***OFFICIAL #17 MICHIGAN STATE AT #21 MINNESOTA IN-GAME THREAD***

builtbadgers

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I thought Iowa win was sweeter

but the MSU win gives me more confidence. We're not going to win many games being killed on boards like we did vs IA, but if we play like we did last night, we can be dangerous team
Exactly. As someone one here so accurately pointed out, rebounding is the completion of a defensive possession and in the Iowa game we were a low C on defense and in the MSU game we were a A.
 

builtbadgers

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Pitino has brought in a group of talented transfers that can serve as role models on what it takes to win. They are an instant boost to the team culture of tough defense and hard work. You can see it in the younger players. You can preach it all you want, but it only becomes the culture if the players actually do it. It then gets passed down from class to class.

Pitino has not been the most successful in trying to do this in the past for a variety of reasons. It is still early, but hopefully this is the right mix to launch the standard for decades to come.
Ideally you do it with high character guys day one win or lose. You do it to build a culture so you can be sustainable. It becomes a way of living not just playing. The winning follows. Best coaches are not preaching , it is teaching and it is how they teach. There is a real magic to it. Some have it in spades, some not so much. You see it in practices, especially in clinics where you are captured as a crowd in a collective energy that all talk about. Players and alumni talk about it. Coaches convention every year, except this past year all assistant coaches ans scouts are raving about so and so. Pitino deserves a great deal of credit for always trying hard to get better.
 

restovich

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Just an observation, bulit, based on watching Richard since he arrived here. He strikes me as quite a bit more humble now than he was when he arrived. Just remembering his statements about pressing and how they would play in the Big 10. He seems more open and more flexible now. I guess I would attribute it to time, and associated experience.
 
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Livingat45north

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I'm a bit of a broken record repeating the same view, here it is again...

... For the season, Robbins is the most improved player. Every game he brings something new, and corrects mistakes done in the previous games. New this game was a lot of left-hand shots going in. That left-hand shot hardly existed in the first few games. Mistakes being corrected include getting inside positioning on rebounding. His footwork on getting rebound position is far improved from those first games.
 

builtbadgers

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Just an observation, bulit, based on watching Richard since he arrived here. He strikes me as quite abit more humble now than he was when he arrived. Just remmebering his statements about pressing and how they woudl play in the Big 10. He seems more opena ndmore flexible now. I guess I would attribute it to time , experience.
I think he is more humble because he has been humbled. He found out if you cut corners on character it will crush you. It rips apart the fabric you stand on. Building a foundation of a program is by far the most important thing. Sure experience helps but the best ones do it right away, go through history and all the greats follow a distinct pattern.
 

Go Gophs

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The last time I saw the Gophers beat up on MSU like this was 1997 at the Breslin Center, in Izzo's second year, when he and his team were still trying to find themselves. (They were better by later in the season, when they kept it close at Williams Arena.)

I don't doubt that Michigan State will be much better, if not a force to be reckoned with, before it's all over this season. Now was definitely the time to play them. But I have to say, this is one of the less physically imposing Spartan teams I can remember watching.
I'm not sure. That Mich State team last night lacked athleticism, size, shooters, creators.

I am going to be honest here, I think that MSU team misses the tourney this year. There didn't look to have much to work with there.

GREAT win and maybe we just made them look bad, I will admit I haven't watched more than a few minutes of their play before this. But they look BAD as in bottom third of the Big Ten this year bad.
 

Chico Gopher

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The cool thing is Pitino can watch him play defense every day against really really good players. I have a feeling in practice sometimes they have him guard other people, not just stand in the corner. I also feel like Pitino wants to win games and will play who he thinks gives him the best chance to do that. If Mutaf deserved a bunch of time I think he'd be getting it. Just my opinion.
Yep. Most coaches I know go with the idea that I find out what you can do by letting you show me every day in practice. If you can/will do what I need consistently in practice daily, then I can be pretty sure of what I'm going to get from you in a game situation. One of the concerns you hear from most coaches about a particular player and whether they should get game time is, " I never really know what I'm gonna get from him when I put him in". That's a big deal for a lot of coaches.
 

