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: this year, the roles seem clearer

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers coaches, Gophers players, Richard Pitino Updated: November 19, 2013 - 4:37 PM

The Gophers game vs. Coastal Carolina tips off tonight at 7 p.m. CT at Williams Arena. The game will be available on Gophers All-Access for a fee.

As the Gophers' head into their fourth game of the season, there are several characteristics about this team that appear to be quite different from a year ago.

Probably the biggest of those aspects is the clear definition of roles. Everyone knows what is expected of them, and he team is working as one, rather than a collection of parts.

In short, the Gophers seem to have found their early identity: a team that runs, plays solid defense and collectively does the little things.

The season, of course, is still very young, and players will evolve and the system will too. The team's true colors will really be seen once Big Ten play begins.

But that Minnesota has found those apparent roles, and that the players seem to have accepted them, is notable. That, after all, is one of the critical building blocks of a good team. And more than that, it represents a noticeable change from the recent past, when last year, former coach Tubby Smith and the players struggled to define their identity when asked, even as the season winded down. It was hard to know what to expect from the team on a nightly basis. The consistency -- in coaching, in performances, in effort -- wasn't there.

Three games into 2013-14, however, the Gophers have found some regularity.

Andre Hollins and Austin Hollins have been the leaders, and have been relied on for big performances each night. DeAndre Mathieu has been a solid set-up man. Malik Smith is the shooter. Joey King is the energy guy off the bench. And everyone else just tries to play solid defense and get rebounds.

So far, the results have been noticeable. With players having a better idea of what is expected of them, they've been able to key in on those targets. It's why we've seen improvement from guys like Oto Osenieks and Elliott Eliason and why we've seen the Gophers steadily boost their production on the boards in all three games. When the rebounding total becomes such a team effort, it's a tangible indication that the team is buying in to the coach's values. In this year's Gophers, the early execution of a new system, the conditioning and weight changes and the improvement in several regards shows that Pitino has been of influence to this bunch.

Of course, the Gophers are still not where Pitino wants them to be yet -- nor, should they be expected to be. The coach is encouraged, though, looking at players like King and Osenieks on Saturday. And he's hoping the Gophers take another step tonight, against Coastal Carolina.

"Those guys were fighting for every rebound possible, they were trying to defend," Pitino said. "Regardless of if you come in off the bench, if you start, if we can get 8, 9, 10, 11 guys doing that, then I think we’re kind of where we want to be as a system. We’re still not there yet – it’s still very early."


Team Irvin 7:15 PM
Team Carter
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
Cleveland 108
Dallas 40 2nd Qtr 6:12
New Orleans 38
Indiana 40 2nd Qtr 5:42
Orlando 40
LA Clippers 43 2nd Qtr 4:08
Phoenix 43
Minnesota 30 2nd Qtr 5:21
Atlanta 41
Detroit 6:00 PM
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Boston 7:00 PM
Golden State
Washington 7:00 PM
Houston 8:30 PM
LA Lakers
Team Toews 10 2nd Prd 3:08
Team Foligno 8
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
UCF 46
Maine 70 FINAL
Hartford 61
Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
Fairfield 67 FINAL
Marist 73
Rowan 48 FINAL
Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
Albany 69
Niagara 64 FINAL
Iona 87
Notre Dame 16 1st Half 8:45
NC State 25
Belmont 8 1st Half 13:48
Tennessee St 13
Creighton 6:00 PM
Northwestern 6:30 PM
Washington 7:30 PM
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
Creighton 93 FINAL
Marquette 75
Providence 42 FINAL
DePaul 90
Northeastern 77 FINAL
Elon 80
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Oregon 78 FINAL
Arizona 81
Bradley 46 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
(7) Maryland 84 FINAL
Indiana 74
Illinois State 35 FINAL
Missouri State 58
Colorado 68 FINAL
Washington St 73
Tulane 45 FINAL
South Florida 64
(14) Kentucky 83 FINAL
Missouri 69
(9) Oregon State 68 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 57
Vermont 63 FINAL
UMass Lowell 72
Iowa State 58 FINAL
(8) Texas 57
Southern Ill 61 FINAL
Wichita State 80
(15) Duke 61 2nd Half 3:30
(12) North Carolina 58
Miami-Florida 53 2nd Half 2:32
(4) Louisville 60
(21) Minnesota 46 2nd Half 6:45
(25) Rutgers 54
California 29 2nd Half
(11) Stanford 7:00 PM


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