Monday, February 20, 2017

February 20, 2017

Yesterday's win over Michigan got the Gophers to the 20-win mark for the season, and more importantly I believe it effectively clinches an at-large selection.  In the worst-case scenario of losing their final four regular season games and their first Big10 tournament match, they would finish at 20-12 with an RPI near 35, SOS of 30, 4 or 5 top-50 wins and no losses outside the top-100.  In that scenario they'd be a bubble team no doubt, but barring 3 or 4 conference tournament upsets, they'd likely still get in - probably a #10 or #11 seed.

With the selection hurdle effectively out of the way, let's look at more realistic scenarios.  

Most realistic:
Lost remaining road games at MD and WI, win home games versus Penn State and Nebraska.  Then, as a #5-#7 seed in the Big10 tournament win one game, then lose in the quarterfinal.  A second tourney win is very possible, depending on matchup, but we'll go with a 1-1 conference tourney showing.  That would be a 23-10 record with an RPI near 25 and more than likely a #6 or #7 seed. Depending on what teams around them on the bracket do, it could be as high as a #5 or as low as a #8.

Winning the conference is unlikely, but not off-your-rocker out of the picture.  Let's go with that best case scenario of winning the remaining 4 Big10 games and then going 4-0 to win the tournament.  That leaves a record of 28-7, and RPI between #10-15, and 7 or 8 top-50 wins.  In all likelihood that's a #3 seed, but could potentially be a #2 or #4, again depending on what other teams do, and how much extra credit the committee may award the Big 10 champion.

So there you have the range of Gophers tournament selection possibilities, with the most likely seeding being somewhere between a #5 and #8.

This bracket is created as if today were Selection Sunday, not a forward looking projection.

1's: Villanova, Kansas, Gonzaga, Baylor
2's: North Carolina, Louisville, Duke, Florida State
3's: Arizona, Kentucky, Oregon, Florida
4's: Creighton, Butler, UCLA, Cincinnati
5's: Purdue, Notre Dame, Maryland, Wisconsin
6's: Virginia, Minnesota, West Virginia, Saint Mary's
7's: South Carolina, Northwestern, Xavier, SMU
8's: USC, Oklahoma State, VCU, Dayton
9's: Virginia Tech, Miami (FL), Michigan, Kansas State
10's: Michigan State, Arkansas, California, Marquette
11's: Iowa State, Seton Hall, TCU, Ole Miss, Rhode Island, Middle Tennessee
12's: Illinois State, UNC Wilmington, Nevada, New Mexico State
13's: Vermont, Monmouth, UTA, Princeton
14's: Belmont, Valparaiso, Akron, UNC Asheville
15's: Bucknell, Florida Gulf Coast, North Dakota State, Furman
16's: Eastern Washington, Texas Southern, New Orleans, UC Irvine, North Carolina Central, Mount Saint Mary's

FFO: Georgia Tech, Clemson, Syracuse, Wake Forest
NFO: Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Alabama, Georgetown

Others still in contention for At-Large bid:
(<14 losses, Top-150 SOS, <4 losses outside RPI top-100)
9. Vanderbilt
10. Georgia
11. Illinois
12. Indiana
13. Providence
14. Texas Tech
15. Texas A&M
16. Ohio State
17. Boise State
18. Auburn
19. Penn State
20. Iowa
21. Utah
22. Colorado
23. Colorado State
24. San Francisco
25. Davidson
26. Saint Bonaventure
27. Stanford
28. George Washington

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