***OFFICIAL WESTERN KENTUCKY VS MINNESOTA CLEM HASKINS MATCHUP IN-GAME THREAD!!!***

touchdownvikings

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I really couldn't pay that much attention to the game last night, because I had company over. From the little I saw (and from the previous game), it seems like Curry maybe has a little bit of spring back in his legs. Am I dreaming?
 


MennoSota

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They really play hard on defense. I actually thought Loewe was decent on defense but in the last 10 minutes of the game you couldn't breathe on the WKU without a foul being called. Then he started hitting shots. Then it got close.

All in all, it was an encouraging performance. I don't think we'll be a good team, but we won't be an easy win most nights. Our guards have played a lot of basketball and it makes us a tough out.
Tight pressure on our ball handlers will cause us problems. We have no one who handles the rock well. No one who can truly press break.
 

short ornery norwegian

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Thought/speculation:

Ben Johnson is not stupid. He knows what is being said and written about this team. And he understands that this team needs to win some games early to maintain interest in the team and keep the narrative from turning too negative.

So - according to my theory - he is leaning early on the players he has the most trust in - AND the players who are most ready to play and contribute in his system.

this does not necessarily mean that the bench players are "bad" or lack talent. I suspect it means that they need more work/development.

By the mid-point of the season, I think we will see more players getting minutes and making for a deeper bench.
 

Lakers612

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We have a 3-game stretch after Michigan St. and Michigan where we play Green Bay, Alcorn St and some other low major. That’s where our bench should be seeing some serious time.

Regardless, I expect a lot of 7-man rotation B1G games, if only because we will be competitive and Johnson will lean on the guys he trusts..

Our team defense has looked phenomenal so far. Have a feeling that the guys who are not seeing the floor is due to the fact that they are behind on the defensive end compared to the 7 guys we are rolling with.
 


Johnnyboy18

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There were two of them right next to each other at the end of the bench, no? I’ll admit the lighting was terrible. Did you see Thompson dressed in uniform?
Yeah I believe he was next to Thiam on the bench after the first 2 guys.
 
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jamiche

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Agree with your comments. The second half of the WKU game was my only exposure so far this year. My initial observations are:

1) yes, they are poised;
2) these guys are smart and mature players who play as a team; I didn't see anyone last night who seemed particularly interested in individual heroics or earning athletic style points for making difficult plays;
3) they're good shooters (better than we're used to recently) probably in no small part because they work for good shots.

I think this style of play may do wonders for Eric Curry as his physical limitations won't be as much of a handicap in this sort of system. WKU definitely had some size, athleticism, and talent in the front court but we out rebounded them 39 to 34. It's very encouraging to see the team out rebound a team with more size and athleticism and demonstrates that good fundamentals can compensate for physical deficiencies.
I'm glad you commented about Curry. During the UMKC game he pretty much looked like last year. Last night he was making plays that I haven't seen him make since his freshman year. He shot from mid range with a lot of confidence, knew how to position himself, passed well and was a difference maker. Hope he stays healthy and it continues.

Finally, I'm amused by the enthusiasm of all of the anti-Ben folks. Let's see if some of the veiled comments about the circumstances of his hiring return in the likely event that the season gets rocky.
 

MplsGopher

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Finally, I'm amused by the enthusiasm of all of the anti-Ben folks. Let's see if some of the veiled comments about the circumstances of his hiring return in the likely event that the season gets rocky.
It's possible to both be displeased about the circumstances of how/why Ben was hired over Craig, and root for "the idea of Ben" to work out and for the Gophs to succeed.

No need to try to misframe these as mutually exclusive, when they're not.
 

MplsGopher

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How does Princeton look, relative to WKU and the other non-conf cupcake teams?
 



ecoperson

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It's possible to both be displeased about the circumstances of how/why Ben was hired over Craig, and root for "the idea of Ben" to work out and for the Gophs to succeed.

No need to try to misframe these as mutually exclusive, when they're not.
When can we stop with the Craig Smith fascination? It has been almost 8 months. It didn't happen... it is time to let it go.

Smith would not have inspired the fan base anymore than Johnson and certainly wouldn't have inspired incoming recruits. Utah lost 9 transfers to the portal this year. Smith brought in 6 transfers roughly cut from the same cloth as the transfers in to the U- including two that followed him from Utah State.

If you want to keep up with the love for Craig Smith, can you please start a thread called All Things Craig Smith and we can talk about his Xs and Os throughout the year. A little birdy told me that they beat the hated Abilene Christian Wildcats by 14 the other night in SLC.
 


MplsGopher

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When can we stop with the Craig Smith fascination? It has been almost 8 months. It didn't happen... it is time to let it go.
Oh hush.

You see me on here posting about Craig all the time?

I brought it up, because Jam brought it up.


I'm firmly in the "root for the idea of Ben to work out" camp, though I doubt that if he succeeds here, it will be because of MN 4*/5* dominated roster. MN 3* that get coached up and/or blossom beyond what they showed in HS, sure, fine.

