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


Dakota2

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I would probably agree with you if I wasn’t a grad.
I don’t think the university of Minnesota should ever help the following programs play a game in Minnesota:
Marquette
Iowa state
Drake
Northern iowa
Any Dakota
And we should never "help" Iowa, Wisconsin, or Nebraska by playing them in football.
 

Dakota2

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IF the Gophers played UST now, two possible outcomes:

Gophers win the game. Media and fans say "you're supposed to win that game, and should have won by a bigger margin."

Gophers lose the Game. Media and fans savage the Gophers for losing to a "lesser" opponent. A guy like Barreiro, who almost never mentions Gopher hoops, would do a 20-minute monologue on how embarrassing it is for the Gophers to lose to UST.

Neither outcome is good for the Gopher team - at this time!

Sure, playing UST might bring in a few more fans and some minor extra revenue, but at this point, the downside outweighs the upside.
The same precise outcomes are possible when we play UMKC or CC. No difference.
 


bizzle22

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I’m connected at UST and I am going to disagree with the premise that their goal is the big east

Saying it doesn’t make it true.


I get why people don’t want to play UST and don’t fault them for thinking it.
Completely leaving aside the topic of the thread…I’ll take you at your word that you have connections with ppl in UST athletic admin.

My sources at a current MIAC school have repeatedly told me that UST leaving the MIAC was much more calculated than it has been portrayed. And I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that. If UST’s goal was to go D1 ASAP then they had every right to do that as long as they weren’t breaking any rules, which I don’t believe they did. But I am wondering what your sources have told you on that. Basically I’m asking, were they really “kicked out”, or was it something they wanted anyways? And was there possibly some sort of agreement among MIAC presidents to do what was needed to let that happen? The people I’ve talked to have alluded to there being a lot more cooperation in the move than has been portrayed.

It’s been a good decade plus since I was a MIAC student-athlete, and even back then there were rumblings of UST looking at going D1. The way the whole thing went down seemed quite convenient to me, and again, nothing wrong with it. I think it worked out best for all parties. Just curious on your thoughts as well as what your sources have told you.
 



Bob_Loblaw

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So what is it with UST that you assume attracts all of the intense fans interest?

I graduated from UST and still see no difference in them over Corpus Christi. I go to see the Gophers. Most people have no clue who is playing for UST, so there is very little local interest.

To me, the ones who are advocating so strongly for the Gophers to play UST seem to be the same ones who were so willing to attack the Gophers in the past for things like coaching hires and such. My gut just tells me that they are just secretly hoping that UST can pull off a win just to add some fuel to the fire.
Do you really need to ask the first question? I mean, I get people not having a big interest but when people pretend to not even comprehend why anyone else would have an interest, it's a farce. I guess I'll spell it out for you, but it's because they are another local D1 basketball program. It's pretty simple.

As to saying that you don't see a difference between them and Corpus Christi. I don't believe you. Again, I believe that you don't have an interest in the game, but I don't believe that you can't see a difference the interest in the University of St. Thomas and Corpus Christi. I just don't believe you can't see the difference. This is that weird thing that you do where you think pretending to not understand a counterpoint somehow invalidates it. It doesn't, it makes you look silly. No one is arguing there is a ton of interest in UST basketball, but there is certainly more local interest in the St. Thomas basketball program than Corpus Christi. There are articles in the local newspapers about UST basketball. We have some overlap in recruiting. Many of us local basketball fans follow some of their recruits for years. The schools are what? 10 miles apart?

As to your last point, your gut is wrong. You're being a baby because some people don't agree with you. I'm sure this is some personal dig at me because I was critical of how Ben was hired. That's just lazy. I went to the U. I've supported the U for years. I post on a Gopher basketball forum. I had season tickets for over a decade, including 5 years where I didn't even live in the area. I have many friends who went to UST who would endlessly give me sh!t if we lost to St. Thomas and I don't like UST. I grew up going to the St. Johns/St. Thomas game for years, cheering for St. Johns every single time. No, I do not want the U to lose to St. Thomas. I don't think Some Guy wants the U to lose to St. Thomas. You think the only reason why Gopher fans want to swap out Corpus Christi with St. Thomas is because of some mysterious hope that it embarrasses Ben? You think that's MORE plausible than people thinking playing the other local D1 basketball team is just more interesting than Corpus Christi? Do you really think that? My gut and my brain tell me that you really don't believe that.

As a side note, I'm not advocating strongly for the game. I understand the idea of not wanting to give that program any spotlight. I disagree with that idea but I understand it. Keep with that argument, it's your best argument to make for avoiding St. Thomas.
 

Some guy

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Completely leaving aside the topic of the thread…I’ll take you at your word that you have connections with ppl in UST athletic admin.

