So far I am totally wrong...

BarnBurner

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They've played really tough. I don't think we have the guns to win a lot of games but they aren't going to be an easy team to play.

Maybe it's Ben Johnson, maybe it's that we have a really experienced team (it's likely both), but they really play smart defense. It was always one of my biggest issues with Pitino's teams on defense, they'd double at weird spots, they'd leave a good shooter to help out on crappy shooters, we just always played kind of dumb defense.

This team plays much smarter defense, they actually cut on offense, their shooters actually get to catch and shoot in rhythm (because it's not dribble ball). So far so good.
If teams choose to press, MN will be an easy win.
 

DanvilleGopher

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I think they play better basketball but really are going to be exposed in the conference (not that Pitino's teams weren't...) due to lack of athleticism and size. They may steal some games though depending on the opposition.
I love the 'team' concept they have going right now BUT they will get crushed by Illinois and Michigan (and others with strong paint games) in the paint as they just don't have anyone to deal with teams with solid bigs.

I love what I see so far though!!
 

BballJones

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So, what have the expectations moved up to, now?

There's still no chance of any kind of post-season tournament, or doing anything noteworthy in the Big Ten, right?


What is the best thing to hope for? Knock off Iowa/Wisc for a really fun upset? Or something like that?
I think it's still a finish in the bottom 3 of the BIG. Very short bench, apparently can't hit FT's, scary vs the press. With that said, I've enjoyed the effort of the team thus far. I was happy when they got Battle and he's even better than I expected. So smooth (although maybe careless at times). Imagine how good he'd be as the 3rd option on a good team? Willis looking solid. Sutherlin is intriguing. A bit surprised Thompson and Thiam have not seen the court much. Hopefully in time.
 

ekeg0002

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I will also eat some partial crow, as an appetizer, not a full meal.

Really like what I see in terms of team defense, ball movement on offense leading to better shots, and overall smart play. They are playing tough, playing together, and seem to be very cohesive. I don't see a lot of dumb fouls or mental mistakes. This gives me hope that Ben has some real promise as a coach. So when we get some players back from injury and the 3 local kids next year, I'm hoping we can begin to be competitive with Big 10 teams.

All that being said, we are not going to win many more games this year just purely due to roster construction. That still has to fall on coach Johnson - should have been able to talk 2 or 3 other players into staying versus transferring. Would love to see what this team could do with even just 2 more moderately capable bigs.
 



Ope3

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So, what have the expectations moved up to, now?

There's still no chance of any kind of post-season tournament, or doing anything noteworthy in the Big Ten, right?


What is the best thing to hope for? Knock off Iowa/Wisc for a really fun upset? Or something like that?
That's at least possible, IF they stay healthy. Knocking on wood...
 

Holy Man

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I don't know about that.

We have three decent ball handlers, which is probably more important than having one good PG. They might wear us out though.
My guess is that they might practice breaking the press a bit as they move forward. Also agree that while there is no true point guard, there are enough guys who can handle the ball competently to break most presses. The pressing might be as much to wear them out with no depth than it is to create turnovers, etc. That might be a more "pressing" issue.
 

MNVCGUY

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They've played really tough. I don't think we have the guns to win a lot of games but they aren't going to be an easy team to play.

Maybe it's Ben Johnson, maybe it's that we have a really experienced team (it's likely both), but they really play smart defense. It was always one of my biggest issues with Pitino's teams on defense, they'd double at weird spots, they'd leave a good shooter to help out on crappy shooters, we just always played kind of dumb defense.

This team plays much smarter defense, they actually cut on offense, their shooters actually get to catch and shoot in rhythm (because it's not dribble ball). So far so good.
I consider it a major victory that in 3 games I have already seen us look better in the half court offense than we ever did under Pitino.

Can't underscore the importance of having experienced guys out there. The Basketball IQ is probably very high on this team. They won't have the horses to compete with a lot of teams but they also won't beat themselves most nights.

Play hard, get hot shooting and you never know.
 

