The Maryland basketball team suffered a really, really bad loss to Minnesota on Thursday.
But as terrible as the 68-63 defeat was for the Terps, the game was even more meaningful for their opponent. Minnesota came into the matchup on a 14-game losing streak, having last won against Chicago State on Dec. 16, and it appears things were quite dire on campus for the Gophers.
While the No. 6 (for now) Terps have enjoyed renewed popularity in College Park this season, selling out almost every game and reveling in their high rankings, the Gophers have had pretty much the opposite experience.
So when Minnesota senior Joey King watched fans storm the court after his team's 68-63 win, he was a little overwhelmed. And he had a right to be.
Players tearing up in postgame interviews isn't unheard of, but Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino put King's tears in context, painting a dark picture of the team's experience this season.
"We haven't had this feeling in a while," he said after the game. "[The players] deserve to walk around campus and not be ashamed of themselves."
"I can start going inside the Starbucks instead of going through the drive-through. Yeah, that's not been fun."
The bounces were bound to go Minnesota's way at some point. The Gophers rank 318th in Kenneth Pomeroy's "luck" stat, and lost to No. 4 Iowa, No. 8 Michigan State, No. 17 Purdue and No. 22 Indiana all by eight points or less this season.
"It's insane how many close losses we've had in the past few years," Pitino said. "We've seen this so many freaking times, it's become ridiculous."
The coach was even having trouble getting positive reinforcement from his family.
"I swear to God, if my daughter asked me one more time, 'Did you win tonight?' I was going to lose my mind," Pitino said. "The other day, she woke me up, it was like 2 a.m., we were on the road, and she tapped me on the shoulder and I just looked at her and said 'Please just go away.'"
So while Maryland will almost certainly look back on this game with embarrassment, Thursday was the highlight of Minnesota's season.