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

aMAILia BAG: Revisiting an old question, Tubby's buyout, Gophers underrated? and what to feed Bigfoot

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players Updated: January 29, 2013 - 10:41 AM



aMAILia BAG is a weekly installment on this blog where you send me your questions and I answer them here. Please send queries to or to @AmeliaRayno on Twitter with the hashtag #aMAILiaBAG. Sign your emails with how you’d like to be referred to in the blog.

Questions below are in bold, while my responses are in regular type.


I asked you this on Twitter after the game, but didn't get a reply. I also don't have the game recorded, or know of a way I can go back and look at this. I swear there was a 3 point shot by Dre Hollins, at around the mark in the 2nd half it was 31-28, that was ruled a 2 point shot. The announcers said it was going to be reviewed at the next stop in play. They showed a quick replay of it and his foot was behind the line. The first stop in the game after that was 33-31, and expected another point to go up on the board for the Gophers after the timeout, but never saw one...and never heard it mentioned in the game after that. Did you see anything like this? Nothing would change, of course...and I wouldn't even ask if it wasn't a 1pt loss. Curious if you know what happened.

Thank you,


Thanks for following up, James. Unfortunately, I just can’t get to all the hundreds of tweets I get around gametime. (Is it unfortunate? Yes, we’ll go with that.)

In any case, here’s the deal. The shot was review at the next stop in play, as they announced and found – like you’ve said – to be a 3-pointer. There was a second Minnesota shot in this time, however, that was reviewed, that was called a three, but was actually a two. So basically, the two shots evened each other out. A little confusing and weird, since it was hard to tell what happened with that first shot from a viewer’s perspective, but that’s what happened.


I copied my question from earlier this year and thought it could be fun to revisit it. Perhaps I was justified in being a bit apprehensive haha. Keep up the good work. Thanks

Here is what I sent you earlier this year:


Every year I get super excited about the team's up-tempo style and success in non-conference play. Yet, it seems we always struggle come conference time. I realize it is a step up in competition level and a different style, but I was just wondering if there was any indication of us doing a better job of dictating the tempo and having more overall success in conference play? This is clearly Tubby's most talented team, but I worry about our ability to win drag it out, slow down, half-court conference games which happens frequently in conference season.

-An optimistic, but worried to commit (because of past years heartbreak) Gopher fan

Oh goody, I get a chance to answer this one again.

Well, I think the things I said when you asked the first time still make sense. At that time, they really did look like a different Gophers team. That is to say, the way they performed prior to the Big Ten was certainly superior to the way they performed prior to the Big Ten a season ago. I stand by that – all signs pointed to [Not This]. I won’t go through all that again, but since then, we can identify two problems:

1) The Gophers have gotten away from the things they’ve done well, and
2) They’re facing (much) better competition

Let’s look more at that first one. Because against Big Ten competition, we’ve seen sparks of these traits, still. We know the Gophers are capable of great defense – we saw that most notably against Illinois and in the second halves against Michigan State and Indiana. We know the Gophers can be efficient offensively, can impress off the fast break – we saw that against Illinois and in the second half in the home game against Northwestern. We know they can be tough – they out-toughed Michigan State from the start. We know they can shoot – they actually shot pretty well through their first five games, and were able to get close to Indiana and Michigan that way.

The concern is that they did not maintain the intensity of those traits throughout the Indiana and Michigan games. But in the last two games in particular, the Gophers have gotten away from those traits completely, it’s seemed. And more than ever this season, Minnesota is exhibiting the signature characteristics that did the team in last year:

  • An affinity for turnovers -- that’s been present all year, but it’s just getting exposed now. That this is still an issue is not a good sign.
  • Deference – We could otherwise call this a lack of leadership. There are times when it seems like Andre Hollins or Rodney Williams are waiting for someone else to drive this ship.
  • A lackluster half-court offense – How has Tubby Smith not dreamed up some better plays to utilize his athletes? How is it the Gophers have the hardest time feeding to Trevor Mbakwe in the low post? He says he tries to run things for Williams – but I don’t see nearly enough of that. You can’t totally blame Williams for not getting involved if there’s no real design for him to. And in general, Minnesota’s motion offense is pretty … motionless. Maybe it’s time to go back to the flex?
  • Lack of a killer instinct – I used to like the Gophers in close games. At the beginning of the season, they showed the eagerness to put opponents away and the ability to take it to a new level in close games. Where has that gone?

