From today's Star Tribune ...
- The Big Ten has dominated in nearly ever regard all season. Is it truly the best conference in college basketball? Will it prove itself in the NCAA tournament? Or has the Big already shown enough to get that credit, regardless? Here, I write just how good the league has been in 2011-12.
- Where will the Gophers land after tonight? Unlike last season, it looks like an NIT bid is a pretty sure thing.
- What will the NCAA field look like when they announce it tonight? I give my predictions here.
- In case you missed it, the Gophers lost their last one, but with the team playing its best basketball of the season over the last couple weeks, it was a good fight.
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One day after Richard Pitino declared that he did a "horrible job" with the game plan for Northwestern in last month's game, the Gophers looked even less prepared in a 24-point loss.
An offense that often gets stagnant and relies far too heavily on three-pointers suddenly was on the attack, getting out in transition and taking the ball to the hoop forcefully and effectively.
A defensive lapse at the end of the loss to Indiana might have cost Minnesota the game, but coach Richard Pitino sees hints that leadership is growing among the youthful ranks.
The Jan. 9 rout was the first of two 25-point losses that preceded the recent improved play of the Gophers, who are still winless in the Big Ten. The rematch is Thursday.
Minnesota leads the Big Ten in free-throw attempts, but is making just 69.8 percent of them.