With apologies to Iowa's own Meredith (The Music Man) Willson:
Ya got trouble, Iowa.
Right here, I say.
Trouble right here in Iowa City.
Trouble with a capital T and that rhymes with D and that stands for Darryl; and it rhymes with G and that stands for Gopher and that means Darryl Mitchell and the Minnesota Gophers.
The Big Ten took on a drastically different look last Saturday afternoon right there in Iowa City. Mitchell erased the Hawkeyes' one-game conference lead by calmly sinking two free throws after time had expired in the third OT of an epic struggle between those unfriendly neighbors, Minnesota and Iowa.
Not only did the foul shots give D a game-high 21 points and his Gs a 57-55 victory, but they also enabled Minnesota to tie the Hawkeyes for the league lead (both are 12-4 in the Big Ten, 20-5 overall) and spelled considerably more T for Iowa, because this week the Hawkeyes must play their final two conference games on the road while Minnesota is at home.
Mitchell, a 6'5" senior guard, was poised as he clutched a tough rebound after a missed Iowa shot with eight seconds left in Overtime 3. He looked under control as he dribbled up the floor and over the time line and then whirled 360 degrees to avoid a steal. "He overlapped it; he playgrounded it all the way," Iowa's freshman center, Michael Payne, said later. Mitchell seemed to be comfortable even as he jumped and launched a no-chance prayer from maybe 40 feet, and he acted merely relieved when the Hawks' Mark Gannon was whistled for the unnecessary, fateful foul.
The reasons for Mitchell's relative serenity weren't hard to guess. There was confidence born of his awareness that the Hawkeyes—notorious windsuckers in the stretch—had led the Big Ten in 1981 before losing their last two games and the championship, and that they seemed to be running scared in this season's race. And he couldn't help but feel satisfaction at having been given the opportunity to spoil an emotional orgy for the 13,365 teary-eyed faithful attending the final game at Iowa's 56-year-old Field House. Surely part of it was the pride he felt in the Gophers' having come from four points behind near the end of regulation and having survived Iowa's last-shot strategy in each overtime.
In 1980-81 Minnesota, playing with virtually the same cast, lost four of five overtime games and finished last in the Big Ten in free-throw percentage. But Mitchell looked so sure of victory even before he stepped to the line, buried his foul shots and enabled the Gophers to whip Iowa for a second time this season that nobody could doubt him later when he said, "I tell you, the throws were academic. Nothing to it. What I was worried about was the foul call. Now that was gutsy."