Ah, it’s just about that time of year, when we all get to see what shenanigans coach Tubby Smith brings out to the court.
No, I’m not making jokes about the strengths of this year’s team – they’ve got all the promise in the world this time, have do something with it! – just referencing the “Midnight Madness” antics Smith usually entertains with en route to getting the team off to its first official practice of the season.
Last year, Smith came out in a boxing robe and gloves. The year before, he was perched upon a maroon-plated motorcycle.
This year? Who knows – but the date has officially been set to Friday, October 12 and will begin at 7:30 p.m. for an autograph session.
Other features of the “Gopher All-Star Friday Night” will include a two-ball shooting competition, a dunk contest, a three-point shooting competition, a scrimmage and prize drawings with the main prize being a trip for two to the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, held at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas.
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From the Gophers’ perspective, any game they can gut out or steal is a big victory.
Through five games, Nebraska Omaha is playing at the third fastest pace in Division I college basketball. (And one of the Mavericks top players is a former Chaska star.)
The Gophers have collected 48 fouls in the last two games, and foul trouble contributed to Minnesota’s 81-68 loss to Texas Tech on Sunday.
The question now is whether Minnesota can move past a bad long weekend and pick up some steam through the rest of this month and next – or whether a not-so-easy slate between now and New Year's will put the Gophers on the path toward the basement.
The Gophers are young and inexperienced and while the future may be bright, the present is tenuous, at best.