Tag Archives: Golden Gophers

Tweetbag – Gophers v. Gators Recap (Let the Fire Tubby Chants Begin…)

Welcome to a special Sunday edition of the Tweetbag!! Everyone wants to know if the Madness will continue for your Minnesota Golden Gophers.

As always, we are using your tweets, as they happen, to tell the game recap. Y’all are far more interesting.

Giddyup…

Even this Florida hoops squad --- the first --- might have outwitted Tubby's overmatched Gophers' squad.

Even this Florida hoops squad — the first — might have outwitted Tubby’s overmatched Gophers’ squad.

15:34 – Gophers 7 Gators 10

@AmeliaRayno – “Interesting lineup here as the #Gophers go zone on Florida.”

Interesting is one word Amelia?! Why does Tubby think he can play zone defense against a team that loves, and I mean LUUUUUUUUUVS to rip it from outside. Very questionable coaching decision. Roasio immediately punishes the Gophers with 2 3PTs to extend the lead to 16 to 10.

13:02 – Gophers 12 Gators 19

@daddycoolguy – “3 straight 3 point possessions = no good, you guys. #Gophers #Gators.”

First off, love the handle. Second, could not agree more. No good indeed. The Gophers offense looks like the offense from their 5-15 stretch to end the season, not the 15-1 stretch that they had to start the season and flashed on Friday evening against the Bruins.

Gophers started the game by isolating the Gator guards on the low block and taking advantage of their size and strength. Worked great. Hollinsanity both got open looks. However, they missed a couple of those looks and completely abandoned that plan. Need to get back to it.

Ben Wallace's jumper was so bad, teams would encourage the Pistons to pass him the ball 10+ feet from the hoop - Oto is entering the Wallace Zone. Ick.

Ben Wallace’s jumper was so bad, teams would hope the Pistons would pass him the ball. Oto is entering the Wallace Zone. Ick.

10:15 – Gophers 14 Gators 24

@Gopherapolis – “Why are we going so deep to our bench so early?! This is what infuriates me the most about Tubby. Oto should never leave the bench. #Gophers.”

Trust me, @Gopherapolis, it is not just you that is infuriated. Oto’s mom is angry at the amount of minutes he is getting for this team. He has never developed into the solid SG that he was represented to be when Tubby recruited him. The main reason for that is because he cannot shoot. He should get single digit minutes if that, only enough to spell either of the Hollins cousins.

What is worse, opposing teams know that and basically leave Oto alone like he is the second coming of Ben Wallace. Just no respect for his jump shot. And remember, he is supposed to a shooting guard.

7:54 – Gophers 15 Gators 30

@dip4516 – Lady who screams right before every #Gophers free throw: shut the hell up.”

I am not sure when this started, but it seems like this year’s tournament is the year of the “screaming like a maniac during the opposing team’s free throw.” Frankly, this has got to stop. I am not pushing a golf-like restriction on crowd noise, but we, as fans, need to use the gray matter between their ears. Call it a a common sense test. If everyone WATCHING ON THEIR TV is annoyed with the screaming, that is probably too much.

Oh, and Oto just air-balled a 15 footer. Again, this guy is  a shooting guard?!

4:24 – Gophers 18 Gators 37

@DustyTrunks – “You laugh at Oto now, but next year when he is starting, you will laugh even harder. #Gophers”

Okay, last one. I just could not resist.

3:42 – Gophers 21 Gators 39

@kskrigbaum – “At the moment Billy Donovan looks bored. #gophers”

Never good when the opposing coach is checking out and we are not even through the 1st half. Serious problems. Evidently he was only playing though, he just drew up a defense to thwart the Gophers side-inbounds play. No joke, Gophers could not execute a side-inbounds play.

More than anything this season, the Gophers inability to inbound the basketball is direct reflection of Tubby. I know the players need to make plays, but seriously?! An inbounds play?! You run these when you first decide to pick up a basketball. It is embarrassing that the Gophers struggle with this as much as they do.

Not sure if the Gophers are so frustrated with Tubby that they miss Clem, but we are getting close.

Not sure if the Gophers are so frustrated with Tubby that they miss Clem, but we are getting close.

3:12 – Gophers 25 Gators 39

@krewmom – “I hope they can pass the “wake up juice” to the #Gophers!”

Whoa, whoa, whoa @krewmom. We already are celebrating a Final Four that did not happen, thanks Clem, not sure we want to have to take down our “Round of 32” banner from this year because of PEDs.

All kidding aside, a little energy from someone not named Hollins would be nice. Though, at this point, even Tubby looks to have checked out of this game. Body language on the Gophers’ sideline looks like someone died. What was that, this team murdered its fan base’s hope and expectations for this year and potentially years to come…aaaahhhh…that explains it.

Half – Gophers 27 Gators 48

@GophersSports – “Back to Back National Champs! RT to congratulate @MNWomensHockey on winning the NCAA title! #Gophers”

And that is where we are ending the Tweetbag. That is right, the Gophers women’s hockey team clutched up and ran its winning streak to 49 games. Won its second national championship. Evidently the sports gods could only allow the U to succeed in one sport on this particular Sunday in March.

Sure, Dre Hollins made a run in the 2nd half. He quite literally made a game of it all by his onesy. However, aside from him, the rest of the team was lethargic. And when Dre was not on the floor — he got a 4th foul and Tubby obviously took him out — the lead quickly ballooned to 15+. This move is a perfect example of Tubby not knowing what to do. This was a not a regular season Big 10 game. It is survive and advance. Dre was the ONLY Gopher putting points in the basket. Trust the kid to play with 4 fouls.

Instead, it is another lackadaisical performance from the Gophers. As a result, Tubby will yet again come under fire. There is a decent chance that he gets his walking papers. A lot of Gophers fans would not complain if that happened. The good news is that Shaka’s VCU Rams lost too, so maybe his buddy Norwood will convince Shaka to jump ship. Or perhaps Andy Enfield, coach of the darling of this year’s tourney – Florida Gulf Coast University – is interested in graduating to the Big 10.

Worst case scenario, if Tubby does stick around, next year’s squad (and perhaps the year after) is not going to be good. Sure, Hollinsanity is going to be around, but our inside presence will be nonexistent. And, Tubby has not locked up either of the stud Minnesota recruits — Tyus Jones or Rashad Vaughn.

I was one of the fans who initially loved the Tubby signing, but the romance is over. There have been to many coaching deficiencies. The U needs a change of leadership. Hopefully, this drubbing at the hands of the Gators is enough to convince the U’s brain trust to move forward with that change.

