This is Amelia Rayno's third season on the Gophers men's basketball beat. She learned college basketball in North Carolina (Go Tar Heels!), where fanhood is not an option. In 2010, she joined the Star Tribune after graduating from Boston's Emerson College, which sadly had no exciting D-I college hoops to latch onto. Amelia has also worked on the sports desk at the Boston Globe and interned at the Detroit News.

  Follow Rayno on Twitter @AmeliaRayno

Gophers D a work in progress

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players Updated: November 13, 2012 - 12:59 PM



The Gophers are capable of good defense – we know that from Friday, and from the first half of Monday.

When they’re pressing and doing it well, they are apt at stealing, deflecting and pulling an opponent out of its game. When they did that Friday, they were as good as any defensive team out there.

But it’s not an easy defense, and it’s clear the Gophers haven’t perfected it yet.

Monday, in the second half against Toledo, the Gophers looked exhausted, and their press fell apart. As they tried to keep it going, they fell into silly mistakes and turned the ball over A LOT.

“The environment, the energy of the whole game went down and we just need to make sure we keep that intensity through the whole game,” said Joe Coleman, who had a team-high 15 points but committed eight turnovers.

To be fair, the Gophers won by 26 points on Monday, so calling anything a breakdown should be taken in context. Still, the Gophers’ competition is going to be elevated SIGNIFICANTLY in just a matter of days, really, so it’s important to look at how they would fare against other (better) teams.

So what went wrong in the second half on Friday, when the Gophers seemed to misplace their mojo – playing Toledo to a 34-34 draw after racing to a 48-22 halftime lead?

“We’re all still kind of gelling,” Trevor Mbakwe said. “It’s been five, six months since our last game and we’re still re-learning each other and where to be on the court.”

Smith attributes a lot of the mistakes last night to rushing, particularly with Coleman, who sometimes gets ahead of his passes, the coach said.

But the mistakes can have their own effect on a team’s momentum, he said.

“I think the intensity part has been there,” he said. “But it takes a lot out of you when you turn the ball over 19 times. You just can’t do that. If you’re playing hard and working hard on one end and then go down and just give the ball back, it kind of deflates the intensity level. … You’ve got to respect the opponents – not just for 20 or 30 minutes, you’ve got to respect them for 40 minutes.”

Still, the improvement from last year to this is palpable. And some of the glitches the Gophers stumble into now, Smith seems willing to forgive, since he believes they’re a part of a bigger effort.

“We’re making few defensive mistakes,” he said. “We’re making mistakes of trying to do something – like get over and take a charge and we didn’t get over there. We’re trying to do the right things. It’s when you don’t try is when I get concerned. But we’ve been doing the little things very well.

“That tells me our guys are buying in and trusting one another, believing in what we’re teaching, then it’s real – what we’re seeing out there is real.”

The Gophers have proven that it’s real. Now they just need to show it can be consistent.


Tampa Bay 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia 11/2/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Jacksonville 11/2/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Washington 11/2/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis 11/2/14 3:05 PM
San Francisco
Denver 11/2/14 3:25 PM
New England
Oakland 11/2/14 3:25 PM
Baltimore 11/2/14 7:30 PM
Indianapolis 11/3/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
Cleveland 11/6/14 7:25 PM
Memphis 97 FINAL
Indiana 89
Cleveland 114 FINAL
Chicago 108
Philadelphia 81 FINAL
Milwaukee 93
Portland 94 FINAL
Sacramento 103
San Antonio 89 FINAL
Phoenix 94
LA Clippers 118 FINAL
LA Lakers 111
Toronto 4 FINAL
Columbus 1
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Detroit 5
Anaheim 2 FINAL(OT)
Dallas 1
Nashville 3 FINAL
Calgary 4
(2) Florida State 42 FINAL
Louisville 31
Troy 10 FINAL
Ga Southern 42
Cincinnati 38 FINAL
Tulane 14
Tulsa 20 FINAL
Memphis 40
Air Force 10:30 AM
ULM 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
(19) Oklahoma 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Northwestern 11:00 AM
(24) Duke 11:00 AM
Maryland 11:00 AM
Penn State
Wisconsin 11:00 AM
Rice 11:00 AM
(21) East Carolina 11:00 AM
UCF 11:00 AM
Boston College 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11:30 AM
Washington 12:00 PM
Central Mich 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 1:30 PM
Western Ky 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 2:00 PM
Virginia 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Purdue 2:30 PM
(17) Nebraska
BYU 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
(10) TCU 2:30 PM
(20) West Virginia
Indiana 2:30 PM
Florida 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 3:00 PM
Kansas 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Texas State 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
Houston 3:00 PM
So Florida
USC 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 4:00 PM
South Alabama 4:00 PM
New Mexico 4:30 PM
UAB 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(4) Auburn 6:00 PM
(7) Ole Miss
Old Dominion 6:00 PM
Colorado State 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Arkansas 6:15 PM
(1) Miss State
Stanford 6:30 PM
(5) Oregon
Tennessee 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Texas 6:30 PM
Texas Tech
Southern Miss 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(6) Notre Dame 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State 7:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Illinois 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(14) Arizona 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 9:30 PM
Wyoming 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(18) Utah 10:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Utah State 10:00 PM
Bowling Green 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Toledo 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Kent State
Buffalo 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ohio U
Northern Ill 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ball State
(22) Clemson 11/6/14 6:30 PM
Wake Forest
Memphis 11/7/14 6:30 PM
Utah State 11/7/14 7:00 PM
(12) Baylor 11/8/14 2:00 AM
(19) Oklahoma
(11) Kansas State 11/8/14 2:00 AM
(10) TCU
Hamilton 34 FINAL
Ottawa 25
Winnipeg 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 6:00 PM
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Ottawa 11/7/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 11/7/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Montreal 11/8/14 3:00 PM
Edmonton 11/8/14 6:00 PM


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