Post-season basketball is something that is supposed to be exciting, something to stay home from work or class, fake an illness, take a long lunch, leave early, or at the very least keep track of over the Internet. After a dismal season last year, Minnesota bailed enough water out of the bow of the ship to make it float, and had some bubble potential until the beginning of February. We should all be looking forward to the Big Ten Tournament right?
The Gophers play Northwestern tomorrow in the opening round game. What’s that, the thought of the Gophers mopping the floor with the Wildcats doesn’t send a chill down your spine? The thought of the Gophers being the mop, at least at the end of the game when they play Indiana doesn’t inspire you to conjure up symptoms of Yellow Fever (which include ever, muscle pain (with prominent backache), headache, shivers, loss of appetite, and nausea or vomiting for those keeping track at home). Me neither.
The problem with the Gophers is that they do what they are supposed to do. Compared to the bad surprised of yesteryear, this is a good thing. Tomorrow should be no exception.
A couple of weeks ago Northwestern finally won a game, beating Michigan 62-60. They also came up just short against the “not quite the same since the coach got the boot” Indiana Hoosiers. Other than that, this is very much the same team the Gophers beat twice.
The Gophers should roll, and it shouldn’t be close. The biggest concern for Minnesota tomorrow will making sure no one gets hurt and that they don’t expend too much mental or physical energy in what should be a blow out. The Gophers will need to at least get to the finals to have a shot at the NCAA tournament, and to do that, they will be playing a lot of basketball in a short amount of time. A bad performance against Northwestern, even if it results in a win, could make a very difficult task nearly impossible.