I hope you’ll excuse our lack of enthusiasm lately as another season, once the most promising in decades, is on the verge of spinning completely out of control. We’ll do our best to keep plugging away.
1. I doubt that the Gophers are capable of beating any team on the road right now, which is a shame since Ohio State seems pretty beatable. If the Buckeyes beat the Gophers, it would be only their third top 50 win of the season, while the Gophers already have four top 50 wins. The Buckeyes were most recently blown out at Wisconsin, and have all but been eliminated from conference championship contention. They are ranked, and still have a very outside shot at winning the Big Ten, because they have manged to beat the teams they are supposed to beat.
2. I don’t think any Gopher player or fan ever wants to see a zone defense again, and Ohio State rarely plays zone. The bad news is that Aaron Craft, one of the better on-ball defenders in the country, will be hounding Andre Hollins. If Ohio State does decide to go zone, at least Craft would be somewhat neutralized.
3. Deshaun Thomas will have earned his summer vacation by the end of the season. He attempts nearly a third of his team’s shots when he is on the floor, and has played 87% of available minutes this season. Needless to say, as goes Deshaun, so goes Ohio State. When his shot isn’t falling, the Buckeyes do not have a reliable second scorer. Sadly, Rodney Williams is still having shoulder problems, and he was the most likely Gopher to make life miserable for Thomas.
4. As bad as this season has seemed, the Gophers are in their best position to secure an NCAA tournament bid under Tubby Smith at this point in the season. Eight wins will likely be enough to sneak into the NCAA tournament, especially if one of those is over the Buckeyes or Indiana. All they would need after that is to beat Penn State at home on Senior Day. The Gophers are bad, but Penn State is historically awful.