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Posted on 08. Mar, 2014 by JF.
The home careers of Austin Hollins, Maverick Ahanmisi, Oto Osenieks, and Malik Smith will (hopefully) come to an end on Sunday afternoon, as the Golden Gophers celebrate senior day, and hopefully inch one step closer to a return to the NCAA tournament. The basketball game is self-evidently big, and if the Gophers do want to return to the tournament, they need to win. After thirty games, you don’t need me to tell you that the Gophers’ defense needs to improve, including their defensive rebounding, or that Deandre Mathieu needs to play well for the Gophers to win, so I won’t tell you any of that. Instead, it seems like and appropriate type to recognize and appreciate the the class of 2014, who for between one and four seasons, represented the University of Minnesota about as well as anyone can.
Posted on 05. Mar, 2014 by JF.
The University of Minnesota announced today that Oto Osenieks will be honored as part of senior day festivities on Sunday afternoon, and that his playing career with the Golden Gophers. The red-shirt junior forward hasn’t played in the last two games due to a knee injury that sounds degenerative in nature. There is a silver lining though. According to the announcement from the university, Osenieks will remain on scholarship next season, and will be something of a coaching intern.
Posted on 28. Feb, 2014 by JF.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers survived February, their cruelest month, and now head to Michigan to start the month of madness. Despite the encouraging in over Iowa earlier this week, Minnesota is still firmly on the NCAA tournament bubble. Michigan, who long ago secured their spot in the NCAA tournament, continues to battle Michigan State for the conference title.
Posted on 24. Feb, 2014 by JF.
Life on the bubble, and particularly life on the bubble in the Big Ten, is full of second, third, and fourth chances. The Minnesota Golden Gophers have yet another opportunity to save their season on Tuesday night when the Iowa Hawkeyes come to town for a nationally televised game. A rivalry that seemed to be on the verge of death a few years ago is once again alive and well. The Gophers ruined Iowa’s chance to make the NCAA tournament with an Austin Hollins buzzer beater a year ago. Iowa hopes to send the Minnesota to the NIT this year. College basketball is nothing without rivalries, and it is much better when those rivalry games matter.
Posted on 23. Feb, 2014 by JF.
The Golden Gophers got off a great start at Ohio State on Saturday, but much like the second half of the Big Ten season, the second half of the game steadily spun out of control, as the Gophers lost 64-46. A loss wasn’t particularly surprising, and neither was the 18 point margin, but the way the loss occurred has to be particularly frustrating.
Posted on 21. Feb, 2014 by JF.
Everyone talks about the NCAA tournament bubble this time of year, but a better metaphor is probably a cliff. After losing a very winnable game against last place Illinois, the Golden Gophers are perched three short steps from the precipice. With each regular season loss, they get a step closer, and at step number three, they go over the edge, crashing into the NIT. A path to the NCAA tournament still exists, but it is fraught with danger.
Posted on 18. Feb, 2014 by JF.
It wouldn’t be February without a bit of drama surrounding the Golden Gophers basketball program, both on and off the court. In a complete unexpected turn of events, the drama might not be unwelcome. On the court, Minnesota’s win over Northwestern means the Illinois game on Wednesday has big NCAA tournament implications. Off the court, Wally Ellenson has chosen the sport at which he is most likely to succeed.
Posted on 15. Feb, 2014 by JF.
Two-thirds of the Big Ten season has gone by, and the Minnesota Golden Gophers are still the worst defensive team in the Big Ten. It is too late in the season to hope that they’ll become a good defensive team, probably too late to hope they’ll become average, and will soon be too late to think they can get out of the defensive cellar. The Gophers are not going to win any games because of their defense. However, there is a glimmer of hope that the defense, on occasion, will be just good enough to allow Minnesota’s offense to win. Sunday evening at Northwestern would be a fine time for that to happen.
Posted on 12. Feb, 2014 by JF.
The Golden Gophers saved their season with a gut-wrenching 66-60 win over the Indiana Hoosiers on Saturday. A win over the Badgers on Thursday night would inch the Gophers closer to something exceedingly rare, a stress-free Selection Sunday.
Posted on 07. Feb, 2014 by JF.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Indiana Hoosiers, who play each other in a rather important game for NCAA tournament purposes on Saturday evening, find themselves in nearly the same position. Both teams are on the bubble, trying to take charge of their own destiny, lest they be forced to hope that other teams play themselves out of the NCAA tournament. However, while Gopher fans (and players unfortunately) have begun to panic about their NCAA tournament prospects, Indiana fans think that is so six weeks ago, and are now becoming more confident as the season progresses. Expectations are to blame.
Posted on 04. Feb, 2014 by JF.
My initial plan for my Purdue game preview post was to yet again dissect the Golden Gophers defensive shortcomings, and don’t worry, I still will. It would be basketball blogger malpractice to ignore the single issue that will decide the ultimate outcome of this season. But before I do that, it seems like a good idea to address Richard Pitino’s comments today, what they mean to his team, and what they should mean to us, the casual and not so casual Golden Gophers fans who get through the winter by watching a bunch of kids trying to put a ball through a net.
More than one way to skin a cat: Richard Pitino, Chris Collins, and different approaches to defense.
Posted on 31. Jan, 2014 by JF.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers and Northwestern Wildcats will won’t resolve any age-old debates on Saturday in The Barn, but they will provide plenty of fodder for those who like to argue if offense or defense is more important in college basketball. The Gophers have the worst defense in the Big Ten, and Northwestern’s offense is historically inept. We won’t find out if defense wins championships on Saturday, but we may find out if a resistable force (Minnesota’s defense) can defeat a movable object (the Wildcat offense).
Posted on 25. Jan, 2014 by JF.
There is no good time for an injury, especially an ankle sprain that could linger for the rest of Andre Hollins’ junior season. Some times are worse than others, and the Golden Gophers got a bit lucky with the timing of this injury. There will be only two games in the two weeks following the win over Wisconsin, and Nebraska and Northwestern can’t compare to the four game gauntlet that Minnesota survived. Still, in a conference as tough as the Big Ten, someone will have to step up for the Gophers to keep winning, especially on the road in Lincoln on Sunday.
Posted on 23. Jan, 2014 by JF.
It only took ten seconds for Golden Gopher fans to have flashbacks to so many seasons lost to injuries, suspensions and unexpected departures. After knocking down the first shot of the game, on the first play of the game, Andre Hollins rolled his ankle, and would not return. Over the remaing 39:50, it was easy to forget that anything was missing, as Minnesota hammered the Wisconsin Badgers inside and out on the way to 81-68 victory.
Posted on 21. Jan, 2014 by JF.
Before every Big Ten game, we try to track down someone who knows a bit more than we can figure out from perusing statistics and box score. Andy from Madtown Badgers graciously agreed to answer a few questions prior to Richard Pitino’s first real rivalry game.