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

Opening tip: Where the Gophers improved Saturday; Ann Arbor's best offerings

Posted by: Amelia Rayno Updated: March 3, 2014 - 10:02 AM

The Opening Tip is a new feature to Gold in the Barn, with the goal being to share five 
nuggets -- mostly Gophers or Big Ten related but occasionally not -- every morning between 8 and 10. Dig it? Hate it? Want to see something specific in it? Send me feedback at amelia.rayno@startribune.com or tweet me @AmeliaRayno.

Random Rankings is an even newer feature, which will be included regularly, if not daily. There is nothing too random. Sometthing specific you want ranked? Tweet me.

Five tidbits as I settle in for a full week without games. 

1. Skip lunch and join me for my live chat at noon -- Bring your Big Ten questions, your Gophers queries, your Bigfoot musings, your whiskey wonderings ... etc. Who needs another lifeless salad with coworkers anyway? Not you.

2. In case you missed it, my game story from Saturday night's loss at Michigan, plus more notes here.
 
3. Recruiting update: Gophers 2015 target Elijah Thomas finished with 20 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks for Lancaster vs. Kimball; from Saturday, 2015 guard Desure Buie finished with 17 points, 12 assists, five rebounds and five steals for Wings Academy. Plus a few notes on 2014 target Kobie Eubanks from Adam Zagoria here. The shooting guard skipped his visit to Wichita State over the weekend. Via D1 Circuit.

4. As Selection Sunday draws nearer, the Gophers are firmly on the bubble, even if they win their upcoming game against Penn State over the weekend. Last week, coach Richard Pitino said he doesn't think it's the time for politicking just yet, but if he was going to make a case for Minnesota, he would point out one thing. "I do hope at some point people understand we lost two games without our leading scorer," he said, referring to Andre Hollins' severe ankle sprain, which kept him out for most of three games. "I'd hope at some point, when that time comes, that's factored into it. It's not easy playing without our best player and we didn't have him for two of our losses, so that would be the only thing. I don't think anyone's listening to me though."

5. Yes, the Gophers lost on Saturday. But one area where they've been steadily improving is their fouling rate (defensive FTA/FGA), something that's been a big problem all year. According to kenpom.com, the Gophers again improved in that area against Michigan, shrinking their overall rate of sending opponents to the line from 40.3 (.403 trips to the line for every field goal attempt) to 39.6, taking the Gophers from 170th to 154th in the nation.


Random rankings: Ann Arbor spots

1. Mash -- A weird but entertaining blend of people; a wall of whiskey; I believe there was some live piano action.
2. Zingerman's Roadhouse -- Always a must. They do everything in-house and churn out really good food that's really bad for you. Including bloody marys in times of need.
3. Aventura -- Here, I had Brussels sprouts that made me want to cry with joy. Brussels sprouts are not supposed to make you do that. Plus some great cocktail-making here, and one of the bartenders was pouring liquid fire at one point. So there's that.
4. Cafe Zola -- The brunch was ridiculous.
5. Grange -- I didn't make it on this trip, but last time I was there I had some duck fat french fries that nearly sent me the way of the Brussels sprouts. Good food overall, and a cozy dinner spot.

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Team Irvin 32 FINAL
Team Carter 28
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
Cleveland 108
Dallas 106 FINAL
New Orleans 109
Indiana 106 FINAL
Orlando 99
LA Clippers 120 FINAL
Phoenix 100
Minnesota 100 FINAL
Atlanta 112
Detroit 110 FINAL
Toronto 114
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
San Antonio 101
Boston 111 FINAL
Golden State 114
Washington 117 FINAL
Denver 115
Houston 99 FINAL
LA Lakers 87
Team Toews 17 FINAL
Team Foligno 12
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
NJIT 72 FINAL
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
UMBC 55 FINAL
Albany 69
Niagara 64 FINAL
Iona 87
Notre Dame 81 FINAL
NC State 78
Belmont 63 FINAL
Tennessee St 55
Creighton 50 FINAL
Villanova 71
Northwestern 67 FINAL
Maryland 68
Washington 56 FINAL
Utah 77
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
UMBC 42
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
UCF 61 FINAL
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 74 FINAL
(12) North Carolina 67
Miami-Florida 55 FINAL
(4) Louisville 68
(21) Minnesota 61 FINAL
(25) Rutgers 66
California 72 FINAL
UCLA 57
(11) Stanford 71 FINAL
USC 60

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