Personally this was one of the most disappointing losses in a long time. Illinois overachieved considering their god awful season thus far and the Gophers, in my opinion, underachieved considering they were at home, had a much better conference record, and something to play for (NCAA bid).
In hind sight this game shouldn't have come as such a suprise. Illinois was 2-9 in conference play heading into last nights game but 8 of their 9 losses came against the top 5 teams in the conference. IU needed double OT to scrap out a win last Thursday at Illinois. I was hoping that the Illini would come out emotionally drained from such a tough game in which they pissed the game away at the charity stripe (.47 FT %). Needless to say, Illinois owns the Gophers and can always count on us for a quick pick me up. We are like their late night booty call that they can always count on no matter the circumstances to have their way with. Either our place or theirs, whatever is most convenient for them.
The Gophers didn't start out quite as flat as they did against Sconi and OSU. They kept in within 10 for the majority of the 1st half and cut the lead to 6 at half.
Then all holy hell broke loose in the 2nd half. The gophers couldn't buy a bucket and Illinois couldn't miss. Illinois was considered an athletic team that couldn't shoot (.438 FG %, .061 % FT % and .311% 3P%). Against old Dr. Feelgood their numbers improved dramatically (.59 FG%, .708 FT% and .538 3P%). Illinois' lead went from 4 to 25 in like 5 minutes. I wanted to gauge my eyes out with a Buffalo Wild Wings plastic fork.
The Gophers didn't force many turnovers (11) and didn't capitalize on the few the few they did force. They were just never able to sustain any momentum. Bottom line is the Gophers aren't a very good team and have overachieved most of the year. Tubby has squeezed all the juice he can from this lemon of a team. I can take comfort in the fact that we didn't lose to NDSU in basktetball this year.
This is just what we needed going into our annual road trip to Madison. This completely demoralized team may lose by 50 this Saturday. Accompanying us this weekend will be The Woz. One of my all-time greatest antagonists. There is nothing more in life he enjoys then seeing me suffer. The happiest years of his life were 1997 - 2001 because the Twins were at rock bottom, the Gophers basketball team suffered a near death sentence and the Vikings lost in the NFC Championship twice. My next report may be a live blog from a Madison jail cell where I await arraignment for stabbing The Woz.