Oof. I generally enjoy the NIT (sadly, I'm used to going to these games), and when a high quality program like Maryland comes to town, I usually look forward to it, no matter how sick I am of that particular year's Gopher squad. I met up with The Old Man, Snacks, and The Todd last night for the game, and this was going to be The Todd's first ever Gopher basketball experience. After throwing back a couple at the Knight Cap (and winning in the meat raffle) we headed off to the game, The Todd a bundle of excitement, thrilled to attend a game and to see his twin and hero Spencer Tollackson in person. Hopefully, the game would be a good experience.
Boy, was that ever wrong. Maybe the worst game I've ever attended, and I was here last year. From the beginning it was clear Tubby was going to be using this game to see what he had for the future, which was a good idea, but it quickly became obvious that the future is not so bright that you have to wear shades. It seemed neither Maryland nor the Gophers were particularly excited to be there, and the game quickly deteriorated into the caliber of a pick-up game at the Y - or the Australian league. Sloppy passing, sloppy defense - I can't even count how many times Terrapin players beat the whole Gopher team down the floor - and altogether ugly basketball. Although, since The Todd is a hockey fan, it was probably boring enough to be right up his alley.
To make matters worse, somehow the home crowd was especially homerish and unintelligent, roaring with displeasure at even the most obvious call against the Gophers and misunderstanding some of the simplest rules and concepts - loudly. The worst was the standing ovation after a foul was called on Maryland in the second half, against 8 Gopher fouls. Lopsided, to be sure, however there is no rule that says fouls have to be even, and it was clear that the Terps weren't committing fouls, but the Minnesota fans were damn well convinced the refs had it out for the Gophers, just like every single loss they've had over the years. I think the smartest fans other than ourselves at the game were the pair of ten year olds sitting next to The Todd who said, at least twice, "Whatever you do, don't give the ball to number 50", breaking Todd's heart in the process.
As far as players go.....meh. Damian Johnson played more minutes than the three seniors combined, and looking good. Westbrook attacked the basket and was aggressive, but really played poorly. Shamala was the second most aggressive offensively player for the team, which is seriously frightening. Hoffarber twice drove the lane, and when he couldn't get all the way to the rim, dished it out instead of shooting a floater or pull up jumper, showing that he has two shots in his bag - a three pointer and a lay-up - and making it clear he has a lot of work to do. Busch proved he doesn't belong on a D-I court, except in garbage time.
As bad as the game was, we still had a great time, which I will show you in pictures. Such as this picture of the view we had at the Knight Cap:
Yes, that's a dude. Hot.
Once at the game, we noticed there was nobody in most of the suites up high in Williams, so myself, Snacks, and the Todd decided to go see if we could make it up there.
Once I made up, we realized the door behind us would lock so we couldn't get back out that way. I was once again sent up to make sure there was an actual way out. Here is Snacks waiting for me, and probably doubting both my brilliance and ninja skills.
After eluding one usher, I had to jedi-mind trick another. He was all, "Can I see your ticket" and I was "You don't need to see my ticket" with a hand wave, and he was all, "I don't need to see your ticket. Move along." So we made it. If you're curious, here is the view from the suites:
And here is Snacks and I enjoying the suite, thank you Boston Scientific:
As nice as it was, they weren't stocked with booze at all - we checked - or food, and the start of the second half was brutally awful, so we made our way back down. Who should we run into in the hallway, but the one, the only, the man, the legend, Rick Rickert - who is very tall. As we walked passed, I slapped hands with him and said "What up Rick!" thinking it would be a very good bit for DWG, and chuckling a bit inside. But then The Todd did me one better, and completely one-upped me and the rest of the world. He asked for a picture, which Rick was gracious enough to grant him. As I took the picture, I looked back to see Snacks as far away as possible, trying not to laugh. Here it is, the greatest moment in Down with Goldy history, captured for all the world to see:
It's a bit blurry, as the Todd's camera phone, your typical 16-year old girl's phone, had some issues with this one, but it's here. [EDIT = much better picture now] And no, that's not a short Spencer Tollackson with Rickert, it's actually Todd.
The Todd's reaction after the picture, "Rickert smells nice."