Alright, I'm not a true fan. It's now 8:00pm, and I'm about to watch the Gopher/Purdue game. I couldn't watch it live because I'm stupid enough to have two kids, and said kids take up too much of my attention for me to be able to pay any kind of attention to the game, so I Tivo and I wait. Such is life. So now I'm here with my remote, a box of Turning Leaf chadonnay, and a bowl full of beef-flavored ramen. Since I'm clearly living the high life, I thought I'd invite you along with me. I'm really hoping the Gophers can pull this one out.
19:28 - Colton Iverson (starting for Trevor Mbakwe) with a really nice move, taking the ball from the free-throw line to the block with two dribbles, backing in on whoever Purdue's dorky white center is, faking to the left and tossing up a nice jump hook to the right. Swish. Honestly that whole thing was a thing of beauty. It's amazing how he can do that and then look like the fat kid who quit hockey to play basketball on the 8th grade B team the next trip. I coached 8th grade B team once. I know of what I speak, and it ain't pretty.
19:04 - Rodney draws E'Twaun Moore. I love this. Challenge Rodney and hope he steps up.
18:18 - Ok, JaJuan Johnson has now hit a three-pointer and an 18-footer to give Purdue a 5-4 lead. Hopefully Ralph will soon realize that you have to guard him on the perimeter as if he was a guard, not a typical plodding center. And he just hit a turnaround 12-footer over Iverson. This is ridiculous. We on this blog have been calling him "The college KG" since his sophomore year (because we have such an eye for talent), but that might not be high enough praise.
16:58 - And he hits a turnaround over Ralph. This is just ridiculous. I think "The college Jesus" might not be high enough praise.
16:16 - Trevor Mbakwe in to a nice ovation. I approve of that.
15:53 - Rodney and Nolen can't decide if there's supposed to be a switch on a pick, leading to a wide open three-pointer for Purdue and a 12-6 lead. I don't know if the Gopher players are dumb or if Tubby just can't coach, but this shit happens way too often.
15:50 - By the way, how about everybody out there pays attention to flights from MSP to Chicago (either airport) leaving either the 17th or 18th of March and returning the 20th and then email me if you find something cheap. Sound good? Thanks guys, you're the best.
14:59 - Mbakwe draws the foul inside and that might have been against Johnson. I'd know for certain if this announcing team was remotely competent, but instead they're busy telling us that the only way to stop E'Twaun Moore is to hope he gets food poisoning. Really, jackass? I know you're trying to be cute but it turns out you're just a retard.
14:30 - Austin Hollins with a nice take for a lay-up and the foul, cutting the lead to 14-12 (13 if he makes the free-throw). Where the hell has he been? And he misses the free-throw. Hollins has been awfully non-descript for several weeks. I know that's probably typical, but I liked it better when he was a tish more dynamic.
12:53 - Looking like a white-boy shooting battle might be breaking out between Blake and Ryne Smith. My money's on Blake.
12:03 - Noeln for three! And we're tied at 17. Do you remember in my preview of this game how I said D.J. Byrd was the new Brian Cardinal. Well, he's in the game and he's rockin' black socks, a shooting sleeve, and some sort of tank top under his jersey. He just looks annoying.
11:44 - I love how they have Magic Johnson talking about "content of character." I love the guy, he's still my favorite all-time NBA player besides Billy Hoyle, but this is the guy who cheated on his wife for years and years to the point where he contracted HIV and was damn lucky he didn't end up giving it to her or his kid. I really don't think a "content of character" piece is really the place for the Magic Man.
10:17 - This announcer is so bad I seriously want to kill him. My head is literally exploding right now.
9:43 - God damn this ramen is hot! Why you gotta play me like that, ramen?
9:00 - Nolen airballs a three. That's more like it. 22-21 Purdue thanks to a DJ Dickface three-pointer.
8:31 - Chip Armelin just stole Moe Hargrow's move. He got the ball on the break on a 2-on-2 situation, saw the Purdue's guy guarding him was a white dude, and just took it right at him and ended up scoring. Hargrow used to do that every time.
7:48 - Lewis Jackson now abusing Al Nolen for back to back lay-ups. That's not supposed to happen. I thought Nolen was a better defender than that.
