Read my full story on Minnesota's 96-90 win at Michigan State here.
Three quick observations before I go get my luxurious three hours of sleep:
It's called growth, people. OK, let's not make too much of it. The Gophers still have plenty of flaws, that much is obvious, and have put themselves in a hole this season with lots of missed chances. But one statistic is telling: in conference play, Minnesota has played nine games that have been decided by six points or fewer. The Gophers lost the first six games. After Thursday's huge victory -- first time Minnesota has won at Michigan State since 1997 by the way -- they've gone 3-1 since then. That's meaningful, and beneficial for the players that will still be around next year.
NIT? Probably happening at this point. I know you all have been on the edges of your seats, waiting to get the nod that the Little Dance could potentially welcome back its cinderella, a Gophers team that has made it to the championship game twice in the last three years. I know, I know, try to calm yourself. Minnesota now has two pretty strong road wins -- at Iowa and at Michigan State -- and oddly much better resume in that regard than last year, which -- along with the Gophers' history in this thing -- will probably enough to get the nod in spite of the lack of ranked wins and a sub-par RPI for a power conference team. Go pop champagne bottles now.
Carlos Morris, how you baffle thee. Some nights, coach Richard Pitino probably doesn't want Morris on the team. Others, he probably wishes Morris had three more years. Actually, the sentiment probably varies from possession-to-possession because, well, you never know what what the JUCO transfer is going to do. Sometimes he throws up shots with all kinds of hands in faces. Sometimes he makes it and everyone's like "...OK." Sometimes he does that with two seconds left in a game to bring it to overtime, and sometimes he misses the extra point and still nobody really cares because wow, what a shot. Does all of this make sense? It should if you watch Morris enough and you understand how tired I am. Anyway, he was clutch tonight, and a huge part of Minnesota's win and justified his recruitment as much as any one game can do such a thing.