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 pregame: Scottie Wilbekin will give Andre Hollins plenty of challenges

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players, The Big Dance Updated: March 24, 2013 - 4:39 PM

Florida point guard Scottie Wilbekin was nine years old when he first caught the bug.

His AAU coach was very defensive minded, then, and he had the team pressing opponents a lot.

“I just loved getting steals,” he said.

A decade later, the junior’s mindset hasn’t changed. Wilbekin grabs an average of 1.5 steals a game and is a major part of how Florida harasses opponents into turnovers on 21.8 percent of their possessions.

He’s also a big part of why Florida has morphed in the last couple years from a team that was known mainly for its offense, to a balanced squad with a reputation for smothering D.

“I think the addition of Scottie Wilbekin, defensively, has added something to our team.” Gators coach Billy Donovan said. “I think if you would go back and look at last year, we were able to make a run in the NCAA tournament (Florida made it to the Elite Eight before falling to Louisville) because of the way we defended the 3-point line during those three or four games.

“… I think [Wilbekin] has three qualities that enable him to be very, very good [on defense],” Donovan said. “He’s really got good feet. The second thing is, he is a physical defender. He can get through, around and off screens very, very well. And then I would say the third thing is he is a guy that’s a tough-minded defender, maybe more so than any guard I ever coached. He values that. He himself puts a lot of value on defending.”

Tonight, as the 11-seed Gophers go up against the 3-seed Gators, Wilbekin will be trying to stop Andre Hollins – the MVP of the UCLA game in the first round with 28 points, nine rebounds and five assists.

Hollins had five 3-pointers in that one (an NCAA tournament record for Minnesota), which were critical in getting the Gophers over the hump. Can he go off in the same way tonight against Wilbekin? With Austin Hollins battling a cold, the Minnesota point guard’s shot could be even more critical vs. Florida.

“He’s a quick defender,” Andre Hollins said. “He keeps his hands active, he moves his feet well. He’s a solid PG. I have to contain him and I have to protect the ball like any other game.”

Hollins had just a single turnover (the Gophers had 11 overall) against Florida, but the Gophers weren’t exactly pressured by UCLA. Tonight will be a different story, and a different test for the sophomore – one that’s fun for Wilbekin who said he’s embraced his role as defensive stopper.

“I love playing defense,” he said. “And it helps when you got guys that are beside me right now that love playing defense as well.”

Other notes on tonight’s matchup:

  • A Gophers’ team source said Austin Hollins should be good to go tonight. The junior was battling the same cold in Minnesota’s first-round win over UCLA. Hollins, to his credit, didn’t want to acknowledge he was sick at all.
  • While Donovan won his last six games against Tubby Smith, the Gophers’ head coach holds the overall advantage in their lifetime head-to-head, with a 16-10 record in the 26 times they have met as head coaches.
  • If the Gophers win tonight, they will advance to the Sweet Sixteen, where they would play either San Diego State or Florida Gulf Coast. Minnesota hasn’t been to the Sweet Sixteen since 1997, record that was vacated. Officially, the Gophers were last at the Sweet Sixteen in 1990.
  • Didn’t mention this on Friday, but Austin Hollins’ seven assists were a new career high. His previous career high was six. Hollins’ fantastic game – he also had 16 points and four steals was kind of over-shadowed because the “other” Hollins stole the story. But a great peformance.
  • In that game, Minnesota shot 50.8 percent from the field. The Gophers have done so eight times this season (four times in the Big Ten schedule) and are a perfect 8-0 in those games.


Florida thoughts:

Donovan on the Gophers’ rebounding: “They’re a terrific offensive and defensive rebounding team. [Trevor] Mbakwe is as good as there is in the country. But they chase it. They go after it. They do a really good job and this will be, again, not only a challenge for our frontcourt but it will be a challenge for our team to collectively be able to rebound the basketball. Because certainly their misses, they get a large percentage of their misses back.”

Wilbekin on Andre Hollins: “Well, first of all, he’s a great scorer and he can score in a multitude of ways. So I really got to just be ready and I got to count on my guys to help me if I get beat. But I don’t know, just be ready to contain him and don’t let him get any easy shots, always have a hand in his face.”

More Minnesota thoughts:

Trevor Mbakwe on the matchup with Florida: “There’s going to cause problems for most teams just because they’re one of the best teams in the country and they’ve shown it throughout the season. We haven’t played many teams this physical and that defend the ball the way they do, but we’re high on each other. We feel like we can win the game as long as we play with a confidence and don’t get too discombobulated and turn over the ball, we’ll be fine.”

