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

Posts about Gophers post season

Who likes the Gophers? Well, Vegas, Harvard and Nate Silver for starters

Posted by: Amelia Rayno Updated: March 21, 2013 - 1:46 PM

When both Harvard and Vegas agree that your team has the best chance to win, things are looking pretty good, no?

I imagine there is a whole faction of Gophers fans out there that are shaking their heads and nervously muttering “No, no, no, no, no, NO!” -- because for certain, just when things have started to look good this season, the bottom has fallen out.
 
But this is tourney time, after all, the first REAL tourney time the Gophers (and Gophers fans) have had to enjoy since 2010. So try and enjoy it a little, OK? Go ahead, hope and dream about the Sweet Sixteen. The experts say it’s possible, and frankly with this team, you never really know.
 
There’s only one more afternoon before things really ramp up and about 36 hours before the Gophers play, so soak it in.
 
To assist in your soaking, I have compiled some interesting and relevant links for your viewing, below:
 
*First and foremost, my bracket. You’re welcome. Although maybe I shouldn’t be so snobby considering I am already 2-for-4 in the First Four. So use this information at your own risk.
 
*What is this? The Gophers one of only two lower seeds that are favored in Vegas? In case you haven’t already bookmarked this and sent it to all of your friends, here you go.
 
*And who else likes the Gophers? Well Harvard does. Harvard likes them to the tune of giving them a 69.9 percent chance of beating UCLA. But what do they know? They’re only the alma mater of 75 Nobel Laureates, eight U.S. presidents and 62 billionaires. Not a big deal.
 
*Oh, and Nate Silver. Didn’t go to Harvard, but still a pretty smart dude. He likes the Gophers to win against UCLA and gives them a 13.9 percent chance of making the Sweet Sixteen. But before you get too carried away he gives them just a 0.2 percent chance to win the whole thing. So you’re saying there’s a chance …
 
*This nifty graphic gives you all kinds of percentages for teams advancing. How far can you reasonably root for the Gophers to go? Need a reality check? Click away.
 
*All kinds of tourney tidbits here from ESPN, including a very relevant stat about the Gophers and free-throw shooting.
 
*Just a well-written piece on the Big Ten – and how the ultimate test and vindicator is still NCAA tournament performance – by ESPN’s Eammon Brennan.
 
*TV guides/times etc. here so you guys don’t have to keep bugging me on Twitter for that stuff. K? Thanks.
 
*Who are the first two coaches listed on the hot seat? Take a wild guess. They may or may not be facing off in the last game of the first round on Friday. But no other hints.
 
*More on Ben Howland's rocky future here. Oh no, did I give the above link away?
Everything you need to know about the South Region, where the Gophers play, here.
 
*ESPN's Giant Killers blog says it's never seen the model come out with such high probability for a potential upset. They're not even mad -- they're impressed. Who do you think it is? I'll give you three guesses.
 
*Maybe the Gophers aren’t ranked in the AP poll anymore, but they are still pret-tay high up on this Forbes most valuable college basketball program list. This might not sit well with those who are already flustered and flabbergasted over the lack of facilities at Minnsota. And I have to admit, I’m a little confused as well.
 
*This is just fun. The field of 68 ranked in order of the coolest person that went there. NC State must have misplaced my transcript.
 
*Just to balance out your buzz: Dan Hanner measures team’s hotness coming into the tourney. Yes, keep scrolling, you’ll find the Gophers eventually.
 

Sampson 'tweaks' knee, status for Big Ten tourney opener in question

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated: March 7, 2012 - 4:14 PM

 

By Amelia Rayno

 

Ralph Sampson III "tweaked" his knee two days ago, Gophers coach Tubby Smith said on Wednesday, making his status questionable for Thursday's opening round game against Northwestern at the Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis.

Sampson hurt the knee in practice, Smith said, and had not practiced since. The senior was seen shooting free throws on the court behind Smith as he spoke.
 
Backup Elliott Eliason would be the expected replacement If Sampson were unable to play against Northwestern. The redshirt freshman has started four games this season -- when Sampson dealt with an ankle injury during the nonconference schedule, and made a positve impact in those games. Eliason, who is averaging 2.5 points and 3.6 rebounds a game, has had some big games for the Gophers but has scored a total of just four points and three rebounds in the previous two games.
 
