Well here we go. Time to see how the screw this up, but the path to the tournament really begins tonight. It would have been awfully nice to take a game at Michigan State or Wisconsin at home or not lose to god damn Penn State, but here we are. Looking at the wins and losses and computer numbers (RPI #16 , SoS #7), this team is right in line for a tournament bid. All they need is a mere 6 more victories in their last 11 games. That's it. 6-5. That's 21 wins overall and a 9-9 conference record. With everything else, that's all it'll take.
Even if they lose some terrible games like to Rutgers or something, if they're at 9 wins that'll mean they picked up another good win somewhere to balance it out. Or if they pick up absolutely no more good wins, if they get 6 more victories it'll mean there aren't any crappy losses to drag them down. Six more wins. 6 wins out of eleven games. That's it. Do it.
Looking at the Final eleven games, kenpom.com has the Gophers favored to win in 7 of them. They also predict a one point loss tonight at Ohio State. And a two point loss next month at Maryland. The road game at Wisconsin to close out the regular season is the only game they're a significant underdog in, and we better hope to god they don't need it.
Oh, and guess how many home games this team has remaining? Six. Maryland, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Penn State, and Nebraska. Every single one of those games is 100% winnable. That would be enough. I've said before I really wish Penn State and Nebraska home games were earlier in the season so they'd have some breathing room down the stretch, but I called and they wouldn't let me change the schedule so here we are. Grab a "good" win or two and it won't matter, but those games need to be victories.
The road games: Ohio State, Illinois, Rutgers, Maryland, and Wisconsin. I actually started involuntarily shaking typing that since as a Gopher fan I'm conditioned to break down weeping whenever I have to discuss them going on the road, but I'm not letting them off the hook this year. They already beat two good teams in Purdue and Northwestern away from Williams, so they can handle any of these non-Badger teams (Penn State meltdown aside).
It doesn't get any simpler than that. The blueprint is there. It's easy. It's right in front of them. I don't feel like getting deep into what's good and what's bad with this team, or what's going on with Jordan Murphy's sudden disappearance or Nate Mason's shot or the overall offensive problems or great defense or why Reggie Lynch doesn't get the ball more. I just want 6 wins. Anything less than 6 wins is a complete and utter failure at this point. Don't break my heart. Again.