The Gophers have not been able to secure a bid to the Big Dance for the second consecutive season. They actually have had some very talented players who started their careers right here in Minneapolis, only to go away to different college teams because of a variety of reasons. Let’s take a look at them.
Iowa State – Royce White
Mr. Basketball in Minnesota and also part of the 2009 Gopher recruiting class that made the top 25 according to Rivals.com. He now is with Fred Hoiberg and the Cyclones who will play the number 9 seed UCONN on Thursday night. White had even been compared to Magic Johnson this season for his formidable play.
California – Justin Cobbs
Cobbs has been doing really well for the Golden Bears and the Gophers could have surely used the point guard this season and last time as well. Both Cobbs and Devoe Joseph who left to play for Oregon were aggressive guards and it shows in the large number of points they have been scoring for their respective teams. It could be argued that Cal may not get passed USF in their first round encounter, but Cobbs is definitely missed here in the Gopher state.
Colorado State – Colton Iverson
The big man who decided to leave is now on the bench for another NCAA tournament team. Due to NCAA transfer regulations, he will have to sit this season out and should play some big minutes next year.
To top it all off, the coach that we unceremoniously fired Dan Monson has once again got a mid-major team to the Big Dance and this time it is Long Beach State who will face off against New Mexico come Thursday afternoon.
For now, the Gophers will have to settle for the NIT which would be valuable experience for the freshman like the energetic Joe Coleman.