The Gophers struggled from the field, shooting 33% (16-49) from the floor and 26% (6-23) from 3. The team had plenty of good looks, but couldn’t capitalize on them consistently. Marcus Carr was 1 of 9. Gabe Kalscheur was 3 of 9. You get the picture.
Daniel Oturu continues to develop into a dominant player and one Minnesota needs to continue to rely on more heavily. He finished with a double double on 9-13 shooting (including 2-2 from 3) and 10 rebounds. After the game, Coach Pitino revealed he was sick and threw up at halftime, which makes this an even more impressive performance.
In general neither team went on major sustained runs until the last 10 minutes of the game. It was then that Butler opened open it’s largest leads of the game on two major runs. The Gophers continued to struggle shooting the ball down the stretch and that was the difference.
Tonight’s game wasn’t the prettiest you’ll see. The officiating was inconsistent in terms of calling physicality, and the quality of play suffered for it. Ok, that’s a polite way of calling it hot stinky burning garbage and I’ll admit to being confused what generated more than a few calls. Based on the reactions, I think the Butler faithful would agree.
That said, that’s not the real problem for Minnesota right now. Shooting is. The Gophers are creating good opportunities from the outside. They just aren’t hitting many of them. Until that changes they are going to struggle against decent opponents. And against good opponents it’s going to get them run on.
Positives for the night? Pretty much just Oturu. He had a nice night. Also Hinkle Fieldhouse is just as cool as you remember from Hoosiers and is a great place to catch a game if you ever get a chance.
Things Pitino didn’t like. 18 turnovers. That was his big focus in the post-game press conference.
Opportunities to improve. Pitino was more relaxed following the loss than I expected. He focused on the fact that there is a lot of learn from but that the Gophers need to win some of these games where they are challenged.