The Opening Tip is a new feature to Gold in the Barn, with the goal being to share five nuggets -- mostly Gophers or Big Ten related but occasionally not -- every morning between 8 and 10. Dig it? Hate it? Want to see something specific in it? Send me feedback at or tweet me @AmeliaRayno.

Five tidbits as I thaw out from the worst commute anywhere of the year (see below).

1. Please do read my story in today's Star Tribune on Gophers center Elliott Eliason, the player he's made himself into, and his charming one-stoplight Nebraska panhandle home town, Chadron. Had a great time meeting everyone involved in this story, and am honored to be able to tell the story! 

2. Leading up to tonight's game at Williams vs. Iowa, a new Raise the Barn episode, focusing on Andre Hollins. Yes, it talks about his constant smile, something we've gotten used to over the last three years. That demeanor makes times like after the Ohio State game -- as upset as I've ever seen him -- kind of disturbing. 

3. UM (Michigan) Hoops does a good job with this power poll, inserting a lot of interesting tidbits -- but that doesn't mean they put the Gophers any higher (they have them at 7th).

4. Where are the Gophers turning in this time of great need? Why, Tony Robbins, America's favorite life coach of course. I mean, not really. But coach Richard Pitino is channelling him with his positive-thinking speeches to his team, in great need of a spark after losing six of eight games. Pitino said he is choosing to look at the Gophers positioning as a place they put themselves with some good early wins, rather than a place they've slipped to by some bad losses. Some of Pitino's thoughts from yesterday:

"You've got two choices," he said. "It's approach vs. avoidance ... Do you believe when you get the ball you're going to make the shot, you're going to make a great play or do you believe you're going to miss the shot and turn over. That's what we're trying to get guys to understand. After 28 games, do you believe that being close is a great thing that you're excited about? Or do you believe that being close is 'Oh, we're blowing an opportunity.' And i think the guys in the locker room right now believe that we put ourselves in a good position and we're excited moving forward ... let's get excited about these next three games and Big Ten tournament, four more potential games. Get excited about it because we put ourselves in a good spot."

5. Need anyone else to tell you how important tonight's game vs. Iowa is? How about CBS' Jeff Borzello, who calls it must-win for "desperate" Minnesota.

*More bracket stuff: Busting the Bracket has the Gophers as the last four out. The Daily Gopher breaks down just exactly where Minnesota is in extremely specific terms, and Late Night Hoops glances at the Gophers' adjusted winning percentage and how it could look at the end of the year. 

*How much has this season played out the way everyone thought? Take a look at BTN's preseason thoughts. (Remember when we all voted Nebraska last in the Big Ten? Oops.)

*Unsolicited piece of advice: When in a cab, when three busses have failed to arrive on their regularly scheduled routes, and the weather is $#@%##!!, do not critique the driver's route, not even if he takes you in a giant loop around Loring Park, over into Stevens square and back by the Convention Center only to find his way back to Hennepin Avenue. Do not tell him that he should listen to you, that you know where the hell you are, that you have lived in Minneapolis for longer than the apparent five minutes that he has. Do not suggest that he get into the passenger seat and that you take the wheel yourself, or perhaps put that squirrel over there in charge because either of us would do a better job and do not, DO NOT suggest that you would be better off crawling to your destination with your hands and feet tied together and a sleep mask over your face.

He will kick you out of the cab.

Older Post

Rayno: Pitino says team bounced back from Ohio State loss with best practice of year

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Pregame: Iowa will present a big challenge once more