Andre Hollins on the necessity of hitting 3-pointers: “It means the world. You knock down shots, you stop the other team’s transitions, gives you time to set up a defense, like we set up our press – we also pressed a little bit more and I think that worked well. You put the ball in the hole, I mean, that’s the object of the game. Score more points than the other team. Obviously it takes a lot of pressure off of all the other aspects of the game.”


Extra points:

*Today’s game will be on TNT at 5:10 CT.
*Listen to today’s game live on 1500-a.m.
*In today’s Star Tribune: Gopher’s guard play make life a lot easier.
*In today’s Star Tribune: Gophers notes: Florida’s Billy Donovan shows coaching versatility.
*The call: breaking down the matchups.
*On the blog: Ten things you should know about Florida.
*Gophers notes from yesterday’s media access.

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Minnesota 20 4th Qtr 9:52
Miami 21
Baltimore 7 3rd Qtr 4:57
Houston 19
Detroit 10 4th Qtr 8:00
Chicago 14
Cleveland 13 4th Qtr 9:59
Carolina 10
Atlanta 20 4th Qtr 8:33
New Orleans 7
Green Bay 13 4th Qtr 2:51
Tampa Bay 3
Kansas City 9 4th Qtr 8:25
Pittsburgh 17
New England 17 4th Qtr 5:36
NY Jets 16
NY Giants 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 2:30 PM
Toronto
Memphis 3:30 PM
Cleveland
Boston 5:00 PM
Miami
Detroit 5:00 PM
Brooklyn
LA Lakers 5:00 PM
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Indiana 6:00 PM
Minnesota
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Dallas 5:00 PM
Edmonton
Buffalo 6:00 PM
Boston
Carolina 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Toronto 6:00 PM
Chicago
Philadelphia 8:00 PM
Winnipeg
Harvard 27 FINAL
Virginia 76
Maine 69 FINAL
Army 72
Ferris State 82 FINAL
Bowling Green 68
San Francisco 65 FINAL
Cleveland State 69
Oregon State 52 FINAL
Quinnipiac 60
Coastal Carolina 72 FINAL
Central Arkansas 55
Holy Cross 37 2nd Half 7:06
Canisius 55
Southern Miss 49 2nd Half 2:46
Georgia State 64
Western Carolina 46 2nd Half 9:33
UNC-Asheville 55
Creighton 39 2nd Half 7:57
North Texas 53
Maryland 58 2nd Half 7:20
Oklahoma State 43
Cornell 47 2nd Half 9:25
Radford 55
Vermont 40 2nd Half 6:04
Saint Louis 46
Loyola-Maryland 41 2nd Half 7:28
Stony Brook 49
Reinhardt 57 2nd Half 9:53
Winthrop 68
Ark-Little Rock 44 2nd Half 3:11
Green Bay 60
TX-Pan American 53 2nd Half 8:17
Nebraska Omaha 64
Alabama State 59 2nd Half 11:19
Evansville 65
FIU 47 2nd Half 13:02
Hartford 51
Goshen 28 2nd Half 19:07
Valparaiso 40
Bryant 9 1st Half 6:12
Denver 6
Austin Peay 12 1st Half 6:16
Lipscomb 25
Tennessee St 15 1st Half 8:00
Middle Tennessee 34
South Dakota 23 1st Half 7:34
Montana 20
ULM 4 1st Half 18:00
Samford 0
Coker 2:30 PM
South Carolina
USC 3:00 PM
Boston College
Northern Ariz 3:00 PM
Hampton
SD Christian 3:00 PM
San Diego
UC Irvine 3:30 PM
Bradley
Troy 3:30 PM
Nicholls
Seton Hall 5:00 PM
Georgia
Appalachian St 5:30 PM
Alabama
North Dakota St 6:00 PM
Kent State
San Jose St 6:00 PM
Washington St
Alcorn State 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Sacramento St 9:00 PM
Seattle
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 28 FINAL
Bowling Green 33
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Cal-Irvine 55 FINAL
Denver 63
St Marys-CA 52 FINAL
George Washington 70
