What is wrong with this team?


Bad Gopher

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Battle shooting under 25% on the season and barely 20% from 3, but yet he continues to hoist up awful looking three pointers. I agree completely, if the outside shots aren't happening, take it to the damn hole!
Battle's struggles are entering the downright mysterious category. Last year he was a machine, and this year he can't hit the side of a barn. Considering he got himself in better physical shape, this is the last thing I expected. Has his foot injury had this big of an effect?

You have this, and you have the team shooting free throws at a literal otherworldly bad percentage. I mean, random people off the street could make a higher percentage. What the hell is going on?!

Something with this team just seems off. They were markedly better in defensive effort and technique last year, and their offensive sets were very good and occasionally brilliant. Same coaching staff. I don't get it.
 

golfing18now

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5-19 since January 1st, 2022

Wins against Western Michigan, St. Francis Brooklyn, Central Michigan, California Baptist and the signature win is a 3 point win over Rutgers

Yikes

EDIT: as a couple posters noted after I originally posted this, the Gophers also beat Penn State and Northwestern last winter, post January 1st. The correct record is 7-19. My apologies to the board. Two day suspension.
 
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ecoperson

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Battle's struggles are entering the downright mysterious category. Last year he was a machine, and this year he can't hit the side of a barn. Considering he got himself in better physical shape, this is the last thing I expected. Has his foot injury had this big of an effect?

You have this, and you have the team shooting free throws at a literal otherworldly bad percentage. I mean, random people off the street could make a higher percentage. What the hell is going on?!

Something with this team just seems off. They were markedly better in defensive effort and technique last year, and their offensive sets were very good and occasionally brilliant. Same coaching staff. I don't get it.
Foot injury can certainly have a big effect. It is possible that the injury has healed but he doesn't trust it.

Team play this year versus last is confounding. Almost all new personnel but that is not the only factor. I wonder if this team just doesn't have the drive. I have no idea why.
 

ecoperson

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5-19 since January 1st, 2022

Wins against Western Michigan, St. Francis Brooklyn, Central Michigan, California Baptist and the signature win is a 3 point win over Rutgers

Yikes
You are missing a couple of wins. Penn State on Feb. 12 and Northwestern on Feb. 19. Not exactly championship contenders but wanted to point out the omission.
 


golfing18now

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You are missing a couple of wins. Penn State on Feb. 12 and Northwestern on Feb. 19. Not exactly championship contenders but wanted to point out the omission.

Whoops.....thanks for the catch. I'm either too tired or struggling with basic counting.
 

PhiloVance

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Simply put BJ has got to prove himself both as an in game coach and in roster construction. He still gets time, no pitch forks yet. But his in game coaching is non existent. And while myself and any rational fan is pleased with his freshman recruiting. His portal usage has been baaaaaaad.

Everyone talks about how its a young team, and it is. But the biggest issue is the only PG on the team is a low major transfer. Cooper can play Big10 hoops but as a 17 minutes off the bench guy. Not as a starter who needs to play nearly 40 a night. Hes too slow and awful defensively.

His use of the portal so far is borderline negligent.

Also, put me in the camp that who starts doesnt typically matter. But ther is absolutely no logical reason to start TT each half each game for 2 minutes and then not play him again. If hes clearly not good enough to play more than like 5 minutes a game. WHy the heck is he setting the tone for both halves? Thats psyche ward logic.

Again, lots of time. But hes got to do more than just recruit solid freshman in state. Cannot live off the "they are young" excuse every year.
I don't understand coaches use of TT. I notice when he's in it's like the other players ignore him. They rather hoist up a contested 3 then pass to him in the corner for an open shot.
 


march madness

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Last year we had mid major SR's who were giving it there all to play at this level! Battle is struggling against small forward matchups and his step back 3 is off. You could try Cooper with Carrngton, Henley with Battle, with Payne in the middle and run everything through Payne unrtil Battle can refind his rhythm. Ask Garcia to be a high scoring 6th man. You would have better team speed and some potential shooters.

Flawed roster with so little actual guards.
 



EG#9

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It would be easier to come up with what is right with this team, because what is wrong is a long, long list.

