Minnesota basketball preview!

#161 R.P.I.  Minnesota #34 R.P.I. Virginia Tech: 

Virginia Tech men’s basketball got away with one. In point of fact… they got away with one by two shots if you are keeping score at home. Or rather, we legitimately were only two mo’ 3’s removed from being marooned at a highly upsetting 5 vs. 2 on the season lore. Such is the foible of one-n-done regular season formatting. Or Biblical Basketball… “He who lives by the 3-point-sword shall (Robert) Perish by the same.” And these upstart Bucs dang near made us swallow their sword while walking our very own Duck Pond… plank.

The Hokies clearly did not read -much less ratify- my Other Charleston hoops preview; did they? As it clearly said at the bottom…

  • “And if we let him beat us?
  • That is not his fault.
  • That’s… ours.”

LOL… this ain’t rocket surgery men; n’est-ce pas? Charly only had one, that’s (1) baller. And life ain’t Viagra… it ain’t that hard to figure out.

Now, you gotta give Charleston Nobody love here too. Someone forgot to tell them to come in here, go tomato-can punching bag and just lay down and die. They went Lazarus Old Yellow and O&M rose up. So, bra-vo at the Bucs. Good on them. Not so good on us. As Coach Popcorn was correct in his very initial assessment after Delaware St. To be such a cocksure lot of shooters, this team needs elbow-greased. Now a pretty dang reasonable -and prolly post-season savvy- 4 up against 2 down Big-10 Minnesota Gophers in the made for telly A.c.c. vs. Big-10 thang comes a calling. This roundball team is pretty dang solid, less a slew of dings (and a couple of real dents; Coach God Bless). Nonetheless, what you wanna know is… who is gonna win and by how much, rights? So, read on… to find, out!


Minnesota Head Coach: Benjamin Johnson: Age=41, 17–18 (.486) overall and @’Sota. Has a rep’ for dapper-dandy Swagg. Seriously slick dressed guy. Recruiting stud as well.
Did Eye mention the swaggy-swagg, yet(s)?

(mid-script): this is NOT the pretty rugged tho; pretty successful Portland Big-Whistle B.J., K?

Baller B.J. He played both football and basketball for the Northwestern Wildcats and Golden Gophers before becoming an assistant coach for several major college programs. Never ever read that “both” one before… twice-props… it is all about the (sporting) Benjamin’s, plural.

Double-Revenue-Sport-dipping Johnson led DeLaSalle High School to two Minnesota state championships and was a two-time first-team all-state selection in basketball. 6oth ranked (hoops) recruit in America for it to boot. He was a two-time first-team all-state selection in both football and basketball; and as a senior, he was named a Street & Smith All-American, as well as an honorable mention Nike All-American as a grider! He then played two years for the Northwestern University Wildcats before transferring home to the University of Minnesota, where he played his two final seasons for the Golden Gophers and finished with 533 points in 59 games. WoW. a pinch of N.f.l. and N.b.a. D.N.A. onboard alike never sucked. Bra-vo @Bennie!

After graduating from the University of Minnesota with a degree in sociology in 2oo5 Johnson worked as a graduate assistant at the University of Dayton. Following Dayton, Johnson became an assistant at the University of Texas-Pan American where he was heavily involved in recruiting and backcourt development. Following UTPA Johnson became an assistant under Ben Jacobson at Northern Iowa. Following that he worked under Tim Miles for one season at the University of Nebraska.


In 2o13, Johnson returned to his alma mater to become an assistant under then-coach Richard Pitino. At Minnesota, Johnson continued his previous success as a standout recruiter and player developer. With his strong recruiting efforts Johnson has done well in his very own 7-5-7 or ‘Sota backyard.

In 2o18, following 5 years at Minnesota Coach Johnson accepted a new assistant position under Travis Steele at Xavier. While at Xavier, Johnson helped land back-to-back top 3o-ranked recruiting classes.

At Xavier Johnson once again was tasked with the development of backcourt players. During his time as an assistant at Xavier, the team went a combined 51–37.

So, this could or could not be a good hire… too early to be too sure to me.

Playar B.J. is (still) unmarried; with no kids.
...hate da game!

Minnesota at a glance:

  • 42nd in FG-percentage D!
  • 52nd most fouls ‘whistled’ against!
  • 1o7th on the O-glass.
  • 313th in Turnovers forced/game. (Play the man not the ball).
  • 324th in Scoring O!! (Slooooowercase team here folks).
  • 351st in Free-Throwing percentage!!!
  • Three, that’s (3) big ole injuries listed… @Coach God: “Helps!”