TX-San Antonio 49 FINAL
Nicholls 57
Portland State 71 FINAL
Columbia 66
Tenn Tech 62 FINAL
Morgan State 56
SMU 43 FINAL
Auburn 56
Quinnipiac 70 FINAL
Hartford 58
Hofstra 75 FINAL
Boston College 61
Eastern Washington 55 FINAL
Georgia Southern 42
Liberty 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 84
Fairleigh Dickinson 74 FINAL
Brown 79
Buffalo 73 FINAL
Long Island 79
Bucknell 74 FINAL
Mount St Marys 49
Stony Brook 70 FINAL
Wagner 76
FIU 83 FINAL
Wofford 75
Duquesne 56 FINAL
Providence 67
Maine 54 FINAL
William & Mary 51
Alabama State 43 FINAL
Samford 56
TX-Pan American 43 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 64
South Dakota St 64 FINAL
Marist 82
Saint Josephs 50 FINAL
(5) Notre Dame 64
Radford 60 FINAL
Virginia Tech 73
Rhode Island 60 FINAL
Bryant 56
(3) Texas 65 2nd Half 2:35
(4) Texas A&M 61
South Florida 51 2nd Half 13:03
Penn State 51
Sam Houston St 41 2nd Half 5:03
TCU 51
Evansville 37 2nd Half 7:17
IUPUI 51
(14) Maryland 99 2nd Half 4:37
Coppin State 47
Mercer 55 2nd Half 4:47
Coll of Charleston 62
NC A&T 30 2nd Half 11:59
Chattanooga 48
Princeton 78 2nd Half 4:21
Monmouth 47
Eastern Illinois 61 2nd Half 4:55
Lehigh 64
Rider 55 2nd Half 7:38
Binghamton 51
SC State 40 2nd Half 7:02
Clemson 48
Fairfield 46 2nd Half 7:57
Iowa State 59
Richmond 62 2nd Half 4:30
Eastern Kentucky 43
Cleveland State 69 2nd Half 3:59
Morehead St 66
Kent State 53 2nd Half 7:59
Colgate 44
South Alabama 39 2nd Half 1:36
UAB 72
Saint Peters 29 2nd Half 3:56
Navy 67
Youngstown St 37 2nd Half 7:47
Pittsburgh 58
NJIT 33 2nd Half 13:34
Lafayette 45
Davidson 20 2nd Half 7:31
Charlotte 17
Indiana State 31 2nd Half
St Johns 24
Southern U 20 2nd Half
Florida 41
Wright State 16 2nd Half 20:00
Purdue 31
(19) Oklahoma St 15 1st Half 7:35
USC 19
Houston 18 1st Half 3:43
Texas Tech 17
Ark-Little Rock 18 1st Half 6:21
Tulsa 16
Dayton 14 1st Half 9:51
Vanderbilt 14
Northern Ariz 13 1st Half 6:15
New Mexico 15
UNC-Asheville 11 1st Half 10:52
USC Upstate 10
North Dakota 17 1st Half 8:08
South Dakota 21
Western Ill 21 1st Half 6:19
Marquette 23
Elon 14 1st Half 9:35
(6) North Carolina 29
Ball State 11 1st Half 8:20
Western Ky 35
(8) Kentucky 16 1st Half 8:08
(13) Duke 23
New Orleans 8 1st Half 7:39
Alabama 32
Chicago State 15 1st Half 6:55
Milwaukee 21
Bowling Green 23 1st Half 8:31
Bradley 9
Ill-Springfield 12 1st Half 13:22
SE Missouri St 11
Northern Ill 10 1st Half 7:40
Northern Iowa 12
(23) Iowa 25 1st Half 9:32
Drake 24
Central Michigan 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Western Carolina 2:30 PM
North Florida
Wyoming 3:00 PM
Colorado
Portland 3:00 PM
Boise State
Cal Poly 3:00 PM
Colorado State
No Dakota State 3:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Albany 3:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Oklahoma 3:00 PM
Arkansas
Idaho State 3:00 PM
Seattle
(18) Michigan State 3:00 PM
(19) Syracuse
Northwestern 3:30 PM
Arizona State
TX-Arlington 3:30 PM
North Texas
Fresno State 4:00 PM
Oregon
St Francis-PA 4:00 PM
Coastal Carolina
UNLV 4:00 PM
CS-Bakersfield
UCLA 4:00 PM
(2) Connecticut
(10) Louisville 4:00 PM
(24) California
Howard 5:00 PM
Virginia
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
(21) Miss State
Illinois-Chicago 8:30 PM
Old Dominion

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