Gophers Path to the NIT? 18 Wins Should Do It

SelectionSunday

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This 2022-23 season I’ll keep things more real and put together a Gophers “Path to the NIT” instead of a “Path to the NCAA Tournament”. With a win-friendly non-conference slate save for 4 games (DePaul, vs. UNLV/SIU, Mississippi State, @ Virginia Tech), the Gophers finishing roughly 10-1 or 9-2 feels like a reasonable expectation.

So that gets us to 9 or 10 wins. Then the question becomes, can the Gophers win 8 or 9 Big Ten games to get to 18 wins? If they do, I think the Gophers would be safely headed to the NIT. Here’s a path how they can do it including the first game of the Big Ten Tournament.

Must Wins (go 7-0; finished 6-1)
Nov. 7: Western Michigan (W 61-60)
Nov. 11: Saint Francis-Brooklyn (W 72-54)
Nov. 17: Central Michigan (W 68-60)
Nov. 21: vs. Cal Baptist (W 62-61)
Dec. 14: Arkansas-Pine Bluff (W 72-56)
Dec. 22: Chicago State (W 58-55)
Jan. 7: Nebraska (L 79-81)

60-40/40-60 Balls (go 6-4; currently 0-3)
Nov. 14: DePaul (L 53-69)
Nov. 23: vs. UNLV (L 62-71)
Dec. 11: Mississippi State (L 51-69)
Jan. 28: @ Northwestern
Feb. 4: Maryland
Feb. 18: Penn State
Feb. 22: @ Maryland
Feb. 25: @ Nebraska
March 2: Rutgers
March 5: Wisconsin

Likely Underdogs (go 5-9; currently 1-6)
Nov. 28: @ Virginia Tech (L 57-67)
Dec. 4: @ Purdue (L 70-89)
Dec. 8: Michigan (L 75-90)
Jan. 3: @ Wisconsin (L 60-63)
Jan. 12: @ Ohio State (W 70-67)
Jan. 16: Illinois (L 60-78)
Jan. 19: Purdue (L 39-61)
Jan. 22: @ Michigan
Jan. 25: Indiana
Feb. 1: @ Rutgers
Feb. 7: @ Illinois
Feb. 12: Iowa
Feb. 15: @ Michigan State
March 8: vs. TBD (Weakling Wednesday @ Big Ten Tournament)

Make no bones about it, a NIT bid would be an encouraging step for the Gopher program in Year 2 of the Ben Johnson era.
 
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Going to the NIT seems like a fairly narrow tightrope to walk. Would guess 2 or 3 wins above 18 maybe gets them to the tournament, and a little under 18 puts them out of the NIT. Do you have any thoughts on the range of win totals that would put the Gophers in the NIT, but not the NCAA tournament? Or is that dependent on how many instances there are in mid and low major conferences where the regular season champion is not also the conference tournament champion? From what I remember, conference tournament champions of course go to the NCAA tournament, but regular season conference champions get an auto bid to the NIT if they do not get to the NCAA.
 




Going to the NIT seems like a fairly narrow tightrope to walk. Would guess 2 or 3 wins above 18 maybe gets them to the tournament, and a little under 18 puts them out of the NIT. Do you have any thoughts on the range of win totals that would put the Gophers in the NIT, but not the NCAA tournament? Or is that dependent on how many instances there are in mid and low major conferences where the regular season champion is not also the conference tournament champion? From what I remember, conference tournament champions of course go to the NCAA tournament, but regular season conference champions get an auto bid to the NIT if they do not get to the NCAA.
The number of NIT auto qualifiers certainly was factored in. How big that number gets certainly impacts the number of Power 6 conference teams that get bids.
 

This 2022-23 season I’ll keep things more real and put together a Gophers “Path to the NIT” instead of a “Path to the NCAA Tournament”. With a win-friendly non-conference slate save for 3-4 games (DePaul, perhaps vs. UNLV, Mississippi State, @ Virginia Tech), the Gophers finishing roughly 10-1 or 9-2 feels like a reasonable expectation.

So that gets us to 9 or 10 wins. Then the question becomes, can the Gophers win 8 or 9 Big Ten games to get to 18 wins? If they do, I think the Gophers would be safely headed to the NIT. Here’s a path how they can do it regardless of how they perform in the Big Ten Tournament.