And that doesn't matter one bit. Never did.
 




jamiche

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It's possible to both be displeased about the circumstances of how/why Ben was hired over Craig, and root for "the idea of Ben" to work out and for the Gophs to succeed.

No need to try to misframe these as mutually exclusive, when they're not.
Fair point. I think there were some folks such as yourself who were legitimately disappointed that Ben was hired over coaches with a more proven track record. I think there were other folks who were disappointed that Ben was hired over white coaches.

Nonetheless, it's good to see everybody on board the Ben train.
 


Bob_Loblaw

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I'm glad you commented about Curry. During the UMKC game he pretty much looked like last year. Last night he was making plays that I haven't seen him make since his freshman year. He shot from mid range with a lot of confidence, knew how to position himself, passed well and was a difference maker. Hope he stays healthy and it continues.

Finally, I'm amused by the enthusiasm of all of the anti-Ben folks. Let's see if some of the veiled comments about the circumstances of his hiring return in the likely event that the season gets rocky.
I still think Curry played bad, but he didn't look noticeably out of juice. I think we might get more from Curry than I had originally thought we would.

That makes me pretty happy for him.
 

Bob_Loblaw

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When can we stop with the Craig Smith fascination? It has been almost 8 months. It didn't happen... it is time to let it go.

Smith would not have inspired the fan base anymore than Johnson and certainly wouldn't have inspired incoming recruits. Utah lost 9 transfers to the portal this year. Smith brought in 6 transfers roughly cut from the same cloth as the transfers in to the U- including two that followed him from Utah State.

If you want to keep up with the love for Craig Smith, can you please start a thread called All Things Craig Smith and we can talk about his Xs and Os throughout the year. A little birdy told me that they beat the hated Abilene Christian Wildcats by 14 the other night in SLC.
First paragraph, I agree.
Second paragraph, I disagree.

But yes, who cares about him now. I get the offseason discussion, but now that we have actual basketball being played, I don't understand why anyone would want to talk about him on Gopher game threads.
 

howeda7

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It's possible to both be displeased about the circumstances of how/why Ben was hired over Craig, and root for "the idea of Ben" to work out and for the Gophs to succeed.

No need to try to misframe these as mutually exclusive, when they're not.
This. Smith is a known 2nd option not taken. It will always be valid to compare the two, just as we would PJ and Les Miles if Kansas weren't a train wreck. But that's a Coyle / Admin issue and has nothing to do with supporting Ben or the team.
 

Bob_Loblaw

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Tight pressure on our ball handlers will cause us problems. We have no one who handles the rock well. No one who can truly press break.
We done have 1 dynamic ball handler, but we have 3 capable ball handlers. That really does go a long way I'm more concerned about where we will find offense in a lot of games. I think EJ Stephens is going to have to make a lot of plays.
 

jamiche

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I still think Curry played bad, but he didn't look noticeably out of juice. I think we might get more from Curry than I had originally thought we would.

That makes me pretty happy for him.
I don’t think 31 minutes, 11pts, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 1 block is a bad game at all from him. If we get that from him every night, I’ll take it.
 

Bob_Loblaw

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I don’t think 31 minutes, 11pts, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 1 block is a bad game at all from him. If we get that from him every night, I’ll take it.
That's actually better than I thought he did. You're right, we'd take that every night.
 

ecoperson

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Oh hush.

You see me on here posting about Craig all the time?

I brought it up, because Jam brought it up.


I'm firmly in the "root for the idea of Ben to work out" camp, though I doubt that if he succeeds here, it will be because of MN 4*/5* dominated roster. MN 3* that get coached up and/or blossom beyond what they showed in HS, sure, fine.

And that doesn't matter one bit. Never did.
While I replied to your post, my message was not directed specifically AT you but the topic of Smith at large. Sorry about that.

As for your second point, I guess it all starts with what your definition of success is. If you are OK with 3 star players that are coached up to be better than their rankings, we are likely looking at a program with occasional runs in the tournament. I am personally OK with capturing magic in a bottle every few years in the short term.

Many here believe success is defined by consistently making the tournament and always finishing in the top 4-5. Johnson will need to start pulling in 4 or 5 star recruits from MN or somewhere or we will not reach that level of consistency. I, for one, am hoping that building a solid foundation of winning with 3 star talent will eventually lead to more interest among local prep stars. We shall see.
 

Slim Tubby

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I like our structure both on offense and defense thus far. It’s still going to be a tough year but Ben clearly has designed schemes of execution on both sides of the ball.

If we had Ihnen and Fox healthy, I think we’d be a very intriguing team albeit still no better than 10th in the B10.
 

MplsGopher

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I, for one, am hoping that building a solid foundation of winning with 3 star talent will eventually lead to more interest among local prep stars. We shall see.
Right.

The is exactly "the idea", when paired with a "local guy". (Thorson as well)

I just think it will take the program becoming much higher level than what is maybe possible without having those MN 4/5* guys in the first place, in order to be able to attract them. Chicken and egg.

As you correctly said, we shall see.
 




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