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: Gearing up for the Big Ten tournament; ranking Minnesota's best wins

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers coaches, Gophers players Updated: March 10, 2014 - 8:48 AM

Five tidbits while I gear up for the Big Ten tournament:

1. In today's Star Tribune, my game story from the Gophers' 81-63 victory over Penn State in the regular-season finale. Plus, some early Big Ten tournament thoughts on the blog. Did the win push the Gophers on the right side of the bubble? Not quite yet.

2. Gophers coach Richard Pitino put Oto Osenieks in for just a few seconds at the end of Minnesota's win on Sunday night despite the fact that the forward's playing career is technically over because of knee injuries. It was a nice gesture for a player that has been with the team for four years, including his redshirt season.

"The reason why we announced that he was seeking a medical [waiver] was I wanted to honor him tonight," Pitino said. "If we didn't have that opportunity I would have waited and just worked on it in the offseason. But I just ... wanted him to at least have his opportunity to get a jersey, speak to the crowd ... and I didn't want to show up Penn State in any way but I wanted to get him on the court somehow."

3. The Big Ten bracket has officially been set with the final game of the night -- a Nebraska home win over Wisconsin -- giving the Huskers the final top seed (check out Tim Miles' postgame message to his team here). Michigan (1), Wisconsin (2) and Michigan State (3) round out the top four that will receive opening-round byes. The Gophers (7) will face Penn State (10) again at 5:30 CT on Thursday. The winner will play Wisconsin on Friday.

4. Last night, a major theme in the locker room and at the podium was the notion that it's hard to beat a team three times. Just how hard is it? Nadine Babu of Gopherhole took a look, finding that from 1998-2013, the team that went 2-0 in the regular season won a third matchup 67.3 percent of the time. What do you think? Is this number higher or lower than you expected?

5. Tweeted:

"Richard Pitino's Gophers got a big W today. Minnesota finished season 8-10 in the B1G with great computer numbers. Need a win in league tourney." -- @jeffgreeer_cj

"#Huskers finish #B1G campaign 11-7. That's absolutely unthinkable. Tim Miles, you will never buy another meal in Lincoln." -- @BTNBrentYarina

"Wouldn't it be wild if all these Big Ten teams gathered in the same city and played a single elimination tournament? One can dream." -- @MedcalfByESPN

"Never thought I'd say this but Nebraska is drunk on basketball." -- @HuskersExtraBR

"Nebraska's win means more pressure for the remaining bubble teams. One less NCAA slot for everyone else on the brink of the field." -- @JonRothstein


Random ranking: Best Gopher wins this season

1. Penn State at home: What, you ask? Beating up this lowly squad? But after all the rest of the season was played out, the Gophers needed this one the most. And against a struggling squad, and after a week layoff, Minnesota took care of business. 

2. Iowa at home: That win doesn't look nearly as impressive anymore with the Hawkeyes struggling but looking back, the victory seems to have started the turning of a corner. Including that game, the Gophers have shot at least 52.2 percent from the field in five of their six ensuing halves.

3. Wisconsin at home: Nothing gears up a fanbase like a strong win over a rival. Unfortunately for the Gophers, they followed up the raucous performance -- set in the best atmosphere I've seen in the Barn since coming here -- with another letdown. At the same time, Minnesota's dominance in the paint vs. the Badgers should lend itself to confidence should the Gophers face Wisconsin in the Big Ten tournament second round.

4. Northwestern on the road: Minnesota's road record is still not a strength -- the Gophers went just 2-7 away from home in the Big Ten this season -- but notching one in Wildcats territory was absolutely necessary, both to avoid another "bad" loss and to have a more recent road experience to draw on when the Gophers head to Indy's neutral court. It wasn't pretty, but in the Big Ten a road win is a win is a win.

5. Ohio State at home: It was the start of the Gophers' ranked victories and the first glimpse that the team could be capable -- at least at times -- of playing with good squads. Elliott Eliason had a big game, the Gophers were rolling offensively and on the other end, they held the Buckeyes to just 35.3 percent shooting.