6:54 - Jackson splits the top of the zone (Nolen & Armelin) and finds Moore for a wide open three. I know the guy is quick, but that's just awful. Just awful. Once again, either these guys are kind of dumb or Tubby is an overrated coach.
5:26 - Nobody bothers to pick up Barlow on the wing and he coasts in for a lay-up. The amount of mistakes this team makes on a nightly basis is mind-boggling. I'm starting to think they're more talented than I give them credit for, just because they can actually compete despite making so many dumb plays.
3:23 - Sampson gives the Gophers the lead back at 34-33 with a jump hook over Johnson, but the importantly is that he got the ball on teh block, ignored the double-team, and aggressively went for the bucket. I don't even care that he made it, just showing that kind of aggressiveness is a good sign.
2:45 - Jackson tried driving on Nolen again, but this time Nolen blocks his shot and causes the jump ball. Much better.
1:21 - Rodney misses an alley-oop dunk. Freaking awesome.
HALF - Gophers lead 41-40, and that was a great, great half of basketball on the offensive end. Even their half-court sets are looking smooth and and working. JaJuan Johnson (18 pts already) is ridiculously hot and making everything, but they've managed to take E'Twaun Moore out of the game for the most part (1-8 shooting). If the Gophers keep playing like this the rest of the game, they're going to take this one. That Lewis Jackson/Al Nolen match-up might be the key to the game.
19:42 - That play where Blake comes from the corner off a double-pick and curls to the free-throw line seemingly works every time. I'm thinking his rep as a guy who only shoots threes leads to poor defenders on him, and when he takes that cut further inside they can't keep up. With a sample size of tonight, that certainly looks to be the case, because Ryne Smith isn't going to win any defensive awards.
18:41 - Sampson goes to the deck to dig out a steal, and it leads to a three-pointer by Blake to give the Gophers a 46-40 lead. They just have more energy right now, and Purdue seems near meltdown mode. Of course, this is usually where the rug gets pulled out and the Boilers go on a 11-2 run.
16:59 - Lewis Jackson just hit a fadeaway three-pointer. Lewis Jackson can't shoot, and never shoots threes, and only chucked up that one because of the shot clock about to expire. Great. And just to add insult to injury, announcer guy tells us that Jackson is back from injury and healthy and is hitting 45% of this three-pointers this year. But, in reality, he's 1-5 on the season. So this guy is still a jackdonkey.
16:11 - Hoff from 28 feet. Dude is dialed tonight. I'm hoping we get a heat-check from 35, Jake Sullivan style.
15:14 - Hoff hits the jumper on that same curl pick play, and is fouled. Tonight is his night, folks.
15:14 - Of course he misses the free throw, because that makes total sense. 53-45 Gophers.
14:53 - Jackson beats Nolen again for the lay-up. This is embarrassing for Al, for real. It's also embarrassing for everybody else. Where the hell is the help every time this guy gets in the lane. He's 5 foot 9, somebody slide over and make him pass it, jesus christ. I think I learned that in third grade.
13:37 - Purdue just took the lead 54-53 on two Johnson free throws. Yes, they made up 8 points in a minute and a half. I'd go into detail but it's depressing. Let's just say that after a near flawless night from the team overall they've suddenly decided to do stupid crap on offense and stop playing defense. My mood is darkening.
12:48 - Nolen just passed up a wide-open three-pointer because he missed his last two attempts. God damn it's hard to win with a PG who can't/won't shoot. And, as I type, he then steals a pass for an easy dunk to give them back the lead. The love/hate is strong with this one. He's the Sam to my Diane.
11:37 - Iverson with literally the worst defensive play I've ever seen to give Johnson a three-point play. He's half-fronting him and decides to try to steal the entry lob but half-way there realizes he can't get it and stops, but by then he's so far out of position he's really just rubbing up on Johnson's hip and giving Johnson a wide open layup and instead of saying "Fuck it, I fucked up" and letting him score, he kind of pelvis-checks him but not hard enough so he can't score, just perfectly hard enough to get called for a foul. Brilliant.
10:51 - You know what would be really god damn awesome? If they could avoid allowing Johnson to catch the ball when he's already in the lane. You're allowed to push him out before the ball gets there, girls.
10:09 - Nolen again passes up the wide open three. Even if he misses he really, really needs to shoot that shot.
9:44 - Sampson might actually be retarded.
