The Minute After: Minnesota

  • 02/20/2010 10:41 pm in

FINAL SCORE: Minnesota 81, Indiana 58

Here’s an easy way to game plan against the Hoosiers: pound it inside all game long.

As the Spartans showed us Tuesday and the Gophers displayed this evening — it works. IU just doesn’t have the length, athleticism or the skill to guard the block, and guys like Ralph Sampson III took advantage.  Minnesota’s guards also beat IU off the dribble on several occasions, leading to some easy points right around the rim. The Gophers scored 38 of their 81 points in the paint this evening to IU’s 16.

And when they weren’t hitting down low, they were raining threes. Minnesota hit 7-of-11 in the first half and hit 9-of-20 for the game for 45 percent. IU only shot 32 percent from the floor. Ouch.

The Hoosiers simply aren’t defending as of late. This now marks the eighth straight game their opponent has shot better from the field, to coincide with their eighth straight loss. And during this eight-game losing streak, IU has also only managed to shoot better than 40 percent twice — against Wisconsin and Purdue.

When you fail to get points in the paint and your shot gets blocked at an alarming rate  — in total, the Hoosiers get 12.7 percent of their shots blocked, which ranks them 332 out of the 347 Division I teams in the country — it’s hard to shoot a high percentage or be efficient, especially when your jump shots aren’t falling. Add in all the turnovers and the scoring droughts — IU failed to hit a field goal for a stretch of 9:15 in the first half; they only made two shots the last 6:05 of the second half — and you can see why the Hoosiers’ offense has struggled so bad.

If nothing else, this team is still finding a way to get to the line: they shot 22 — though only made 14 — free throws on the night to the Gophers’ 14. Without that in recent games, it’d be more ugly than it is.

“Outgunned and outmanned,” is how Kendall Gill described this one for IU tonight. I have a feeling this won’t be the last time we’ll be able to describe such a loss for this team before season’s end.

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