1. No identity- last year this team finished 93rd on offense and 153rd on defense and 109 overall per KenPom. For reference to be a tournament team and be rated in the 90's on either side of the ball, you need to be close to elite on the other end. Some examples from last year Boise State was 86th on offense, but 20th on defense, Miami (FL) got in at 19th on offense and 107th on defense. If you are as bad as Minnesota was on defense (153rd), you have to be absolutely elite on the other side of the ball to make the tournament. Iowa State was 171 (!) on offense but made up with it by having the 5th best defense in the nation and that got them an 11 seed. Similar story with San Diego State having the 167th best offense, but the 2nd best defense.
This year Minnesota is currently the 180th offense and the 127th rated defense in the nation and 153 overall per KenPom. So the biggest glaring issue is this program is nowhere close to acceptable on either side of the ball and just getting to not terrible on one side of the ball (say 65th?) still leaves them as a team nowhere near tournament contention. What type of team is Ben Johnson trying to create? What are the non-negotiables to be a Ben Johnson type player?

Also Minnesota is 350th (!) in tempo this year after being 285 last year. They are somehow playing even slower than last years team full of mid to low major guys. This doesn't impact their record, as some good teams play slow but being awful and playing a brand of basketball that would make Dick Bennett suggest you pick up the pace is the worst combination possible.

2. Terrible roster construction- Somehow Ben Johnson decided he didn't need to use 2 scholarships this year. That was despite losing basically 80% of his minutes played last year to graduation and knowing he was bringing in 4 Freshman and returning 1 Sophomore he basically refused to play the year prior (Thompson). We started this year without a legitimate option at the 2 guard. Freshman coming in ranked outside the top 100 like Henley and Carrington are not expected to start for Power 5 schools. For reference, Eli King barely gets off the bench at Iowa State and he has a similar recruiting profile. Ben decided Cooper was "his guy" at PG and brought him in with zero competition for that role. I wouldn't give up on him as a starter but it doesn't take Tom Izzo to look at him play at Morehead to notice that foot speed could be an issue defensively at this level. When you decide to pair him with a Freshman in the backcourt, that makes it very tough to defend the perimeter. The injured guys in Ihnen and Fox don't solve any of the problems with perimiter shooting or shot creation at the guard spots. Maybe Ihnen would have helped with the perimeter defense? Ben has certainly described a much different player in Ihnen that he was his first two years as a Gopher.

3. Lack of an edge- I never bought any of the nonsense about last years team of 1 year rentals creating some sort of culture for future teams to follow while finishing in last place. If you watched any of the Gophers against UNLV and turned the channel over to SDSU vs Arkansas you saw a completely different game. Forget the athletic differences, those guys were running harder, setting harder screens, fighting for boards, etc, etc. Payne is by far the Gophers best example of this, but sometimes his lack of experience limits his effectiveness.

A few quicker points as this is already way too long. Battle might be out of position at the 3. It was something I was slightly worried about coming in to the season. He had most of his success last year on offense playing the 4 or the 5. Is he quick enough at the 3 to still have a varied offensive game or is he just a jump shooter at that spot? He's still just coming back from injury so I might be biased towards my original hypothesis here. Starting Thompson is baffling. He has more of an interest in floating around the perimeter than doing the dirty work in the paint. For a team lacking an edge starting a Thompson/Garcia/Battle front court just magnifies that. That's a finesse lineup for a team looking to score in the 80's, but Minnesota doesn't play at a pace that makes that possible. Ben HAS to start benching guys for poor shot selection and/or lack of effort on the defensive end. I thought it was a problem last year when 2 guys in particular would have very notable lapses and nothing was ever done about it. This year we have guys who haven't had a shot in a couple possessions just decide it's their turn and take a contested jumper. It's the absolute easiest time to take a stand with those things in games you're down big (ex UNLV or Penn State last year) and he just doesn't do it.
 

ecoperson

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Whoops.....thanks for the catch. I'm either too tired or struggling with basic counting.
Or it just feels as bad as you think! This has been tough. I don't mind a well-played loss but they've just not had a lot of effort this year. I wish I could understand what is going on. Youth is one thing but there should always be effort... even if its just a mad scramble. A little more effort with the length that we have at a few spot would get them some easy buckets in transition and maybe get some positive momentum. Sometimes you just gotta let the players ball.
 

ecoperson

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It would be easier to come up with what is right with this team, because what is wrong is a long, long list.

1. No identity.
2. Terrible roster construction.
3. Lack of an edge.
Nice post. A couple of comments...

1 and 3-1. I just posted that they need to play with a little more energy effort. I think the team is thinking too much. Maybe the newbies aren't grasping the offense so they may need to rachet back a bit and just simplify their sets. On D, they need to get moving and get into the action with some easy buckets in transition.

