BTN's Tom Dienhart offers his Big Ten men's hoops predictions (#12. Minnesota)

BleedGopher

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MennoSota

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12th seems about right for a team that's coming off epic failure. I'll be disappointed if Dienhart is right, but at this point I think 12th is a merited pick.
 

builtbadgers

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this roster can be and should be no worse than 7th. That position is the worst a coach can do by year 4.
 

bemidjigopher

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this roster can be and should be no worse than 7th. That position is the worst a coach can do by year 4.
That's all fine and dandy, but name seven teams that they are legit better than and will take your "hot takes " a little more seriously. Not saying your're wrong here just that you're usually full of ****. We could go 8-10 and end up 9th the way the conference is set up now. Hell 7-11 might get us in a Wednesday game. There have been years where 10-8 will get you 7th place in this league, really think these guys can pull that off this year? It be great, but I don't see it. I think 8-10 is the ceiling in the BigTen and after last year and with everyone back next year plus a couple more guards coming in I'd take that
 

macgopher

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this roster can be and should be no worse than 7th. That position is the worst a coach can do by year 4.
7th is not much of a goal. 7th was 7-11 last year, 6-12 in 2014-2015, 7-11 the year before that. In all three years 12th was last place.
 

Cayman

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7th is not much of a goal. 7th was 7-11 last year, 6-12 in 2014-2015, 7-11 the year before that. In all three years 12th was last place.
2015-16: Ohio State was 7th out of 14 teams at 11-7
2014-15: Indiana and Illinois tied for 7th out of 14 at 9-9
2013-14: Minnesota was 7th out of 12 teams at 8-10

Northwestern was the last Big Ten team to finish 7th place with fewer than 8 wins (7-11) in 2009-10. Then it was Penn State in 2007-08.

bemidjigopher seems to be right with what he's saying. We haven't had a 7-11 team play on Wednesday in the conference tourney in the 2 years of the 14 team Big Ten, but it seems like it could and likely will happen eventually. It's weird to think that 5 years ago, 7th would put you in the 3rd quartile of the conference, but now it's in the top half. 7th place for the Gophers would almost certainly be at least 8-10, and possibly as high as 11-7 like Ohio State did last year. With a relatively difficult conference schedule, playing Wisconsin, Michigan State, Maryland, and Ohio State twice each, 7th place could put a solid tourney resume together for the Gophers, especially if they could beat Arkansas and Florida State out of conference.

I understand the 12th place projections for the Gophers, as Nebraska and Rutgers are really the only teams I'm pretty confident we'll finish ahead of, though I see 12th as being closer to a worst case scenario. 12th place has been 5-13 the past few years. Plus we were bad last year, have a tough conference schedule this year, and we're counting on big contributions from a handful of guys who haven't played Big Ten basketball yet. I could potentially see us being better than any of Iowa, Northwestern, Penn State, and Illinois, and maybe if we overachieve a bit, could beat out Ohio State, Michigan, or Maryland, though Maryland has a pretty easy conference schedule.

7th in a conference called the Big Ten doesn't sound good, but it would be our first top half conference finish in a good few years (depending on if you count Tubby finishing 6th out of 11 as top half), and would give us a good shot at a tournament bid given our schedule, which I think would all but guarantee Pitino is back for a 2017-18 season that could include hopes of contending for a Big Ten title. Hell if he takes last year's 8 win team and gets them to ~20 wins this year, maybe he gets Big Ten coach of the year consideration.
 

bemidjigopher

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8 or 9 teams will make the tourney IMO out of this conference so 7th would be very good
 

builtbadgers

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Thanks for always adding the insult. Very useful thoughts for discussion. What is acceptable in the 4th year on the job ? If the team does get 7th is that the best in 4 years ? Settling for those mediocre results is why having a mediocre program seems to be ok in this community. For the vast sums of money i have contributed , to the coaches i have represented that succeeded elsewhere . the top revenue sports have hired poor coaches here for a very long time. Even Kill is thought of as someone who turned it around here . He was the lovable uncle but what exactly got accomplished ?
 
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Other than Murphy and Mason everyone else is in the " wait and see " category.I see 4-6 B1G wins. Hope I'm wrong.
 

