I'm going to open with a confession. This Minnesota team has driven me to avoid watching them play. It used to be I would schedule my life around 3 sports: Gopher Football, Men's Basketball, and Hockey. Men's Basketball no longer makes me change my plans. I don't have the mental energy to allow myself to watch. After a long day, I don't have the ability to burst blood vessels in my head with frustration, especially not now that I live in the stupid eastern time zone with it's 9pm tip-offs (miss you God's time zone). At this point, I just wait for the next day to read about Minnesota played, I check in via Twitter, or I keep an eye on the ESPN GameCast stats while doing something else. Last night I listened to most of the first half on Sirius while going to get my wife from the airport.
All of this is to make clear that I am not coming at my reaction to last night with really good first hand knowledge. I will not be breaking down the game in detail. You will not read stats or critical analysis from me. What I'm going to do is share some damning quotes from the stories about the game combined with some Tweets that will make you very stabby. Why? Because a performance this utterly terrible deserves to be recorded in the record with angry words attached to it.
The STrib's story is full of horrible facts:
The Gophers (6-17, 0-11 Big Ten) have dropped 11 consecutive conference games, five short of the program record set in 1987. They are off to their worst start in Big Ten play since the 1922-23 team also started 0-11.
We knew this. This stinks, but so does the whole season so far. It's what you read next that makes the blood boil.
It’s the first time the Gophers have been swept by Northwestern since 2006, and combined with a 25-point loss at Williams Arena last month, it’s their worst back-to-back losses to the Wildcats in series history.
ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME.
That's pathetic. It's bad. Really, really bad. What was at fault for this turd of a game? Lots of things, but doing a terrible job of defending the 3 didn't help:
Mostly, the Gophers got caught leaving the perimeter, where the Wildcats knocked down 12 threes, and failed to track Bryant McIntosh (20 points, six rebounds). The Gophers lost sight of him twice in less than two minutes, allowing him to wait patiently in the corner before knocking down a three.
"They let me have a standstill shot that I don’t normally get," McIntosh said.
Emphasis mine. Also, that's about the most damning thing another player can say about your defense.
Death By Twitter
I'm not summarizing a bunch of reactions. Nope. I'm just going to let former Sippin' on Purple writer and occasional INU contributor Lorretta8 condemn Minnesota's entire gameplan in a series of tweets.
From the get-go, things were bad.
NORTHWESTERN IS AVERAGING 2.67 POINTS PER POSSESSION— Loretta8 (@Loretta8_SoP) February 5, 2016
Up to 2.71. Minnesota yet to get a stop more than 5 minutes into the game.— Loretta8 (@Loretta8_SoP) February 5, 2016
Only 2.71 ppp?
MINNESOTA GOT A STOP (after NU's best shooter by percentage missed a wide open three)— Loretta8 (@Loretta8_SoP) February 5, 2016
We got a "stop" you guys.
Corner of that 2-3 zone is wide open— Loretta8 (@Loretta8_SoP) February 5, 2016
You don't say.
Minnesota keeps allowing wide open threes. Keep shooting them.— Loretta8 (@Loretta8_SoP) February 5, 2016
Seems like a reasonable gameplan.
Minnesota going under every screen on the perimeter and getting torched— Loretta8 (@Loretta8_SoP) February 5, 2016
yeah lets just leave NU's guards wide open for three, great game plan Minnesota no really extend Richard Pitino— Loretta8 (@Loretta8_SoP) February 5, 2016
Strong adjustments everyone.
Minnesota's press used to be pretty intimidating under Tubby. This weak ass Richard Pitinno press wouldn't work in the Horizon League.— Loretta8 (@Loretta8_SoP) February 5, 2016
Someone contact the burn unit.
This defensive performance by Minnesota is one of the worst I've seen the entire season— Loretta8 (@Loretta8_SoP) February 5, 2016
This is just a jerk NU fan using hyperbole right?
@Loretta8_SoP And I thought the first Northwestern game was bad. This is nearing Gophs-Nebraska ineptitude.— Elliot Mann (@elliotmann) February 5, 2016
Burn it all down.
Wait, you thought I was going to propose solutions? No way. I've got nothing. I have no answers. I've given up trying to understand or explain this year. I don't even know if I have a good opinion on the "fire Pitino" question. As apoplectic as I am about last night it's not like this type of performance has been happening every game. But dammit, when it happens it's really, really, bad.
If you want to justify a decision to keep Pitino you can. If you want to justify him getting fired at the end of the year you can. All I know is that this season has contained some of the worst basketball Minnesota has played in my life. So bad that I won't watch it anymore. And when it's bad enough to make me not want to watch...well...if you've been reading me for as long as I've been here that really should say it all.