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: Gophers' fate in the B1G tourney? Has Minnesota figured out the zone? Best Williams dunk? And what's up with these bigfoot hoaxers?

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players Updated: March 5, 2013 - 9:45 AM



aMAILia BAG is a weekly installment on this blog where you send me questions (to @AmeliaRayno on Twitter or and I answer them here. Questions below are in bold, while my responses are in regular type.


Who do you want to see the Gophers play in the NCAA tournament? Or is there a seed you'd like to see them at that would give them the best chance to advance?

Brandon Proctor
Mounds View, MN

Ps. Sorry I wasn't in my chewbacca costume [Saturday]!

Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Brandon – you have a Chewbacca costume and you didn’t wear it on Saturday? Did you not see my tweets of pleading? Did you not feel my sasquatch-less pain? At least loan it out to someone who WILL don the hairs of the intelligent beast.

I considered not answering your question for this offense, but I decided to use the opportunity, instead, to publicly scold you. But now we’ll move on. (I hope you’ve internalized my message and will show up as Chewbacca for the 2013-14 season opener).

There are a lot of teams I could enjoy watching the Gophers play. Personally, it would be very cool for me for the Gophers to match up with NC State or North Carolina. It would be very interesting for the Gophers to get Colorado State (former Gopher Colton Iverson is killing it with the Rams right now. California for the same reason (but swap in Justin Cobbs). VCU for obvious reasons (Shaka Smart bonanza); who out-coaches the other? Plus these teams are kind of striving to be the same kind of team – one that gets out in transition and creates “havoc” on defense. Missouri because the Tigers still intrigue me, and frankly I’ve been waiting for this matchup since the Gophers didn’t get it in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. Those off the top of my head.

Here’s what else I would like: the Gophers to end up in the San Jose or Austin brackets so I’ll have somewhere cool to visit along the way.

How did Penn State beat Michigan? It was witchcraft, wasn't it? I bet it was. #aMAILiaBAG


Witchcraft and 3-pointers, maybe. Combined with a lackluster Trey Burke and shoddy Michigan ball handling. But boy was it hard to reckon after the Gophers trampled them on Saturday.

Gophers finishing 6th in B1G. What will be B1G tourney seed and who will they lose to in the semifinals this year? #aMAILiaBAG


Well, the Gophers are at sixth in the Big Ten right now, but they could end up anywhere from 6th to 9th, with Illinois, Iowa and Purdue all bunched around them. Whatever their place of finish is is also their seed in the conference tourney. Only the top four seeds get a bye, and the Gophers can’t possibly get higher than a sixth seed, so they will certainly play on Thursday. I do think the Gophers will win both of their remaining conference games and I think Illinois will lose at least one of their final games, giving Minnesota the 6th seed and putting them up against Nebraska (which will get the 11 seed after finishing 0-fer while No. 10 Northwestern tops Penn State).

If they win in the first round, my best guess is they would be up against Michigan State. And well, that would be a tough one to pull out.

Wrote more on that here.

Has [Minnesota] figured out zone riddle or did [Indiana] not play much [zone] and [Penn State] zone was just bad?


I think it’s hard to put a “solved” stamp on the zone just yet considering it’s been just three games since the Gophers were stunned and abused by Iowa’s extended zone just a little over two weeks ago.

Indiana did use a zone, but only situationally and the Hoosiers certainly didn’t sit it in for long periods. Penn State was just completely overwhelmed in every regard, with their zone being no exception -- and the Gophers were making some shots around the perimeter as well. The Gophers handled Nebraska’s zone just fine that time around, but then, that’s a little bit of the same story.

The Gophers have been using a little bit of a “new” half-court offense, going back to the super simple flex from the end of last season. It’s treated them well so far, but it’s really meant to attack man defenses. So if Minnesota ends up seeing, say, Northwestern in the Big Ten tournament, the Gophers’ zone attack could certainly be a theme once more.

Your all-time fave Rodney dunk? [Saturday's] was just sick. #aMAILiaBAG


This question inspired me to seek out a whole bunch of Rodney Williams dunks highlights and that’s not always a quick trip, so thanks, Matt, for sending me down that rabbit hole.

If you’d like to do the same, there are some good ones here.

Re-watching and re-watching the one from the Penn State game – you know, when Williams defied gravity to snag a poorly tossed Julian Welch lob – it’s hard to find competitors. The only ones that come close, in my opinion, would be the first 360 (last year against USC) or this crazy baseline dunk he had against Nebraska last year, where he, once again, practically flew. But boy that Penn State one was good. I’m hesitant to say that’s his best, though, which really says a lot about the kid’s talent.

Hi Amelia:

Any updates on the Gophers' recruits for 2013? What do you see them doing with their remaining two scholarships?



My only real update for you, Joel, is that Gavin Schiling – the guy at the top of the list for scholarship No. 3 – has narrowed his list to four schools, one of which is Minnesota.

If the Gophers don’t get him, they’ll have to scramble – Schilling likely isn’t making a decision until sometime this spring and the cache of available and likely big men is already very thin.

After that, the Gophers will most likely stop and hold on to that final scholarship for the strong 2014 class.


It's a little early to start thinking about next year, but looking at the roster, it appears to be very thin - especially at PG and the front line.

Can we expect immediate contributions from their 2013 commits (Foster and Ellis)? Has there been any word on how Buggs has looked in practice? Will they look to add a PG in the 2013 class?


Never too early, Jamie.

No point guard is in Minnesota’s sights until 2014 – while Andre Hollins has his shortcomings at the position, the Gophers think he can handle it well enough (maybe with the help of Maverick Ahanmisi) to get them by.

