Friday, November 13, 2009

And So it Begins

Tonight begins the march to a championship.  Or at least to an NCAA Tournament bid.

Your mighty Gophers take on the hated Golden Eagles from Tennessee Tech who, frankly, are going to get blown out of the water.

Tech is a small team, with only four players bigger than 6-6, two of which have never played D-I ball and two of which who played just twelve minutes per game each last season, which means a big game for Ralph Sampson.  He's dominated the two smaller exhibition teams the Gophers have played, and this shouldn't be any different.  Not only will he score at will on the block, expect him, Damian Johnson, and Paul Carter to all have big games on the offensive glass, and the Gophers' total second-chance points might equal the Golden Eagles' total for the game.  Not only is TTU undersized, but last season they were 303rd in the country in allowing offensive rebounds - and that was with their best player and leading rebounder, now lost to graduation.

Of course, there's also a chance there won't be many second chance points because the Gophers might never be stopped.  Not only do the Eagles rebound poorly, they defend poorly too.  And they're equal opportunity - they can't defend the three pointer or the two point shot.  Not to mention that there is absolutely nobody here who can block a shot, so Westbrook, Rodney, Cobbs, and Nolen should be able to get to the rim, either for there own lay-ins or kickouts to the shooters at the undefended three-point line.

Really, the only chance Tech has to keep this close is if the Gophers get sloppy.  For all the bad things I've said, the Eagles do have a lot of guards and they do have some plusses, including playing at one of the fastest paces in basketball last year, which can make teams get sloppy if they aren't careful.  They are good at both stealing the ball and turning their opponents over in general, so it is imperative that the Gopher guards stay in control.  With better athletes, Minnesota doesn't need to avoid a fast-paced game - it would actually be to their advantage to run - but they do need to do it under control and make good decisions, a task which makes me a little nervous, actually.

If the game is tight at all towards the end, Tech is a good three-point shooting team, including Frank Davis, who hit 76 three-pointers last year while shooting it at a 43% clip.  If they keep it close and get hot, it could get ugly.

But it won't.  Seriously, there's no reason to worry, I just wrote that stuff as a worst case scenario kind of situation.  It won't come to that.  Gophers 88, Tenn Tech 60.

FUN FACT:  In 1985, before a game against Tennessee the Golden Eagles' fans bombarded the home court with toilet paper for 15 minutes, causing a 45-minute delay which went down in school lore as "The Blizzard."  Although fans of fierce rival Middle Tennessee State now refer to toilet paper as "Tennessee Tech Diplomas."


Anonymous said...

myron is bad, but his tweet about royce is a little disconcerning; especially with the fact that royce was not at the game tonight, and he probably wasn't in night class!!! UT OH, nice knowing ya royce.

WWWWWW said...

Yes, it sounds like Royce is likely expelled. Can't wait to see him dominate the Horizon League in two years.

Anonymous said...

It will all just be a bump in the road when the Tubby and Nantz are shedding tears turning one shining moment.