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Holy Man

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I just returned to the office from a week in southern California, including (I would be tempted to say highlighted but the relatives I visited may take exception) the 76 Classic.

I'm sure the basketball has been dealt with ad nauseum, so I will limit comments to firsthand experiences.

My first impression was that it was almost surreal being in a 7,000 seat arena for a game (Clemson and A&M) with about 400 people in attendance. Anyone who wanted could sit in the front row. It seemed like no environment for big time basketball and I was silently cursing the "made for TV" tournament. After a day, and growing to enjoy seats I could never get in any real environment, I thought it was pretty cool. The refs could hear you insult them. We could hear the players talking and the coaches getting on the refs and the players. It was pretty cool. The price was right, too. $20 a session for decent teams, and by and larege pretty good games.

Fans from other places were fun to be around, and I think the Gophers had the largest contigent, although WVA and Butler would be close. For those who grouse about the old folks, it seemed like that was the largest percentage of our base that was there.

For autograph seekers, it would have been heaven, as all the players and most of the coaches were pretty available for that sort of thing.

The most bizarre encounter I had was my last night when I stayed at the Sheraton right next to the arena (to be close to the Orange County airport). I was walking through the lobby and saw three referees from the tournament yukking it up in the lounge. They clearly have no friends other than each other. When I heard the guy who blew the last non-call in the A&M game chatting in a Texas twang, I almost lost it. They looked at me in my gold M shirt, and turned away. I showed more restraint than I thought I could by not getting into their faces. I walked away, growling inside only. I will now be welcomed back to college basketball arenas througout the country.

I met the Erbans from Creative Charters. Very kind, welcoming and gracious, even though I was not with their trip. I am strongly considering them for Maui if all works well in two years.

Colt Iverson's dad sat behind me on the way out on the plane. Really nice guy, but he was miserable sitting in a compact Airbus coach class. We were on the same flight on the way home and they at least got him in an exit row.

For those of us who complain about BT officiating, let's just be thankful we don't endure the west coast guys very often. Sitting near a UCLA fan, we all observed several phantom fouls called, and he just looked at us and said, "Welcome to our world. The refs out here are terrrible." By the way, the same guy said UCLA is the worst he has seen since 1976, and a talent level that does not appear to be improving much. He was hopeful that they guy from Central Michigan will get canned and be hired by Howland and bring his kid with him.

The separation between success and failure is thin. While I see the event as a basketball failure by the Gophers in losing two of three, there was no way they were going to beat WVA, so two of three wins would have been the best. Average shooting nights in either of the losses would have brought success.

My up close and personal view of the games leads me to believe the Gophers lack not just a "go to" scorer, which we have known was a problem, but also an emotional leader on the team. It is not a slam, but the guys they have are just a little laid back, and they seem to lack the guy that will light a fire under them when things are going bad. Maybe Paul Carter can fill that role, but right now I am not seeing it. They could have used that a couple of times in both losses when they pulled close and had chances, but it jsut wasn't there.

I also hate to say it, but the presence of either of our suspended players would have made the difference in the losses. We got pushed around and gave up way too many offensive rebounds against A&M, and got almost no second chance points against Portland. While I still believe we have a good team, we are missing important links in a very good team.

All in all, it was a nice event. It is still November basketball, though. It will be more entertaining in March, but there are no front row seats for $20 in March. If you have the time and disposable income, and some relatives, go for it sometime.
 

BleedGopher

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Great recap - thanks Holy Man!

I imagine it is pretty surreal to have so few fans in the stands for some pretty good matchups.

Go Gophers!!
 

Blizzard

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but also an emotional leader on the team. It is not a slam, but the guys they have are just a little laid back, and they seem to lack the guy that will light a fire under them when things are going bad.

What was your observation of Tubby during the tournament?

Anytime the camera cut over to him he appeared to be observing and talking, mostly, with Vince Taylor. Not to say that Tubby wasn't coaching of course, but it appeared to me that they were doing a lot of evaluating during the games.

I had to laugh last night. I was watching Kentucky hammer whoever they were playing and, I think, either Orton or Cousins, fouled someone and Calipari was unglued. It was a quiet arena and he was screaming at this kid. Kind of humorous in way - I'd like to see Tubby get his dander up once in while.
 

