I did not attend the exhibition game against Crookston this weekend, as I was busy. My father, however, did. He also texted me, "It's going to be a long season." My father is an optimist. This can't be good. Since we live in a glorious time to be alive and we have this thing called the internet there are box scores and highlights. That is neato. I might as well take a peek at them and see what there is to see.
First, the highlights are mostly meaningless because most highlights are as an analytical tool, particularly against a school completely beneath your league, but four things standout.
1. Gaston Diedhiou covering the distance from near top of the key to the rim in one dribble and dunking (0:38). That is some serious distance covering skills, which taps into his athleticism. Also, having the confidence to execute such a move gives us a hint as to how far he's come in his development. That move was as important to the team this is year as it was shocking. What if he's good?
2. Ahmad Gilbert shake and bake and step back jumper (0:56). Granted, it's generally been accepted by analytical basketball types, which I like to consider myself, that 18 foot jumpers are pretty much the worst shot in the basketball, but I liked this play. You don't take that shot unless you consider yourself a great shooter, and I like great shooters. Of course, not every player who considers themselves a great shooter is indeed a great shooter, but he's also a lefty so he probably is.
3. Jordan Murphy's three pointer (1:11). I was unaware Murphy could hit threes, but he did and his form looks good. Perhaps you were aware and that is good for you. I was not.
4. Nate Mason's hair (the whole thing). That is spectacular.
The box score, now, let's see. Well, they held Crookston to 38% and just 0.78 points per possession (I think, I've never actually had to calculate this for myself), which are both good but expected. The 21 turnovers is also nice to see, given that it's the whole point of Pitino's defensive style. Allowing 13 offensive rebounds on 36 missed shots is kind of horrible. Thats even worse than their 33.4% last season, and that number ranked dead last in the Big Ten. And, just a quick reminder, they were playing Crookston last night. So that's, you know, probably something to keep an eye on.
The Gopher offense wasn't much better, putting up just 1.03 points per possession which would be an ok number against a Big Ten opponent but is flat out lousy against an exhibition foe. It turns out when you shoot 39% from the floor and 52% from the line you're not going to score a ton of points. Only 8 turnovers is good. 35% three point shooting is fine, depending on the looks. Diedhiou's 11 shot attempts is encouraging, but his size and athletic ability should let him dominate a team like this. I'm still encouraged by him so far.
Thirty-four points in the paint seems kind of awful against this opponent. Or if that's not awful, then Crookston getting 28 in the paint is awful defense. One of those two numbers is awful. Ugh. Sounds like a horrible game to watch.
So we move on. Friday night they play somebody. Southwest Minnesota State I think. For some reason I'm going to that one. But I think I'll have my damn weiner kids, so at least they'll distract me enough I won't have to pay too much attention.