‘Sota Returning Starters=1

Minnesota Strengths:

  • 6′11″, 23o lb., super-Soph’, Dawson Garcia’s an oversized ‘tweener. As this Dawson creeks along with a team-leading: 15.8 ppg, with a likewise team-pacing 6.7 rpg and 1.3 apg. All on a reasonable 46% from the field and an okay 1 in 3 from behind the arc. (Or, 33%).  Kinda seems to fight a little small to me on tape; or almost like he’s an oversized Three who grew into a: Four suit. ex of: Marquette; where Garcia seemed to float a bit mo’ outside than down in the internally grinding black-n-blue Big-X post. A Savage, Minnesota native, who tore it up on O in H.S. terms. 33 ppg and 11 rpg is not bad pre-Prom work. As he keeps a Class 4A bling and a mere Gold Medal. As Gracia tabbed said gold medal playing for Team USA and won Most Valuable Player honors in the 2o19 U-18 3×3 World Cup in Mongolia. Additionally, he also was the MVP of the 2o19 U-18 3×3 U.S. Championship. Yah; I’d say that checks the international experience box. Lindy’s says that Garcia (more recently ex-of-’22-U.n.c., some of you may recall) … is the Gophers’ 1st-McDonald’s All-American since much vaunted Kris “Kardashian’ Humpries. So, there is dat. Lindy’s says that Dawson is also a high-hoops-I.Q. very versatile guy. He is also whispered to be a workout savant in elite fighting trim. 12-rounds should not mean that much here. Seems to defend small at times on tape, not quite super athletic; tho’ he has some scoring in him. Now, this is a good get for ‘Sota (midseason last year) to be sure. Was it a great get remains to be… seen…
  • Lindy’s Best Shooter in the Big 10: one #1o, Mr. Jamison Battle is a: 6′7″, 22o lb., sniper of a Swing or kinda S/F shooting-G guard combo’. j.Battle gets you: 14.0 ppg married to 6.0 rpg; which from a pure form-shooter is rarefied indeed. DeLaSalle high school baller, so you know he cooked right on the Home.Ed’.hoops way up. Gee.Dub (George Washington) transfer baller, where battle gave battle for an ironman looking ~37 mpg. So, durable he surely is. Nabbed himself a DeLaSalle AAA championship ring. Mr. Basketball (Minnesota) for it; and had a ‘clutch’ shooting scholastic rep’ for it all to boot. Lindy’s is extremely high on his stroke… did I or Clarence Carter mention his “strokin'” from range, yets? Battle is -in theory- and in G.Washington history, a high-teens scorer; so he is a little off production-wise this year so far. Tho’ he is coming off of off-season foot surgery (St.Sebastian bless); so, that could be some of this to boot. Recall he was only battling his way to leading ‘Sota in ppg and in rpg last year! That’s all. In point of fact, he is slumping or off by a whopping 16% from behind the arc thus far this year. Tho’, this accomplished sexa, I mean saxophone player just needs to borrow a dining-hall tuning fork. He names his distancing tune soon enuff; as he is better than this and when Battle wins his shooting way ‘Sota will be better for it too. (As in… he is too sharp: (all-academic honoree) to not figure this out, eventually, you would have to think).
  • Braeden Carrington is on the come. VERY high hoops I.Q. 6′4″, 19o lb., 1st-year Two-G with one way on O. Scoring itself. 4th in scoring (8.8 ppg) and a useful 4.5 rpg dot his four games into his career docket. Tho’ he is shooting hot of late. This guy is a pure scorer, just add P.T. (playing time). He can shoot a bit (~35% dialing long-distance). Tho’ he is mo’ of a blow-torch/output/digits guy. Only being beaten once in his final two scholastic seasons hints at some (potential) starry swagg too. Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball this time last year does not suck. Has found 20-odd-lbs. of right mass, since he got to campus; so, that should help with his history of H.S. (leg) dings and dents. And frankly, this kid is your X-factor for this one here. Carrington pops clean can he can soda-pop the ‘Sota O all by his ownself.
  • 6′4″, 195 lb. Jr. year Ta’lon Cooper is a roundball Qb1 or Pt.Guard by trade. A third-best: 10.0 ppg with a useful 4.8 rpg and an alphaing 7.3 apg is pretty solid as running this O goes. Coop’ is a transfer One by way of: Morehead State. Prior to that Ta’lon only won two, that’s (2) Dorman High School state titles (South Carolina), and was thought of as something of a recruiting sleeper-pick of sorts. Kinda has a yesteryear or old-man’s One of a Pt.Guard game. A facilitator with 20-20 court-vision. Good handles and matching all-’round-game. 7th last year in the Nation (@MooreHead) in assisting overall. Although not a pure overall shooter (41% from the floor), he does (oddly enuff) field 3-point-range (41% deep). 81% on 15′ set-shots with 10-secs to shoot is FT-savvy, 1.3 spg is defensive indeed. Good Pt.Guard here, you could do orchestrator worse, prolly very at that.

