The 2015 Final Four is officially set following the weekend’s Elite Eight action. Wisconsin, Michigan State, Kentucky and Duke will all head to Indianapolis to compete in what will probably be the cherry on top of a masterful 2015 NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The uproar of March Madness has led many pundits and fans to believe that a similar format could be successful in college football.
Third baseman Tony Skjefte looked right at home in Minnesota’s first series of the year at Siebert Field over the weekend. The senior went off for six runs batted in (RBIs). But Skjefte’s performance wasn’t enough for Minnesota to topple Northwestern, which won two of three games. The Gophers won Friday’s contest 8-3 before losing 2-1 in extra innings on Saturday and getting pummeled 19-7 Sunday.
When Minnesota opened its season in early October, the team faced superb expectations from fans and media pundits. Predictions of conference and national titles seemed to flow freely as people talked about the prospects of the renowned hockey school’s season. Two months into the season, those high praises stopped coming as the team washed out of contention. When Minnesota-Duluth ousted the Gophers on Friday night in a 4-1 victory, it seemed like an all too fitting way for Minnesota to end its season.
Richard Pitino strolled into his postgame press conference in a surprisingly gregarious manner after his team lost by 13 points to Wisconsin in early March. The second-year head coach answered every question in his typical straightforward manner, including one asking whether the team’s seniors were concerned about their legacy at the end of a rather underachieving season. “I don’t think they think like that,” Pitino said. “I think they’re college seniors. I don’t think they’re thinking legacies.”
A wave of gold jerseys swelled toward the Gophers’ net as the final buzzer sounded on the 2015 women’s NCAA hockey championship game. The group of players eventually crashed onto junior goaltender Amanda Leveille in celebration of Minnesota’s third national title in four seasons. The scene looked like something out of a feel-good sports movie, but it was a moment that wasn’t captured by a single television station.
The Gophers’ trip to Michigan proved to be a forgettable ending to spring break. After Michigan overpowered the Gophers on Saturday, Minnesota lost to Michigan State by one point on Sunday afternoon. “We’re going to have to fight for every win we get in the Big Ten. It’s just [going to] be that way pretty much here on out,” head coach Chuck Merzbacher said. “We just came up short, but it wasn’t [because of] lack of effort.” Redshirt junior Julia Courter put forth a consistent effort for the Gophers over the weekend.
A crowd gathered around Court 1 at the Baseline Tennis Center on Sunday to watch what would be the deciding match between Minnesota and Drake, who were deadlocked 3-3. “Everyone in the building was nervous,” head coach Geoff Young said. For the second time in three days, the Gophers needed freshman Felix Corwin to step up and win them the match. Once again, he delivered. Corwin’s two singles victories corralled No. 34 Minnesota a 4-2 victory over No. 54 Washington on Friday and a 4-3 victory over the No. 24 Bulldogs Sunday afternoon.
Richard Pitino has done almost everything to get the Minnesota men’s basketball team back on track. He’s banned Twitter, flip-flopped point guards and shuffled frontcourt rotations, all to no avail. Fans and pundits even pointed fingers at the head coach himself as Pitino tried to fix a hole in Minnesota’s ship using duct tape. The fact is, this season came down to not what the Gophers had on their bench, but what they didn’t have: depth.
Scouts, coaches, teammates, friends, families and media all packed into Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex for Minnesota’s pro day on Monday. Every person in the building focused his or her eyes on the prospects as they showcased what they can offer NFL teams.
Carlos Morris looked up from the ground and watched as his last-second shot sailed through the hoop at the Breslin Center. His 3-pointer against Michigan State with 2.2 seconds to go in the contest sent the game into overtime, and Minnesota’s performance in the extra minutes allowed the Gophers to capture their first victory in East Lansing, Mich., in more than a decade. The road victory might be Minnesota’s best all season. The team showed determination and offensive prowess against one of the best defensive teams in the Big Ten.
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