The Gopher's season continues with another NIT win on the road. The NIT often comes down to which team wants to continue their season and which team is ready to move on after an arduous season. Sometimes that is a fair attitude. The college basketball season can be a real grind, it beats up your body and for underclassmen it is a major mental challenge. Tonight it appeared as though the entire Miami roster succumb to the season. The grind won. So far Minnesota is still energized, Andre Hollins doesn't want his freshman season to end. That is what happened tonight, Minnesota simply wanted to continue their season and they did.
Rodney Williams continued his streak of 20 point games, Andre Hollins added 14, Joe Coleman got back on track with 14 and the Gophers got a completely unexpected boost from Andre Ingram who had 8 points and 6 rebounds.
This game was sort of a yawner outside of a brief offensive outburst by Miami after they got down 22. The real story of the game was ESPN announcer Dan Dakich making yet another plea for Tubby to get his practice facility. After discussing what a great coach Dan Monson is based on his Gonzaga and Long Beach State resume he has this to say...
"This is a Minnesota basketball problem, not a coach problem. there is no practice facility, he was promised a practice facility, people don't understand how important a practice facility is. If you want to be in the Big Ten and you want to compete then step up and do waht others are doing. Make it easy for your coach, not difficult for him."
He very well may be 100% accurate but the more this gets built up the higher the expectations are going to be raised. If a practice facility is the current scapegoat then things absolutely better change when there eventually is a practice facility built. I would imagine that there have been conversations between Mr. Dakich and Coach Smith about how important a practice facility is to the program. Then Mr. Dakich uses his platform to express just how much it is needed if Minnesota ever wants to compete in the Big Ten. The problem is, what if the program is still unable to compete or recruit better players in the subsequent years? What if the problem is that it is just plain hard to recruit top notch players to Minnesota practice facility or no practice facility? There may very well be a need and having one may be a boost to the program, but the excuses have got to stop. If this is the excuse then what becomes the new scapegoat when a practice facility doesn't make us a contender?
Up next for the Gophers is a trip to Murfreesboro, Tennessee to face the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee State. They dominated the Sun Belt Conference this year going 14-2 but then were upset by Arkansas State in their conference tournament. They beat Marshall at home and then went on the road to Tennessee for their second win of the tournament. Winner earns a trip to New York City.