Monday, November 28, 2016

November 28, 2016 *Practice Bracket #4*

As one of just 24 remaining undefeated teams, and one of just nine teams with a top-25 RPI victory, I have the Gophers slotted on the 2-line if Selection Sunday were today.  Despite this early season success, Minnesota is still not getting any love from the pollsters - zero votes in either the AP or USA Today coaches poll.  One coach even gave a 25th place vote to Arkansas, who Minnesota beat easily last week.  My point is not that individual match ups should be weighted over the full season resume, but rather that the early season polls should not be given much credence. 

The Gophers have a huge opportunity to strengthen their resume and earn some respect with their Big10-ACC challenge game at Florida State tonight.  Although they have two more top-100 match ups on the non-conference schedule as of today, Long Island and Arkansas State may no longer be in the top-100 at the time of those games.  Based on the strength of the six remaining non-conference opponents after the Seminoles, the Gophers should be able to defeat most if not all of them.  A 12-1 or 11-2 non-conference record would mean that as few as eight Big Ten wins could conceivable garner a trip to the big dance.  That may be easier said than done, however, as just four of the 18 conference games are against teams currently outside the top-100, and one site (Massey Ratings) has an expected conference win total of 6.21.  Even if they finish the non-conference schedule at 13-0, a 6-12 conference record would likely not earn a selection unless those 6 wins included very impressive wins over top-tier opponents.  For now I'll stay optimistic that Pitino the Younger can get this team to 20 wins and a tournament selection.

  • This bracket is created as if today were Selection Sunday, and is not a projection of where I think teams will be in March.  See my earlier posts for more info on my early season bracketing methodology.
  • Please do not include this in the Bracket Matrix.

1's: Xavier, Gonzaga, Villanova, Baylor
2's: Creighton, Saint Mary's College, Minnesota, Virginia
3's: Butler, Florida, Kentucky, Middle Tennessee
4's: Kansas, Duke, Ole Miss, Ohio State
5's: Boston University, South Carolina, Purdue, Arkansas
6's: North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee State, UCLA
7's: UCF, Wake Forest, VCU, UNC-Wilmington
8's: Louisville, Auburn, Florida State, Arkansas State
9's: TCU, Nevada, San Diego State, Notre Dame
10's: North Carolina State, Michigan, Arizona, Houston
11's: Maryland, Providence, Dayton, Cincinnati
12's: Long Island, Nebraska, Clemson, Rhode Island, Davidson
13's: Northeastern, Massachusetts, Northern Iowa, Utah Valley, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
14's: North Dakota State, Valparaiso, Sam Houston State, Charlotte
15's: Iona, Yale, UNC-Asheville, Vermont
16's: Mercer, North Carolina Central, Eastern Washington, Florida Gulf Coast, Texas Southern, Cal State Northridge

FFO: Pittsburgh, DePaul, Iowa State, Oklahoma
NFO: USC, Northwestern, Temple, Miami (FL)

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