Thursday, February 26, 2009

Illini Game Review

This game was more of a shame than anything else. The effort was there, the intensity was there, the defense was there. They just could not hit a jumper to save their life. They didn't just miss the shots they bricked the shots. There had to been at least double digit shots that didn't hit the rim. It seemed as if the guards were more interested in breaking the rim than making a shot. It was almost comical if it wasn't so depressing. If they shot even reasonably well we could have won that game. It was there for the taking but we didn't capitalize. This does not hurt our chances but I think the Gophers need to win both games at home to close out the season or put on a good run in the Big Ten tournament.

The player of the game is not hard to find in this game. There was not a single thing the Damian Johnson did not do. His line is incredible but it still does not do him justice to how he played tonight. He ended up with 18 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 5 steals and 3 blocks. He was absolutely everywhere. Also playing well were the two freshman down low. Ralph had 8 points and 4 rebounds and Colton had 4 points and 8 rebounds.

While Johnson was the hero we also have goats of the game. Lawrence Westbrook and Al Nolen cost us this game. They combined for 8 turnovers and only 4 points and 1 assist. They did nothing and they caused nothing but turnovers and bricks. To be a good NCAA team you need guard play. Find a team that is elite without a point guard. A lot of people are fed up with Nolen and say that he has regressed. He has not regressed he has just faced the Big Ten. He is not to the point yet where he is an elite point guard. He needs to develop a shot. Also we need him because while he is struggling Devoe Joseph is more of a combo guard and can not run the offense as a starter.

The Gophers are still alive but they have two big games coming up. They have played well at home but the Wisconsin game scares me a lot. Wisconsin needs the win and they are mad about the Gophers winning at Kohl and starting the 6 game losing streak. We will face a very determined Wisconsin team. It helps that we have 5 days to prepare.

Stats of the Game
  • 5-35: Shooting by Gophers not named Johnson, Sampson or Iverson. That is 14%. That is unimaginable. This team lacks a shooter and the problem is that even though the incoming recruits are good none are good shooters so those on the team need to step up.
  • 1-14: Gophers 3-pt shooting. That is 7%. A high school team would put up better perimeter shooting than that.
  • 37-25: The rebounding edge for the Gophers. This was the only reason it was close. The Gophers got 15 offensive rebounds but that is easier with so many bricks.

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