Minnesota dropped another game on the road to Michigan, losing 60-56 in Ann Arbor. The Gophers fall to 1-7 in conference play, so the NCAA Tournament is now likely out of reach this year.* Three Gophers scored in double figures.
The opening 11 minutes of the game was a pleasant surprise as the Gophers jumped out to the early lead behind the hot shooting of Dawson Garcia. Unfortunately for Minnesota and enjoyers of good basketball, Garcia picked up his second foul midway through the half. The Gophers proceeded to go 1-11 over the last 9:15 seconds of the first half, allowing Michigan to claw back to a tied ball game going into the second. In the second half, the Wolverines slowly crept into a lead behind a nice half from Dug McDaniel and Hunter Dickinson. A flurry late was not enough for Minnesota.
Let’s be frank, it is a struggle to watch the Gophers play right now. The spacing on offense leaves much to be desired. The team goes through long stretches with no points and curiously looks mismatched even in advantageous situations on the offensive side of the floor. Today they had an effective field goal percentage of 45%. That is bad! Minnesota was 6-23 from distance, and only 4-7 from the foul line. That is bad! The Gophers are on track to be the worst free throw shooting team in the conference by a landslide, and might be the worst shooting team in the conference in the 21st century. The only reason I do not know that for certain is that crawling the stats to confirm it will make me sad, but it definitely feels right.
Defensively, Minnesota put forth a much better effort, actually outshooting the Wolverines form the field. The difference in the contest was free throws—Michigan was 13-17 on the night.
Minnesota only played seven deep due to injuries.
The last two minutes of game time felt far too long, like what I imagine purgatory to be like. Just waiting for a boring game to end.
*This is obviously a joke. Please do not think I seriously believed this team had a chance to make the tournament.