Minnesota is 21-12 and 9-9 in the Big Ten, and scored huge wins in the conference tournament over Michigan State and Purdue. But their overall body of work says that they finished 7th in their league and the RPI was still #69 coming into today.
But they're in, and you can book it. And there's one factor that may trump the resume.
Minnesota plays Ohio State in the Big Ten title game Sunday, with a tip time shortly after 3 PM EDT. The Selection Show airs on the same network at 6 PM EDT.
As any TV producer knows, a chance of freak event - a fight, extended injury, clock malfunction, or good old-fashioned overtime - can push the finish time of the Big Ten Championship dangerously close to the start time of the Selection Show.
The official bracket has got to go to press before the Selection Show airs. Now if it was Iowa or Penn State that made this run, there would have to be some sort of contingency plan. But if the Gophers are close enough (which they are), they're going to be slotted no matter what. Timing is everything.
What's ironic is that the Big Ten Championship, the Selection Committee, and the Final Four are all in Indianapolis in 2010.
So now Minnesota will have a snowball's chance to return to Indy. But who knows? What are the chances to beat Michigan State, Purdue, and Ohio State on three straight days?