 

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Tweetbag: Gophers v. UCLA Recap

Here we go!! The Madness is about to begin for your Minnesota Golden Gophers.

As always, we are using your tweets, as they happen, to tell the game recap. Y’all are more interesting than the standard recap anywhoo.

Giddyup…

16:27: Gophers 2 UCLA 0

@Christopher_Stewart – “#gophers will beat #ucla 79-68.” 
We got a ways to go to hit that number. Yikes. Gophers 2-run HR (i.e. Hollins’s FTs) the difference in this one early. No flow for either team. UCLA’s Drew travels a sloppy foul from super-senior Trevor Mbakwe. Gophers have shown that, in games where the offense clicks, Rodney and Mbakwe get going early. Both teams are a combined 0-18 to start. Not. Good. 
The zebras in tonight's game were not close to good. We probably would have done better with actual zebras refereeing the game.

The zebras in tonight’s game were not close to good. We probably would have done better with actual zebras refereeing the game.

14:20 – Gophers 4 UCLA 2

@VitrualMurph – “Ok officials in Austin, we get it. You’re on the court too. #gophers”
No joke. UCLA already in the bonus!?!? Check that, double bonus. Hold on, triple bonus. Oh man, these refs are out of control. If the refs are going to call this like a UCLA Alumni Choir pick-up game, this bruising Big 10 squad is in trouble. Plus, and maybe most importantly, Gophers cannot win a race at the charity stripe.
11:42 – Gophers 9 UCLA 9
@ammarden – “Whistle whistle whistle. Basketball or train station? #ncaa #Gophers”
Love the old school reference. Wish it was not true though. This game is so disjointed. Neither team can get into a flow with all the whistles. Both teams are already in the bonus. Again, race at the charity stripe is not a race the Gophers want to be involved in. Gophers shoot 68% from the stripe. UCLA clocks in at nearly 73%.
10:59 – Gophers 12 UCLA 9
@FromTheBarn – “MOmentum!”
Great run from the big fella, Mo Walker. His 4 points off the bench currently account for a 1/3 of the team’s total. What is so infuriating about big Mo is that, if he lost 15 to 20 lbs, he could be a dominant big. Instead, all he has are moments or flashes of good plays. It is never sustained.
8:32 – Gophers 14 UCLA 13
@vikingsrube – “Free throw shooting is going to be the factor #Gophers”
Okay, now I am worried…Mbakwe just air balled the front end of a 1 and 1. Really. Not. Good.
E Squared's relationship with Dre could prove a promising one for Gophers' fans. Particularly if E Squared improves on the defensive end.

E Squared’s relationship with Dre could prove a promising one for Gophers’ fans. Particularly if E Squared improves on the defensive end.

5:24 – Gophers 26 UCLA 19

@andrewlacy52 – “Elliott playing well so far with four point. #Gophers”
Make it six Andrew!! E Squared cans a 20 footer off an Mbakwe double team and then lays in a pretty shot off a strong cut to the rim. The guy has been instant energy all season. He does have his deficiencies on the defensive end, but on offense he is solid.
If he can continue to improve on the defensive end. He actually might be able to replace Mbakwe next year down low. He does not have Mbkawe’s grittiness in the post, but he can definitely be a contributor on that end of the floor.
4:25 – Gophers 33 UCLA 19
@AmeliaRayno – “As a #Gophers beat writer, you learn not to assume to much from a 33-19 lead.”
We have our first Amelia sighting!! Welcome back to the Tweetbag Amelia. Though, what is up with the negativity. I mean, sure, the Gophers are shooting their highest percentage of the year. But, that does not means they are going to start missi…nevermind. You are right. Preparing myself for the worst.
1:32 – Gophers 35 UCLA 22
@goldandgopher – “Here we go. Mbakwe hits a jumper. #Gophers up 35–22. Shabazz has had no impact.”
Mbakwe shows a little versatility with a 15 foot jumper. Then, in true Gophers form, he misses another front end of a 1 and 1. Normally a very solid shooter at the stripe, he has now left 4 points there in the first half. Gophers need to tighten up the way the officials are calling this game. Also, need to buck the trend and start earning their scholarship at the stripe.
Half – Gophers 35 UCLA 25
@redma032 – “Up 10 at half, how are they going to blow this one? #gophers”
Amelia?? Is that you?? Are you ghost tweeting as @redma032??
In true Gophers fan fashion, no one is comfortable. No one knows how to react. In fact, I think if the score were flipped, Gophers fans would feel far more comfortable.
It is not like you can blame us. We have watched the tale of two teams act all season. The one blessing from this game is that at least the good half came first. This means the Gophers have a better chance of hanging on down the stretch.
Gophers need to continue feeding the bigs. Mbakwe, Eliason, and Walker accounted for  19 of the Gophers 35 points. We clearly have an advantage there. Plus, considering UCLA’s foul trouble, every shot should go right at the rim.
18:13 – Gophers 39 UCLA 27
@timegan2 – “RODNEY WILLIAMS!!!”
I appreciate the EMPHASIS Tim. Rodney flexes the potential by hammering home an offensive rebound. Gophers are pounding the rim and are relentless on the glass on both ends. Need to keep that up.
For Gophers fans who wanted to see Coach Saunders leading the maroon and gold, this performance against the Bruins may have assured Tubby's continued reign.

For Gophers fans who wanted to see Coach Saunders leading the maroon and gold, this performance against the Bruins may have assured Tubby’s continued reign.

