The Gophers continued a couple of losing streaks tonight by dropping their fifth straight game in Evanston as well as losing their third straight game in the season. This one was frustrating and the bandwagon will be nearly empty by the time anyone reads this.
Get pissed about this one. Northwestern is not traditionally any better than a mediocre Big Ten team and this is one of their least talented teams in the last few years while the Gophers are fielding one of their best. But the tradition of losing in their gym and looking utterly incompetent and unprepared for the zone defense that you KNEW was coming. Granted, Northwestern muddled through the game, keeping it close with a man-to-man but eventually they went to the 1-3-1 and the Gopher offense was shut down.
I don't know if I'm more pissed about our lack of execution or our lack of mental toughness on the road or the fact that Bill Carmody won this game for his team while Tubby Smith did little to help his team along.
Without even reading post-game comments I'm sure Tubby is pinning this one on Andre's turnovers, Austin fouling out of the game with 11 min left or the team not executing his plan or something along those line. But this one is on him. He had 6 days to get his team prepared. 6 days to get his team ready for a dead environment against a team that executes a unique system.
He talks about controlling tempo but I wonder if he understands that controlling tempo is one of the things a coach can control. Ask Coach Carmody about it. This win belongs to Carmody and the loss is on Tubby.
With all of that said, I dread the next couple days because there is going to be a massive overreaction to this loss. Some will be overreacting because they were convinced that this was a top 10 team when this team was never taht good. Others will overreact to previous seasons with the old "here we go again!" mantra. But let's ride this out for a while longer. PLEASE?
This is a bad loss, a frustrating loss and one you have every right to be pissed about. But this team is still more talented than previous teams. We are not a bubble team, this is a good team. But there is a lot of room and plenty of other teams somewhere between a bubble team and a Final Four team.
Maybe these losses will break this team and we will see things spiral out of control down to the bubble. But we are still a talented team that will win a lot of games. Things that have been said here a dozen times are still true.
- I believe this is a top 20 caliber team, not a top 10 team.
- The Big Ten is REALLY good which means that you may lose a game or two on the road to a lower team in the standings. AND a really good team may finish 6th in the final standings (and that might be us).
- Turnovers are the one thing we absolutely have to fix. HAVE TO FIX. When we shoot well, we can overcome them but when we shoot poorly and the opponent takes the air out of the ball we are in big trouble.
- The first two losses in the Big Ten do not concern me in the slightest. This one does but they are not the same thing.
The local media loves to jump to the negativity before there is reason to and then when the slightest door opens they burst through it. That is what they do around here. But what the fanbase does is they love to be the first to predict demise. There is a strange badge of honor for being the first to tell everyone else, "I told you we weren't any good." Let's just wait a couple more weeks before we write off this team as being just like the last couple years. You can be pissed about this loss and the mistakes made without making grand, sweeping judgements about the rest of the season.
We have one bad loss, it just happens to come after consecutive losses to the best of the Big Ten. We are not a perfect team and this is not an elite team. There may be cause for concern and things could get out of hand, but there is still a lot of season left.