From what I saw of this afternoon’s win over Northwestern, the Gophers dominated. Lawrence Westbrook aggressively pushed the ball up the court, got to the free throw line, hit a plethora and hit a plethora of mid-range jumpers. Dan Coleman played solidly on both ends of the court and made his free throws. As a team the Gophers shot moderately well, and held NU to long stretches without a point thanks to an aggressive zone defense. And who can complain about a 21-8 run.
Of course, I missed the first half, and prefer to think that it never happened. For Minnesota to have a chance tomorrow, they’ll have to forget about it too.
I don’t know how to read the Gophers performance against the Wildcats in relation to how it will affect their performance against the Hoosiers Friday night. On the one hand, maybe they will realize how lucky they were to escape with a win, and it will light a fire, or at the very least start some smoldering. On the other hand, the Gophers expended a lot more energy that they should have needed to just to beat the worst major conference basketball team, maybe ever.
The Gophers have outplayed Indiana for the vast majority of the two games they have played. Minnesota is fragile, but Indiana looks like “the glass man” from Amelie, or maybe they are already broken. It may not matter though, especially if Spencer Tollackson misses tomorrow’s game. He can’t jump, shoot, or really do anything against D.J. White and certain other extremely wide and jiggly Hoosier big men, but he can take up space and fouls. Even with a healthy Tollackson Minnesota has looked silly in late game situations. Minnesota’s rebounding woes have continues unabated, and will tomorrow too.
Of all the upper-tier Big Ten teams, Indiana is probably the most ripe for an upset, but of all the lower-tier teams, Minnesota is the most ripe to blown out.
Prediction: Indiana 70 Minnesota 65