Warming up at the Barn

Pregame at the Barn.

Usually this time of year it would be idiotic to even consider taking a stroll through the streets of Minneapolis. Today, it wasn’t. The 45-degree weather felt balmy, even with the wind.

I realized, about an hour too late, that I should have worked my way over to the Minnesota campus when there was still light so I could take a picture of the new football stadium for you. Needless to say — since the price tag is something like $230 million — it is epic. The U of M, as all my cousins who went there call it, gets a bad rep around the conference because it’s seen as not having the same charm as its brethren located in sleepy little towns. And for a while, playing football downtown at the Metrodome did detract from the campus feel. The set up now should be excellent, with Williams Arena and the new stadium across from each other just a couple of blocks from the a street full of bars and restaurants. Indiana, by the way, won’t play in the new stadium until 2012. Consider me peturbed by this delay, commissioner Delaney.

If you’ve recently had the most amazing Lazik surgery ever, you’ll notice Devan Dumes standing under the basket in the picture above. That’s been his primary duty so far: ball retriever. Though as I write this, he appears to be having a serious conversation with Nick Williams out near mid-court.

It’s difficult not to point to Williams when you think about who needs to step up if Indiana is going to have a chance to win this game. He’s asserted himself enough times this year to prove that he can do it if that mid-range jumper is falling.

Something you probably wouldn’t see at any other school this season: three freshmen — Daniel Moore, Verdell Jones and Malik Story — are leading their teammates through stretches.