That is what the start of last night's Wisconsin/Minnesota game looked like. And those are the facts: A Top 20 team was cold to start the game and we were consistently behind. Almost every shot was short, with minimal aim. Monson coached as if he was on laughing gas with Art Howe. And what upset me the MOST was the fact that fans didn't give a shit.
It has been reported that the fans were less than concerned during a loss to Northwestern at home. Despite thoughts otherwise, the scrappy students from outside Chicago have defeated our Gophers FOUR TIMES IN A ROW. Now, despite reports about rampant illness, my biggest concern was the fans who watched this and apparently didn't care. The same fucking fans that CHEER the Gophers as the go to the locker room when the 'U' had 17 points in the half, cutting the lead to 8. Musburger was attempting to blow himself (again) but it hit me.
Why are they cheering? These guys played like shit!
Were they cheering the final 3 minutes? Wisconsin missing shots? Well, it was the 11-0 run. But the biggest problem in all of this, if we're staying with the fan's viewpoint, is their age. It is considered the golden age of Gopher basketball, the early 70s. There was spotlights, ice chunk fights, and Bill Musselman eating popcorn and wearing a biker jacket as he watched the opposing team warm up. The Barn was packed with youth, students and 20 year olds. The place rocked. (So I'm told. But you do research. It's my job, after all)
That was 35 years ago. At best, the average age is in their mid-50s, if not older. Not figuring in the older bros and sisters that still follow the team, and we're talking an area filled with 60 year olds in the majority. And when a team needs a kick in the ass to get it going, well, it would be impolite to do so.
Naturally the Gophers played better in the second half - it would be hard not to. But in-between the insisted breakaway fouls (Monson must insist on this, creating possibilities for a 3 point play every time Wisconsin was 1 on 1 in a breakaway) and the lazy attempts at offensive rebounds (maybe it will come to me!) there's plenty of time in the future to analyze this team. Fans, those under the age of 40, I demand you stand up. And yell. Call the officials by their first name so they turn around. Cheer so the cheerleaders look you in the eye. Let the old fucks yell that they can't see the game. Tell them to move, or better yet, go home.
Ah fuck, I'm just pissed off because we lost.