Go Gophs

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Ideally you do it with high character guys day one win or lose. You do it to build a culture so you can be sustainable. It becomes a way of living not just playing. The winning follows. Best coaches are not preaching , it is teaching and it is how they teach. There is a real magic to it. Some have it in spades, some not so much. You see it in practices, especially in clinics where you are captured as a crowd in a collective energy that all talk about. Players and alumni talk about it. Coaches convention every year, except this past year all assistant coaches ans scouts are raving about so and so. Pitino deserves a great deal of credit for always trying hard to get better.
This is what I have been saying for years too.

I am not saying Pitino has magically figured this out, but having a team that plays defense is starting to improve on the boards, and moves the ball the way they have lately has me thinking something may have clicked.

Let's hope so, this team is playing some of the better ball Richard has had a chance to coach.
 

cjbfbp

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The thing i feel most shocked about is that I don't feel like anyone (i suppose Robbins) really played amazingly. Robbins good, Carr good etc but wasn't like a WHOA CARR HAD 40 or Johnson is 8/9 from 3 game. Gabe continues to be terrible on offense, Gach looks lost on that end, Mash struggled and we still pounded Michigan state!

I know its not a need at this point but I want a little more Mutaf, dude looks smooth on offense! Maybe its blowout related but I have to think he could be a nice guy to get hot in any given 4 min stretch
This was a defensive effort all the way; the last two defensive performances have been really impressive. Hard to believe, but last night's game actually was the team's best overall percentage of the season (.476) for shooting from the field. It may not have seemed that way because the team shot pretty badly on 3s (24%) but they had a high percentage on 2s (63%). This was also the 3rd consecutive game where the team shot over 80% on free throws. The rebounding also was terrific last night after really struggling with that against Iowa. There was offense last night; it just didn't look pretty.

Obviously Mutaf isn't bashful offensively. I do wonder if his physical shape might be holding him back from playing a little more. He looks a bit thick to me. All of the new faces and the shortened non-conference likely are other limiting factors. New players ahead of him had a higher priority of needing team integration.
 

Gopher_In_NYC

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even though at times we were rec ballin' it and looked sloppy, we still shot 47% from the field. We do that, we win most games. I think it was expected to not be as crisp as we were against Iowa as we played a very good game overall (especially if you overlook the Offensive rebounding issues we had in not boxing out properly). Love this quote from BJ in Marcus' article -

No. 21 Gophers blow out No. 17 Michigan State for second consecutive Big Ten victory - StarTribune.com

"We really took an emphasis on the rebounding side of things," senior Brandon Johnson said. "Last game we gave up [23 offensive rebounds to Iowa]. There was a major emphasis on boxing out and making sure we don't get beat that way, because Michigan State, that was their motto."
 
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Holy Man

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I'm a bit of a broken record repeating the same view, here it is again...

... For the season, Robbins is the most improved player. Every game he brings something new, and corrects mistakes done in the previous games. New this game was a lot of left-hand shots going in. That left-hand shot hardly existed in the first few games. Mistakes being corrected include getting inside positioning on rebounding. His footwork on getting rebound position is far improved from those first games.
The guy can play. He's slender and isn't as quick as some other big guys, but he has excellent skills. The burying of him after a couple of games on this board might prove to be the biggest jumping to conclusions ever on this board. And that is saying a lot.
 

Go Gophs

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"We really took an emphasis on the rebounding side of things," senior Brandon Johnson said. "Last game we gave up [23 offensive rebounds to Iowa]. There was a major emphasis on boxing out and making sure we don't get beat that way, because Michigan State, that was their motto."
Boom. Take pride in it Brandon. I saw him be extremely aggressive last night on the boards a few times. This IMO, is the most important part of the game mixed with defensive efficiency.

If you win the rebound battle, limit offensive chances and take care of the ball, you will have a chance every game.
 

Gopher_In_NYC

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The guy can play. He's slender and isn't as quick as some other big guys, but he has excellent skills. The burying of him after a couple of games on this board might prove to be the biggest jumping to conclusions ever on this board. And that is saying a lot.
You have to be a good athlete to be able to shoot non layups with your off hand.

I wonder if he played tennis or soccer as a kid; he's got great footwork and it's so much easier to be a bumbler when you're that tall.
 

