I won't pretend to know what the players were thinking when they were out there Sunday.
I won't act like I know what Ralph Sampson III and Rodney Williams are thinking.
For what it's worth, I think they care about their teammates and their team.
But sometimes it's hard to tell, especially when you look at end results.
Rodney Williams: 1-2 from the field, 3 points, 4 rebounds, 3 turnovers, 0 assists
Ralph Sampson III: 1-11 from the field, 4 points, 2 assists and a turnover.
"Ralph was struggling to score. Rodney, he’s not looking to score. So this is what you get," coach Tubby Smith said. "This is how poorly and how badly it can be if you don’t do those things. Something else was going on, in [Rodney's] mind. He just wasn’t there today at all. Just by far – he wasn’t there."
The Gophers have had so many chances this season to get things right. To pull together, to step up, to respond, to react, to get angry, to get focused, to yank the various pieces into a uniform body. How many chances can they get?
Probably not many more, and probably not enough to do anything they originally set out to do.
And after watching the team's veterans look seemingly lackadaisical in the most recent Biggest Game Of The Season, it might be time to just play the guys that are gutting it out -- the ones who really look like they're pouring their hearts and souls onto the court.
""The guys you have, you have," coach Tubby Smith said. "So you say ‘OK Rodney’, ‘OK Ralph, it’s sort of your team, you need to step up. And they tried. They tried. And I guess they gave it their best effort."
Some other notes from the game:
- Only one player scored more than six points -- that was Austin Hollins, with 14.
- Chip Armelin and Elliott Eliason each had nice little games with five points and seven rebounds from Armelin and Eliason contributing six points and a pair of rebounds.
- The Gophers horrendous shooting and turnovers are what did them in. They shot just 29 percent in the first half (31 overall) and had 16 turnovers.
- The Gophers went just 7-for-14 from the free throw line.
- The Gophers held Cody Zeller to five points and two rebounds in the first half, but it made little difference as they went into the break down by 11, only to see it quickly get worse. The biggest deficit of the game was 24, with about six minutes to play.
- Four Hoosiers finished in double digits. Zeller was not one of them.
- The crowd was about as lethargic today as it was when the Gophers were playing non-conference games. Is it just too painful? The Barn was scary quiet.