Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Wait, what? Gophers beat who?

Wow.  That was unexpected.  I'm pretty sure I can't write anything too intelligent or insightful right now since I was pretty much watching that game on pure emotion, but I can throw down a few thoughts because if you're like me you are just going to spend all day at work reading everything you can find about the game.  So I'll sit here with my celebratory cognac (fine, vodka and coke) and write a couple of thoughts.  Also, it's not coke, it's R.C.   *hangs head in shame

[NOTE:  This formatting is horrendous.  I'd fix it but I have no idea how.]
  • This was the Gopher team we saw in the early season.  If they can play like this to close out the year they're a sweet 16 contender again.
  • This wasn't a case of Indiana playing poorly, the Gophers simply outplayed them.
  • I thought Dre Hollins would be the one to step up and carry the team if anybody did, but no question it was Mbakwe setting the tone in the first half.  Remember last year at the beginning of the season when the Gophers would spend three quarters of the game struggling against crappy teams and then Mbakwe would be all like "ok, I'm getting every missed shot now" and carry them back to a win?  Yeah, that's what he was again tonight.  Was amazing.
  • Really, nobody played poorly though.  Even those who didn't play well overall made huge plays at some point.  Hollins, Hollins, and Rodney all shot poorly, but Dre hit some huge shots down the stretch (including that monster three down the stretch which, right before, I told the Bear (who came to the game with me) that if the Gophers hit a 3 on that possession I'd do something unspeakable to him so well, there's that), Austin had a couple of huge plays, and Rodney had that big Hakim Warrick style block on an Oladipo three as time was running out.  Everybody came up with a big play at some point.  Everybody.  Even the 5 second call on Indiana came when Mo Walker was in the game.  He had nothing to do with it, but he was there.
  • Some will say this is enough to guarantee the Gophers a tournament berth no matter what happens the rest of the way.  I'm not quite that certain, but at this point I'm confident if they can beat either Penn State at home OR Nebraska on the road that will do it.  Obviously the more wins they can get the better the seed, but as long as the Gophers don't go 0-4 to finish up (including the B10 tournament) it should be the easiest Selection Sunday in years.  Decades, really.
  • I've gone on record as saying I'm terrified of a Mo Walker/Elliott Elliason starting front court next season.  No longer.  I'm not exactly fired up about it, but Elliason has done enough go convince me at worst he can be a Trevor Winter type, and he has two years to get better.  Walker has shown enough flashes of potential to at least temper my scaredness.  With Hollins, Hollins, and Coleman still going to be around those two just have to be not terrible for the team to at least be in contention for an NCAA bid.  Still hoping and believing in a Chuck Buggs breakout.  Believe with me.
  • Speaking of believing, man did whoever is in charge of music botch the "Don't Stop Believing" music in the final minute or so of the game.  Started it too late and never even got to the chorus.  Horrible.
  • Cody Zeller is every bit as good as advertised.  He is smooth in the paint and has a bunch of really good moves he can go to on the block.  He's also a bit soft, however, and disappeared after Mbakwe, Elliason, and Williams reminded him that this is the Big Ten and pushing people and elbows and what not is the norm.  I heard someone mention that Indiana stopped looking for Zeller, but really Zeller stopped posting up hard in the second half.  Sorry, but it's true.
  • Also Victor Oladipo is ridiculous.  If I had any criticism of Indiana tonight it's that they didn't just iso Oladipo every single time they had the ball, because Joe Coleman was the primary defender on him tonight and I'm sorry I like Coleman but he is a horrendous defender.  Oladipo beat him to the paint every time he tried, and there were a couple of times I watched Coleman stand still as if rooted to the ground when he should have been providing some weak side help.  Again, I like the guy a lot, but he's a horrific defender.
  • That being said, overall the defense was outstanding tonight.  Holding both Watford and Zeller to single digit scoring was huge, especially because Watford picked up six of his eight on shitty late threes that were half luck.  Plus shutting down Hulls after his huge first half was big, and it happened because of more awareness of where he was and just a swarming defense that refused to give up good looks.  We saw that kind of defense earlier in the year but it has since bailed, good to see it again. 
  • I haven't seen video of the play but Will Sheehey should be ashamed of himself if he really flopped there in the last 30 seconds or so, looking for a cheap flagrant against Dre Hollins.  Crean should be even more ashamed if he encouraged him to do it.  It's a rule that makes sense if common sense was applied, but it's not and it's reared it's ugly head too much this year in stupid places.  To try to take advantage of it is embarrassing.  I'd like to say you're better than that Crean, but I know you're not.  ASS.
  • 10 turnovers.  That's it for the Gophers.  Despite everything else I've written, which as usual is way more than I intended, that was really the key.  Well that and the 17 offensive rebounds, but that's to be expected.  This team is good enough to beat anyone in the country if they don't turn it over and actually play defense.  This may be hyperbole but this R.C. is going to my head.
  • I'm willfully ignoring the stretch of possessions where the Gophers offense seemed clueless and got nothing but terrible shots as the shot clock expired as well as the fact that this sets up the Gophers perfectly to lose their last 3 games and make everybody nervous.  I will deal with all that later, for tonight, we party.
I'm an idiot with my phone, but you get the point.


Todd said...

Just watch the game at the bellagio sport book. Lost a hundread on indiana but people must have thought I won a million the way I was screaming at end of game. When did elliason turn into jeff hagen?

WWWWWW said...

Is this "The Todd" or some other Todd?

Todd said...

The todd you told to go die after talking up michigan. Never mind that talk by the way

snacks said...

"Rodney had that big Hakim Warrick style block on an Oladipo three as time was running out"

National championship game 2003 v. Kansas to seal the Orange's victory.

snacks said...

I was watching on the shittiest TV in our house which is a solid 10 years old for some reason so it was a little hard to really see what happened, but it looked to me that if anyone got elbowed it was the other guy trapping Hollins and not Sheehey. Pretty sure it was a complete dive.

rghrbek said...

It was a complete dive, and an embarrassment. So glad the refs ignored it. Hope the league looks at it.

We all know Coleman cannot play a lick of defense, so why do you like him again? He cannot dribble, is a turnover machine, and cannot shoot. Yes, he can make a layup and dunk. I think Otto s/b splitting minutes with him.

I also have to question why Crean, did not use the zone more. He was man to man most of the game. The gophers had some success busting the zone (primarily because of Elliason), which was shocking, but I still would have encouraged the gophers to shoot even more from the outside.

Speaking of which, Maverick s/b a shooting guard when he plays. He should never dribble or pass. Somehow he has become our best 3 point shooter? Is anybody else shocked by this development?

Actually liked Tubster's subbing patterns this game. No Welch is a good thing, and mixing players off the bench with the starters seemed to work.

I have my doubts that the goph's will close the next 3, but if they do, and win a tourney game, they will be a 5 seed.