Ben Johnson on scheduling St. Thomas as opponent: "I think we will stay away from that game"

Holy Man

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I'd like to see the numbers on this. Not sure it's as high as you seem to think
There are a lot people in town who have degrees from both, present company included. With the d1 d3 split, its no issue. Both D-1, more of an issue, but at completely different levels, I don't see it as a big deal. I didn't care about Tommie sports when I was there unless I knew someone on the team or the coach, and I don't care much now.
 

bizzle22

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You're right, there's actually room for another 2000 or 3000.
Look at the ticket sales of Gopher FB vs the regional teams compared to other nonconf games vs lower tier opponents. No noticeable difference.

It's a lose/lose for the bball team too. Win = you were supposed to win, no one cares. Lose = you lost to a smaller school that you should beat, embarrassing.
 

bizzle22

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There are a lot people in town who have degrees from both, present company included. With the d1 d3 split, its no issue. Both D-1, more of an issue, but at completely different levels, I don't see it as a big deal. I didn't care about Tommie sports when I was there unless I knew someone on the team or the coach, and I don't care much now.
Maybe a few thousand in the metro with degrees from both. Still talking about a relatively small group. How many of those people would buy ticket to the game? How many of those who buy tickets aren't already doing it? How many are buying through the athletic department vs third party (we all know cheap tickets are available for nonconf games)?
 

Roland Brooks

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Let’s see… UST hockey last home game 567… a quickly put together exhibition against the U sold out Doug Woog arena 2300… in a flash… 🤔
 



alchemy2u

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Idk. I've seen how empty the barn is in November. I'm sure the U would consider selling a bunch of tickets a benefit. They should start playing NDSU and SDSU again too. I'd rather see them than Green Bay and Alcorn State.
Wrong approach. You build attendance by winning games and being fun to watch. Not by playing wannabes and counting on their fans to boost your attendance. The games have to be a must see for YOUR fans, not the opposing fans. You increase your pre-season attendance through season ticket sales and by being the only games that more casual fans can possibly get tickets to see that year.
 

Ope3

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Look at the ticket sales of Gopher FB vs the regional teams compared to other nonconf games vs lower tier opponents. No noticeable difference.

It's a lose/lose for the bball team too. Win = you were supposed to win, no one cares. Lose = you lost to a smaller school that you should beat, embarrassing.
I don't think it's really a like for like situation, but looking at wiki when NDSU came to town in 2006 they drew 62,000. Only game with a bigger crowd that year was Iowa. In 2007 the Bison game was the biggest draw of the year 63,000 and the only other game within 10,000 was the Badgers (59,000).

2009 the 1st year at TCF, SDSU is recorded as a sellout (as were all games that year).

2010 SD was actually the 3rd biggest crowd behind only USC and Iowa, though every game was within a couple of thousand of a sellout.

2011 NDSU was about in the middle for crowds, though pretty much every game was above 48,000. Actually sold a couple more thousand tix for that game than for Iowa.

2019 SDSU drew 49,000 which was 8,000 more than for the other non-conf game (Georgia So). To be fair, there was a big marketing push to sell that one out plus as the openers free tix for the incoming freshman students. Still it was the #3 crowd behind only Penn St and Wisconsin.

With that small sample size for football, it does make a difference. Plus for St Thomas there would be much less travel than any of the Dakotas, though I suspect it was also a lot of alums that already live in the Twin Cities that bumped the numbers.

In the grand scheme and extra 3000-5000 for a St Thomas/Minnesota isn't going to make or break the budget, but I don't think it would be insignificant. A few hundred grand at least.

As a Gopher fan but non-season ticket holder I usually go to a half dozen hoops games including a couple of non-conference games. I would be far more likely to try to make it to the first game they played each other if for nothing else the curiosity factor.

It would get a lot of media buzz.
 

alchemy2u

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This is just ludicrous. No one in their right mind would think that UST is a rival of the U. No reason to add credibility and elevate the stature of the UST program by playing them.

The U did this with hockey when they started playing St Cloud, Bemidji and Mankato. But they did that because of Herb Brooks and also to create more local programs for all of the Minnesota D1 hockey players. Not a problem with basketball.
 




Ope3

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This is just ludicrous. No one in their right mind would think that UST is a rival of the U. No reason to add credibility and elevate the stature of the UST program by playing them.

The U did this with hockey when they started playing St Cloud, Bemidji and Mankato. But they did that because of Herb Brooks and also to create more local programs for all of the Minnesota D1 hockey players. Not a problem with basketball.
There's different ways to be ludicrous. Flying in a team from Mississippi (Alcorn St per se), costing them 6 figures in appearance fees, travel and lodging with dozens of viewers on BTN+ seems crazy.

