Minnesota lost to Ohio State today at Madison Square Garden 67-49. Minnesota drops to 14-8 on the season and 3-6 in conference play.
This was a home game for the Gophers, and let’s take a second to unpack that one. Minnesota, a team that as the name implies is from Minnesota played a neutral site game in New York in January against Ohio State for “exposure.” How did that exposure go?
Big Ten basketball in Manhattan. Feel the excitement! pic.twitter.com/TYJcCoxkv1— Nick Piotrowicz (@NickPiotrowicz) January 20, 2018
Perhaps if this had been a different season the Gophers would be a top 15 team, and a major network would have picked it up. Then again, Ohio State is a top 25 team and it was on BTN. Feel the exposure. I’m not allowed to use foul language in these recaps, but let me assure you that the proper response to Delaney’s decision is a two word phrase that begins with an F and ends with you.
Here are some more fun stats. The Gophers scored 18 points in the second half. They went over nine minutes with a field goal in the second half. Minnesota gave up a 24-2 run in the first half. Minnesota was 38% from the field, just 15% from behind the three point line and 50% from the charity stripe. After beginning with solid ball movement and good rotations, the Gophers devoted to some weird mashup of isolation and forced heaves. Mason, Murphy, and McBrayer combined to go 12-33 from the field and 2-11 from behind the three point line. Because Minnesota is without a functional offensive threat from the center, Ohio State realized that it is fine to ignore Diedhiou or Konate on offense.
Minnesota had twice as many turnovers as assists.
Here’s the part where I mention the caveat before I launch into the other point. The Gophers are without their sixth man and starting center. They have been ravaged by injuries. That’s the caveat.
Here’s the other point. Richard Pitino was outcoached again this season. Flat out outcoached. Either that or he has completely lost his team. I doubt it’s the latter because last season the team won a bunch of games. This season has been a different story. Players cannot perform basic defensive rotations. The high pick and roll is functioanlly two free points every time. On offense, there is little to no movement, extended amounts of hero ball and forced bad shots, and a concerted effort to try and get the worst shot possible.
Today four of last season’s starting five were playing. This is not a problem of youth or inexperience. It is not a problem of injuries that two of the four best players on the roster are shooting the Gophers out of games. This is a problem of coaching and development. If the season does not turn around, Richard Pitino will have another lopsided losing record in conference play. This time he will have done it with a team that was expected to make the NCAA Tournament and contend for a Big Ten title. Next year’s seat should be mighty hot, and depending on whether no revelations surface about the recruitment of Reggie Lynch it might not take that long.
Amir Coffey returned to the starting line up after missing five games with a shoulder injury. He finished with 11 points and three rebounds, but had an uncharacteristic three turnover game.