Posted on: March 20, 2009 12:42 pm

2009 Golden Gopher Basketball Season

  After a tough loss to the Texas Longhorns yesterday, Minnesota's season is done. Sad, yes, very. But on the more positive and cliche end, we are continuing to improve and next year is looking very bright for a number of reasons.

  First, as a young team we will be bringing back just about everybody and losing only those who are on the minimal production side. This young team got some tourney experience this year, and will be eager to return.

  Second, Colton Iverson and Ralph Sampson III. Everyone talked about how we needed to get the ball inside to these guys to be successful. This was  a valid point except as freshmen these guys still made too many mistakes. Having said that, with an entire year on their belts their raw talent will be further polished and I don't think anybody will want to drive into the lane with those two standing right there.

  Third, Tubby Smith's recruiting. Although I do not know any specific names, I do know that the guys Tubby brought in this past year all made positive contributions to the team. And this upcoming year Tubby will have more of his guys coming in again to strengthen our talent level. Further, this year's NCAA Tournament Bid will help recruiting even more showing top prospects that Minnesota is a competitor.

  And of course as fans of the game and knowledgable basketball minds, we also should highlight the ominous things about next year and things we need to improve if we want to compete for the Big Ten title and earn a higher seed in the tourney.

  First, the senior slide. I define the senior slide as the time near the end of your last year in high school when you stop caring and your grades begin to slip. This is how I define the Gophers from this year and last. We start out hot, cruising through a weak, but respectable non-conference schedule and then we fade away come the home stretch of Big Ten season. This year we faltered mightily at the end of the season and backed ourselves into the tournament, not a good idea IMO. So I don't know how we are going to fix it, but we need to go like hell the entire season, win a few games on the road, and turn the barn into a place where teams are scared to come to. Dropping a few road games is a given, but that last game loss to Michigan at home and some of our other home losses just simply shouldn't be happening.

  Second, the offense, as a big unit. Our offense struggled with consistency all year long. And when we weren't shooting threes well we suffered. My remedies include: better post production from Iverson and Sampson(which I think will come with experience), better decision making by Nolen AND Joseph, and get Hoffarber more shots. An inside-out type system involving a dump in to Ralph, who could kick it back out to Hoffarber would be very effective I think. I know Blake struggled this year shooting wise but I feel as if he needs more shots. The guy only takes 2-4 shots a game, so of course his percentage isn't going to be good. So I say spread the floor, get guys moving, and take better care of the basketball. Although, turnovers will always be a problem for any team, so, yeah.


So there's my overview of the past season and my excitement towards the upcoming season. And I leave you with this. Tubby's contract is up after this year, and, will more than likely be expecting a raise of some sort. I say, we NEED to keep Tubby here. The buzz on campus is awesome come basketball time now that we actually compete and he's helped improve the program so much that I feel like we'd just be taking 6 or 7 steps back if we let Tubby go. I don't know how much of a possibility this is, but Maturi better sign Tubby because Minnesotans are excited about basketball again.  

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: November 13, 2008 4:22 pm

The Vikes

    So I find it difficult to read all posts and threads about the Vikings, AND to respond to them. Not to mention I don't want my post on page 4 where nobody will find it. In other words I am going ot sum up my thoughts on the season in progress for our very own purple warriors.

    I would like to start by saying, like most of you probably think, our 5-4 record would fall under the category of "Not meeing expectations." We came into this year with one of the most heralded defenses in the league, a big signing of a DE and a guy that could actually be a #1 receiver, and of course one of, if not the most explosive running back in the NFL. It seemed our only question mark was the QB position. And all of us know that only us with our "Minnesota Sports Luck" would have our one question mark be on perhaps the most important position on the football field. 

   Nonetheless, the season started and as expected we fell short early with a lack of solid quarterback play. However, as we squandered great defensive games and 100 yard rushing efforts from AP, we also unearthed other big questions about our team. I've chosen three questions to illustrate here as our most devastating: Special Teams, Childress, and our Secondary. We have given up 6 special teams touchdowns, seem to be very conservative on offense, and our secondary is only slightly improved from last year despite having an All-Pro defensive line. And regardless of which problem is the MOST detrimental, we all can agree that they are, in fact, all important and have contributed to all four of our losses.

