Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Well, last night reminded me why Gopher basketball has been so frustrating for the last few years, and why we started watching the games in bars, leaving tickets in our pockets. I missed the first half due to our football game (we won 24-20, I had two TDs), and watched the second in the bar, so I don't have the most complete recap, but I saw enough to want to reach through the screen and punch the team collectively in the mouth.
I guess I should have expected this, going on the road against a far more athletic team, but stupid Tubby Smith made me believe, and I won't fall for that again. This year's version of the Gophers is better than last year's, but I'm really concerned after this game. They had zero idea of what to do on offense. When I was watching I saw nothing but bad shot after bad shot. The best Gopher I saw last night was freakin' Hoffarber. It was nice to see him come into his own a bit, with 12 points on 5-9 shooting and gain some confidence. Of course, I also saw him completely lose his man on defense, leading to a FSU layup, and be in perfect position for a rebound only to have a more athletic Seminole swoop in and grab the O-board - so there's still that to work on.
The Gophers put the ball up 71 times, compared to only 52 from FSU, but due to FSU's 27 made free throws to the Gophers 6, and Minnesota's .338 shooting, this game wasn't even as close as the score indicates. McKenzie 3-10, Coleman 3-12, and Tollackson 2-9. This is our big three? These are the guys who are going to carry this team into the tournament this year? And FSU is only a bubble team. The hope is that the Gophers struggled so mightily (unlike me in football, I'm like Jerry Rice out there) because this team was so much more athletic, and the slow, sluggish Big Ten teams won't give them as much of a problem.
Well, that's pretty delusional really, but it's all we can hold on to. I'm terrified that this is going to be a repeat of last season (well, not quite as bad) and all the comments in national previews that said "The Gophers have all five starters back, but is that a good thing?" were right. It's not the fact that they lost, it's the way that they lost. Poor shooting, poor defense, too many fouls, and too many turnovers. That sounds awfully familiar. I'm officially shifting gears from an NCAA bid, to hoping they make the NIT. Doom and gloom, or more realistic? Hopefully, I'm way off.
On a positive note, the Devoe Joseph signing has pushed the Gophers recruiting class to #11 in the country, as ranked by Van Coleman. Awesome, awesome job Mr. Smith.
Georgetown -9 @ ODU
NC State +8.5 @ Mich State
Rhode Island -12 vs. Northeastern
Boston College +2 @ Michigan
Syracuse -7.5 vs. UMass
Illinois +2.5 @ Maryland
Arkansas -4.5 vs. Missouri
Virginia Tech +2 @ Penn St
George Washington +18.5 @ UCLA
Cal +3.5 @ Nevada