Read my full game story on Minnesota's 84-59 loss at Nebraska here.
Three quick thoughts before I dive face first into a whiskey:
Searching for new adjectives. When a team loses in this fashion two games in a row and appears to be getting worse as the season goes on, I find myself running out of ways to describe the carnage. The struggle is real. This squad can't score, can't defend, can't rebound, can't stop fouling and lately has flipped the script on the only thing it's really done well -- not turn over the ball. These are the only real tenets of basketball. Things are not well in Dinkytown, not well at all.
New lineup was better if the Gophers stick with it. The first five minutes or so of tonight's game was the highlight and for a minute it looked like Minnesota might emerge from its slumber. Coach Richard Pitino benched seniors Joey King and Carlos Morris and started all freshmen and sophomores. Coincidence? No. Pitino pointed out he thinks that group is the most cohesive and talkative of any group and it showed. The Gophers were hitting their shots early, getting to the rim and it was the best five minutes of zone defense we've seen in a while, with Nebraska initially looking flustered. Things devolved from there, obviously, in part due to foul trouble. But Pitino could have stuck with his guns longer, too. He brought in both seniors pretty quickly and shook up the opening group. Sometimes the automatic-ejection-after-two-fouls-in-the-first-half rule should be broken. Not often, but this might be one of those cases, when the team so desperately needs to maintain momentum.
Bring on the change. The whole "stick with what we're doing" storyline doesn't work anymore. Minnesota doesn't need a shake up, it needs an earthquake of change. An all-youth lineup was a good start. What else can Pitino come up with now? How much can he change practice? How much can he change individual instructions? Film? Off-the-court stuff? This moment will test his creativity as a coach and a teacher.