Minnesota’s new football facility has already landed them a Super Bowl in 2018 and now the city will reportedly bid on the Final Four from 2017-2020, according to a report from Doug Belden of the Twin Cities Pioneer Press.
On Tuesday, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton will be joined by local business leaders and sports figures for a 2 p.m. CST news conference on the push by the state.
The new $1 billion football stadium for the Vikings opens in Minneapolis in 2016 and the city has already defeated New Orleans and Indianapolis for a Super Bowl.
Minnesota will be one of eight finalists for the 2018 bid that will be announced in November.
The Final Four has been to the Twin Cities twice, in 1992 and 2001 and Minnesota also hosted a Super Bowl in 1992.
Duke is probably rooting for a Final Four return to Minneapolis. The Blue Devils and Coach K won the title there in both 1992 and 2001.
With the NCAA denying Rakeem Buckles’ request for an immediate eligibility waiver (Buckles thus returned to FIU), Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino found himself in need of some additional size entering his first season at the Big Ten school. On Thursday the Golden Gophers received some good news from the NCAA, as Drake transfer Joey King had his request for an immediate eligibility waiver granted.
The news was first reported by Jeff Borzello of CBSSports.com.
In his lone season at Drake, King posted averages of 6.9 points and 6.9 points and 2.9 rebounds in 19 minutes of action per game. King’s best performance came in a 77-65 loss to Missouri State in which he accounted for 21 points and seven rebounds. For the season the 6-foot-9 Eagan, Minn. native reached double digits in scoring ten times and reached double digits in rebounds twice (career-high 11 boards in a win over Illinois State on January 12). For his efforts King was named to the Missouri Valley Conference’s All-Freshman Team.
King being cleared gives Minnesota a total of five interior players entering the 2013-14 season, so it likely goes without saying that he’ll be a part of the rotation. In addition to King the Gophers have three juniors, center Elliot Eliason and forwards Maurice Walker and Oto Osenieks, and redshirt freshman Charles Buggs.
Last season the Golden Gophers were the nation’s best in regards to offensive rebounding, as they finished the year with an offensive rebounding percentage of 43.8%. Given their lack of depth inside, Minnesota’s backcourt will be asked to lead the way in 2013-14. Veterans Andre and Austin Hollins (not related) and Maverick Ahanmisi and newcomers Dre Mathieu (junior college transfer), Malik Smith (FIU transfer) will be among the players at Pitino’s disposal on the perimeter.
This summer has provided a number of interesting rules by the NCAA, and Louisville head coach voiced his opinion on Friday in the wake of one of the NCAA’s most recent head-scratching rulings.
Rakeem Buckles started his career at Louisville, but decided to follow Richard Pitino to the FIU, sat out the season, and then chose to go with Pitino to Minnesota. On Wednesday, Buckles, who has one year of eligibility remaining, had his waiver to play immediately was denied by the NCAA. This ruling is puzzling for two reasons: FIU is ineligible for postseason play due to APR issues from Isiah Thomas’ tenure as head coach. Also, this comes five weeks after FIU transfer Malik Smith was granted a waive to play right away at Minnesota.
When talking to Jeff Goodman of ESPN, Rick Pitino expressed his disbelief in the NCAA’s decision.
“I’m just blown away by it,” Pitino told Goodman. “It makes no sense. It’s amazing the NCAA can do this. He’s a model student-athlete who had a 3.2 GPA when he left Louisville. He just wants a chance to play in another NCAA tournament.
“[Buckles] had no idea that the program wouldn’t be able to play in the NCAA tournament when he transferred to FIU. This is a good kid who has dealt with plenty of adversity over his career. It’s completely unfair.”
The 6-foot-7 Buckles has torn both his ACLs — right in February 2011, left in January 2012 — during his time in a Cardinal uniform. He would have seen considerable action on the Golden Gophers frontline.
The NCAA’s decision has since been appealed.