Representing the University of Minnesota in NCAA Division-I Basketball is the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The Minnesota Golden Gophers Basketball team plays on the U of M campus in Minneapolis. The Minnesota Golden Gophers have played in the Big Ten since the conference began sponsoring basketball in 1905. Minnesota Golden Gophers play basketball home games in the Williams Arena and is currently coached by Tubby Smith.
Minnesota Golden Gophers had great success in the early years of basketball, but also have been largely overshadowed by other programs since World War I. Minnesota Golden Gophers had several instance of NCAA sanctions on the program that have affected performance and recruiting. The most severe being the mid-1990s scandal under then-coach Clem Haskins that resulted in the forfeiture of a Final Four appearance.
When the Minnesota Golden Gophers basketball first organized, they played games in the on campus YMCA. In 1896, the team moved into the campus Armory, a large building with gymnasium space for the team to us, even if basketball was not its primary purpose. Minnesota Golden Gophers remained in the Armory for almost thirty years. Halfway through the 1924-25 season, coach Harold Taylor moved the team from the University Armory to the Kenwood Armory in downtown Minneapolis. This significantly increased the attendance; capacity at the University Armory was 2,000, and it was 6,500 at Kenwood Armory. Minnesota Golden Gophers only played at Kenwood for a few season, however, as the University of Minnesota Field House - later known as Williams Arena - opened partway through the 1927-28 season. Minnesota Golden Gophers moved in on January 31, 1928.
The Field House increased attendance capacity further to 9,500. It was named after Henry L. Williams, the former Minnesota Golden Gophers football coach in 1950, and was named after him when it was remodeled and expanded in 1950, bringing the Wiiliams Arena Seating Chart to a capacity of 18,025, which was the largest in the country for twenty years and significantly larger than the capacity of Williams Arena today. Golden Gophers fans refer to Williams Arena as The Barn. Consequently, the student section is known as The Barnyard. Williams Arena was remodeled in 1993 again, to create a new facility for the women's team to use. Minnesota Golden Gophers continue to play there to this day, making it one of the longest used arenas of any college basketball team. Williams Arena is also one of the only arenas to still have a raised court, in which players have to go up stairs to reach the playing surface.
The University of Minnesota is the only Division I school in the state of Minnesota, so there are no intense intra-border rivalries as there are in most states. In the modern era of the program, as is the case with most Big Ten sports, Minnesota Golden Gophers primary rivals are the Iowa Hawkeyes, Wisconsin Badgers and Michigan Wolverines. In recent years, the rivalry with Wisconsin has become more intense than that with Iowa, primarily due to Wisconsin's recent successes on the court. Minnesota Golden Gophers and Wisconsin Badgers games together count towards the Border Battle, an annual trophy given to the point's winner of several sports played between the two schools throughout the year. One-sided rivalry is with Ohio State. The two teams have very little history together, outside of the 1972 brawl between the teams at Williams Arena. That incident still lingers in the hearts of many longtime Buckeye fans.
Even through the rivals, the Minnesota Golden Gophers Basketball has become a big thing to go to with all Minnesotans and other states. Because of this, tickets often sell out and people are left disappointed because they did not get tickets. So if you are planning to go to a Minnesota Golden Gophers basketball game, do not delay in getting your Gopher Basketball tickets today. Order online and enjoy the next Minnesota Golden Gophers basketball game in person. Go Gophers!!