My sources at a current MIAC school have repeatedly told me that UST leaving the MIAC was much more calculated than it has been portrayed. And I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that. If UST’s goal was to go D1 ASAP then they had every right to do that as long as they weren’t breaking any rules, which I don’t believe they did. But I am wondering what your sources have told you on that. Basically I’m asking, were they really “kicked out”, or was it something they wanted anyways? And was there possibly some sort of agreement among MIAC presidents to do what was needed to let that happen? The people I’ve talked to have alluded to there being a lot more cooperation in the move than has been portrayed.

It’s been a good decade plus since I was a MIAC student-athlete, and even back then there were rumblings of UST looking at going D1. The way the whole thing went down seemed quite convenient to me, and again, nothing wrong with it. I think it worked out best for all parties. Just curious on your thoughts as well as what your sources have told you.
It has always been a question starting in about 2004-2007 range when they were planning new facilities.
d1 facilities
Or
Top of the line d3


they chose top of the line d3. But the faction that wanted d1 never went away. Then at some point the diocese no longer had sway on the university
Then deinhart retired.

slowly those that wanted d1 started to overwhelm those that wanted to stay. I was surprised when it all transpired as there was a large faction of people who wanted to stay d3. I do think it was somewhat orchestrated in a way to let it happen quickly.

UST wasn’t going to go d2 to have a 15 year process to make d1 a reality.

I am not privy to official conversations but my interpretation is that the MIAC wanted UST out and UST basically said we will go quietly (in a legal sense) if you guys make it public you are kicking us out so we have this justification to immediately transition. But I have no official knowledge.

I had more sources before mark dienhart retired in 2013. a ton of turnover since 2013 and my people just are retired or no longer at st Thomas. (Their departures didn’t have to do with Dienhart retiring…just that was the basic timeline)
 

bizzle22

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It has always been a question starting in about 2004-2007 range when they were planning new facilities.
d1 facilities
Or
Top of the line d3


they chose top of the line d3. But the faction that wanted d1 never went away. Then at some point the diocese no longer had sway on the university
Then deinhart retired.

slowly those that wanted d1 started to overwhelm those that wanted to stay. I was surprised when it all transpired as there was a large faction of people who wanted to stay d3. I do think it was somewhat orchestrated in a way to let it happen quickly.

UST wasn’t going to go d2 to have a 15 year process to make d1 a reality.

I am not privy to official conversations but my interpretation is that the MIAC wanted UST out and UST basically said we will go quietly (in a legal sense) if you guys make it public you are kicking us out so we have this justification to immediately transition. But I have no official knowledge.

I had more sources before mark dienhart retired in 2013. a ton of turnover since 2013 and my people just are retired or no longer at st Thomas. (Their departures didn’t have to do with Dienhart retiring…just that was the basic timeline)
Appreciate the response.

That jives with what I’ve been told for the most part.
 



UST82Gopher

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It has always been a question starting in about 2004-2007 range when they were planning new facilities.
d1 facilities
Or
Top of the line d3


they chose top of the line d3. But the faction that wanted d1 never went away. Then at some point the diocese no longer had sway on the university
Then deinhart retired.

slowly those that wanted d1 started to overwhelm those that wanted to stay. I was surprised when it all transpired as there was a large faction of people who wanted to stay d3. I do think it was somewhat orchestrated in a way to let it happen quickly.

UST wasn’t going to go d2 to have a 15 year process to make d1 a reality.

I am not privy to official conversations but my interpretation is that the MIAC wanted UST out and UST basically said we will go quietly (in a legal sense) if you guys make it public you are kicking us out so we have this justification to immediately transition. But I have no official knowledge.

I had more sources before mark dienhart retired in 2013. a ton of turnover since 2013 and my people just are retired or no longer at st Thomas. (Their departures didn’t have to do with Dienhart retiring…just that was the basic timeline)
It actually goes to a time frame a little later - 2011-13 - when the St Thomas engaged in a lengthy strategic planning process. In that process, a goal was set to have St Thomas become nationally recognized as one of the top ten Catholic Universities in the country. In looking at those schools, everyone had D1 sports and the publicity that comes with it. The Boston College "Hail Mary" was presented as an example of how a signature D1 sports moment could elevate an entire university.

From that point on, UST was quietly investigating how to get D1. When the smaller MIAC complained loud and long about their success and threatened to kick them out, it presented an opening. No question St Thomas eagerly seized it.

As an aside, most of the St Thomas alums graduating in the 70's and 80's are not supportive at all in the shift to the "nationally recognized top 10 Catholic" goal, strongly preferring the traditional regional approach. It has lead to many personal changes (by chose or not) and a lessening of many traditions. But UST has found big money people to sustain it on the new goal.
 


