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 postgame: After six losses in eight games, is Minnesota in quicksand?

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players Updated: February 11, 2013 - 1:07 PM

It seemed like Elliott Eliason had put some thought into the question. And he was quick with a response.

Does he think the Gophers allow a few mistakes to snowball?

“You could say that,” he said, his head down and shaking slowly. “I kind of like to use a quicksand analogy, personally.”

Could you say that about the season?

After starting the non-conference schedule 12-1 and the Big Ten, 3-0, the Gophers have now lost six of their last eight, have fallen below .500 after the loss to Illinois and find their spot in the AP top 25 – the new one will be released tomorrow – threatened.

Yes, not all of these losses are bad. They Gophers have fallen to ranked Indiana, Michigan and Michigan State, Wisconsin is always tough and Illinois clearly is full of capable shooters.

But this is the league the Gophers play in – and if they can’t learn to take some of these matchups very soon, they’re going to quickly work their way into a very different conversation than the one they were hoping to be joining this time of year – a conversation laced with talk of the bubble, lingering disappointments and staff turnover.

Because the biggest concern with this Minnesota team is that they cannot seem to fix their woes, which are incredibly consistent and harmful from game to game. This loss to Illinois was no different – brought on by poor shooting (36.7 percent), rashes of turnovers (13 overall), a disjointed offense (no one able to find open spots except Austin Hollins) and the failure to defend the perimeter (Illinois had 11 3-pointers).

Other notes from tonight’s game:

  • Rodney Williams didn’t play at all after tweaking his left shoulder in yesterday’s practice. Williams said he thought he could play, at least some, but that the coaching staff made the decision to keep him out to ensure he didn’t make the injury worse. Williams said he will “definitely” be playing on Thursday, when Wisconsin will be at Williams Arena.
  • Elliott Eliason started at center, with Trevor Mbakwe shifting to power forward. I thought Eliason did a great job and was very active defensively and on the boards, and in feeding the high-low to Mbakwe.
  • That worked well in the first half, but Illinois adjusted in the second half, double-teaming Mbakwe, who had four turnovers. Austin Hollins pointed out that no one did a good enough job of taking advantage of those opportunities with two defenders occupied. “We’ve got to scramble to the perimeter,” he said. “We practice it all the time. Throw it into the post, then screen for your teammate on the wing, so we’ve just got to do a better job of transferring it to games.”
  • The subbing patterns were, shall we say, odd once more tonight. After the starters got off to a rock solid beginning, he snatched them out in favor of a full second team. “The group we had in was playing very well, and I thought ‘It’s going to be one of those games,’” Smith said. “It’s hot. Guys were exerting a lot of energy, we were trying to get out and guard the 3s, we were trying to monitor.” From there, Smith kept the rotations constantly changing, which seemed to have a tangible effect of the fluidity of the offense.
  • Andre Hollins and Joe Coleman combined to go 3-for-18 from the field.
  • The Gophers posted their best free throw percentage in seven games, but went to the line just 13 times.
  • D.J. Richardson (13 points) and Tyler Griffey (16 points) were responsible for 50.8 percent of Illinois’ offense.
  • The Illini beat the spread by 13 points tonight.
  • I nearly lost my face (mostly my nose) due to an errant pass by a Player Who Shall Remain Nameless in pregame. More than anything, I was surprised this hadn't happened to me before. Sympathy flowers may be sent to the Star Tribune newsroom (I know, I know, heads up.)


Oakland - LP: D. Otero 8 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Frasor 9
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
NY Islanders 5 FINAL
Boston 3
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Ottawa 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Tampa Bay 5 FINAL
Dallas 1
Colorado 0 FINAL
Calgary 2
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
San Jose 1
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM





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