Just got back from the game. I'm not even going to attempt to make this an organized post. Just a bunch of thoughts. So away we go for fun times.
1. I hate Wisconsin. I mean I really hate everything about Wisconsin. I hate their stupid team, and their stupid players, and their stupid evil coach, and their stupid fans, and their stupid cheese obsession. The only good things about Wisconsin are Spotted Cow Brewery and that you can play craps there. Honestly if the ground opened up and swallowed the entire state (sans Turtle Lake) in a giant fire of aids the world would be a better place. And the fans, oh my god. Yes, you're allowed to cheer for your team when you're visiting another arena, but you are not allowed to stand up and yell, "Yes Jordan Taylor!" after every made basket and draw attention to yourself in a way that would be obnoxious even if you were rooting for the home team, and especially not if you're going to where some gay tie-dyed t-shirt that apparently says Wisconsin on it like some kind of dirty hippy.
2. The last play. I completely agree that putting the ball in Andre Hollins's hands was the right call. He had been the best player for the Gophers the entire second half and deserved to have that chance. What I don't understand was the time out called in order to have him go 1-on-1 with four guys standing still. Give him a pick, or, when he first makes his move, run a screen away from the ball somewhere, because Hollins going against Taylor is rarely going to work. Taylor is one of the best defenders in the league (although Snacks disagreed with the rebuttal "nuh uh") so they're not going to double to help. The whole success of the isolation drive comes either from the dribbler beating his man and either getting to the rim or drawing the defense and finding and open man. Calling the timeout gave Wisconsin's evil coach a chance to drill into his players brains (literally? maybe) to not leave their men, and even though Sconnie's players are dumb, like all good Nazis they're great at following orders.
Hollins had a great game. He stood up to Jordan Taylor and several times got the better of him, especially on the defensive end. It was a breakout game for a possible future star and he was extremely fun to watch. But at this point in their respective careers he's not going to beat Taylor very often. He's just not, especially with nothing else going on away from the ball and the team being completely dependent on him to create the offense. Plus, why call a timeout to call that play when you could just as easily yell "Andre go 1-on-1 when the shot clock gets down to 8 seconds." Calling the timeout just gave the Dr. Robotnik a chance to remind his drones to stay home (note I haven't watched the last play because I'd rather have Jon Lovitz piss directly into my eyeballs, but if anybody doubled at all it came super late). That "play" was just never going to work.
The best chance they had was when they were stalling and running the clock and Taylor switched onto Rodney Williams. Someone has to recognize that, whether it's Rodney himself, Hollins, or Tubby (especially him) and get Williams's ass into the paint. At worst you end up with a slightly scrambling Wisconsin defense as they figure out who should be where, at best you end up with a mismatch and get Rodney the ball, in a game where he was practically unguardable because Wisconsin is slow and are assholes. But nobody saw it, there was no real play called, Dre did his best in a tough situation, and that was that.
3. It's easy to think about the bad, but there was some good at least, beyond even Hollins and Williams having really good games, and the big call-out for me was the defense. Yes, Wisconsin hit too many three pointers, but after their 3-3 start they went just 6-20 and that included a couple of prayers by Taylor and Gasser that really shouldn't have gone in. They played good, physical defense and against a physical team and got the better of them most of the time, especially Hollins. To use a stupid, annoying phrase that idiotic announcers overuse but fuck it I can't think of anything better right now, they punched the bully in the mouth and the bully well, didn't fall down because Sconnie still won, but they definitely held their own. This point would feel way better if the Gophers had managed to eek out the win.
Which brings me to another positive, which is the comeback - failed yes, but still, they did fight back. Also I just realized I'm talking about a moral victory and I really don't want to do that so let's move on from that part now. Instead I'll just mention that the Barn was rockin' and the crowd did a great job. It was funny because we were talking about Williams Arena before the game and wondering if a young kid who had never been there would be impressed. And after the game we realized the problem with the Barn isn't the Barn, it's that the product has been so stale and mediocre the atmosphere just wanes of it's own volition. Put a good product out there and the place rocks and there's no better place to be in college basketball except like Cameron and Phog Allen and you know, sweet places like that.
4. Speaking of volition, I heard both Spencer and whoever that other idiot is mention that the Gophers should have had momentum going into overtime but I disagree. When they blew their chance at the regulation I sure as shit didn't think, "they got this." It was more like, "that was their shot, now we're hosed."
5. And not to get back to the negative but what do you expect from me, but the Gophers were just awful in OT. The offense degraded into playground ball where whoever has it just puts their head down and heads to the basket consequences be damned, and I'm sorry but the Gophers seem to be missing a guy like Hot Sauce or Half Man Half Amazing or Skip to my Lou. The Gophers did a great job taking the ball to the rack in the flow of the offense all game, but lost their rhythm in OT.
6. Sobieski vodka is the goods. Nostrovia! Also Maverick Ahanmisi has no business being on the court in a Big 10 game. Chances I go to the game Tuesday: 10%.
7. Oh, and forgot to mention that Ralph's OVER/UNDER on sportsbook.com for points + rebounds tonight was 11.5. That is absolutely embarrassing for a senior 7-foot starter on a major college team. AND HE DIDN'T CLEAR THE OVER. If he had accepted my facebook friend request I'd totally defriend him right now.