Dave H

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Wow. I'm actually shocked that you feel that way.

I have zero affiliation to St. Thomas and I'd obviously have more interest in that game.
I would have no interest either. Just like I don't when we play exhibition games with UMD. Unless there is a player I personally connect to on that team I just don't give a crap. They might as well be from Oklahoma for all I care. St. Thomas doesn't even register to me...

The only reason to play them is if you gain something. Right now playing them is stupid because it is just a worthless game for NET. In 5 years when beating them might look better cause they are tourny eligible sure but Johnson is right for now put more effort to improving the schedule not making a bunch of locals happy.
 

Dave H

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I don't believe anyone really feels the same about UST as they do Corpus Christi. It's just not possible. I could understand (but I'd disagree) with someone saying that they'd have more interest in UST but they would be worried that interest would breath life into UST and create competition. But to say they have just as little interest in UST as they would Corpus Christi. . .that's bizarre.
Why? Most of us have no tie to St. Thomas at all so why would we be interested? Because they are in the Twin Cities? So is Augsburg I don't care about them either.

I might care when they have been in D-1 long enough but honestly I keep forgetting St. Thomas being D-1 is a thing. I care about the U the rest is background noise.
 
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Bob_Loblaw

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Why? Most of us have no tie to St. Thomas at all so why would we be interested? Because they are in the Twin Cities? So is Augsburg I don't care about them either.

I might care when they have been in D-1 long enough but honestly I keep forgetting St. Thomas being D-1 is a thing. I care about the U the rest is background noise.
Ok. . . so I get why you would not have much interest I've said this numerous times. However, I know that you understand why some people would have interest. Yes and if Augusburg went D1, people would think it was cool to play them. In fact, if Augsburg wasn't local, I don't even know if you would have known it existed.

So yes, the interest is because they are a local division 1 basketball team. Bingo. It's why there are numerous threads on football forum about other local/localish teams. In almost every instance in every sport, conferences/rivals/competitions are defined partially by locality. I think it should be pretty obvious to everyone who has ever played or watched a sport why locality would factor into interest.

I don't believe you feel the same way about Corpus Christi as you do UST. I don't believe people on here would feel the same about UNI or South Dakota as they do about Corpus Christi. In a world where very few of the games have any meaning (non-conference schedules), UST, for most people, would be at least a slight uptick from Corpus Christi. I actually believe even for the people against the game (which says something that someone would be against the game), many of them would also have more interest.

If you say that you don't have interest, that's cool. Lets just stop pretending to be confused why anyone would have interest.
 

howeda7

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Why? Most of us have no tie to St. Thomas at all so why would we be interested? Because they are in the Twin Cities? So is Augsburg I don't care about them either.

I might care when they have been in D-1 long enough but honestly I keep forgetting St. Thomas being D-1 is a thing. I care about the U the rest is background noise.
This. I can't name a single player on St. Thomas or Corpus Christi. I don't care one bit about either team except that they win after they play us to help the NET ranking. My interest level in the game is the same. That the Gophers win and no one gets hurt.
 

Dave H

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Ok. . . so I get why you would not have much interest I've said this numerous times. However, I know that you understand why some people would have interest. Yes and if Augusburg went D1, people would think it was cool to play them. In fact, if Augsburg wasn't local, I don't even know if you would have known it existed.

So yes, the interest is because they are a local division 1 basketball team. Bingo. It's why there are numerous threads on football forum about other local/localish teams. In almost every instance in every sport, conferences/rivals/competitions are defined partially by locality. I think it should be pretty obvious to everyone who has ever played or watched a sport why locality would factor into interest.

I don't believe you feel the same way about Corpus Christi as you do UST. I don't believe people on here would feel the same about UNI or South Dakota as they do about Corpus Christi. In a world where very few of the games have any meaning (non-conference schedules), UST, for most people, would be at least a slight uptick from Corpus Christi. I actually believe even for the people against the game (which says something that someone would be against the game), many of them would also have more interest.

If you say that you don't have interest, that's cool. Lets just stop pretending to be confused why anyone would have interest.
Oh I get why some do...I don't begrudge them that. You just seemed to be under the impression that no one could think a matchup with some unknown directional school could equal St. Thomas and I think you underestimate how little St. Thomas registers with people.

If the U decided to add them next year I wouldn't notice. If they choose not to I will not notice. I care more about the Gophers than who they play outside the Big Ten. It is no skin off my nose either way.

I think some fans are being a bit melodramatic about Johnson not wanting to schedule them...
 

Bob_Loblaw

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Oh I get why some do...I don't begrudge them that. You just seemed to be under the impression that no one could think a matchup with some unknown directional school could equal St. Thomas and I think you underestimate how little St. Thomas registers with people.

