Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Gophers vs. Hoosiers Preview

So the 0-4 Gophers head to Bloomington to take on the 3-1, and 8th ranked, Indiana Hoosiers.  This, my friends, is not going to be pretty.  Of course, it's nearly impossible to look at these two teams without comparing the coaches since both Tubby Smith and Tom Crean came on at nearly the same time, encumbered with the hopes and dreams of their respective fan bases that they could turn around struggling programs.  Tubby got a nice head start with a very stellar first recruiting class (and a year advantage), but while his players have either left or never developed to their full potential, Crean's kids struggled for a couple of years but have really started to come together this season with the addition of Cody Zeller, one of the best recruits ever signed by the Hoosiers.  At present, the Gophers are struggling through a second straight lost season (barring a miracle turnaround), while the Hoosiers have turned into one of the better teams in the country with wins over the #1 and #2 ranked teams this season.  Kill me now.

There are about a million reasons why this is going to be a blowout, but all you really need to know is that the Hoosiers are the #1 three-point shooting team in the country at 47.6%, and the Gophers rank 287th defensively against the three, allowing 35.7% shooting this year.  About the only hope they have is that Indiana doesn't shoot a high volume of threes normally, but I have a feeling that's going to change on Thursday.  With Christian Watford, Jordan Hulls, Derek Elston all shooting 50% or better and Will Sheehey checking in at 44% with Verdell Jones at 35% it's going to be raining threes all game long (note: Sheehey has been hurt and I have no idea if he's going to be back and I refuse to look it up because it really doesn't matter - he wasn't there for the wins over Ohio State or Michigan either).

Of course, the natural tendency then would be to game plan to stop the three-pointer, but since Tubby couldn't seem to make it happen against Purdue or Iowa (whether the fault lies with him or the players' execution of said game plan) I don't exactly trust they'll pull it off against Indiana.  And how could you?  The only way would be to trust Ralph/Eliason/Ingram to handle Zeller one-on-one and there is zero chance that will happen.  The only team he's remotely struggled against this year was Michigan State, and they have like 100 big athletic guys to throw at him where the Gophers have approximately zero.  You could say this is a great opportunity for Ralph Sampson to step up and help this team in his senior season, but then you'd be an idiot or some kind of weird Rip Van Winkle guy who just woke up and missed this entire season of Gopher basketball and in that case I would envy you.

Oh, and Indiana is also pretty good defensively, particularly at forcing turnovers.  Which is the Gophers' biggest offensive weakness, at least among things that are measurable because as far as I know there is no stat for how often four offensive players stand around doing nothing while one guy dribbles the ball or how many times a shot is taken with under 5 seconds on the shot clock after the ball fails to cross the three point line during a possession.

Seriously, this is going to be a slaughter.

Indiana 90, Minnesota 64.


Eye for talent said...

Ralph would like to tell you to go fuck yourself. You have no eye for talent.

Anonymous said...