We sit here a mere four hours before the Gophers tip off in their first NCAA Tournament game since 2013. A tournament where they’ve attained the highest seed they’ve had since that fateful Final Four run. The nation is collectively picking their opponent to pull an upset and, if you’re following the pundits, the game is already signed, sealed and delivered for the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders.
In a few hours we’ll either be elated or devastated. Planning our Saturdays around another game or talking about how awesome next season is going to be. We’ll be doing one of those things by 7pm tonight.
But for these few hours where we’re still one of the best teams coming out the Big Ten, where we’re a goddamn 5-seed in the NCAA Tournament, where we have a First Team All-Big Ten point guard, the defensive player of the year, the coach of the year and an amazing freshman, let’s enjoy the elation of being a great team. Who’d have thought we’d be here at this point? [cut to Gordon Bombay talking to Charlie Conway on center ice]
Whatever happens today will happen. Let’s not forget that this was one of the most fun frickin’ seasons we’ve ever had. This team was electric, beat some awesome teams, was competitive on the road and brought the house down at The Barn on several occasions. They were must-see television for the majority of the season, and delivered in some very stressful situations. For that I’m grateful and it’s awesome to see the team rewarded with a high, single-digit seed.
It’s a moment like this where I want to say thank you to the Gophers for rebounding after a difficult season. Thank you for sticking with it. Thank you for having the guts to turn a five-game losing streak into an EIGHT-GAME winning streak. Thank you for gaining steam in February instead of falling flat. Thank you for being a team and accepting different starting rotations. Thank you for playing your damn hearts out against a physical Michigan State team in the Big Ten Tournament. You literally gave your teeth, tendons and careers to the cause. It was something special and made me proud to be a fan.
So for these few hours I’m going to fret, but I’m also going to thoroughly take in the experience of being one of the better teams in the nation. This is awesome, and I want more.
Now, let’s go bash in some Raider faces.