Updated: March 15th, 2013 9:32am
Gophers fall out of top 25 in RPI, but likely still NCAA-bound

Gophers fall out of top 25 in RPI, but likely still NCAA-bound

by Phil Mackey
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Once one of the top-10 teams in the country, the Gophers men's basketball team has, for the first time, landed on the NCAA tournament bubble.

After losing to Illinois in the first round of the Big 10 tournament on Thursday, the Gophers fell several spots to No. 33 in the RPI rankings. They also fell to No. 31 in ESPN's BPI rankings, and to No. 24 in Ken Pomeroy's rankings.

If history is any indication, the Gophers -- coming from a major conference -- likely would have to be 40th or worse in the RPI to be in real danger of missing the tournament.

But it's worth noting at least five teams have missed the NCAA tournament over the past 15 years with better RPI rankings than the Gophers currently have:

'05-06 Missouri State (No. 21)
'96-97 Texas Tech (No. 29)
'05-06 Hofstra (No. 30)
'06-07 Air Force (No. 30)
'07-08 Dayton (No. 32)

Of those five teams, only Texas Tech (Big 12) came from a major conference, and it's likely the Gophers will receive more consideration than a bubble-bound mid-major.

According to RPI, the Gophers played the second most difficult schedule in the country. According to Pomeroy, the Gophers played the toughest.

The Gophers haven't won a road game since Jan. 9 at Illinois -- their only road conference win of the season.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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