Sampson has struggled in the second half of the conference season, but had a strong outing in the Gophers' last regular season game against Nebraska, which was also senior day, finishing with 12 points and five rebounds.
 
Julian Welch has been back in practice and is expected to play Thursday, Smith said. He did not qualify whether the junior would start or come off the bench.

Tubby Smith 'cancer free' after prostate procedure

Posted by: Amelia Rayno Updated: May 11, 2011 - 6:11 PM

Gophers coach Tubby Smith recently learned that he had the early stages of prostate cancer. Through a university statement, the coach said an April 21 procedure at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., removed the cancer. He also said that he's looking forward to next season.

“Amid speculation I want to make it aware that I did in fact undergo a procedure on April 21 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester,” he said in the statement. “During my regular physical last spring it was discovered that my prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels were high. A biopsy was done and it was discovered that I had early stages of prostate cancer. I am happy to say that the cancer was contained and removed and I am now cancer free and feeling great.”

Smith added: “I want to thank Dr. Gettman and Dr. Litin at the Mayo clinic for everything they have done for me. I am a proponent of regular prostate examines and hope that men, especially African-American men, continue to have regular checkups. Again, I am feeling great and can’t wait for the upcoming season.”

Joel Maturi: New practice facility might cost $20 million

Posted by: Amelia Rayno Updated: March 26, 2010 - 1:24 PM

There's no timetable for the construction of a Gophers basketball practice facility, which could cost $20 million, athletic director Joel Maturi said Friday.

But school officials have met with architects to create a design for the proposed building, he said. 

The university's lack of a practice facility has been one of the key issues fueling rumors about Gophers coach Tubby Smith.

Oregon has contacted Smith about its vacancy, according to a person familiar with the situation. The school's Nike-supported athletic programs have some of the best facilities in the country.

The Gophers have one of the oldest basketball venues in college basketball, while other programs have built new arenas and/or practice facilities in recent years.

That puts the Gophers at a disadvantage with recruiting because basketball practice facilities have become the norm, Maturi said.

"Those people, like us, that have older venues … there are some disadvantages," Maturi said. "There is a challenge there." 

Maturi said Smith has been involved in the planning process, which is "right on schedule."

But this concept started in 2007, when Smith took the job and asked Maturi to build a practice facility.

A weak economy and ongoing fundraising for TCF Bank Stadium and a baseball stadium have hampered the school's fundraising plans for a basketball facility. The practice facility will be privately funded.

Maturi said he's still confident that Smith will remain the school's men's basketball coach, despite rumors linking him to other programs. But he said he can't worry about the possibility.

"I get a little bit frustrated," Maturi said. "I understand that Tubby is attractive, as he should be. ... There might be some advantage, in his mind, to other places. But I don’t know that."

-The Sweet 16 has certainly lived up to its name so far. If you missed the Xavier-Kansas State game Thursday night, then you should go to the CBS website and watch it.

What a thriller. Xavier's Jordan Crawford made a lot of money in three NCAA tournament games. When I talked to him at the Milwaukee regional last week, he said he wasn't thinking about the NBA. Wonder if he's changed his mind in recent days.

Butler didn't play a great game and still pulled out a victory over Syracuse. Playing without injured starting center Arinze Onuaku affected the Orange's performance. But give the Bulldogs credit for responding to Syracuse's late charge.

The Bulldogs stumbled early in the season, losing to Clemson, Georgetown, Minnesota and UAB in their nonconference season. But they haven't lost since Dec. 22.

I talked to one of Gordon Hayward's family friends about a month ago. He said Hayward planned to return for his junior season. If he does return, Butler will have another opportunity to make a run, except the Bulldogs won't sneak up on anyone.

But I still think there's a good chance Hayward will test the NBA waters, especially after scoring 17 points in Thursday's win over Syracuse.

Kentucky had more trouble with Cornell than I expected. But the Wildcats also showcased their best quality: versatility. They're one of the few programs in this tournament that can adjust to any style. Can't wait to see West Virginia v. Kentucky Saturday.

I think Northern Iowa, St. Mary's, Duke and Ohio State will complete the Elite Eight field Friday night.