Note, I am not being critical of that approach (every team does it). It is ludicrous though.
 

bizzle22

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There's different ways to be ludicrous. Flying in a team from Mississippi (Alcorn St per se), costing them 6 figures in appearance fees, travel and lodging with dozens of viewers on BTN+ seems crazy.

Note, I am not being critical of that approach (every team does it). It is ludicrous though.
We pay every nonconf home opponent an appearance fee unless there is a home/home agreement. They opponent pays their own lodging/travel/etc.
 

Some guy

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I'd like to see the numbers on this. Not sure it's as high as you seem to think
Well it’s at least me and about two dozen of my friends. So it’s at least about 25

not sure what you’d want to measure to gauge my statement. Number of Tommie grads that have attended a gopher game and not a Tommie game the past 5 years is probably astronomically higher than number of Tommie grads that have attended a Tommie game and not a gopher game.
 

Ope3

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We pay every nonconf home opponent an appearance fee unless there is a home/home agreement. They opponent pays their own lodging/travel/etc.
I get that, but I am sure that Alcorn St charges a higher fee to fly/stay in Minneapolis than it does to go to Starkville.
 




topos

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Well it’s at least me and about two dozen of my friends. So it’s at least about 25

not sure what you’d want to measure to gauge my statement. Number of Tommie grads that have attended a gopher game and not a Tommie game the past 5 years is probably astronomically higher than number of Tommie grads that have attended a Tommie game and not a gopher game.
I don't believe any grown man has 24 friends. I am going to need names and Linkedin profiles to verify.
 

Some guy

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I don't believe any grown man has 24 friends. I am going to need names and Linkedin profiles to verify.
When I say friends I mean people I talk to still at least once a year and literally 90% are in my fantasy football leagues
 


Some guy

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Exactly scheduling St Thomas is a no win scenario, just like scheduling the Dakota schools in Football is a bad idea for the Football team.
I mean that game would draw a lot more local attention to a non conference game than kennesaw state

so I’m not sure how you can say it’s a no win situation
 

Cayman

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If St. Thomas has aspirations of joining the Big East and potentially being on equal footing with the Gophers and competing for recruits with us one day, why would we want to help them do that? Maybe if it’s established that St. Thomas is just always gonna be a low major that never really competes at the same level as the Gophers, and their best players even transfer to the U sometimes, then sure we can play them. If they actually occasionally get a recruit that the Gophers want, then legitimizing them by playing them and god forbid losing to them, and letting them crow about being the best college basketball team in Minnesota for a year, seems ill advised.

Maybe it’s just my total lack of attachment to Minnesota high school sports, but there’s little difference in appeal for me personally between playing random low-major team and playing regional low-major team with lots of Minnesotans on the roster, and if playing St. Thomas gets us one step closer to having another mouth to feed with a finite supply of high major basketball talent in the area, then I’m on board with not playing them.
 

Spaulding!No!

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Lotta dads on here send their daughters to safe st Thomas. Go both!
 


alchemy2u

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If St. Thomas has aspirations of joining the Big East and potentially being on equal footing with the Gophers and competing for recruits with us one day, why would we want to help them do that? Maybe if it’s established that St. Thomas is just always gonna be a low major that never really competes at the same level as the Gophers, and their best players even transfer to the U sometimes, then sure we can play them. If they actually occasionally get a recruit that the Gophers want, then legitimizing them by playing them and god forbid losing to them, and letting them crow about being the best college basketball team in Minnesota for a year, seems ill advised.

Maybe it’s just my total lack of attachment to Minnesota high school sports, but there’s little difference in appeal for me personally between playing random low-major team and playing regional low-major team with lots of Minnesotans on the roster, and if playing St. Thomas gets us one step closer to having another mouth to feed with a finite supply of high major basketball talent in the area, then I’m on board with not playing them.
Exactly. It is only a benefit to the small local program that gets the "shot" and publicity of playing the U. It is of very little interest for typical Gopher fans to attend verse any other non-conference game. People attend these games to see how the new recruits look or how the team has improved over the prior year, or maybe it is the only game they can get tickets to see in person.
 

stocker08

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Makes no sense at this point. While there should be VERY little danger of losing that game.....Ben Johnson is at the beginning of his tenure with a patchwork team. You gain nothing by beating a team like St. Thomas.....but Johnson risks a GIGANTIC lasting stain on career if he loses....or even plays a close game. The Gophers could make the sweet sixteen for three years in a row....and the local media would still be talking about the St. Thomas game. Let St. Thomas establish themselves at the D1 level and let Ben Johnson get a team consisting of his own HS recruits. At that point....I would say it would be fine to play that game.
 

