Welcome to today's Gophers basketball Live Chat with Amelia Rayno. She'll be here at noon to answer questions and respond to your comments. You can start leaving them now.
Hello everyone, thanks to everybody here for joining me with your desk lunch.
I've got Thai again today. It's been a Thai kind of week.
Alright, enough about my lunch (but seriously, it's spicy and great). Onto the questions.
My guess: Mason, Coffey, Murphy, Curry, Lynch.
Oh good, my first four-questionmark question.
Pitino pointed out that the Nate Mason long three was NOT the plan. He declined to say what it was but from talking to players it sounded like it was supposed to be a dribble drive and it got messed up with one or more players out of position.
And you'd, ahem, know that if you'd read any of my postgame coverage.
I think you're looking at two very different situations. Last year, it was a team with high expectations falling apart down the stretch. In the last three games of this season it's more like "Wow, they're still in the game down the stretch."
Do you see what I'm saying? Disappointment vs. improvement from where a team was previously.
I think Coffey will play some point guard certainly, especially when the Gophers want to go big. But he'll play off-ball some too.
Dan McHale was the top guy on this staff before he took the job at Eastern Kentucky after last season. I do think that a fair critique of this current team is that there isn't enough experience among the assistants.
It's impossible to say what would happen if any circumstances were changed but I did not find myself thinking "If only Gilbert were in right now, they wouldn't be falling apart."
I think Dorsey could be as good of a scorer as Mathieu, but you've got to remember Mathieu had a lot of trouble getting inside and getting shots off in the same way his senior year. Size was a problem for him and it will be a problem for Dorsey, but I think the latter has the speed and attacking mindset to be somewhat effective. The bigger problem for him is his decisionmaking, which is keeping him off the court for stretches right now.
I believe Buggs is set to graduate this spring -- it's his fourth year due to a redshirt his first season. So considering his situation, I think there's a chance he might just get his degree and move on with his life. Not saying that's best for the Gophers, just that I could see it happening.
Because I might be able to talk an emotional millionaire into sharing.
I think expecting them to win one or two more -- at home against Rutgers and at Rutgers being the most likely -- is realistic, although you never know what can happen. And I think Minnesotans should hope for an NIT appearance next year at the very least, but I believe an NCAA touranament berth is within the reach of that roster.
I agree that foul trouble in the first half -- particularly with Jordan Murphy -- has been a big problem for Minnesota. But benching someone with two fouls in the first is almost a universal coaching policy. That said, I think there are times when it doesn't make sense. If you pull Murphy and the team goes -10 immediately, that might be one of those cases. But there are also plenty of times when keeping your player on the bench is smart, and I think the Illinois game was one of those.
I don't expect Konate to be a starter again after this season. That duty will fall on Lynch's shoulders. Unfortunately for everyone, Konate was kind of thrown into a bad situation this year where he's been forced to start before he was ready for that. It's been a hard year for him for sure,
I don't think it's a great predictor of team strength and capability but I do believe in its existence and its persistence as an NCAA tournament committee consideration.
Oops, I already kind of answered this one. I think getting into the NCAA tournament as a 12-seed or so is reasonable.
No, he obviously wants more size, but I think the staff has also said yes to the best players available that chose the school. Not to mention his first two classes were non-traditional in terms of the time available for recruiting. I think he knew he took a gamble on Bakary Konate and Gaston Diedhiou, and so far that hasn't worked out as expected, but it is difficult to predict the path of players from overseas who you have limited access to. PS, he's got five players over 6-3 who will be eligible for next year (three recruits and two transfers).
Did you notice his eight assists last game?
I think McBrayer can grow into a nice player. He's had limited minutes in half a season, and a major shooting slump. But his toughness, relentlessness and confidence have also shown through. I think we'll see a better player by the end of the Big Ten.
Hm, good question -- maybe 4 or 5? I think they'll make that much of a difference.