Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mini-Preview: Gophers vs. Buckeyes

I suppose I should write a preview here.  Can't imagine why, so it'll be short. 

Ohio State is one of the best teams in college ball, but as long as William Buford keeps playing with his head up his rectum and continues to not bring his jump shot to the games they are vulnerable.  The problem is they aren't exactly vulnerable to a team like the Gophers.  Even if Buford fell off the bus getting to the arena and broke his face off and couldn't play they'd still be a prohibitive favorite.  They are one of the best defensive teams in the country, and for an offensively challenged Gopher squad every point is going to be a struggle.  I did read somewhere yesterday that Ohio State's guards and big men struggle with ball screens (I think it was on Grantland.com), but unfortunately the Gophers don't really have the guards to take advantage of that.  Something to keep an eye on, because if the Gophers manage to stay in this one it's going to take having at least one guard (Dre Westbrook?) and at least one forward/center (Rodney?) running the pick-and-roll to near perfection.

Offensively there is also a tiny bit of good news.  The Gophers biggest weakness, as we all know for years and years, has been giving up too many open 3-pointers and Ohio State is a terrible shooting three-point team, especially with Buford apparently shooting left-handed or something.  But that's it for good news.  I have no idea how they're going to handle Sullinger with one guy who is too passive and one guy who is too clumsy and slow.  I fully expect we'll see a large dose of Andre Ingram tonight because Ralph and/or Elliason will be on the shelf with foul trouble.  I do hope Rodney Williams matches straight up with DeShaun Thomas, because I would actually love to see that matchup and see how Rodney fares.

So if the Gophers figure out a way to limit Sullinger, get some offense out of Ralph, Rodney can slow Thomas, and they can use ball screens to get in the lane and get good shots, they can hang.  I'm not expecting any of those things to happen.  I expect to see Aaron Craft and company be all over the Gopher guards in the half-court, causing a turnover-fest, and I expect them to feed Sullinger the ball where he will either score or find an open teammate for a shot when they double him.  Whether or not those shots go down will decide if this is an easy Ohio State win or a complete blow-out.

Ohio State 68, Minnesota 52

1 comment:

amiller92 said...

Which is the bigger weakness: defending a physical post player or defending the three?

I think Confucius asked that one, no?