14:56 – Gophers 44 UCLA 34

@flip_saunders – “#gophers looking good. We are so much quicker and more energized. Next 5 minutes huge! Bury em. Luv changing defenses.”
Coach Saunders…errrrr…I mean, Flip!! Spot on analysis. Changing defenses are causing this young Bruins squad headaches. Though, Gophers need to be careful. UCLA still has not made a run. One is coming. Burying em would be very nice. And now is the time.
13:32 – Gophers 50 UCLA 41
@MINNESOTA_NICE – “I am extremely confused as to why Otto O. has played so many minutes. #Gophers.”
Ouch. Is that handle sarcastic? I mean, I agree with you, but ouch.
11:54 – Gophers 54 UCLA 42
@Border_Rivals – “Terrible call against Oto?!? Guy actally makes a positive play and the refs take it away from him. #ZebrasHaveToGo #LetThemPlay #Gophers
Okay, I could not resist. I feel a little bad piling on Oto, but it really was a great play. Slid in front of David Wear and took a charge. But, these tewible refs decided to call a block. I thought these refs were supposed to be elite.
7:04 – Gophers 69 UCLA 54
@GopherHole – “Wow, Andre Hollins is playing fantastic tonight!! #Gophers”
Fantastic might be an understatement. Dre just canned his 5th 3 PT of the night. He has 24 total and has abused all UCLA defenders who have tried to keep up with him.
His performance tonight is looking a little like the run he put together in the NIT last year. If he can get on that kind of run, this Gophers team can be very dangerous.
 3:28 – Gophers 79 UCLA 56
@kellerjustin – “Good show, #gophers. Equally fortuitous draw, lucky they didn’t face Florida Gulf Coast. UCLA is flat out turrrrrible.”
Love the Sir Charles reference. This one is over. Gophers are up by 20+ and continue to attack. Not even the Tubby-led Gophers could find a way to lose this one.
If Dre plays even in the ball park of how he played today, Florida is going to have its hands full on Sunday.
We will be running a Tweetbag for that game too. Enjoy the Madness.

Tweet Bag — Gophers v. Nebraska

Welch was really steady at the point for the Gophers. But, can he continue the solid play against Diet Wisconsin??

Welch was really steady at the point for the Gophers against Penn State. But, can he continue the solid play against Diet Wisconsin??

Well, the Gophers get a chance to continue their winning ways against a slow, unathletic Nebraska squad. Think of them as Diet Wisconsin. Nebraska will use 32 of the available 35 seconds on the shot clock. They will be lucky if they have one dunk all night. And yet, they still might find a way to stay in this thing. Hopefully not.

As always, these are actual tweets from during the game.

20:00: Gophers 0 Nebraska 0
@AmeliaRayno – And as expected, Ingram and Welch are both starting. I can’t really believe Andre Hollins is coming off the bench for this lineup. #Gophers

Amelia!! Good to have you back in the tweet bag.

I am not sure what I think about Tubby’s new line-up. I know they dominated Penn State. But, it was Penn State. I know they beat Michigan. Though, in all fairness, Big Blue was probably looking past the mighty Nitanny Lions to their border rival: Michigan State.

Supposedly, having Welch in the starting line-up allows Dre to play off the ball — definitely his more natural position — and supposedly feed Mbakwe in the post. We will see…

15:14 – Gophers 7 Nebraska 9

@apearson #gophers no longer dead to me. For heavens sake don’t blow it at Nebraska.

This is the sentiment of most fans. After the thrilling win against Indiana and the stomping of Penn State,

9:19 – Gophers 15 Nebraska 15

@tsquared2001 – Nebraska reminds me Englishmen playing basketball for the first time. Hack, hack and hack all the time #Gophers

I am not entirely sure what this means, but both teams look like Englishmen playing basketball. Very slow pace (even for a Big 10 game). We are on pace for just south of a 47 to 43 game. Not sure that style fits the Gophers game. They always do better when they are running and pushing the tempo.

7:52 – Gophers 17 Nebraska 17

@MarkWittig – @icedavis5 I did not know you let football players play basketball at Nebraska. #gophers

To provide a little insight to this comment, Nebraska has a…guy…Andre Almeida, who looks like he could eat Mbakwe (whole) playing center. No joke, this guy looks like he could be Honey Boo Boo’s older brother. Amazingly though, he has incredibly quick feet and soft hands. He is sort of the anti-Mo Walker. Or, because he is Brazillian — and let’s face it, Brazillians are smooth — he might just be the Brazillian Mo Walker.

3:53 – Gophers 19 Nebraska 20

@FromTheBarn – Defense by the #gophers is pretty pathetic tonight.

Why limit it to the defense Jonathan? The offense is not exactly lighting the world on fire. Currently 17 of the 19 points are from Mbakwe, Ingram, and E Squared. That does not paint a rosy picture for the second half. Also, our projected final score is decreasing by the minute.

The one bright spot (and I swear this is not a jinx): Julian Welch. He has actually looked pretty comfortable as the PG. He is making good decisions and forcing the ball down low. Literally seconds after I write this, he bricks two FTs. Never mind.

1:54: Gophers 19 Nebraska 23

@FromTheBarn – lazy basketball by the #gophers, with a side of stupid

I think you are getting warmer Jonathan. Yikes. Gophers look absolutely amateur on offense and defense. About the only thing keeping them in this game, Nebraska’s inability to hit WIDE OPEN jumpers. Cannot continue to rely on that.

0:43: Gophers 21 Nebraska 23

E Squared has been a strong presence in the post for the Gophers the last two games. Maybe losing Mbakwe next year won't cripple the squad...maybe...

E Squared has been a strong presence in the post for the Gophers the last two games. Maybe losing Mbakwe next year won’t cripple the squad…maybe…

@DailyintheBarn – Eliason, who averages 2 points per game, leads the #Gophers with 7. Minn. down 23-21 w/ 43 seconds before half.