2. I disagree a bit on roster. They did use a schollie to lock up Betts to avoid someone else poaching him at the end of the summer. I think Johnson thought that Carrington and Henley would be playing at a little higher level. As is, I think that they are forcing it a bit and that has set them back. I am hoping the early reps eventually allow them the experience needed to calm down and let the game come to them.

3-2. I disagree about the culture. Setting expectations SHOULD have had some carry over effect. Hard to do so when only Battle and Thompson return as major contributors but Ramburg and other walk-ons were here so there should have been an expectation of how hard to practice, for example. Something is amiss. I doubt that we will ever really learn what it is so I am just going to point to energy and effort again.
 

60's Guy

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Battle's struggles are entering the downright mysterious category. Last year he was a machine, and this year he can't hit the side of a barn. Considering he got himself in better physical shape, this is the last thing I expected. Has his foot injury had this big of an effect?

You have this, and you have the team shooting free throws at a literal otherworldly bad percentage. I mean, random people off the street could make a higher percentage. What the hell is going on?!

Something with this team just seems off. They were markedly better in defensive effort and technique last year, and their offensive sets were very good and occasionally brilliant. Same coaching staff. I don't get it.
You think Battle isn't smart enough to realize if he doesn't score 30 we can't win? That's a lot of pressure he's putting himself. Why does he think that? Because we have no team offense, no discernable plan to attack the opponent. I mean it looks like the plan is for Garcia and Battle to showcase themselves...coaching has not told us differently by any coaching actions.
 




EG#9

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Nice post. A couple of comments...

1 and 3-1. I just posted that they need to play with a little more energy effort. I think the team is thinking too much. Maybe the newbies aren't grasping the offense so they may need to rachet back a bit and just simplify their sets. On D, they need to get moving and get into the action with some easy buckets in transition.

2. I disagree a bit on roster. They did use a schollie to lock up Betts to avoid someone else poaching him at the end of the summer. I think Johnson thought that Carrington and Henley would be playing at a little higher level. As is, I think that they are forcing it a bit and that has set them back. I am hoping the early reps eventually allow them the experience needed to calm down and let the game come to them.

3-2. I disagree about the culture. Setting expectations SHOULD have had some carry over effect. Hard to do so when only Battle and Thompson return as major contributors but Ramburg and other walk-ons were here so there should have been an expectation of how hard to practice, for example. Something is amiss. I doubt that we will ever really learn what it is so I am just going to point to energy and effort again.
On your 2nd point, Betts didn't commit to Minnesota until July 1, which is well after most of the portal recruiting was done. They took a very small 6 foot guard from Dartmouth in Samuels who has never shot above 38% from the field, 31% from 3, and averaged about 2 assists a game and less than a steal per game. I feel like that's 3 scholarships between Samuels, Ramberg, and a very young Betts that you couldn't have any reasonable expectations of being rotation players.

On 1 and 3, I kind of equate energy and effort to whatever the culture allegedly is. I got in an argument on this board because I didn't feel this team played particularly hard last year. I didn't think their effort stood out above other Big Ten teams and could point to a team like PSU as playing hard (to my eye) more consistently than Minnesota. You could point to some really great efforts (at Michigan State) and some really terrible ones (at Penn State). That's not to say the effort was usually bad or anything just that it wasn't out of the ordinary praise worthy good. It's not really a surprise to me that the energy and effort is being questioned because I didn't think it was there consistently last year when the culture was allegedly set. I agree with you that something could have been set in terms of practice habits or meeting room habits or how to carry yourself on campus, but the on the floor/in game stuff didn't seem to establish anything about how Minnesota plays under Ben Johnson.
 

cjbfbp

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You think Battle isn't smart enough to realize if he doesn't score 30 we can't win? That's a lot of pressure he's putting himself. Why does he think that? Because we have no team offense, no discernable plan to attack the opponent. I mean it looks like the plan is for Garcia and Battle to showcase themselves...coaching has not told us differently by any coaching actions.

Well, I hope he's smart enough to realize that if he tries to score 30 each game but scores only 15, we also can't win. You're right. There doesn't seem to be a discernible plan (on either side of the court) to coordinate the team's talents effectively and the one you mentioned is probably the closest we can come to interpreting the team's identity.

I will say that the three Minnesota freshmen appear to have more raw athletic ability than anyone who played last season and that should give them some promise on the defensive end at least if Johnson & Company can focus them on that end of the court. As good as Payne has been so far, I think he might have been a little further along if he did what Ola Joseph did last season - attended an elite prep instead of spending his last season at a local high school. Last night against VA Tech he was stuffed from the front and backsides. He probably didn't have that experience much in high school and wouldn't have gotten much of that from practicing with this team either.
 
