Minnesota Golden Gophers: not a sexy upset pick over Florida

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Are the Minnesota Golden Gophers a sexy upset pick in your bracket? And I don’t mean sexy like the cheerleaders pictured above and below, I mean sexy as in trendy. The Gophers were #2 in strength of schedule this college basketball season. #2! Only the Duke Blue Devils are better. The Gophers played last night like they were trying to save Tubby’s job. The Gophers (21-12) were granted a No. 11 seed and blew out No. 6 UCLA (25-10) 83-63  Friday night at the Frank Erwin Events Center in Austin, Texas.

It was a postseason game between two coaches (Tubby Smith and Ben Howland) who will find themselves on the hot seat next year. It reminded me a little of another UCLA postseason game in another sport versus another Big Ten team- the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl when the UCLA Bruins lost to the Illinois Fighting Illini (when both coaches Ron Zook and Rick Neuheisel) were both fired. That was the “somebody had to win” bowl. This was the “somebody had to win” invitational.

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Northwestern upsets #12 Gophers, in front of very poor student showing

 

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Every year Northwestern Wildcats basketball beats a couple ranked teams during the Big Ten slate. So whenever they play someone good at home you want to be there so you can see a big event, right? Like when the fans stormed the court after taking down a top ten Michigan State team last year. Well the “Wildside” student section doesn’t seem to think so. They hardly showed up at all two home games ago when NU lost even uglier than it sounds, 70-51 to the Iowa Hawkeyes. And they didn’t come out last night either.

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Tubby Smith’s son gets DUI, Gophers place him on leave

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Tubby Smith’s son Saul was arrested for DUI this past weekend, and because of it the Minnesota Golden Gophers college basketball program will make sure he misses a few paychecks.

Here’s the statement from the University:

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Gophers Trevor Mbakwe gets Evan Eschmeyer style 6th year in college

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The NBA hoop dreams of Minnesota Golden Gophers four Trevor Mbakwe will wait another year. And that’s a probably a good thing because it gives him a chance to answer scouts questions about his after the injury.

Mbakwe has been granted a sixth year of eligibility, putting the Marquette transfer within the same category as former Northwestern center Evan Eschmeyer. It seemed like Eschmeyer was in Evanston forever during the 1990s; it was in actuality six years. Mbakwe suffered an ACL tear to his right knee against Dayton in November and was lost for the remainder of the season. He underwent surgery on Dec. 30 to repair the knee.

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Gophers Rodney Williams: most overrated NBA Draft prospect ever?

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Minnesota Golden Gophers forward Rodney Williams is a bonafide NBA draft prospect. Not so much this year, but for 2013 (where we have him projected as a mid-2nd rounder), and I can’t for the life of me understand why. (But I’m a NFL draftnik, not an NBA draftnik) When fighting for their NCAA Tournament lives this week, the 6-7, 205 junior forward from Minneapolis just disappeared in the 2nd halves of both games. Each of these contests saw Minnesota drop a second half lead and eventually lose.

When you lead the team in scoring, rebounding, blocks, steals, field goal percentage and minutes, you are expected to BE the leader, and THE GUY who takes over in crunch time.

In the loss at Northwestern, Williams had 7 points at halftime, but just two points and two shots in the second twenty minutes. In the 66-61 loss to Michigan State, Williams VANISHED in the second half when Minnesota Tubby Smith needed him most. And in the closing minutes with the game tied, he cost his team dearly at both ends of the floor.

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Gophers Tubby Smith wears bow tie in honor of cancer survivors

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If you were following Twitter during the Michigan State Spartans 66-61 victory at the Minnesota Golden Gophers contest last night, you may have noticed UM Coach Tubby Smith rocking a blue bow tie.

There was praise, but there was of course plenty of jokes and insults. There was even speculation that the blue was in reference to his old job leading the Kentucky Wildcats. I do wish more college basketball fans would simply ask a relevant question or two before passing judgment. Now when they find out what the bow tie was for, and what it represents, they might feel more like the jackasses they are for shooting their mouths off.

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Illini Outlast Gophers in Never Ending Big Ten Opener

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One of my all time favorite The Simpsons quotes:

“Mr. Simpson, this is the biggest case of false advertising since my suit against the film the Never Ending Story” –Lionel Hutz

The legendary lawyer played by the late, great Phil Hartman refers to a 1984 film with a running time of 94 minutes. Illinois escaping 81-72 in 2 OT over the Minnesota Golden Gophers ran about 2 hours, 40 minutes. It was a game in which no one ever seemed to want to take it, until finally, the Illini dominated the final four minutes of the final OT.

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Can Gophers Ralph Sampson III Follow Dad to the NBA?

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Minnesota Golden Gophers Coach Tubby Smith has seen drastic, if not dramatic improvements in the game of senior Center Ralph Sampson III.

“His consistency, his numbers have improved each year. They haven’t been leaps and bounds, but I think a lot of it has to do with Ralph getting in better shape, not that he hasn’t worked at it, but he’s had to focus on learning to breathe properly, I don’t know if he had asthma or another type of breathing disorder, but he’s got that under control better, and his stamina and strength are two issues he’s done a good job of addressing this summer and fall,” Sampson’s coach Tubby Smith said.

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College Football 77 in 77: #77 Minnesota Golden Gophers

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At the 2010 Big Ten Tournament, I made a joke about how much I wanted to punch the University of Minnesota mascot, Goldy in the head. I’d love to watch his trademark head swivel around, except in this case put into motion by the force of a right-handed uppercut.
Three days before the 2011 BTT, a fan did just that. So when I saw Goldy Gopher again in Indy, I gave him a hug and told him “I feel your pain.” Because both the college football and the college basketball program have been dealt swift punches to the head this past year.

No more reason to inflict additional pain- they have plenty enough in Dinkytown already. Before being fired, Tim Brewster wrecked the program. And the hoops team saw their promising season crushed into bits by the season ending injury to point guard Al Nolen.

Will things get better on the East Bank of the Mighty Mississippi this school year?

By Paul M. Banks

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The Deeply Beleaguered Minnesota Sports Fan

Tubby Smith Minnesota

Sports fan in Minnesota haven’t had a whole lot to cheer about recently. The general manager of the Minnesota Timberwolves, David Kahn, received some flack recently for simply stating the obvious. The NBA lottery is a flawed system that annually does not give the team the position it deserves in the draft.

He insinuated that the good story of the year obtains the pick.

Once again, the club fell victim to the ping pong balls. It doesn’t seem to be a year that it will be of great impact because there are two players that are head and shoulders above the rest: Derrick Williams of the Arizona Wildcats, and Kyrie Irving of Duke.

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