Well kids, now we wait. Personally, I am off the ledge and looking forward to tomorrow night. The insane proclamations that we will fall to a five seed or worse are greatly exaggerated. We're getting a 3 seed and that's that. Today's game was a perfect storm of sorts. Minnesota was playing with loads of confidence and adrenaline after last night's win. They hit some shots early and established themselves on the glass. We had one of the worst shooting nights ever. Please bear that in mind. Even if we had Robbie Hummel, which is the qualifier for every game left this season, he is not scoring 30 points and pulling down 24 rebounds. This was going to be a loss regardless when you combine those two main factors, and any thinking person will see that.
I give credit to Minnesota. They did what they needed to do. We got good looks that weren't falling and there was nothing else you can do. I think the final margin is even somewhat respectable when you look at it. After a brief push forced it under 20 the Gophers hit a few shots to get it back around 28 with about 12 minutes to go. At that point, Painter said he had seen enough. He pulled the plug on the game and we went through the motions for the last ten minutes.
Unfortunately, that did not prevent Lewis Jackson from being pancaked. It was at the opposite end of the floor from me, so I didn't see it, but that is the one thing that could drop our seed even more. All we can do is wait there. I'll have more quotes about LewJack's status as well as Painter's reactions later. Right now I am still waiting for him to come out and address the media.
If there is one positive we can take from this it is the play of D.J. Byrd. He hasn't had much of an opportunity to do much lately, but he made the most of it today. I don't care that it happened in garbage time. The fact that it happened is something we can take away from this. Coach Painter has made it clear he will go with whatever is working. If Byrd earned himself more playing time in the NCAA Tournament then so be it.
That's really the only positive though. This is the first time I have really seen some quit in us. We quit attacking the basket when we weren't getting rolls or hitting free throws. We started our abortive comeback by attacking the basket and it worked, but the instant Minnesota showed some resiliency we went back to hoisting awful jumpers and pretty much resigned ourselves to losing. Maybe we were conserving for the NCAA's, but that doesn't ease this wound.
Ultimately, there is nothing else you can say about this. It happened, so we need to move on. That's it. That's all you can do. Tomorrow we find out our seed and opponent. One thing that can definitely help us is that after 20 games, we are done seeing Big Ten opponents. The air of familiarity with our opponents is gone, so we're going to get at minimum a pair of games against teams that have not seen us yet. That will help some.
So everyone, please calm down. Have an adult beverage of choice and relax. I'll run an open thread from Conseco for the championship, as well as one during the selection show. We can only handle what is in front of us. For now, that is a lower seeded opponent from a smaller conference. I hate clichés, but let's do one game at a time and focus only on what is ahead of us.