Arguments For/Against the Golden Gophers for the NCAAs with Fantasy Hoops

Anthony WeigelContributor IMarch 11, 2009

Well, it's tourney time once again. As we all know, selection Sunday is five days away and I want to state the case for and against my Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Now, my second favorite team in college basketball, the UNC Tar Heels, are already in and I think, will win the whole thing. Putting that aside, let's delve into the arguments for and against the Gophers.

Reasons for Minnesota Golden Gophers to be in the field of 65:

1. I think their strongest reason is if you look at their losses, they really don't have a bad loss. They lost to: Michigan State (2), @ Illinois, Purdue, @ Penn State, @ Northwestern, Michigan (2) and @ Ohio State.

All of these teams, except maybe Northwestern, should make it into the NCAA tourney. Considering they swept Wisconsin (who most people think is in), beat Illinois, Penn State, Ohio State and murdered Northwestern at home, it's hard to argue they had a bad loss.

2. They beat the Big East champs. Now, I constantly hear excuses that "Louisville had to fly out to the west coast in a 48-hour period, blah blah blah." Did they (Louisville) not schedule these games so close together?

Were there any excuses about how tired Louisville was before that game started? I think people need to really get passed that and realize that the Gophers beat the Big East champions and really locked them down.

3. Over the last couple weeks, they have actually improved. Ralph Sampson is looking like he will be a monster on the inside and the fact that the guards are FINALLY looking to them inside makes them dangerous.

Plus, if you look at their losses, only in two or three games were they really manhandled. Their defense will keep them in any game against the majority of the field of 65.

4. Frankly, they are one of the best 65 teams in the country. They played in the 2nd hardest conference in the NCAA this season without any seniors who saw significant minutes.

They are a very young team and to finish 9-9 in a tough conference is pretty good. Keep in mind, other than Michigan St. and Purdue, all of the next six teams can beat each other on any given night.

Arguments against the Gophers getting into the field of 65:

1. The major argument is how they finished the season. They finished the season 3-6 and were not playing very good basketball. They barely were able to beat Wisconsin and they lost a double digit lead to Michigan on senior night at home.

2. Looking at the tournament, do the Gophers really have a chance to win a game? This is a team that has no real offensive identity. Their guards are not very good shooters, they don't utilize their dramatic size advantage they have over almost everyone and they don't have a go-to scorer. Frankly, people might consider this Gopher team an extremely boring watch.

3. They finished eighth in the Big 10. Is the Big 10 really good enough to get eight teams in? Yes, the conference is very deep and beat up on one another but the Gophers also had six games against the bottom feeders in the Big 10. So counting out their wins, they were only 4-8 against the rest of the conference and only had to play Purdue once.

4. Frankly, there are other better teams to choose from. Could the Gophers, on a neutral court, beat a team like Florida, Kentucky or St. Marys? If the answer to this question is no, then these teams should get in instead because they would provide more competitive competition.

My opinion:

I think the Gophers will need to at least beat Northwestern and then be competitive against whomever they would play in the 2nd round. If they trounce Northwestern and then play someone like..Purdue and lose by five, I think it will show they are a competitive team and will get them in.

I think if they get to the semi-finals or beyond, they are locks for the tourney. It will all depend on the type of basketball they play and how good they look. If they play well and lose, I think they are in. If they play awful, I think the committee will look elsewhere.

Also, I have a fantasy baseball draft coming up in a couple weeks and am looking for any comments on strategies that people have found helpful for building a quality team. Any advice would be welcome. Thanks.

Also, thought I'd throw in a totally beautiful girl as my picture, just because. Enjoy :)



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