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.

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A look at the Gophers' substitution patterns compared with other teams

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players Updated: February 25, 2013 - 12:26 PM

Rodney Williams update: Gophers coach Tubby Smith said on today's teleconference call that there is a 100 percent difference with Williams getting some rest to his tweaked left shoulder over the weekend. Still, the coach said he harbored some concerns about the senior's conditioning after having been held out of contact in practices and missing a lot of game time. Smith noted that Williams should be ready to go, but that Elliott Eliason could start otherwise. It should be a gametime decision.

I decided to spend some time looking into the substitution patterns of other Big Ten teams/ Minnesota opponents to see how the Gophers compared, since that seemed to be the next logical step after determining how starters' minutes compared.

My sample size is relatively small considering how time-consuming the data-gathering process is, but I think we can still take some interesting things from it.

I tracked substitutions (meaning every unique group of five and how much time they spent on the court together in particular games) for the following (first team designates the one I tracked, second team just an indicator of which game it was):

*Gophers at Ohio State (a blowout loss)
*Gophers against Nebraska
(a blowout win)
*Gophers against Wisconsin
(a close win – I used regulation minutes only to keep things uniform)
*Gophers vs. Illinois
(a close loss)
*Nebraska at Minnesota
(a blowout loss)
*Nebraska vs. Ohio State
(a competitive loss)
*Ohio State vs. Minnesota
(a blowout win)
*Ohio State at Michigan
(a tight loss – I used regulation only)
*Indiana vs. Minnesota
(wound up being a close win after large early deficit)
*Indiana at Illinois
(wound up being a close loss after a large early deficit)

I tried to select games that varied some under the assumption that the subbing would as well.

A few thoughts on what I found (with fuller bullet points below):

  • The first thing I noticed was that in general, teams use their starters together much less than I assumed, and the Gophers, by comparison, use their players together as much or more than the others I tracked.
  • As a rule, the Gophers don’t substitute more often than other teams – that is, the numbers of distinct groups are pretty similar with the other teams I tracked, as you’ll see below.
  • The substituting beyond that, for the Gophers, is incredibly more random and indicates that Gophers coach Tubby Smith likely has far fewer go-to lineups than the coaches of the other teams I tracked.

For example, I looked at the groups that got the most time after the starters. For the Gophers, this group changed every game – and never received more than four and a half minutes. The substitution pattern – or lack of it -- was also notable, as the players and groups that received significant minutes seemed to be chosen indiscriminately.

Compared with other teams, this stands out significantly. In Ohio State’s secondary lineups, it’s clear the Buckeyes favor their starters along with three reserves: Evan Ravenel, Shannon Scott and Ross LaQuinton. These are the only three used in significant minutes. Craft and Thomas – clearly the guys that make their team go – were used in each of those combos. Similarly, Indiana favored Will Sheehey, Remy Abell and Hanner Moquera-Perea as their main reserves. Yogi Ferrell was in all of those groups.

The Gophers’ secondary combos, by comparison, highlighted six different reserves (Maverick Ahanmisi, Mo Walker, Oto Osenieks, Julian Welch, Andre Ingram and Elliott Eliason) and there was no common player among them.

This should be the indication of an incredibly deep and talented bench, but I noted from Friday’s blog, that is far from the case.

I thought it would also be interesting to look at Nebraska, not just as an upcoming opponent, but as a team that has a weak bench similar to the Gophers. The Huskers’ Tim Miles plays Nebraska’s bench (529 minutes in 14 games) even fewer minutes than Smith has played Minnesota’s (733 minutes in 14 games), with the Huskers’ reserves scoring 12 percent of the team’s points with 18.9 percent of the minutes. In comparison, the Gophers’ bench scores 16.7 percent of the points with 25.5 percent of the minutes.

However, Miles’ substitutions differ dramatically from the Gophers’ as well. Brandon Ubel and Ray Gallegos rarely leave the floor if the game is competitive, and Miles uses far fewer combinations in general, with clear favorite groupings.

