Tubby Smith’s troops took one in the chin last year, but you can bet that they’re ready to go this time around. Unfortunately, they’re a little light in experienced ball players this year around, and are missing a couple of key players from last season. Al Nolen, Blake Hoffarber and Colton Iverson (transfer to Colorado State) are all gone from what could have been a very successful team last season.
Take this as a compliment, but I for one am fervently thankful that Hoffarber has graduated and moved on from Minnesota. Easily one of the most dangerous sharp-shooters in the Big Ten last year – and considering the company that puts him with, that’s saying something – Hoffarber drove defenders, and me, nuts with his devastating three-balls. Every time he would spot up for a trey you simply knew it was going down, and it was honestly a surprise when it didn’t.
Well, ok, that only really ever happened against the Buckeyes, but it was still very annoying.
We continue our preseason Big Ten conference previews with the Hoffarber-less Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Minnesota fans, we’ll wait while you avert your eyes. I’m sure you don’t want to relive this crime against your basketball team again, and I can’t say I blame you. Read More
The Ohio State basketball team traveled to the Twin Cities on Sunday to play the Golden Gophers of Minnesota in another matchup of ranked teams in the Big Ten this year. Despite some sloppy play at times, the Buckeyes earned a solid 82-69 victory, taking their record to 24-0 on the season. The win serves as another quality road W for Ohio State and further legitimizes their spot as the #1 ranked team in the country.
The first half got off to a fast-paced start, with both teams running the floor and shooting early in the shot clock. The Buckeyes got multiple players involved early, as Sullinger, Lighty, Diebler, and Buford all picked up baskets in the first few minutes. Ohio State opened up an early lead but Minnesota kept it close, first courtesy of hot shooting by Blake Hoffarber and later in the half due to strong play on the offensive end by Ralph Sampson III, who scored on a variety of jumpers, lay-in’s, and free throws.
Going into the half, David Lighty led the way with 13 points for the Buckeyes, who were up by a score of 38-30. The senior leader came out very aggressive in the game, demonstrating both his usual defensive intensity and a willingness to look for his shot. At the start of the game Lighty drove strong to the hoop for his points, and later displayed an outside touch, knocking down two contested three-pointers. Jared Sullinger only logged 6 points in the first, a credit to Minnesota’s interior defense, but the freshman big man was able to contribute 8 rebounds. Read More
Ohio State travels to the Twin Cities to take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers tomorrow night, hoping to continue their unbeaten streak. This is, of course, the second meeting between these two teams. The first saw Ohio State squeak by the Gophers by three as a last second Minnesota three pointer bounced out. We’ll focus on what has transpired with the Gophers since the Bucks last saw them, so check out the preview of the first game for more.
The Gophers have played a total of 6 games since facing off with the Buckeyes in Columbus (then ranked #2 in the country). Following their close loss to Ohio State, Minnesota picked up a win at home over Purdue by the same margin, improving their chances in the conference title race. Their subsequent wins over Iowa, Michigan and Northwestern had fans feeling good about the team as a whole.
But there was only one problem. Senior PG Al Nolen had been injured at Michigan. While playing defense late in the first half, Nolen rolled his foot badly. He was quoted as saying that it felt like he had been stabbed. Serious pain for a rolled foot – which turned out to be broken and required surgery. Nolen is not expected to be back until at least March, and hopes to have rehabbed enough to participate in the NCAA Tournament.