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Minnesota Gophers BasketballThe University of Minnesota Twin Cities is the oldest and largest part of the University of Minnesota school system. Its student body is the second-largest in the United States according to autumn 2005 statistics, with 51,175 students.

The University was originally built in 1851 and was located about a mile upstream of the Mississippi river from where it stands today. The school had to shut down following a financial crisis during the American Civil War, but reopened in 1867. It was upgraded from a preparatory school to a college in 1869.

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Today's campus has buildings on both banks of the river, but the East Bank is the main portion of the campus and covers 307 acres. The West Bank of the campus has been growing rapidly, first seeing major development in the 1960s. The West Bank covers 53 acres and is home to many arts buildings and the business school.

Minnesota Gophers BasketballSports teams associated with the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus go by the Golden Gophers moniker. The Gopher mascot is a tradition as old as the state. Minnesota was tabbed the “Gopher State” in 1857 and the University appropriately adopted the animal as its mascot. However, the “Golden” adjective has not always been a part of the Gopher nickname. During the 1930s, the Gophers wore gold jerseys and pants. Legendary KSTP-AM radio announcer Halsey Hall coined the term “Golden Gophers” in reference to the team’s all-gold attire on the field. The term stuck and the University amended their formal moniker to the Golden Gophers. Despite the golden term, the teams’ colors include maroon, white and gold.

The Gopher Mens Basketball team is a member of the Big Ten Conference in the NCAA. The team plays their home games at Williams Arena located on the East Bank of the Minneapolis campus. The arena is nicknamed “The Barn” for its wide open spaces thanks to its barrel-vaulted roof and VIP loft style seating. Williams Arena can seat 14,000 fans and is often packed full of maroon and gold fans.

The Minnesota Golden Gopher Mens Basketball team has won the National Invitation tournament held in New York City twice; in 1993 and 1998. The team has yet to win an NCAA Championship, but was in the prestigious Final Four of the tournament in 1997.
Unfortunately, the honor was not fully enjoyed due to the academic fraud that engulfed the mens basketball team in the years to come. In fact, not one of the five starters on the 1997 team went on to graduate from the University. Clem Haskins, once thought to be one of the best basketball coaches the university ever had, came under great scrutiny for the means he used to keep his players academically eligible. Haskins was accused of having a tutor write papers for his players to insure their grades did not fall below the NCAA requirements. The University received much shame from the mens basketball academic scandal and the NCAA slapped the team with four years probation and the loss of five scholarships over three years. The Big Ten stripped the University of the conference title that year due to the scandal.

The University of Minnesota Mens basketball program has produced manyMinnesota Gophers Basketball superstar players including NBA legends like Lou Hudson, Mark Olberding, Kevin McHale, Flip Saunders, Bobby Jackson, Voshon Leonard, Quincy Lewis and Joel Pryzbilla. Kevin McHale played for Minnesota from 1976 through 1980. He averaged 15.2 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, second in the schools record books. McHale was also awarded the top overall player in history for the University of Minnesota. He went on to play for the Boston Celtics for 13 seasons and is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame. McHale returned to Minnesota as the VP of operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Coaching legend, Flip Saunders played at Minnesota before beginning his illustrious coaching career. Together with McHale, Flip led the Gophers to a school-best 24-3 record. Flip went on to coach at several colleges including Minnesota and also coached the Minnesota Timberwolves for ten years in the NBA. He guided the Timberwolves to their first-ever playoff berth in the 1996-97 season, his first full season as an NBA head coach, and to a franchise-record 50 victories in 1999-2000 which was duplicated in 2001-2002.

Despite any controversies surrounding the Gophers Mens basketball team, the team is moving forward and doing things the right way. Current coach Dan Monson is working toward improving the talent level and keeping the team in the hunt for the Big Ten title and placing his team in the NCAA Tournament.

The University of Minnesota Twin Cities is an enormous school in a huge market, so Golden Gophers Basketball tickets are exceptionally hot. Fans are constantly clamoring for the chance to see a fast-paced game at Williams arena and the Gophers Mens Basketball program has what it takes to put on a great show!

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