Lastly notable is that in the two games “close” Gophers games I tracked (Wisconsin and Illinois), the secondary options included Andre Hollins, Austin Hollins and Eliason in each – three players that can be facilitators for this team.

Let’s look first at the Gophers:

Minnesota at Ohio State:

  • Starters used together a total of 5:59 (two separate occations) – this is deceiving because of the early fouls by Rodney Williams and Joe Coleman, which kept them out of most of the first half.
  • 18 total combinations (including the starters group) were used.
  • Other than the starters’ group, two groups were used more than once – the combination [Dre Hollins, Austin Hollins, Andre Ingram, Oto Osenieks and Mo Walker] was used twice, for a total of 2:17. The combination [Dre Hollins, Julian Welch, Austin Hollins, Trevor Mbakwe and Walker] was also used twice for a total of 3:44 minutes.
  • The group that received the most time (4:26) other than the starting group was the combination [Maverick Ahanmisi, Welch, Osenieks, Mbakwe, Walker].
  • No other group exceeded 3:28 – this is surprising given that the starters played so little together, and shows that Smith doesn’t have a favorite backup combination if both Williams and Coleman get into foul trouble.
  • Dre Hollins was used in the most combinations (15) of any player for a total of 34 minutes.

Minnesota vs. Nebraska:

  • Starters used together a total of 19:16 (three separate occasions).
  • 14 total combinations were used.
  • Other than the starters’ group, one group was used more than once, the combination [Ahanmisi, Joe Coleman, Austin Hollins, Rodney Williams, Trevor Mbakwe] for a total of 1:21.
  • The group that received the most minutes (3:23) other than the starting group was the combination [Ahanmisi, Coleman, Welch, Ingram, Elliott Eliason].
  • No other group exceeded 2:38.
  • Ahanmisi and Williams were both used in 11 combinations. Williams had 33 minutes. Ahanmisi had 17.


Minnesota vs. Wisconsin (regulation only):

  • Starters used together a total of 21:27 (seven occasions).
  • 13 total combinations were used.
  • Other than the starters’ group, one group was used more than once, the combination [Dre Hollins, Coleman, Austin Hollins, Williams, Eliason] for a total of 3:39.
  • The above group received the most min other than the starting group. No other group exceeded 2:51.
  • Dre Hollins and Austin Hollins were both used in 11 combinations. Both had 38 minutes.


Minnesota vs. Illinois:

  • Starters used together a total of 19:32 (four occasions).
  • 13 total combinations were used.
  • Other than the starters’ group, no other group was used more than once.
  • The group that received the most minutes (4:11) after the starters was the combination [Dre Hollins, Welch, Austin Hollins, Mbakwe, Eliason].
  • The combo [Dre Hollins, Ahanmisi, Welch, Ingram, Walker] received 3:22 minutes. No other group exceeded 2:18.
  • Dre Hollins was used in 10 combinations for 36 minutes.


Now all of the other teams I tracked:

Ohio State vs. Minnesota:

  • Starters [Aaron Craft, Amir Williams, Sam Thompson, Deshaun Thomas, Lenzelle Smith] used together for just 5:24 (three occasions).
  • 14 total combinations were used.
  • Other than the starters’ group, three groups were used more than once.
  • The combination [Craft, Evan Ravenel, Ross LaQuinton, Thomas, Shannon Scott] was used the most (12:31).
  • Two other groups received more than four minutes: [Craft, Williams, Thompson, Thomas, Scott] and [Craft, Ravenel, Thompson, Thomas, Smith]. No other group exceeded 1:56.
  • Thomas was used in 10 combinations (including continuously until the final 5:18, when the Buckeyes led by 21.

Ohio State at Michigan (only looked at regulation):

  • Starters [same] used together for 12:26 (four occasions).
  • Seven total combinations were used.
  • Other than the starters’ group, three groups were used more than once.
  • The combination [Craft, Williams, LaQuinton, Thomas, Smith] was used the most (13:26).
  • Two other groups received more than 4.5 minutes [Craft, Ravenel, Thompson, Thomas, Scott] and [Craft, Williams, LaQuinton, Thomas, Scott]. No other group received more than 3:09.
  • Thomas was used in every combination, for a total of 40 minutes.

