March 15th, 2004
NCAA Tournament Scouting Report: Minnesota
Minnesota followed the
typical Golden Gopher football/basketball plan of action, padding their
record against cupcakes in the non-conference. But unlike in past
years, the Gophers followed it up with a strong conference season.
Coach Dan Monson, the architect of Gonzaga’s current program, did a
great a job of molding his current group into a well-rounded team.
The go-to guy is small
forward Vincent Grier, a junior-college transfer and first team All-Big
Ten performer. Grier’s unorthodox lefty drives and scoop shots are
difficult to defend, and he compliments them with a solid mid-range jump
shot. He’s an old-school gunner who shoots a potent 47.8 % from the
field, although just 26 % from three-point territory.
Flanking Grier is a
Jeff Hagen, a 7-0, 270-lb. wide body. He doesn’t look particularly
threatening, but he’s more mobile than opponents give him credit for and
skilled around the basket, with averages of 11.3 ppg and 2.5 blocks.
Beyond that, there
aren’t many other consistent scorers on the Gophers, but they have good
complimentary players that know their roles. Point guard Aaron
Robinson is super quick and a good 3-point shooter at 41%, but he
doesn’t have great court sense, as evidenced by his 2.9 to 2.3
assist-turnover ratio. Freshman forward Dan Coleman provides a
third, albeit inconsistent, scoring option. Rico Tucker and Brent
Lawson are active, quick guards, each averaging more than 1.5 steals per
The Gophers set a team
record for most steals in a season, and the quick-rotating, active
defense is their strength.
The Gophers are
severely lacking in tournament and big game experience. They’re
also not a
team, and they haven’t fared well against top competition.
Only Hagen and Grier
average double figures, and the Gophers often go through long scoring
Hagen has a tendency to
get into foul trouble against quicker players, and he’s too valuable for
them to lose for long stretches.
is a superstar in the making, and is the type of player that can get hot
and propel his team to an upset.
aggressive defense can pose problems for teams with suspect
ball-handling, but they are too inexperienced and inconsistent on
offense to make a long tournament run.
Iowa State, lose to North Carolina in second round.
More Big Ten
NCAA Tournament Scouting Reports
So you think the Big Ten had a
down year? Most conferences would kill for 5 NCAA Tournament
teams, and the #1 seed in the entire field of 65. Maybe the Big
Ten isn't as strong as it has been in recent years, but you'd be foolish
to just ignore the damage that a Michigan State or Wisconsin can do.
Nick Meyer presents scouting reports for each Big Ten team that's
playing in the post-season, including NIT bound Indiana.
Indiana Scouting Report
Return to the
NCAA Tournament Homepage.