Can nine good minutes wipe out 31 minutes of crap? I say no.
The Gophers won, but it was ugly, and not a good game. Plus, it was Michigan. Yes, Michigan had won three straight, including a win over Ohio State, but they're still the Wolverines. The only bright spot I can even think of was Lawrence McKenzie, who essentially won the game for the Gophers. He ended up with 26 points on 9-13 shooting, including 7-10 from three, and really played an excellent all around game, despite four turnovers. And it's a damn good thing he was there, because every other part of the game last night was crap. Really, really ugly.
Turnovers: Some of the most absurdly stupid decisions ever, as well as some piss poor execution. Dan Coleman continues to baffle me. He let yet another easy pass slip through his hands which would have led to an easy layup. Damian Johnson had a rebound bounce off his hands and go out of bounds. Seventeen total turnovers against a team that is terrible at turning people over, ranking 233rd in the country in that stat. Just a horrible job taking care of the ball.
Rebounding: Offensive rebounds for Michigan kept them in the game, as the Gophers didn't have the hustle, effort, or fundamentals to keep them off the boards. Ekpe Udoh did a hell of a Rodman impersonation, coming away with 7 offensive boards and only 4 points. The Wolverines ended up with 18 offensive rebounds, coming away with one on 38% of their missed shots.
Offense: Essentially consisted of everyone standing around watching the guards launch three pointers. They ended up with 24 three point attempts and 23 two point attmepts. Now, it worked this time, as they shot 51% overall and 42% from three, but this is not the way to go about your business. Thank God for McKenzie, because without him the rest of the team went only 3-14 from the arc. The sad thing is, I don't even know if I can complain about this, because what the hell else are they going to do. Coleman was once again nowhere to be found, hiding in a hole somewhere. Spencer continues to be Spencer. Bursts of energy and scoring mixed into a mostly pedestrian game. When he knocked down that miracle three pointer, the guy announcing the game said, "That's his game, he's a face up shooter." Um. No he's not. Not even a little bit. The scariest part of the night was when Tubby threw out a lineup of DJ, Hoffbauer, Shamala, J-Williams, and Payton. That's completely terrifying. Who wins in a scrimmage: Those five, or a team of Archambeau, Ryan Wolf, Jim Shikenjanski, Bob Martin, and Kevin Nathaniel? Someone should set that up.
Defense: The numbers end up looking ok here, but that's basically due to the fact that Michigan shoots like your average half-time contestant from the student section. They seriously had open shot after open shot and were just tossing bricks up there. It was like a high school wrestling team at open gym (it's a known fact wrestlers can't shoot). Michigan ended up shooting only 32% and 19% from three (this was deflated by end of game desperation heaves), but if you saw the game, you couldn't help but notice how open Michigan was nearly the entire game. Add in a completely ineffective press that was mercifully pulled off before the game got out of hand, and this was not the team's best defensive effort.
Seriously, this game was brutal. Against a good team, the Gophers lose by 30.
Oh, and Mrs. W had a good question. If Williams Arena is the Barn, how can the stupid section be the Barnyard? It's in the Barn. Not outside. In her words, "That's really stupid."
Lastly, a quick non-Gopher topic is that Arizona has gone ahead and gotten themselves right in a bad place after losing at Washington last night. A very good team, they have now fallen to 16-9 overall, and 6-7 in the Pac 10. They still have the #1 strength of schedule and are 18th in the RPI, but can't keep losing winnable games. They have five games left, but two of those are at Washington State and at UCLA. Arizona might end up being left out of the tournament, and that would be a shame.