Most will agree that last night’s win for the Golden Gophers was a surprise, even though the odd pundit was on twitter last night stating that a number one team going down this season is no surprise.
Indiana can lay claim to being as legitimate a number one as any team as this week represented their fourth week atop the Associated Press voting, and this was the first time Minnesota had taken a top scalp since January 1989.
But it was the manner of how Indiana got beat that will have Coach Tom Crean thinking hard.
Jordan Hulls was firing on all cylinders, culminating in a three from very deep in the dying minutes to keep Gopher heart’s pounding. His 17 (5-7 from outside) was supported by 16 points from Oladipo and the Hoosiers free-throw shooting was a solid 15-18.
At one stage in the game Minnesota threw up an attempted three that came back off the rim, representing the tenth attempt in succession at a triple that had failed. The Gophers were struggling badly to get it down from distance but Indiana couldn’t take advantage and get away.
In fact it was the 21 turnover points that the Hoosiers allowed which was their undoing compared to a season average of 9.7 points allowed. The Gophers dominated the paint with two amazing blocks from Trevor Mbakwe and Williams Jnr. at either end of the game typifying the Minnesota effort. Mbakwe was massive on the night at both ends of the court and his efforts were backed-up by fellow big Elliot Eliason in the second half with Minnesota out boarding Indiana 38-25. Mbaakwe finished with 21 and 12 and Elaison 7 and 5 in 14 minutes. The bigs were backed up by Andre and Austin Hollins who although in the shadows for a lot of the game, and misfiring from outside, both came up big with key plays in the second-half when it mattered.
The Hooisers were out hustled. And the Gopher’s performance is not specifically a blueprint for beating Indiana – it’s a blueprint for winning ball games.