8:14 - Chip Armelin is suddenly everywhere. Announcer guy wants us to know that Chip Armelin "did a great job of pulling out." That's what Mrs. W said last night.
7:47 - Steal by Nolen, then Rodney decides to just glide with the ball and not really bothering putting it on the floor. Turns out the refs don't like that very much. We're tied here at 61 folks. Barn-burner. Need more expensive fancy wine.
7:25 - Remember in Major League how Willie Mays Hayes had to do pushups every time he hit the ball in the air? I'm starting to think Mbakwe should do push-ups every time he doesn't get a rebound. Good lord.
7:00 - Nolen with his patented "drive into the lane pick up the dribble with no idea what to do and turn it over." I don't like this Nolen. I like the gooder Nolen.
5:55 - Nolen with the rip right out of Moore's hands, leading to a lay-up and possible three point play by Rodney. This is the Nolen which is the good one. He's like some kind of god damn two-face. In fact, I'm going to roll with it. He even kind of looks like him:
4:35 - Sampson gives the Gophers the lead with a nice hook in the lane, which naturally leads to these announcers having to gush about his dad and then show footage of him from when he played for Virginia. I can't even express how old that has gotten, I can't even imagine how much our Ralph must hate that. I'm surprised he hasn't gone all Oedipal yet.
4:12 - We're down to 14 on the shot clock before Nolen passes the ball. Timeout, Gophers. Thank god. Tubby is a master at drawing up out-of-bounds plays after a time-out (see: Ohio State game). This is sure to lead to points.
4:00 - Apparently the play was for Sampson to can an 18-footer. Ok then. Sampson jumpers are kind of like a handjob from a fat chick. It's not really what you want, there are better options, and it's not the way things are supposed to go, but if it works you'll take it and be happy.
3:34 - Tied again. Time to figure out a way to get the Hoff a look. Or Nolen, who had another wide open three and this time didn't turn it down, and buried that sumbitch. Hey, if Lewis freaking Jackson is going to be perfect from the free-throw line even though he only shoots 60% on the year and is going to hit a fall-away three, we get to have Nolen hit a couple treys. It's only right.
2:05 - Gophers 70, Purdue 67, Boilers ball and a timeout. Great googily moogily, this game reminds me why I love college ball and specifically the Gophers. Please don't make me remember why I hate them.
1:45 - After Ryne Smith misses a wide open three (thank you), Purdue grabs the board and it leads to Moore with an open three from about 23 feet. He hits backboard first and it clangs away. Seriously, something is wrong with Moore. This is three straight just awful shooting games. I mean, it's good for the Gophers and all, but wow.
1:12 - Hoff drops the ball out of bounds. Shit. Still a three-point game. Wow, not off Hoff. Should have been a foul and if not should have been Gopher ball. Yuck.
0:53 - Rodney blocks Jackson's shot and it ends up Gopher ball. Remember how I talked about how when Jackson drives there needed to be people coming to help? If you don't recognize how I'm a bonafide god damn genius I'm going to drive to your house and shoot you to death. With logic and trivia.
0:30 - White guy on Nolen! White guy on Nolen! Drive! Drive!
0:27 - Yes! He drives and is fouled. Ha ha, stupid white people. Go play hockey.
0:25 - Naturally, Nolen misses. Did I mention it was 1-and-1? Freaking great. Guaranteed E'Twaun Moore three-pointer here, even though he hasn't hit shit all night.
0:10 - Timeout Purdue because the Boilers are running around like a bunch of guys playing in an intramural league who decided to go get blitzed before their game. Which I assume is all of them.
0:10 - Announcer guy's big plan is for Ryne Smith, the smallest guy on the court other than Lew-Jack, to set a single screen to get JaJuan open for a three-pointer, even though he's not actually a three-point shooter. God this guy is a freakin' idiot.
0:00 - Ball game. Gophers win 70-67. Apparently Matt Painer went to the Tubby Smith school of drawing up plays because Purdue ended up with DJ freaking Byrd shooting up a forced three pointer. Brilliant.
Awesome awesome win for the Gophers. I said this wasn't a must-win, but getting it here is just so big. Not only does it give them another marquee win, but it proves that they are a quality team, something that has been in question since Puerto Rico. I'm a very happy guy right now.
And by the way, check out what this guy predicted this game's score to be (at the bottom).