Indiana vs. Minnesota:

  • Starters [Yogi Ferrell, Victor Oladipo, Jordan Hulls, ChDyristian Watford, Cody Zeller] used together for a total of 15:01 (eight occasions).
  • 16 total combinations were used.
  • Other than the starters’ group, three groups were used more than once.
  • The combination [Ferrell, Hulls, Will Sheehey, Watford, Hanner Mosquera-Perea] received the most minutes (3:29) after the starters. The combo [Ferrell, Oladipo, Remy Abell, Watford, Zeller] received just a second less.
  • No other group received more than 2:27.
  • Ferrell was used in the most combinations (13) for 37 minutes.

Indiana at Illinois:

  • Starters [same] used together for a total of 11:28 (five occasions).
  • 17 total combinations were used.
  • Other than the starters’ group, two groups were used more than once.
  • The combination that received the most minutes other than the starters (7:11) was the combination [Ferrell, Oladipo, Sheehey, Watford, Zeller].
  • No other group received more than 3:16.
  • Oladipo was used in 13 combinations for 31 minutes, but both Ferrell (11 combos) and Zeller (12) eclipsed Oladipo in minutes (Ferrell with 32, Zeller with 33).

Nebraska at Minnesota:

  • Starters [Dylan Talley, Ray Gallegos, David Rivers, Shavon Shields, Brandon Ubel] were used together for a total of 7:28 (two occasions).
  • Nine total combinations were used.
  • Other than the starters’ group, three groups were used more than once.
  • The combination that received the most minutes (8:26) was the combination [Talley, Gallegos, Benny Parker, Shields, Ubel].
  • One other group received more than seven minutes [Talley, Gallegos, Parker, Andre Almeida, Shields]. No other group was used more than 4:01.
  • Gallegos was used in eight combinations, including continuously until 2:03 left in the game, when the Gophers were up by 18.

Nebraska vs. Ohio State:

  • Starters [same] were used together for a total of 15:41 (five occasions).
  • Seven total combinations were used.
  • Other than the starters’ group, four groups were used more than once.
  • The combination that received the most minutes after the starters (8:23) was the combination [Talley, Gallegos, Almeida, Shields, Ubel].
  • One other group received more than seven minutes [Talley, Gallegos, Rivers, Almeida, Ubel]. No other group received more than 3:10.
  • Ubel and Gallegos were both used in all the combinations, for totals of 40 minutes each.