If not for E Squared, who is playing well in his homecoming, the Gophers would be in BIG trouble. Eliason has hit open 15 footers and been a presence inside. He is on quite a run now and looks to be a promising player for next year’s squad, IF, and that was intentionally a big if, he can continue to get stronger. Perhaps next year’s team will not be a complete step backwards.
HALF: Gophers 21 Nebraska 23
The Gophers looked pretty lifeless in the first half. This was definitely not the team that beat the number one team in the country. This looks a lot more like the team that lost 8 of 10 going into that Indiana game.
If the tempo does not pick up, the energy does not get cranked to 11, then there is a good chance the Gophers squander away the capital they have added to their resume the last two games. They need to get back to what they do best: pound the ball inside, crash the offensive glass, and play solid man-to-man defense.
20:00 Gophers 21 Nebraska 26
@Border_Rivals – Most telling statistic: Gophers average 8.1 steals a game. In today’s tilt: 0. Yikes. #Gophers #ActiveHandsTimes??
Okay, I had to help out a bit. But seriously?!?! Zero steals??? Brutal. The bigs are playing well. Mbakwe, Ingram, and E Squared looking good. Need the Hollins Cousins to step up and play like they have all season. Right now, completely absent from this game.
16:30: Gophers 22 Nebraska 28
@gopherjon – Not going to win many games if you can’t make free throws…#gophers
Not that Tubby’s teams have ever been great at shooting FTs. Though, this particular Gophers squad loves to get themselves in trouble by regifting points at the charity stripe. Cannot win games like that. In tonight’s game, they are currently connecting on just under 29% of their FTs. #brutal
14:11: Gophers 24 Nebraska 33
@gopher33j – SET A SCREEN!!! #Gophers
Whoa, whoa, whoa, let’s slow down a bit Jon. Maybe we teach them what a screen is AND THEN we ask them to set one. The offense is beyond stagnant and stale, it is entering the rigomortis phase. Just not good. If it were not for the impromptu block party, the Gophers would be down 15+ right now.
11:45: Gophers 26 Nebraska 34
@Amelia Rayno – In his time of need, Tubby has gone back to his original starting five. But #Gophers playing under pressure now.
Amelia!! Don’t jinx them!?! It is bad enough the Gophers are having a hard time figure out how to go about getting the ball through the orange rim, let’s not add to the pressure.
Need to make a mini-run in the next 4 minutes. Something in the range of 8-0 or 12-2. Make it close with 6 to 8 minutes left. They should be able to escape with the win if they can do that.
11:36: Gophers 29 Nebraska 34
@goldengopher – *puts in Journey record* ‘Don’t stop…….believiiiiiiiiing’ #Gophers
I used to love that song. Gophers need two offensive rebounds off missed FTs to score 2 points. I am not belieeeeeeeving.
10:23: Gophers 32 Nebraska 36
@knategiesen – Take over the game Mbakwe! We need you to win this for us!
Could not agree more Knate. Mbakwe grabs ANOTHER offensive rebound off a missed FT and slams home the dunk. Hopefully he has another solid 10 plus minutes left in him tonight.
My fault for the long delay here. This 6 minute gap represented a period of basketball that was so horrendous, like Snooki in the club at 3:30 a.m. horrendous, that I thought it was wrong to capture it in writing. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming…
4:28: Gophers 37 Nebraska 41
@937JohnGaskins #Gophers 6-16 at FT line, down 4, 4:58 left. Couldn’t capitalize on 3-on-1 drive. Credit Gallegos forcing tear drop #Huskers
You know you are in trouble when the Husker fans are starting to believe. Or…excuse me…beliiiiiiiiieve.
Gophers in the double bonus the rest of the way. Normally, you would say get to the rim so you can get to the stripe. Something tells me John and his fellow Husker fans would be all for that strategy.
Trevor did all he could against the 300 pound behemoth. Unfortunately, his guards do not understand how to get him the ball. Not. Good.

Trevor did all he could against the 300 pound behemoth. Unfortunately, his guards do not understand how to get him the ball. Not. Good.

3:15: Gophers 41 Nebraska 43

@sullivanneal – Gophers need to find a way win thus one. #Gophers #BiG
Right on cue, Maverick snags an offensive board off a Hollins air ball and puts in the reverse. Then, after a slow rotation let’s the mini-Cody Zeller, Ubel, exact a little revenge, Dre goes into cold-blooded mode and cans an open 3.
2:20 Gophers 46 Nebraska 46
@goldengopher – Dre Hollins is fouled on the rebound. David Rivers…HE GONE! 2nd player to foul out. #Gophers on the line to tie.
The refs are really bailing out the Gophers. Unfortunately, the Corn Huskers daywalker uses a HUGE screen from Andre Boo Boo to create a three point play. Gophers still down with less than two minutes to go.
0:35: Gophers 46 Nebraska 49
@ratty918 – Can’t wait to see this play Tubby draws up
Have to love the confidence in the coach. Though, turns out to be very prophetic. Gophers end up with a forced shot from Dre (that nearly goes in), though it had nothing to do with Tubby’s play design. At least, I hope it didn’t considering the result.
Somehow, Nebraska gives the Gophers (and Tubby) another chance to scheme a play to tie. The Huskers turned the ball over on the in bounds. However, the iPad-less Tubby comes through again and the Gophers get a 25 footer from Maverick Ahanmisi with 6 seconds left in the game. Not that giving the ball to Hollins (our SG) would have been a better idea considering he had 0 points on the evening.
Overall, another frustrating loss for the Gophers. Even though their ticket to the tournament was stamped a week ago, this loss assures them of a low seed, probably something in the 8 to 11 range. And, if they lose this weekend against a game Purdue squad or in the first round of the Big 10 tournament, it could be much worse.
At this point, I want to beliiiiiiiiiieve, but I am not sure I have the patience.

Illinois v. Gophers — Realtime Recap — Like You Were There

The Gophers need a win tonight. After a decent showing against the Spartans, they need to hold serve at home. That starts with a game against the giant-slaying Fightin’ Illini, who took down #1 Indiana on Thursday in dramatic fashion.

The only twist to tonight’s match-up, Gophers forward Rodney Williams is not playing. He is nursing a sore shoulder and, even though he warmed-up, reports are that he is unlikely to play. Considering his solid play, of late, this is a big loss for the Gophers. He is probably their second or third best perimeter defender, so we will see how that affects the Gophers.

Here we go…

1st Half

19:46: So much for Joe Coleman repeating the outstanding performance he had against these very same Illini. He clangs an 18 footer to start the game. Not a good sign for the Gophers.

16:10: Wait — so Trevor Mbakwe is a horse?!?! You are kidding??? Gophers feed the beast for two buckets. When Mbakwe is engaged early and often, the Gophers are a tough team to beat. While they cannot continue to feed the post with Elliot Eliason, getting Mbakwe touches is definitely the recipe for success.

He positions himself so well on the block and he has great body control. The body control allows him to get to the rim in a variety of different angles. And his massive shoulders make it very difficult for shot blockers to come over the top without fouling him. Put me down for the obvious statement of 2013, as Mbakwe goes, so goes this team. When he is not involved, the offense is pretty stale.

Gophers fans are usually not thrilled to see Maverick racing up the floor. It usually means bad things are happening for the team.

Gophers fans are usually not thrilled to see Maverick racing up the floor. It usually means bad things are happening for the team.

12:32: Maverick Ahanmisi bails out the Gophers with a wild, bank shot as the shot clock expires. Tubby’s mass substitutions now have Maverick, Oto Osieniks, Mo “Cheeseburger” Walker, Andre Ingram, and Austin Hollins on the floor. Not a recipe for offensive success. Maverick has provided a jolt or two for the Gophers in the past, but he is definitely a liability. Hopefully, the starters can catch their breath and get back in after the media timeout.

8:08: Mbakwe continues to take the ball right at the Illini defenders. He definitely has the right attitude. His dominance and Austin Hollins’ shooting has propelled the Gophers to a 10 point lead.