    PROPs to anyone for gettin’ their ‘fro to match their… threads! I’ll give you that one bro’.

Minnesota Weaknesses:

  • Lindy’s says that Minnesota needs time to gel; as they only have one real contributor returning from 2o21-2o22.
  • ‘Sota (in theory) could return a lotta ballers next year, however. As this is a pretty youngling-looking rotation that lacks any/all real live senior season contributors. Which may not spring ’23 help tho’ it should not spring ’24 hurt 1ι (one-iota) either.
  • Health or the lack thereof really hurting the rotation and depth alike… check it…
  • Will Ramberg, G, (UNDISCLOSED: tho’ said to be: “QUESTIONABLE” for Monday nite).
  • Isaiah Ihnen, F, (knee, St.Nikhon bless, is: OUT for the duration). Out as well would be his: 6-10 22o lb. imported r-Jr. Boeblingen, Germany self. Nein sehr gut! This after having missed all of last year due to injury as well. Dang… Said to be a rebounding shot-blocker (when right). II2 was rated the No. 89-ranked prospect in the class of 2o19 according to 247Sports, which also listed him as a **** or four-star recruit. So, there is Talent here, pretty dang good Talent most likely. This is not ½ bad when you see he only took up hoops halfway into his Freshman season in high school terms. 4 ppg, 4 rpg, and a swat in relief last he was (on-court) seen back in 2o2o. Godspeed @Mister i.Ihnen.
  • Also done for the duration would be: Parker Fox, S/F. 6′8″, 21o lbs. worth of Junior year tallish Wing are OUT with right-Knee surgery (St.Culbreth help). This out-Foxer is a: Northern State transfer baller who only averaged 23 ppg and 11 rpg at the lowercase level last year. Has 3-point range (36%) just not FT-range (55%). Good player on the ill here folks. Per one A.c.l. rip per side; Coach God twice bless!
  • As you can see… there are Talents plural on the (Hopeful) mend here… tho ‘Sota is far from full strength.

Gophers hole: (depth=4 to 6)

Pharrel Payne F, is a sparky or stacked-looking: 6′9″, 255 lb. debut or a nugget-year rookie who (already) looks the upperclassman-built part. And this Payne is a pain off of the pine everywhere other than FTA’s (54%). He is a pain in the glass (6.5 rpg) and does well living off of bunnies and putbacks (75% from the floor) near the rack (9 ppg). Is a bit turnover prone (2.3 tpg); tho’ said to be: ‘strong as an Ox and super-skilled; literally. This one is a keeper on the come… neat 2o26 ask back here. As his high school digits were okay, until he A.A.U. really broke out and rocketed to no. 83rd in the nation from 247.

7′, 21o lb. second-year Treyton Thompson is a legit post or a true-C in a now decentralized or fossilized outside era of play. Albeit, a kinda thinly or Jenny Craig looking one at the Five for it. From the appropriately named D1 Minnesota H.S. or one of the Top-5 hoops programs in the country. Has pedigree/coaching the verb for it. Had good (15 ppg & 8 rpg) scholastic numbers, just not epic ones. Did however rise as high as 3rd in the Nation as a junior from MaxPreps before tailing off a bit as a senior. 3.0 ppg with 2.3 rpg on a misnomer looking 30% overall so ’22 far. Said to be filling out and developing physically, does keep a g.Brady (bunch) looking mop-top that Alice the maid prolly wants back to help cut up on Sam. There is talent here, there needs to be a little patience with this big as well…

Jr. year, Will Ramberg G, 6′5″, 2o5 lb., (see: above). Willy is kinda a jack-of-all-trades caddying backcourter who can play at least two spots. (One and Shooting-G alike, maybe Wing if you wanna go small). Has shed about ~15 lbs. since last year. Tho’ Willie is shocking tall on the glass… 4.2 rpg with 2.5 ppg is having a nose for the b-ball to borrow on football itself. Will is by way of: McGill University basketball team (Canada), “eh”. 24 (ppg) and 11 (rpg) up in the Great White North is pretty solid work. However, Will has a history of hand-‘snaps’ (St.Julia bless) and he has been a part-time starter— health allowed. There are illness whispers here this time, as he tried to play the last game and made it through 2-minutes-n-change. Did not look good is the word. Get Well Soon… Will. May St.William bless.

The Key to predicting this one here is, what(s)?

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Illation, conclusion(s) and OPT digits:

Number of Gophers who could ferret @Tech=7'ish at full health.

the takeaway:
The takeaway here is...

…well, BIG(est)-10 wise and there is a lot to be taken with here.

As most services (currently) rate the Big-1o as the #1 men’s hoops conference in all the land.

