Howie Hanson: No TV for UMD-Gophers basketball game

The UMD-Minnesota men's basketball game in Minneapolis Nov. 12 won't be televised. Not locally, regionally or nationally -- so even a rooftop satellite won't get you inside Williams Arena.

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The UMD-Minnesota men's basketball game in Minneapolis Nov. 12 won't be televised. Not locally, regionally or nationally -- so even a rooftop satellite won't get you inside Williams Arena.
Your best ticket: plunk down $29 and watch the exhibition game in person. And don't be slow. UMD vs. Minnesota tickets go on sale Oct. 27, and the University of Minnesota ticket office expects the game to sell out in one day, said Jessica Dauer, a Gophers' phone bank operator.
Williams Arena seats 14,290. To order tickets, call 1-800-UGOPHER or visit http://www .
UMD expects to receive an allotment of about 100 tickets, said Bulldogs ticket manager Troy Andre, but players' parents likely will snatch 'em up. The UMD Bulldog Club is organizing a bus trip for $50, which includes a pregame get-together at Mariucci Arena and a ticket.
"We're encouraging our members to sign up early, and right now we're hoping to fill two buses with 94 people," said Bulldog Club coordinator Dale Race. Call Race at 726-8189 for additional information.
Meanwhile, neither of the Gophers' two home exhibition games against the Harlem Globetrotters and Duluth will be televised because ESPN and Fox Sports Net (formerly Midwest Sports Channel) are involved in a negotiation tug-of-war to carry Gophers games, Minnesota Coach Dan Monson said Wednesday. If the parties can't reach agreement for local and regional coverage of Gophers' games, only seven of Minnesota's 27 regular season games will be televised -- all nationally.
It could make for a long season for Gopher fan shut-ins, especially for Rick Rickert fans in the Twin Ports who can't make the trip to Minneapolis. Rickert, a 6-10 power-forward who averaged 29 points last season for Duluth East, is a Gopher freshman.
"It's two powerful players in sports television playing a game of poker, brought on by the purchase of MSC by FOX," Monson said. "Gophers basketball was MSC's No. 1 product, but ESPN owns the rights to our product, and its main competition is FOX. If they're not able to work it out, hopefully the people of Minnesota will let their voices be heard strongly enough that Gophers games will return on local television a year from now."
Representatives in the programming departments at FOX and ESPN did not return several phone messages this week.
And don't call Charter Communications, a Duluth cable company, because it has no say in which games are televised.
"We carry what they give us, and what we can," said Kevin Lloyd of Charter Communications.
The first Gophers' broadcast (ESPN-Plus) tentatively is scheduled for Nov. 17, against non-conference Mercer. Minnesota plays a 27-game regular season schedule.
Meanwhile, Twin Ports radio stations WEBC 560 (official home of Bulldogs' men's and women's basketball) and KDAL 610 will carry the UMD-Minnesota game. But for the best adrenaline rush, you'll want to attend the historic game.
The game will be a celebration of college basketball in Minnesota, a David vs. Goliath matchup pitting NCAA Division II power Duluth against Big 10 giant Minnesota. Duluth returns all five starters and its top five reserves from a year ago. Freshmen Sean Seaman of Denfeld and Dan Determan, a 6-9 post player from Centennial, were ranked in the top 10 among Minnesota seniors at the end of last season.
The Bulldogs expect to give Minnesota a game.
"The more Duluth can make it a Big 10-type game, the more we'll get out of it," Monson said. "For us, it's about finding out where we're at, as we prepare for the season. The exhibitions against the 'Trotters and Duluth will be a dress rehearsal for our players, and a way for our younger players to see how they measure up.
"Duluth is a quality opponent, and I'm sure that they will come after us. It will be exciting. Playing the 'Trotters and Duluth in the exhibition season makes more sense for us than playing a team from the Czech Republic, for example. It's great for basketball in our state, for our program and for our alumni."
UMD coach Gary Holquist agrees.
"People in our region think it's a great gesture on Monson's part to schedule us, recognizing what it means to our program and school, and to basketball in Minnesota in general," Holquist said. "All we hope to do is compete, to leave the building with our heads high knowing that we gave them a game. I told my guys yesterday (Tuesday), when we met for the first time, that the expectations on us for this season are high. But we'll have to earn it."
But don't get too pumped up about a possible Minnesota-UMD rematch in 2002 or soon -- either in Minneapolis or in Duluth, as was hoped for. The Gophers owe some non-league games from previous year commitments. "But after we clear out these games, we're committed to playing the in-state schools," Monson said.
Politically, it would be difficult for Minnesota to play UMD again any time soon, since other state college division schools likely already are lusting to play the Gophers.
Meanwhile, Monson says Rickert, while on campus for only three days, has "jumped in with both feet, and you can see his work ethic."
"Certainly, we recruited him with the intention of him being an integral part of our future success," Monson added.
UMD and Minnesota begin official workouts Oct. 15.

Howie Hanson writes a weekly sports column for the Duluth Budgeteer News. He may be reached at 624-4189 or by e-mail at .

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