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Just not enough talent at 'U'

January 6, 2010 - Per Peterson
Now that the Gophers have bowed to a higher power, I can finish/update my previous blog. As Dennis Green would say, “We are who we thought they are” — they being the Gophers, and who are they? They’re a run-o-the-mill, mediocre Big Ten team that will scratch and claw and somehow find a way to sneak into the Big Dance in March. As I said before, this is a talented team, a deep one, too, but they can’t play with the big boys, despite the fact that they have a big-boy coach in Tubby Smith. Coaches, my friends, don’t win championships, players do, and these Gopher players just aren’t good enough to be taken seriously in the Big Ten race. My call: They’ll finish sixth. They’ll get their 20 wins and somehow infiltrate the NCAA Tournament, much like party crashers do at a wedding dance. But once there, there will be little to celebrate, as they’ll lose in the opening round. Mark it down. The men’s basketball team’s continuing mediocrity points to an overlying problem at the U — it just can’t attract blue-chip talent even though it boasts one of the top recruiters and biggest names as its head basketball coach and a man who everyone claims to be one of the best football recruiters in the nation as its football coach. Blue-chippers, if they decide they want to play in the Big Ten for personal, educational or geographical reasons, look first to the Ohio States, Michigans, Penn States and even Purdues of the world. Every once in a while the U will land one of these players, but they either end up leaving after a year (Kris Humphries, Joel Przybilla), get in trouble with the law (Royce White) or aren’t used properly within the system (MarQueis Gray). Some will argue that the educational standards at the University of Minnesota keeps uber-talented athletes who might not be able to hack it in the classroom away, but that doesn’t wash. I’m sure Michigan and Penn State’s ed standards are just as high, if not higher. In the end, it comes down to recruiting, and if you aren’t a recruiting master — Brewster, by the way, doesn’t appear to be one, even though that’s what he hangs his hat on — good luck getting these top-notch athletes to come north to play for three or four years.


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