The 12-1 start is nice and shiny and everything and you probably think the Gophers are good, but it's time to face the cold hard truth: the Gophers are not an NCAA Tournament caliber team. Not even close. Take a look at these arguments and tell me where I'm wrong. No, seriously: please tell me where I'm wrong, I'd absolutely love to be convinced that I don't know what I'm talking about. Hit up the game with $nake, Dawger, and Bear tonight (there, you guys happy with the mention) and I think we all left feeling like we'd been punched in the stomach so hard we were about to vomit. Here are my comments, please comment on my comments and convince me I don't know what I'm talking about:
1) They play terrible defense. Did you see that garbage tonight? NDSU attacked the rim again and again and again, and even their mediocre guards were getting edges on the Gophers, and with zero help defense on the interior for some reason they were able to get fouled or get lay-ups way too often for their talent level. What's going to happen when Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson come flying down the wing? Throw in some of the worst three-point defense in the country (seriously, they were 292nd in the country in 3-point defense going into the game) and how many points do you think William Buford will score? 25? 30? Hell Matt "12 points every game" Gatens will probably hit for 20. They can probably hold down Penn State, but I'm pretty sure that's the whole list of teams they can stop
2) They have zero inside presence. With Mbakwe down the Gophers inside players are now reduced to a dude who makes Jeff Hagen look like a prima ballerina and a guy who is the softest dude I've seen since the black dude in those Revenge of the Nerds movie. One plays defense with the mobility of a tree and the other is more like a weeping willow, and they're getting brutalized by a bunch of weakass low major players. Jared Sullinger is going to make them cry. Hell I'm not so sure Luka Mirkovich isn't going to go for a double-double (just kidding - sort of). The team's only prayer is for Andre Ingram to get bitten by a radioactive spider that gives him super powers. Seriously, Ralph, you cannot be pushed around by non-recruited players who are 3 inches shorter than you. It's just pathetic. I'm pretty sure every rebound "Once bounce Ralph" got tonight hit the floor first. I'm just done. I've defending him for 3+ years and I'm done. He's averaging 4 god damn rebounds per game against this shitbox level of competition. FOUR! He's fucking seven-feet tall and playing shitty teams with shitty players and he gets four rebounds per game? You know who else can get four rebounds per game? Fucking anybody.
3) There is no reliable offensive option. None. Rodney is the leading scorer but most of his offense comes off fast breaks and put-backs which may or may not translate in Big 10 play, and outside of him who do you go to? There isn't a single perimeter player who you can count on to either make a shot or penetrate which is just sad. Sometimes Welch looks like he gets it and could develop into something, but then you remember he's already a junior and slower than the fat lady with the cart full of ham at Walmart. And the one guy who is supposed to be a shooter (Oto) is so hesitant to take his shot you'd think he's a walk-on. When Maverick Ahanmisi looks like your best guard things have gone wrong in a horribly shocking way. Look, I like Mav. I think he's the best pure point guard on the team and he's looking like the best shooter (god help us), but he's a back-up. He may become a very good back-up, but he's a back-up. When he carries the offense (like tonight) it's a massive cry for help. Unfortunately due to NCAA regulations it appears you can't just magically add someone in mid-season. Commies.
4) The talent level is mediocre. I'm sorry, but how many Gopher players would start for even half of the other Big 10 teams? Rodney Williams, right? Is there even another one? Maybe Ralph just based on his height, but his passivity and wienershipitude would have most Big 10 coaches sending him to the bench. Who would you rather have, Ralph or that fat dude from Michigan State (not Draymond Green, the other one)? Sampson is more talented but at least that Spartan dude will throw his J-Lo ass into somebody and get rough in there and mix it up when the need arises. The guards? Not a chance. The Hollins's's would probably start for Penn State and Nebraska, but I don't even think they'd get the nod over Cartwright and Gatens at Iowa. 50/50 probably. How sad is that?
5) There is no offensive scheme. What, exactly, does Tubby do? Clearly he coaches defense, and the team occasionally responds, but offensively they're just awful - and I'm talking outside of the players' talent level. How many times tonight were there four dudes standing around while somebody dribbled? And why (like, WHY????) did Rodney never ever ever get the ball posting up in the second half? Not once. Not one single solitary time (I'm pretty sure). He's their only semi-reliable option to score or get fouled and against a team like NDSU they should have made him the focus, but instead the offense consisted of hoping a guard could go one-and-one and get a shot. It worked just enough for them to win tonight, but against the real grown-up defenses in the conference the combination of a lack of offensive talent and a lack of offensive imagination or even a simple game plan is going to sink them in a hurry.
I will admit it's possible I'm overreacting to one of the worst played games I've ever seen and just being a spaz, but I'm having trouble seeing more than 7 Big 10 wins. So please, somebody tell what I'm wrong about. Please.
To cheer myself up, here is a picture of J-Woww in a bikini.