Thursday, December 2, 2010

Game Preview: Minnesota Gophers vs. Cornell Big Red

Remember two years ago when the Cornell Big Red came to the Barn to play the Minnesota Gophers?  It was kind of an event because the team was pretty good and their was a little bit of a local angle.  The Gophers ended up winning, but Cornell's program grew and improved and last year reached the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament.  Excited stuff.  But all good things must end.

Dead-eye shooter with a local tie to Minnesota?  Gone.  Seven-footer who could control the game on both ends?  Gone.  Quick and smart pass-first point guard who made it all happen?  Gone.  Five other players encompassing most of your depth?  Gone.  Coach who turned a nothing program into a top program?  Gone.

So you see, it's not really very exciting this time, because this team is bad.  They come in 2-5 with a 20-point loss to Syracuse and a 24-point loss to Seton Hall in their only games against high majors, sporting three other losses at the hands of Boston, Lehigh, and St. Bonnie's - Yeesh.  According to they are below average both offensively and defensively, are a terrible shooting team (just 40% from 2-point range, 34% from three), and give up a ton of offensive rebounds while rarely grabbing one of their own.  They also rarely block shots and only occasionally grab a steal.  In short, a perfect team for the Gophers to play to get their swerve back.

The only main contributor the Big Red have back is guard Chris Wroblewksi (not to be confused with Stephen Tobolowsky):

Wroblewksi was sort of the assistant point guard last year but has been asked, out of necessity, to be more of a scorer this season.  This, as it usually is, has been a disaster.  Although he's increased his scoring from 8.9 to 13.8 points per game he's done it far less efficiently, shooting just 34% (37% from three) this year compared to 44% (and 45% from three) last year.  He's also managed to reach Courtney Fortson-like levels in turnovers, going from a respectable 1.9 per game last year to a game altering 4.6 per game this season.  Well done, all around.  I always find taking a quality, pass-first complementary and smart player and trying to make him into a team-carrying, shoot-first, ball dominator is a recipe for success.

And really, what more do you need to know?  Wroblewski missed the first two games for a reason that I'm not going to look up, and while he was out senior forward Aaron Osgood stepped up, leading the team with 16.5 points per game while shooting 79% from the floor.  Since Wroblewski has been back, he averaged just 4.3 points in the next three games while shooting just 25%, and has sat out since with a knee injury, obviously faked to avoid playing with Wroblewksi.  I also can't find any information on how bad the injury is or if he's going to be playing on Saturday, and I looked for like, 2 minutes.  So your guess is as good as mine.

The last player I want to mention, and this is almost solely because of what happened against Virginia, is guard Andrew Ferry, a transfer from Valparaiso.  The reason I want to mention him, as you might guess, is because he really likes to shoot three-pointers.  He's not particularly great at them, hitting at just 34% for the year, but Mustapha fucking Farrakhan was shooting just 27% before he played Minnesota, so there's that.  Anyway, he's shot 50 threes in 7 games, hasn't shot less than 4 in a game, has attempted 12 twice, and 75% of his field goal attempts have come from three.  So he's going to run around the three-point line looking for the slightest opening to chuck up a three.  They have another very similar guy in Max Groebe (if that's not a sweet nazi name I don't know what is), and Wroblewski is a bit of a chucker himself.

I'm going to start a new paragraph now because this is important.  If the Gophers play the same kind of lack-luster defense they did against Virginia, these three dorks are going to keep this game close.  The biggest difference is Cornell doesn't have a guy like Mike Scott and his split-finger of doom to dominate Ralph and score on the inside.  What they do have is Big Red Bear, Here Comes Treble, and all the brilliance of the Nard Dawg on their side.  It shouldn't be enough (please god), but I'm afraid they're going to make this more interesting than it should be thanks to crap-tastic defense on the perimeter.

Minnesota 74, Cornell 66.


Anonymous said...

the local angle is back! one of the north suburbans own, Josh Figini from Chisago lakes. Just sayin'

Ralph III said...

Does Craptastic defense on the perimeter mean Hoff? If so, say it. Hoff eats arse!

WWWWWW said...

He certainly isn't helping.

Love me some chunt said...

The definition of "Chunt" given by urban dictionary. Snake was right when called SSF a Chunt!

equivalent of a choad, a virgina wider than it is deep.

Frank: "I was about to go down on a girl the other night when I saw she had a chunt, I got the hell out straight away 'cause it could have taken my whole face."
Bob: "Looks like the job for a choad then"