The first season of Big Ten men’s hockey is now history. It finished with Minnesota as regular season champs, Wisconsin as tournament champion, and three teams ranked among the nation’s top 12: No. 1 Minnesota, No. 6 Wisconsin and No. 12 Michigan. Continue Reading →
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 →
While local media types flew to a former Minnesota Timberwolves player in town, asking him once again what it’s like to play against his former team, this reporter opted instead to hang around a native Minneapolis player’s locker. Alan Anderson played his prep ball here, his college ball at Michigan State, and now is in his fifth NBA season with New Jersey. “I’m blessed,” admitted the 6’-6” guard/forward after his 11-point effort in a bad loss to the host Wolves. Anderson signed as a free agent with the Nets in July after one year in Toronto. He logged his “basketball years” in China, Russia, Croatia, Israel and Spain as well as in the NBA Development League. Continue Reading →
This week’s column features a perennial state boys’ basketball power off to a fast start, a former boys’ basketball state champion and top football prospect playing his final collegiate game, and a former boys’ basketball standout who returned home to face the Timberwolves in an NBA game.
St. Paul Johnson off to a fast start
Defending St. Paul City Conference boys’ basketball champion Johnson got off to a fast start in their season opener, defeating visiting Lakeville South 83-60 before a capacity crowd. PIERRE CONWELL, a 6’-3’ forward, led the way with 26 points, including a powerful two-hand dunk. Continue Reading →
The best football in town easily is being played on the campus of the University of Minnesota. I was at TCF Saturday to witness the 54th meeting between the Cornhuskers of Nebraska and the Gophers. After 16 straight losses dating back to 1963, the Gophers rallied from a 10-0 deficit and won their second straight game in the Big Ten 34-23, beating 25th-ranked Nebraska for the first time since 1960. Nebraska travels with a large following,
and it was clear that TCF Stadium had at least 15-20,000 Nebraska fans in the house. The Gophers’ success helped keep the Cornhusker fans quiet. Continue Reading →
Last week we looked at the high cost of attending a Vikings game, but is attending college football games significantly cheaper than pro football games? To quote Les McCann and Eddie Harris — compared to what? Using again Team Marketing Report’s Fan Cost Index (FCI), the average cost of a Gopher football game for tickets, food, parking and game souvenirs is around $400, nearly $50 cheaper than a Minnesota Vikings game. “I think we’re one of the lowest ticket prices in the Big Ten,” U of M Deputy Athletics Director David Benedict told the MSR last week. “Based on where we are in relation to our conference peers, we are very affordable because we are on the low end of the scale.”
We examined football single-game ticket prices at all 12 conference schools, as well as Maryland and Rutgers, who both are expected to join the Big Ten in 2014. Continue Reading →
New Big Ten league promises much — will it deliver?
By Charles Hallman
College sports in recent years have seen conferences either expand or implode both in football and basketball. Now it’s trickled down to men’s hockey. In what organizers called “an unprecedented day of college hockey discussions in the Twin Cities,” last week the two newest men’s hockey conferences held their respective media days September 19. “We’re ready to go in a new season and a new conference,” proclaimed U-M Coach Don Lucia in St. Continue Reading →
No playoffs since 2004 for the Timberwolves. For the Gophers, there have been no NCAA post-season victories since Tubby Smith took over the men’s basketball program. After back-to-back years in 2009-2010 when they did make the tournament, it’s been tough sledding for basketb1all in this state. The only glimmer of hope came last year when the Gophers did go 5-1 in the NIT as runner-up to Stanford. The Timberwolves made headlines this season by turning back the clock, deliberately composing a virtually all-White team for 2012-13. Continue Reading →
All 12 Big Ten women’s basketball squads begin conference play this week with a winning record. Minnesota (11-3) plays at Michigan State Thursday in East Lansing, then at Wisconsin next Sunday. Gopher Coach Pam Borton told the MSR after her squad’s double-overtime win over Creighton that she believes her squad’s non-conference schedule has readied them for what is to come. “I think we’re prepared,” she pointed out. “We’ve played a wide range of teams. We’ve seen a lot of different types of defenses and offenses, a lot of different styles. Continue Reading →