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.

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Pregame: Tubby Smith wants to see Gophers build on last performance

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players Updated: November 17, 2011 - 6:02 PM

Notes from Williams Arena
 
Lineup:
 
PG Andre Hollins
 
SG Austin Hollins
 
SF Rodney Williams
 
PF Trevor Mbakwe
 
C Ralph Sampson III
 
  • Everyone is healthy and available except Mo Walker, who is continuing to rehab a reconstructed knee.
  • Tonight’s game was scheduled due a rule allowing Minnesota to play an extra game if it came from the Old Spice Classic pool.
  • Trevor Mbakwe had his right hand (bruising) wrapped yesterday, but was wrap free while practicing with the team pregame.
“I was really proud in the way our guys have been competing, not just in games, just in the Bucknell and in the game against South Dakota State, but even in practice,” coach Tubby Smith said. “Guys are getting better, really understanding our system better. New players – Andre Hollins, Joe Coleman, Julian Welch and Andre Ingram – are still learning and it’s still going to take a while for them. But I was impressed with their intensity level, especially Andre Ingram, and Joe Coleman and Oto Osenieks, new guys that came in and gave us a big lift during that surge we had in the first half.”
 
Three things Smith is looking for tonight:

  • Consistency on the second team. The bench had a strong performance Monday, now they need to build on that and have another good outing. “That is exactly what I’m looking for from the guys that come off the bench – give us that type of spirit, that type of energy and that type of ethusiasim,” Smith said.
  • Fewer turnovers. The Gophers had 15 Monday and have had double-digit turnovers in every game so far. “We’ve been behind in games and we’ve been close,” Smith said. “They’re going to be that way. We’re not a team that is going to run people off the court anyway. So we’ve got to be a team that is going to execute.”
  • Shooting. Yes, this is a trend. The Gophers shot six three-pointers Monday and had by their highest percentage from behind the arc (42.9) of the season. Was it a fluke or can they keep it up?
Tonight’s game is the first of the season being broadcasted on TV (yay!) You can watch on Big Ten Network.
 
You can listen on 1500ESPN or here.
 
Read my Gophers advance in today’s Star Tribune here.
 
Check out the matchup preview here.

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