The NCAA Tournament selection process has an inevitable outcome each year – a team is left on the outside looking in – while someone else is dancing for reason’s beyond Jay Bilas’ comprehension. Virginia Tech got left out in 2011 despite being 21-11, Syracuse went without a bid in 2007 despite being 22-10 on Selection Sunday.
This year’s Minnesota team is the one most vulnerable to being left out on Sunday despite having an outstanding computer profile. They are ranked #23 on KenPom.com and #37 on SevenOvertimes.com, and #24 in the RPI. However, they are 20-11, and 8-10 in Big Ten play. If they lose to Illinois on Thursday, they will find themselves 20-12, 8-11, and most likely without a bid – despite a possibly Top 25 computer profile.
In the table below, you can see the 5 best RPIs to miss the NCAA Tournament.
The RPI formula changed in 2005 – and Texas Tech was left out in 1997 because they had to forfeit some games. In 1994 Oklahoma was ranked #33 in the RPI and was also left without a bid.
I also looked up the highest ranked team on KenPom to miss out on a bid in the past few seasons. The final rankings are skewed a bit because some teams could have played their way up the rankings with a successful NIT-run, but we are still able to see their record on Selection Sunday.
Based on this, I would say Minnesota needs to win its first Big Ten tournament game to be considered for a bid – three games under .500 in the Conference is not a good recipe (even in a stacked Big Ten like they’ve faced this year).
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