Holy Man

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The last time I saw the Gophers beat up on MSU like this was 1997 at the Breslin Center, in Izzo's second year, when he and his team were still trying to find themselves. (They were better by later in the season, when they kept it close at Williams Arena.)

I don't doubt that Michigan State will be much better, if not a force to be reckoned with, before it's all over this season. Now was definitely the time to play them. But I have to say, this is one of the less physically imposing Spartan teams I can remember watching.
I think they have some bench guys who aren't ready to play and, like most years, will be hitting their stride by mid-season. We definitely got them at the right time. I've always subscribed to the philosophy of games played over the holidays, pandemic or no, give the "lesser" teams a much better shot than later on for a lot of reasons.

No apologies for the victory. We've had more than our share of teams we should have beaten over the years end up having career nights against us. I'll take a good team, looking disorganized and shooting poorly, and beating them any time. Not giving it back. I've never seen Izzo with his hands in his face like that before. Pretty picture.

The Sparty point guard situation could haunt them the whole season, though.
 

Cayman

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I'm not sure. That Mich State team last night lacked athleticism, size, shooters, creators.

I am going to be honest here, I think that MSU team misses the tourney this year. There didn't look to have much to work with there.

GREAT win and maybe we just made them look bad, I will admit I haven't watched more than a few minutes of their play before this. But they look BAD as in bottom third of the Big Ten this year bad.
I got the same impression of Michigan State last night, that they just looked kind of bad, particularly in the first half. It seemed like they either settled for jump shots or had smaller players try to go at Robbins and score over him, and it just wasn’t working. They also looked a little slow and lackadaisical, not playing with much energy.

I really don’t mean to take too much credit from our team or act like anyone who loses to us must suck, but beating Iowa and even St. Louis, it felt like the opponent at least fought back and made us work for it, and we made clutch plays to pull out a win. Michigan State felt like they more just kinda rolled over and died for us and just couldn’t hit a shot, so we played a decent game and crushed them because Sparty didn’t look like they showed up to play.
 

builtbadgers

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I think they have some bench guys who aren't ready to play and, like most years, will be hitting their stride by mid-season. We definitely got them at the right time. I've always subscribed to the philosophy of games played over the holidays, pandemic or no, give the "lesser" teams a much better shot than later on for a lot of reasons.

No apologies for the victory. We've had more than our share of teams we should have beaten over the years end up having career nights against us. I'll take a good team, looking disorganized and shooting poorly, and beating them any time. Not giving it back. I've never seen Izzo with his hands in his face like that before. Pretty picture.

The Sparty point guard situation could haunt them the whole season, though.
They are not very good but we made them play poorly.
 

UpAndUnder43

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You have to be a good athlete to be able to shoot non layups with your off hand.

I wonder if he played tennis or soccer as a kid; he's got great footwork and it's so much easier to be a bumbler when you're that tall.
This. He moves fluidly, has good coordination and uses both hands. He isn’t a freak athlete but not many 7ft centers are. He is really a nice player
 

UpAndUnder43

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Remember, i do not look through a biased lens for that optimism . It is from 70 plus years of being taught what to look for. This team showed me the roster versatility right away and then Illinois showed me the closeness they had developed and since then they have become more connected, they play continual, they trust each other. Lower and wider on defense, great energy go a long way. The best teams coaches have are player lead teams and this team is becoming that way.If the stay to that they can withstand rough patches, stay in games, win close games.
It isn’t hard to know if a team is playing well. I’m pretty confident in this squad right now because they’ve bought in and play for each other. I still think Pitino lacks some stuff but this is a good tower. Up to him to keep it together and playing well.
 

bga1

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I think he is more humble because he has been humbled. He found out if you cut corners on character it will crush you. It rips apart the fabric you stand on. Building a foundation of a program is by far the most important thing. Sure experience helps but the best ones do it right away, go through history and all the greats follow a distinct pattern.
He was one of the youngest, least experienced coaches ever hired at this level. That was certainly a problem. Bennett was what 38, when he got the WSU job? 41 or so by the time he got Virginia. Coach K was 33 starting at Duke and 37 before he got his first NCAA bid. Pitino now at 38 years old is starting to show some good signs and perhaps has finally built a deep roster to work with. I'm not saying he has arrived - I was ready to move on from him after the Illinois game- but he still has potential and has learned at our expense. But hey when you hire a 30 year old coach in the Big Ten to go against Bo Ryan, Tom Izzo and Beilien, and do it with less talent, it ain't going to be easy.
 

golf

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I think they have some bench guys who aren't ready to play and, like most years, will be hitting their stride by mid-season. We definitely got them at the right time. I've always subscribed to the philosophy of games played over the holidays, pandemic or no, give the "lesser" teams a much better shot than later on for a lot of reasons.

