LGHL: You’re Nuts: Who will finish in last place in the Big Ten?; There’s a pretty clear worst team, but the case could be made for as many as five!

BleedGopher

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per Lemon and Golba:

Justin: Minnesota


Spoiler alert: It is fun to announce that this answer is not Ohio State. And its not even close. There is actually really only one answer to this question, and the answer is Minnesota.

The Barn is one of my favorite places that the Buckeyes play, but this year it is safe to say the Barn will see more losses than wins.

This is who the Golden Gophers lost. Get your pen and pad out:

Gabe Kalscheur (to Iowa State), Liam Robbins (to Vanderbilt), Jamal Mashburn Jr. (to New Mexico), Jarvis Omersa (to St. Thomas), Martice Mitchell (to Northern Illinois), Tre’ Williams (to Oregon State), Sam Freeman (to Pacific), Brandon Johnson (to DePaul), Both Gach (to Utah) and Marcus Carr (to Texas).

Oh and more — their coach is gone. Richard Pitino was fired, and the Gophers hired Ben Johnson. Johnson is a former assistant at Minnesota under Pitino and Travis Steele at Xavier.

Coming back to Minnesota are two players: Isaiah Ihnen and Eric Curry. Ihnen averages 3.1 points per game and 3.1 rebounds per game while averaging 13.1 minutes in his career. However, he will not play in the 2021-22 season after suffering a knee injury in summer practice that will end his season before it starts.

After five seasons, Curry was going to elect to not use his free COVID year of eligibility and become a graduate assistant under coach Johnson, but in July decided to return to the court for one last go around. He averages 4.6 points per game and 4.0 rebounds per game in 18.2 minutes per game played. Their lack of front court depth and experience very likely played a role in this decision for Curry.

All of these losses are significant, but there are two that stand out: Marcus Carr and Liam Robbins. Carr was one of the top scorers and playmakers in the Big Ten last season. He averaged 19.4 points per game, 4.0 rebounds per game and 4.9 assists per game. Minnesota went 14-15 last season, and Carr was the reason that the first number even got to 14. He is heading to Texas to compete for a national championship and be a huge factor for new coach Chris Beard.

And as for Robbins, a transfer from Drake, Ohio State fans know him well. He dropped 27 points and 14 rebounds in a win against the Buckeyes on Jan. 3. The 7-foot-1 center averaged 11 points and seven rebounds per game and was looking to be a breakout star for the Gophers this year. He is now with Vanderbilt.

So, since the Gophers lost so many guys, here is who they are bringing in to replace most of their players:

Jamison Battle (from George Washington), Luke Loewe (from William & Mary), E.J. Stephens (from Lafayette), Sean Sutherlin (from New Hampshire), Treyton Thompson, Payton Willis (from College of Charleston), Parker Fox (from Northern State), Abdoulaye Thiam, Charlie Daniels (from Stephen F. Austin), Daniel Ogele (from Mercyhurst).

These are all guys who are unproven and coming from smaller schools. They may be good players, but the Big Ten is a gauntlet and the Gophers, at least this season, are going to struggle mightily.


Go Gophers!!
 

skiumah1

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I do think I need to prepare myself for just how ugly this season will be. Ben may do great things for the U long term, but this is a brutal roster no matter how you look at it when you’re talking about a Big 10 lineup. There will surely be some moments when things seem really bad.

We’ll call it a developmental year. Year 0. Nothing to lose. That’s the expectation.
 

gophereric30

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I do think I need to prepare myself for just how ugly this season will be. Ben may do great things for the U long term, but this is a brutal roster no matter how you look at it when you’re talking about a Big 10 lineup. There will surely be some moments when things seem really bad.

We’ll call it a developmental year. Year 0. Nothing to lose. That’s the expectation.
It may not look good at times, but who knows these guys may bust their ass and make some shots and play hard. If that's the case we wont see a brutal effort like we did last year in the second half at michigan, purdue, illinois and at home against Illinois. No pride in those games. Gave up! Makes me wonder how many guys last year were soft! This year we might not have elite talent, but maybe all these guys have a chip on their shoulder reading everyday how brutal they are! Something to prove!
 

XMan

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Yeah we had some good players and had potential last year but we never were able to pull it together. It always seems like we had a key injury, or something. Even with all of those players we were not in the top half of the big ten. This year will be ugly.
 

UpAndUnder43

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It may not look good at times, but who knows these guys may bust their ass and make some shots and play hard. If that's the case we wont see a brutal effort like we did last year in the second half at michigan, purdue, illinois and at home against Illinois. No pride in those games. Gave up! Makes me wonder how many guys last year were soft! This year we might not have elite talent, but maybe all these guys have a chip on their shoulder reading everyday how brutal they are! Something to prove!
“Might not have elite talent”
 


goldenboy

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If you can get buried with a talented roster, you can get flat-out embarrassed with a weak lineup.
 

adchester

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Yeah I think that is spot on. I'd be extremely happy with 4-5 Big Ten wins this year and am expecting 2, maybe.

