Time To Face It. Gophers Are Done.

I was pretty amused tonight by ESPN highlight the University of Minnesota men’s basketball team’s NCAA tournament resume during college basketball coverage.

It’s not going to happen.

And this was after Tuesday night’s pummeling at the hands of Michigan.

I personally don’t see it happening. Two games now separate the top five teams in the Big Ten Conference and the bottom six. And while the Big Ten was impressive in nonconference – including winning the Big Ten/ACC Challenge for the first time in history – I think it’s too easy for the committee to simply let in the top five teams and skip the others.

The Gophers are now below .500 in conference at 8-9, with only Sunday’s game against Iowa remaining on the schedule. I will be at Sunday’s regular-season finale. When I first got the tickets, I’d hoped the game would mean something. Turns out it doesn’t.

Nothing short of an appearance in the Big Ten championship game will put this team in the NCAA tournament field. And I just don’t see that happening. The Gophers have been too inconsistent, especially on the road. Playing on a neutral court for a conference tournament just isn’t going to do the trick.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Sunday’s game will sway me. I’ll make sure to blog what I saw after the game.

5 Responses

  1. Fargobison

    Agreed, they have been a team without a leader ever since Nolen became ineligible. On top of that they are just soft, Michigan is hardly even average and twice now in huge games the Gophers let them do whatever they want. You can’t do that and expect to win multiple games in the Big 10 tourney.

  2. The Truth

    The Gophers really gave the Big Ten a shot in the gut because not only did they ruin their tournament chances, they also hurt Illinois by losing to Michigan since Illinois’ loss to the Goophers looks worse now. Personally, I think the middle-tier major conference teams are given too much credit on selection Sunday. I hate seeing a team that goes 10-8 in the Big East or Big Ten make the tournament field while a team from a mid-major like the A10 or MWC goes 12-4 in their conference and is left out.

  3. Goethe

    Hard to believe a team that lost no impact players from last year’s squad could regress, but the Gophers did.

    I agree with you, Truth. And that’s why I’d hate to see the field expand to 96 teams, as has been talked about.

  4. The Truth

    I think the field is pretty good at 65. 96 would really punish the mid to low majors because every single one of them (9-24 seeds) would have to play an extra game the first week of the tournament.

    Some dude at ESPN had a good point a couple years back of adding 3 more spots and having 4 “opening round” (a.k.a. play-in games) would be a good way to expand the field a bit. That way there wouldn’t be just 2 teams singled out for the opening round game and they could make it an all day event with 4 nationally televised games to get these small schools exposure. And let’s face it, the 15-16 seeds have no chance at winning their 1st round game so let them at least play one competitive game and be the center of attention for a day the Tuesday before the tournament gets fully underway.

    Unless they let all 347 teams someone will always have a beef but 65 bids and 34 at large bids are more than enough to give every team with a legitimate shot at the title their due (much unlike the fubarred BC$).

  5. J

    The expansion talk is ridiculous. The only people who support it are coaches who might get fired if they miss the tourney. A #16 has never beaten a #1, so why the need to add crappier teams? March Madness is my favorite sporting event, especially the first four days. I like the idea of adding a few teams to play in the play-in games. But anything more than a few will just completely ruin the tournament.

    Let’s not turn this into college football, where 99% of fans hate the playoff system.

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