  Having said all this negatively so far, I am still optimistic about our playoff chances. We are in position to win a very mediocre division, and we won two games that we should've lost thanks to our defense and God himself on earth, Adrian Peterson. The football gods have blessed us with time still to improve on our weaknesses. Which will not be easy considering the schedule we have to close out the year. It's almost funny how daunting are next few games are, but if we succeed, we will be fine tuned for the playoffs.

  My hopes for the remainder of the season will be highlighted next. First, we obviously need to keep giving the ball to AP. 25-30 times a game, minimum. And if he's tired, put Taylor in. He is a more than capable back. The point is, we need to run. Second, in my opinion, is throwing the ball more deep and more often and not only on third down. Rice is back, and we got Berrian for this very reason. Try early in the series so we aren't so predictable, and so if we miss, we still have downs to pick up the first. Third, keep the pressure up on D. Our pass rush is good and I think that our secondary is close. We have one of the best in Winfield so we need to play off his momentum. Fourth, our special teams. I don't know how to fix it. Maybe play pom pom pullaway in practice?? Regardless of what we do, it's simple, stay in your lanes, and TACKLE, DAMMIT! Haha but no I remain as always very optimistic. Wins are wins, and we are in the running for the playoffs. It's our jobs as fans to talk about the problems, but to always want improvement, and most of all, to always believe in our team. If we aren't going to fire Childress or change QB's, we need to deal with what we've got. After all, not every team that wins the Super Bowl is perfect.

Category: NFL
Posted on: November 4, 2008 5:21 pm

My view of the weekend

Well, this weekend had its ups and downs in the Minnesota sports community, hmm, that's weird. Ha, but seriously, the Gophers lost a nailbiter to Northwestern to fall to 7-2 and making their stay in the top 25 short lived. But hey, let's consider the fact that we have 6 more wins than last year and are already bowl eligible. Everyone's been saying this but that is because last year was SO frustrating for Gopher football fans. This year we are competitive and are winning games! Which is truly a team's only goal in college football. The way I always judge progress is if we are beating the teams we should and whatnot, which I think we have. Our losses come from The Ohio State University, and a very formidable opponent in Northwestern. So, the Gophers have improved beyond our wildest dreams, and can, I think, win out. GO GOPHS!

Next up we have the Vikings who seem not to be able to win 2 games in a row. But if we can this time, we make ourselves the top pick to win the North after a victory over the Packers. Our defense is great, we all know this, but Berrian is finally producing and if Gus can keep up a relatively decent pass threat, we all know that AP will carry us into the playoffs. We still have a lot to prove, but things are at least looking in the right direction, I just wish TJ would've come through, because I, like many, worry about seasons to come and who will guide this team. I am worried that our All-Pro caliber defense will get too old before we get a young and electric quarterback. But I would rather win, and it is clear by now that Gus is our best shot. To finish with the Vikings report I will go out on a limb and say that this is a must-win for the Vikings.

Let's see here, the Minnesota Timberwolves. 1-2 to start the year. Not surprised, but not mad either. It looks as though we have been competitive early on and Big AL has his 20 and 10 average going, but that is not enough for the playoffs. I know its a very LONG shot for the Puppies to get in, but this early in the season, you still have to play and hope for it. But we are not going anywhere if Foye gets 3 points in 30 minutes every game like he did against OKC. I don't think he will, but it was a little scary nonetheless. I just hope we are more competitive this year and mold our young team's chemistry for the future. McHale making intelligent decisions in the future will also help.

Last but not least is our Minnesota Wild. 7-2-1 to start the year going into tonight's game against the Sharks is huge considering we started the year infected with the injury bug. We have a lot of work to do but to be atop the Northwest this early is a great way to start. Backstrom looks like he will be better than average goaltender throughout the year which gives us a slightly larger margin of error. Koivu has come up big as well as Miettenen but let's not forget Belanger as well. If we can keep ourselves above .500 until Nolan and Gaborik get back, we will be in damn good shape in my opinion. But the season is early, and who knows what will happen in the coming months, but it is always good to start with 7 victories out of 10 games. Oh and I almost forgot, we are 4-1 on the road, which is pretty big, as you all probably know. 

That's my perspective on the weekend, let me know yours and hopefully I'll see you on the message boards!  

Category: General
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or