ESPN: Biggest surprises and disappointments of the 2020-21 college basketball season (Surprises: The state of Minnesota takes over college basketball)

BleedGopher

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per ESPN:

Surprises
The state of Minnesota takes over college basketball

At some point during your first conversation with Minnesotans, they'll ask you to name your favorite Prince album. (Answer: "Sign o' the Times.") This year, they also might ask if you know about the local products who've made an impact on the college basketball scene -- men's and women's -- this season. Freshman Paige Bueckers (Hopkins, Minnesota) entered the week averaging 18.0 points per game for an undefeated UConn women's team. Gonzaga's Jalen Suggs (St. Paul) could become a consensus first-team All-American and a top-five pick in the NBA draft. The No. 1 high school prospect, Chet Holmgren (Minneapolis), is also a Minnesotan. And the Minnesota Golden Gophers have manufactured what has arguably been the most surprising run in men's college basketball this season.

Minnesota coach Richard Pitino, the subject of perennial hot seat rumors, has led his team to a 10-2 start, with wins over Iowa, Michigan State and Ohio State leading to a Top 25 ranking. Marcus Carr (22.1 PPG) is one of four players averaging double figures for the Gophers. All of this comes after the unofficial Big Ten media preseason poll picked Minnesota to finish 11th, one year after star Daniel Oturu turned pro. Hockey? That's old news. Minnesota looks like a serious threat in the Big Ten title race, and this state is all about Purple Rain and basketball now.


Go Gophers!!
 

noamfromm

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per ESPN:

Surprises
The state of Minnesota takes over college basketball

At some point during your first conversation with Minnesotans, they'll ask you to name your favorite Prince album. (Answer: "Sign o' the Times.") This year, they also might ask if you know about the local products who've made an impact on the college basketball scene -- men's and women's -- this season. Freshman Paige Bueckers (Hopkins, Minnesota) entered the week averaging 18.0 points per game for an undefeated UConn women's team. Gonzaga's Jalen Suggs (St. Paul) could become a consensus first-team All-American and a top-five pick in the NBA draft. The No. 1 high school prospect, Chet Holmgren (Minneapolis), is also a Minnesotan. And the Minnesota Golden Gophers have manufactured what has arguably been the most surprising run in men's college basketball this season.

Minnesota coach Richard Pitino, the subject of perennial hot seat rumors, has led his team to a 10-2 start, with wins over Iowa, Michigan State and Ohio State leading to a Top 25 ranking. Marcus Carr (22.1 PPG) is one of four players averaging double figures for the Gophers. All of this comes after the unofficial Big Ten media preseason poll picked Minnesota to finish 11th, one year after star Daniel Oturu turned pro. Hockey? That's old news. Minnesota looks like a serious threat in the Big Ten title race, and this state is all about Purple Rain and basketball now.


Go Gophers!!
Gophers are ranked 1st for the first time in five years --- old news lol
 

Gopher_In_NYC

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per ESPN:

Surprises
The state of Minnesota takes over college basketball

At some point during your first conversation with Minnesotans, they'll ask you to name your favorite Prince album. (Answer: "Sign o' the Times.") This year, they also might ask if you know about the local products who've made an impact on the college basketball scene -- men's and women's -- this season. Freshman Paige Bueckers (Hopkins, Minnesota) entered the week averaging 18.0 points per game for an undefeated UConn women's team. Gonzaga's Jalen Suggs (St. Paul) could become a consensus first-team All-American and a top-five pick in the NBA draft. The No. 1 high school prospect, Chet Holmgren (Minneapolis), is also a Minnesotan. And the Minnesota Golden Gophers have manufactured what has arguably been the most surprising run in men's college basketball this season.

Minnesota coach Richard Pitino, the subject of perennial hot seat rumors, has led his team to a 10-2 start, with wins over Iowa, Michigan State and Ohio State leading to a Top 25 ranking. Marcus Carr (22.1 PPG) is one of four players averaging double figures for the Gophers. All of this comes after the unofficial Big Ten media preseason poll picked Minnesota to finish 11th, one year after star Daniel Oturu turned pro. Hockey? That's old news. Minnesota looks like a serious threat in the Big Ten title race, and this state is all about Purple Rain and basketball now.


Go Gophers!!
Love the love - the corner is being turned this year and the perception is being changed.
 
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LakerFan

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Gophers are ranked 1st for the first time in five years --- old news lol
We have this discussion with my friends all the time. Even though this is the state of hockey, Gophers are undefeated through 10 games first time in 80 years, there is still more overall buzz in town about the gophers men's bb looking really good.

