Saturday, January 24, 2009

This Better be Easy

Yes, this better be an easy win for the Gophers. I don't feel like sweating through a barn burner against the worst team in the country, knowing that a win essentially means nothing and a loss pretty much ends the Gophers' season, or at least damages it more severely than whatever gave Dawger the brain damage he has to live with every day.

And there's no reason why it shouldn't be easy, the Hoosiers stink. They are 5-12 overall, 0-5 in the Big Ten, and come into the game carrying an eight game losing streak which includes losses to Northeastern and Lipscomb. They come into the game last in the Big Ten in scoring, field goal percentage, and 3pt shooting percentage. They rank 300th in the country in offensive efficiency, and 310th in effective field goal percentage against. So they don't play offense well or defense well, and even more juicy for the Gophers they are 340th in the country in turnover percentage on offense, turning the ball over on 27.3% of their possessions.

As far as individual players go, hell, your guess is as good as mine. I watched about ten minutes of Indiana basketball this season, and the only thing I really noticed was Verdell Jones getting outplayed by mega-nerd walk-on hometown white boy Daniel Moore, who I can almost guarantee is a fan favorite for all the reasons previously mentioned.

They have four guys who do most of their damage stuff; Jones at the point, Juco transfer Devan Dumes and freshman Nick Williams on the wing, and another freshman Tom Pritchard down on the block. Pritchard is probably the biggest surprised, as he was not even ranked by rivals and was only offered by Penn State and Miami (OH) beyond Indiana, but has really played well and leads the team in rebounding with 7.4 and is second in scoring at 12.4 per game, both numbers lead the Big Ten for freshmen. Dumes is the leading scorer at 12.5, and was the 29th ranked JuCo player last season - which we're finding out is quite the crapshoot. Jones adds 8.5 points and is second on the team in assists (to Moore) at 2.6 per game, but he also turns it over 3.0 times per game and shoots just 15% from three. Williams is probably the highest regarded of the prospects - he adds nine points and five rebounds, and also can't shoot the three at all.

Really, there's no reason here at all for this game to even be close. The Gophers are better in every single way. Yet my spidey sense is tingling. I'm nervous. My palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy. There's vomit on my sweater already; Mom's spaghetti.

Even at home, Indiana is too god awful to pull this one out, but you're not going to enjoy watching this: Minnesota 65, Indiana 55.

Also a programming note: I will be leaving tomorrow for the city of angels, which is not a reference to that crappy Nic Cage movie but means I'm going to Los Angeles. Last time I was there I kicked a forty yard field goal at the Rose Bowl. This time I'm staying in some shitbox hotel. What this means is that there either won't be many posts, or there will be some late night drunk posts.

Probably the latter.