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2017 Bracketology: Minnesota and Big Ten updates for 2/20

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Minnesota is almost a lock for the NCAA Tournament.

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Features Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

What a difference 5 wins make.

3 weeks ago, the Minnesota Golden Gophers were on a 5 game losing streak. All the bracket experts still had them listed as in the NCAA Tournament, but it was due entirely to their strong RPI and SOS numbers and lack of bad losses. It certainly seemed to most that Minnesota would turn things around. The only question was how much?

We now know the answer. Minnesota is off to the best February start the program has seen in well over a decade. Pitino has now won more games in a single February than Tubby ever did. And we’ve still got two more games left this month!

What does this mean for the Gophers?

This has done a lot to solidify Minnesota’s position in the Bracketology world. As of noon today, here is where the experts have Minnesota:

Joe Lunardi, ESPN: Lunardi has Minnesota as the #8 in the Midwest, facing #9 Wichita State in Tulsa with a potential second round matchup against #1 Kansas. This is actually a 1 spot DROP for the Gophers, as Lunardi had them as the #7 seed in the South on Friday. Don’t freak out, it’s not worth worrying about.

Jerry Palm, CBS Sports: Palm has Minnesota as the #6 seed in the East, facing a TBD play in #11 in Indianapolis. In this bracket, they’d likely see #3 Kentucky if they won. Louisville is also in Palm’s current Indy group so if this actually happened two things would be true: 1) I’d be super excited because I could go and 2) I had better get a press pass to save money on tickets. On Saturday Palm had Minnesota as the #7 in the Midwest.

Stewart Mandel, Fox Sports: Mandel had Minnesota as the #8 in the Midwest, facing VCU. However as of the publishing of this post his bracket has not been updated to reflect the weekend.

Team Rankings Bracketology: The TeamRankings.com simulation has Minnesota as a #7 with a 96% chance of being a lock for the tourney.

Bracket Matrix: Minnesota is a 94% chance of a 7 seed across all the brackets they monitor and I can’t find anyone in the recent days showing them as worse than a 9 seed. *Totally forgot to add Matrix earlier, so I did so at 12:30 CT.

At this point you should feel VERY good about Minnesota making the NCAA tournament. I personally believe they still need one more win, so I’m keeping the “magic number” at 1. But we’re very close to the point where Minnesota fans should be going into the Selection Sunday show feeling excited rather than nervous in any way.

What about the rest of the Big Ten?

Here’s how things look for the rest of the Big Ten:

ESPN

Purdue - #4 East

Wisconsin - #5 West

Maryland - #6 Midwest

Minnesota - #8 Midwest

Northwestern - #8 South

Michigan - #9 East

Michigan State - #10 West

*Indiana is in Lunardi’s Next 4 Out

CBS Sports

Purdue - #4 South

Wisconsin - #5 Midwest

Maryland - #6 West

Minnesota - #6 Midwest

Northwestern - #7 South

Michigan - #9 West

Michigan State - #10 Midwest

Fox Sports

Purdue - #5 Midwest

Maryland - #5 - East

Wisconsin - #6 East

Northwestern - #7 East

Minnesota - #8 Midwest

Michigan State - #9 South

Michigan - #9 West

*Indiana is in Mandel’s Next 4 Out