MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Gophers Men's Basketball team arrived home Friday evening after winning the NIT Tournament.
And while Gophers fans notched the win as a positive, around town people were asking the question: Is it better to get to the NCAA tourney and lose or go all the way in the NIT and win?
"I think it would have been better to win the NIT," said Sophomore student Matt Bork.
Perhaps we set ourselves up, but there wasn't much debate when talking to the team's own fan base.
"I think it's a little better for the school, creates more confidence for the sports program," said Senior Derek Jerde.
Most won't argue Thursday night's win under first-year coach Richard Pitino was a good a one for the program, but most everyone on campus thought it could be "the" defining win for a brighter Gophers' future.
"I think, this year, I think it was good to be in the NIT and see them win that and build on that for next year," said Senior Kirk Thunberg.
The debate even made it to the KFAN airwaves where it was a bit livelier.
"Don't apologize for winning it, but I'm not ready for the parade, sorry," said radio host Dan Barreiro.
There's no debate in Barreiro's mind. It's better to get the NCAA Tournament.
"There are three consolation tournaments. Yes, you won the best of the three. I will grant you that, but it's still a consolation tournament," he said.
But his guest, Minnesota Timberwolves GM and U of M alumnus Flip Saunders thought Thursday night was a great night.
"You look at the teams that played in the championship games in the last 5 or 6 six years. A lot of those teams the following year have made it the Sweet 16, some to the great eight," he told Barreiro by phone.
NCCA bound next year? We'll have to wait and see, but for the first time in a long time fans seem to be excited to wait.
"Regardless of the tournament and how it worked out, they won; they're champions," said Tex Ostvig, U of M faculty member.