MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – In the Twin Cities, Golden Gopher fans are reeling after Saturday’s loss to Michigan State, but they say they are still proud of all the team has accomplished.

The evening started with high expectations. Students and alumni gathered at Stub and Herb’s near the Gophers home stadium.

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“It was an awesome game against Louisville and it’s awesome to see them go on to the next round,” Graduate Liz Ward said.

“I’m expecting a national championship. Hometown Final Four would be awesome,” said Dan Ochs, also a former graduate.

Excited yet humbled to watch the Gophers take on No. 2 seed Michigan State, fans were happy the team they love to watch was being watched all over the country.

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“It feels like we’ve been for a while kind of the underdogs, compared to Madison, they’re always in the spotlight, and for us to actually get in the spotlight is good enough for me,” University of Minnesota senior Grant Taylor said.

The loyal fans saw a story unfolding beyond this game.

“I’m proud of the guys. They are working hard. It’s good to see the program overall progress. I think there’s a lot of hope in Minnesota athletics with the football program, the basketball program in general,” Ochs said. “I hope it’s the start of a trend line. Plus Wisconsin got beat, that’s the key here.”

And in the end, Minnesota got beat also. The game was lost, but a successful season was won.

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Graduate and former basketball player Julie Stoltman said it was “bittersweet” but “that’s what happens in the tournament, the best teams win.”  She says she is hopeful for the team’s future.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield