Monday, March 8, 2010

Gopher Hoopsters Close Out Regular Season With Victory

The Gophers saved perhaps their best effort for last Sunday. Against a pitiful Iowa team, the Gophers shot 59% from the floor and held the Hawkeyes to just 53 points in an 88-53 victory on Senior Day at Williams Arena. The Gophers finished the regular season 9-9 in the Big Ten and 18-12 overall.

Seniors Lawrence Westbrook (20 points) and Damian Johnson (10 points, 11 assists) led the way Sunday and sophomore Devoe Joseph added 17 points on 6-7 shooting. Colton Iverson and Blake Hoffarber each had nine points as the Gophers completely manhandled Iowa. At one point in the first half, the Gophers went on a 21-2 run to blow the Hawks away.

With a sixth place finish, the Gophs will tip off against Penn State in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament this Thursday in Indianapolis. Obviously, given the events of last week and the loss to Michigan, the Gophers need to win multiple games in the Big Ten Tourney to give the NCAA selection committee something to think about. Playing one more game against Penn State - a team they should handle - will give the team another conference victory in their march toward the magical 20 win mark. The bad news is that should the Gophers win on Thursday, they would face third-seeded Michigan State on Friday, which is certainly not a favorable matchup for the Gophers. However, this team needs victories and will likely need at least two to have any sort of chance at the big dance.

The Gophers played themselves into their current predicament. It will be interesting to see which Gopher team shows up next weekend in Indianapolis.

Note on Donny Puck Coverage This Week: The dark period for BP Baseball will likely continue this week as the focus is on the Gophers' winter sports teams in their conference playoffs. We'll have full recaps of the Gopher hoops' game on Thursday, and any further games beyond. We'll check back in on selection Sunday next weekend to see if Tubby's boys found their way into the tourney. If not, the post-mortem on this disappointing season will appear after the team is eliminated from the NIT. Should the Gophers make the NIT, we'll cover it like any other game and pretend it's as interesting as the NCAA Tournament.

On the ice, we'll cover the likely carnage of the first round playoffs in Grand Forks. We'll also cover the Final Five next weekend should the Gophers qualify or not. DP will have coverage of the NCAA Tournament until its conclusion on Easter Sunday in Detroit.

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