Saturday, February 16, 2008

Stupid Gophers

After a pretty good first half which saw the Gophers trailing Wisconsin 27-26, they fell apart in the second, ultimately losing 65-56.

Ok, fell apart might be a bit strong, but they essentially turned their offense into the three guards (Westbrook, McKenzie, and Nolen) running around the three point line until one of them got "open" for a three pointer. I'd be more critical, but every time a guard penetrated and dished, whichever Gopher big man was the recipient of the pass would either let it go through his hands (DJ) or miss the layup/dunk (Williams). It was to the point where BTN even did a montage of all the easy shots missed by the Gophers. Incredibly frustrating.

The defense fell apart in the second half, as Wisconsin was pretty much able to get to the rim whenever they wanted. Luckily, they weren't shooting the ball well either, and Minnesota had opportunities to make a move but wasn't able to capitalize.

They played tough, and every time Wisconsin seemed to be ready to take control had an answer - up until about the four minute mark.

The Good:
Might have been Lawrence McKenzie's best game. Seemed to finally find that balance between scorer and game manager. Attacked and shot the ball when needed, and penetrated and got the ball to open players when it was available. Excellent game.

The Bad:
Dan Coleman decided once again not to show up in a big game. Finished with 10 points, but five came in the last minute when the game was already decided. If you just watch him he appears lost at times. Landry abused him every time he got the ball on the block, and I saw Butch miss a shot, and rather than block out Coleman just wandered away, letting the rebound come right to Butch and leading to an easy layup. Additionally, when the Badgers scored with 6 second left in the first half, Coleman was closest to the ball and instead of hurrying to get it in to try to get a good shot at the end of the half, he just walked to the ball while the clock continued to run. He's a senior with some talent, and his head is turning him into the most average of the average. He drives me crazy.

The Ugly:
Jon Williams. Forced to play a lot of minutes by Tollackson's foul trouble and Wisconsin's size, and now has me praying Sampson and Iverson can play immediately. Williams was 0-5 shooting, and somehow it was even uglier than that. All five misses were from inside 3 feet, including a missed dunk. He's completely overmatched in the Big Ten, and I don't know if he's fixable at this point.

Overall, this game was very similar to the Indiana and Michigan State games, with the Gophers making it tight but not being able to get over the hump in the end. I guess you could be satisfied with the effort, but I'm pretty god damn sick of moral victories, and tired of stupid play.

Also, for those homers complaining about the refereeing - give it a rest. The game was called evenly, and there were calls missed on both sides. If you have to resort to blaming the refs, you're missing a lot. Don't even bother pointing out the 33 vs. 20 free throw attempt advantage the Badgers add. Think about for just a minute, and remember the Gophers had something like the first ten free throw attempts in the game, and then spent the rest of the contest flitting about the three point line while Wisconsin continually attacked the basket. Use your friggin' heads people.

I'm seriously pissed off right now. I'm going to go try to kill my feelings with beer.

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