But that's ok, if frustrating. It's not about this year for Ben.
 

builtbadgers

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As i have said before. Not the least bit concerned with the record this year. I have seen several very successful total build jobs start off like 3-13 and then a steady yearly improvement. This is not a rebuild, nothing got built. This is a new build from the foundation up. This will be about the traits the program requires. High character, high ethics, strong fundamentals, great defense.
 

Gopherfan84

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Also I’ll take this roster if they defend and share the ball over last years underachieving bunch. It’s too bad about Fox and Ihnen, that was the front court depth. Still think we win 3-5 B1G games.
 



cjbfbp

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I do think I need to prepare myself for just how ugly this season will be. Ben may do great things for the U long term, but this is a brutal roster no matter how you look at it when you’re talking about a Big 10 lineup. There will surely be some moments when things seem really bad.

We’ll call it a developmental year. Year 0. Nothing to lose. That’s the expectation.

Except I don't think you can call it a true developmental year when at least 5 players of the 10 active scholarship players will be gone after this season. It's certainly possible that 7 will be gone as this will be the 5th year for Sutherlin and Ogele and they may not choose an optional 6th season. That would leave Battle, Thompson, and Thiam as the only active returnees from this team who would be joined by injured redshirts Ihnen and Fox (assuming they remain and are healthy next season).
 

Gopher Teeth

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Except I don't think you can call it a true developmental year when at least 5 players of the 10 active scholarship players will be gone after this season. It's certainly possible that 7 will be gone as this will be the 5th year for Sutherlin and Ogele and they may not choose an optional 6th season. That would leave Battle, Thompson, and Thiam as the only active returnees from this team who would be joined by injured redshirts Ihnen and Fox (assuming they remain and are healthy next season).
Agreed, I think people keep telling themselves this to make themselves feel better about the situation. That's why it is critical to get a rock solid '22 class, because it will be very hard to sell hope when your total head coaching resume is two last place finishes in the B1G. The upswing will be dependent on what you have inhouse at that point.
 

alchemy2u

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Except I don't think you can call it a true developmental year when at least 5 players of the 10 active scholarship players will be gone after this season. It's certainly possible that 7 will be gone as this will be the 5th year for Sutherlin and Ogele and they may not choose an optional 6th season. That would leave Battle, Thompson, and Thiam as the only active returnees from this team who would be joined by injured redshirts Ihnen and Fox (assuming they remain and are healthy next season).
Just because Fox and Ihnen are injured doesn’t mean they will not be carryovers for the culture. Many established teams lose 5 or more players in a year without a total collapse of the systems, expectation or style of play. New young players learn a lot from their peers on work ethic and expectations.
 

builtbadgers

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Except I don't think you can call it a true developmental year when at least 5 players of the 10 active scholarship players will be gone after this season. It's certainly possible that 7 will be gone as this will be the 5th year for Sutherlin and Ogele and they may not choose an optional 6th season. That would leave Battle, Thompson, and Thiam as the only active returnees from this team who would be joined by injured redshirts Ihnen and Fox (assuming they remain and are healthy next season).
Not a lot of numbers of player development but a ton of program development. This has been done so poorly in the past.
 



builtbadgers

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Just because Fox and Ihnen are injured doesn’t mean they will not be carryovers for the culture. Many established teams lose 5 or more players in a year without a total collapse of the systems, expectation or style of play. New young players learn a lot from their peers on work ethic and expectations.
Great post.
 

cjbfbp

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Just because Fox and Ihnen are injured doesn’t mean they will not be carryovers for the culture. Many established teams lose 5 or more players in a year without a total collapse of the systems, expectation or style of play. New young players learn a lot from their peers on work ethic and expectations.

The point is that there won't be a lot of developing players returning. A true developmental year assumes that younger players are taking their lumps while being trained for better days in the future.
 

cjbfbp

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Agreed, I think people keep telling themselves this to make themselves feel better about the situation. That's why it is critical to get a rock solid '22 class, because it will be very hard to sell hope when your total head coaching resume is two last place finishes in the B1G. The upswing will be dependent on what you have inhouse at that point.

I think that 22 class will have to include some transfer upperclassmen as well as promising freshmen.
 

Some guy

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As i have said before. Not the least bit concerned with the record this year. I have seen several very successful total build jobs start off like 3-13 and then a steady yearly improvement. This is not a rebuild, nothing got built. This is a new build from the foundation up. This will be about the traits the program requires. High character, high ethics, strong fundamentals, great defense.
I’d agree with all this. Year 2-3 is where you have to start seeing stuff.

would love to see the following from the team this year:
Great body language
Team basketball
Great hustle
 


UpAndUnder43

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There is a lot to watch for this year. If you’re hoping for a ton of wins you will be disappointed. I want to see a proper system, guys buying in, etc. But to act as if this year makes or breaks anything is foolish.
 

