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: It will be tough to snap out of slump against Wisconsin, but it's critical for the Gophers

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players Updated: January 26, 2013 - 9:57 AM

 The Gophers have lost 14 of the last 15 trips they’ve made to Madison.


Well, part of the reason is because Bo Ryan's squads play solid, and discombobulating defense.

You can say what you want of the Badgers' style (it’s not the prettiest to watch, it’s not the most interesting to view, it’s mind-numbing, it’s killing the sport, whatever it is you say), but the truth is, their defense is proven. You might not like it, but it works.

After leading the nation in scoring defense a year ago, the Badgers have only dropped to No. 8 this season, allowing an average of 55.4 points a game.

“Most people that work on defense, are always trying to say ‘OK, we’re going to try to do something that they’re not facing every day in practice,’” Ryan said. “It isn’t like you’re tricking anybody but you try to keep constants, you try to keep absolutes on where you want the ball to go, where you don’t want the ball to go, entry angles …

“I don’t want to make it sound like it’s some math class, but it does involve five guys working together and it’s something people have to work at and you have to care. It has to mean something to you. Not lip service, but you’ve got to make sacrifices to limit people in what they’re trying to do offensively.”

Therein lies the problem.

Let’s face it: the Gophers have not played well against tough or odd defenses. They struggled against Northwestern’s 1-3-1 on Wednesday – they often struggle against any zone at all, or even just really harassing man-to-man pressure. At the start of the season, the Gophers were able to play good enough defense of their own to hold on while they made adjustments. In the last three games, they simply haven’t made enough adjustments.

Doing that today, and snapping out of the three-game losing streak, will be critically important if the Gophers want to revive their season.

“We’re too good of a team (not to pull out of this funk),” Trevor Mbakwe said. “We had a tough stretch, played 4 of 6 games against ranked teams. In a lot of those games, we shot ourselves in the foot and beat ourselves. You turn the ball over 15-plus times against top teams, you’re going to lose. There hasn’t been a game where we were outplayed for 40 consecutive minutes.”

Extra points:

· Watch today’s game on Big Ten Network.

· Listen to today’s game live on 1500-a.m.

· In today’s Star Tribune: the bench – which has struggled throughout B1G play – will be key in beating Wisconsin.

· More about today’s matchup here.

· National notebook: How Ben McLemore came to be Kansas’ best player, PLUS what’s all this about bagels?

· On the blog: In the Gophers’ slump, who is dropping the ball, according to Tubby?

· I covered a Gophers’ women's hockey game yesterday, and they broke yet another NCAA record.


Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Arrieta 2 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: D. Axelrod 7
NY Yankees - LP: S. Kelley 2 FINAL
Detroit - WP: P. Coke 3
Colorado - LP: J. Lyles 1 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: Y. Petit 4
Tampa Bay 4 Bottom 8th Inning
Baltimore 5
Atlanta - WP: M. Minor 6 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: J. Niese 1
Cleveland 3 Top 7th Inning
Chicago WSox 1
Minnesota 5 Top 7th Inning
Kansas City 4
Texas 2 Bottom 6th Inning
Houston 4
Oakland 0 Bottom 1st Inning
LA Angels 0
Atlanta 24 FINAL
Jacksonville 14
Detroit 23 FINAL
Buffalo 0
Indianapolis 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 35
Kansas City 14 FINAL
Green Bay 34
Philadelphia 37
St. Louis 13 FINAL
Miami 14
Carolina 10 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
New England 13 4th Qtr 2:00
NY Giants 13
Washington 24 FINAL
Tampa Bay 10
Baltimore 19 4th Qtr 12:56
New Orleans 13
Chicago 13 3rd Qtr 1:09
Cleveland 26
Denver 24 4th Qtr 12:46
Dallas 3
Minnesota 19 4th Qtr 7:28
Tennessee 0
San Francisco 24 3rd Qtr 0:42
Houston 13
Arizona 3 1st Qtr 8:28
San Diego 0
Seattle 7 1st Qtr 10:16
Oakland 0
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 6 3rd Qtr 1:02
(18) Ole Miss 7
Tulane 21 3rd Qtr 9:44
Tulsa 14
Rutgers 7 1st Qtr 8:15
Washington St 0
Weber State 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
Temple 9:50 PM
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM





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