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Updated: March 13th, 2014 3:18pm
Entering postseason, where do the Gophers stand with NCAA Tournament?

Entering postseason, where do the Gophers stand with NCAA Tournament?

by Derek Wetmore
1500ESPN.com

The Gophers play the first game of the Big Ten Tournament tonight against Penn State in Indianapolis. (The game starts at 5:30 p.m. and can be heard on AM-1500 ESPN, with pregame starting at 5 p.m. The game is televised on ESPN2.)

If Minnesota loses, it probably is looking at an NIT bid. Most agree the Gophers will have to win tonight to extend their season into college basketball's relevant postseason action, the NCAA Tournament.

Where do the Gophers stand heading into tonight's tilt?

The credentials:

Record: 19-12, including 8-10 in the Big Ten.

Conference standing: 7th

Other factors are considered, such as Rating Percentage Index (RPI) and strength of schedule.

Here's a sampling from the experts:

Jerry Palm of CBS Sports has Minnesota included in his college basketball bubble watch. The Gophers are in the category of "on the fence," which nestles between "probably in" and "probably out."

His thoughts:

The Gophers are one of those teams that seems to keep flipping in and out of the bracket. They are out again after their loss at Michigan. They beat Penn State at home to end conference play, and it was so much fun, they get to play the Nits again in the B1G opener.

Joe Lunardi of ESPN.com also has the Gophers on the bubble. (Link is behind a paywall.)

Minnesota is in the "first four out" category, meaning they would not make the tournament. Lunardi gives the Gophers a 45 percent chance to make it to the Big Dance. The five teams directly ahead of Minnesota, according to Lunardi, are Cal, Arkansas, Dayton, St. Joseph's and Tennessee.

Ken Pomeroy employs advanced analytics for college hoops. He posts his rankings on his own website, Kenpom.com.

Pomeroy ranks teams based on a number of factors. He lists win-loss percentage, Pythagorean win percentage, adjusted offense, adjusted defense, and other things. He adjusts for luck and strength of schedule.

His rankings have Minnesota No. 51, which, based on arithmetic, would put the Gophers in the Tournament if it started tonight. (March Madness now includes 68 teams and is seemingly ever-expanding.)

Derek Wetmore is the senior editor for 1500ESPN.com. His previous stops include MLB.com and the Minnesota Daily.
Email Derek | @DerekWetmore
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