As many of the nation’s top teams have disappointed at the start of the season, the Gophers are going the other direction,
After beating Florida State on the road last week and North Florida at home over the weekend, Minnesota landed at No. 14 in Monday’s AP poll, moving seven spots from the week before. The Gophers become engrained in the national picture quickly. They also:
• Entered the USA Today coaches poll for the first time this season, at No. 21 after getting 48 votes a week ago.
• Moved up to No. 11 in RPI
• Moved up to No. 9 in the KenPom rankings
• Are at No. 13 in ESPN’s power rankings
• Are at No. 12 in the Eye on College Basketball (CBS Sports) rankings
A season after the team went 12-1 in non-conference play only to struggled to the tune of 6-12 in the Big Ten, the confidence level across the country, and in the Gophers’ own gym seems to be incredibly stronger.
“We’re a lot better,” Joe Coleman said. “We’ve all got a lot more confidence within ourselves and each other, and I think we just know how to play the game of basketball a lot better than we did last year.”
Notes from tonight’s access:
- Coach Tubby Smith said that freshman Wally Ellenson (left hand) would be slowly reintegrated into practice. A redshirting decision is still up in the air, he said.
- Smith said he is considering both Andre Hollins and Austin Hollins as the primary defender against South Dakota State threat Nate Wolters tomorrow. “We’re trying to figure out who’s better suited to guard him,” he said.
- Smith on Wolters: “It takes an entire team to get into position to help [deal with him] because not only does he shoot well, but he can penetrate and dish -- he’s a multi-faceted player.”
- After missing Saturday’s game due to the death of his grandmother, Andre Ingram was back at practice on Monday.