Andy Greder / St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS -- Rest in peace, RPI. The Rating Percentage Index had been a primary metric for qualifying men’s basketball programs for NCAA tournament selection since 1981, but this year it has been cast aside for the NCAA Evaluation Tool, or NET. NET will rely on game results, strength of schedule, game location, scoring margin, net offensive and defensive efficiency, and quality wins and losses. When the games are played will be omitted, and margin of victory will be capped at 10 points to prevent an incentive to produce the biggest blowouts.
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Gophers volleyball powerhouse has been built as a meritocracy. With that standard, two freshmen will be counted on when second-seeded Minnesota (27-3) faces No. 15 Oregon (22-10) in an NCAA tournament Sweet Sixteen matchup at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, at Maturi Pavilion in Minneapolis.
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Gophers volleyball team has bulldozed most of its opponents this season, but they’ve been run over themselves twice -- and one of the culprits is up next. That would be No. 15 Oregon, which beat second-ranked Minnesota way back on Sept. 7, 3-1, during a tournament in Palo Alto, Calif. The teams meet again Friday, Dec. 7, with a trip to the Elite Eight on the line. “I mean, they’re good,” Gophers coach Hugh McCutcheon said of the Ducks. “We knew they were good, and they’re still good.”
MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Gophers senior forward Jordan Murphy asked head coach Richard Pitino an off-the-court question a few weeks ago: What should he say to Dupree McBrayer? McBrayer’s mother, Tayra McFarlane, was not well and Murphy wasn’t sure how to approach it with his teammate. “Nobody knows what to say,” Pitino told him. “You just say you’re there for them and you be there for them all the time.”
MINNEAPOLIS — The intrigue Sunday was less about where the Gophers would play their bowl game and more about who they would play. Answer, Georgia Tech in the Quick Lane Bowl on Dec. 26 at Ford Field in Detroit. Since Minnesota became bowl eligible with a 37-15 win at Wisconsin on Nov. 24, most national experts had the Gophers headed to the Quick Lane Bowl for the second time in four years. To get there, Minnesota had to win two of their last three regular-season games.
MINNEAPOLIS — Like the Gophers men’s basketball team, the Big Ten Conference was way, way down last season. With the Gophers as one of its biggest disappointments, the Big Ten had only four teams advance to the NCAA tournament a year ago — its fewest bids since 2008. On the flip side with Minnesota’s 6-1 start through November, the Big Ten is way, way up so far this season.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Gophers men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino gave himself the worst grade possible after Minnesota’s 68-56 loss to Boston College on Monday, Nov. 26. “Coaching: F,” Pitino wrote on his blog. After starting 5-0, the Gophers tried to shoot 3-pointers over the Eagles’ zone defense, and when they weren’t falling (5 for 30 on the night), Minnesota didn’t adjust and attack the rim.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Dan Gavitt’s first in-person Final Four turned out to be historic: Magic versus Bird. The 1979 NCAA championship game marked the beginning of what became a legendary NBA rivalry as Magic Johnson’s Michigan State team beat Larry Bird’s Indiana State squad, 75-64, in Salt Lake City. Given Gavitt’s current job — the NCAA’s senior vice president of basketball — that iconic title game serves as a timepiece for another reason. It was held at the University of Utah’s 15,000-seat Jon M. Huntsman Center, so the set-up was easy.
PAUL -- Minnesota United declined contract options on nine players from this year’s team on Monday, Nov. 26, opening up roster spots and creating more salary flexibility to add new players before a critical 2019 season opens at Allianz Field in St.
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Gophers volleyball team won't have to leave Minneapolis for the duration of the NCAA tournament. That's what the No. 2 overall seed earned Minnesota on Sunday, Nov. 25. The Gophers open the 64-team, single-elimination tournament on Friday, Nov. 23, by hosting the opening two rounds at Maturi Pavilion. With two victories, the Gophers will host the four-team regional tournament on Dec. 7-8, also at Maturi Pavilion. Two more wins in the regional puts Minnesota in the Final Four on Dec. 13-15 at Target Center.