This is when we should be watching day 2 of the NCAA Tournament. Would the Gophers be participating? No. But not even that diminishes the Big Dance.
Here are some of the great Gopher games in the NCAA Tournament. It’s all we’ve got.
1997 Regional Final
Result: Gophers win 82-70
This was just a fantastic game. The Bruins were the 2-seed and led by Charles O’Bannon, JR Henderson, Jalani McCoy, Toby Bailey and Cameron Dollar running the point. Why is thi s game at the top of the list? It was a great game, a close game and it was the game that sent Minnesota to their only Final Four. Jo
UCLA was up 5 at half and extended that lead in the second half and it was essentially the Gopher bench who went on a 16-4 run to give Minnesota the lead. Then John Thomas, Sam Jacobson, Eric Harris and Courtney James checked in and the final 10 minutes were all Gophers.
I watched this game last night, I highly recommend you spend some time this weekend watching this gem.
1997 Sweet 16
Result: Gophers win 90-84
Working our way backwards we get to the Sweet 16 game against Clemson. This Tiger team was led by Greg Buckner and Terrell McIntyre with Rick Barnes roaming the sidelines before he moved on to Texas.
The Gopher dream season was nearly cut very short as they had to battle back and go into 2 overtimes before finishing off Clemson. Bobby Jackson scored 36 points while playing 49 minutes and Jacobson had 29 with no other Gopher in double figures.
Enjoy this Gopher classic.
1990 Regional Final
Opponent: 4-Georgia Tech
Result: Gophers lose
After upsetting Syracuse, the Gophers move on to the Regional Final against the 4-seeded Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. This Tech team had three guys averaging over 20 points per game in Kenny Anderson, Brian Oliver and Dennis Scott.
This one comes down to the end. With 7 seconds remaining Tech has a 1:1 and up 2. They miss the front end, Minnesota quickly advances the ball and Kevin Lynch gets a three off and ... I’ll let you watch it.
The 1989-90 Gopher team was coming off a surprising Sweet 16 run the year before as an 11-seed, before falling to Duke. But coming back was Willie Burton, Melvin Newbern, Kevin Lynch, Walter Bond, Richard Coffey and Jim Shikenjanski. This time they were a 6-seed. They snuck by UTEP in round 1, beat 14-Norhtern Iowa in round 2 and upset 2-Syracuse in the Sweet 16. This Georgia Tech team was a little too much, but a fun game.
I was only able to find the second half online.
Great Game, No YouTube
1990 Sweet 16
Result: Gophers win 82-75
Syracuse, the 2-seed in the Southeast Regional didn’t know what they were about to run in to. The Orange were led that season by Derrick Coleman, Billy Owens and Stephen Thompson. They held a 5-point lead at the half but cold shooting doomed the Orange. Anthony Scott was particularly cold, going 2/11 from three and Syracuse as a team only show 30% from deep.
Minnesota, on the other hand, only attempted 6 threes for the game and had 5 players in double figures, with Newbern leading the way with 20.