Holy Man

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Tubby was hot at some of the laxidasical play in the Portland game especially. He was up and moving around a lot, he was livid at the refs in the A&M game, and barking at the players. That having been said, they did some very different things in the A&M game, especially making sure the ball went inside. You don't make as long as Tubby has by getting too hyped up about two bad days of basketball. My theory is that the lads thought they could skate by Portland and were not mentally prepared to play. A&M is a good team, with very similar personnel to the Gophers.
 

SelectionSunday

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Thanks for the report Holy Man. Nice to get some first-hand perspective.

Agree with you on West Virginia. It was pretty clear that even if we had beaten Portland, beating WVU probably wasn't going to be in the cards. Nevertheless, it would have been nice to get 2 wins.

Glad you enjoyed your trip. I trust you kept Ope out of trouble!
 


Lincoln gopher

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ANAHEIM

Holy Man, I wish we could have hooked up. Was with the Erban group for every game and a couple of meals. Would have been nice to meet you.

A couple of additional thoughts, the older Gopher fans, what a great and energetic group. They didn't sit on their hands in Anaheim. They got into the games. We had a great time eating and drinking with them.

I mentioned the Maturi's in an earlier post. Spent a fair amount of time with Mrs. Maturi their daughter and son in law. Lois Maturi is a Gopher fan through and through. She was complaining about the refs as loud as anyone. She made a point of walking down six rows with 2 minutes to go in the A & M game and comment that the Gophers had not been playing well but that the refs were terrible. My brother and I just broke out laughing. I don't think many AD's wives are that passionate.

I agree with your statement about an emotional leader. A lot of quiet kids on the team.

West Virginia could be a final 4 team. UCLA is horrible. Dan Monson has a very good point guard and his whole family was there, sat next to his wife and kids for LB State's last game.
 


GVBadger

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Does anyone play regularly in that arena? It looked like a high school gym. Kind of like the Maui tournament without the crowd. ESPN does not care how many people are there, they just need something to put on TV.

Nice report. I am going to try and get to Orlando next year for the ESPN Orlando special that the Badgers are in.
 

GopherLady

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Great report, Holyman! It's always nice to get a 1st hand recap of what's going on, because you pick up on so much more when you're at the game, vs. mercy to just what they show you on TV. Sounds like a great trip, glad you had fun!

A couple of additional thoughts, the older Gopher fans, what a great and energetic group. They didn't sit on their hands in Anaheim. They got into the games. We had a great time eating and drinking with them.

I mentioned the Maturi's in an earlier post. Spent a fair amount of time with Mrs. Maturi their daughter and son in law. Lois Maturi is a Gopher fan through and through. She was complaining about the refs as loud as anyone. She made a point of walking down six rows with 2 minutes to go in the A & M game and comment that the Gophers had not been playing well but that the refs were terrible. My brother and I just broke out laughing. I don't think many AD's wives are that passionate.

I agree with your statement about an emotional leader. A lot of quiet kids on the team.

West Virginia could be a final 4 team. UCLA is horrible. Don Monson has a very good point guard and his whole family was there, sat next to his wife and kids for LB State's last game.

I've noticed that too for away games. The people that go are the die-hards, that may be older and have more $, but they are obviously hard core if they're traveling around the country to see their team. They should not be confused with all of the corporate lower level seats that only stand up for the Rouser, and halftime entertainment at The Barn.

Any fun stories from sitting next to Darci and fam?
 



Lincoln gopher

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Great report, Holyman! It's always nice to get a 1st hand recap of what's going on, because you pick up on so much more when you're at the game, vs. mercy to just what they show you on TV. Sounds like a great trip, glad you had fun!



I've noticed that too for away games. The people that go are the die-hards, that may be older and have more $, but they are obviously hard core if they're traveling around the country to see their team. They should not be confused with all of the corporate lower level seats that only stand up for the Rouser, and halftime entertainment at The Barn.

Any fun stories from sitting next to Darci and fam?

No nothing too much going on with the Monsons. 2 of the kids were with Mrs. Monson and her mom and his dad Don. 2 of the kids were sitting behind the bench taking water out to the team during time outs.
 




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