Cleveland 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Detroit 11/23/14 12:00 PM
New England
Green Bay 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 11/23/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis 11/23/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Miami 11/23/14 3:25 PM
Washington 11/23/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
Dallas 11/23/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
NY Jets 11/24/14 6:00 PM
Baltimore 11/24/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 11/27/14 11:30 AM
Philadelphia 11/27/14 3:30 PM
Seattle 11/27/14 7:30 PM
San Francisco
Phoenix 122 FINAL
Philadelphia 96
Orlando 105 FINAL
Charlotte 100
Detroit 89 FINAL
Atlanta 99
Milwaukee 83 FINAL
Toronto 124
Boston 100 FINAL
Memphis 117
Cleveland 78 FINAL
Washington 91
Brooklyn 94 FINAL
Oklahoma City 92
San Antonio 121 FINAL
Minnesota 92
LA Lakers 106 FINAL
Dallas 140
New Orleans 97 FINAL
Denver 117
Chicago 87 FINAL
Portland 105
Utah 88 FINAL
Golden State 101
NY Rangers 0 Postponed
Buffalo 0
NY Islanders 5 FINAL(SO)
Pittsburgh 4
Boston 4 FINAL(SO)
Columbus 3
New Jersey 2 FINAL
Edmonton 0
Texas A&M 59 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 50
Drexel 70
Clemson 70 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 72
Dayton 64 FINAL
Connecticut 75
Akron 51 FINAL
Miami-Florida 79
Seton Hall 68 FINAL
Nevada 60
Valparaiso 59 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 46
UNC Greensboro 79 FINAL
Longwood 81
Syracuse 66 FINAL
Iowa 63
Central Conn St 49 FINAL
Towson 58
Boston College 66 FINAL
West Virginia 70
Ill-Chicago 58 FINAL
Yale 70
Alcorn State 69 FINAL
Hampton 82
Old Dominion 70
Prairie View 45 FINAL
Baylor 60
Montana State 0 Postponed
Buffalo 0
Maine 48 FINAL
Central Mich 76
Youngstown St 62 FINAL
Eastern Mich 71
Wofford 54 FINAL
Fairfield 36
Troy 60 FINAL
Georgia 82
IUPU-Ft Wayne 69 FINAL
Georgia Tech 78
Stony Brook 65 FINAL
Hofstra 66
Boston Univ 65 FINAL
Kentucky 89
Loyola-Chicago 52 FINAL
Michigan State 87
Toledo 68 FINAL
Oregon 78
Lehigh 74 FINAL
Rider 78
Charlotte 65 FINAL
South Carolina 63
Stanford 89
George Washington 42 FINAL
Virginia 59
Hiwassee 53 FINAL
Western Carolina 72
Texas 71 FINAL
California 55
Florida Memorial 48 FINAL
FIU 74
Southern Ill 51 FINAL
Kent State 74
Bethune-Cookman 50 FINAL
Monmouth 73
New Mexico 69 FINAL
George Mason 58
Delaware State 71 FINAL
Arkansas 99
Florida 61
Austin Peay 66 FINAL
Illinois 107
Morehead State 64 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 73
Jarvis Christian 70 FINAL
McNeese State 85
Milwaukee 68 FINAL
Oklahoma State 82
Stephen F Austin 63 FINAL
Xavier 81
Kennesaw St 55 FINAL
North Dakota St 68
North Dakota 72 FINAL
South Dakota St 74
Iona 85 FINAL
Wake Forest 81
Louisiana 80 FINAL
Auburn 105
Georgia State 70 FINAL
Colorado State 80
Marshall 67 FINAL
Louisville 85
Oral Roberts 42 FINAL
Oregon State 55
UC Riverside 42 FINAL
Utah 88
Idaho State 68 FINAL
Washington St 80
Illinois State 73 FINAL
Weber State 64
Florida A&M 49 FINAL
Grand Canyon 64
Sam Houston St 93 FINAL
South Dakota 85
Temple 54 FINAL
Duke 74
Penn State 72 FINAL
Cornell 71
Delaware 60 FINAL
Cal Poly 78
Washington 63 FINAL
Seattle 48
Kansas State 60 FINAL
Long Beach State 69
Presbyterian 38 FINAL
American Univ 63
Pittsburgh 70 FINAL
Hawaii 74
(12) Kansas State 26 FINAL
West Virginia 20
North Carolina 45 FINAL
(25) Duke 20
Arkansas State 27 FINAL
Texas State 45
Kent State 0 Cancelled
Buffalo 0
Texas-El Paso 13 FINAL
Rice 31
Air Force 14 FINAL
San Diego St 30
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Utah State 41
Char Southern 11:00 AM
(9) Georgia
South Alabama 11:00 AM
So Carolina
Rutgers 11:00 AM
(10) Michigan State
Minnesota 11:00 AM
(21) Nebraska
Northwestern 11:00 AM
(18) Marshall 11:00 AM
Kansas 11:00 AM
(23) Oklahoma
Indiana 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Penn State 11:00 AM
(14) Eastern Ky 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio 11:00 AM
Western Ky
SMU 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech 11:30 AM
Wake Forest
