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

Can the Gophers maintain the changes they made against Indiana?

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players Updated: March 1, 2013 - 11:23 AM

For many, Tuesday’s momentous win over No. 1 Indiana inspired two reactions:

1. Sheer glee
2. Wait … why haven’t they been playing like this all along?

Indeed, the Gophers looked, in many ways, like a different team than we’ve seen for the past month and a half. They played their best, fullest game of the season and never let up.

To contemplate whether the Gophers can maintain that level of competitiveness and production, let’s first look at exactly were the difference-makers:

They played their own game: The Gophers scored 33 points or nearly 43 percent of their total scoring either off offensive rebounds or in transition. Compare that with just 13 points in those categories at Iowa and 16 at Ohio State. In the previous four games combined, those categories have accounted for just 25 percent of the Gophers production. But when they do those things, they can really keep things rolling – and the aren’t as subjected to their production in the half court, which still wasn’t always stellar on Tuesday.

Tubby Smith played a short bench: In the previous four games, the coach has played an average of six guys off the bench. On Tuesday, Smith limited it to four (Elliott Eliason, Maverick Ahanmisi, Andre Ingram and Mo Walker, with Walker playing just two minutes). As a result, the bench seemed able to slide into a rhythm better, and the same with the starters. The bench (16 points, 10 rebounds) actually had it’s most productive game of the conference schedule in terms of points (four) per reserve. Smith seemed to like the result, so maybe we’ll see more of that. The problem is, he’s fostered an environment where a lot of different reserves expect to play regularly. If he dramatically shortens the bench now, things could get a little messy.

Maverick Ahanmisi ran the offense for nearly half the game: This gave Andre Hollins the chance to focus mostly on scoring. It took a while for Hollins to ease into the new role, and it’s probably still an experimentation on some levels. But halfway through the second, the Memphis native went off in a way we haven’t seen him do regularly lately. Ahanmisi was able to contribute two 3-pointers and three assists on no turnovers. I think the results were definitely positive enough that the Gophers try it again.

They fed the post: Post players Trevor Mbakwe and Elliott Eliason demanded the ball and their teammates looked for them. What sounds so simple has been so often overlooked in the Gophers offense – but they were rewarded Tuesday, with an impressive 40 of their points coming in the paint. The Gophers continued to get the ball inside, even when the Hoosiers went zone, although Indiana didn’t really stay in that defense long enough to threaten or test the Gophers.

They played aggressively and they reacted: The Gophers have come out aggressively in a lot of games, so perhaps the most notable for Minnesota was the way they started the second half, immediately getting consecutive buckets at the basket by Mbakwe. Even as the Gophers fell back by eight points, they didn’t let up any in their attack or demeanor, which often takes a hit after things don’t go their way. The players drove to the basket – I thought Rodney Williams’ aggressiveness in that regard was particularly refreshing – they cut to the basket away from the ball, got more movement and used a lot of back screens to help get open. And the aggressiveness was critical when it came to turnovers as well. It wasn’t that the Gophers didn’t make blunders, but they reacted when they did, and they didn’t give up on loose balls or fumbles. They got back several that way.

Can the Gophers maintain these changes going forward? I don’t see why not – but it will require both the coaching staff and players to be aware of the importance of these factors.
 

 

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 0 FINAL
Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison 2
Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: F. Doubront 5 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: J. Masterson 1
Cincinnati - LP: A. Simon 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 3
Minnesota - LP: J. Burton 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: A. Miller 3
Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams 7 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: B. Colon 2
Miami - WP: J. Cosart 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Harang 0
Boston - LP: A. Webster 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Odorizzi 7
Cleveland 1 Bottom 10th Inning
Kansas City 1
Detroit - WP: K. Ryan 8 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: C. Bassitt 4
Texas - LP: P. Klein 0 FINAL
Houston - WP: S. Feldman 2
Colorado - WP: T. Matzek 2 FINAL
Arizona - LP: V. Nuno 0
Chicago Cubs 1 Bottom 8th Inning
St. Louis 5
Los Angeles 1 Top 8th Inning
San Diego 1
Milwaukee 0 Bottom 6th Inning
San Francisco 3
Oakland 0 Bottom 5th Inning
LA Angels 2
Washington 3 Top 6th Inning
Seattle 0
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
(7) UCLA 28 FINAL
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Massachusetts 7
West Virginia 23 FINAL
(2) Alabama 33
Rice 17 FINAL
(17) Notre Dame 48
(10) South Dakota St 18 FINAL
(24) Missouri 38
Fla Atlantic 7 FINAL
(22) Nebraska 55
California 31 FINAL
Northwestern 24
Marshall 42 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 27
UC Davis 0 FINAL
(11) Stanford 45
Arkansas 21 FINAL
(6) Auburn 45
(16) Clemson 21 FINAL
(12) Georgia 45
Liberty 29 FINAL
(23) North Carolina 56
Ohio U 17 FINAL
Kent State 14
Louisiana Tech 16 FINAL
(4) Oklahoma 48
Stephen F Austin 16 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 55
Southern Miss 0 FINAL
Miss State 49
Fresno State 13 4th Qtr 0:40
(15) USC 52
Texas-El Paso 24 4th Qtr 3:13
New Mexico 24
North Texas 7 4th Qtr 7:12
Texas 28
(1) Florida State 27 4th Qtr 15:00
Oklahoma State 17
(14) Wisconsin 17 2nd Qtr 0:21
(13) LSU 7
Idaho 0 Postponed 14:50
Florida 0
South Dakota 3 1st Qtr 8:40
(3) Oregon 8
(25) Washington 0 1st Qtr 7:41
Hawaii 7
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 0 FINAL
Seattle 1
New England 3 FINAL
Toronto FC 0
Columbus 0 FINAL
Montreal 2
FC Dallas 0 FINAL
Chicago 1
Real Salt Lake 0 1st Half
San Jose 1
Portland 0 1st Half 35:00
Vancouver FC 0
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Chicago 70 FINAL
Indiana 77

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many fantasy football teams do you draft?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT