Go far, far away.
Have you heard that the Timberwolves have turned their season around in a secret plan to draft Tyler Hansbrough without having to make any silly trades or revealing Kevin McHale’s secret plan of stocking a team full of stocky, white, undersized power forwards who can’t jump.
Surely you are more of hockey fan. This is the state of hockey after all. Wouldn’t you rather watch the Wild, or play the game yourself? For you fans of ER and Gray’s Anatomy, you can even dive head first into Don Lucia’s mystery illness.
Speaking of ice, there is always ice fishing. Go sit on a bucket in the middle of the lake, drink a beer, put others at risk when you decide to drive your truck over open water.
Minneapolis has plenty of good restaurants, great theater, and a world-class orchestra. Maybe you would rather immerse yourself in culture and food this winter, and enjoy the finer things in life. You could even go the Spam museum.
Just don’t pay attention to the Gophers. Pretend they don’t exist. Act like they were contracted, or that Dan Monson is still the coach. Better yet, pretend that the NCAA’s abolition of the 1997 season continues to today.
Sure the Gophers are off to their best start in years. Yes, they are on pace to make the NCAA tournament. So what if they are the only bright spot in an ever bleak season of sports. But please, please, don’t give this team any attention, because attention is their worst enemy.
Ever since Minnesota’s then monumental upset of Louisville, the hype surrounding the Gophers has been growing. Tubby Smith is the favorite for coach of the year. Al Nolen is supposedly gaining interest from NBA teams, and The Barn is once again consistently full. But as soon as the Gophers appear ready to take that next step, to completely take over the town in a way that a team hasn’t really done since 1991, they come up short.
First it was the loss to Michigan State. They came in undefeated. Forty minutes later they were anything but that. The Gophers were over-hyped. They didn’t deserve their ranking. They would soon fall apart and return to the middle of the Big Ten at best. Minnesota loves a loser, and they had another one.
Then something strange happened. They beat Ohio State, somehow beat Iowa, pulverized Penn State, and won at Wisconsin in miraculous fashion for the first time since many of the current Gophers were in pre-school. They hype returned. Everyone cared again. After Louisville beat #1 Pittsburgh, the Gophers were expected to jump towards the top ten in the latest polls. Then Northwestern happened.
The Gophers have a success problem. Maybe they believe the hype and think that their mere presence will bring about a win. After the events in Madison last week, this isn’t totally irrational. Maybe they aren’t used to all the attention and just choked. Maybe they aren’t used to their opponents circling the Gophers on their schedule.
Its hard to prepare for success. The only way to get used to winning is to actually win, something that hasn’t exactly happened for the Gophers in the last ten years. Tubby Smith could tell his players to pretend they are the best team in the country, but how would that help?
After the loss to Northwestern there is once again plenty of room on the Gopher bandwagon. If they can’t win at Northwestern, how can they even win a game in the NIT? Why worry about the Gophers when you can worry about the weather?
I say keep that attitude. Don’t give the Gophers a chance. Tell everyone “I told you so” and that the Gophers are as bad as ever, or if you prefer, pretend they don’t exist. The last thing this team needs is attention and hype.
The Gophers need a chip on their shoulder, and you Gopher fans aren’t helping.