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

Pregame: Gophers have a must-win at Nebraska

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players Updated: February 5, 2012 - 11:28 AM

 

 

It seems like the Gophers always find themselves seeking redemption. 

They’re at that spot again today in Nebraska, as they try to get over and get past maybe the ugliest loss of the season at Iowa. This game – probably the more difficult of the two on this road stretch in terms of how Nebraska has been playing lately – is suddenly a must-win. 

The Gophers have been perpetually a step and a half away from evening up at .500. But a loss would put a significant and tangible gap between Minnesota and the rest of the middle of the pack.

“You never know how your team is going to respond (in a new place),” coach Tubby Smith said. “We’re not a real veteran team. We’re still not where we need to be.”

Three things to look for today at Nebraska:

1.    Statistical leadership from Ralph Sampson III and Rodney Williams. In the last two games, the respective senior and junior have looked simply like role players on a deep team. The Gophers have the capability from getting some production from elsewhere. But they still need igniters, and that – like it or not – is on the vets.

2.    Consistent tempo. Down by 12, up by 10, down by 5. The Gophers' flip-flopping on Wednesday was mind-numbing. It’s nice that they can come back from a major hole but a) they shouldn’t have been there in the first place and b) when you do, you can’t mentally check out.

3.    Limit the sloppiness. Turnovers are one of the major areas that has been a significant issue all season, without much improvement. Wednesday, it was almost comical how much the Gophers threw the ball away. If they want a win against Nebraska, they can’t shoot themselves in the foot.

  • Elliott Eliason, a Nebraska native, figures to have his own fan contingency in the stands. “If they can get through the blizzard, hopefully I’ll have a lot of fans and family there,” he said. “That would be great. I haven’t seen my family in quite a while.”
  • Watch today’s game on Big Ten Network.
  • Listen to today’s game live on 1500-am or here.
  • Read my preview here.
  • Check out today’s matchup here.
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