It is with profound sadness that I write that there will be no game review for Minnesota’s monumental win over the North Carolina Tar Heels. There may one be in a few days, but as of now I have not seen the game. In a surreal turn of events, I found myself in the front row of the student section at Cameron Indoor Stadium cheering for the Tar Heels’ biggest rival. It isn’t every day you can find your self in such a situation sans sleeping on a concrete surface in a tent, even if it meant missing one of the bigger Gopher games in recent memory.
I don’t know much about how the Gophers managed to win. From the box score I know that Blake Hoffarber had another huge game, crushing any remnants of the mythology surrounding what he can accomplish against whom. We are witnessing one of the great leaps that any Gopher has made between junior and senior seasons, and we may very well see his image in the rafters of Williams Arena in the not too distant future. From the box score I see that the other local boy and senior captain Al Nolen did just enough on offense, and more than enough on defense to show he understands what is expected of him as leader. I can see that Ralph Sampson continues to play with confidence. Colton Iverson found some confidence, and that Trevor Mbakwe continues to play with the joy that can only be earned by a season of fear and sorrow. I know from a text from a friend back in Minnesota that Rodney Williams confounded the nation with his athleticism and from a facebook message from a former coworker that in a one minute sequence Maurice Walker fully demonstrated both his positive and negative potential, but ultimately played a key roll in the victory.
I also know that with five minutes left in Duke’s thrashing of Colgate, the iphones and Droids came out, and word spread that not only was North Carolina on the ropes, but there were three Minnesotans standing in the front row of the graduate student section under the Colgate basket, and those three suddenly had a few hundred friends they had never met. Not a whole lot of basketball watching took place at that end of the court, unless you count the eyes watching the final seconds tick away far away in Puerto Rico as the Gophers did just enough to hang on. With one minute left in the Duke game, one of the Cameron Crazies wrote the final Gopher score on a large white-board, and the stadium erupted. After the requisite chant of “Go to hell Carolina go to hell” the chanting quickly transformed into “Min-Ne-So-Tah.” I may not have had the opportunity to see the game, but I didn’t miss the opportunity to cheer on the team.
Don’t believe me? And why would you?
Tomorrow it is off to Chapel Hill to get our picture taken in front of the Dean Dome while wearing our Gopher gear. You just have to make the most out of this kind of opportunity.