Thursday, January 22, 2009
Yep, that's pretty much what we've come to at this point. It's probably time to realize the Gophers are a thoroughly mediocre team after dropping a game at home to Purdue 70-62, a score I almost called. In a game which was made even worse by rush-hour like traffic both before and after, the Gophers followed up their sloppy effort against Northwestern on Sunday with an even sloppier, uglier, lazier effort last night. A lot of that can be credited to Purdue, who is a fabulous defensive squad, but if you're a national ranked team with aspirations on a good seed in the NCAA tournament you find a way to get it done, especially when you're at home.
An ugly game was made even uglier by Heavy Handed Hightower who, along with those other guys, called a ridiculous 49 fouls leading to a total of 61 free throws between the teams. The Gophers were actually right there in the rebound battle (losing 32-29) and forced the Boilers into 17 turnovers to just 14 for the home team. Unfortunately, none of that matters when you shoot just 28% (3-19 from three) and allow the other team to shoot 47% (6-11 from three).
It's time to ramp down projections and temper your hopes and dreams, as it's becoming clear that maybe this Gopher team just isn't as good as it had appeared. They can't guard or score against the really good teams. I'm not saying they are a bad team, far from it, but after the Wisconsin win expectations really rose, my own included. It's time to realize they are basically a bubble team, looking at a 7-11 type seed if they get in and possibly one victory in the tournament. That is the new level of success we should hope for. Pretty much exactly where we were going into this season. Still a good team, but my hopes have been dashed. Let me pose something, perhaps the win over wisconsin wasn't an indication of how good the Gophers are, but how bad the Badgers are. I just blew your mind.
Anyway, here's some stuff:
Halftime Show: That was awful. When it's a bunch of girls running around jumping and flipping about like the Fargo-Moorhead Acro Team it's awesome. When it's two dudes doing the same thing, it's just gay.
Lewis Jackson: I don't know that I've ever seen anybody as fast as this little midget. His numbers aren't all that impressive this year or anything, but I have no idea how that's possible since he appears to be completely and totally unguardable. He did turn it over five times last night, but I think that's just the kind of thing you have to take sometimes with a guy like this. Not even Nolen could stay in front of him, and I didn't think that was possible. Speaking of unguardable...
Al Nolen: He's still unguardable as well, and can get to the paint anytime he wants. Here's the problem, he gets in too deep, and has no idea what to do. He either needs to start pulling up for a jumper, commit to getting to the rim and just keep going, or pass it back out before he gets in too deep. He seemed to have two modes last night, either drive and stop and have no idea what to do once he got in the lane, or keep charging in. He keep charging in thing has it's place, and last night it worked thanks to the refs as Nolen had 17 points, mainly thanks to his 10-10 on free throws. The stopping in the lane thing, however, has got to stop. He's got a ton of talent, and other than his 3-14 shooting and the driving and stopping thing, he had a great line (17pts, 6rebs, 4assists, 3steals). He's starting to become quite the enigma.
Poor Unsuspecting Girl: This was just some poor girl Snake pointing out to me, vulgarly referring to her as "Trim." Then she turned around, and was clearly no older than thirteen and wearing braces. I hope you enjoy prison Snake, say hi to Tweeder for me.
Lawrence Westbrook: I'm pretty upset with myself for defending Westbrook in the comments of my last post, he really played a very lazy game last night. He got lost on defense a few times, and even seemed to have trouble handling the ball - like he couldn't quite dribble correctly, more like an 8 year old girl than a nationally ranked team's leading scorer. One play was completely inexcusable - I don't remember exactly the situation, but a ball was heading out of bounds of the Boilers and in Westbrook's direction, rather than grab it, he lazily waited for it to go out of bounds, when instead a Purdue player ran over and saved it to a teammate. Just inexcusable. I honestly think he might have the flu or mono or the HIV or something, because I've never seen somebody play with less energy.
Ralph Sampson: One of the lone bright spots last night, Sampson finished with 6 points and 7 rebounds and won the coveted "Boston Scientific Heart of the Game." I still think this guy has the most potential out of any of the newcomers, and he seems to be gaining confidence. His outside jumpshot is pretty much completely random, either it's on or it's way, way, way off, but I have faith in him. All American in two years?
Devoe Joseph: I really liked how he tried to take over the game offensively for a stretch when the Gophers couldn't seem to score. It showed he has a scorers mentality, despite being used mainly as a PG - including playing the 1 when he and Nolen were in together. It wasn't his best game, but I saw something I really liked - much like when I watch that stats lady walk across the floor.
Green Guy: Honest to christ, what the hell was that? I don't even get it. Am I just old? I think it's pretty much just kind of stupid and weird. If you're going to be weird, at least make sense. Like, I get the guy who dresses like a cow, and I get the guys who painted their chests. It's demented and sad, but I get it. I don't get the gorillas (they aren't found in barns - you don't make sense) and I really don't get the green guy.
Travis Busch: Busch played 12 minutes which is far too many against a team like Purdue. I get that you want to mix it up a bit when things aren't working, but how about giving Devron Bostick more than 8 minutes? He might be our most complete offensive player, so why not give him more of a shot against a good defense? Sorry, I know I'm not allowed to question Tubby, my bad. The only memorable thing Busch did was when he blocked the shot of a 5-5 midget, then backed away from the ball which allowed the midget to grab it and throw it over to Hummel for a wide open three pointer, which he thankfully missed. You'd think a guy with all that grit and hustle would know to grab the ball, and probably dive at it even when not necessary.
Cross Country Hat Wearing Guy: This dude sat in front of us, wearing some kind of cross country hat, which was completely unformed and the back tab thing wasn't tucked in so it stuck out like some kind of reverse antenna. Every single timeout he had to stand up. It may not sound like much, but when me, Snake, and Snacks all noticed it separately, it's clearly pervasive and completely irritating. Just stay in your god damn seat, you damn hippie.
JaJuan Johnson: I said I was a bit concerned about Johnson, and didn't think Iverson could handle him and hoped Sampson could. Turns out nobody could. "The College KG" led Purdue with 19 points and 8 rebounds, and tossed in five blocked shots just for kicks. Completely unstoppable force. Big Ten Player of the Year.
Paul Carter: I didn't much notice Carter, and other than a very short stretch where he grabbed a steal and blocked a shot or two, he didn't do much, but the important question is: Who would win in a bar fight, Westbrook or Carter? Official bar type fight, where whatever weapons you can find (broken bottle, pool cue) are available? Snake says Carter, I say Westbrook.