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 pregame: SDSU's Nate Wolters (ankle) questionable for game

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players Updated: December 4, 2012 - 3:01 PM

 

Without Wolters, this game won't be quite so interesting.

Without Wolters, this game won't be quite so interesting.

 

This game might have just gotten a lot less interesting.

The South Dakota State matchup has been eyed on the schedule all year long as kind of a one-man show; a chance to see their super star Nate Wolters again, and how he’s improved from his junior campaign a year ago.

But this morning, Terry Vandrovec of the Argus Leader reported that during a practice last night, Wolters rolled one of his ankles and is now questionable for tonight’s game.

While Wolters did participate in the team’s shoot around this morning, as Vandrovec said, the guard likely wouldn’t be at 100 percent even if he does suit up.

Without Wolters, this game might not have much drama as there aren’t a ton of pieces surrounding the senior point guard.

And if the Jackrabbits weren’t weakened enough, they might also be without Taevaunn Prince, who had some sort of toe injury on Friday.

Together, Wolters and Prince make up almost 37 percent of the Jackrabbits’ scoring.

Some other notes on tonight’s game:

  • Otherwise, the Jackrabbits have pretty good both offensively and defensively the season – just probably not good enough to stop the Gophers or challenge their own D, particularly without Wolters, who has 19 steals on the season.
  • Other than Wolters, the Jackrabbits have three shooters capable of hitting 3-pointers: Jordan Dykstra, Brayden Carlson and Chad White.
  • Once again, the Gophers should have a significant advantage inside with SDSU consistently playing just one forward 6-9 or taller.
  • The Gophers’ have faced SDSU every year for the past seven years and 15 times overall, and are 15-0 against the Jackrabbits so far. Last year, the Gophers won 71-55 on a 17-point, 10-rebound performance by Trevor Mbakwe.
  • Coach Tubby Smith comes into this game with 498 career wins, so if the Gophers win tonight, look for Smith to potentially become the 19th current active DI coach to reach the 500-win plateau at USC on Saturday.
  • The Gophers had a solid comeback against North Florida on Saturday after a slow start, and continued to turn the ball over at a lower rate than their average, but the team shot just 1-for-13 from 3-point range.
  • Minnesota also had team highs in blocks (13), steals (15) and points (87) on Saturday.

Extra points:

*The Gophers play on ESPN3 tonight. For those not familiar, that is not a channel, it's online.

*Listen to tonight's game live on 1500-a.m.

*I talked to Nate Wolters, his coach and his roommate about what has made him so successful. It's in today's Star Tribune and here.

*Game preview of SDSU-Gophers.

*On the blog: The Gophers are moving on up in the polls these days.

*Also on the blog: the first edition of aMAILia Bag, which will happen every Monday. Send questions to amelia.rayno@startribune.com

 

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