Must Wins (go 8-0)
Nov. 7: Western Michigan
Nov. 11: Saint Francis-NY
Nov. 17: Central Michigan
Nov. 21: vs. Cal Baptist
Dec. 14: Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Dec. 22: Chicago
Dec. 29: Alcorn
Jan. 7: Nebraska

“60-40/40-60 Balls” (go 6-4)
Nov. 14: DePaul
Nov. 23: vs. UNLV/Southern Illinois
Dec. 11: Mississippi State
Jan. 28: @ Northwestern
Feb. 4: Maryland
Feb. 18: Penn State
Feb. 22: @ Maryland
Feb. 25: @ Nebraska
March 2: Rutgers
March 5: Wisconsin

Likely Underdogs (go 4-9)
Nov. 28: @ Virginia Tech
Dec. 4: @ Purdue
Dec. 8: Michigan
Jan. 3: @ Wisconsin
Jan. 12: @ Ohio State
Jan. 16: Illinois
Jan. 19: Purdue
Jan. 22: @ Michigan
Jan. 25: Indiana
Feb. 1: @ Rutgers
Feb. 7: @ Illinois
Feb. 12: Iowa
Feb. 15: @ Michigan State

Make no bones about it, a NIT bid would be an encouraging step for the Gopher program in Year 2 of the Ben Johnson era.
Not Happening
You must walk, before running & this team has yet crawl !!
 

Going to the NIT seems like a fairly narrow tightrope to walk. Would guess 2 or 3 wins above 18 maybe gets them to the tournament, and a little under 18 puts them out of the NIT. Do you have any thoughts on the range of win totals that would put the Gophers in the NIT, but not the NCAA tournament? Or is that dependent on how many instances there are in mid and low major conferences where the regular season champion is not also the conference tournament champion? From what I remember, conference tournament champions of course go to the NCAA tournament, but regular season conference champions get an auto bid to the NIT if they do not get to the NCAA.
This. There's only about a 2 game window between NCAA bubble team and an NIT team. 20 wins puts you on the NCAA bubble for sure. 17-14 probably gets you nothing.
 

If the Gophers non-con SOS ends up about as bad as predicted, would be really hard to get to the favorable side of NCAA bubble. Schedule seems designed to try to set up potential NIT bid.
 




From a kind of surface level look, this team seems similar to last year's: 2 stars (Willis and Battle) and a bunch of role players, vs. 2 stars (Garcia and Battle) and a bunch of role players. An optimist might say Cooper is an upgrade from Loewe at point guard, at least on offense, Payne is a better center, even as a freshman, than anyone who played that position last year, and that Garcia is a bigger upgrade at the 4 than freshmen Braeden and Jaden will be a downgrade from EJ Stephens at the 2. And then maybe you're more comfortable giving your bench minutes to guys like Taurus Samuels, Jaden Henley, Kadyn Betts and sophomore Treyton Thompson than Charlie Daniels, Daniel Ogele, and freshman Treyton Thompson.

This team still kinda feels similar enough to last year that I'm not confident proclaiming they will be significantly better. I think they'll be better, just really not sure it's enough for some of the fan predictions of .500 or better in the Big Ten and a tournament bid. Or maybe the Big Ten is down enough that they can get to 10-10 but miss the tournament anyway.
 

last year's team had no depth.

this year's team, on paper, is deeper and more athletic. But, due to the injuries, they will be relying on true Freshmen to provide that depth during the grueling B1G season. That is asking a lot.

last year's team finished 13-17 overall, 4-16 in the B1G.

so, if they go 8-12 in the B1G this season, that puts them at 17-13 overall. that would be a step forward. I don't know if that gets them into the NIT.

with Fox and Ihnen, this is a 20-win team. without them, I just don't know.
 

The Big Ten is also materially worse this year, which will help us even if our overall talent year to year is a wash.
 




I have to go there for a second - It's a huge bummer that neither Fox or Ihnen will be out there. Huge difference as far as solid depth. This roster gets a huge bump if you add those 2 guys in clearly.

But still hopeful.
 


From a kind of surface level look, this team seems similar to last year's: 2 stars (Willis and Battle) and a bunch of role players, vs. 2 stars (Garcia and Battle) and a bunch of role players. An optimist might say Cooper is an upgrade from Loewe at point guard, at least on offense, Payne is a better center, even as a freshman, than anyone who played that position last year, and that Garcia is a bigger upgrade at the 4 than freshmen Braeden and Jaden will be a downgrade from EJ Stephens at the 2. And then maybe you're more comfortable giving your bench minutes to guys like Taurus Samuels, Jaden Henley, Kadyn Betts and sophomore Treyton Thompson than Charlie Daniels, Daniel Ogele, and freshman Treyton Thompson.

This team still kinda feels similar enough to last year that I'm not confident proclaiming they will be significantly better. I think they'll be better, just really not sure it's enough for some of the fan predictions of .500 or better in the Big Ten and a tournament bid. Or maybe the Big Ten is down enough that they can get to 10-10 but miss the tournament anyway.
This team was significantly better before the ink dried for the transfers and freshmen. Everyone on the roster belongs here. That could not remotely be said last year.

Nobody knows if they will win 13, 15, 18 or ??? games. A million things can happen as the long season plays out. But we enter the race with far more talent and ceiling than last year.
 

