You tell me what is the story of the game? Indiana came out and put an offensive clinic on the Gophers in the first 20 minutes. But the second half was all Minnesota as they battled back to dig out of a 23-point hole.
Obviously the story is both.
Indiana was really impressive in the first half.
- 65.6% shooting!
- 63%5 from three making 7!
- Three starters in double-figures before halftime!
- Forcing 12 Gopher turnovers!
Fortunately it was all on video so Coach Crean can use it in his next offensive perfection video. Some of those numbers are the result of the Gophers not playing very well but much of the credit goes to a very talented IU team that I imagine executed better than at any other point in the season.
"We played very passively and they were much more aggressive and I thought that was the difference. We were both passive at the offensive end and the defensive end and when you're back on your heels like that teams sense that and they just became very aggressive and made some threes because we didn't do a good job of challenging their outside shots and we started making shots and the momentum shifted. Both teams were shooting well in the first half. We were just giving up too many open looks but a lot of it had to do with the breakdown and penetration and how we got stuck inside and Yogi did a good job of pitching it back out to open people."
But they do play two halves in college basketball and the second one was all Minnesota.
- Minnesota scored 50+ second half points for the third consecutive game.
- Forced 11 Indiana turnovers.
- Took 40 second half shots to IU's 21!
- 16 2nd chance points.
- Was one boxout away from having the ball, down three.
From a Gopher perspective this game is an example of playing a team executing perfectly for 20 minutes followed by a display of Minnesota's determination and toughness.
"It tells me that we are capable but we knew we were capable of it. We've just got to put together two halves. You've got to play every second you're on the court, give it your all. Not that they didn't but we became a little bit passive and we didn't make some calls, I'm talking about calls from the bench when we're trying to make a call and it didn't get translated, a certain play, that type of thing. But it says a lot about our character, about the heart, and about the toughness of this team."
Could Minnesota have played better in the first half? Yes. But Indiana is extremely talented and they played an outstanding, near perfect, half of basketball. You tip your hat to them and say we'll see after halftime. Then you fight, scratch and claw your way back into the game with everything you've got.
I was really impressed with Indiana, particularly their starting five. They have some fun players who are very good and I really admire their team. But I am looking forward to this rematch at the Barn where IU might not get the sweetheart calls (resulting in a 40-15 FTA advantage) and where the Gophers will come out with some determination to not spot the Hoosiers 23.
In the Big Ten, you can't spend too much time relishing your wins and you certainly cannot dwell on your losses. #5 Michigan comes to town after dropping a big game of their own. This one should be fascinating TV as well.