The Gophers men's basketball team will play more than 1,000 minutes this season. But their year could very well be defined by the strange final 11.8 seconds of Tuesday's 77-75 loss to Iowa.
That's not to say a Gophers victory would have turned the season around, but a 1-4 Big Ten record as opposed to the 0-5 they sit at now — combined with a slew of winnable games coming up — could have at least changed the immediate outlook.
To recap, after reviewing the game on BTN2go.com: With the score tied 75-75, Iowa rebounded a Joey King missed three-point attempt with 37 seconds remaining, leaving a small differential between the shot clock and game clock. Iowa then ran down the clock until what amounted to about 10 seconds remaining.
But with 11.8 seconds left, the game clock and shot clock stalled. The clock is linked to game officials and is stopped either by a sensor from a referee's whistle or device on his or her belt. It's unclear why the clock stopped, but it was inadvertent.
Play continued, though, and Jarrod Uthoff hit a jump shot with 6.1 seconds showing on the clock. The Gophers were about to inbound, but instead they called a timeout. Officials then huddled and determined that only 3.5 seconds should be on the clock because of the stoppage.
On the ensuing play, DeAndre Mathieu's driving layup came a split second too late, leaving the Gophers two points short and winless in the conference. In the aftermath, though, are these fascinating questions:
•What would have happened if Minnesota hadn't called a timeout — instead inbounding with 6.1 seconds left — and scored on a play that took more than 3.5 seconds but fewer than 6.1? Could officials have taken the basket away from them after the fact?
•What would have happened if Uthoff had missed his shot, but Iowa had rebounded and then scored with what seemed like enough time left but in reality was after time should have elapsed?
Ideally, play would have been stopped with 11.8 seconds left, had officials realized at the time that the clock had inadvertently stopped. In that scenario, too, the entire end of the game would have played out differently.
An attempt to gain some clarity from the Big Ten on Wednesday was unsuccessful. So, too, was finding a similar enough finish that would establish precedent. All we know now is the Gophers haven't defeated a single Big Ten opponent this season, the clock included.