There are more hockey fans here than almost anywhere else, it's just that that number is still far less than how many basketball fans there are here. The ratio is better but more people watch a televised weekday gopher basketball games than watch a weekends worth of gopher hockey games.
 

Otis

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If the Hockey team was good we could have this debate.

But, Basketball has always seemed to draw more interest than Hockey even back when both were very good.
 

tmvander

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If the hockey team still played in the WCHA...

As a casual Gopher hockey fan I can say playing in a weaker and less storied hockey conference has personally waned my interest in the team until closer to the NCAA tourney.
Yeah I kind of quit watching them outside of flipping channels when they left the WCHA.
 

Otis

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They should of never left the WCHA, UND, and UMD behind! B1G mistake!
 

short ornery norwegian

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I would say that Hockey fans are - generally - more intense about their sport.
But there are more Basketball fans than Hockey fans.

If the Gopher BB team is playing well, they could pack the Barn. If they weren't playing well, a lot of the casual fans stayed away.

for Hockey, the die-hards went to every game. Then, the breakup of the WCHA and the big bump in ticket prices and mandatory donations gutted the Gopher fan base.
 
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Thanks for posting- that was enjoyable. I didn’t click the link, but let me guess: Myron didn’t write this?
 

noamfromm

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If the Hockey team was good we could have this debate.

But, Basketball has always seemed to draw more interest than Hockey even back when both were very good.
Is the bold a joke?
 

Otis

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Is the bold a joke?
Not a joke.

Good for Minnesota in hockey is akin to good for Alabama in football. Are they ranked in the top 5? 2? Ahead of North Dakota?

Have they got the B1G championship locked up in January?

These are what Minnesota hockey used to be known for. Not competing with St. Cloud and Mankato State for splits and hoping to beat Penn State.

IGNORE ABOVE

10-0 Gophers are #1 and look to have the B1G in control. So looks like the coaching hire may have been the right move.

I take it all back.

However,

The next highest rated team in the B1G is 5-5. Gophers have an all-B1G schedule with no games against UND, UMD, SCSU or Minnesota State, all of which are ranked in the top 15.

So that top ranking is built on beating B1G hockey and Arizona State. Woog would be impressed.
 
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noamfromm

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Not a joke.

Good for Minnesota in hockey is akin to good for Alabama in football. Are they ranked in the top 5? 2? Ahead of North Dakota?

Have they got the B1G championship locked up in January?

These are what Minnesota hockey used to be known for. Not competing with St. Cloud and Mankato State for splits and hoping to beat Penn State.

IGNORE ABOVE

10-0 Gophers are #1 and look to have the B1G in control. So looks like the coaching hire may have been the right move.

I take it all back.

However,

The next highest rated team in the B1G is 5-5. Gophers have an all-B1G schedule with no games against UND, UMD, SCSU or Minnesota State, all of which are ranked in the top 15.

So that top ranking is built on beating B1G hockey and Arizona State. Woog would be impressed.
The top ranking has nothing to do with ASU as they just swept them and have been first in the polls for about a month.

You want them to have the conference championship locked up already, which would mean the rest of the conference is terrible. But then cudgel them with the same metric.

In one breath we shouldn't hope to split with Mankato and St Cloud and then you follow that with lamenting we don't play them.

Lastly, the number one ranking has as much to do with who we beat as how we beat them. LaFontaine has let in 9 goals in 9 games, but I wouldn't expect you to know that as you seem quite uninformed in this area.
 

Otis

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The top ranking has nothing to do with ASU as they just swept them and have been first in the polls for about a month.

You want them to have the conference championship locked up already, which would mean the rest of the conference is terrible. But then cudgel them with the same metric.

In one breath we shouldn't hope to split with Mankato and St Cloud and then you follow that with lamenting we don't play them.

Lastly, the number one ranking has as much to do with who we beat as how we beat them. LaFontaine has let in 9 goals in 9 games, but I wouldn't expect you to know that as you seem quite uninformed in this area.
I admit, I have quit on Gopher hockey.
It's just not fun anymore without the WCHA rivalries.
 

noamfromm

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I admit, I have quit on Gopher hockey.
It's just not fun anymore without the WCHA rivalries.
I'm more than with you that I would like to still be in the WCHA, but I would much rather stay in the Big Ten in every other sport and be forced into the hockey conference than the other way around. I hope you come back to the team as it seems Bob has got the boys on track.
 

