Well that happened last night. The Gophers, with hopes of being an NCAA team went to face a team winless in teh Big Ten and they were absolutely destroyed in every facet of the game.
Shooting - Illinois could do whatever they wanted shooting 62% from the field and 50% from three. Nevermind that this team was a 29% shooting team from three in Big Ten games.
Rebounding - The Illini just controlled the glass...and they aren’t really a good rebounding team. Maybe it was just because they didn’t miss very many shots? Nope, they still grabbed over 40% of their own missed shots while securing 75% of the Gopher’s missed shots.
Turnovers - This was a huge key and the Gophers failed miserably. It was “only” 15 turnovers but those turnovers led to 26 Illini points (and they were easy points). This club thrives on turnovers into easy baskets, they got those early and just got things rolling.
Key Players - Amir Coffey was 2/13 shooting and Jordan Murphy had more fouls than rebounds, taking just 6 shots. On the other side Illinois’s top 3 scorers combined for 58 points, nearly beating Minnesota on their own.
So what does this all mean?
It was a bad loss an done where the Gophers showed zero toughness. They were beat and when they were hit early they crumpled. But ultimately it counts as 1 L on the record. It is really easy to make grand assumptions and decisions on one awful game, but the season still gets to play out.
The Big Ten is going to be full of winning games you shouldn’t along with losing games you shouldn’t. Is Pitino going to lose his job? Maybe, but it won’t be just because of this game.
Moving on from this one. It was ugly and they need to figure something out on the road. But the Gophers get three of their next four at home.
Up Next: Penn State at home, Saturday night.