The calendar has turned to the month of Madness. Conference tournaments have begun. Regular season conference champions are being crowned. The constant bickering over Strength of Schedule and mid-majors is in full force. And you can almost hear the faint dulcet tones of “One Shining Moment” as you walk down the street.
The month of March is here!
Because the Minnesota Golden Gophers have completely reversed their course from the tire fire of a year ago, the month is full of excitement and promise for Gopher faithful. But before we all get tangled up in the most wonderful time of the year, made even more wonderful by the fact that our team gets to join in the Big Dance, let’s look fondly back at the month of February that will not only define this season, but possibly the long-term future trajectory of the program.
The Gophers were able to complete a full undefeated conference month for the first time since their trip to the Final Four during 1996-1997 season. After being knocked to the mat time and time again during January and entering February on a five-game losing streak, a combination of a lighter middle schedule, quality play, and the law-of-averages in close games finally coming back to equilibrium catapulted the Gophers into March on a tidal wave of positive momentum that has rejuvenated the Barn and placed Minnesota firmly into the field of 68.
Below I supply five “infographs” which both illustrate what happened during the month and explain how the fortunes of the 2016-2017 season were turned. They are titled with cheesy songs (or lines there from) for additional enjoyment.
Infograph #1 - The Climb
Infograph #2 - Don’t Call it A Comeback!
Infograph #3 - Come Together
Infograph #4 - Don’t Stand So Close to Reggie
Infograph #5 - A Brick House
In short, quality defense, a relatively balanced offense, and closing close games allowed February of 2017 to be a special month for Coach Richard Pitino’s Gophers. Let’s hope that more success and memories await in March!