Minnesotan in training: March 26, 2014


As a Minnesotan in training, I’ve had a lot to cheer for over the past few weeks.
First, I was cheering for the University of Minnesota men’s basketball team to sneak into the NCAA tournament. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen and they had to settle for a No. 1 seed in the NIT. With the help of home-court advantage, they were able to win their first two games and a win against Southern Miss will put them in the next round in New York.
Their female counterparts are competing in the WNIT and have also won their first two games, setting up a road game against South Dakota State University.
While the NIT and WNIT aren’t the preferred postseason destinations, at least both teams get to extend their seasons for themselves and their fans, while also gaining more experience for future years.
The Golden Gopher women’s hockey team hoped to use their experience as back-to-back champions to three-peat at the 2014 NCAA Women’s Frozen Four national championship game, but came up just shy of that goal with a 5-4 loss to Clarkson University.
Their male counterparts on the ice are just getting started, as they’ll face Robert Morris at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center. That game will be delevised on ESPN2. I wish them the best of luck.
If they get a W, they may run up against the defending champion Huskies from St. Cloud State University. They start their tournament play against Notre Dame at 8 p.m. Saturday, which will be televised on ESPNU and Watch ESPN. 
I, for one, think it would be pretty cool to see two Minnesota teams battle it out again, so here’s to hoping that happens.
In addition to cheering for the success of Minnesota teams, I’ve also been able to cheer for teams from my home state.
The Iowa Hawkeyes somehow earned the right to play Tennessee for a chance at the real Big Dance. They forced the game into overtime, at which point they decided to give up. Considering their brief run, I’m still wondering how they got the nod over Richard Pitino’s squad. Oh well, they’ll both get another chance next year and both teams should have a legitimate chance at making noise during March Madness.
That’s what my favorite home state team, the Iowa State Cyclones, have been doing. As expected, they took care of business against North Carolina Central. However, they lost one of their top players, Georges Niang, to a broken foot in the process. Without him, North Carolina became the favorite in Sunday’s game, but ISU pulled it off in dramatic fashion. I’m looking forward to see if they can keep the momentum going against Connecticut. I hope so, considering I picked them to make it to the Final Four.
At the same time, Minnesotan Kat Perkins is representing the state in a different kind of bracket on The Voice. I’ve been a big fan of the show since the second season and enjoy it that much more when I have someone to cheer for.
A couple seasons ago, it was Nicholas David who represented Minnesota well, as he finished third.
As a rocker, Perkins is nothing like her Minnesotan predecessor, who was a blues singer to the core. 
She also didn’t intend to audition for The Voice. However, a YouTube video of her singing at an airport in Amsterdam caught the eye of the show’s producers and she agreed to try out for the show.
Not only did she turn three chairs, but she also won her first battle against Patrick Thomson to continue advancing. Keep an eye on her as she continues to make a name for herself.
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