MNVCGUY

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All that being said, we are not going to win many more games this year just purely due to roster construction. That still has to fall on coach Johnson - should have been able to talk 2 or 3 other players into staying versus transferring. Would love to see what this team could do with even just 2 more moderately capable bigs.
This roster wasn't built to win this year, and then it was hamstrung even more when a couple of the bigger bodies on the roster went down with injuries before the season in Ihnen and Fox. This group with those two healthy would have been in a position to be competitive with a lot of teams in the Big Ten. Not challenge for the title or an NCAA bid but at least give teams a legit fight.

Still, it was very clear early on that this was going to be a tough year and the focus was not on winning this year but rather looking to next year and beyond. Which is why Johnson focused on one year guys with high basketball IQs and a desire to play at the Big Ten level.
 




howeda7

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To my understanding he was just a late signing to fill out the team - a practice body if you will. Which is consistent with him being a bench piece for Navy last season. No idea if he's any good but I trust CBJ to make that decision. Seems he won't see the floor for any meaningful minutes barring injury though.

I'm more intrigued by the choice to play Treyton zero minutes so far and you have to think redshirting him is a consideration at this point. I'm fairly sure we still have several games before having to make the call on that but I could be wrong there.
They really can't red shirt him. There's no way we can make it through B1G season playing only Curry and Daniels at the 5. It's a miracle Curry didn't foul out last night and he surely will a few times.
 

bga1

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I think it's still a finish in the bottom 3 of the BIG. Very short bench, apparently can't hit FT's, scary vs the press. With that said, I've enjoyed the effort of the team thus far. I was happy when they got Battle and he's even better than I expected. So smooth (although maybe careless at times). Imagine how good he'd be as the 3rd option on a good team? Willis looking solid. Sutherlin is intriguing. A bit surprised Thompson and Thiam have not seen the court much. Hopefully in time.
I love what I have seen so far but that said, I still can't see more than 4-5 wins in the Big Ten and really 5 wins would be pretty good. They will shoot free throws well, but the lack of depth, size and athleticism is going to kill us in any game where we don't shoot in the range of 40% from 3pt range. Anything 10th place or better is coach of the year in the Big Ten worthy for Ben.
 

jamiche

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I love what I have seen so far but that said, I still can't see more than 4-5 wins in the Big Ten and really 5 wins would be pretty good. They will shoot free throws well, but the lack of depth, size and athleticism is going to kill us in any game where we don't shoot in the range of 40% from 3pt range. Anything 10th place or better is coach of the year in the Big Ten worthy for Ben.
You are two losses in a row away from going back to calling him a "diversity hire."
 



MennoSota

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IMO, they look almost as good as any of Pitino’s teams.
Really?
This current team has played all mid-major middle of the pack teams and you think they look almost as good as Pitino's NCAA tournament teams?
This squad has played as a team and been efficient against its first three opponents, but they are going to get beaten down in the B1G and some of those games will be really bad losses. We have no point guard and no center. It will be very evident against really athletic teams.
 

oldrodent

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Really?
This current team has played all mid-major middle of the pack teams and you think they look almost as good as Pitino's NCAA tournament teams?
This squad has played as a team and been efficient against its first three opponents, but they are going to get beaten down in the B1G and some of those games will be really bad losses. We have no point guard and no center. It will be very evident against really athletic teams.
I might agree with most of what you are saying, but add though that I think if Ben can keep this team tied in emotionally we will look better toward the 2nd half of the year and then could be competitive with the bottom half of the conference.
 

jamiche

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Really?
This current team has played all mid-major middle of the pack teams and you think they look almost as good as Pitino's NCAA tournament teams?
This squad has played as a team and been efficient against its first three opponents, but they are going to get beaten down in the B1G and some of those games will be really bad losses. We have no point guard and no center. It will be very evident against really athletic teams.
No, they are not as good as Pitino's tournament teams. Probably not close. Based on a small sample size, they are better at playing up to the level of talent they possess than Pitino's teams.
 

