The Golden Gophers: "The Future Looks Bright"

Bob DunhamContributor IMarch 21, 2009

MADISON, WI - JANUARY 15: Head coach Tubby Smith of the Minnesota Golden Gophers gives his team instructions during a game against the Wisconsin Badgers on January 15, 2009 at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wisconsin. Minnesota defeated Wisconsin 78-74 in overtime. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Tubby Smith's Gophers ended their season with a 76-62 loss to the Texas Longhorns in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. The game went just like the Gopher's season, they started out strong and ended with a big thump. The Gophers had a 10 point lead in the first half and ended the game down by 14.

The season started with a 12-0 winning streak, with a win over No. one ranked Louisville and ended with a Big 10 record of 9-9 and a loss to Michigan State in the Big 10 Tourney.

The good thing for the Gophers is that they return all five starters, have a strong bench and have the No. 12 recruiting class in the nation according to

Incoming freshman Royce White, who is the highest-rated Big Ten recruit, along with Justin Cobbs, who scored 47 points in his last high school game before becoming a Gopher and Trevor Mbakwe, who is the reigning Junior college player of the year.

The Gophers have a year of NCAA Tourney experience with Ralph Sampson III, Colton Iverson and soon to be senior Lawrence Westbrook. 

With Tubby Smith molding the current freshman class and the members of the current class, the Gophers will be a force for the upcoming season and beyond.