Thursday, March 12, 2009

Gophers Now in Good Shape

I was unable to preview the Northwestern game as I had a family matter to attend to but everyone knew the stakes for the game. Lose and we were NIT bound and win and we are very likely to be in. I hesitate to say that we are in because crazy things could happen like Cleveland St. stealing a bid by beating Butler. It also won't help if we get crushed by Michigan St. tomorrow. If we play tough and keep it close we should be in the tournament.

The player of the game was Ralph Sampson III. He put up 9 points, 6 rebounds, 5 blocks, and 2 assists. He was a physical presence defensively down low and when ever the Gophers finally got the ball into him down low good things happen. He went 3-3 and that wasn't because of being timid it was because the Gophers were not able to feed the post. He has matured so much this year. In the beginning of the year most thought Iverson was the better player. Iverson still has flashes but Sampson has blossomed and has potetial to grow even more. He should be an absolute force down low next year.

The Gophers won but the problems that plauge them were still very present. They went 4-19 behind the arc and the half court offense was non-existent. This team also won for the same reason they always do. Defense. They play the best defense in the Big Ten when they want to. They had 11 blocks and 7 steals. They won this becuase once Northwestern tied the game the defense cracked down and held Northwestern scoreless for 7 minutes and went on a 14-0 run.

This was a much needed victory but it might get ugly tomorrow. We do not matchup well with MSU at all and they are finally healthy and playing their best basketball right now. The Gophers still need to show up and give their best effort. If they get blown out by 30 it won't be hard for the selection committee to leave them out. Prediction: MSU 77, Gophers 58

Stats of the Game
  • 3-16: Craig Moore's shooting in the game. He had 8 points. He put up 22 in the win over Minnesota and was averaging 14.4 on the season.
  • 9: Turnovers by the Gophers. It is the lowest total since turning it over 9 times against Eastern Washington on 11/26/08.
  • 5-5: Sampson and Iverson from the field. We have to find a way to get it down low more often. If the guards can't shoot they could at least get it to someone who can.

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