VolitileGopher

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I think they play better basketball but really are going to be exposed in the conference (not that Pitino's teams weren't...) due to lack of athleticism and size. They may steal some games though depending on the opposition.
I concur. You can tell Johnson & Thorsen can coach. That's not the issue. The question is can they recruit? So far, the answer is a resounding no. Obviously, they were unable to convincingly describe their vision to random young men. We only see 7 players making it to the court. One injury (sound familiar?) and they are in deep trouble. They are extremely limited after Battle & Willis, and Willis plays out of position at the one. It will get ugly against better, more athletic and/or more physical competition.

Now, on the plus side. This version of basketball fits with the style of play that wins on the national level. Most Big Ten teams do not play this style of basketball outside of Northwestern. If you can recruit shooters--regardless of whether or not they were raised in Minnesota, this style can win. Hopefully, seeing it on the court will help Johnson sway players to come to Minnesota. If you are 1 or a Combo, you have to see Willis' opportunities to date and be thrilled about the prospects of playing in Johnson's system. Willis is marginal at best and he is thriving. Good for him.
 

Parcival

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I concur. You can tell Johnson & Thorsen can coach. That's not the issue. The question is can they recruit? So far, the answer is a resounding no. Obviously, they were unable to convincingly describe their vision to random young men. We only see 7 players making it to the court. One injury (sound familiar?) and they are in deep trouble. They are extremely limited after Battle & Willis, and Willis plays out of position at the one. It will get ugly against better, more athletic and/or more physical competition.

Now, on the plus side. This version of basketball fits with the style of play that wins on the national level. Most Big Ten teams do not play this style of basketball outside of Northwestern. If you can recruit shooters--regardless of whether or not they were raised in Minnesota, this style can win. Hopefully, seeing it on the court will help Johnson sway players to come to Minnesota. If you are 1 or a Combo, you have to see Willis' opportunities to date and be thrilled about the prospects of playing in Johnson's system. Willis is marginal at best and he is thriving. Good for him.
Wait what? I disagree completely. We have 3 solid recruits for the 2022 class already and they're all from Minnesota.

Saying that they can't recruit at all when it hasn't even been a year since CBJ got hired seems silly to me. Give it some time.
 

benlaur

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No, they are not as good as Pitino's tournament teams. Probably not close. Based on a small sample size, they are better at playing up to the level of talent they possess than Pitino's teams.
Seems like a fair assessment so far.
 

salzie

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I concur. You can tell Johnson & Thorsen can coach. That's not the issue. The question is can they recruit? So far, the answer is a resounding no. Obviously, they were unable to convincingly describe their vision to random young men. We only see 7 players making it to the court. One injury (sound familiar?) and they are in deep trouble. They are extremely limited after Battle & Willis, and Willis plays out of position at the one. It will get ugly against better, more athletic and/or more physical competition.

Now, on the plus side. This version of basketball fits with the style of play that wins on the national level. Most Big Ten teams do not play this style of basketball outside of Northwestern. If you can recruit shooters--regardless of whether or not they were raised in Minnesota, this style can win. Hopefully, seeing it on the court will help Johnson sway players to come to Minnesota. If you are 1 or a Combo, you have to see Willis' opportunities to date and be thrilled about the prospects of playing in Johnson's system. Willis is marginal at best and he is thriving. Good for him.
a resounding no?

That is just ridiculous take
 

CoMn

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My expectations going forward is to enjoy watching a team that plays smart, plays their hearts out and plays defense. If they don't come in 14th in the B1G I'll be happy. If they indeed go 5-0 to start the season, I'll be thrilled. If they win 2 B1G games, I'll be thrilled. Anything more than that I'll be really excited. This team is way more fun to watch than any Pitino teams.
 


Gophs24

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My expectations going forward is to enjoy watching a team that plays smart, plays their hearts out and plays defense. If they don't come in 14th in the B1G I'll be happy. If they indeed go 5-0 to start the season, I'll be thrilled. If they win 2 B1G games, I'll be thrilled. Anything more than that I'll be really excited. This team is way more fun to watch than any Pitino teams.
yup....im keeping my expectations in check. But great for them being 3-0. I will be very happy if they get to 5-0.

once the big ten season starts they will get exposed in the paint on both ends of the floor. and teams will pressure the heck out of them.

i see us hanging around in the 1st half of a lot of games....but our depth issues will come into play in the 2nd halves of games.
 

CoMn

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I will also eat some partial crow, as an appetizer, not a full meal.

Really like what I see in terms of team defense, ball movement on offense leading to better shots, and overall smart play. They are playing tough, playing together, and seem to be very cohesive. I don't see a lot of dumb fouls or mental mistakes. This gives me hope that Ben has some real promise as a coach. So when we get some players back from injury and the 3 local kids next year, I'm hoping we can begin to be competitive with Big 10 teams.

All that being said, we are not going to win many more games this year just purely due to roster construction. That still has to fall on coach Johnson - should have been able to talk 2 or 3 other players into staying versus transferring. Would love to see what this team could do with even just 2 more moderately capable bigs.
He did have Fox and Ihnen and then they got injured. This would be a different team with them healthy.
 

Dakota2

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This team will overachieve. You can already see they believe in each other and the coaching staff and there are no egos. That's half the battle right there.
The bigger half of the Battle is called Jamison.
 

CoMn

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I concur. You can tell Johnson & Thorsen can coach. That's not the issue. The question is can they recruit? So far, the answer is a resounding no. Obviously, they were unable to convincingly describe their vision to random young men. We only see 7 players making it to the court. One injury (sound familiar?) and they are in deep trouble. They are extremely limited after Battle & Willis, and Willis plays out of position at the one. It will get ugly against better, more athletic and/or more physical competition.

Now, on the plus side. This version of basketball fits with the style of play that wins on the national level. Most Big Ten teams do not play this style of basketball outside of Northwestern. If you can recruit shooters--regardless of whether or not they were raised in Minnesota, this style can win. Hopefully, seeing it on the court will help Johnson sway players to come to Minnesota. If you are 1 or a Combo, you have to see Willis' opportunities to date and be thrilled about the prospects of playing in Johnson's system. Willis is marginal at best and he is thriving. Good for him.
He recruited pretty well for next year so far. He has targeted and offered early many guys who were under-ranked with few other early offers, so he clearly knows how to spot talent. He's brought in lots of local talent for games and practices. Local players say he calls/texts/goes to games etc. a lot versus Pitino. I've been pleased in this area. He isn't lazy...he works hard and does what needs to be done in Minnesota.
 

Dakota2

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Ihnen and Fox would've made a huge difference, especially with how thin our depth appears to be. Shortened us from 9 rotational players to 7.
Yes, and that is the very big difference they would have made.
 

ekeg0002

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He did have Fox and Ihnen and then they got injured. This would be a different team with them healthy.
I agree, but we never gave Pitino a pass on injuries either. (and rightly so) It totally sucks that they both went down, but its the coaches job to build a passable bench. Again, I think we all have low expectations for this year and Fox/Ihnen injuries aren't going to be the difference keeping us from the Final Four, but just pointing out that even talking Sam Freeman into staying would have made a huge difference.

On the other hand, it has been interesting and refreshing seeing how Ben and the team have been able to work around the lack of bigs so far. It will probably be brutal in the B10, but I love watching coaches who can turn a weakness into a strength, so I'm looking for that. (i.e. yes we are way too small on defense, but we play straight up and don't foul, and have slashers who can fly by your bigs on offense).
 

Dakota2

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So, what have the expectations moved up to, now?

There's still no chance of any kind of post-season tournament, or doing anything noteworthy in the Big Ten, right?


What is the best thing to hope for? Knock off Iowa/Wisc for a really fun upset? Or something like that?
Shoot, as a team, over 40% from the floor and 38%+ from three. For the season.
 

Dakota2

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For me, this year won't be judged on wins and losses.

I'm looking for offensive sets, effort, and how they play fundamental defense

in end, there is too much talent deficiency to do much, no front court depth and no true PG
The talent deficiency is front court (where we will get butchered in league play. We have actual basketball talent at guard and wing. There is no one who has played who resembles the Pitino guys who couldn't score if you locked them in the gym alone.
 




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