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: Last home game of the year

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers coaches, Gophers players Updated: March 25, 2014 - 9:44 AM

Five tidbits as I look ahead to the very last home game of the year (for sure this time).

Minnesota - Southern Miss. tips off at 8 p.m. CT at Williams Arena and will be broadcast on ESPN and 1500-a.m. Tickets.

1. Two years ago, DeAndre Mathieu sat down in coach Donnie Tyndall's office and asked for a scholarship. Tyndall said no. He had his reasons. But now, after moving from Morehead State to Southern Miss, he's got to face his former walk-on in tonight's third round of the NIT -- the decider of who will advance to New York, and the semifinals. And Mathieu has gotten so much better than Tyndall ever could have imagined.

2. Last weekend, I was in Milwaukee for the second and third rounds at that site. In case you missed my coverage, here are some of the things I wrote: 

Michigan's Jordan Morgan is peaking at the right time: here.
This is not your Wisconsin of old: here.
Playing at home, stoicism takes Oregon's Cook far: here.
John Beilein and Bo Ryan: Two coaches, one goal: here.
Nebraska hoped to keep the surprises going: here.
Michigan one of the nation's best surprises all year, and still surprising: here.

3. Keep up with where the Gophers are: the updated NIT bracket. If Minnesota wins tonight, it will face the winner of FSU (1) -Louisiana Tech (3) at Madison Square Garden in the semifinals.

4. After a wild opening weekend, the Sweet Sixteen is just around the corner. CBS' Jeff Borzello re-ranks the remaining teams here.

5. From the local blogs, previewing Minnesota - Southern Miss. From Down With Goldy. From From the Barn. 

Tweeted:

"In 1993 Minnesota won the NIT setting the tone for run of 4 years that included 3 NCAA trips (should have been 4) ending in Final Four." -- @RyanJamesMN

"Last home game tomorrow night vs. a very good Southern Miss team. Hope we see everyone there!" -- @MNCoachPitino

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