Next Five - Revisited

Five games ago, I posted that it was time for us to start expecting our team to win actual victories, as opposed to moral victories. Looking ahead at the next five games from that point, here is what I predicted/expected:

At Sparty: L

Vs. Minny: W

Vs. Iowa: W

At Purdue: L

At Michigan: W

This is why I don't gamble. Still, I stand by my statement that we should expect our team to win not only the games it should win, but also the games it can win. Looking at those five games, there were four that it could have won, and we lost three of those. Disappointing. There was one that -- realistically -- we had no chance to win, that being at Purdue. The loss of Watford hurt, obviously.

Still, while I am loathe to rejoice in or even take note of moral victories, I think that the team's performance of late is encouraging. I would love for them to have more actual victories. Thinking back to last year, though, there was a point at which we hit the wall and every game after that -- with the exception of the OT victory over Northwestern -- was a blowout in which we never really competed. This season is a different story. I like the toughness I see from this team. I want to see it more consistently. If they can do that, and once the talent and experience in the conference levels out a bit next season, I like our chances to be a top-half Big Ten team.

Looking at the next five now: Good Lord; that's brutal. I imagine that IU will be favored on Saturday. That's a game that they can win. I am not confident about the road dates at Ohio State or Illinois. The home games against Purdue and Wisky will be telling. We have played both teams tough thus far. Still, there is such a gap in talent and experience that we will need to play a near-flawless game to win either of those games. I will, therefore, abstain from prognosication.

So what's your take on this team? Are you completely disappointed with the results of the last five games? Do you take some solace in the general improvement of the team? Forgetting about the NIT possibilities, what do you make of these next five?

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