6:34: Austin Hollins continues to carry the Gophers. He has really stepped up for Rodney Williams, who at this point, is definitely a scratch for this evening. If the Gophers could stop recent YouTube sensation Tyler Griffey, they would be up by 20+. Instead, Griffey’s 7 early points are keeping the Illini in the game.

3:14: Let’s assess the situation — the Gophers have spent the last three minutes running the offense through  Mo “Cheeseburger” Walker who, no joke, is a man amongst boys, but who is too big and slow to play college basketball at this level. Furthermore, on the defensive end, his slow rotations left D.J. Richardson open for two consecutive threes. All of sudden, a 12 point lead is down to 4. Oh, and the Cheeseburger just turned the ball over on an offensive charge where the Illini defender literally had enough time to set his feet, tweet the following message – “Man, when is that big boy going to get here?! #Cheeseburger,”  finish a term paper, and then draw the foul. Tubby needs to stop playing Mo until he drops another 15 pounds. Period. I do not care how much he looks like a fat Royce White.

1:16: The Illini continue to rip 3 pointers to stay in the game. Brandon Paul, who has some of the worst looking shots in the conference, drains a pretty 3. For a guy who consistently clangs jump shots, when he makes one, the stroke is outstanding. Osieniks then compounds the issue by getting lazy with the ball, gifting Paul a steal, and then fouling Paul immediately.

Tubby has had little to smile about in the last half dozen Big 10 games. This one is shaping up no differently...

Tubby has had little to smile about in the last half dozen Big 10 games. This one is shaping up no differently…

Half: Gophers close the half like a junior varsity high school team. Hold up, that is an insult to junior varsity high school teams everywhere. It was more like a pick-up squad at a local YMCA (and even they might have played it better).

The Gophers take three terrible shots with the shot clock below 20 seconds. Rather than reset the offense following a pair of offensive rebounds and take the last shot of the half, the Gophers jack up three terrible shots. The Illini finally grab the defensive rebound and rush down to the other end to drain ANOTHER 3 and take a 1 point lead into the half.

This lack of execution falls on Tubby. No excuses. These are EXACTLY the type of plays that have come back to haunt this team.

2nd Half

19:46: Evidently the “…guard that Griffey kid speech fell on deaf hears. He quickly cans a 3 and puts the Illini up 4. The Gophers are struggling to guard an entirely one-dimensional team. This again falls on Tubby. All the Illini can do is hit 3s. That is it.

17:42: The Illini are wisely doubling Mbakwe (turns out we are a bit one-dimensional too). I guess the Illini coach actually tailors his team’s defensive strategy to the other team’s strengths. Crazy bastard. Thankfully, Dre finds a way to split the double off the pick and hit a rolling Mbakwe. Unfortunately, Joe Coleman continues to struggle. More than any one player, his season is the perfect analogy of the team as a whole.

Coleman started off the season hot as a pistol. He really looked like he had taken a jump and was ready to become one of the top players in the conference. That is not an overstatement. After a few solid games in the Big 10 (including a huge game against these very Illini), he has just fallen off the face of the earth. His jump shot was last seen on a milk carton at Washburn Elementary in Minneapolis, MN. His defensive intensity has waned and he consistently fails to rotate on the perimeter. If he ever regains the form from earlier this season, the Gophers will be a tough team to beat. Right now, he is a liability. When Rodney comes back, Eliason needs to get more minutes and Williams needs to slide over and play the 3.

14:06: Speaking of Elliot, Eliason continues to bring a lot of energy and intensity to the squad. However, having him feed the post or cutters on the baseline is like trying to landscape with hand grenades. It might work a few times, but the end results are probably going to be ugly. Coleman cannot handle Elliot’s fastball as he cuts to the rim. Turnover. Gophers should go back to feeding Mbakwe.

10:58: News flash!! The Illini can hit the 3 pointer. No, seriously. That Griffey kid cans another one. Looks like he wants to play the role of hero for another night. Unless Tubby can figure out a way to tighten up that defense, this game is going to end poorly for the home squad.

8:21: We have a Julian Welch sighting! His desperation 3 as the shot clock expires puts the Gophers back up 1. In fact, a little 6-0 run fueled by two 3 pointers has the Illini getting a taste of their own medicine. The Gophers cannot rely on this formula though. Shooting 3s is not a strength. They need to get back to pounding the ball inside and getting to the line. That is what this team does best.

6:49: Why is Andre Ingram getting minutes?!? He mishandles a great pass from Dre and the Gophers turn the ball over again. Still down 1.

The Gophers have been unable to find Hoosier-killer Tyler Griffey. He is looking to add Gophers to his hit list!!

The Gophers have been unable to find Hoosier-killer Tyler Griffey. He is looking to add Gophers to his hit list!!

5:08: Thursday’s hero likes the cape-look. Clearly. Griffey, who was 0-22 prior to the game against the Hoosiers, just canned his 4th 3 pointer of the evening. Evidently, Tubby’s game plan has been that the Gophers will refrain from guarding Griffey and see if he can beat them. Right now, he is annihilating them.

2:38: Austin Hollins, who has played a great game, commits the ultimate hoops no-no: fouling a shooter behind the line. D.J. Richardson hits two out of three and puts the Illini up 3. This is the EXACT kind of play that has killed the Gophers chances of being something more than a one-and-done tournament team.

1:12: The Gophers finally catch a break as a loose rebound bounces off of the Illini. Tubby has to draw up a good play here. Only down 1, the Gophers need to take the lead and put the pressure back on the Illini. Hopefully, something for one of the Hollins cousins.

Instead, Mbakwe panics when the double team comes and throws it into the 4th row. He has not handled the double team well this half. While he is normally a strong passer, the double team has really thrown him for a loop. Tubby should have recognized this and kept the ball in the Hollins’ cousins’ hands.

You just have a sense that the Gophers do not have the moxy to win this game. And just like that, Abrams promptly cans a 3 in Elliot Eliason’s grill. Play is eerily reminiscent of Austin Rivers’ 3 in Tyler Zeller’s face in a match-up between Duke and UNC. And right now, the Gophers are (shockingly) about as good as the struggling Tar Heels.

Final: Illini 57 Gophers 53

Couple of other quick things. Tubby’s offensive strategy, from game-to-game is brutal. As a head coach, the whole blaming the players schtik only lasts so long. The Gophers had a distinct advantage in the post and only rarely were running plays to capitalize on that advantage. Instead, the Gophers tried to kick and slash our way to the rim against a fairly athletic Illini squad. And I get that Rodney was a scratch, but still. Even in the game in Champagne, the Gophers carried the day by dominating in the paint. There was no such prolonged dominance in this game.

On the defensive end, it was the same old story. Poor rotation on the perimeter resulted in numerous opportunities from deep for the Illini. It was no suprise to anyone that the Illini were going to try and shoot the 3. I knew it. The fans knew it. The people watching the red carpet coverage at the Grammy’s even knew it. And yet, the Illini were 11 for 23 from deep. Nearly 50%. That is pitiful.

Until the Gophers coaching staff can figure out how to take advantage of their advantages on the offensive end and utilize their athleticism on the defensive end, this team will be, at best, nothing more than a one-and-done tournament team. At worst, we might as well book our tickets for the NIT right now to try and save on the flights.

Seeing The Forest For The QBs

The Minnesota Golden Gophers are 3-0. That is right, undefeated. Zero losses. And, for this program, that represents a major step forward.

If not for the Wildcats winning season, Gophers opponents would have one win between them.

Last year’s squad was 3 and 9. So, for any Badger fans reading this, that is right, this year’s team has already equaled the win total from last year. That, in and of itself, is impressive. It does not matter that the three teams the Gophers have beaten have 3 wins between them — thank you New Hampshire. It was not too long ago when one Coach Brew was getting embarrassed by cupcakes on an annual basis (see here and here — for just a couple examples). It seems like fans are just about to the point where they feel comfortable sporting Gophers gear in public again.

Unfortunately, last week’s win was not without a few blemishes. For one, the win was not the walk in the park that Wildcats of New Hampshire were the week before. Perhaps most importantly, the game saw senior QB, MarQueis Gray, who was struggling to move the Gophers offense in the first half, go down to what appeared to be a serious leg injury. Insert the Max “Golden Armed Gopher” Shortell.

Shortell immediately lived up to his Twitter handle, firing up the Gophers offense, and connecting with A.J. Barker (twice) for TDs. He then put the Gophers up for good in the second half with a pretty throw to tight end Drew Goodger.

Under Shortell’s direction, the Gophers were able to move the ball through the air in a way that they rarely have all season. Shortell’s performance against WMU was eerily similar to his effort in the game against the Cardinal-allergic USC Trojans last season. Like in that game, Shortell seemed to get less effective as the game wore on. This might have to do with the fact that the less-than-fearsome WMU defense prepared all week for the dual threat that is MarQueis Gray. Not the more traditional, likely not going anywhere, Golden Armed Shortell. But, as the game wore on, WMU got acclimated to the switch and was able to turn the Gophers away.

Ultimately, Golden Arm’s 2012 relief appearance ended a lot more pleasantly than it did in 2011. The Gophers won. Did I mention they are 3-0? However, that victory has triggered an intense discussion regarding whether it should be him, versus Gray, who captains the Gophers offense moving forward.

Gophers fans cannot lose sight of the big picture. Regardless of who starts at QB, the squad is undefeated and on a bit of a roll.

I could go on for the next 5,000 words telling you why the Gophers should name Gray or Shortell the starter. Gray provides the Gophers a dual threat who can keep defenses honest with his scrambling. Shortell has a cannon where most folks have a right shoulder and with the new talent infusion at WR, he could really turn the Gophers offense into a force moving forward. But I think that debate is a bit short-sighted.

After all, we already have exactly as many wins as we did all of last season. Jerry Kill and his staff are the individuals who deserve the lion’s share of the credit for that turn around. Call me Gary Busey, but I trust the coaching staff that has engineered the beginning to this maroon and gold revival. Coaches Kill and Limegrover are qualified to decide which QB, Gray or Shortell, is most likely to lead the Gophers to their first successful season in five years. We as Gophers fans should just be happy with the current results — again, a 3-0 record — and excited about the rest of the season.

Winnersville, USA — Well That Did Not Last Long

All of the major Minnesota sports teams (Vikings [only just], Twins [Morneau showing his MVP form], Lynx [Minny’s best squad] were victorious this past weekend. The border rival Packers got dominated at home by Alex Smith. No seriously, that Alex Smith. Heck, even the not so major squads managed a victory — yeah, I am looking at you Gophers football. Even though you did not lose to Oregon State (another shout out to Sconnie sports), you have to beat a real college squad for me to get too excited.

Augustus and the Lynx saw their winning streak snapped, but they are still the most dominant squad in town in their respective league.

The weekend’s success continued into Monday night as the Twins pounded their neighbors in the cellar, Justin Masterson and the Cleveland Indians. Unfortunately, the run of Ws could not continue. The Twinks were embarrassed last night — promising rookie Scott Diamond was lit up like promising rookies sometimes are. And, the WNBA powerhouse Lynx took a night and did their best 2010 Timberwolves impression, solid offense, but no defense, in a loss to Chicago.

But, a 9 to 1 drubbing and the end of a winning streak might just be the dose of reality Minnesota fans needed.

Sure, the Vikes won a thriller on Sunday. They are the new darlings around town. Apologies to Messers Parise and Suter, you have to be playing for us to count you. But it took a seriously miraculous series at the end of game — Ponder moving the offense down the field quickly for a game tying 55 yard FG by Blair “Thunder Leg” Walsh — to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Fresh off  a win like that, the fan in me wants to guzzle the Ponder Kool-Aid….okay….that did not come out right….never mind….let’s move on….anyway, I want to believe we are witnessing his “jump” to the next level. This is the heady, stud QB we heard all about. He finally has the weapons he never had at FSU. And, he has a sturdy enough line that he is not being pressured like a Harvard hoopster in a government class. Unfortunately, the cynic in me, the one that has been Brett Favre’d, Gary Anderson’d, Morriss’d, and Denny Green’d, is yelling not to get my hopes.

A buddy of mine put it perfectly, when talking about the Vikes’ win, he said that after the DIII legend embarrassed Chris Cook for what looked like the game winning TD, he was in disbelief. Not surprise,  just disbelief. That is a perfect assessment of where we are at as fans. Vikings fans have been conditioned to expect the let-down, so when it happens, it is not a shock. It is a coping mechanism. Psychology 101. So instead of surprise, there is only the disbelief at how the squad managed to give away the game.

Maybe this year’s team is going to be different. The fan in me wants to believe it is.

2012 Gopher Football: 50 Shades of Gray

The 2012 Gopher football season is hours from getting underway. The Gophers kick off their season in Las Vegas, NV against the Runnin Rebels of UNLV. And no, this is not Larry Johnson’s and The Shark’s UNLV.

