On the outs? Gophers men drop to fringe of NCAA men’s basketball predictions

Howard Sinker, Star Tribune
·3 min read

Last week, when we checked in on the chances of the Gophers men's basketball team qualifying for the NCAA tournament, things still looked promising despite the winless record on the road.

This week, following a road loss at Indiana and a 31-point beat down by Illinois at Williams Arena, the Gophers' chances are much more on the edge.

Right now, they could be America's ultimate bubble team, according to the latest round of predictions from high-profile NCAA bracketologists.

Here's a look at five of the major brackets ... and a rabbit hole to fall into if you want to get the latest calls from more than 100 others. (Disclaimer at the bottom.)

Jerry Palm of CBS Sports knocked Minnesota out of the tournament field in his most recent selections. The Gophers are one of the first four teams out, after creating some drama by having them face Drake, the former team of U center Liam Robbins, in his previous bracket. Indiana is now one of Palm's last four teams making the field following its victory over Minnesota, even though the Hoosiers followed that up with a loss to Michigan State.

Joe Lunardi of ESPN, along with Palm the highest profile in the bracket-creating field, has dropped the Gophers into a play-in game for a No. 12 seed against Colorado State. That would match Minnesota against a Twin Cities-area sophomore, David Roddy of Breck School, who had Colorado State and Minnesota among his three college finalists. The Rams also have Dave Thorsen, the former DeLaSalle boys' coach, on their staff as an assistant, and head coach Niko Medved was an assistant at the U for one season under Dan Monson.

The Bracketville website also has Minnesota playing Colorado State in its current update after having the Gophers as a No. 9 seed last week, meeting Colorado with a match-up against projected top-seed Baylor going to the winner. You can consider that a case where the extra game could serve the Gophers well by having them avoid a top seed.

At FOX Sports, Mike DeCourcy doesn't have the Gophers in the field, putting Richard Pitino's team one of the first four on the outside. You should know that DeCourcy likes the Big Ten enough to have kept Ohio State a No. 1 seed despite its loss to Michigan on Sunday in Columbus.

A happier take for Gophers fans comes from Tim Krueger at Stadium TV. The recent losses haven't soured him on the Gophers. Krueger has them in the field of 64, a No. 11 seed playing Oklahoma State in the first round with the winner going against a 3/14 match-up of Tennessee vs. Abilene Chrisian.

If that's not enough for you, the website brecketmatrix.com has picks from 111 different web sites.

The Gophers still have a spot in most of them, but we're not going take any responsibility if you spend the next hour sifting through them. Have at it — and know that Minnesota's margin for error has become very, very small when it comes to making the trip to Indianapolis next month.