Let me try this, but don’t expect much in the way of complete sentences or proper punctuation. We are officially in uncharted territory and I am as close to being at a loss for words as possible. It is a very good thing this is in writing, the facial cramp resulting from a giant smile the last several minutes has rendered me speechless. All I know is that the Gophers somehow, someway, with their backs against the wall and the season on the line knocked off Michigan State, who has dominated the Gophers in recent years, in over time of all things, with the season on the line.
Heartbreak after heartbreak, blown lead after blown lead, this has been the most frustrating, heart wrenching painfully predictable season that has summed up every Minnesota sports cliche/curse, until now.
The Hoffarber shot a few years ago was great, but it didn’t matter. It moved the Gophers from a 8 seed in the NIT up to a 4 seed. This win might have nudged the Gophers on the right side of the bubble. More importantly, it was the first win of the Tubby Smith era against Michigan State, the Big Ten standard bearer, and national runner-up a year ago.
It is almost impossible to count how many times the Gophers gave the game away, only to take it right back. Devoe Joseph nearly gave the game away in regulation with his refusal to pass, only to keep on not passing and knocking down a long clutch three pointer in overtime. Lawrence Westbrook was equal parts clutch and abhorrently reckless, only to put the game away with clutch free throws. Blake Hoffarber hit the threes, grabbed important rebounds, but it was his balance and strong pivot foot, found nowhere near a box score, that allowed him to get the ball to Paul Carter and Paul Carter to the line. And at the top of the list, a big kid from a small town. Colton Iverson played the best game of his career so far, and maybe ever (and I am expecting big things next year from him).
From dead in the water to floating on a bubble. This season hasn’t gone the way anyone expected. So why not continue to expect the unexpected. The Gophers might be dancing.