Some guy

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If St. Thomas has aspirations of joining the Big East and potentially being on equal footing with the Gophers and competing for recruits with us one day, why would we want to help them do that? Maybe if it’s established that St. Thomas is just always gonna be a low major that never really competes at the same level as the Gophers, and their best players even transfer to the U sometimes, then sure we can play them. If they actually occasionally get a recruit that the Gophers want, then legitimizing them by playing them and god forbid losing to them, and letting them crow about being the best college basketball team in Minnesota for a year, seems ill advised.

Maybe it’s just my total lack of attachment to Minnesota high school sports, but there’s little difference in appeal for me personally between playing random low-major team and playing regional low-major team with lots of Minnesotans on the roster, and if playing St. Thomas gets us one step closer to having another mouth to feed with a finite supply of high major basketball talent in the area, then I’m on board with not playing them.
I’m sure st Thomas would love to be in the big east but that’s like 30 years away IF it were to happen

drake
Gonzaga
and half the Atlantic 10 would be candidates first
 

MaxyJR1

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I think this may be more about upgrading the schedule. I saw an item that Johnson said he wants to get into some stronger early-season tournaments in order to face better non-conference opponents.

Playing St. Thomas may be fun for some fans, but right now, it doesn't help the Gophers SOS or NET ratings.

I would rather see them play some type of regional game like Iowa State or Missouri.
He followed the comment up by saying he wants to improve the schedule every year.
 

MaxyJR1

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The in-state hockey rivalries are some of the best games of the season. It’d be a shame to lose out on that opportunity because of some weird recruiting worries.
The win does nothing for strength of schedule or recruiting. If they don't play they can recruit without having to use on court results between each other. It's really a win/win for both programs.

Johnson can say MN is in a completely different league than St. Thomas.

If St. Thomas was in the Big East they would play.
 

MaxyJR1

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The in-state hockey rivalries are some of the best games of the season. It’d be a shame to lose out on that opportunity because of some weird recruiting worries.
The hockey programs have all been to the Frozen 4 in the last 12 years and play at the highest levels
 

MaxyJR1

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Here's the deal. Johnson is building a program and trying to do it with MN kids. He is early in the process and trying to do it with the best MN kids he can get. That might be the 6th best kid in the state who is also considering St. Thomas. If they were to lose to St. Thomas, that could hurt getting that kid to assist with his foundation to the program. 5 years from now might be a different story. If we're a top 5 B1G program annually, the game is less of a issue.

St. Thomas already got two top 12 MN kids for 2022.

Johnson has the 7, 10, and 17. Johnson can't afford a loss to St. Thomas when trying to build toward the top recruits in the state.

We don't want a NDSU of Basketball across the river.
 

Ope3

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Makes no sense at this point. While there should be VERY little danger of losing that game.....Ben Johnson is at the beginning of his tenure with a patchwork team. You gain nothing by beating a team like St. Thomas.....but Johnson risks a GIGANTIC lasting stain on career if he loses....or even plays a close game. The Gophers could make the sweet sixteen for three years in a row....and the local media would still be talking about the St. Thomas game. Let St. Thomas establish themselves at the D1 level and let Ben Johnson get a team consisting of his own HS recruits. At that point....I would say it would be fine to play that game.
I agree that this year it would not have been logical to play St Thomas, and probably next season as well. By say Year 3 though I would expect/hope the program is in a solid state that they wouldn't be apprehensive with scheduling the Tommies.

If they are "fearful" at that point of time, then there would be bigger problems likely impacting the prospects of Johnson's long term job status.
 

Ope3

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Here's the deal. Johnson is building a program and trying to do it with MN kids. He is early in the process and trying to do it with the best MN kids he can get. That might be the 6th best kid in the state who is also considering St. Thomas. If they were to lose to St. Thomas, that could hurt getting that kid to assist with his foundation to the program. 5 years from now might be a different story. If we're a top 5 B1G program annually, the game is less of a issue.

St. Thomas already got two top 12 MN kids for 2022.

Johnson has the 7, 10, and 17. Johnson can't afford a loss to St. Thomas when trying to build toward the top recruits in the state.

We don't want a NDSU of Basketball across the river.
I'm not great at geography but aren't both Williams Arena and Schoenecker Arena located east of the Mississippi River?

Both Universities have a presence on both sides.
 




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