Seeing as how it's the opener of Big Ten play, I figured I might as well hanker down with my libration of choice and put some thoughts to paper. Well, to screen. You know what I mean. You don't always have to be so liberal.
20:00 - Ah, the Kohl Center, full of a bunch of retards dressed all in red. Did I ever tell you I was there for the Lawrence Westbrook game? So awesome. When he hit the shot to send the game to OT the entire place went silent, except for me, Bogart, and Dawger up in the upper deck who were pretty much losing our damn minds. Such a great time, especially later when Dawger slapped a piece of pizza out of some insolent jerks mouth. But that's neither here nor there, and not my story to tell.
20:00 - By the way, I'm just going to go ahead and admit I'm going to misspell Bruesewitz throughout this entire thing.
19:35 - Great defense by Ralph Sampson right off the bat forcing Jon Leuer into an airball, and he then gets the ball on the block, backs Leuer in, and scores on a nice hook shot. Great start for the big guy. It can be easy to take him for granite and concentrate on Mbakwe, Nolen, and Hoffarber, but Sampson is going to have to come up big if the Gophers want to grab an upset.
18:55 - Rodney Williams just fouled Keaton Nankivil on a 3-pointer, and he makes all three. Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.
18:36 - Rodney makes up for it with a big dunk and the foul. He even makes the free throw which is pretty unexpected.
17:39 - Jordan Taylor and Leuer miss 28-footers on back-to-back possessions sandwiched around a missed Blake jumper. If they're going to keep taking those shots they can have them all night long.
16:57 - After Mbakwe picks the ball cleanly from Taylor (for serious), Nolen puts up a three-pointer early in the shot clock, hitting backboard before he hits anything else. Let's just keep the ball inside, ok? Like right there where Rodney gets it deep against Bruesewitcz where Rodney's athleticism makes it a complete mismatch.
15:23 - 7-7 as we go to the first timeout. If the Gophers continue to pound the ball inside they have a chance, and so far the switching man-to-man they're playing has worked well. I really wish Mo Walker wasn't hurt, because for those 10 minutes he gives per game he is a very quality player, and is particularly missed in a game like this where the Gophers need to get the ball in the paint as much as possible. Hopefully all he needs is a little tender love and care and he'll be back soon.
15:23 - You know who Mo reminds me a little bit of? Courtney James. I mean, Courtney was definitely better as a freshman, but I think Mo has that potential if he loses a bit of weight and works hard. Or, it might be easier just to get Courtney back. You know he has eligibility left. What's the statue of limitations on hitting somebody with a phone book, anyway?
15:12 - See what I'm saying? Get the ball inside to Mbakwe and Wa la! 2 points.
14:25 - Berggren hits a 18 footer and I guarantee this guy is going to be annoying as all hell the next two years. I don't understand why Wisconsin always has to have someone of his elk.
13:04 - Hoffarber from 28 feet. BANG! Gophers now lead 14-9. Man, I have really done a 360 when it comes to my opinion of the Hoff. Maybe it's because they have enough size, maybe it's because they have enough good defenders, or maybe Hoffarber has just developed a complete game this year, but I can't imagine this team without him. Although yes, he still makes me want to strangle a stranger watching his defense at times.
12:28 - Wisconsin missed three lay-ups. That boats well for the Gophers.
10:49 - Whoops, my comment about Walker earlier is now a mute point, because they just flashed the graphic that he's out for the season. Really a bummer. Hopefully he doesn't use eating and more eating to ease the pain. Not that I've ever done that. Shut up.
9:20 - Nolen with a rebound. That's two fantasy points. And Sampson misses a three. He's a little too much in love with that. Don't be a Rickert.
8:30 - Holy crap move there by Armelin. This guy is unbelievably athletic. He's the closest thing to Rico Tucker I've seen since Rico Tucker. Hopefully Tubby is a smart enough coach to give him a little bit of rope and won't bench him for every turnover the way Monson handled Tucker. He really just cut off his nose despite his face on that one, and it came back to haunt him. I mean, you know that's why he was fired, right? Mishandling the greatest Gopher prospect of all-time is a pretty big deal.
6:58 - 19-19 heading at the timeout. Jordan Taylor is starting to penetrate and then either score or find an open jumper for any of the plethora of white guys Wisconsin trots out. Gophers need to nip this in the butt before it gets out of control.
6:00 - I really don't understand how any of these guys from Minnesota could go to Wisconsin. What a bunch of traitor jerks. Wisconsin sucks and smells like venison and cheese and brandy and dumbness. Who would ever voluntarily move there for four years? There must be some really good french benefits we aren't aware of.
5:48 - Devoe cannot guard Taylor. At all. Tubby may need to go a "only rest Nolen when Taylor is on the bench strategy." Whatever, I'm sure he'll play it by year, but if Taylor can do whatever he wants all game things aren't going to go well.
4:11 - Devoe with a pull up three that hits nothing but the backboard. He then fouls Taylor on the drive, sending him to the line where he will undoubtedly make both. Really gunning for least valuable player here, aren't ya?
2:20 - Sampson with a nice little pump-fake from 18 feet out, getting Leuer off his feet and then a nice drive inside for a three-point play to cut Sconnie's lead to 3. That was badly needed.
1:49 - Gophers go to a zone, a move I really hate here because the Gophers suck at playing a zone. And, on queue, Leuer knocks down a three-pointer. If Wisconsin goes on a run here, Tubby is going to be this game's escape goat, and it will be well deserved. Going zone against these guys is loonacy.
