Monday, July 9, 2007

ESPN's Quick Gopher Preview's Andy Glockner has a Big Ten Basketball preview up, and it's a quick version, but I'll still comment on the Gopher section, which is:

Good news: After a year of turmoil that led to the pressured resignation of Dan Monson in November and the bulk of a 9-22 campaign under interim coach Jim Molinari, the Gophers came up golden when they pried Tubby Smith away from Kentucky. Minnesota now will have a defensive identity and toughness it lacked in prior years. Think the fans aren't into the Smith Era already? Check out the "Chubby for Tubby" T-shirts.

Bad news: Minnesota was bad with a bunch of upperclassmen last season, which is never a good thing, although the entire core of the team returns intact for one more go. Given some of the locals' gripes about how the Gophers let too much in-state talent escape, it will be interesting to see if Smith can shed his reputation of not recruiting elite talent and upgrade this roster. It also will be interesting to see how many people actually will wear the Chubby slogan on their chest. A little TMI, perhaps?

Basically, the only good news he lists is that Tubby Smith is here. I think that's pretty much accurate. What other good news is there? We have the entire starting lineup intact? That isn't really good news when you go 9-22, this isn't Florida here. He also mentions the Gophers "will have a defensive identity and toughness" this year? What? Where? I don't think after three years of Coleman being soft he's magically going to be a tough guy inside just because Tubby showed up. And I don't think McKenzie and Shamala are going to become defensive stoppers all of a sudden. I'm happy Tubby is here, thrilled, actually, but anyone looking for major improvements this year is going to be disappointed. I really hope I'm wrong, but I just don't think they have the players - Tubby or not.

As far as the bad news goes, it's pretty much everything other than Tubby. He mentions the in-state talent getting away under Monson, and he's right. Tubby needs to get either White or Williams, if not both, to make a major statement.

You can read the entire preview here, but to sum up:

Good: Michigan State, Indiana, Ohio State
Middle: Illinois, Penn State (?), Purdue, Wisconsin
Bad: Gophers, Iowa, Michigan, Northwestern


Anonymous said...

The gophers are void of any potential stars this is true but they are returning a lot of experience. This team should know their roles and be very familiar with one another on the court. Usually this equates to some degree of success. I remain hopeful that with a new coach and some real scorers on this team along with a ton of experience we could have a better then 500 hundred team. Your expectations have to be higher then in 2005 when they made the NCAA tourney with Aaron Robinson, Jeff Hagen and Brett Lawson.

WWWWWW said...

I do expect them to be better than last year, due to what you mentioned, but I don't think .500 is realistic.

And yes, expectations were very low in 2005, but I wasn't expecting someone like Vince Grier to come along. I don't think Hoffarber or Nolen can make that kind of difference.

Like I said, I hope I'm wrong, but I don't see much good news here.