STrib: Gophers seek to make NCAA tourney a habit

BleedGopher

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per Marcus:

Getting into the NCAA tournament for the second time in three years helped Richard Pitino meet the expectations that the sixth-year Gophers coach, fans and the administration had for his basketball team this season.

Saturday’s second-round loss to Michigan State and the untimely injury to forward Jordan Murphy was a bittersweet ending to the season — and a historic career for Murphy.

The All-Big Ten forward and fellow senior captain Dupree McBrayer left the Gophers in a much better place than when they were freshmen. Winning the U’s first NCAA tourney game in six years set a new standard for the program.

“I’m really, really proud of what our guys did this year; it’s the second time we’ve won a tournament game in 29 years,” Pitino said. “Excited about these guys moving forward.”

Two years ago, Pitino had a 16-game turnaround to make the NCAA tourney. His 22-14 record this year was a seven-win improvement, but can the program avoid another drop-off? The next step for the Gophers is making a habit of success and winning in the NCAA tournament.

“At the end of the day, winning is what sells your program more than anything,” Pitino said. “You see an arena that’s filled with Gopher fans. That’s what playing college basketball is all about. You see these players are getting better and getting that exposure. That’s a dream come true.”

The 2019-20 team could have a much different look with Amir Coffey and Gabe Kalscheur joined by transfers Marcus Carr, Payton Willis and four-star recruit Tre’ Williams in the backcourt. Daniel Oturu, Jarvis Omersa and Eric Curry when recovered from foot surgery will compete in the frontcourt, but inside depth will be filled in recruiting in the spring.

Getting back to this point to make an NCAA tournament run is Minnesota’s goal next season, but Pitino’s biggest hole is replacing one of the program’s all-time greats.

Back spasms limited Murphy to just four minutes in Saturday’s loss to the Spartans. Omersa had just two points, but he showed promise in other areas with a career-high seven rebounds and three steals in 24 minutes.

“Obviously, Jordan Murphy, losing him, that’s hard to replace,” Pitino said. “As hard as tonight was, hopefully it helps build Jarvis’ confidence. He hasn’t played a lot, but I do think he can take that performance. I think he did a lot of great things. He played great defense. He played hard, rebounded the ball well. Obviously, continue to build off that.”

http://www.startribune.com/gophers-seek-to-make-ncaa-tourney-a-habit/507597952/

Go Gophers!!
 

EG#9

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“I’m really, really proud of what our guys did this year; it’s the second time we’ve won a tournament game in 29 years,” Pitino said. “Excited about these guys moving forward.”

How does this nonsense help anything? Why would you advertise something that makes your program look minor league and is not true? It's like that ridiculous stat the GopherFootball twitter account put up when Claeys won 9 games...completely ignoring NATIONAL TITLES that were won by the Gophers when the team didn't play as many total games. The irony of Richard Pitino not counting an NCAA Final Four when HIS DAD IS RICK PITINO is rich.
 

PlayRoyce

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Right, my thoughts exactly when I heard that. Seemed to be self promoting at the expense of the university and fans.
 

GoGophersUMN

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“I’m really, really proud of what our guys did this year; it’s the second time we’ve won a tournament game in 29 years,” Pitino said. “Excited about these guys moving forward.”

How does this nonsense help anything? Why would you advertise something that makes your program look minor league and is not true? It's like that ridiculous stat the GopherFootball twitter account put up when Claeys won 9 games...completely ignoring NATIONAL TITLES that were won by the Gophers when the team didn't play as many total games. The irony of Richard Pitino not counting an NCAA Final Four when HIS DAD IS RICK PITINO is rich.
Part of Pitino's job is to sell the program to fans and recruits. 2 times in 29 years makes this year sound more special and makes it sound like the program has more momentum than including the years the NCAA doesn't count.

The second official win would have been more accurate but his choice of wording really matters. This is probably the highest point the team has been in the past 29 years. This is a better situation than 6 years ago because we didn't just fire our coach for an unproven coach and I don't think the 90s counts because while it was much higher at one point, it isn't now for most people. Maybe for people who were fans back then but not for the younger fans and certainly not for recruits who weren't alive for the final four appearance.

It's no different than when colleges claim they are the xth best school because one out of many rankings rated them that high. Even if the language is imprecise the point is there and it helps build excitement. Would you rather play for a school that is the best they've been in 25 year or a school that was once very good that has had a history of scandals and isn't anywhere close to approaching their peak before the scandals were uncovered? Both describe us but one sounds much more appealing.
 
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