(KMSP) - As the saying goes, "Oh what a difference a week makes!"
Seven days ago, Minnesota basketball fans were ecstatic about the Gophers getting a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Midwest Regional. At the same time, the moaning and groaning and complaints were loud and clear from Wisconsin fans about how their beloved Badgers only got a No. 8 seed.
Well, we all know how that turned out. The Gophers are back home watching the games and the Badgers are headed to the Sweet Sixteen again. Their fifth trip in six years.
This contrast across borders has left Gopher fans often asking, "If they can do it why can't we?" The reasons aren't so clear. Although having to rebuild a broken, down and out program for a variety of reasons every several years has taken it's toll on the Gophers and their faithful. Just having to remove the tarnish from the maroon and gold is a tradition that's taken way too much time and in the process scared away talent.
But, the Badgers seem to have something extra. Call it swagger or brash driven by great expectations. It's proven by the whining from their fans mentioned earlier. They've come to expect more while the Gophers and their fans are just happy to be there.
Gopher fans can take heart in the fact that Richard Pitino's crew has turned the corner. Already there is talk of the U of M being a preseason favorite to win the Big Ten basketball title next year. Oh, but we Minnesotans know better than to look that far ahead.
For now, Wisconsin red will fill the bleachers while Gopher fans grit their teeth seeing red! (Admit it Goldy fans, most of you will watch Wisconsin... if for no other reason than to root for their demise.)
Or, we can look to the Hockey Gophers who made the NCAA tournament and Wisconsin did not.
Beyond that, we in Minnesota need to save our composure for what else lies ahead. The Timberwolves have lost two out of three games to the Milwaukee Bucks so far. The Twins and Milwaukee Brewers were two teams not even close to the top of their respective divisions so hope springs eternal for both clubs. And come all we'll need all of our energy to deal with those "Cheesehead Packer Backers." It's an exhausting process.
(I'm just glad Wisconsin doesn't have an NHL team because the way the Wild has been playing over the last couple weeks would give fans over there another needle to poke us with!)
So, good luck Badgers. But wait, there is one way we're getting even with Wisconsin and it's fast approaching.
On July 2, 2017 Sunday Liquor Sales become legal in our state. Take that Bucky Badger! No more cross the border beer runs! And those on the Minnesota side who can handle it just might need a sip when hanging out with our dreaded rivals!