If the U decided to add them next year I wouldn't notice. If they choose not to I will not notice. I care more about the Gophers than who they play outside the Big Ten. It is no skin off my nose either way.

I think some fans are being a bit melodramatic about Johnson not wanting to schedule them...
I agree with your last sentence, I get why the U would avoid the game and while I disagree with it, I don't think it's that big of deal. It ranks somewhere between uniform choice and which preseason tournament we attend. So while I think the St. Thomas thing would be interesting, it would be interesting as merely a slight bit of spice to our non-conference schedule. So yeah, I agree that being overly dramatic about St. Thomas (really either way), is kind of weird.

As to this point "I care more about the Gophers than who they play outside the Big Ten". I think we all do. Because I care about the Gophers, I care about the teams that the play. I'll kind of half follow all the non-conference teams we played this year. I know more about Colorado/West Virginia football this year than I did other years.

I guess the only thing we disagree on isn't really a disagreement. I just can't wrap my head around the idea that the St. Thomas matchup could have equal significance to some unknown directional school for some Gopher fans. To me, it just goes against everything I've ever known in sports/rivalries/conferences being tied to locality. It's why most schools play the other local D1 schools around them. But to each their own.
 


SelectionSunday

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I’m a UST (formerly CST) alum so I’m biased, but I would like to see the two programs meet. That said, I’m fine with Ben not wanting to play the Tommies at this point. I understand it.

However, four seasons from now when the Tommies are eligible for a NCAA tourney bid I’ll feel a bit differently. Then there’s some value playing them for something other than the local angle. Beating NCAA qualifiers (wins vs. the field) is a factor the committee looks at. Presumably and hopefully, both programs will be legitimately competing for tourney bids in 2026, whether it be as an automatic qualifier or as an at-large.
 
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bizzle22

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I’m a UST (formerly CST) alum so I’m biased, but I would like to see the two programs meet. That said, I’m fine with Ben not wanting to play the Tommies at this point. I understand it.

However, four seasons from now when the Tommies are eligible for a NCAA tourney bid I’ll feel a bit differently. Then there’s some value playing them for something other than the local angle. Beating NCAA qualifiers (wins vs. the field) is a factor the committee looks at. Presumably and hopefully, both programs will be legitimately competing for tourney bids in 2026, whether it be as an automatic qualifier or as an at-large.
Are "wins vs the field" really a metric used by the committee? I haven't previously seen it on the team sheets that the committee uses to evaluate teams. Though I know those criteria are updated every year, and have been more so in the last couple years with the introduction of the NET rankings.

And just the logic of it seems odd. Is a win over a MEAC conference champ considered better than beating a bubble team from the Big East? That just doesn't make sense.
 
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BleedGopher

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Shooter chimes in:

While Gophers men’s basketball coach Ben Johnson has gone on the record that he has no plans to schedule games against the state’s other Division I program, St. Thomas, you can be sure that Gophers women’s coach Lindsay Whalen feels the same. At this juncture, it would be a no-win for both Gophers programs.


Go Gophers!!
 


stocker08

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It has always been a question starting in about 2004-2007 range when they were planning new facilities.
d1 facilities
Or
Top of the line d3


they chose top of the line d3. But the faction that wanted d1 never went away. Then at some point the diocese no longer had sway on the university
Then deinhart retired.

slowly those that wanted d1 started to overwhelm those that wanted to stay. I was surprised when it all transpired as there was a large faction of people who wanted to stay d3. I do think it was somewhat orchestrated in a way to let it happen quickly.

UST wasn’t going to go d2 to have a 15 year process to make d1 a reality.

I am not privy to official conversations but my interpretation is that the MIAC wanted UST out and UST basically said we will go quietly (in a legal sense) if you guys make it public you are kicking us out so we have this justification to immediately transition. But I have no official knowledge.

I had more sources before mark dienhart retired in 2013. a ton of turnover since 2013 and my people just are retired or no longer at st Thomas. (Their departures didn’t have to do with Dienhart retiring…just that was the basic timeline)

Interesting. Thanks for the info.

I say give ST a few years....then if they want to play....do it. Nothing to gain by scheduling them now.
 

Gophers7NatTitlesBadgers0

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Not sure this group would beat UST right now! Starting 5 has to be gassed and maybe have three off the bench who are D1 level talent! Luckily, any future matchup would be early in the season and not Jan/Feb games!
 

Johnnyboy18

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Not sure this group would beat UST right now! Starting 5 has to be gassed and maybe have three off the bench who are D1 level talent! Luckily, any future matchup would be early in the season and not Jan/Feb games!
They're 8-16 and lost to UMKC twice and UND who is 6-20 yesterday.
 





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