Sunday, February 8, 2009

Not the Best Weekend

The Gophers basketball team has lost back to back games and the hockey team has lost 4 in a row and is tumbling down the standings. That said the two teams have very different outlooks from here on.

The basketball team is now 6-5 in the conference in 5th place and will not be ranked next week. It doesn't look good but it isn't that significant. Both games they lost are not upsets. It would have been nice to win one but before the season looking at the schedule you would pick them to lose both games and I did pick them to lose both games. The good news is the schedule sets up very favorably. Only one game (at Illinois) looks hard to win but the rest are very winnable. It looks like they should be able to get to 11-7 fairly easily. They will get a nice bounce back game with 6-16 Indiana coming to the Barn.

The hockey team is in a free fall and needs to turn it around or they might miss the NCAA's. They have lost 4 in a row and have fallen from 1st place in the conference to 6th. I would say the schedule sets up favorably also but they were swept by Mankato so the opponent isn't an issue. The problem is very easy to point to - Alex Kangas. He has a save percentage on the year of 89.8% down from 93% last year. He is 9th in the WCHA in save percentage. The Gophers outplayed Wisconsin in both games and outshot Wisconsin 82-53 on the weekend yet lost both games. I can not remember him stopping a decent scoring chance all weekend. The difference was the Badgers scored on every decent and sometimes not even decent chances. I would look for Kent Patterson to start on Friday and might play both games next weekend. The need the goaltending if they are going to turn it around.

Stats of the Day
  • 6-10: Blake Hoffarber from 3 in the Ohio State game. I would like to see him do it in back to back games before I declare him back in business. It was good to see and remember what he can provide for this team.
  • 84% : Alex Kangas' save percentage in the last four games, all losses
  • 36.3%: Paul Carter's shooting percentage for the season second worst on the team. That is not good for someone who plays down low and doesn't even shoot from the outside. He is very athletic and plays with great energy but he needs to improve his shot if he is going to make a serious contribution to this team. We give Damian Johnson a hard time for his ability to shoot but he is shooting 49.4%.

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