Games like last night don’t come around very often, either for fans or for a beat writer like myself.
So let’s stay wrapped up in it for just a little longer.
- Above: in the last few weeks, I have been slammed in the face with a passed ball in shootaround, and now nearly trampled in a court-rushing (although I will say, I prefer the second). The footage I have from that moment is priceless. Notice at the end, as I pan across the court with the camera, a fist enter out of nowhere to my left, and then me hitting the deck. What a job.
- My game story from last night (with a pic gallery).
- Watch full highlights of last night’s 77-73 Gophers win over No. 1 Indiana here.
- I recorded another CineSport video from the finally-emptied arena last night, discussing the win and its impact. Watch that here.
- Just Mbakwe’s brutal block of Cody Zeller at one point last night. It’s worth watching three or four times.
- Look back through USA today’s other No. 1 dethronings this season and decide if the Gophers win over the Hoosiers was best.
- Plus the best rushes of the season.
- Other videos of the Barn’s rush.
- When was the last court storming at Williams Arena? It came in 2002, against -- of course -- Indiana. From Twitter follower, @RandallRyder, supposedly the second-most recent rush was back in 1998.
- Coach Tubby Smith spoke with the media today to wrap up some thoughts on last night’s win.
Some quotes from Smith’s press conference:
“Every victory is a plus for the program, but getting a victory like last night is significant, probably a milestone for us.”
On what it can do for the team and the program: “It helps in a lot of ways – the morale of the team, for me, the belief that hey, we can do it fellas. I never really lost belief but it’s encouraging for our fanbase as well as other things. It helps in recruiting when kids see a positive – see the fans and see the floors being rushed like that.”
On the rushing: “I was really concerned that people jumping up on the court that might hurt themselves, like I have a couple times.”
On keeping the team balanced: “With this team, we had a good win against Wisconsin and we didn’t respond very well. So I’m just concerned. As I’ve said before – never get too high, never get too low, never get too discouraged, just make sure you keep balance in your life, and that’s what we try to preach to our players. When you get too high, you want to create that false sense of accomplishment, and when you get too low, you try to find ways to build yourself back up, and that can give you a false sense as well. So you can’t lie to yourself about what’s going on.”
- Smith said Greg Coleman and Christian Ponder both spoke to the team before the game. Ponder -- whose wife, ESPN’s Samantha Steele, was working the game – just showed up, Smith said, and made some comparisons to this year’s Vikings season end, and what the Gophers could do. My guess is that he conveniently left out the first-round exit in the playoffs.
- Smith reiterated that he’s used a sports psychologist (as the team did leading up to the Indiana game) every year that he’s been at Minnesota – and that it wasn’t a desperation move. At the same time, the coach recognized that it wasn’t same-old, same-old. “We do a test on the guys, and it’s a yearly thing,” he said. “But at that point in time, we were actually talking about something else … it was very beneficial.”
- Trevor Mbakwe playing possessed wasn’t the only Gophers change last night. Smith made some significant offensive adjustments as well, utilizing a flex offense – which the Gophers succeeded with last season in their NIT run – a little more, and effectively. The Gophers also took Andre Hollins off the ball some, handing Austin Hollins a bigger responsibility in the ball handling department. “He does have our best assist-to-turnover ratio,” Smith said of Austin. “We did do some strategic things, some back screening that we hadn’t done. We had some time to work on some offense that we hadn’t used in a while and I think that helped us, as well as getting Andre out in transition a little more, that was something we’d worked on.”
- Both Smith and the assistants are out hitting the recruiting trail today, attempting to capitalize on the big win. Unfortunately for the Gophers, no recruits were at last night's game.
- Smith noted that his shorter bench (he played only Elliott Eliason, Maverick Ahanmisi, Andre Ingram and a little bit of Mo Walker) was beneficial. "We kind of limited our rotation and that helped us some," he said. The bench combined for 16 points, 10 rebounds, a steal, a block, four assists and zero turnovers.