Let's say they go 9-2 during the non-conference slate with losses to North Carolina and then either in the Puerto Rico third-place game to Vandy or WVU, or if they were to win that one a loss to one of their lesser opponents (Virginia, Siena) in an upset. With that going in, a 9-9 record in the Big 10 would leave them on the bubble, a 10-8 record would get them in but likely wouldn't result in any kind of big bump in seeding, while 11-7 would probably move them up into the 5 range. That should be the goal in Year 4 of the Tubby era, at a minimum. So let's look (Bold = home game):
| 28 || Tuesday || Wisconsin || 6:00 p.m. || ESPN2 |
| 31 || Friday || Michigan State || 3:00 p.m. || Big Ten Network |
| Jan. || 4 || Tuesday || Indiana || 6:00 p.m. || ESPN2 |
| 9 || Sunday || Ohio State || 1/3:00 p.m. || Big Ten Network |
| 13 || Thursday || Purdue || 6:00 p.m. || ESPN2 |
| 16 || Sunday || Iowa || 5/6:00 p.m. || Big Ten Network |
| 22 || Saturday || Michigan || 6:00 p.m. || Big Ten Network |
| 26 || Wednesday || Northwestern || 7:30 p.m. || Big Ten Network |
| 29 || Saturday || Purdue || Noon || CBS |
| Feb. || 2 || Wednesday || Indiana || 5:30 p.m. || Big Ten Network |
| 6 || Sunday || Ohio State || 1:00 p.m. || ESPN |
| 10 || Thursday || Illinois || 8:00 p.m. || ESPN/2 |
| 13 || Sunday || Iowa || 5:00 p.m. || Big Ten Network |
| 17 || Thursday || Penn State || 6:00 p.m. || ESPN/2 |
| 22 || Tuesday || Michigan State || 8:00 p.m. || Big Ten Network |
| 26 || Saturday || Michigan || 3:30 p.m. || Big Ten Network |
| Mar. || 2/3** || Wed./Thurs. || Northwestern || 7:30/8 p.m. || ESPN/ESPN2/BTN |
| 6 || Sunday || Penn State || Noon ||Big Ten Network|
Definite wins: Iowa, @ Iowa, Penn State, Northwestern, Indiana
Likely wins: @ Penn State, Michigan, @ Michigan, @ Indiana
Probable losses: @ Purdue, @ Michigan State
That gives them a 9-2 record in the conference, with seven other games that I'd consider toss-ups: @ Wisconsin, @ Ohio State, Purdue, Ohio State, Illinois, Michigan State, and @ Northwestern.
If they go 0-7 in those games then I don't think they'll get in despite the 9-9 conference, barring a big run in the B10 Tournament due to lack of marquee victories, so they'll have to get at least one of those toss-up games. If they can win two of those games, just two, the NCAA Tournament would be a lock and likely a good seed to go with it.
Really, looking at this anything less than 11 Big Ten wins and 20 wins overall should be looked at as an abject failure this year. The Conference is very tough at the top, but the bottom is gooey soft and a team with NCAA aspirations should be able to rip through those bottom feeders and pad itself a very nice record. Am I setting myself up for disappointment?
I can't help but feel like I'm walking into a trap, just like Tiger when he got home and that crazy domestic abuser Elin was waiting with a golf club. Maybe it's a lifetime of having the rug pulled out from under me as a Gopher (and Minnesota sports in general) fan. This should be a very good year, and they should be set up for a top 3-4 finish in conference, a middle-low seed in the tournament, and a very winnable opening round game, and once you get passed that first game who knows what can happen.
I'm looking forward to it. I feel like someone is stabbing me in the gut with a knife made out of ice, but I'm looking forward to it. Please, Tubby. Not you too.
Of course, not everyone shares those reservations. New Minnesota Sports blogger MNSportsSideFX broke down the schedule and predicts the team will end up 13-5 in the tournament and 21-6 overall. Personally, I think that's loony tunes when your point guard can't shoot and you don't have anyone who can create offense, but it's certainly not completely out of the realm of possibility.