-The Gophers' admittance to the NCAA tournament was questioned a few weeks ago. But it's hard to argue against that bid now. Illinois and Virginia Tech, the two teams that felt snubbed by the selection committee, didn't even make the Final Four of the NIT.

Plus, the Gophers defeated four Sweet 16 squads.

-Gophers assistant Vince Taylor is a candidate for the openings at UNC-Wilmington and UNC-Charlotte, according to people familiar with the situation.

Taylor, 49, has been a candidate for other jobs in recent years, too. He was one of the top candidates for the Western Kentucky gig two years ago.

Smith gave him a huge public endorsement during the NCAA tournament last week. Maybe that will help him earn a head coaching position after years as an assistant with some of the top programs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joel Maturi: New practice facility might cost $20 million

Posted by: Amelia Rayno Updated: March 26, 2010 - 1:24 PM

There's no timetable for the construction of a Gophers basketball practice facility, which could cost $20 million, athletic director Joel Maturi said Friday.

But school officials have met with architects to create a design for the proposed building, he said. 

The university's lack of a practice facility has been one of the key issues fueling rumors about Gophers coach Tubby Smith.

Oregon has contacted Smith about its vacancy, according to a person familiar with the situation. The school's Nike-supported athletic programs have some of the best facilities in the country.

The Gophers have one of the oldest basketball venues in college basketball, while other programs have built new arenas and/or practice facilities in recent years.

That puts the Gophers at a disadvantage with recruiting because basketball practice facilities have become the norm, Maturi said.

"Those people, like us, that have older venues … there are some disadvantages," Maturi said. "There is a challenge there." 

Maturi said Smith has been involved in the planning process, which is "right on schedule."

But this concept started in 2007, when Smith took the job and asked Maturi to build a practice facility.

A weak economy and ongoing fundraising for TCF Bank Stadium and a baseball stadium have hampered the school's fundraising plans for a basketball facility. The practice facility will be privately funded.

Maturi said he's still confident that Smith will remain the school's men's basketball coach, despite rumors linking him to other programs. But he said he can't worry about the possibility.

"I get a little bit frustrated," Maturi said. "I understand that Tubby is attractive, as he should be. ... There might be some advantage, in his mind, to other places. But I don’t know that."

-The Sweet 16 has certainly lived up to its name so far. If you missed the Xavier-Kansas State game Thursday night, then you should go to the CBS website and watch it.

What a thriller. Xavier's Jordan Crawford made a lot of money in three NCAA tournament games. When I talked to him at the Milwaukee regional last week, he said he wasn't thinking about the NBA. Wonder if he's changed his mind in recent days.

Butler didn't play a great game and still pulled out a victory over Syracuse. Playing without injured starting center Arinze Onuaku affected the Orange's performance. But give the Bulldogs credit for responding to Syracuse's late charge.

The Bulldogs stumbled early in the season, losing to Clemson, Georgetown, Minnesota and UAB in their nonconference season. But they haven't lost since Dec. 22.

I talked to one of Gordon Hayward's family friends about a month ago. He said Hayward planned to return for his junior season. If he does return, Butler will have another opportunity to make a run, except the Bulldogs won't sneak up on anyone.

But I still think there's a good chance Hayward will test the NBA waters, especially after scoring 17 points in Thursday's win over Syracuse.

Kentucky had more trouble with Cornell than I expected. But the Wildcats also showcased their best quality: versatility. They're one of the few programs in this tournament that can adjust to any style. Can't wait to see West Virginia v. Kentucky Saturday.

I think Northern Iowa, St. Mary's, Duke and Ohio State will complete the Elite Eight field Friday night.

-The Gophers' admittance to the NCAA tournament was questioned a few weeks ago. But it's hard to argue against that bid now. Illinois and Virginia Tech, the two teams that felt snubbed by the selection committee, didn't even make the Final Four of the NIT.

Plus, the Gophers defeated four Sweet 16 squads.

-Gophers assistant Vince Taylor is a candidate for the openings at UNC-Wilmington and UNC-Charlotte, according to people familiar with the situation.

Taylor, 49, has been a candidate for other jobs in recent years, too. He was one of the top candidates for the Western Kentucky gig two years ago.

Smith gave him a huge public endorsement during the NCAA tournament last week. Maybe that will help him earn a head coaching position after years as an assistant with some of the top programs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

      

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