Minnesota lost to Indiana by a final score of 74-68. With the loss, the Gophers are now 6-16 on the season and 0-10 in conference play. By record, this is the worst Gopher program at this juncture in Big Ten play in my lifetime. Indiana improves to 18-4 overall and 8-1 in conference play. Thomas Bryant led all scorers with 25 points. The Four Factors are below.
This is the rare case where the four factors lie about how the game was played. Minnesota was absolutely horrendous with Jordan Murphy off the floor. After he picked up his second foul, Indiana began to extend the lead. At one point, the lead was 16. Every single Minnesota big man was in foul trouble in the first half. The Gophers added to their defensive ineptitude by taking bad shots on offense. It is painfully obvious how important the freshman is to this team.
In the second half, Murphy returned, Tom Crean opted to switch to a man defense, and the Gophers briefly showed why fans are cautiously optimistic about next year. Minnesota scored almost 1.18 points per possession in the second half. They played tough defense and limited Indiana's scoring opportunities. Yes, the Hoosiers were putrid from distance and multiple players missed open threes. That should not be used to discount the Gophers' effort. Kevin Dorsey owned his matchup with Yogi Farrell. Dupree McBrayer made life difficult for his defensive assignment. Jordan Murphy settled down and played excellent post defense.
For the majority of the Gophers' comeback, the five guys on the floor are all returning next year. If one assume Buggs is back, then the Gophers played the majority of the second half with players we will see next year. Did they lose again? Yes. Did they lose in a frustrating way? Yes. Did they lose in part because this team is unable to make free throws? Sweet Jobu yes. However, the team is now watchable, which is a decided improvement from the shellacking against Nebraska.
Kevin Dorsey had a potential breakout game. The freshman was tied with Nate Mason for most points with 21. He still cannot make a shot outside of 10 feet, but the second half showed his potential. Despite being small, Dorsey has a knack for getting into the lane and finding an opening for a shot. He also displayed blinding quickness on both ends of the floor, driving past defenders on one end and preventing any openings on the other. Dorsey also talked trash the entire second half, to the point that an official had to intervene. For a player with high recruiting stars, it was nice to see him begin to live up to that potential.
Minnesota next plays Northwestern on Thursday.