As for Alex Foster and Alvin Ellis, the Gophers will need at least one of them to play significant minutes considering Minnesota is losing Trevor Mbakwe, Rodney Williams and Andre Ingram. Charles Buggs is very athletic and has some capability as well – I liked what I saw from him in the exhibitions – but make no mistake, there is going to be a lot of trial-and-error, a lot of growing pains next season.


I find myself going on you tube watching random Bigfoot videos and think I know which are real and which are hoaxes. You?


If you’re asking whether I sometimes spend a substantial amount of time on the internet looking at bigfoot videos, you are correct, sir.

Many of the hoaxes are easy to spot a mile away – just some really bad attempts. There have been some that have fooled me, though. I was really, sort of heart broken to find out that Todd Standing’s Sylvanic bigfoots, were, like, an elaborate hoax. I can’t understand people that do this. Also, this blog is really fantastic about breaking all the major sightings down. Kudos to them for really getting into the details and calling out some hoaxers.


New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Detroit 69 FINAL
Philadelphia 89
Portland 94 FINAL
Cleveland 99
Sacramento 102 FINAL
Toronto 119
Boston 98 FINAL
Minnesota 110
Dallas 94 FINAL
Houston 99
Denver 93 FINAL
New Orleans 85
Brooklyn 102 FINAL
Atlanta 113
Oklahoma City 92 FINAL
New York 100
Charlotte 86 FINAL
San Antonio 95
LA Clippers 94 FINAL
Utah 89
Washington 98 FINAL
Phoenix 106
Toronto 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Pittsburgh 0 FINAL
Washington 4
Chicago 3 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Temple 86 FINAL
UCF 62
Winthrop 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 68
Lafayette 59 FINAL
Colgate 54
Northeastern 60 FINAL
Drexel 65
Wake Forest 76 FINAL
Florida State 82
Rhode Island 64 FINAL
Fordham 63
Delaware 82 FINAL
James Madison 88
South Carolina 58 FINAL
LSU 64
New Hampshire 63 FINAL
Maine 58
Seton Hall 80 FINAL
Marquette 70
Binghamton 68 FINAL
American Univ 54 FINAL
Navy 64
Elon 65 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 82
Wright State 76 FINAL
Oakland 84
Minnesota 58 FINAL
Penn State 63
Duquesne 55 FINAL
Richmond 86
South Florida 52
Hartford 66 FINAL
Stony Brook 72
Albany 47 FINAL
Vermont 44
Hofstra 79 FINAL
William & Mary 100
UNC-Asheville 74 FINAL
Longwood 64
Radford 84 FINAL
Char Southern 77
Holy Cross 0 Postponed
Loyola-Maryland 0
Duke 73 FINAL
Notre Dame 77
Texas Tech 36 FINAL
Oklahoma 81
Oregon State 55 FINAL
Arizona State 73
Morehead State 82 FINAL
Austin Peay 69
Drake 69 FINAL
Bradley 57
Lehigh 62 FINAL
Bucknell 68
Rice 48 FINAL
Houston 59
Missouri State 57 FINAL
Illinois State 67
Loyola-Chicago 47 FINAL
Wichita State 58
Nebraska Omaha 64 FINAL
South Dakota St 86
Northern Iowa 59 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
Louisville 81 FINAL
Boston College 72
St Johns 74 FINAL
Creighton 77
East Carolina 58 FINAL
Memphis 70
Georgia Tech 70 FINAL
Miami-Florida 50
Miss State 73 FINAL
Ole Miss 79
Clemson 68 FINAL
NC State 57
Indiana 67 FINAL
Purdue 83
Kansas 64 FINAL
TCU 61
Oregon 56 FINAL
Arizona 90
Air Force 66 FINAL
San Jose St 52
Stanford 84 FINAL
Washington 74
Rider 56 FINAL
Siena 49
Dayton 76 FINAL
Richmond 62
Eastern Kentucky 53 FINAL
Jacksonville St 73
Saint Josephs 0 Postponed
Saint Louis 0
Binghamton 55
Akron 60 FINAL
Ohio U 72
Ball State 72 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 55
Memphis 56 FINAL
Cincinnati 44
East Carolina 32 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 87
Murray State 59 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 75
Kent State 63 FINAL
Central Michigan 65
UT Martin 64 FINAL
Tennessee St 58
Eastern Michigan 56 FINAL
Western Mich 83
Bucknell 61 FINAL
Lehigh 76
Indiana 57 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Colgate 56 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Fordham 66 FINAL
Davidson 45
Duquesne 76 FINAL
St Bonaventure 64
George Mason 66 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 70
Detroit 59 FINAL
Youngstown St 58
Army 0 Postponed
Boston U 0
Loyola-Maryland 0 Postponed
Holy Cross 0
Tulsa 74
Oklahoma St 54 FINAL
Kansas State 52
West Virginia 57 FINAL
Texas Tech 73
Denver 56 FINAL
South Dakota 82
Northwestern St 46 FINAL
Central Arkansas 63
Austin Peay 67 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 87
Kansas 61 FINAL
Iowa State 56
Bowling Green 50 FINAL
Northern Ill 67
Penn State 64 FINAL
Minnesota 75
San Jose St 80 FINAL
Air Force 83
Boise State 82 FINAL
Colorado State 83
Utah State 51 FINAL
Wyoming 86
San Diego State 50 FINAL
Fresno State 57
Nevada 52 FINAL


question of the day

Poll: Which of these teams is the most frustrating to watch right now?

Weekly Question





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