The Runnin’ Rebels will be hoping to channel a bit of LJ’s dominance in their season opening tilt with the Gophers.

Last year’s UNLV squad was 2-10 under 2nd year wunderkid, head coach, Bobby Hauck. They scored significant wins over CSU and the program formerly known as Hawaii. There are some who believe that this year’s squad should make another leap. 4-8 or 5-7 might be a possibility. Though, at +8, book makers agree that their first win is likely not coming against Jerry Kill’s squad.

The 2012 Gophers season is a tough one to prognosticate. Fans seem to be cautiously optimistic. The gear is ready. 2011’s squad was consistently inconsistent. They lost the games they should have won and won a couple that they had no business winning. The Gophers made a nice little run during some conference games against the Hawkeyes and the Wildcats (a game they should have won). The driving force during last season’s mini-run was then junior QB MarQueis Gray. He showed maturity and athleticism during what was an otherwise chaotic season. It is his composure and continued improvement that is vital to this year’s squad.

Gray threw for 1,500 yards and ran for nearly 1,000 more. He averaged 7 yards per attempt and  almost 5 yards a carry. This was with a receiving corps that was depleted by injuries and just not that good. Even though this year’s version is young, there is a lot of promise there. Devin Crawford-Tufts and Brandon Green are steady performers with the potential to be solid contributors, each capable of making a jump. Jamel Harbison and Megatron 2.0, Andre McDonald, headline a very strong group of freshman wideouts.

While he does not strike the most imposing figure, Megatron 2.0 makes up for it with a tenacious willingness to go and get it. The kid is a flat out beast in the air.

Normally, freshman wideouts do not make a significant impact on a season’s outcome. Players like Sammy Watkins, who dominated for Clemson last season and scorched the ACC on a weekly basis, are a once-a-decade type players. While neither Harbison nor McDonald were rated as highly as Watkins coming in to this season, both have ceilings that are IDS Center high. Particularly Megatron 2.0 (check it out here). His athleticism and tenacity, the kid just flat out goes to get the ball, make him fun to watch. That being said, like most other freshman receivers, his success is directly tied to his quarterback.

Gray’s maturation at the end of last year would have been even more apparent if he had a wideout who could catch a ball. In the Northwestern game particularly, Gophers wideouts dropped multiple catchable passes, including a few that would have been big plays. Gray’s new toys, Harbison and Megatron 2.0, should ensure less drops and more big plays.

The other wild card for the Gophers and Gray is the offensive line. With only one returning starter from last season, head hog Ed Olson, the young guys are going to have to step up. Look for Jonah Pirsig and his fellow freshman to play a big role in the Gophers success this year. Keeping MarQueis upright is obviously critical to his, and the team’s, success. Jerry Kill and Matt Limegrover have always been known for strong offensive play. Even though the current cast is young, there is a lot of potential there. Having a veteran like Olson to help in mentoring the kids will only help to expedite their maturation.

There are a lot of unknowns that need to be sorted out this season. Is MarQueis Gray a legitimate Big 10 QB? Can a running QB succeed in Coach Kill’s system? How good will beer service be at The Bank? Last year’s hint of success has this Gophers fan ever so slightly optimistic. How those unknowns     are sorted out will determine whether we as fans are satisfied with our first post-season appearance since 2009 or left wanting more after another chaotic season.

Bill paying time. For those of you interested in catching a Gophers game at The Bank, skate on over to Ticket King. They have great deals on all the Gophers games. Sit anywhere in the stadium (enjoy an adult beverage) and watch evolution of Megatron 2.0.

Your Move Tubby…

The Minnesota Golden Gophers signed men’s head basketball coach, Orlando “Tubby” Smith to a three year extension this week. The substance of that extension is a bit curious because it did not include a raise in his annual salary. In fact, it did not even include a raise for inflation. And that might be telling.

Gophers are hoping Tubby can (finally) re-establish their home court advantage and lose the title of conference door mat.

Considering Tubby’s teams have only advanced to the Big Dance twice, and never past the first round, this extension has been met with a mixed reception. When you consider that the Gophers are 38-52 in Big 10 play under Orlando’s guidance, that mixed reception is understandable. At best, under Tubby’s watch, the Gophers have been a feisty, Tier 3 squad capable of an upset every now and again (think the Hoosiers last year), at worst, they have been the conference doormat.

Now, with nearly $2 million in the bank for the next four years, the mediocrity needs to end.

And let me stop you right now, I get it, the U’s practice facility makes the Hoosier Gym (the classic movie) look like a state of the art facility. The flip side to that is Williams Arena, one of the more historic (read old) arenas in the nation and practically sells itself in terms of atmosphere. This is even more true when the teams are competitive. Plus, the Big 10 offers a pretty rich basketball history, recruiting here should not be THAT hard.

Mbakwe’s decision to return likely helped facilitate Tubby’s extension. Now, the question is, what are the Gophers going to do with him back and healthy?

Tubby is tasked with coaching up his most talented squad to date. He has super-duper senior Trevor Mbakwe returning off knee surgery, fantastic frosh Eliot Eliason, and pre-season All-Big 10 Rodney Williams up front. Add to that the Hollins brothers (just jokes – not related) and Maverick Ahmnisi in the back court, Tubby’s boys should challenge for the Big 10 title. If they fail to make any noise, the season will definitely be considered a failure.

Remember, Tubby’s hiring was seen as a dual-purpose move. The boosters and those in the know raved about how, not only would Tubby’s arrival mean wins in the short-term, the long-term impact was that it would change the culture of the fan base. We would no longer be satisfied with a nice little season where the squad makes it to the Dance or makes a nice little run in the NIT.

Could you imagine what Kentucky fans would do if they made the NIT? Rupp Arena would get burned to the ground. Those kind of results are not acceptable. Gophers fans, while not thrilled about scoring an NIT invite, do not threaten to revolt. Instead, Williams Arena is alway full for the following years’ slate of home games. Tubby was supposed to change that. His presence was supposed to set making the Dance the floor for a successful season.

That change has not happened yet. The floor is still undetermined. Though, it might be coming. This year’s season will tell us a lot as to whether Orlando’s extension was money well spent. I, for one, am excited to find out.

National Championship Preview (Still NIT Style)

Cue the music, “One shining moment”…….”Feel the beat of your heart”…….”Feel the wind in your face”………[Side note — Huh??, Wind in my face? Where are they playing these basketball games?]……….”ONE SHINING MOMENT!!!”  That is right, the Minnesota Golden Gophers are in the National (Invitational Tournament) Championship game.

