If Gophers Can Beat Bottom B1G Teams, They’ll be Dancing

Minnesota forward Jordan Murphy (3) dishes the ball off to center Matz Stockman (35) as he is defended by North Carolina A&T center Ibrahim Sylla (10) in the first half of an NCAA Mens Basketball game at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)

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It would be an understatement to say that the Gophers have been tough to watch recently. They’ve dropped their last three  games and are in danger of slipping out of the NCAA Tournament conversation for good. I was negative on them earlier this week. It’s tough not to be if you’ve been paying attention.

I’ve been accused of negativity after calling out Timberwolves nation yesterday so I’m here to keep things more positive today. 

The Gopher Men’s Basketball team still has a very tenable path to the NCAA Tournament.

After diving into it a bit this morning, I’ve come out of the internet black hole with hope for the Gophers and Richard Pitino (who I believe is coaching for his job). It’s because of the schedule. After playing 5 of their last 6 games vs nationally ranked opponents, the schedule is about to lighten up a bit. You have to be careful because the B1G has been tearing itself apart all season. There are no gimmies in this conference. 

With that being said, we start a 5-game stretch tonight vs. Nebraska that has Michigan (currently ranked #9 nationally) sandwiched between 4 games vs teams with a total record of 14-37 in conference play

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If Pitino and Co. can somehow win all 4 of those games they’d be at 20 wins, which would land them on the bubble for the NCAA tournament. It won’t be easy and 3 of the 4 games are on the road where the Gophers have been bad during conference play but, if you’re a tourney team, then you win these games and you get in. Pitino then keeps his job and we move forward..

It might still take one upset vs one of the better teams remaining on the schedule (total of 7 games left — 3 vs ranked teams and then the 4 we’ve discussed above) to get in.  A win or two in the B1G Tournament would likely do the trick too.

There is zero room for error now and if Little Ricky doesn’t get in….. then it’s probably time to re-evaluate things at head coach.

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Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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