Golden Nugz for 3.17.09

Maybe it was a perceived threat of Tubby Smith leaving. Maybe it is because Williams Arena has been sold out and vibrant again and making the University money.

Whatever the cause doesn't really matter, but Sid Hartman writes that Tubby Smith is going to get his wish of a spanking new practice facility.

"He talked about a practice facility when we hired him, and President Bruininks and I mentioned to him that we had a real commitment to doing something for TCF Bank Stadium," Maturi said. "We needed to raise money. At that time it had already been appropriated by the state, so it was a go. We told him in the summer of 2009, we would evaluate where we are and make a decision. And the reality of it is, we've kind of made a decision, we're going to go ahead with this, and now it's back to raising our money."

The facility would be attached to Williams Arena.

"That would save on the cost," Maturi said. "You wouldn't then have to build locker rooms, you wouldn't have to build some of the other amenities that would be necessary if you moved it off-site. I hope we can do something here. We're looking at different blueprints as we speak."

This is great news. Having the Gophers practice in Williams Arena, and fight with other users for practice space, is a potential detriment to the program when it comes to luring recruits to wear maroon and gold.

Additionally, for those of you who want to have Williams Arena as the team's home for the distant future, attaching the practice facility to The Barn should be an indicator that the U's administration feels the same way.

It's absolutely great to see that the administration is supporting Coach Smith and the Gophers. And it's even better knowing that doing so has been a financial win for the University.

  • The Crimson and Crean Machine gives a lesson in bracketology on how to pick a March Madness winner. Unfortunately, the criteria to narrow down your list of potential champions basically eliminates our Gophers.
  • This St. Louis Post-Dispatch blogger lectures the NCAA Selection Committee on how they need to include more mid-majors. Yeah, I agree St. Mary's or Creighton  might deserve to be there instead of Arizona, but who else? So, that's two mid-majors who feel slighted by the big, bad NCAA Selection Committee. But this writer says it's all about CBS wanting majors and not mid-majors.
  • And then we have this New York Times sports blog echoing the rest of the lazy, story-line challenged punditocracy, suggesting the NCAA Tournament is becoming like the BCS? What? Seriously? That's fit to print? There's hardly a comparison between a tournament that has Stephen F. Austin and Bingmamton in the field and the BCS.
  • Speaking of Stephen F. Austin, Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician has all you'd ever want to know about the Texas school here in a post titled F. Stephen Austin.
  • Illini blog Hail to the Orange notes that many are picking Western Kentucky as the most likely 12 seed to beat a 5 seed. Staunch defender of the Big Ten that I am, it's hard for me to agree. But this is the Illini team that scored something like 33 (AT HOME) against Penn State. They deserve punishment.
  • NCAA Tournament Fanhouse has a nice round-up of Big Ten bashing, including commentary from Bobby Knight and Billy Packer.
  • Pro Basketball News takes a hiatus from the no defense league and looks at NCAA match-ups. They pick Texas after stating Minnesota's offense takes "siestas for stretches."
  • It looks like Virginia has fired head man Dave Leitao after four years. Jeff Goodman at FoxSports throws out Tubby Smith's name. Whatever. Meanwhile, the Washington Post apparently contacted Tubby's agent to ask about potential interest in the UVA job.
  • The Gopher women are also going dancing.  Like the men they earned a 10 seed and will travel to South Bend to face Notre Dame on Sunday.
  • Finally, baseball. The men's baseball team has moved into the Top 25 after last weekend's impressive two wins against TCU. The team enters the rankings at #25.
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