Big Ten

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Big Ten expansion brings new challenges to women’s hoops

Big Ten women’s basketball — not football — has been the most impacted sport ever since the conference first expanded in 1990. First, it was Penn State, then Nebraska in 2011, and now Maryland and Rutgers, who this summer officially became members. “This is a power conference,” declares Rutgers Coach C. Vivian Stringer, the grande dame of Big Ten women’s hoops and women’s basketball’s winningest active coach. “Arguably, we are the best women’s basketball conference in the country,” says Nikita Lowry Dawkins, in her first year as Minnesota assistant coach and recruiting coordinator, in a recent MSR interview. She has both played (Ohio State,

1985-89) and coached in the conference (her alma mater and at Michigan). Continue Reading →

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A lot of planning goes into sports tournaments

 

 

 

 

 

 

The inaugural Big Ten men’s hockey tournament held last week in St. Paul provided many inaugural moments, surprises and disappointments, not unlike other post-season events. All but one of the five tournament games were decided by a goal, including last Saturday’s inaugural championship game, won 5-4 by Wisconsin. The first two contests went to overtime as well as the title game. Only

Minnesota’s 3-1 loss to eventual tourney runners-up Ohio State had a wider winning margin. Continue Reading →

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March madness continues

 

 

The National Invitational Tournament (NIT) has a rich storied history dating back to pre-World War II days. The Women’s NIT since 1998 has tradition as well — just not as long as the men’s. However, present-day hoops fans and snobbish media types give both the Rodney Dangerfield treatment:

No respect for either of them. While there are those who only see one tournament, and while the men’s NCAA annually gets marathon King Kong coverage and barely Timberbell-like coverage on the women’s side, this reporter gives four-fold attention to the two bigger tournaments, as well as the NIT and WNIT. Both men and women Gopher squads this week are in their respective NIT sweet 16 — the men play Southern Mississippi Tuesday at Williams Arena, and the women go to South Dakota State on Thursday. Continue Reading →

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NCAA shot still pending for Gophers women (updated)

 

INDIANAPOLIS — The waiting game is now underway. Minnesota (20-12) is .500 (1-1) thus far this post season. The women’s basketball team will know this Monday whether or not their proverbial “body of work” has earned them their first NCAA at-large berth since 2009. Nearly everyone who the MSR talked to here in Indianapolis last week thinks they have:

“I think Minnesota deserves to be in the NCAA Tournament,” says Nebraska Coach Connie Yori, whose league tourney champion Huskers twice defeated the Gophers this season, including a 13-point win in the Big Ten quarterfinals March 7. “With the strength of our league and their RPI (38), I think they need to be in the NCAA Tournament.”

The Gophers are 7-3 in their last 10 games, including a first-round overtime win after being down 16 points in the second half over Wisconsin. Continue Reading →

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Nielsen report reveals racial divide in sports media viewership

Blacks, Latinos and Asians on average spent more time visiting sports sites on the computer and watching sports videos on the computer last year than the U.S. average, says a new Nielsen report. Nielsen’s 2013 Year in Sports Media Report found that “television is not the only medium where sports consumption is on the rise. The average amount of time spent visiting sports sites and accessing sports content on mobile phones in April 2013 increased by double digits compared to 2012.”

It also showed a 10-year growth in sports programming from 35 billion available hours in 2003 to over 116 billion in 2013. Sports consumption by Blacks, Latinos and Asians, however, fluctuated last year in the following three categories examined last year, according to the Nielsen report.  

Visiting sports sites on a computer (hours:minutes)

• April 2013: U.S. (1:25); Blacks (2:12); Asians (1:47); Whites (1:19); Latinos (1:02)

• September 2013: U.S. (1:45); Asians (1:56); Whites (1:47); Blacks (1:45); Latinos (1:17)

 

Watching video on a sports site on a computer

• April 2013: U.S. (35 mins.); Blacks (46 mins.); Asians (43 mins.); Latinos (36 mins.)

• September 2013: U.S. (36 mins.); Asians (1:05); Blacks (47 mins.); Whites (33 mins.); Latinos (30 mins.)

 

Accessing sports content on a smart phone

April 2013: U.S. (1:08); Latinos (1:31); Whites (1:10); Asians (1:00); Blacks (44 mins.)

September 2013: U.S. (1:32); Latinos (1:45); Asians (1:42); Whites (1:35); Blacks (1:15)

 

Watching sports on TV

The Nielsen report also broke down fan viewing demographics by race/ethnicity. Continue Reading →

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March Madness begins

 

 

Let’s be perfectly clear from the start — this and all subsequent columns are March Madness cliché-free. We won’t be talking about dancing or getting tickets punched here. The Gophers women basketball team plays Thursday in the 2014 Big Ten women’s tournament in Indianapolis — they face 11th-seeded Wisconsin at approximately 8 pm local time. Minnesota (19-11, 8-8 Big Ten) as the sixth seed goes into Indy on a modest two-game winning streak, but more importantly, especially for further post-season considerations, the Gophers have won seven of their last 11 contests. Although the team finished with a positive conference record for the first time since 2009, from now on U of M’s “second season” record must stay above .500. Continue Reading →

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College sports spending per student far surpasses academic spending

Division I college sports spending has reached out-of-sight proportions while academic spending remains stagnant, according to a new Knight Commission college sports database. A close look at the numbers raises questions about who or what is being subsidized by athletic cash-cows like football. Launched in December, the database “compares trends in spending on core academic activities with spending on athletics in public Division I institutions” over a seven-year period (2005-11). Athletic spending per player “grew at a faster rate [as much as 12 times faster] than academic spending per student” at only three percent. The Knight database showed the University of Minnesota’s instructional spending per full-time student grew 13 percent from $18,266 in 2005 to $20,688 in 2011, but athletic spending per player rose 78 percent from over $61,000 in 2005 to almost $110,000 in 2011. Continue Reading →

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Coaches, teammates help Texas native adjust to North Country

 

 

 

 

 

 
Spotlight on the Gophers 100

There are approximately 100 African American and other student-athletes of color this school year at the University of Minnesota. In an occasional series throughout the 2013-14 school and sports year, the MSR will highlight these players. This week: Freshman Gopher basketball guard Stabresa McDaniel

 

Stabresa McDaniel is used to getting “the most attention” as one of six siblings in her family. “I actually like being the youngest,” she admits. “My older siblings say I’m spoiled — I get away with a lot of things.”

Leaving both the Lone Star State and her family hasn’t been as hard as one might expect for the youngest McDaniel. Continue Reading →

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