When we win I give the player of the game but today you get the goat of the game and it was an easy one to call. Al Nolen came into the game with 93 assists and 25 turnovers. In the game he had only two assists and 6 turnovers. He failed to get the offense going at all and did not look like a college basketball player at all. He is only a sophomore but he needs to play like he did in the Louisville game by controlling the tempo and running the offense.
The initial reaction of the diehard Gopher fan is to declare that the sky is falling and all the progress they have made is destroyed but that is totally incorrect. The loss hurts and stings but the damage is minimal. They only fell to #21 in the AP poll. The latest Bracketology has them as a 5 seed which is up from the 8 seed they were last week. In college basketball it is more who you beat than who you lose to and Northwestern despite the record is very dangerous with Moore and Coble they will win a few more Big Ten games they shouldn't. All it does is make the Purdue game more important. If the Gophers want to be a team with a 4-6 seed and make some noise instead of just making the tournament they need to beat Purdue at home. They are still on the way to making the tournament, they just had a little setback and probably lost any small chance they had of winning the Big Ten which will go to Michigan State.
If there is any questions of the affect Lucia has on the Gopher hockey team those were answered this weekend. Without him at North Dakota they get swept 6-3 and 6-1. With him they sweep St. Cloud 5-1, 8-6. This team was struggling of late but I still think this team has a very real chance of winning the National Title they just need to get hot at the right time. Also it is time to start looking at Ryan Stoa as the front-runner for the Hobey Baker award. He leads the WCHA in scoring and has 15g and 15a for 30 pts in 21 games.
Stats of the Day
- 19: Number of turnovers committed by the Gophers against Northwestern.
- 6-23: Gophers shooting from 3 after starting 4-4. If you aren't making them maybe you should try to go inside.
- 5-11: Gophers free throw shooting. They need more than 11 attempts but they really need to make more than 5. They missed some big free throws that could have gotten them back in the game in the second half.