Here is your dose of nuggets and news from various Gopher sports and elsewhere on this Thursday in April—really...you’re sure its April—ok I guess.
The Gophers have been dealing with this awful April weather just like the rest of us. Minnesota had a two game series at St. Louis cancelled due to weather earlier this week. Minnesota was supposed to host Penn State in their home opening series at Siebert Field this weekend—-yeah not so much. But Minnesota needed to play the series against the Nittany Lions for Big Ten standing purposes, so Minnesota looked into moving the games to a different site. First they looked at their indoor home—US Bank Stadium. Nope—USBS is booked with Monster Trucks this weekend. So Minnesota had to get desperate. This weekend’s series against Penn State will be held...at Purdue. Yep, you read that right.
Coach @Waz4412 salutes the #Purdue administration & @PUSportsTurf for helping making Alexander Field available to Minnesota & Penn State this weekend after weather forced the series to move from the Twin Cities. pic.twitter.com/2oEeHpAJR8— Purdue Baseball (@PurdueBaseball) April 5, 2018
Its pretty much a must sweep series for the Gophers. They currently sit at 18-10 overall and 2-1 in the Big Ten. Penn State is 7-15 overall and 1-5 in the Big Ten. A sweep by Minnesota will put them at the top of the conference standings and not give them a poor loss for NCAA Tournament purposes.
The weather has also been a thorn in the side of the Gopher softball team. Minnesota went 2-0 against Illinois last weekend in their home opening series including sophomore Amber Fiser’s first career no-hitter. However game three of the series was cancelled due to the weather. Minnesota will play three games against Michigan State in East Lansing this weekend—hopefully.
Randy Johnson of the Star Tribune has a great article on the Shaver family and their hockey broadcasting history. Al Shaver the patriarch broadcasted Minnesota North Stars games from the teams beginning in 1967 through their move to Dallas in 1993, and Wally Shaver is the current radio voice of Gopher Hockey and has been a part of Gopher broadcasts on tv and radio for a very long time. Wally’s son Jason is the TV play-by-play man for the Chicago Wolves in the AHL.
In the worst kept secret in some time, Gopher coach PJ Fleck has decided to move Seth Green from quarterback to tight end. Green had his debut practice there on Tuesday and while very raw instantly is one of the most athletic tight ends on the roster. He will have all summer to work on technique with the Gophers coaching staff and could make an impact this fall for Minnesota.
The coaching staffs for the Minnesota Spring Game have been announced. Here is the Maroon Staff:
Here is the Gold Staff:
The coaches has their draft for the spring game rosters on Wednesday, and of course PJ Fleck made it into a huge event. The rosters should be announced publicly soon:
We had an ELITE Spring Game draft today!! Stay tuned in the next few days for rosters!! Will you be wearing Maroon or Gold on April 14 at TCF Bank Stadium? #RTB #HYPRR #SkiUMah pic.twitter.com/lJ5QtbUCVw— P.J. Fleck (@Coach_Fleck) April 5, 2018
In case you missed when we got our tour of the new athletes village facilities, KFAN got their own tour earlier this week and put together a nice video recap.
Gopher Women’s Gymnastics
The Gophers will host one of six NCAA Regionals at Maturi Pavillion on Saturday afternoon. Minnesota is currently ranked #24 in the country and they will host #1 Oklahoma, #12 Kentucky, #13 Denver, Iowa and Iowa State at the meet. Additionally several all-around and event specialists from teams around the region will compete to try and earn a place to the NCAA Championships. The top two teams and the top two-all-around gymnasts not on a top two team along with each event winner will advance to the NCAA Championships held in St. Louis in two weeks. Minnesota freshman and Big Ten Freshman of the Year Lexi Ramler will try to qualify in the all-around competition and Gopher senior Ivy Lu will try and qualify in the uneven bars for the NCAA meet as it would be a fairly large upset for the Gophers to advance as a team. The meet will be streamed live for free at 4PM Saturday on BTN2Go.