(With the All Coaching Conference slotting in at ~5th or so).

However, Minnesota is trending toward being penultimate last in Big-10 conferencing-calling terms.

Which is NOT to say bad; or even below average. Be clear on that— in that this is prolly a fenced post-season team. C.B.I. or C.I.T. caliber if you will.

Or, if you go Holiday’s leftovers asleep here?
You could wake up Tuesday per a “snapped” wishboner formation indeed.


…gameHer, 1o1.

Our handy-dandy friend the so-called Forum Guide of Graham Houston fame is calling for a December A.c.c. ask back.

The annualized year-to-date vitals say that… VeeTee is up +2% in shooting percentage margin (per being better/sharper on O and yet lesser/duller on D); nobody is up anything in 3-point percentage margin for the season (with VeeTee +2% more O and ‘Sota 2% fewer allowed on D), and (somewhat surprisingly) these two are Even in rebounding margin in annual terms. (Both are up +1 rpg on the glass for the duration). (Tho’… you gotta wonder where a full-strength ‘Sota is on the ‘glass if they were not so frontcourt dilute Three through Five?)

The most recent 5-game metrics say that… the Gophers are now up +2% in shooting percentage margin (with: the Hokies cooling on O and the ‘Sota heating up on D); with the Gophers up another +2% in 3-point percentage margin (note: this one was |absolute values| as both have contracted on O trifecta accuracy of late, although, ‘Sota is still stronger in defense of the three), the Gophers are now up +1 whole miss in rebounding margin in the last fortnight of runnin’ ball. (Both teams are a little lighter on the backboard of late, tho’ ‘Sota is still doing just a little bit mo’ as recent Windex Wiping goes).


Ray Stevens (streaky hoops) 1o1…

9 PM kick!

Virginia Tech looks to remedy its long-distance shooting woes. After hitting 35 of 78 (44.9 percent) attempts from beyond the arc in their first three games, all decisive wins at home, the Hokies have made only 15 of 67 (22.4 percent) in their last three outings!

‘Sota has logged two, that’s (2) W’s by 1, single solitary point… (including one of those two going to extra innings) vs. two squadrons who have combined for 8 L’s so far. So, it is difficult to glean where you should R.A.T.T. peg these Gophers. Are they getting closer to getting pretty good or are they getting closer and closer to being pretty much, average?

Armchair Pt.Guard’s:

V.P.I. is up a near unthinkable +19% at the charity stripe for the year!
V.P.I. is a 1.oo host; whereas ‘Sota has yet to hit the road yet.
‘Sota is up +4 in R&R in the last couple of weeks.

The Call...

No.97 Net Ranking Minnesota @ no.82 Net Ranking Virginia Tech:

So, this is one of those few 1-5% of the time, times; whereby Eye never felt like I found the traction I was looking for OPT-wise. Never found the peg upon which to hang my OPT beanie.

‘Sota is sorta good, they have a few uppercase guys and a solid supporting cast.
Are they just good enuff to be: Big-10 understudies?
Or are they proxy great anywhere else?



The Hurrying Hokies needs to hurry up and play some things that do not go cold.
This little Eye do knows…

Such as defense and rebounding itself— which should (both) be sweat or efforting based.

Flurrying it up has not been a big-(enuff)-O look vs. anyone with a legit hoopology pulse. And now the ante goes no.1 men’s hoops conference in all the land up. (This is prior to the look-ahead trap of hosting #1 in all the land U.n.c. on tap and up next).

1, 2, 📋, 4, 5.

Or, to put it another way… ‘Sota prolly beats the teams we have already beaten. They have enuff (leftovers) to finish not less than 4-2 against our early O.O.C. (out of conference) docket. Prolly getting at least a sniff -if not a good look at- amounting to the very same 6-1 just the same as little ole V.P.I.

Or, to put it a final way… Minnesota is closer than you thinks.

That squarely struck… methinks so are we.

The Closer...

The caveat is… closer to what(s)?

Buying in and biting down or being big turkeys?

As methinks this one stays closer for longer before one of these two closes a little stronger.huh?

So, with both clubs unproved in some measure(s) or another; I’ll just stick to the Simpson savvy pick.
Go’on and call me a “Homer” as I’ma gonna side with the Cassell crew in lieu of any firmer traction here.

(59% confidence interval)
Virginia Tech
=77, Minnesota=69

please support the VT F.C.A.!








2 Responses You are logged in as Test

    1. well, if/when they do?

      We have a lotta O!
      Gonna take points plural to put us down when we are feeling our shooting flow.

      And that could carry any back-to-back or back-to-back-to-back Tourneying day(s).
      (Or, they could be icy and 1-n-done… which is where D and board-work might/could buy you another game)


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