Sunday, February 15, 2009

Penn State Game Review

I almost hit this one on the button. I predicted Penn State 67, Minnesota 63 and I was off by one point. So I can't say that I'm am surprised by the result. This is a team that is regressing to what they were supposed to be this year. A decent team that would be on the bubble. Slightly better than last year but not significantly, certainly not a top 25 team. That said while not playing well they still are in good shape to make the tournament. They need to finish 3-2 down the stretch and they have three games at home left.

In an interesting twist the player of the game is also the goat of the game. Devoe Joseph went berserk in the second half. He ended up with 23 points going 8-11 from the field and a whopping 7-8 from behind the arc. He simply could not miss. He became the goat when Talor Battle picked him clean and went down and made the layup to make it a 4 point lead with under a minute left. The last few minutes showed were Joseph is best served. He isn't able to create his own shot especially being guarded by someone as quick as Talor Battle. What he can do is come off screens. So those who think he should see more time at point than Nolen, I think he should see more time as the 2 guard than Westbrook who has disappeared averaging 4.5 ppg in the last 4 games.

This game once again showed the fatal flaw in the Gophers team this season. No one on the team is able to consistently create their own offense. If you take away Joseph's performance the Gophers went 12-38 or 31.6%. That is not going to win you road games. The Gophers can not shoot and no one can make some offense in the half-court. The biggest reason is that neither Iverson or Sampson has developed enough presence down low that the wings have to collapse down on them or double team opening up the wings. It will happen that they will dominate down low but it is not going to happen this year. Even if they make the tournament this team is currently able to make any noise in March, it will be nice to be in the tournament but this is not a sweet sixteen capable team.

The next game will be interesting because it is the same circumstances as this game. Michigan needs this game to keep the tournament hopes alive. The only change is that it is a little more important for the Gophers. If they lose this game they will have to win all 3 games at the Barn. If they win it gives them a little room to breathe.

Other News
  • Hopkins headed to New York this weekend to play in the NIKE Super Six. They dominated a Thomas Jefferson team from New York. It wasn't the best opponent but if you read this blog during the game Hopkins gained a lot of respect for not only themselves but Minnesota basketball. White dominated with 22 points. I think that Hopkins team could beat any high school team in the nation.
Stats of the Day
  • 27: Fouls committed by the Gophers. One major reason for the loss was that all our post players were in foul trouble and could not play aggressively like they normally do. It also allowed Penn State to make 21 free throws. It helped them whether the Joseph storm.
  • 28: Minutes played by Travis Busch a season high. This was a result of the other's foul trouble. While he played ok (4 points 5 rebounds) it is not a good sign when you get that much time out of Busch.
  • 30: Points scored by Gophers not named Joseph or Nolen. We had 9 other players play and they averaged 3.33 points per player. That is unacceptable and down the stretch it was clear the rest of the players were just hoping Joseph would save them and they were not even looking to do something offensively.

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