35.6 - 33-27 Wisconsin, and it should have been more but the ball slipped out of Leuer's hand on a wide open layup. Irregardless, the Gophers are going to need to play better, and are going to need Al Nolen to stop Taylor if they want to win, let a lone stay in the game.
HALF - 33-29 at half thanks to a nice bounce pass by Armelin leading to a dunk by Iverson. Gophers are within reach, but their defense needs to get much better. They also kind of drifted away from pounding the ball in the paint on offense. If they can get back to getting the ball to the post on offense and get back to a man-to-man with Nolen on Taylor, they have a shot.
HALF - Arapaho of nothing, I'm a little bit annoyed by this Twins offseason thus far. The losses off the team far outweigh the gains, meanwhile the Tigers and White Sox have clearly improved their teams. And I don't really see any moves the Twins can make to really upgrade at this point. Thanks Mauer! We're now a third place team every year.
19:16 - Taylor blows by Nolen and finds Gasser for a lay-up, Nolen blows by Taylor and misses a layup, Taylor then finds Leuer for a three-pointer and it's now 38-29 Badgers. For all intensive purposes this game is over.
18:15 - Jordan Taylor is completely unguardable. Case and point, he just went right passed Nolen and then hit a jumper over Sampson who was just a half-second too slow jumping out. This really isn't fair.
16:56 - The Gophers have made 11 field goals tonight. Great. I mean, I could really care less how they score, and if they are scoring from the line that's great, but the offense has been pretty ugly tonight. Which, along with the defense makes a perfect pear.
13:35 - Badgers now up 45-36 and the Gophers are starting to miss a lot of open shots. Might be time to give up the goat on this one.
12:32 - I take it back, it's now just 45-41 after a Hoffarber three-pointer. Taylor called for a pretty clear blocking foul against Nolen, but announcer guy thinks it was a bad call. I'm pretty sure announcer guy is a complete jackwagon.
11:42 - Another three by Devoe hits nothing but backboard. I'm starting to think he might be the worst good shooter in America. Besides Scottie Reynolds.
10:40 - Joseph for three to cut it to 48-44. I'm like a reverse jinx tonight. Seriously this game is chalk full of examples where I rip somebody and then they do something good. And on that note, Rodney Williams sucks!
8:56 - Rodney with a great drive. He missed, but Mbakwe cleaned it up to cut it to 2. And then Tim freaking Jarmusz hits a three to make it 5. That's so stupid. This entire wisconsin team is nothing but two good players and a bunch of dandy little nancies who shoot three pointers every time they get the ball. It's like watching Michigan play. When the Badgers play the Wolverines there might not be a two-pointer attempted all game. Fairies.
6:56 - Gophers just took the lead on a great drive by Devoe who dished to Mbakwe for the dunk, now 54-53. I have no idea how Minnesota is leading in this game. My brain is literally exploding right now.
6:42 - So what's Wisconsin's answer after a timeout? A 27-footer by Leuer (which he missed). It's like Bo Ryan has completely lost his mind. I mean, there's no love loss between me and Bo, so I could care less, but it's just bizarre watching them completely disregard anything inside that line.
6:11 - Nankivil for three to give Wisconsin the lead back. These guys are so gay.
5:20 - Sigh. Sampson just sits there and let's Taylor hit a three. Awful defense. That was as easy as Taylor going to the corner and putting his PIN number into the ATM machine. Easy money.
5:10 - And Hoff throws it away. God damn it.
3:56 - That is now the third three pointer Joseph has put up that has hit nothing but backboard. You could go ahead and say I'm flummoxed by this, as well by the lack of playing time for Nolen. That is not helping my fantasy team Tubby.
2:00 - Nolen misses a runner and a lay-up, but Ralph's o-board and draw of the foul on Leuer mean he'll be shooting free throws with the Gophers down 3 when we get back. Please make them.
2:00 - Sampson makes just one, but the rebound on the second goes out-of-bound off Wisconsin. Time to get a bucket here.
1:38 - Nolen goes right by Sampson but misses the lay-up, offensive board to Ralph who is fouled. Big shots here.
1:38 - makes the first.
1:38 - misses the second, dammit. Gophers down by 1 right now, despite a 40-22 rebound margin. Everybody has said that the Gophers' poor free throw shooting would cost them, and now it's looking like those chickens might be coming home to roast.
1:10 - Taylor with a three point play. I really hate that guy. He's such a jack of all traits, and he always seems to kill the Gophers in the end.
52.4 - Sampson with a short jumper to pull the Gophers to within 2. It's not over yet, but I honestly have no faith in the Gophers to stop Wisconsin. I just don't think they're up to stuff.
18.3 - Nolen with great defense to force a miss by Taylor, but Leuer grabs the huge huge rebound. Watching that on replay, that is 100% Sampson's fault because Leuer straight up beat him into the lane. That was a huge play, and should have been completely avoidable. Just awful.
16.7 - Sampson fouls out to send Leuer to the line for a one-on-one in a 2 point game.
16.7 - makes both. Joseph puts the pedal to the medal but misses the shot, and a foul on the rebound by Nolen. Shit.
0:00 - Final score: Wisconsin 68, Minnesota 60. The Gophers played better than I thought and at several points were a hare's breath from taking control of this game, but just couldn't get it done. There are still some glaring on this team, and I don't know how many of them are fixable. We'll have to see how they rebound from an 0-2 start, because they have no chance at beating the Spartans on Friday.
I'm really bumped out right now.