Basically, I’m close to filing a very long missing persons report because this simply does not look like the same team I was covering early in the season. And we can only continue to say they are STILL that team at the heart of them if they start acting like it right away. Good teams don’t get to take four-game breaks.


I know I am no basketball expert, but it seems the gophers struggles in their losses are very apparent: inability to shoot free throws and TURNOVERS!! You would think these are relatively easy areas to improve on, but I haven’t seen any improvement all year and Big Ten play is exposing it badly. Is this a coaching issue, or players who simply lack the composure? I love the gophers, but it’s maintain hope when it looks like the same show we’ve seen the past few years . . . heartache.

-MN in Arizona

Well, those two things are certainly part of the problem. Free throw shooting in the last three games has been horrendous, and turnovers have been an issue all season long and is certainly the more concerning problem of the two.

Those two things – it’s tough to blame on the coach. The Gophers’ guards are not strong ball handlers and their point guard is somewhat out of position, but they will face this type of pressure all season long and they simply need to adapt. You can simulate pressure situations in practice -- and if Smith isn’t making that an emphasis he certainly should – but at the end of the day, it’s the player holding onto the ball. Free throws are even more of a player’s responsibility, because that is something a guy can practice in the gym at night, by himself, with a rack of balls. Unless you’re changing someone’s shot, there’s not a whole lot of coaching to be done there except to say “do that.”

But those are hardly the only issues this team is faced with (see above).

How big is Tubby's buyout?


I figured it wouldn’t be long until these questions started.

Since Smith got his extension in July, his buyout has gone up from where it was after last season. May 1, 2012, triggered a half a million drop in his buyout, from $2 million to $1.5. Now, with the extension, his new buyout is at $2.5 million, which is where it will be for the next two seasons. The deal, done by athletic director Norwood Teague, also includes a new clause that says Smith cannot be fired mid-season.

Do the #Gophers practice free throws? Seems like #Bigfoot could do a better job at times.


It does seem like that, doesn’t it. I personally have never witnessed any bigfoots free-throw shooting, but then, Smith doesn’t allow media to watch Gophers’ practices, so I don’t see the players’ free-throw shooting much out-of-game either. They tell me they do practice free-throw shooting, and so I just have to believe them there. I do think that every one of these starters works very hard on his game and certainly wants to improve – practicing from the line is a no-brainer. I know it’s been a real focus for Rodney Williams, and Saturday’s 2-for-4 performance aside (with the last one being huge, obviously), while he’s still not where you’d ideally want him to be, the forward has improved for two consecutive seasons. It’s not as consistent a problem as it has been in the last two games, but I think some of that is because the Gophers panicking on all fronts. That’s when you know a slump has become mental -- on free throws, the hoop seems the size of a baseball.

Pomeroy still has the #gophers at 9 this morning: he said that the loser of the game is the "most underrated team.” Thoughts?


I’d say with all due respect to Ken Pomeroy (I have overflowing respect for the man), he should watch a little more of this recent Gophers ball. They don’t look like the same team they were earlier this season. They haven’t just had “a bad game,” they’ve had four very bad games where they seemed clueless how to turn things around (for long stretches in the first two games and at all in the last two). Their offense has been exposed. Their ball handling has been exposed. And right now, they have the attitude and demeanor of a reeling team – that might be the worst one. Thats' not to say the Gophers won't pull out of this and become that good, tournament-bound team they were before this -- only that you can't surmise that from these last four ugly games.

Is it your opinion that the players may be quitting on Tubby as other scribes have surmised?


I certainly don’t think that Smith trashing his team in postgame is helping anything. It’s pretty clear by now that they don’t respond to that particular fire. Smith has got to take some major responsibility for this four-game collapse – unless he wants us to believe all of his players are dumb; that he really had a brilliant play or offensive adjustment drawn up and the team just ignored it in entirety. I don’t think they are QUITTING on him. But it does feel like there is some uneasiness between player and coach right now.


I think there is a #Bigfoot living in Memphis, TN near our house in swamp w/ wild dogs. #aMAILiaBAG what should I feed it?


Great question. I would suggest leaving out a pile of (counted) apples in a secluded area of the swamp, surrounded by soft mud. Some great bigfoot imprints have been gotten this way. They seem to like fruit.

However, I would warn you not to put anything too closely to your house. It can be dangerous to habituate a bigfoot too much.


Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Dallas 12/4/14 7:25 PM
Chicago 109 FINAL
Boston 102
Golden State 6:00 PM
Dallas 6:30 PM
Milwaukee 6:30 PM
New Orleans 6:30 PM
LA Clippers 7:00 PM
New York 7:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Orlando 7:00 PM
Sacramento 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Phoenix 8:00 PM
Memphis 9:00 PM
Minnesota 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
NY Rangers 3 FINAL
Philadelphia 0
Chicago 3 3rd Prd 10:32
Anaheim 1
NY Islanders 2 2nd Prd 17:19
Washington 2
Winnipeg 6:00 PM
Montreal 6:00 PM
Detroit 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Carolina 6:00 PM
Vancouver 6:00 PM
Ottawa 6:30 PM
Edmonton 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Minnesota 7:30 PM
Tennessee 67 FINAL
Kansas 82
Eastern Ill 40 FINAL
NC Central 65
New Orleans 65 FINAL
Texas A&M 87
Radford 65 FINAL
NC A&T 57
Butler 64 FINAL
Georgetown 58
Prairie View 71 FINAL
Brown 81
Southern U 63 FINAL
Northern Ariz 70
Santa Clara 44 FINAL
Rhode Island 66
IUPU-Ft Wayne 67 FINAL
Dartmouth 68
Wright State 59
Texas-El Paso 77 FINAL
Xavier 73
Penn State 88 FINAL
Bucknell 80
James Madison 56 FINAL
Ohio State 73
Yale 66 FINAL
Providence 72
Lamar 56 FINAL
Texas Southern 71
Miss Valley St 66 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 75
Missouri State 55 FINAL
Alaska-Anchorage 51
Minnesota 52 2nd Half 8:02
Georgia 45
Oklahoma 48 2nd Half 9:22
Wisconsin 57
Stephen F Austin 56 2nd Half 16:18
Austin Peay 32
Norfolk State 33 2nd Half 15:13
St Francis-NY 39
Middle Tennessee 0 1st Half 14:28
Cincinnati 6
Char Southern 2 1st Half 16:28
Florida State 6
Princeton 5 1st Half 15:40
San Diego 4
Drake 3 1st Half 14:43
Valparaiso 4
Rice 5:15 PM
Washington St
USC Upstate 5:25 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Rider 5:30 PM
Georgia Tech
High Point 6:00 PM
Emerson 6:00 PM
Savannah State 6:00 PM
Jacksonville St
Monmouth 6:00 PM
South Alabama 6:00 PM
Boise State 6:00 PM
NC State
Vanderbilt 6:00 PM
Gonzaga 6:00 PM
St Johns
Holy Cross 6:00 PM
Bradley 6:00 PM
Alabama State 6:00 PM
TX-Pan American
Delaware State 6:00 PM
Wake Forest
Tennessee St 6:30 PM
Saint Peters
North Carolina 7:00 PM
Memphis 7:00 PM
Indiana State
Hofstra 7:00 PM
Jackson State
Samford 7:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Cleveland State 7:00 PM
UT Martin 7:00 PM
SE Louisiana 7:00 PM
Creighton 7:30 PM
Ole Miss
Murray State 7:30 PM
North Texas 8:00 PM
UNC Greensboro 8:00 PM
Michigan State 8:00 PM
Western Mich 8:00 PM
San Jose St
Stetson 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
Texas-Arlington 8:05 PM
Montana State
Pacific 8:30 PM
Colorado State
Miss State 8:30 PM
Saint Louis
La Salle 8:30 PM
North Dakota 9:00 PM
UCLA 9:30 PM
Baylor 9:30 PM
Long Beach State 10:30 PM
Mercer 10:59 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Texas A&M 17
(6) TCU 48 FINAL
Texas 10
Northern Ill 31 FINAL
Western Mich 21
Nebraska 37 FINAL
Iowa 34
Western Ky 67 FINAL
(19) Marshall 66
So Florida 0
Houston 35 FINAL
Akron 24 FINAL
Kent State 27
Ball State 41 FINAL
Bowling Green 24
Buffalo 41 FINAL
Massachusetts 21
Toledo 52 FINAL
Eastern Mich 16
Arkansas 14 4th Qtr 2:11
(17) Missouri 21
Navy 42 4th Qtr 0:59
South Alabama 34
(13) Arizona State 21 4th Qtr 11:45
(12) Arizona 35
Stanford 31 4th Qtr 8:41
(9) UCLA 10
(21) Colorado State 10 3rd Qtr 3:00
Air Force 24
Virginia 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 7:30 PM
