Throughout the opening game of the tournament for the Gophers, the commentators spent the entire pregame discussing how Minnesota might struggle with the UCLA tendency to play a faster game, After the game was over, people were surprised that Minnesota was able to play as well as they did at the quicker pace.
All of this was garbage analysis. It seemed that the Gophers were thrown in with the rest of the Big Ten, when anyone who watched them over the course of the season is able to tell you that they are nothing like the Big Ten stereotype.
The Gophers got out to a 14-1 start to the season as their athleticism and aggression was too much for less talented, less athletic teams to compete with. When they played in the Big Ten, things began to go down hill. Look at some of their most auspicious losses. Northwestern. Wisconsin. Nebraska. All teams that slow you down and make you play in the half court. The Gophers have no jump shooters, and they play bad perimeter defense. They want to push the ball and they want you to try to penetrate, because they have the bigs to accommodate and the athletes to run out.
They struggled in the Big Ten because they couldn’t play Big Ten basketball. They excelled outside of the conference. They played UCLA and finally found a team that played the way they wanted to play. Not that anyone in the broadcast booth realized that.