Which is the more interesting story line: that the Gophers finally played a complete game, or that they played it without Lawrence Westbrook in large part? I'm fairly certain it wasn't coincidence that the team played their best game of the year in the same game where he sat out for a large chunk of the second half, but I'm not really going to dwell on that right now. It was a good win against a hated rival, and, as Snacks emailed me this morning, "Now the Gophers have a pulse." They do indeed, but it's awfully faint. I think they're still like Wesley before he takes that big pill from Billy Crystal and are mostly dead.
Last night's win puts the team at 15-10 overall, and 6-7 in conference with five games to play - home against Indiana and Purdue, on the road to Illinois and Michigan, and finishing up at home vs. Iowa. The current team resume is: RPI of 75, SoS of 37, 2-4 against the Top 25 RPI, 3-5 against the top 50, and 4-8 against the top 100 and are 3-8 in road/neutral games - UGLY.
Assuming the home games against Iowa and Indiana are wins, a dangerous assumption I freely admit, that gives them 8 wins. Clearly 8 wins won't get them in, and at this point with that computer profile nine won't either, so they're going to need at least two wins out of the Purdue, @Illinois, and @Michigan games. Yikes. That would be a tall order for almost any team. No, I'm afraid it's a classic case of "too little, too late" here. They're pretty much just fighting for a higher NIT seed at this point.
More than anything else, this wind kind of pisses me off though. What the hell, you can only get "up" for games against your big rival? That's retarded. Every team in the Big Ten is your rival, and every game is a big game. If they play like they did last night in other games they don't lose to Portland and probably not Miami, they win at least one of the Michigan State games, they don't lose to Michigan or Indiana, and we're debating if they can get to a four seed or not. Perhaps some would grant the team a pass due to the instability and the other off the court crap that we are all too familiar with, but not me. If you can't get fired up for every game then what are you even playing for? Maybe the whole team is just using their basketball scholarship to get the degree they've always dreamed of.
Talk about your lost season. What a freakin' shame. And a year of Rodney was wasted as well. I'm not sure if Tubby thought he would develop more throughout the year than he actually did, but he certainly would have been well served with a redshirt year.
Anyway, Indiana heads to the ole Barn tomorrow, and any hope at a bid, slim as it is, depends on not losing this game. So don't lose it. They've only won three games in the Big Ten season and are mired in the midst of a seven game losing streak, and they've won one road game all year. You know, if the capacity to care hadn't already been beaten out of me this year, I'd be terrified. As it is, I'll just shrug either way.
Minnesota 78, Indiana 62.