What an old barn

 The Barn

As the Hoosiers and Golden Gophers go about the job of readying themselves for tonight’s game, the Minnesota students are steadily filing into their seats here at Williams Arena, AKA “The Barn.”

They’re expecting a sellout crowd tonight. Or close. Some of the many obstructed view seats might not be filled.

Nothing out of the ordinary happening down on the court. Armon Bassett seems as healthy as he was against Illinois over the weekend and Eli Holman is once again working pretty hard but not dressed. Just threw down a two-handed jam, in fact.

The Hoosiers are actually 2-4 against the Gophers in their last six meetings. And since 1994, Indiana’s 2-8 in Minneapolis.

Tonight Indiana faces a re-energized program that feels it is in the national spotlight this week as it hosts two top 15 teams (Michigan State visits Sunday.) Remember the feeling last year when Kelvin Sampson had turned the Rod Wilmont-Earl Calloway-Errek Suhr team into a group that clawed for every win, and then No. 2 Wisconsin came into Assembly Hall? That’s the feeling here tonight.

Photographer Chris Howell and I just had a quick bite to eat with my cousin Brett, a UM grad who still lives here and has watched every game so far. He said that expectations for Tubby Smith’s first season topped out at 15 wins and an NIT bid. That’s what people were hoping for before the season began. Now, that the Gophers sit at 12-3 some fans are daring to dream of an NCAA bid (not Brett, who’s been one of the smartest sports fans I know since we were about 8-years-old and he was reciting every Kirby Puckett stat possible; he’s being realistic about Minnesota’s chances.)

Doug will be blogging the game from back in Bloomington, and I’ll chip in with comments when inspiration hits. So, rarely if ever.

Just kidding. (I hope.)

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