NIT is not the goal for this roster, NCAA Tournament is the goal and always should be. This roster has more than enough talent and depth to push for the tournament bid.
Talent yes. Depth no. Had someone early enroll because of both of your 4s went down in summer ball back to back years.
 

so, if they go 8-12 in the B1G this season, that puts them at 17-13 overall. that would be a step forward. I don't know if that gets them into the NIT.

I believe they have 31 games this year so 8-12 + 10-1 would give them an 18-13 record. I'm not so confident that they'll go 10-1 in non-conference this season though.
 


The Big Ten is also materially worse this year, which will help us even if our overall talent year to year is a wash.

How do you know that? Probably very few prior to last season expected Keegan Murray and Johnny Davis to blow up like they did. Some returning players could have surprising years this season.
 



The number of NIT auto qualifiers certainly was factored in. How big that number gets certainly impacts the number of Power 6 conference teams that get bids.

They also limit the number of more deserving non-P6 teams that get in. I was hoping they would do away with automatic qualifiers permanently after they eliminated it for that one year but that returned after. There should be no automatic qualifiers in a National Invitational Tournament. I wouldn't even care if they capped the number of P6 teams who could be invited to less than half.
 

This 2022-23 season I’ll keep things more real and put together a Gophers “Path to the NIT” instead of a “Path to the NCAA Tournament”. With a win-friendly non-conference slate save for 4 games (DePaul, vs. UNLV/SIU, Mississippi State, @ Virginia Tech), the Gophers finishing roughly 10-1 or 9-2 feels like a reasonable expectation.

So that gets us to 9 or 10 wins. Then the question becomes, can the Gophers win 8 or 9 Big Ten games to get to 18 wins? If they do, I think the Gophers would be safely headed to the NIT. Here’s a path how they can do it regardless of how they perform in the Big Ten Tournament.

Must Wins (go 8-0)
Nov. 7: Western Michigan
Nov. 11: Saint Francis-NY
Nov. 17: Central Michigan
Nov. 21: vs. Cal Baptist
Dec. 14: Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Dec. 22: Chicago
Dec. 29: Alcorn
Jan. 7: Nebraska

“60-40 to 40-60 Balls” (go 6-4)
Nov. 14: DePaul
Nov. 23: vs. UNLV/Southern Illinois
Dec. 11: Mississippi State
Jan. 28: @ Northwestern
Feb. 4: Maryland
Feb. 18: Penn State
Feb. 22: @ Maryland
Feb. 25: @ Nebraska
March 2: Rutgers
March 5: Wisconsin

Likely Underdogs (go 4-9)
Nov. 28: @ Virginia Tech
Dec. 4: @ Purdue
Dec. 8: Michigan
Jan. 3: @ Wisconsin
Jan. 12: @ Ohio State
Jan. 16: Illinois
Jan. 19: Purdue
Jan. 22: @ Michigan
Jan. 25: Indiana
Feb. 1: @ Rutgers
Feb. 7: @ Illinois
Feb. 12: Iowa
Feb. 15: @ Michigan State

Make no bones about it, a NIT bid would be an encouraging step for the Gopher program in Year 2 of the Ben Johnson era.
Not sure you can consider Nebraska as a definite win. Just like in football, tons of money available and Fred will Be better. To much talent not to succeed. Plus his seat getting hotter every season.
 

Not sure you can consider Nebraska as a definite win. Just like in football, tons of money available and Fred will Be better. To much talent not to succeed. Plus his seat getting hotter every season.
Fair point. I'm not saying it's a definite win, thinking is more that if they want to get to 18 wins, those are games you pretty much have to win.
 

Not sure you can consider Nebraska as a definite win. Just like in football, tons of money available and Fred will Be better. To much talent not to succeed. Plus his seat getting hotter every season.
I wouldn’t count on Fred doing better unless he starts working harder and he commits to playing defense
 

NIT seems like a letdown but it's been a long time since this program has had something to build on at seasons end. Making some kind of postseason run would definitely help bring optimism back to MBB!
 

NIT seems like a letdown but it's been a long time since this program has had something to build on at seasons end. Making some kind of postseason run would definitely help bring optimism back to MBB!

"Letdowns" are relative. There are only 3 teams in the conference (Minnesota, Northwestern, and Nebraska) who have had three consecutive losing seasons. I can't see why the NIT should be a letdown to any of them. The Gophers are also a team that is coming off a 9 year period with only 3 postseason appearances in total.
 
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"Letdowns" are relative. There are only 3 teams in the conference (Minnesota, Northwestern, and Nebraska) who have had three consecutive losing seasons. I can't see why the NIT should be a letdown to any of them. The Gophers are also a team that is coming off a 9 year period with only 3 postseason appearances in total.
Time to break that streak! It won’t be enough for some fans but I hope to see progress leading to an above .500 team this season. Building a solid foundation is key to sustained future success.

I would rather build a team that is consistently in the top half of the conference and makes occasional runs to the top over a team that hits the lotto once and then disappoints and sits bottom of the table for the rest of the decade.
 




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