No apologies for the victory. We've had more than our share of teams we should have beaten over the years end up having career nights against us. I'll take a good team, looking disorganized and shooting poorly, and beating them any time. Not giving it back. I've never seen Izzo with his hands in his face like that before. Pretty picture.

The Sparty point guard situation could haunt them the whole season, though.

A pretty picture indeed.
 

Gopher_In_NYC

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He was one of the youngest, least experienced coaches ever hired at this level. That was certainly a problem. Bennett was what 38, when he got the WSU job? 41 or so by the time he got Virginia. Coach K was 33 starting at Duke and 37 before he got his first NCAA bid. Pitino now at 38 years old is starting to show some good signs and perhaps has finally built a deep roster to work with. I'm not saying he has arrived - I was ready to move on from him after the Illinois game- but he still has potential and has learned at our expense. But hey when you hire a 30 year old coach in the Big Ten to go against Bo Ryan, Tom Izzo and Beilien, and do it with less talent, it ain't going to be easy.
Good post.

It's not like his first P5 job was in the SEC.
 

Gopher Teeth

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Remember, i do not look through a biased lens for that optimism . It is from 70 plus years of being taught what to look for. This team showed me the roster versatility right away and then Illinois showed me the closeness they had developed and since then they have become more connected, they play continual, they trust each other. Lower and wider on defense, great energy go a long way. The best teams coaches have are player lead teams and this team is becoming that way.If the stay to that they can withstand rough patches, stay in games, win close games.
Agreed, and that connection is getting stronger with each game, you can see it. We are seeing players taking shots, and then if they are off are not then forcing the issue, but not in a way where they won't take open shots that you have to take if left wide open. We are also starting to see players knowing where there teammates like the ball and where they are comfortable to score. This is the biggest factor for good offense, giving guys scoring opportunities where their strength is, this really boosts efficiency.

This team still has not reached their ceiling by a long shot. If they keep progressing you are going to see the shooting percentages climb, which will be key for playing top tier teams. I still have some concerns about physicality. At this point I think the teams they will struggle with are teams that are very physical (Rutgers and Illinois really worries me in this regard), but all others I have seen don't worry me in this regard.
 

Gopher Teeth

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I'm a bit of a broken record repeating the same view, here it is again...

... For the season, Robbins is the most improved player. Every game he brings something new, and corrects mistakes done in the previous games. New this game was a lot of left-hand shots going in. That left-hand shot hardly existed in the first few games. Mistakes being corrected include getting inside positioning on rebounding. His footwork on getting rebound position is far improved from those first games.
Agreed, the growth Robbins shows from game to game (excluding the first 3 NC games) is impressive. Major reason why when everyone was projecting out the future based on the Illinois game, I wasn't worried because I know this team is a better team from game to game because of progress being shown by players like Robbins, or even especially Robbins.
 

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Lot of interesting stuff on first half of pitino's coach's show today.
Kinda funny was asked about the team's deadeye free throw shooting this season. Pitino responded he attended a free throw shooting seminar this summer and totally revamped how he taught free throws - funny. Also interesting he said he always tells team that most important shot in bb is layup/dunk and 2nd most important shot in bb is free throw.
Well, now the coach's show is back to pandemic talk and talking about richard and justin's kids. Great. Was really wondering how Ava was doing.
 

short ornery norwegian

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It will be very interesting to see how the Wisconsin game goes. In the past, Wisc has given the Gophers a lot of problems with their style of play.

If the Gophers are becoming a more mature team, they should hopefully be able to deal with Wisconsin more effectively.

and, let's face it - it's Bucky.

