ADVERTISEMENT

With the help of first-year Gophers Malik Smith (30) and DeAndre Mathieu, coach Richard Pitino has kept his team in the NCAA tournament hunt. ESPN projects the Gophers as a No. 11 seed. That’s where they landed last season.

KYNDELL HARKNESS • kyndell.harkness@startribune.com,

Rand: Pitino doing more with less?

  • February 11, 2014 - 7:36 AM

The differences between this year’s Gophers men’s basketball and last year’s team are numerous, starting of course with head coach Richard Pitino taking over for the fired Tubby Smith.

That said, the similarities are also pretty striking — even if this year’s squad seems to be giving off far more of a positive vibe with the fans. That’s a credit to Pitino, since expectations for this season were lower than they were a year ago, but still: Let’s take a look.

 

 

2012-13 Gophers

Category

2013-14 Gophers

17-7, 5-6

Overall/Big Ten record as of Feb. 11

16-8, 5-6

Four-game losing streak after a 3-0 start

Conference slump before Feb. 11

Three-game losing streak by a combined eight points

Wisconsin

Opponent in 25th game of season

Wisconsin

Andre Hollins, 14.6 ppg

Leading scorer

Andre Hollins, 14.9 ppg

Trevor Mbakwe, who was granted a sixth year of eligibility

Surprising contribution from a big man

Mo Walker, who dropped 60 pounds in the offseason

February home win over Indiana

Desperately needed victory to remain in NCAA tournament hunt

February home win over Indiana

No. 11 seed, faced UCLA in their first game

Gophers in the NCAA tournament

Projected as a No. 11 seed in latest ESPN “bracketology” report

MICHAEL RAND

© 2014 Star Tribune