GophersInIowa

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Thanks for always adding the insult. Very useful thoughts for discussion. What is acceptable in the 4th year on the job ? If the team does get 7th is that the best in 4 years ? Settling for those mediocre results is why having a mediocre program seems to be ok in this community. For the vast sums of money i have contributed , to the coaches i have represented that succeeded elsewhere . the top revenue sports have hired poor coaches here for a very long time. Even Kill is thought of as someone who turned it around here . He was the lovable uncle but what exactly got accomplished ?
Don't worry, at the end of last season I broke my remote after a loss so I'm doing my part to no longer accept mediocrity. This season I plan on tweeting nasty messages to Pitino when we're not playing well. I expect us to be a top 25 program by the end of the season because of my actions. I'm doing everything I can to help!!!

Seriously, nothing I do will affect the results in anyway. The "accept mediocrity" argument is so ridiculous in my opinion. "We need to be more mad! That'll make us better!"

I do get some of the points you are making but I don't get why you're so fixated on the 4 year mark. Every situation is different. I'm sure there are examples of coaches who took 5 or 6 years to get things turned around. I'm not saying Pitino will ever get it turned around or that we shouldn't expect more than what we've seen so far. We need to so a lot of improvement this season or he should probably be gone.
 

bemidjigopher

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Thanks for always adding the insult. Very useful thoughts for discussion. What is acceptable in the 4th year on the job ? If the team does get 7th is that the best in 4 years ? Settling for those mediocre results is why having a mediocre program seems to be ok in this community. For the vast sums of money i have contributed , to the coaches i have represented that succeeded elsewhere . the top revenue sports have hired poor coaches here for a very long time. Even Kill is thought of as someone who turned it around here . He was the lovable uncle but what exactly got accomplished ?
You do know everyone here thinks you're an idiot right? But hey you consult and with and represent "people"
I must confess the irony of me typing this while watching a safe sport video on bullying lol
 

builtbadgers

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So more insults but no suggestions on how to help the athletic program. Just blindly cheering no matter what. Good luck with your teams and with finding out what it is about you that wants to insult other people. By what measure do you think your superior. Family ? Education ? Income? Philanthropy? Meet me face to face and see and find out how loyal i have been and you can have my courtside seats. Reveal who you are and what you have accomplished instead of hiding behind the internet.
 

GophersInIowa

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So more insults but no suggestions on how to help the athletic program. Just blindly cheering no matter what. Good luck with your teams and with finding out what it is about you that wants to insult other people. By what measure do you think your superior. Family ? Education ? Income? Philanthropy? Meet me face to face and see and find out how loyal i have been and you can have my courtside seats. Reveal who you are and what you have accomplished instead of hiding behind the internet.
You've made no suggestions either. If you have all the answers, then give them to us. I don't make decisions as to who the coach is, what offense they run, what players they recruit, etc. So what should I do to help the athletic program? Are you saying I shouldn't cheer for them anymore and that will solve the problem?
 

Gold Vision

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So more insults but no suggestions on how to help the athletic program. Just blindly cheering no matter what. Good luck with your teams and with finding out what it is about you that wants to insult other people. By what measure do you think your superior. Family ? Education ? Income? Philanthropy? Meet me face to face and see and find out how loyal i have been and you can have my courtside seats. Reveal who you are and what you have accomplished instead of hiding behind the internet.
Lol, you are so missing the point and are completely out of touch with reality. If you're half as important as you would like to think you are, you are barking up the wrong tree on the gopherhole.

This is a place for fans to discuss the upcoming season. I personally know that I have zero influence on the outcome of the season. Anonymous goals for the team on a message board mean absolutely nothing. Of course people would love a top B10 finish, but goals, expectations and reality don't always align.

Go ahead though, keep being a condescending sconnie prick and tell us how mad we should be as fans. That seems to be working well.
 
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Just for some perspective: Last year, in 9 of our losses we lost by 5.66 points on average. If our team is 3 points better offensively and defensively (or luckier), we get around 6 or 7 wins last year. Obviously this is very shallow analysis but I think it is important to think about. We were awful but I think we have the ability to improve our record significantly.

I look at this team and expect around 7 or 8 wins. With anything less, I won't be surprised but I'll be disappointed. If we get above .500 in conference with our schedule, I'm happy with the season.
 