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Northern Ill 12/5/14 6:00 PM
Bowling Green
TBA 12/5/14 8:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Marshall 12/6/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State 12/6/14 2:00 AM
(5) Baylor
Iowa State 12/6/14 2:00 AM
(6) TCU
Oklahoma State 12/6/14 2:00 AM
(20) Oklahoma
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Michigan 76 FINAL
Washington St 64
Green Bay 71 FINAL
Georgia Tech 50
Eastern Kentucky 71 FINAL
Western Carolina 62
Florida Atlantic 57
Fordham 74 FINAL
Incarnate Word 42
Furman 63 FINAL
Florida State 94
Illinois State 44 FINAL
Miami-Florida 95
Eastern Michigan 74 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 78
George Washington 74 FINAL
NC State 66
Ohio State 55 FINAL
Wichita State 70
Western Ky 69 FINAL
Tulane 64
La Salle 71 FINAL
Long Island 66
Binghamton 51 FINAL
St Johns 67
UNC-Asheville 52 FINAL
NC Central 55
North Florida 55 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 41
Akron 73 FINAL
Belmont 58
Miss Valley St 46 FINAL
Liberty 80 FINAL
Penn State 68
Colgate 44 FINAL
(21) Rutgers 60
Mercer 80 FINAL
Saint Louis 75
Northeastern 72 FINAL
No Dakota State 79
(10) Maryland 80 FINAL
James Madison 64
Villanova 46 FINAL
Arizona State 51
Tulsa 87 FINAL
Buffalo 77
Boston College 90 FINAL
Brown 80
Wyoming 63 FINAL
Iowa State 84
Weber State 87 2nd OT
New Mexico St 87
Texas Tech 53 FINAL
Purdue 69
Washington 81 FINAL
Hartford 70
Fla Gulf Coast 86 FINAL
Clemson 61
Drake 69 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 61
UNC Greensboro 64 FINAL
Navy 71
(15) Nebraska 71 FINAL
Austin Peay 71 FINAL
Southern Miss 80
(17) Iowa 67 FINAL
Arkansas 77
Cal-Irvine 54 FINAL
Bowling Green 62
Northern Iowa 47 2nd Half 3:52
Hofstra 42
Samford 55 2nd Half 3:00
Georgia State 59
Siena 74 2nd Half 3:17
Denver 50
Abilene Christian 82 2nd Half 1:30
George Mason 81
Towson 36 2nd Half 7:42
Rhode Island 45
Howard 27 2nd Half
St Marys-CA 37
Houston 39 2nd Half 15:34
Idaho State 39
IUPUI 21 1st Half 3:48
Texas Southern 31
East Carolina 10 1st Half 11:52
Wisconsin 7
USC 0 1st Half 20:00
Sam Houston St 0
Minnesota 10 1st Half 17:08
Vanderbilt 6
Kent State 0 1st Half 20:00
Montana 0 1st Half 20:00
Princeton 0
(9) Kentucky 0 1st Half 20:00
Oklahoma 0
Arizona 8 1st Half 14:24
Northern Ky 0 1st Half 20:00
Grand Canyon 0
Stetson 4 1st Half 16:04
Marist 5
American Univ 5:30 PM
UAB 5:30 PM
Loyola Marymount
Oral Roberts 5:30 PM
Stony Brook 5:30 PM
(8) Duke
TCU 6:00 PM
Colorado State
(5) Stanford 6:00 PM
(11) North Carolina
Monmouth 6:00 PM
Portland 6:00 PM
Stephen F Austin 6:00 PM
Alcorn State 6:00 PM
Lafayette 6:00 PM
(12) Louisville
Florida 6:00 PM
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
SE Missouri St 6:05 PM
Southern Ill
Florida A&M 7:00 PM
Northern Colorado 7:00 PM
Nebraska Omaha
Montana State 7:00 PM
(22) Syracuse 7:00 PM
(1) South Carolina
Dartmouth 7:00 PM
Cal Poly
Utah State 7:00 PM
(13) Baylor
Toledo 7:00 PM
Christian Brothers 7:05 PM
Arkansas State
South Florida 7:15 PM
Coll of Charleston 7:30 PM
(3) Connecticut
Wake Forest 7:30 PM
San Jose St 7:30 PM
(14) California
Central Michigan 8:00 PM
Fresno State 8:00 PM
San Diego
Boston U 8:00 PM
New Mexico
Missouri State 8:30 PM
Ole Miss 8:30 PM
Prairie View 8:30 PM
Army 9:00 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Cincinnati 9:30 PM


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