Ok, I had hoped to get a full Nugz up with all the Gopher sports but that's not happening. So here's a basketball version of the Nugz for today. If I have time over my late lunch I'll throw together another one with hockey and and a Smorgasbord.
But before we hit all the bball links, GO TO THIS LINK RIGHT NOW. I'M SERIOUS. SID HARTMAN IS DOING THE HARLEM SHAKE IN A SOMBRERO. QUINCY LEWIS IS THERE IN A CHIP ARMELIN JERSEY OF ALL THINGS. AMELIA IS DANCING NEXT TO SOMEONE IN A SASQUATCH COSTUME. AND DID I MENTION THAT IT INCLUDES SID HARTMAN IN A SOMBRERO IN WHAT I CAN ONLY HOPE IS A PLAY OFF THE EL SID THING THAT YOU SEE USED ON THE INTERNET (PLEASE JOBU, LET IT BE THAT...RANDOM SOMBRERO WEARING WOULD BE AWESOME ENOUGH BUT IF IT'S BECAUSE OF EL SID? LEGENDARY).
Sorry that I couldn't embed it but it's one of those STrib vids, not a YouTube. If someone is able to pull a copy and Tube it I'll embed.
BRACKET POOL CONTEST
- Go here to sign up for the TDG Bracket pool contest. Password (if asked) is Tubby. GN will be putting up a separate post on this soon.
- ALL OF THE #TAKES. It's not totally unexpected, but when a slumping team gets into the NCAA's you end up with some sportswriter silliness. First, you had a writer lamenting on Twitter that the matchup wasn't VCU and boo b/c of storylines. Oh yes, let us all lament the lack of #TAKES that would have befallen us if that had been the matchup. Then you've got #TAKESTWEETS about if the supposedly good matchup is actually not so good for us after all. And the endless tweets about Tubby's contract and the new (or perhaps not new) bonus he gets for making the NCAA's. As if that's the big thing right now. But then come the stories. #TAKES in print. Even Tom Powers got in on the action. Not sure how that's going to go? Well, here's the lede:
Tubby Smith's Golden Gophers are going to the NCAA tournament and I don't know if that's a reward or a penance.
The rest? Gophers are confusing and REDEMPTION available. Pretty standard fare actually. Scoggins though?
And so the Gophers enter the tournament as a double-digit seed and almost an afterthought on the national level, a team that even some of its own fans don’t believe belongs in the field. The Gophers have lost 11 of their past 16 games, the players look miserable and their coach’s future hinges on what happens in the tournament.
Ok, seems pretty normal. I guess this will be no big thin...
Speaking of madness, here’s something else that should raise the blood pressure of Gophers fans: Tubby Smith receives a $100,000 bonus by virtue of his team making the tournament. That’s right, a six-figure performance bonus.
Tournament bonuses are standard clauses in coaches’ contracts these days. But rewarding Smith for a job well done is hard to stomach given the way the season unraveled and undercut a promising start.
Actually Chip, it's not hard to stomach. You just said it yourself. It's a standard part of the contract. It was already there years ago. IT'S NOT A STORY. Tyler Mason?
Rodney Williams looked like his dog just died. Austin Hollins looked bored.
By the looks of it, you would think the Gophers basketball team was snubbed from the NCAA tournament.
That's the lede, but from what others in the interviews noted it seems legit and the remaining piece is standard fare. Fuller delivered a similar take to Tyler, but with a less descriptive lede that covered the same ground. Amelia went the "fix the hotseat for Tubby" direction in a piece that eschewed drama. And last but not least? Nate Sandell delivered the most #TAKES free story of the bunch. Good for him.
- Amelia has a nice piece that looks at what people outside Minnesota think of the 11 seed berth. The answers I found most interesting?
Where do you see the Gophers going in the NCAA tournament?
Yarina: "Right now, I wouldn’t want to be putting, in my NCAA pool, Minnesota on the next line … They might be in the First Four. I wouldn’t think they’d win a game. Again, if everything goes right, they could be really good, but I don’t see that happening at this point in the season, after everything that’s happened. You would think after they upset Indiana that maybe they turn a corner, but then they lose to Nebraska. They’re just not consistent, you can’t bank on them. With all the flaws they have, it’s hard to trust them."
Brennan: "There are definitely teams they can play that I think they’ll have a matchup advantage against, but I think that would be the most optimistic outcome. But I don’t think they’re going to suddenly figure it out all the sudden … Minnesota, it’s been so long now, I don’t know that you just get to the tournament and figure it out. Maybe there is that light bulb that can switch on with them like it did against Indiana – but I almost got the impression that that game was just, with the energy in the Barn, that you’d almost have to be like a zombie to not put the effort in."
Johnson: "I don’t know if they’re going to get into the NCAA tournament. Who knows. That’s an iffy one now, getting bounced out of the first round, so I don’t think that’s a lock at all.
(if they get there) "They can do something. They’ve got good players. They’ve got five wins over top-25 teams this year. They beat Indiana. They can beat anybody on the right day, they’ve got to concentrate and focus and play disciplined. The thing I’ve seen with Minnesota is they just play undisciplined. Sometimes you’ll watch them play and they’ll be the best. You turn the ball over 19 times, that’s just sloppy, lack of focus. If they can do the little things, the mental things, they have enough physical talent to beat anybody in the country."
They don't seem to see what the rest of the talking heads are seeing (not saying their wrong BTW).
- Were you wondering just where the Gophers fell in terms of the overall 1-68 seeding? The answer is 41st. We were the 4th to last major conference team listed (with Cal, Oregon, and Ole Miss behind us).
- OUR OPPONENT. Seriously, if there is one constant out there right now it's that people think the Gophers got a good draw in UCLA. The national talking heads were all over it last night. National publications are saying so in their columns. Shama talks to Jim Dutcher who agrees. So does Fuller. It's not hard to see why given the issues they've had. Heck, the LA press thinks so too, though they bury that lede under Bruin whining about going to Austin.
- OH BEN HOWLAND. So Ben does a press avail to discuss the seeding and the matchup with Minnesota. And what is one of the first things he says?
They have Lionel Hollins' boys on their team, as their star players.
Um...no. Thanks for playing Ben. Feel free to bring that level of preparation to the game on Friday.