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Minnesota 16 FINAL
Buffalo 17
Atlanta 7 FINAL
Baltimore 29
Tennessee 17 FINAL
Washington 19
Seattle 26 FINAL
St. Louis 28
Cleveland 6 FINAL
Jacksonville 24
Cincinnati 0 FINAL
Indianapolis 27
Miami 27 FINAL
Chicago 14
New Orleans 23 FINAL
Detroit 24
Carolina 17 FINAL
Green Bay 38
Kansas City 23 FINAL
San Diego 20
Arizona 24 FINAL
Oakland 13
NY Giants 21 FINAL
Dallas 31
San Francisco 17 FINAL
Denver 42
Houston 10/20/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Boston 95 FINAL
Brooklyn 90
Minnesota 112 FINAL
Oklahoma City 94
Golden State 83 FINAL
Houston 90
Charlotte 96 FINAL
Chicago 101
Utah 91 FINAL
LA Lakers 98
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
San Jose 0 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Calgary 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
St. Louis 0 FINAL
Anaheim 3
TX-San Antonio 20 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 27
Syracuse 30 FINAL
Wake Forest 7
Purdue 38 FINAL
Minnesota 39
Western Ky 38 FINAL
Fla Atlantic 45
(12) Baylor 27 FINAL
(22) West Virginia 41
(11) Kansas State 31 FINAL
(17) Oklahoma 30
Iowa 31 FINAL
Maryland 38
So Florida 38 FINAL
Tulsa 30
Tulane 13 FINAL
UCF 20
Virginia 13 FINAL
Duke 20
Akron 20 FINAL
Ohio U 23
Western Mich 26 FINAL
Bowling Green 14
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
Massachusetts 36
Appalachian St 53 FINAL
Troy 14
(25) UCLA 36 FINAL
California 34
Texas A&M 0 FINAL
(4) Alabama 59
Army 17 FINAL
Kent State 39
Kansas 21 FINAL
Texas Tech 34
UAB 22 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 34
Rutgers 17 FINAL
(13) Ohio State 56
(8) Michigan State 56 FINAL
Indiana 17
New Mexico 31 FINAL
Air Force 35
NC State 18 FINAL
Louisville 30
(21) Clemson 17 FINAL
Boston College 13
Ball State 32 FINAL
Central Mich 29
Cincinnati 41 FINAL
SMU 3
(9) Georgia 45 FINAL
Arkansas 32
Oklahoma State 9 FINAL
(10) TCU 42
San Jose St 27 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Miami-Ohio 41 FINAL
Northern Ill 51
New Mexico St 17 FINAL
Idaho 29
Colorado 28 FINAL
(20) USC 56
(23) Marshall 45 FINAL
FIU 13
Southern Miss 30 FINAL
North Texas 20
Georgia Tech 43 FINAL
North Carolina 48
Tennessee 3 FINAL
(3) Ole Miss 34
Utah State 13 FINAL
Colorado State 16
Missouri 42 FINAL
Florida 13
Kentucky 3 FINAL
(24) LSU 41
(16) Nebraska 38 FINAL
Northwestern 17
Georgia State 27 FINAL
South Alabama 30
Washington 20 FINAL
(6) Oregon 45
Iowa State 45 FINAL
Texas 48
(7) Notre Dame 27 FINAL
(2) Florida State 31
Nevada 42 FINAL
BYU 35
Stanford 10 FINAL
(14) Arizona State 26
Hawaii 10 FINAL
San Diego St 20
Arkansas State 10/21/14 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Columbus 3 FINAL
Red Bull New York 1
Seattle 2 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
Ottawa 6 FINAL
Hamilton 16
Montreal 20 FINAL
Toronto 12
Calgary 33 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
Edmonton 24 FINAL
Saskatchewan 19

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