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.
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.
- Eliott Eliason will lead the Big Ten in rebounds and blocks
- Minnesota will finish undefeated at home
- Minnesota will finish in the top four of the Big Ten
- Andre Hollins will make All-Big Ten
- 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?
Minnesota will finish undefeated at home?
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?
Not when you finish 6-12 in conference play.
Andre Hollins will make All-Big Ten?
Minnesota will advance to the Sweet 16?
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!