Seriously, a tree?? Admittedly, a Gopher is not all that fierce a mascot, but, a tree?? On principle, the Gophers have an advantage.

Fresh off a game against the Pac 12 Champion, Washington Huskies, the Gophers are squaring off against the Stanford Cardinal. The Cardinal are another Pac 12 team riding a hot streak, having won 7 of their last 9 games. After nearly gifting the Huskies (and Pac 12 officials) the All-Pac 12 Championship game, the Gophers enter this game having survived some nail-biters, albeit self-inflicted, along the way.

On paper, the Cardinal are not an imposing team.  In fact, they are actually built similarly to the Gophers.  Young and fast.  They are led by a freshman G, Chasson Randle, and two sophomore guards, Aaron Bright and Anthony Brown.  It is a talented back court.  If they have a weakness, it is that they are turnover prone. The one thing that might separate the Cardinal back court from the Gophers is their ability to shoot the basketball.  Both Randle and Bright are averaging better than 43% from beyond the arc.  It is critical that the Gophers perimeter defenders, Dre, Austin Hollins (who had a great game defending Terrance Ross), Ahmnisi, and Coleman fight through screens to defend the Cardinal shooters. They did a great job against future lottery pick Ross in the semifinal.  However, they did a terrible job finding Washington’s other shooter, C.J. Wilcox, who nearly shot the Huskies to a win.

Another way to beat this Cardinal team is to exploit their backcourt’s youth. They are turnover prone and so pressure, consistently applied, could yield positive results.  For Dre in particular, if he can outplay his freshman counterpoint, Randle, the Gophers will be at a distinct advantage.

Up front, the Cardinal run out a pair of Joshes, senior Owens and sophomore Huestis. Neither should present much a test, think History of Television exam, for Rodney Williams and E2.  E2 in particular, if he continues to play smart basketball, could have a big game. Against Washington, the Gophers offense stalled in the second half when it got away from the using E2 as the fulcrum in the offense.  When E2 was the pick, roller, or distributor, the Gophers were getting a lot more open looks.

Obviously, continued quality play from Rodney Williams, averaging better than 20 points a game, is a must.  Though, the way he has been playing lately, and this next phrase would have been a preposterous statement nominee at the start of the season, his quality play is almost expected. He has controlled games to the point where, it might actually  be surprising if he did not submit a solid effort.

Pete Rose was the original Charlie Hustle. Ingram is the Gophers version. Against the Cardinal, that hustle is going to be critical.

The wild card in this game might be the inspired play of Andre Ingram.  He has been a spark off the bench and is able to spell E2 with high quality minutes.  He attacks the rim like it has been disparaging his mother.  And, he defends the paint with a ferocity that you cannot teach.  It is instinctual. Even though he has a fairly limited range of skills offensively, his energy is a critical contribution to the team. Provided that motor is still firing like a finely tuned German engine, the Gophers will be a in a position to make it a hat trick of National Invitational Tournament titles (yes, I am refusing to vacate Clem’s title in 1996).

Ultimately, Dre, Williams, and Ingram are the difference.  The Gophers play two halves like they did in the first half against the Huskies.

Prediction: Gophers 78  Cardinal 63  

Should He Stay Or Should He Go Now???

The Golden Gophers men’s basketball team put up a decent fight at the Big 10 Tournament this past weekend.  It showed flashes of the promise that has has both encouraged and frustrated its fan base during the reign of current head coach, Tubby Smith.  Although, it was not enough to punch a ticket to the Big Dance.  That is right, your Minnesota Golden Gophers are headed to the NIT (please….please…hold your applause until the end).

Tubby won a national championship with Pitino's players. He has not made much noise nationally since.

While Coach Smith has definitely upped the ante in terms of the athletes lacing them up for the maroon and gold (Spencer Tollackson anyone???), unfortunately, Tubby has failed to capitalize on that talent, making it to the Big Dance only once during his tenure.  That is not to say there have not been a handful of signature wins: UNC, Indiana, and that memorable run to the Big 10 Championship game in 2010.   However, those wins have been too few and far between for a coach who took Rick Pitino’s studs to a national championship.  Under Tubby’s direction, it always seems like this team is one big win away from leaving  mediocrity behind it.

Full fairness in savagery, Tubby has been recruiting with a bit a stacked deck.  As he has never failed to point out, he is missing the “state of the art” facilities that many other squads in the Big 10 boast.  And, the Twins Cities are not exactly the warm weather destinations that attracts top recruits from basketball hotbeds like Florida and California.  In fact, “I am taking my talents to Minneapolis” is a phrase reserved for recruits heading to Mariucci or Ritter to skate for one of the hockey teams.  It takes athletes with a little hardier stock to brave the unpredictable and occasionally unforgivable Minnesota seasons.

Perhaps those best equipped to deal with the weather extremes that Minnesota has to offer are those individuals who were born and raised in the region.  Tubby has done a decent job of recruiting the Midwest’s best basketball talent: Trevor Mbakwe, Royce White, Joe Coleman, etc.  There have been circumstances outside of his control that have limited those players’ impact on the team (i.e. White’s defection and Mbakwe’s injury).  And even though we have covered this before (in probably too great of detail), it is going to be painful to watch The Mayor and Royce lead ISU in the Big Dance.

No one knows if Tubby should stay or go. If you think you do, let me beat you to the punch and decline the opportunity to get into the "investment opportunity" above.

Ultimately, the decision  that the new administration has to make is whether Tubby is the man who can lead the Gophers to more than just annual appearances in the NIT.  Anyone claiming to know whether he is equipped for that job, probably also has some investment opportunities for you in New York City bridges.  Personally, I am of the opinion that Tubby should be granted the opportunity to soldier on.  Though, to say he is a on a short lease is more of an understatement than saying that the cast of Jersey Shore drink a bit too much.

Despite Tubby’s more publicized shortcomings in recruiting (and retaining) top talent, he has done a decent job with the squads he has had.  And, he has shown a penchant for cobbling together the pieces that could be the base of something special.  Dre Hollins emerged, late in the year (just ask Gus Johnson’s blood pressure), as the solid PG Tubby has not had since Al Nolen.  Elliot Eliason, with added bulk, could be a sturdy player in the low post next year.  Plus, Tubby added solid recruits Wally Ellenson and Charles Buggs for next year.  Both could contribute immediately to the Gophers success next year.  The level of that success will ultimately determine whether or not Tubby is around to try and cut down the nets in 2013.  Here’s hoping he is.