Wednesday, March 4, 2009

UW-Minnesota thoughts

Will and I had a breakthrough moment tonight. In the first half, we were watching the game and I noted that our team was in red. He made the comment that we could also cheer for the team in white because white was one of our colors.

"No, buddy, that's Minnesota, we never cheer for them."

"Why not?"

"Because, er, because ..."

"Because we hate them?"

"Will, we shouldn't ever say hate, that's a strong word and it's not good to hate anything. ... But yeah, Daddy really hates Minnesota and hope they lose everything they compete in."

Tonight, like our first meeting, is a good reason why. Here's another one we should have won yet stole defeat from the jaws of victory. Credit Tubby Smith's innovative Lawrence Westbrook Run Into Guys Offense, brilliant stuff.

I can't stand Westbrook. His whole game is predicated on wild, out-of-control sprints into the lane where he draws contact and hopes the refs call the foul on the other guy. If contact doesn't ensue, he just throws it near the rim and hopes it goes in. Worked like a charm tonight. The kicker was the play that led to his two free throws that gave them the lead -- nothing much happened on that play, but there was contact, so it must have been a foul on us. It was like watching Dwayne Wade in the 2006 NBA Finals, where any time Dallas looked at him funny it was a trip to the charity stripe.

-Larrivee said this is the first time Minnesota has swept our season series since 1992. Hard to believe it's been that long, we've had some bad teams in there, too.

-We lost this game in the first half. Five baskets? The shooting was just atrocious. It wouldn't have been so bad if, later, we hadn't shown the ability to score effectively against their defense.

-Landry played well, mainly because he didn't hesitate when he got the ball, he just shot.

-Pop was penetrating at will late -- where was that the rest of the game? Too bad his shot completely abandoned him tonight.

-Why wouldn't Minnesota press us for an entire game? They play 10 guys who are all about the same, so fatigue shouldn't be an issue. Given how helpless we were against their press in Madison, would have made sense.

-Great move by Tubby to not play his only scoring threat until late in the game. He's really grasping out straws trying to get that team out of its funk, good for him we came along with a stinker to help him out.

-How funny were those back-to-back missed dunks? Never seen anything like that before. At least their guys tried to dunk rather than going up with blockable layup attempts.

-So how many games is that where we've given away a lead late? Texas, Minnesota, Iowa, Purdue, Northwestern, Michigan State, Minnesota. Lot of talk about closing out games, not much actually doing it.

Like the Michigan State game, I had this penciled in as a loss, which take 5% of the sting out of it. But golldarnnit, we should have won this one, too. It stings, but if we take care of business against Indiana on Sunday we should be fine. Really wish we'd taken the "should be" out of it by now, though.


frye said...

This one hurts a lot more than Michigan State. I had that one and this one written down as losses before the game started. However, we had a 5 point lead and the ball in this game with less than 3 minutes left. That was inexcusable. What is with our late game offense? It seems like Bo just says "Trevon hold the ball until there's 10 seconds left, then drive the lane and either throw up a bad shot or pray there's an outlet pass to an open man." Why couldn't they just play the normal offense - move the ball around, feed the post, anything but take the air out of the ball. I really feel this hurt us. We were the aggressors until the end and it cost us.

Matt said...

A couple of things from section 213, row 14:

That last shot by Hughes. Ummm, is that really what was drawn up? Would have liked to at least to work it to Landry.

Ed Hightower and crew were horrible but were at least consistently horrible for both sides.

Olson noted that Bo was awfully quick with the hook last night. I don't know if he was just trying to find some combo that worked offensively or what, but, good lord.

I think Taylor's going to be solid but he did get abused by Westbrook late in that game.

This team really lacks a go-to guy offensively and I'm a bit concerned for the forseeable future. I don't feel comfortable with the ball in anyone's hand when Bucky needs a score.

Toren has now notched just two Gopher wins in any Badger-Minny match-up that we've both attended together: Besides last night, commie kicker Rhys Lloyd provided the other great moment for Chris in this rivalry.

Toohey said...

More notes from secton 213, row 14. In talking with Toren, he said (and I now agree) that Westbrook is a bum and was benched to start this game because he's been playing terribly. Chris has been watching the Goofs all season and claims his play is horrendous.

In my opinion, the fact that he looked like a superstar in two games against the Badgers makes those losses hurt just a little bit more.


Anonymous said...

to this day, the kids (not kids anymore) from my neighborhood refer to a missed dunk as a "Petty!" in honor of former Badgers 'great' Larry Petty. He once missed an open dunk and the ball came down at half court. Steve Yoder once called him "the third best outlet passer in the nation." Bet that's still on his resume. Austy