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GopherWeatherGuy

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Something with this team just seems off. They were markedly better in defensive effort and technique last year, and their offensive sets were very good and occasionally brilliant. Same coaching staff. I don't get it.

I think people are vastly overstating this. I will agree that the offense did move better early in the season last season against weaker competition and much of that is because they had 3 guards who could move the ball around and Curry was a better passer than any of our current post players.

But the offense you're seeing now was largely the same during the B1G season last year. It was a lot of Willis and Battle jacking up tough 3's but it 'looked better' because they were making them more. Someone posted the stats on here a few times last season that the Gophers were one of the better teams in the country at making difficult/contested shots. That's not necessarily the result of good offense and it wasn't sustainable.
 

cjbfbp

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Nice post. A couple of comments...

1 and 3-1. I just posted that they need to play with a little more energy effort. I think the team is thinking too much. Maybe the newbies aren't grasping the offense so they may need to rachet back a bit and just simplify their sets. On D, they need to get moving and get into the action with some easy buckets in transition.

2. I disagree a bit on roster. They did use a schollie to lock up Betts to avoid someone else poaching him at the end of the summer. I think Johnson thought that Carrington and Henley would be playing at a little higher level. As is, I think that they are forcing it a bit and that has set them back. I am hoping the early reps eventually allow them the experience needed to calm down and let the game come to them.

3-2. I disagree about the culture. Setting expectations SHOULD have had some carry over effect. Hard to do so when only Battle and Thompson return as major contributors but Ramburg and other walk-ons were here so there should have been an expectation of how hard to practice, for example. Something is amiss. I doubt that we will ever really learn what it is so I am just going to point to energy and effort again.

1) The "newbies" (if you mean the freshmen) aren't the primary problem.

2) Of course you disagree on the roster because you appear to be psychologically incapable of criticizing our coaches' decisions even when it's obvious they deserve it. You think that accelerating a scholarship to a redshirted high school senior-to-be whose only other P6 offer was from Nebraska was a great move? I hope that move isn't one he repeats in the future. At the very least Johnson should have used that scholarship to get another point guard or combo guard from the portal. There were plenty of them available and chances are that person couldn't have been any worse than Samuels.

3) Mark Twain once said that "patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels." It occurs to me that "culture" may be the last refuge of apologists and bullshitters.
 

bga1

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Foot injury can certainly have a big effect. It is possible that the injury has healed but he doesn't trust it.

Team play this year versus last is confounding. Almost all new personnel but that is not the only factor. I wonder if this team just doesn't have the drive. I have no idea why.
No. He's taking bad shots. Play as a team. IMO the frosh are playing harder (not always smarter) than vets like Battle and Garcia. I'd be fine with starting Cooper, Henley, Carrington, Ola Joseph and Payne for a game or two to send a message to the two "stars". If we are going to have a rough year, establish some non negotiables. Start with effort.
 

BleedGopher

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5-19 since January 1st, 2022

Wins against Western Michigan, St. Francis Brooklyn, Central Michigan, California Baptist and the signature win is a 3 point win over Rutgers

Yikes

Hmm, not sure that’s correct. We won 3 BT games after J1 last season. I think we are 7-19 in that time frame.


Go Gophers!!
 

Gophs24

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effort is missing for large chunks of the game
BJ missed on Cooper/Samuels. Cooper can play in the big ten. But he is not a 35 plus minute guy on a big ten team. Im honestly scared of what big ten guards will do to him.
Carrington/Henley just need to let the game slow down a bit. They both show flashes for moments but then will go 5 minutes where they are non-existent. As the year goes they will settle in.....i hope
Garcia/Battle just simply need to play better. They need to play like the best 2 players on a big ten team
This offense is a joke.....run a damn set. It always looks promising until the first pass. then we have 4 guys standing around watching! do some dang coaching BJ! get the white board out! do something

This season is not going to go very good. but the team still needs to stick together, have fun, and show some dang effort! And the freshman need to continue to get meaningful minutes
 

leib0039

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I think this has shown why Ben is what I thought he was, a really good assistant coach. Good recruiter, great person and what i would call a players coach. He will be their friend and tell them it's ok when they lose. I'm not saying you have to get Fran level red and go nuts but my lord show a little emotion, get a little fired up. He was so worried about hurting feelings he wouldn't even get another PG or fill the roster. That's an absolute joke. Izzo sits his 4* studs all the time. Look at 1st year coach Jon Scheyer, his 2 top freshman ride the pine when they do stupid things.

