That's a terrible post title, but I couldn't really think of anything else because I'm so damn tired. Seriously, I'm exhausted. I probably have mono. Or AIDS. I haven't had any gay sex lately or hugged Magic Johnson, so it's probably not AIDS.
1. Is Ohio State more of a "final four" team like you said, or "not a top 100" team like Dawger said? It should be obvious at this point that any time Dawger and I disagree, you just take my side and you'll be good, and this is just another example. Since the Gophers beat them at Williams, they have won at Purdue, vs. Wisconsin, and at Iowa and lost at #12 West Virginia by 6. The team's RPI this year is 41, they're ranked 14th by Ken Pomeroy's numbers and 20th and 24th in the two polls, and are 12-3 when Evan Turner plays. I'll admit "final four team" might be a little bit strong, but "not a top 100" team is just plain old ludicrously stupid. Much like everything else that comes out of Dawger's mouth. You can still get them at 75-1 to win the National Championship. I recommend you throw a $5-spot on it.
2. So just how good is this Evan Turner? If you can get past the fact that he turns it over a ridiculous four times per game he's pretty damn good. His 18.4 ppg ranks third in the Big Ten. His 9.9 rebounds per game ranks first in the conference, and his 5.5 assists ranks second. He's also tied for fourth in steals per game at 1.7 and is twelfth in blocks at 0.9 per game. All this while shooting 55%, good for fourth in the Big Ten, and he's a guard. The team is 12-3 with him, including wins over Purdue, Florida State, and Cal, and is just 3-3 without him with a loss to Michigan. He might legitimately be the best player in college basketball this year, and if he hadn't gotten hurt would be a legit National Player of the Year candidate.
3. Tell me about the rest of guys, but be quick about it. I don't have all day. Fellow wings David Lighty and William Buford are basically knockoffs of Turner, and both can carry the team if they need to. Lighty scored 18 in the second-half alone this week against Iowa, and Buford played his best game of the year last weekend against West Virginia with 22 on 9-13 shooting. Jon Diebler is the only player in the conference with more three-pointers made than Blake Hoffarber this year, shoots 44% behind the line, and has hit five or more threes in a game seven-times already (and can get his own shot). Finally, manning the paint is Dallas Lauderdale, who is an offensive retard but leads the conference in blocked shots and is a pretty intimidating force in the middle - good thing the Gophers don't have anybody who can drive into the paint anyway.
4. How is the post-Al Nolen point guard thing going? Well Justin Cobbs has been a non-factor. He played just four minutes against Michigan State because he was way, way, way, way too freaking hyper resulting in two turnovers in those four minutes. In the next game against Northwestern he played better, putting in 12 minutes of work and getting almost nothing on his stat line, good or bad. I didn't notice him for his good play, but didn't notice him for bad either. Devoe Joseph had a great game against Michigan State with 16 points and 7 assists against just 1 turnover, but kind of disappeared against NW with just six points and four turnovers. So, in a word, pretty uneven.
I'm encouraged because both Joseph and Cobbs have shown flashes the past two games, but they'll need to play even better if there's an NCAA bid in the future. Ohio State doesn't match up well against quick point guards because there best guys are bigger wings and their only "true" point guard is a gigantic douchebag. I just don't know if either of our guys would be classified as a "quick" point guard. As usual and in every game the rest of the year, point guard play is going to be a huge key.
5. This would obviously be a huge win for the Gophers, is there any reason to believe? Not really. Ohio State is almost as good defensively as the Gophers, but are a far, far better offensive team - one of the best in the country (16th in offensive efficiency). They can thrive either in the halfcourt or in an up-and-down fast-paced game and have not only the best player out of the two teams, but maybe the best two or three. I'm hoping the Gophers can keep it close to the end and find a way to sneak a win out somehow, but I think a blowout is more likely (and not the good way).
Ohio State 74, Minnesota 62.