Otis

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I'm more than with you that I would like to still be in the WCHA, but I would much rather stay in the Big Ten in every other sport and be forced into the hockey conference than the other way around. I hope you come back to the team as it seems Bob has got the boys on track.
Living in Maryland its hard to get into hockey. Despite the Capitals.

It would really help if the Badgers could get their hockey act together and get the remaining consistent hockey rivalry heated back up.

Favorite Gopher Hockey Rivalries in order:
1. North Dakota Fighting Sioux
2. Wisconsin Badgers
3. UMD Bulldogs
4. St. Cloud State - not quite as historic but Bob would help
 

gopherguy15

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Not a joke.

Good for Minnesota in hockey is akin to good for Alabama in football. Are they ranked in the top 5? 2? Ahead of North Dakota?

Have they got the B1G championship locked up in January?

These are what Minnesota hockey used to be known for. Not competing with St. Cloud and Mankato State for splits and hoping to beat Penn State.
No offense, but you are sounding like UCLA and Indiana fans. It's been decades for both, and they still don't understand that John Wooden and Bob Knight are not walking through that door again. Just because we were dominant back then doesn't mean that we'll be that dominant again.

This thread is definitely getting off-topic, but I agree with the WCHA talk. I don't know of a single friend that follows the hockey team closely anymore because of the move to the Big Ten. It's unbelievable how many fans they lost.
 
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No offense, but you are sounding like UCLA and Indiana fans. It's been decades for both, and they still don't understand that John Wooden and Bob Knight are not walking through that door again. Just because we were dominant back then doesn't mean that we'll be that dominant again.

This thread is definitely getting off-topic, but I agree with the WCHA talk. I don't know of a single friend that follows the hockey team closely anymore because of the move to the Big Ten. It's unbelievable how many fans they lost.
I miss the games against UND. Couldn't stomach ever losing to them, and I'll admit my interest waned for a time.

But I think long term, the B1G conference will be good for college hockey.
 

MaxyJR1

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MN basketball is really good and Championship Saturday at Target Center has really started to draw large crowds to the championship games. I think if Chet comes to MN and has a good 1 year, it could really change things for Pitino locally. Our bigs seem to develop pretty when under Pitino. If Carr gets drafted that will only help. I just need to see Pitino turn out back to back good seasons.

Hockey is also going in a good direction. They were playing well at the end of last season and they carried it into 2020-21. Three defensemen on the national jr team that won gold. We'll see what postseason brings.
 

coolhandgopher

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We have this discussion with my friends all the time. Even though this is the state of hockey, Gophers are undefeated through 10 games first time in 80 years, there is still more overall buzz in town about the gophers men's bb looking really good.

There are more hockey fans here than almost anywhere else, it's just that that number is still far less than how many basketball fans there are here. The ratio is better but more people watch a televised weekday gopher basketball games than watch a weekends worth of gopher hockey games.
I moved from central to southeastern MN at the end of 6th grade. During my elementary school years, we lived 45 minutes from the Cities and I was a huge North Stars fan, as they were broadcast on Channel 9 frequently (it was a good period for the team too-early '80s-Cicarrelli, Bobby Smith, Gilles Meloche era), but once we moved, that was the end of viewing hockey for me. In both places, hockey on the prep level didn't exist-we lived and were surrounded by small towns where basketball was the sport in the winter, unless you were a grappler.

Unless you grew up/live in the Cities or northern MN, hockey is a blip on the radar of most Minnesota sports fans, IMO.
 

WilliamsArenaGuy

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I moved from central to southeastern MN at the end of 6th grade. During my elementary school years, we lived 45 minutes from the Cities and I was a huge North Stars fan, as they were broadcast on Channel 9 frequently (it was a good period for the team too-early '80s-Cicarrelli, Bobby Smith, Gilles Meloche era), but once we moved, that was the end of viewing hockey for me. In both places, hockey on the prep level didn't exist-we lived and were surrounded by small towns where basketball was the sport in the winter, unless you were a grappler.

Unless you grew up/live in the Cities or northern MN, hockey is a blip on the radar of most Minnesota sports fans, IMO.
SW Minnesota. Basketball rules. Hockey is nothing.
 

builtbadgers

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Seems like hockey produces a great many players and programs and in a lot of places bigger crowds. State tourney is a way bigger deal. See many states that have better basketball prospects, bigger crowds a more passionate basketball culture.
 

USAF

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I'll wager "disappointment" Michigan State finishes ahead of "surprise" Minnesota in the B1G tbis year.

Takers?
 
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