January 27, 2008

Breaking Down the Box - Ohio State

Minnesota - 60
Ohio State - 76

This should be a quick one. Ohio State just has greater athleticism and talent. When the gophers played with some urgency and played together they were able to compete, but heart and playing together only gets you so far. We have guys who can shoot (The Hoff), we have guys that can jump (Johnson), we have guys that can handle the ball (Nolen), we have guys who are athletic (Coleman), you get the point. But what we don't have is guys who can do multiple things well. For example Butler can penetrate, shoot, handle the ball and pass very well.

I know that all season I have been pimping the Gophers and feel that they are capable of making the Tournament. I still believe that they are capable, but the fact does remain that there is little room for error because we are lacking true athletic ability and depth of talent. This team really isn't capable of recovering from 3 points in the first 10 min on the road. We were able to scratch and claw back into the game but OSU is talented enough to flip the switch and make a 4 point game back to 12 in a heartbeat.

In reviewing my keys to the game, it was #1 that killed us. I knew it would be tough for us to score consistently in half court game, so we needed to create turnovers AND get some easy baskets from them. OSU converted our 17 turnovers into 20 points while we created the same amount of turnovers into only 12 points. First of all we can't have 17 turnovers and secondly we needed more easy points.

Player of the Game - Jamar Butler

27 pts
9 asts
2 reb

Butler had a very good game, but I also would argue that his 5 turnovers and shot selection allowed the Gophers to get back into the game. But he made some big shots and had 9 assists to give them a real boost. When they needed it he was able to flip a switch and make a big shot or a big stop.

What Next?

We started 2-1 and then we all knew we had a tough 3 game stretch. So lets not overreact to losing at home to the best of the conference and then losing on the road to superior talent. What matters most is the next stretch of games. At some point we need to win a game that we shouldn't but there are still opportunities to do that.

For our next trick we can't suffer from a hangover from this game. There is no reason we can't win 4 of our next 5 games and get back to over .500 in conference. Road games at Michigan and Northwestern are road games we have to win. Then home games with Iowa and Illinois are games we need. There is a home Wisconsin game sandwiched in there as a potential game to steal but lets get the win at Michigan first.

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