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Souhan blog: Two more observations from Senior Day

  • Blog Post by: Jim Souhan
  • March 10, 2014 - 11:05 AM

Wrote about Oto Osenieks' cool moment at Senior Day. A few other observations from the Gophers' blowout victory over Penn State:

-Richard Pitino had his team ready to play. The Gophers were all over Penn State from the start and thrived even with their best player, Andre Hollins, playing sparingly in the first half because of foul trouble

-Where did everybody go? Yesterday confirmed my long-held suspicion that there are more Gophers fans who will complain about coverage of their team than will show up for the games and act like loyal fans. It was Senior Day. Pitino has given the fan base an interesting product this season, and could still make the NCAA tournament. It was Senior Day for a good four-year player like Austin Hollins.

But as the clock wound down, many fans bolted for the exits. When Pitino had his seniors address the crowd, there wasn't much crowd left.

I never tell people how they should spend their sporting dollars, but I do find it strange that a fan would block off a Sunday afternoon for basketball, watch the home team win big, and leave before seeing players the fans assumedly care about are honored. Had a few long-time Gopher fans email me about this, one calling it ``disgusting.''

-Pitino hasn't accomplished anything particularly impressive yet. I figured this team would go 7-11, and he beat that projection by one game in a conference that isn't quite as good as I thought it would be.

What is impressive is the energy and optimism he has brought to the program. He gushed about his players yesterday. He admitted he should have played Maverick Ahanmisi more - how many college coaches invite criticism or admit mistakes? He has raved about Williams Arena and Gophers fans, whether he means it or not. He found a way to honor Osenieks at the end of the game without, as he said, ``showing up Penn State.''

The guy gets it, what it means to be a public figure, a leader, a winning salesman for his program. His kids obviously like him and play hard for him. If your expectations for this season were reasonable, you have to be impressed with the guy.

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I'll be on 1500ESPN at 12:15 with Mackey and Judd. You can follow me on Twitter at @Souhanstrib.

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