All Sorts of Misconceptions

Mulligan

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Last night's game got me thinking about how you just never know.

-Liked the Pitino hire but thought we'd be at a disadvantage when the young coach went up against the likes of Matta, Bo, Crean, etc. They would know how to prepare for us while Pitino was still learning on the job. Great seeing Matta hang his head when he knew OSU had lost. Even better not seeing the usual Bo last night; like he knew his whining wouldn't help because he really didn't have any answers.

-I, like most everybody, figured we would win only if the Hollins boys were hot from the outside. Andre plays long enough to make one basket. Austin contributes in various ways, but the Gophers win by scoring inside and getting all sorts of contributions from unexpected places: Oto's baskets, Mav's plays, King's hustle, and, of course, Mo.

-I've sort of stopped expecting to see us turning teams over and getting a steady stream of fast break baskets. I had our defense pictured as a milder form of Nolen Richardson's 40 minutes of hell. Totally wrong there. The half court defense keeps improving and was awfully good last night. Half court offense had to be better than Tubby's but still didn't expect the movement, cutting, and screens. Of course, it helps having a real point guard.

-First few games, I was totally unimpressed with Malik Smith. Believed he would have some good shooting games, but he can do other things. Liked his drives to the basket, he had a couple of nice passes, he's gotten much more active on defense, and it's really comforting to see him at the free throw line late in the game.

-First few games again, it was fun watching DeAndre, but I'd cringe when he would go inside. Can't remember the game, but he turned it over or got blocked several times when he went inside. My thought was, "Oh, God, he's going to get killed in conference play if he tries going there." Love the little flip shot he uses and the drive late where he shielded Hayes, I believe, and laid it in was a thing of beauty. He's on a very fast track to earning a spot on my all time favorite Gopher team.

-Finally, figured if Elliot isn't in there, we're hurting really badly. Best we could hope for was to have Mo hold down the fort and maybe pick up a couple of baskets. Who would have thought pound it down to the big guy! Obviously young Rich and not the crafty Bo.
 

Bad Gopher

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Last night's game got me thinking about how you just never know.

-Liked the Pitino hire but thought we'd be at a disadvantage when the young coach went up against the likes of Matta, Bo, Crean, etc. They would know how to prepare for us while Pitino was still learning on the job. Great seeing Matta hang his head when he knew OSU had lost. Even better not seeing the usual Bo last night; like he knew his whining wouldn't help because he really didn't have any answers.
There's a line from the "Where No Man Has Gone Before" episode of Star Trek (aka the second pilot). Gary Mitchell to Captain Kirk: "I can sense mainly worry in you, Jim."

I can sense mainly worry in guys like Tom Izzo. He's the longest tenured coach in the conference, of course. It's enough that he's had to deal with crack coaches like Ryan and Matta. Then came another wave of guys like Painter, Beilein and Crean. Now he has or will have his hands full with the McCaffrey's, Groce's, Miles' and Pitino's of the world. Not that he won't make another Final Four, but the caliber of opposing coaches in this conference is so much stronger than it was even a few years ago (you can fill in the blanks with the names of coaches who are no longer cannon fodder for Tom's brutes from East Lansing). I know he'd rather look down and see a few more overmatched coaches down the sideline from him.

I can sense mainly resentment in Bo Ryan. Bo said it himself a few weeks ago. Paraphrasing it into what he really meant: "I have to work my way up from Junior High and Division III while this punk (Pitino) shows up one day with a silver spoon in his mouth." That does have to be a bitter pill to swallow, especially as the punk just won the first head to head.
 
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