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The 2015 Minnesota Golden Gophers Basketball Postmortem

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Filling in for GoAUpher, LPW attempts to dissect the remains of Minnesota's 2014-2015 basketball season

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

If Charles Dickens were a Minnesota fan around this year, he might describe the past Minnesota basketball season as "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times". Nah, on second thought, after polishing down a nice serving of what everyone in the country not living in Minnesota calls casserole with a Grain Belt or five, he might call this season an unmitigated disaster. Or maybe this is too much hyperbole. All I know is the Golden Gophers did worse than last year. Let's take a look at the season from the viewpoint of an observer who only saw them play when they lost to Northwestern.

Preseason outlook:

Optimism was (no pun intended) possibly high in Minneapolis after the Golden Gophers won 25 games, barely missed the NCAA tournament, and stormed through the NIT as the #1 seed and eventually won the frigging thing! Not bad Gophers. Not bad at all.

Goldy Gopher Thumbs Up

Goldy Approves!

Based on all that, our colleagues over at BTPowerhouse thought the Gophers would accomplish the following five things this year:

  1. Eliott Eliason will lead the Big Ten in rebounds and blocks
  2. Minnesota will finish undefeated at home
  3. Minnesota will finish in the top four of the Big Ten
  4. Andre Hollins will make All-Big Ten
  5. Minnesota will advance to the Sweet 16

Let's review BTPowerhouse's predictions, shall we?

Eliott Eliason will lead the Big Ten in rebounds and blocks?

According to the stats I found on ESPN (only for the regular season), Eliason was 30th in the conference in blocks and 64th in the conference in rebounds.

Minnesota will finish undefeated at home?

Lana Kane Nope1

Take a look at their schedule here. Minnesota finished 18-15 overall.

Date Opponent / Event Location Time / Result
11/06/14 vs. Minnesota Duluth # Williams Arena W, 95-68
11/18/14 vs. Western Kentucky Williams Arena W, 76-54
11/20/14 vs. Franklin Pierce Williams Arena W, 109-57
11/22/14 vs. UMBC Williams Arena W, 69-51
11/26/14 at St. John's New York, N.Y. L, 70-61
11/28/14 vs. Georgia New York, N.Y. W, 66-62
12/02/14 at Wake Forest Winston-Salem, N.C. W, 84-69
12/05/14 vs. Western Carolina Williams Arena W, 84-64
12/08/14 vs. North Dakota Williams Arena W, 92-56
12/10/14 vs. Southern Williams Arena W, 85-57
12/19/14 vs. Seattle University Williams Arena W, 92-57
12/22/14 vs. Furman Williams Arena W, 86-76
12/27/14 vs. UNC Wilmington Williams Arena W, 108-82
12/31/14 at Purdue West Lafayette, Ind. L, 72-68
01/03/15 at Maryland College Park, Md. L, 70-58
01/06/15 vs. Ohio State Williams Arena L, 74-72 (OT)
01/10/15 at Michigan Ann Arbor, Mich. L, 62-57
01/13/15 vs. Iowa Williams Arena L, 77-75
01/17/15 vs. Rutgers Williams Arena W, 89-80
01/20/15 at Nebraska Lincoln, Neb. L, 52-49
01/24/15 vs. Illinois Williams Arena W, 79-71
01/28/15 at Penn State University Park, Pa. L, 63-58
01/31/15 vs. Nebraska Williams Arena W, 60-42
02/07/15 vs. Purdue Williams Arena W, 62-58
02/12/15 at Iowa Iowa City, Iowa W, 64-59
02/15/15 at Indiana Bloomington, Ind. L, 90-71
02/18/15 vs. Northwestern Williams Arena L, 72-66
02/21/15 at Wisconsin Madison, Wis. L, 63-53
02/26/15 at Michigan State East Lansing, Mich. W, 96-90 (ot)
03/05/15 vs. Wisconsin Williams Arena L, 76-63
03/08/15 vs. Penn State Williams Arena L, 79-76

Minnesota will finish in the top four of the Big Ten?

Lana Kane Nope 2

Not when you finish 6-12 in conference play.

Andre Hollins will make All-Big Ten?

According to BTN.com, he was listed as an honorable mention.

Minnesota will advance to the Sweet 16?

They weren't selected to the NIT.

So basically, what the hell happened? Why was 2015 vile when 2014 was, well, not vile?

According to our friends at the Daily Gopher, this did:

  • The Gophers were 1-5 in Big Ten games decided by four points or less. [ed note: Ouch!]
  • Andre Hollins being maddeningly inconsistent.
  • Free throw after free throw missed.
  • Carlos Morris and his shot selection.
  • Indiana just hit another three.

I'm not sure why the Gophers were bad at the line, or why Carlos Morris took poor shots. [GoAUpher addition: No one does. It was maddening. At least they got better from the line as the year went on. Morris just kept chucking. Maybe it's a tic of some kind.]

[Previous list of outgoing and incoming players was Purdue'd]

The Gophers lose their core inside, as seniors Elliott Eliason and Maurice Walker both graduate. They also lose their most experienced (and best) offensive option from this year's squad, Andre Hollins. DeAndre Mathiue is also graduating and despite a subpar 2014-2015 he will also be missed. Completely irreplaceable as a towel waving dynamo is bench superstar Kendall Shell (RIP #ShellTime).

While this isn't the worst season in Minnesota history or stretch of seasons erased from the record books, I'm sure the natives are not happy. Tell us in the comment section!