February 1, 2008

Breaking Down the Box - Michigan

First of all, congratulations on win #400 for Tubby! That is great and I'm glad he's donning a maroon and gold tie when he earned it.

Minnesota - 77
Michigan - 65

WARNING: I am going to pull a Reusse on you here. While I am pleased that we earned a road win that was never really in doubt. There were a few aspects of our game that concerned me. The first two are effort issues that were uncharacteristic of 2007-08 Gophers.

1. Careless Passing - This is particularly a 1st half issue where we had 8 turnovers. That number isn't terrible but what bothers me most was how we didn't value our possessions. Passes were very nonchalant and we seemed content to give away a possession.

The prime example of this mid way through the first half, up 21-11. Ron Coleman hits a 3. We inbound, dribble up, then attempt a pass from half court down to the block which goes out of bounds. Ron Coleman hits another 3.

That was a 0-6 run in 20 seconds because we didn't value the possession and attempted a very careless pass.

2. Coleman's Contentness - There were a handful of defensive possessions when DC was happy to get screened and sit behind it for a second while his man would take a wide open three. DC needs to anticipate the screen so he doesn't get picked so cleanly and when he does get screened there is no reason to take a breath and then try to get around it.

While we are talking about Coleman's defense it should be noted that Ron Coleman hasn't scored double figures since Dec 15th, he had 10 at halftime last night.

3. Freshman Wall? - the Hoff played 2 minutes? What is up with that? Nolen only played 13 and both were completely non-factors in this game. Was Hoffarber injured or was this just an example of Tubby shortening his bench (Payton didn't play at all)? I'm not sure what the issue was but I hope that this was an aberration because I think we clearly need Nolen's defense and Hoffarber's shooting if we are going to beat any of the 5 teams ahead of us in the standings.

With all of that said I do believe that we earned this win. And Tubby hit the right buttons because we played much better in the 2nd half. First half we shot 55.6% (which is really good), but when we executed better on offense and controlled the boards we shot 61.5% in the 2nd half (which is incredible).

Player of the Game - Lawrence Westbrook

15 pts
4 reb
3 assists
3 steals

McKenzie had a great game and led us in the 2nd half, but I really like how Westbrook is now finding his role in the offense. In the first half he had 9 points, 2 assists and zero turnovers. He is playing very good defense and him stepping up will really help this team down the stretch.

Tempo-Free Stats

Coming into the game our eFG% was 51.9%, last night we shot 62.2% and we only hit 3 from behind the arc. Statistically this was a solid game, not a whole lot to say.

Up Next?

Wisconsin - home


This could be ugly. I have been rather impressed with the Badgers all year, especially last night when the controlled Indiana for 40 min. They don't make mistakes, they play very good D and they execute their offense better than anybody in the conference.

We could make a game of it since it is at home and hopefully there will be a little let down after their Indiana win. But we will have to play much better.

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