Minnesota Men’s Gymnastics
The Gophers will compete this weekend at the Big Ten Championships in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Gophers are ranked #2 in the country. Minnesota will need to get past the defending Big Ten Champion and currently #3 nationally ranked Ohio State Buckeyes, and the #5 Michigan Wolverines to win their first Big Ten Championships since 1995. Friday night will be the preliminary competition which will also determine the team and all-around champion. Saturday the top ten finishers on each event from Friday will compete in the event championships. Minnesota will have several athletes looking to win individual honrs along with the team title. Shane Wiskus was named the Big Ten Gymnast of the Year earlier this week and will look for the all-around crown along with event titles. He has earned nine event titles and 33 podium finishes this season.
The Gophers are ranked No. 2 in the country on both vault and floor. Vault is their top scoring event with a 72.117 four-score average. They hold a 70.317 four-score average on floor.
Wiskus is No. 1 on floor in the whole NCAA with a 14.650 NQA. He is also ranked No. 3 on p-bars with a 14.317 NQA. Alex Wittenberg is in the top-10 on floor at No. 10 with a 14.183 NQA and is the defending Big Ten Champion.
Three Gophers are ranked in the top-10 on vault. Yaroslav Pochinka is second with a 14.867 NQA and has two of the top-five scores posted in the NCAA this season including a 15.100 on Senior Night. Wittenberg is No. 8 with a 14.550, Wiskus is No. 10 with a 14.533.
Both Friday and Saturday’s championship sessions will begin at 6 PM CDT and wil lair live on BTN.
Gopher Women’s Track and Field
Redshirt Senior Nicole Murphy was named the Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week after winning the javelin competition at the Ole Miss Classic last weekend. Murphy threw her second-best throw of her career at 56.17m to top the javelin field. Murphy dominated the competition, recording the top four throws and winning the competition by more than 10 meters ahead of teammate Ayesha Champagnie,
Murphy now ranks first in the Big Ten and third in the nation in the javelin this season. Her winning throw was the second longest in her career, short only of her throw of 56.35m at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials where she finished fifth.
The Gophers will compete in the Baylor Invitational in Waco, Texas this weekend.
It appears Gopher assistant coach Kimani Young will be leaving Minnesota and taking an assistant coach position with new UConn head coach Danny Hurley.
One name immediately brought up as a potential assistant candidate was former Gopher assistant and former Minneapolis DeLaSalle head coach Dave Thorson. Thorson was recently an assistant for Gopher alum Niko Medved at Drake this past season. Medved was hired after one season with the Bulldogs as the new head coach at Colorado State earlier in March. Now it appears Thorson will be joining him on his staff in Fort Collins taking him out of the Gopher possibilities.
Colorado State coach Niko Medved’s staff will include Dave Thorson, Ali Farokhmanesh and JR Blount, source told ESPN.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) April 5, 2018
One other name mentioned as a possibility was former Minnesota assistant coach Dan McHale who was fired after three seasons as the head coach of Eastern Kentucky in February. He may also be a candidate for the Evansville assistant coaching job:
Aces will announce asst. coaches at some point this week. Names I continue to hear most: Todd Lickliter and Stan Gouard. New name circling is Dan McHale.— Pat Hickey (@patmhickey) April 2, 2018
Nothing official, yet. None expected to be an associate HC. Unsure on DOBO.
Minnesota incoming freshman Daniel Oturu will represent Nigeria on the International team at the Nike Hoops Summit against Team USA and Tre Jones next weekend in Portland. Oturu’s parents are both from Nigeria. The last Gopher recruit to play in the game was Devoe Joseph back in 2008.
Other Random Nugz
HBO’s Joe Paterno movie airs this Saturday night with Al Pacino playing Joe Paterno. I’m sure all the Penn State fans will have rational responses to this one.
Do you like chicken wings? Do you live in the Twin Cities? The you are going to want to read this.