In the past, this is the kind of game where the Gophers would often lay an egg - on the road against a rival.

This is another opportunity for the Gophers to make a statement.
 

Go Gophs

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It will be very interesting to see how the Wisconsin game goes. In the past, Wisc has given the Gophers a lot of problems with their style of play.

If the Gophers are becoming a more mature team, they should hopefully be able to deal with Wisconsin more effectively.

and, let's face it - it's Bucky.

In the past, this is the kind of game where the Gophers would often lay an egg - on the road against a rival.

This is another opportunity for the Gophers to make a statement.
If we beat Wisconsin on the road. Then we can start talking about challenging for a BT title. Seriously.
 

builtbadgers

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He was one of the youngest, least experienced coaches ever hired at this level. That was certainly a problem. Bennett was what 38, when he got the WSU job? 41 or so by the time he got Virginia. Coach K was 33 starting at Duke and 37 before he got his first NCAA bid. Pitino now at 38 years old is starting to show some good signs and perhaps has finally built a deep roster to work with. I'm not saying he has arrived - I was ready to move on from him after the Illinois game- but he still has potential and has learned at our expense. But hey when you hire a 30 year old coach in the Big Ten to go against Bo Ryan, Tom Izzo and Beilien, and do it with less talent, it ain't going to be easy.
Could care less about calender years. Knight hired at 30 won a conference title in year two a national title year 3 or 4. Fred Taylor told everyone he knew Knight would win national titles whenever he got hired. He was a brilliant teacher. Brad Stevens won right away. Bennett came to coaching late because he had a playing career and a mission to attend to. As soon as Bo Ryan got to know him he said Bennett would win right away. He did that at WSU of all places, no one wins there. He did not win because he was 37, he would have won at 27 but really did not think he wanted to coach. Everyone that met him knew he would win, he was bright but he was raised on humility. Plenty of guys hired at 32 won big by 37. The best data we have is the truly gifted win something truly meaningful by year 6 regardless of age. All of them built a solid foundation right away. Some are more gifted than others. Agree that i see signs now, said it before the last 3 games but it is real when it is sustainable success. Winning titles, getting to the final 4 and stringing together 7,8,9 years of being above .500 in conference. I have seen plenty of guys put up one or two and just stay that way. Lets go and win the conference, build a top 2-3 team in the conference year after year and then we can say he was special. I am all in. You did not need to be older to know you recruit character, never skimp on doing things the right way. Growing up around a program with poor ethics did not help. I am all for living and learning, hell that is how i live everyday. Let's go.
 

bga1

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Could care less about calender years. Knight hired at 30 won a conference title in year two a national title year 3 or 4. Fred Taylor told everyone he knew Knight would win national titles whenever he got hired. He was a brilliant teacher. Brad Stevens won right away. Bennett came to coaching late because he had a playing career and a mission to attend to. As soon as Bo Ryan got to know him he said Bennett would win right away. He did that at WSU of all places, no one wins there. He did not win because he was 37, he would have won at 27 but really did not think he wanted to coach. Everyone that met him knew he would win, he was bright but he was raised on humility. Plenty of guys hired at 32 won big by 37. The best data we have is the truly gifted win something truly meaningful by year 6 regardless of age. All of them built a solid foundation right away. Some are more gifted than others. Agree that i see signs now, said it before the last 3 games but it is real when it is sustainable success. Winning titles, getting to the final 4 and stringing together 7,8,9 years of being above .500 in conference. I have seen plenty of guys put up one or two and just stay that way. Lets go and win the conference, build a top 2-3 team in the conference year after year and then we can say he was special. I am all in. You did not need to be older to know you recruit character, never skimp on doing things the right way. Growing up around a program with poor ethics did not help. I am all for living and learning, hell that is how i live everyday. Let's go.
You of all people of course, know that Tony's year 1 was really the 4th year of Dick Bennett's regime at WSU. Dick had not done well there but had the table set for a decent start for Tony otherwise Tony would not have done it. Minnesota has been historically one of the toughest programs to get the job done at. Huge potential here as the long D1 club but always the negative stigma of being a place you can't do it at without cheating. One non cheating Big Ten title in 48 years kind of tells the story.
 
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