In general, I feel like I am an expert in awful basketball. I suppose it all stems from my own, amazing basketball career in which I scored maybe four points from 5th-10th grade, but it could also be that I follow teams with uh, less than amazing histories. As noted, the Nebraska Cornhuskers have a whopping zero NCAA Tournament wins, and their great run to a championship was none other than the NIT championship. Professionally I have always like the Charlotte Hornets now New Orleans Pelicans, so it's not like I have a lot there. What I'm saying is that my bad basketball credentials are on point.
With that in mind, I feel like it isn't that much of a surprise that I am incredibly excited for the Minnesota Golden Gophers basketball team taking on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights basketball team for part two of the abomination that has been both of their seasons. Now I already hear what you're saying, "Jesse, why would any non-Gopher and/or non-Scarlet Knights fan watch this nonsense?" And hey, even if you are a fan, why would you watch? Well, quite simply, because there might not be a better opportunity to watch bad basketball. You know that whole thing where people go on YouTube to watch people lance cysts and stuff? This is the basketball equivalency of that. You know you should not feel so good watching something so gross, but here we are.
But is it that bad? Let's take a look at the stats!
- In general, both teams are specifically bad at offense with Minnesota clocking in at 215 in KenPom's adjusted offense and Rutgers coming in at 317 - remembering that there are a total of 350 teams, but that seems nebulous. Specifically, Minnesota is shooting around 41% on the season which clocks them in at 306th overall. Rutgers is slightly better at 282nd shooting 41.7%. Simply put, neither of these teams are good at shooting the ball. At this exact moment, Michigan State and Indiana are shooting a higher percentage from beyond the arc than either of these teams are shooting overall.
- And hey, Penn State sucks at offense too, so why am I not picking on them? Well, because they play defense. Rutgers is currently allowing 81.8 PPG (!!!) and Minnesota is allowing 73.6 PPG. Okay, so Penn State isn't that much better, but at least they have more wins to stand on.
- Neither of these teams rebounds the ball specifically well averaging like 34.5 RPG. That only outpaces Michigan and Illinois, which, we're not accounting for all of the missed shots going up. I didn't know where to look, but I'm going to assume both the Gophers and Knights have terrible rebound % rates.
- Rutgers Assist/TO ratio is .85. Let's pause to accept the incredible nature of that stat. That's just... incredible.
So what's the takeaway there? Bad at offense - in that they literally are awful at shooting the ball - and bad at defense. They don't rebound the ball particularly well. They turn the ball over with regularity. Oh, and remember how Minnesota just suspended three of their better players? That's not helping. Basically put, these are really bad teams and despite Minnesota walking all over Rutgers at home a couple weeks back, would you put money on either team? I realize that Rutgers is a bad team but it's also worth noting that Minnesota has won one game outside of Minneapolis this season, so come on.
Anyhow, I had a great idea where we could play a BINGO game that would kind of walk through all of the bad things that will happen - like back-to-back turnovers, four players from one team miss out on a rebound, missed dunk, announcers pretending like this isn't an abomination of a game, 7 non-scholarship players on the court at any one time, etc., but the Illinois Fighting Illini have ruined that. Still, I hope you'll all enjoy that and then hang out and talk about basketball with us. This will be fun! "Fun" fun...