First, drop whatever you're doing unless you're holding a baby or working with plutonium (1.21 JIGGAWATTS!!! - side note: I bet that's Jay-Z's favorite unit of measurement) and go here to read four awesome Gopher fans be realists. Matt from Fringe Bowl Team, FrothyGopher aka G'Swan from Still Got Hope (ha ha suck it TRE), and myself were invited by the From the Barn dudes to have a virtual roundtable type discussion about the Gopher hoop team. The results were predictably cynical, yet moody. Also predictable? It was more entertaining than anything I've ever written, so stop being such a douchebaby and go read it.
Now, onto the business on the table, and that's Sunday's game against Northwestern, and as depressing as it is to talk about this only 7 games into the Big Ten schedule, this is a must win game. Yes, it's a must win game. Of course, since Northwestern has followed the Gophers' plan of not beating, nor scheduling games against, any quality opponents and then starting the B10 season at 2-4, it's close to a must win game for the Wildcats as well (although in their defense the Iowa and Purdue losses by the Gophers are far worse than anything Northwestern has done so far). Since these two teams desperately need this one, you can expect an intense, well-played game with crisp execution and a maximum effort and focus on every possession.
I'm just kidding. These two programs are the most likely in the conference to play like dickheads in a big game and are equally likely to rise up and crush some poor fools (Minny over Indy, NW over Mich State) so basically anything could happen in this game and it wouldn't surprise me. But what could we see? Let's look. Join me on a magical adventure. Levar Burton is here too.
The first thing I have to tell you is I really don't know much about the Wildcats this year. Every time I sit down to watch one of their games it's at their place where that weird ass purple court (where the entire area betwixt the paint and 3-pt line is this weird purple but not quite a solid purple) eye rapes me and I can't really look at if for more than a few minutes at a time. So I'm only going to discuss three players who I know quite well and ignore guys like Dave Sobolewski and David Curletti and Alex Marcotullio because I have no idea who they are, even though Sobolewski spent a week on my fantasy squad.
First up are Drew Crawford and John Shurna, and honestly they're like, the only two who actually matter because they score over half Northwestern's points and are top 3 in everything else. They can both do basically anything and everything. Crawford does it in a smooth, suave, athletic way and is kind of a poor man's Ray Allen without an immortal jumper and Shurna does it in the nerdiest way ever that is reminiscent of the weird kid who was always at the park shooting at those chain nets and double rims with his rubber ball who never had an ounce of teaching but still managed to be pretty decent. There's no reason the Gophers shouldn't be able to shut down Shurna but let's be honest you could say that about every game he's played this year. the guy is just a nerdtastic machine who makes Kevin Coble look like Brad Pitt. But he gets it done. And Crawford is a straight up stud.
Normally if there's a team who relies on two dudes this much I'd say just do everything you possibly can to stop those two but I assume Northwestern has a shit ton of white dudes who can shoot based on some of those names and since the Gophers have little to no idea how to defend the three-pointer that would probably be a bad idea. Also Northwestern has that zone which sometimes gives the gophers fits and I'd totally go into it but there's something I really want to talk about and I can't think about anything else so let's just go: Luka vs. Ralph.
Luka Mirkovich is the least mobile person I've ever seen. His defense is very similar to this lamp I'm sitting next to. His best offensive move is somehow using his fat slowness to trick the guy guarding him into thinking he's not actually moving and then suddenly make a lay-up. If he and Stephen Hawking had a good ole fashioned athletic face-off the line would be Luka -120. If Ralph and Luka played one-on-one there is no good reason Ralph shouldn't win 11-1. And yet.
This what I want to see and it's my own fault for caring about Ralph so much when I've metaphorically fallen down the stairs so many times because of him, and yet I'm back for more like whatever Charlie Sheen's wife's name was. Please Ralph. I shouldn't even give you another chance but this is it. Line drawn in the sand. Must win game. At home. Crowd wants to get behind you. Going up against a tree with glasses. Please Ralph. Give it to me. Give it to me how I like it. Stop being such an asshole. This is your time.
Also I have no idea why I wrote that Levar Burton thing earlier. I'm not sure that made much sense. But really, not much about this post made sense. I'm very tired and you're annoying me.
Gophers 66, Wildcats 65.