There are a lot of trends right now.
The Gophers get out to strong starts.
The Gophers do not have strong finishes.
The Gophers' offense is disappearing.
And after each loss, Amelia calls it the worst of the season.
That's because at this time of year, with the Gophers moving themselves farther and farther to the edge of the bubble (and now maybe off it for the time being), each new loss becomes the worst. That, and the fact that the Gophers are finding an incredible capability for making the same mistakes over and over. Losing one game in devastating fashion and then somehow repeating almost that exact same formula a few nights later. It would be very, very understandable for Gophers fans to be very, very frustrated.
This bunch has shown it can play with good teams -- in spurts. Putting it all together seems to be a relative impossibility.
The first half. Somehow, after scoring 28 points and lingering around 30 percent from the field for most of the half (but going into the break having made 41.7 percent), the Gophers had a whopping 10-point lead over Ohio State at halftime. How, you say? Well, the defense was pretty good, holding the Buckeyes to 27.3 percent shooting. And the Gophers handled the ball well, turning it over just four times. But mostly, the Buckeyes were just bad. They were sleep-walking, as one particularly large-lunged fellow behind me kept screaming. Still, it was hard not to take a lot of positives from that first half.
The second half (this breakdown really was pretty easy tonight, huh). Everything after the first layup from DeAndre Mathieu was pretty much just carnage for Minnesota. The Gophers stopped hitting shots entirely (OK, they made 29.2 percent), started making all those goofy turnovers similar to what we saw vs. Illinois. Just silly stuff. More players falling over for no reason, more passes sent sailing without any discernible target. Sam Thompson had his way, going on a stretch where he scored 10 consecutive points and lighting up for 16 in the second half overall, and getting out in transitions for dunks and easy layups and all the kinds of plays that are absolutely deflating for a team like Minnesota that had already started reeling. The Gophers simply couldn't get stops. And even worse, toward the end, it seemed like they stopped trying. Almost conceding an Ohio State (56.7 percent from the field in the second half) bucket. Standing, watching. Afterward, the players were very, very frustrated, and understandably so. The Gophers had a huge opportunity to basically play themselves into the NCAA tournament in the first half and they let it slip away.
It's becoming a trend.