I look forward to gopher bball more than any other sport, but I'm terrified we are stuck in reverse for another 2-3 years. And if you don't think other teams aren't lining up to poach guys like Payne after an 8 win year, then you don't know how college sports work.
 

BleedGopher

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I think this has shown why Ben is what I thought he was, a really good assistant coach. Good recruiter, great person and what i would call a players coach. He will be their friend and tell them it's ok when they lose. I'm not saying you have to get Fran level red and go nuts but my lord show a little emotion, get a little fired up. He was so worried about hurting feelings he wouldn't even get another PG or fill the roster. That's an absolute joke. Izzo sits his 4* studs all the time. Look at 1st year coach Jon Scheyer, his 2 top freshman ride the pine when they do stupid things.

I look forward to gopher bball more than any other sport, but I'm terrified we are stuck in reverse for another 2-3 years. And if you don't think other teams aren't lining up to poach guys like Payne after an 8 win year, then you don't know how college sports work.
We really have no idea if Johnson was a “really good assistant coach.” The Gophers weren’t good during his time as an assistant here and Xavier wasn’t good during his time there. He’s credited for bringing in Coffey which was a big time recruitment, but outside of that…

Here’s hoping the wins are more plentiful with Johnson as HC at MN than they are with him as an assistant at MN and Xavier.

Go Gophers!!
 

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A
Unless Ihnen can be a legit PG or CG, he’s not helping this roster.

We need a player like Dre Hollins, Nate Mason, Payton Willis, Dre Matthieu, Devoe Joseph, Al Nolen etc... Someone who can break down a defense, distribute and score.

College Basketball is about dynamic guards.
Agree totally. Yet a lot of the posters here insist that those on the roster are perfectly fine at playing “guard”.
 

stocker08

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So a d2 player of year (two years ago) who’s knees exploded…not once but twice and Ilhen (who has played maybe two good weeks in a Gophs jersey coupled with 1.5 years of hot garbage)?

From a depth standpoint, absolutely. But again....you haven't seen one of them play....and the other hasn't been on the court for two years.

So I'd say that your assumptions on this are worth a big flaming bag of garbage.
 

golfing18now

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Bordergopher

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I've been trying to tell everyone this. This year has ZERO to do with wins & losses. The ONLY thing that matters is our freshmen gaining experience.

That being said...Coach Johnson isn't above criticism. He needs to set Battle & Garcia straight about what the plan is. Either you're both returning next year, or you're both out of here...this isn't a 1-year NBA audition. And Cooper shouldn't be shooting at all.
Cooper shouldn’t be shooting at all? Did you look at the shooting stats for Garcia and Battle? Cooper had to shoot because those two couldn’t even find the rim.
 

Wet_Blanket_Guy

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Agree totally. Yet a lot of the posters here insist that those on the roster are perfectly fine at playing “guard”.
Lots of delusional homers thinking our guards are more than capable…it’s laughable
 

Bad Gopher

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You think Battle isn't smart enough to realize if he doesn't score 30 we can't win? That's a lot of pressure he's putting himself. Why does he think that? Because we have no team offense, no discernable plan to attack the opponent. I mean it looks like the plan is for Garcia and Battle to showcase themselves...coaching has not told us differently by any coaching actions.
I think I see what you're saying, but I'm not sure this makes any sense. Of course there's pressure; that's the case with every player on every team everywhere. Are you saying he's struggling because the offense is dysfunctional? OK, that's a point, but it doesn't explain why he's missing open looks that he'd have made blindfolded last year.
 

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Battle's struggles are entering the downright mysterious category. Last year he was a machine, and this year he can't hit the side of a barn. Considering he got himself in better physical shape, this is the last thing I expected. Has his foot injury had this big of an effect?

You have this, and you have the team shooting free throws at a literal otherworldly bad percentage. I mean, random people off the street could make a higher percentage. What the hell is going on?!

Something with this team just seems off. They were markedly better in defensive effort and technique last year, and their offensive sets were very good and occasionally brilliant. Same coaching staff. I don't get it.
Part of it is that Willis isn't here anymore. He could knock down 3's.
Battle can't create his own shot or drive to the hoop without charging into a defender. He needs someone to hit some shots so things open up. Trouble is..... no one can.
 




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