UpAndUnder43

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As i have said before. Not the least bit concerned with the record this year. I have seen several very successful total build jobs start off like 3-13 and then a steady yearly improvement. This is not a rebuild, nothing got built. This is a new build from the foundation up. This will be about the traits the program requires. High character, high ethics, strong fundamentals, great defense.
I have seen several very unsuccessful total build jobs start 3-13 as well. Two sides to this. Ben has his work cut out for him and with the rumors about Coyle have to wonder how that plays into it. Hopefully there is progress in year 2 and 3 to establish the culture and the leadership doesn’t change as Johnson needs consistency to do this.
 

leib0039

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You're posts are correct, there have been successful builds that started 3-13, Baylor being the primary example. However, that is the exception, not the rule. I appreciate people who can say 0 wins this year is fine its about the future. I get your general concept, but the end of the day, I want wins. Would I like the team to play hard, fundamental team basketball, sure, but if we win I frankly don't care how it happens. I just think "well losing is fine were building a culture!" Can be used as an excuse. Fleck is a good example, he has a culture that seems to be working but it helps we're a solid team, Im not buying into RTB at 4-40 over 4 years. So I'm going to try to give Ben a pass year 1 to some extent, but it's a results based job, so don't get your feathers ruffled when others aren't happy about a 1-10 record half way through the B1G year.
 

short ornery norwegian

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Again - play smart. play hard. show the ability to make in-game adjustments. and show improvement from the start of the season to the end of the season. those are the goals.

my brother is a Cross-Country coach. If a kid improves their time throughout the season and shows some growth, that is the important thing - not what place he or she finishes at the Section meet. Sure, if you have better runners, you can set higher goals. but you don't have to win a Conference title or be a State qualifier to have a successful season.
 

60's Guy

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Except I don't think you can call it a true developmental year when at least 5 players of the 10 active scholarship players will be gone after this season. It's certainly possible that 7 will be gone as this will be the 5th year for Sutherlin and Ogele and they may not choose an optional 6th season. That would leave Battle, Thompson, and Thiam as the only active returnees from this team who would be joined by injured redshirts Ihnen and Fox (assuming they remain and are healthy next season).
It's 2021...guys transfer a lot! And stereotyping: it is far more likely young people look for greener pastures versus battling through adversity. We pretty much know the majority of players will be new next year regardless because the eligibility clock has expired on this year's group but it could be an entire new team next year depending how much on court success we have this year with the talent we have. It truly is no fun to lose on a regular basis. Our incoming recruits to date for next year are not projected as immediate program turners in year one, so if I only have one year left unless I'm not very good or very confident I'd probably be looking elsewhere.
Somehow, we gotta win some games or lose the overwhelming majority of our losses by less than 10 points for the incumbents to be optimistic. Or we may have Year Zero Part II.
 

howeda7

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Does Treyton Thompson know he was at College of Charleston?
 

60's Guy

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Again - play smart. play hard. show the ability to make in-game adjustments. and show improvement from the start of the season to the end of the season. those are the goals.

my brother is a Cross-Country coach. If a kid improves their time throughout the season and shows some growth, that is the important thing - not what place he or she finishes at the Section meet. Sure, if you have better runners, you can set higher goals. but you don't have to win a Conference title or be a State qualifier to have a successful season.
Apples and oranges. High school cross country kids are running for fun, health, to be with their friends, to be alone for a couple hours, to add another participation to a college admissions profile and similar kinds of reasons.

Guys are playing Division I basketball to play in the NBA or at the least to get paid in Europe. And it does not matter what anybody else thinks their chances are for that to happen...they think with the right breaks, right trainer, right exposure, right program, right coach it'll happen because Mom, Dad, their AAU coach, their friends all tell them so.

The two groups have completely different dreams and as a result different mindsets.
 

cjbfbp

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It's 2021...guys transfer a lot! And stereotyping: it is far more likely young people look for greener pastures versus battling through adversity. We pretty much know the majority of players will be new next year regardless because the eligibility clock has expired on this year's group but it could be an entire new team next year depending how much on court success we have this year with the talent we have. It truly is no fun to lose on a regular basis. Our incoming recruits to date for next year are not projected as immediate program turners in year one, so if I only have one year left unless I'm not very good or very confident I'd probably be looking elsewhere.
Somehow, we gotta win some games or lose the overwhelming majority of our losses by less than 10 points for the incumbents to be optimistic. Or we may have Year Zero Part II.

Good point. Transfers out are also possible. Battle isn't so likely under the new transfer rules because he just took his free transfer but Thompson, Ihnen, and Thiam still have theirs left. I don't know the rule exactly for Fox because he came from a DII school.
 

CoMn

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I'll watch any team that overachieves over one that doesn't live up to its potential. If these guys play defense, I'll watch them every game.
 

Some guy

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I'll watch any team that overachieves over one that doesn't live up to its potential. If these guys play defense, I'll watch them every game.
Dangerous game because potential is subjective. Like last year some think gophers greatly underachieved whereas I think they only slightly underachieved due to a thin roster
 




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