Monday, November 8, 2010

Gophers outlast Winona State, Drive me Crazy

Have we seen this before?  In an all to familiar twist, the Gophers really struggled in the half court against Winona.  There was a lot of confusion and a lot of running down of the shot clock, leaving the guards to try to create on their own with single-digits left to shoot - sound familiar?  What was happening was that Winona was doubling everywhere and everyone in the post, even going so far as to double the post before the ball was even delivered.  This would lead to the guard with the ball trying to pass it into a post player with two guys on him, which, you'd think, would mean somebody was open. 

And somebody was, but Winona was quick to recover, the open player wasn't making himself available in a passing lane, and the player with the ball wasn't making smart or quick decisions.  This all leads to chaos, confusion, and a mere five point lead at halftime.

It was more of the same in half number two, leading to Ralph Sampson taking a pro range three while being blanket covered by his man and throwing it over the shot clock, and Colt Iverson putting it on the floor and trying to drive to the hole from the top of the key before having it knocked away.  Thankfully Tubby pulled the line change and the second group was willing to get out and run, looking for opportunities in transition and quickly turned the small Gopher lead into almost twenty, showing how a team that was superior athletically could get a bunch of easy buckets by using that athleticism.

Things were pretty much fine after that.  Winona made a game of it by hitting a crazy silly amount of three-pointers, and the Gophers won a game by six against a team they should have beaten by at least 20.  I don't care that they're one of the best D-II teams, they're still a D-II team.  But I really don't care about any of that, I really just care about the fact that they still can't run a proper half-court offense.  Seriously, this worries me so much that my anticiperection for this season has now turned into a fear boner that they're going to let me down.  Ugh.  Maybe it would have been different if Devoe hadn't been hurt, or maybe he would have just been the one forcing up shots all the time.  I don't know.  I'm disgusted.

And Al Nolen is still Al Nolen.  For all the good that is, and all the bad. 

Two quick positives so I don't get accused of being all doom and gloom:

-  Rodney Williams put the ball on the floor and drove to the hoop from the perimeter at least twice during the game, once successfully and once not, but he at least showed he can do it.  He absolutely has all the potential ESPN keeps writing about.  It's going to be fun to watch him put it all together.

-  Maurice Walker showed some very nice moves in the paint, showcasing a real nice spin move and a soft touch around the hoop.  Of course, it's a bit hard to truly evaluate him, considering Winona had nobody near his size, height-wise or weight-wise, and he may have weighed as much as any two Winona forwards, but still, he looked very good.  As a fourth post guy, he's tough to beat.

Let's just hurry up and get to the real games.  I don't want to waste all my righteous anger on games that don't count.  I want to disappointed in games that actually matter in the standings.


rghrbek said...

The half court has always been Tubby's bane here.

He is not an offensive genius to say the least, nor has he had the right players to run the point.

I share your fear, just not your fear boner.

Shawn Bradley Guy said...

Aren't we just inviting teams to play zone and/or other quirky defenses with the starting lineup that we roll out there: Nolen (can't shoot), Hoffarber (can shoot, but can be shut down by more athletic defender), Williams (shaky with ball, inconsistent shot), Iverson (big man), Sampson (big man, can shoot but teams will give that up all day)...??

I'd prefer if Nolen and Williams came off the bench and pressed here and there to see if they can get some easy baskets in transition.

However, the "press" may not work in Division I basketball like it does at the travelling level.

Anonymous said...

Mo Walker was not nearly as good as you tout him as being last night. Don't have the official numbers in front of me but he had to have had at least 5 turnovers. His hands are absolutely terrible. Footwork isn't bad, but he's gotta work on his ballhandling (lol ballhandling) if he's gonna be a threat come the regular season.