Thursday, October 27, 2011

2011-2012 Golden Gopher Men's Basketball Season Predictions




Tuesday November 2nd marks the start of the 2011-2012 Gopher Men’s Basketball season.

After a depressing season last year, all fingers are crossed that this year will finally be “the year” that it all comes together. Fans appear to be getting over the Tubby hire, and rightfully so.

Under Tubby, the Gophers have improved, but it hasn’t been the upward progression fans had hoped for. Sure, the team now wins more than 9 games a year, but they can’t advance past the first round of March Madness.

I’m not here to dwell on the past. It just isn’t worth it…and quite frankly, it will just piss me off.

No, I’m here to try and pump up our fan base for this year. The year that I think will be the best in the Tubby Smith (at Minnesota) era. So, if you want to jump on the wagon with me, do it now. I don’t think there will be much room come December.

First off, you have probably already read my player breakdowns so I’m not going to go player by player again. What I want to do is give a full season breakdown and what I think the team will end up accomplishing this year.

Let’s start with the non-conference. Now, I know to the naked eye it does appear a little weak. Which seems to be a Tubby standard. Now, we could use the excuse, “We have a lot of new guys playing. We don’t want to kill their confidence by playing a demanding schedule.” Which does hold true this year. However, I would have liked to of seen more “big name” teams on the schedule.

So, let’s predict the games (not including exhibition):

Bucknell – WIN

South Dakota State - WIN

Fairfield – WIN

Mount St. Mary’s – WIN

OLD SPICE CLASSIC

DePaul – WIN

Texas Tech/Indiana State – Win if Texas Tech. Lose if Indiana State

TBD – No matter whom they face here – WIN

Virginia Tech (Big Ten/ACC Challenge) – WIN

USC – Lose

Appalachian State – WIN

St. Peter’s – WIN

Central Michigan – WIN

North Dakota State – WIN


With my predictions, that would send the Gophers into the B1G season with an 11-2 record at worst and a chance at 12-1.

Now, even though they come out of this at best 12-1, it isn’t all that great. Heck, even 13-0 wouldn’t be great. Yeah, they would come out unblemished and have an Old Spice Classic Trophy, but in the end it won’t really matter.

That’s the problem with playing such a weak schedule. The only thing(s) that could come out of it are bad. You lose one game to any of the teams listed, outside of maybe USC or Virginia Tech, and that puts us behind the eight ball right away.

I know there are some good things that could come out of it as well. The team could gel together and be at beast in the B1G and be in the hunt for a title. If that happens, great, but we have used that logic before only to have our heart’s broken.

Ok, moving on. It’s time for the B1G season. Hopefully this year plays out much better than the last.

@Illinois – WIN

@Michigan – Lose

Iowa – WIN

Purdue – WIN

@Indiana – Lose

@Penn State - WIN

Northwestern – WIN

@Michigan State – WIN

Illinois – Lose

@Iowa – WIN

@Nebraska – WIN

Wisconsin – WIN

Ohio State – Lose

@Northwestern – Lose

Michigan State – Lose

Indiana – WIN

@Wisconsin – Lose

Nebraska – WIN


If my predictions hold true, and I think they will, the Gophers will finish the B1G season with a record of 11-7 (23-9). Not great, but that would be the best season under Tubby Smith in B1G play. Would it be enough to get us into the “Big Dance”? Not sure. We would have some quality wins, but also some bad loses.

Key Wins:

Fairfield
Virginia Tech
@Illinois
Purdue
@Michigan State
Wisconsin

Bad Loses:

Indiana State
USC
@Indiana
@Northwestern

My guess is after all is said and done, we will be where we are every other year; needing to win 1 or 2 games in the B1G Tourney. I do think they make the “Big Dance” and even with a game or 2. If that happens, we should throw a mini parade in Dinkytown. After all, we could use an excuse to celebrate the Gophers.

One thing is for sure, it will be an exciting ride like always. Where do you see team going this year? Make sure to check out Gopherhole as well. They have some great people on there going back and forth. You are sure to find awesome conversation about the upcoming season.

Ken


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