60's Guy

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Thanks for always adding the insult. Very useful thoughts for discussion. What is acceptable in the 4th year on the job ? If the team does get 7th is that the best in 4 years ? Settling for those mediocre results is why having a mediocre program seems to be ok in this community. For the vast sums of money i have contributed , to the coaches i have represented that succeeded elsewhere . the top revenue sports have hired poor coaches here for a very long time. Even Kill is thought of as someone who turned it around here . He was the lovable uncle but what exactly got accomplished ?
You are only choosing one of the many possible benchmarks to rate Richard Pitino when you harp on year four. If you look at the talent we have put on the floor and the competitiveness that talent has achieved under Pitino's coaching maybe you'd see a different Pitino? Maybe not, many are unable to. Why has the talent been poor? There are many many reasons but the one everyone ignores is the starting point. Tubby had a nice season the previous year and with the departure of Tubby also went the core of the team... Mbakwe, Williams, Coleman, Welch, Ingram and Halvorsen all gone. That left two players, Andre and Austin Hollins. It also left six bodies who contributed little for Tubby or had any optimism that they might. Wally, Oto, Mav, Mo at twice his size, Buggs and EE. Incoming recruiting class? There was none...zip nada. In April...APRIL...Pitino added McNeil, Mathieu, Malik and Joey...four guys who contributed a lot to an NIT Championship. That's an incredible accomplishment with two returning players. He was left with 5 holes to fill in April or if you want to be be competing for championships...there were absolutely 11 holes to fill.

That's the starting point. This thing was at the bottom...two players...no recruits. Have some things gone wrong? Yes! Did Pitino make some roster decisions he'd like to change? Probably or maybe not given the alternative choices. This was not the simple resurrection you seem to see sitting courtside and wondering why he can't coach. Coach Pitino has competed with less talented players than the other guy to this point. This year if no more circumstances happen we'll only be down two roster spots to begin the season. You can say he recruited people of poor character and should have known they'd do dumb things to sabotage the progress but I don't think it's that obvious to anyone you could predict the occurences or departures. Would I be more optimistic if we had some shooters or a scorer or somebody on the first three all Big Ten preseason team picks? Yes, but we don't. But we do have our largest roster of available talent and I'm confident if we are healthy and stay eligible you'll see a better team. A team that competes on the scoreboard with more talented teams. We have two nice recruits this year and two on paper for next year. If we compete and win 5 or 6 or more Big Ten games...that will not be the time to pull the plug.

Historical perspective: Coach K at Duke went 17-13, 10-17 and 11-17 his first three years. Maybe it takes Pitino an extra year or maybe we at least get it to a winning season this year? And year 5 shows the progress?

And I'll leave you with this: You are not a victim. If you don't enjoy going to the games, don't go.
 

macgopher

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?.... Mbakwe, Williams, Coleman, Welch, Ingram and Halvorsen all gone. That left two players, Andre and Austin Hollins. It also left six bodies who contributed little for Tubby or had any optimism that they might. Wally, Oto, Mav, Mo at twice his size, Buggs and EE. Incoming recruiting class? There was none...zip nada. In April...APRIL...Pitino added McNeil, Mathieu, Malik and Joey...four guys who contributed a lot to an NIT Championship. That's an incredible accomplishment with two returning players. He was left with 5 holes to fill in April or .......And I'll leave you with this: You are not a victim. If you don't enjoy going to the games, don't go.
Wow. I had forgotten Joey wasn't here four years but was a Drake freshman . So Pitino got him? That I didn't realize. It was easy to forget he was at Drake the way he played especially last year, wearing his heart and soul out on the court. He seemed a four year Minnesota BB fixture to me. I will not soon forget that end of last game speech. You comment "don't enjoy going to the game, don't go." But for the complexities of man. I am a diehard Gopher, Twin, Viking fan. But I don't enjoy watching them lose. With the Twins this year it was the worst since the Twins funk seems to go on and on. But I am still drawn to the sport in season, even watching a loss or losses. A well turned double play, an IT returned for a TD, or a last second impossible shot to win a BB game. And I am an optimistic for the Gophers this year. I think Pitino and the Gopher funk is going away.
 

bizzle22

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You are only choosing one of the many possible benchmarks to rate Richard Pitino when you harp on year four. If you look at the talent we have put on the floor and the competitiveness that talent has achieved under Pitino's coaching maybe you'd see a different Pitino? Maybe not, many are unable to. Why has the talent been poor? There are many many reasons but the one everyone ignores is the starting point. Tubby had a nice season the previous year and with the departure of Tubby also went the core of the team... Mbakwe, Williams, Coleman, Welch, Ingram and Halvorsen all gone. That left two players, Andre and Austin Hollins. It also left six bodies who contributed little for Tubby or had any optimism that they might. Wally, Oto, Mav, Mo at twice his size, Buggs and EE. Incoming recruiting class? There was none...zip nada. In April...APRIL...Pitino added McNeil, Mathieu, Malik and Joey...four guys who contributed a lot to an NIT Championship. That's an incredible accomplishment with two returning players. He was left with 5 holes to fill in April or if you want to be be competing for championships...there were absolutely 11 holes to fill.

