November 25, 2007

CMU down, FSU to go

There was a lot of talk about Central Michigan being a "trap" game as it was sandwiched in between Iowa State and Florida State. Clearly the ISU and FSU games are significant in that they are against major conference teams. The trap game is out of the way and the gophers played solid for the last 20:03 to win the game. Before I get into the FSU game here are some CMU thoughts.


Al Nolen - Kevin Payton did not start, but his spot wasn't given to Nolen. I don't understand why, but he continues to play as though he is more experienced than a true freshman. Only 4 points in 26 min but he chipped in 5 assists, 3 rebounds, 3 steals and most significantly only 1 turnover. I am guaranteeing that Nolen will start vs. Florida State tomorrow night.

Balanced Scoring - Rather than 2 guys giving us 40+, the gophers had a nice balance in the scoring column. 14, 11, 10, 9, 9 and 7 for their top 6 scorers. I know we have 3 that need to carry our scoring load but it is nice that we can get contributions from everyone when Tollackson and McKenzie don't carry us.

Rebounding - again we dominated the boards which is remarkable considering how bad we were on the glass last season.


Sluggish Start - We can't win by just showing up. I am on record multiple times that I think this gopher team is much better than most anticipated (they'll jump on the bandwagon soon). BUT I am not delusional enough to believe that they are a great team that can beat bad teams just by showing up. I don't care who we are playing, if we don't play well we are suseptable to losing. We have 3 legit players, a good freshman and a couple decent subs. Every team we play has talented players who are capable of beating us. We started sluggish last night and fortunately won with our defensive pressure in the 2nd half. But there are a number of games on our schedule that will end in losses if we don't start applying that pressure from the opening tip.

Turnovers - 24 turnovers is just too many. If you want to keep a less talented team in the game then give them 24 extra possessions. Fortunately the Chippewas gave 23 back to us, but that can't happen against better teams or we'll get killed.

Three Point Shooting - 7/20 isn't terrible but in 2007 that isn't very good. When you are shooting 35% there is not reason you should be taking 20 threes. On the bright side Hoffarber had his best game as a gopher and was 3/5 from behind the arc.

LOOKING AHEAD to Florida State

1-I am going to the game. I'm SO excited I can't even tell you. I signed up for and have my spot reserved to accompany the team to Tallahassee. Hopefully I'll get some good blogging material from this excursion.

2-Florida State was a solid team last year. They won @Duke and beat Florida during the regular season, finished with 20 wins (9-7 in ACC) but were left out of the tourney. The bad news for the gophers is they return 4 starters from that team, the good news is they were a 1 man show and the 1 moved on to the NBA.

Projected Starting Lineups


PG - Nolen (this is going to happen)
SG - McKenzie
SG/F - Abu-Shamala (maybe Johnson?)
PF - Coleman
C - Tollackson

key sub - Johnson (SF)
key sub - Williams (C)
key sub - Westbrook (G)
key sub - Payton (G)


PG - Swann - 6'2"
SG - Douglas - 6'1"
SF - Rich - 6'3"
PF - Reid - 6'9"
PF - Echefu- 6'9"

key sub - Mimms (G) - 6'3"
key sub - Vaugn (C) - 6'10"
key sub - Breedan (F) - 6'8"


Well, we match up well. They don't have great size or depth. They have all guards and forwards. We have all guards, a couple forwards and a center. Ultimately this team has a couple of nice wins this year and a couple of crappy losses. I'm not sure which team we'll see.

This is a serious test on the road but I think it is a winable game.


1 - Dominate the paint - I think both backcourts will score all night. The team that owns the paint will win.

2 - Stop Swann - he's been hot and shooting the ball great. Swann is 51% from behind the arc this season and is averaging 16.6 ppg.

3 - TAKE CARE of the BALL - we had a TON of turnovers vs. Central Michigan. That cannot happen against a better team with an experienced backcourt like Florida State.

This game would be a great win, but my money is on Florida State winning a close game.

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