Gophers face Georgia, hoping to salvage something from their trip to New York.

We may never know what caused Wednesday’s second half meltdown, and it would be best if we never did. It could have been the first road game, choking under pressure, growing pains for a team still integrating four new players, or maybe the distraction from Daquain McNeil’s arrest and suspension caught up. Maybe it was all of those at once. Hopefully it was at least one of those, because if it was something other than an aberration, the once promising season could become long and arduous very quickly. Luckily, the Gophers won’t have to wait long to try to get back on track.

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Pitiful second half dooms Gophers in NIT Tip-Off

Things were looking pretty rosy for the Gophers at halftime against St. John’s. They had just cruised to a 40-31 lead behind some nifty passing and a performance by Nate Mason that is short-listed for “Half of the Year” so far. And with the Red Storm struggling to put together any sort of organized rebuttal, it looked like a sure victory for Minnesota if they could just continue to hit St. John’s in its weak spots. Maybe it was harder than it looked. The Gophers…

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Gophers hope to overcome off-court distractions, St. John’s, at Madison Square Garden.

Sports, for better or worse, can be a distraction from the perils of the world. The N.I.T. tournament in New York City was supposed to be that for Gopher basketball fans, and perhaps it can still be. However, the arrest of Daquein McNeil on suspicion of domestic abuse has distracted from that distraction. Zips wrote about the basketball impact earlier today. The non-basketball impact is going to be much more significant, both for McNeil, and the alleged victim. A few things seem to be true. McNeil has had a very difficult life, domestic violence is a learned behavior, and luckily there are wonderful organizations doing great work in Minneapolis to help both victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse. Regardless of McNeil’s future with the team, hopefully he gets the help he needs.

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Daquien McNeil suspended, now what happens?

Details of the story are still coming together, but the University of Minnesota announced today that sophomore guard Daquien McNeil has been suspended from the team pending investigation after having been arrested for domestic assault. It’s sad news about a kid who looked to be on the path to redemption after suffering through a pretty rotten situation before finding Richard Pitino and the Gophers. In fact, Amelia Rayno detailed his story in a very well-written feature not too long ago. While the legal process still…

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Some answers, new questions for the Gophers after first four games

Settling on assumptions only four games into the season is a dangerous game to play. With the ebb and flow of teams, in-season player growth and the evolution of a team’s identity, the November Golden Gophers will assuredly look different than the March version. That said, it’s four games in and we’re already starting to see some patterns, which can answer some initial questions we had about the team. But along with those answers come plenty of questions. Since we last checked in, the Gophers have…

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Possession problems may be solved, but the Gophers are shooting themselves in the foot with poor shot selection.

There is more than one way to win a basketball game, and the more ways a team can, the more they will win. So far in this still very young college basketball season, the Gophers have shown the potential to win in diverse ways.

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Blow outs are boring, but they can be valuable too.

There won’t be much exciting basketball at Williams arena during the non-conference season if everything goes as planned. The Gophers won’t score 109 points every night, like they did on Thursday against Franklin Pierce, but they will likely win every game, and by a lot points.

Bad opponents don’t always lead to blowouts. There have been plenty of horrible teams to who have played on the raised floor in recent seasons, but easy wins have been few and far between.

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From The Barn on the Gopher Sports podcast.

We’ll be forgoing the typical preview for tomorrow night’s game for something a bit different. The Gophers play a Division II team, in a game that will be ignored by 99% of the college basketball universe, and 100% of the NCAA tournament Selection Committee. I just can’t bring myself to research a bad president (arguably Franklin Pierce’s signing of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and enforcing the Fugitive Slave Act directly led to the Civil War) and a really bad basketball team.

The something different is that I had the opportunity to tape this week’s Gopher Sports podcast, which you can listen to here. I expected disastrous results, and I can affirmatively state that it could have been much worse than it turned out. It may sound like it was taped in a closet, because it was, somewhere in the basement of the Bierman Building. There would be no better sales pitch to potential donors to the facilities campaign than the convoluted walk to what was once the athletic department’s photo lab.

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Gophers roll Western Kentucky in home opener

Four days after being punished by Louisville in an airport hangar on national TV, the Gophers were back in Williams Arena for their season home opener, facing Western Kentucky in what was officially the opening round of the NIT Season Tip-Off. Unlike the hangar slop fest, the Gophers were much more in control and confident. And behind a strong all-around performance by Deandre Mathieu and defensive domination, the Gophers took down the Hilltoppers with ease 76-54. Defensively, it was night and day for the Gophers,…

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