That's the starting point. This thing was at the bottom...two players...no recruits. Have some things gone wrong? Yes! Did Pitino make some roster decisions he'd like to change? Probably or maybe not given the alternative choices. This was not the simple resurrection you seem to see sitting courtside and wondering why he can't coach. Coach Pitino has competed with less talented players than the other guy to this point. This year if no more circumstances happen we'll only be down two roster spots to begin the season. You can say he recruited people of poor character and should have known they'd do dumb things to sabotage the progress but I don't think it's that obvious to anyone you could predict the occurences or departures. Would I be more optimistic if we had some shooters or a scorer or somebody on the first three all Big Ten preseason team picks? Yes, but we don't. But we do have our largest roster of available talent and I'm confident if we are healthy and stay eligible you'll see a better team. A team that competes on the scoreboard with more talented teams. We have two nice recruits this year and two on paper for next year. If we compete and win 5 or 6 or more Big Ten games...that will not be the time to pull the plug.

Historical perspective: Coach K at Duke went 17-13, 10-17 and 11-17 his first three years. Maybe it takes Pitino an extra year or maybe we at least get it to a winning season this year? And year 5 shows the progress?

And I'll leave you with this: You are not a victim. If you don't enjoy going to the games, don't go.
Some good points there. But I'd also like to point out that calling Welch, Ingram, and Halverson the "core of the team" is a stretch. (Especially Halvey.) If those guys count as core players then Mo, EE, and Mav should count too. The roster Pitino got in his first year certainly had flaws, no one can reasonably dispute that. But I was more excited about that team than others, which is probably why I'm a little more skeptical of Pitino as compared to other fans. It was nice to win the NIT, but it stung me that we didn't make the NCAAs. I thought the talent was there with Mo finally healthy and two of my favorite Gophers (both Hollins) in the fold as veteran leaders. Guess I don't view that season as much in an overachieving sense as others seem to. Not trying to argue with anyone, just a difference of opinion.

Regardless of what I think about Pitino as a coach, I believe that a coach should always get 5 years unless there are extenuating circumstances to merit pulling the plug early. If there still hasn't been a NCAA bid after year 5 I think it's perfectly fair to cut ties and look for a new coach.

And I don't really like the Coach K comparison. (I realize you aren't comparing Pitino to Coach K, but you are comparing situations.) For every coach who struggles through the first 3 years and succeeds afterwards there are 20 who struggle through the first three years and never figure it out. I would love for nothing more than Pitino to fall into the former category, but empirical evidence points to the latter. Either way, I'll be there cheering on the Gophs from my seat in the Barn.
 

60's Guy

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I agree

Some good points there. But I'd also like to point out that calling Welch, Ingram, and Halverson the "core of the team" is a stretch. (Especially Halvey.) If those guys count as core players then Mo, EE, and Mav should count too. The roster Pitino got in his first year certainly had flaws, no one can reasonably dispute that. But I was more excited about that team than others, which is probably why I'm a little more skeptical of Pitino as compared to other fans. It was nice to win the NIT, but it stung me that we didn't make the NCAAs. I thought the talent was there with Mo finally healthy and two of my favorite Gophers (both Hollins) in the fold as veteran leaders. Guess I don't view that season as much in an overachieving sense as others seem to. Not trying to argue with anyone, just a difference of opinion.

Regardless of what I think about Pitino as a coach, I believe that a coach should always get 5 years unless there are extenuating circumstances to merit pulling the plug early. If there still hasn't been a NCAA bid after year 5 I think it's perfectly fair to cut ties and look for a new coach.

And I don't really like the Coach K comparison. (I realize you aren't comparing Pitino to Coach K, but you are comparing situations.) For every coach who struggles through the first 3 years and succeeds afterwards there are 20 who struggle through the first three years and never figure it out. I would love for nothing more than Pitino to fall into the former category, but empirical evidence points to the latter. Either way, I'll be there cheering on the Gophs from my seat in the Barn.
I agree with you. All I was trying to say is the rant on success by year four is not the only criteria to judge a coach on.
 
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