA Basketball: Minnesota at Rutgers Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Still in the midst of a three-game winning streak, the Gophers find themselves in great shape in the latest Bracketology from ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, coming in as an 8 seed in the South bracket. They’ve rebounded since dropping to a projected 10 seed a couple weeks ago and are still safely “in” according to the pundits. That’s no surprise considering their metrics, which includes a number of road wins and victories over some pretty difficult opponents. For comparison, Minnesota is in as a 7-seed in Jerry Palm’s Bracketology.

The Gophers survived a brutal first half of the conference schedule and sit at 6-6 in the Big Ten, which includes a five-game losing streak. After a brutal schedule to start the conference season, will finish the season out with four of six games at home, with each home game coming against teams who are .500 or worse in the conference currently.

In short, the door is wide open for the Gophers to continue working towards “lock” status by the time the season is over.

Key Metrics:

  • RPI is 21; SOS: 15 (no losses to teams below an RPI of 65)
  • KenPom: 37; SOS: 51

A couple other notes:

  • The Big Ten is second in the nation in terms of bids by conference. Lunardi is giving bids to Purdue (4), Wisconsin (5), Maryland (6), Northwestern (7), Minnesota (8), Michigan State (10) and Michigan (11). Indiana is currently in the first four out.
  • Many folks see 9 conference wins as the magic number, though with a weak bubble Minnesota could sneak in at 8-10 considering their resume. They also have no risk of having a “bad” loss the rest of the way either.
  • Four teams (Florida State, Mount St. Mary’s, Arkansas State, and Arkansas) are projected to make the tournament from Minnesota’s non-con slate. UT-Arlington and Georgia Southern are still in the mix in the Sun Belt as well.