Here are some observations from the last 24 hours of nonstop basketball on the ESPN family of networks and a few thoughts on the Gophers men’s team last weekend:
Best player: Patrick Mills, G, St. Mary’s. I remember him a little bit from last season and a little bit from the Olympics. He scored 20 points for Australia against Team USA in Beijing, making Mills the only Olympian currently playing men’s college basketball. He had 27 points with five assists and six steals in a victory against Fresno State early Tuesday morning.
Most disappointing game: Memphis 80, Massachusetts 58. The Memphis Tigers make a lot of plays that leave you awestruck. They’re so big and so explosive. However, I was expecting a more crisp game. I guess you have to credit Memphis for winning by 22 despite not playing particularly well. UMass played way too hurried. The Minutemen hoisted a lot of 3-point tries that I thought were ill-advised (shot 5-for-24 on 3-point tries). The teams combined to shoot just under 35 percent from the floor.
Best dunk: Fresno State’s Paul George had some pretty spectacular plays in the St. Mary’s-Fresno game, but none better than this dunk.
I noticed that Sports Illustrated – along with a number of area media outlets – project the Minnesota men’s basketball team will make the NCAA tournament this season.
I’m trying to keep my negatrometer to a minimum, but I just don’t think this team is ready to go to the NCAA tournament. I see some positive things defensively. I believe this will be a better defensive team than last season. But offensively, I just don’t know. I still don’t see a guy on this team who can create and score when they really need a bucket.
Last weekend, the Gophers yielded big second-half runs to Bowling Green and Georgia State before holding onto victories. Minnesota needs someone to get buckets when they need to snap out of these droughts. I just don’t see it right now.