Friday, March 13, 2009

And Now We Play the Waiting Game

While not a lock to be in the tournament, the Gophers with the win over Northwestern and playing MSU very tough they are in very good shape. They played very hard, and fared the best out of the three matchups. They were done in the by the same issues (lack of outside shooting, turnovers) but they also found a new issue. They were terrible at free-throw shooting. They are typically a very good free throw team shooting 72.6% on they year. Today they went 13-27 or 48%. If they went 21-27 from the line it is a tie game. The Gophers have enough offensive issues that they do need to be creating more.

The player of the game was Damian Johnson. He lead all scorers with 19 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals. He drew the defensive assignment of Raymar Morgan and Delvon Roe. They combined for 5 points and 8 fouls. He is our best player and continues to prove it every game.

I know other blogs are doing this but here is a summary of what has hurt or helped the Gophers chances.

Hurt the Gophers
  • Baylor is hanging around by beating Texas. They are in the Big 12 title game against Missouri. They are not a at-large team but if they win they will steal a bid from a bubble team.
  • Maryland beat Wake Forest. Maryland was looking for a high-quality win and they got it by beating Wake. They have wins against UNC, MSU and Wake. They still have a worse resume than the Gophers but that will change if they beat Duke in the Semis.
  • Temple beat Xavier and San Diego State beat BYU. They both became likely at-large teams who can both be automatics if they win their conference title games. I don't think they knock off the Gophers but they will push them closer to the bubble with less at-large spots.
  • USC beat UCLA. They are a legitimate at-large team now. I still think they have a worse resume than the Gophers but that could change if they beat ASU in the title game and got an automatice bid.
Helped the Gophers
  • Penn State lost convincingly to Purdue. Penn State will be the first team from the Big Ten not invited. I don't think Penn State will make the tournament.
  • Kentucky lost to LSU. Kentucky is done and we don't have to worry about the legacy pick.
  • Virginia Tech lost to UNC. Virginia Tech is no longer an option.
  • South Carolina lost by 18. Another team with a worse resume than the Gophers.
What to hope for tommorrow
  • Missouri crushing Baylor
  • Maryland losing to Duke
  • Temple wins the A-10
  • USC loses to ASU
In summary, the Gophers are in fairly good shape but it is not for certain in the wacky NCAA. If Baylor, USC and Duquesne steal automatic bids the Gophers could be in real trouble. It looks like the Gophers right now will be a 11 seed. If they can bring the intensity and effort they have the last two days along with a confident Devron Bostick, this team can win the first round game but it would be safe to assume that it would end there.

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