Sunday, January 29, 2012

Say, the Gophers might make the tournament

And by "might" I mean, if they finish .500 the rest of the season, they almost certainly will. Despite knuckleheads like Jim Souhan complaining that Tubby Smith hasn't done anything (you know, besides getting 4 star recruits to sign with the team and increasing the season win total threefold since he's been here), the Gophers, without star inside presence Trevor Mbakwe are destined to make the tournament.
The team is 16-6, with a 10-5 record since Mbakwe went down (on top of a more difficult schedule), and only two of those games can be considered embarrassing. Sure, losing to Iowa is tough, but the Hawkeyes also beat Wisconsin in Madison and Michigan at home. The Gophers also only lost that game by two.
Minnesota's two worst losses, really, are at home to Purdue and a blowout loss at Michigan State. The non conference loss to Dayton coincided with Mbakwe's injury, and they took Illinois to two overtimes and made Michigan play all 40 minutes.
The schedule the rest of the way for Minnesota is tough, certainly, but I believe they shouldn't have a problem hitting 20 wins (at least) and earning a ticket to the Big Dance. I'm not the only one, either. ESPN, CBS and NBC have Minnesota in their projected brackets. Not only that, but CBS has the Gophers as a 9 seed.
It might not be what Souhan wants to hear, but Tubby Smith has done a good job coaching this team through serious adversity. See you in March

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