Washington St 12:00 PM
(13) Arizona State
Louisiana Tech 12:00 PM
Old Dominion
Western Mich 12:00 PM
Central Mich
New Mexico 12:30 PM
(22) Colorado State
Eastern Mich 1:00 PM
Ball State
Appalachian St 1:00 PM
Tulsa 2:00 PM
(15) Arizona 2:30 PM
(20) Utah
FIU 2:30 PM
North Texas
(8) Ole Miss 2:30 PM
Louisville 2:30 PM
Notre Dame
Maryland 2:30 PM
Texas Tech 2:30 PM
Iowa State
(14) Wisconsin 2:30 PM
Syracuse 2:30 PM
Boston College 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Georgia State 2:30 PM
Tulane 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Stanford 3:00 PM
Western Carolina 3:00 PM
(2) Alabama
ULM 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
So Florida 3:00 PM
Colorado 3:30 PM
(3) Oregon
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Samford 6:00 PM
(16) Auburn
Miami-Florida 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt 6:30 PM
(4) Miss State
(19) Missouri 6:30 PM
Oklahoma State 6:30 PM
(6) Baylor
(24) USC 7:00 PM
(11) UCLA
Cincinnati 7:00 PM
Boise State 9:15 PM
Oregon State 9:30 PM
Fresno State 9:30 PM
UNLV 10:00 PM
Ohio U 11/25/14 6:00 PM
LSU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(5) TCU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
(21) Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(18) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(19) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(15) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(11) UCLA
(22) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
BYU 11/29/14 2:00 AM
(20) Utah 11/29/14 2:00 AM
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Oregon State
Kentucky 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:00 AM
(24) USC
So Carolina 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Florida 11/29/14 2:00 AM
(1) Florida State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 2:00 AM
(25) Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Montreal 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Edmonton 11/23/14 3:30 PM
TBA 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Delaware 60 FINAL
East Carolina 89
Wiley 65 FINAL
Sam Houston St 48
SE Louisiana 78 FINAL
Troy 80
St Francis-NY 63 FINAL
North Dakota 70
Eastern Kentucky 56 FINAL
Central Arkansas 55
Chattanooga 53 FINAL
(3) Notre Dame 88
LSU-Alexandria 0 Cancelled
Nicholls 0
UT Martin 47 FINAL
Dayton 78
William & Mary 59 FINAL
NC A&T 57
Eastern Illinois 55 FINAL
Florida State 91
Marquette 77 FINAL
Wake Forest 89
Columbia College 55 FINAL
SC State 97
Rider 51 FINAL
Towson 53
Cleveland State 74 FINAL
Florida Atlantic 79
Jackson State 48 FINAL
Mercer 80
Elon 67 FINAL
Charlotte 54
Hofstra 46 FINAL
Fordham 60
High Point 62 FINAL
NC State 66
Lehigh 74 FINAL
Alabama A&M 50 FINAL
Samford 61
Morehead St 57 FINAL
Indiana 98
San Diego State 43 FINAL
Furman 60
Columbia 68 FINAL
Stony Brook 82
East Tenn St 79 FINAL
St Francis-PA 63
Evansville 59 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 77
Winthrop 48 FINAL
(4) Tennessee 81
Mount St Marys 42 FINAL
Campbell 60
Alabama 85 FINAL
Kansas 80
Canisius 68 FINAL
Bryant 71
Long Beach St 85
Saint Louis 74 FINAL
SE Missouri St 56
Graceland 54 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 89
Tulsa 71 FINAL
Oral Roberts 73
Stephen F Austin 82
Hampton 46 FINAL
Kansas State 66
Bradley 55 FINAL
Oklahoma 104
Houston 68 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 66
North Florida 53 FINAL
Miami-Florida 81
Arizona 54 FINAL
Texas Tech 57
Massachusetts 56 FINAL
North Texas 46
Kent State 54 FINAL
Northwestern 72
Pepperdine 68 FINAL
(19) Iowa 97
Denver 41 FINAL
Wyoming 82
(24) Gonzaga 89 FINAL
Montana State 60
Boise State 64 FINAL
Southern Utah 66
Temple 81 FINAL
Georgetown 58
Missouri 79 FINAL
Cal Poly 87 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 79
Montana 50 FINAL
Pacific 62
Portland 41 FINAL
CS-Northridge 45
Villanova 50 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 43
Seattle 62 FINAL
Washington St 82
(14) California 79 FINAL
Hawaii 72


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