The Minnesota Gophers men’s basketball team is off to a 9-2 start for the first time since 2017-18, when they were ranked as high as #12 in the nation.
They’ve pulled it off despite TERRIBLE offensive basketball out of their wings. But the Gophers are ranked in the top-25, you say? How bad can it be?
Well through four conference games, it’s been worse than what Richard Pitino could have dreamed up in the darkest of his nightmares.
Minnesota’s two losses this season have come in Big Ten play and both have been complete ass-kickings. The final tally only showed a 12-point deficit vs Wisconsin on Thursday, but anyone who watched that game knows better.
The sad truth is this: If Richard Pitino doesn’t start getting more consistent play from his wings (mostly Gabe Kalscheur and Both Gach) on the offensive end of the floor, then the future will hold more blowout losses than it will exciting wins.
This isn’t 1990. Basketball games are won with spacing and outside shooting. If your wings are shooting under 18% from 3PT, you aren’t going to win very many games, especially in the Big Ten.
Starts with Gabe and Both
It’s almost impossible that Gabe Kalscheur is the most consistent offensive wing the Gophers have. At a walloping 32% from the field and 22% from 3PT, the fact that he leads the wings in both categories says everything.
Both Gach played pretty well during the non-conference schedule but, since Big Ten play has started, he’s been a shell of himself. Look at those numbers. He’s shooting 20% from the field and has more turnovers (9) than he does field goals (6).
The starting wings are important to this Gopher defense. Gabe is their best perimeter defender and it’s not close. Gach provides length that is rare to have out on the 3pt line. But what they bring on defense can only take them so far.
Glimmer of hope vs Wisconsin?
#22 did show a dull spark midway through the Wisconsin game. Here’s to believing it’s a sign of better things to come.
Gabe Kalscheur has a dozen points hitting a couple threes and 3 of 5 attempts. The rest of the team is 3 of 26 including Liam Robbins and Mashburn having missed all of their combined 11 attempts.— Ryan James (@RyanJamesMN) December 31, 2020
Gach and Kalscheur will both need to find their confidence on offense if the Minnesota Golden Gophers are going to keep winning. The turnaround needs to start on Sunday vs the #25 Ohio State Buckeyes.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan