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Turnovers doom Minnesota in Loss to Ohio State

NCAA Basketball: Minnesota at Ohio State Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota lost their Big Ten conference opener at Ohio State 84-74. Dawson Garcia led all scorers with 36 points.

By the time you read this recap, I presume that you will have seen a basic recap of the game. In short, the Gophers were unquestionably the better team for 30 minutes. Unfortunately, college basketball is a 40 minute game and the Gophers were so heinous for ten minutes of game time that Ohio State built an untouchable lead. Here are my five takeaways as the team goes forward.

It turn out “Give the ball to your best player in space” is a good offense.

Dawson Garcia had a magisterial night on the offensive side of the floor, along with picking up 11 rebounds. Garcia is a great talent at the college level and potentially has the game to sneak into a late bench spot in the NBA. One of the problems for Minnesota is that they often fail to run action for Garcia to get him the ball in good positions. For the majority of the second half of the game, Minnesota did just that. Garcia responded with 12-25 from the floor and 12-14 from the foul line. Some of those late misses were clearly the result of fatigue as well.

Turnovers are going to kill this team’s chances all season

I could highlight the three point shooting (<30% again), or the silly shots quick in the clock (see previous clause), but the real reason that Minnesota lost were sloppy turnovers. Why? Ohio State had 16 points off Minnesota turnovers, quite a few of those points in the first half as the Buckeyes built a big lead.

Cam Christie is turning into the second scorer

Dawson Garcia is going to be the main draw, and Pharrel Payne is always a weapon, but Cam Christie is establishing himself as the second scoring weapon on offense. To be clear, this is totally expected, but I am happy to see the freshman continue to take steps forward against better competition.

There might need to be a rethink on the starting line up

Some of this of course is dependent on Payne’s health which will necessitate a reshuffle, but I wonder how much longer Ben Johnson will ride the current starting line up. Ihnen and Joshua Ola-Joseph are not as successful in man to man defense as they should be, and it will continue to cost the Gophers easy points.

I like caring about this team again

Nothing we have seen so far this season changes my view of the likely end state for Minnesota in March, but at least this year the team continues to fight and is not obviously over matched against mid-tier conference competition. Will it change what I think is likely to happen at the end of the season? Nope. Is it making me think there’s a chance I’m wrong about what happens at the end of the season. A little bit.