ADVERTISEMENT

Monday (Gophers vs. UCLA thoughts) edition: Wha' Happened?

  • Blog Post by: Michael Rand
  • March 18, 2013 - 11:51 AM

Photo of Selection Sunday via the U of M

Photo of Selection Sunday via the U of M

Contrary to their rather subdued public appearance after Sunday's selection show, the Gophers men's basketball players at least looked excited in the moment -- as captured by the U of M's Eric Miller. And you know what: Why shouldn't they be?

Once you are in the NCAA tournament, anything can happen. And if the committee deemed you worthy of being in it, you shouldn't have to apologize to anyone. To that end, three thoughts:

1) Iowa fans complaining about being left out should remember the Hawkeyes played a crazy easy schedule, including the softest Big Ten schedule imaginable in this unbalanced conference world. The Gophers would have gone at least 9-9 against Iowa's conference slate. Body of work means something -- and should mean something -- and the Gophers' was simply much better. The two teams split head-to-head matchups. Iowa didn't beat a top-25 RPI team, going 0-6. Iowa has a bright future. But Minnesota actually did deserve it more this year.

2) The Gophers are three-point favorites over UCLA in Vegas, and are one of only two lower-seeded teams to be favored in the opening games. Minnesota is also 100-to-1 to win it all. Illinois, which is a higher seed at No. 7, is 200-to-1. Just goes to show that getting a No. 11 seed isn't the worst thing. Minnesota can avoid GREAT teams until at least the Sweet 16. Not saying the Gophers will beat UCLA and Florida. But they certainly could.

3) How about this lineup on Friday: Gophers women's hockey NCAA semifinal at 5 p.m.; Gophers men's hockey in the Final Five semis (quite possibly against North Dakota) at 7 p.m.; and Gophers hoops in the NCAA tourney at 9 p.m. (on truTV). Good night to have a party -- or, if you are the college sports editor, a rough night of work. *Sad trombone*

 

© 2014 Star Tribune