Skip to main content

Gophers rise in NET, KenPom rankings with huge games ahead

Quad 2 win over Ohio State was another step closer to the bubble

Basketball is weird. 

Minnesota nearly won at No. 2 Purdue. Purdue lost to Ohio State. Ohio State lost to Minnesota. All of that in the span of seven days. It's all about timing and growth and Minnesota appears to be growing into a dangerous team at just at the right time. 

The victory over Ohio State, which was convincing as Minnesota (17-9, 8-8 Big Ten) led by as many as 17 points in the second half, earned Minnesota a Quad 2 win to help bolster their NCAA Tournament resume. They still need more Quad 1 wins – or a dramatic run in the Big Ten Tournament – to lock in a spot in the NCAA Tournament and overcome the fact that they played one of the easiest non-conference schedules in the nation. 

Friday's updated NET and KenPom rankings show the Gophers on the rise. They inched up from No. 73 to No. 72 in the NET and jumped to No. 63 in KenPom, both of which are important data points for the tournament selection committee. 

The most important metric seems be quality of wins, which makes Minnesota's 1-5 record in Quad 1 games a sticking point. They'll need more Quad 1 wins and they'll get opportunities Sunday at Nebraska, next Wednesday at Illinois and then March 9 at Northwestern. 

It'll be just as important that they take care of business at home against Penn State and Indiana, which qualify as Quad 3 games. 

Outside of Quad 1 the Gophers are really strong. Their 6-3 record in Quad 2 games is tied with a handful of teams for the second most Quad 2 wins in the country. They're 1-1 in Quad 3 and a perfect 9-0 in Quad 4.

Minnesota has already defeated Nebraska and Northwestern at Williams Arena, so if they can enter their dens and win – both are dominant at home – it'll look really, really good on their tourney resume. Illinois is also a beast at home so Minnesota has three golden opportunities to deliver a value proposition to the committee. 

Section Sunday is March 17. The Gophers look the part of a tourney team. Now they just have to continue growing and win the right games at the right times. 

Parker Fox

Parker Fox flexes after a basket against Ohio State