Five things the U men's basketball team must do to win now

  • Article by: MYRON P. MEDCALF , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 14, 2011 - 12:48 AM

1 FIND A POINT GUARD

Last year the Gophers fell from the national rankings and ultimately missed out on the NIT as they struggled to find a suitable replacement for starting point guard Al Nolen, who missed 17 games with a foot injury. This season, those responsibilities will fall to one of two inexperienced players -- true freshman Andre Hollins or junior college transfer Julian Welch -- who will be expected to offer immediate contributions, despite their youth.

2 GET THE BEST OUT OF TREVOR MBAKWE

The junior earned All-Big Ten second-team honors in a year interrupted by a few distractions. If he can limit those challenges, add a little range to his game and make a few more free throws, Mbakwe could put together one of the more impressive seasons by a big man in recent Gophers history.

3 HIRE A FREE-THROW EXPERT

The Gophers lost nine Big Ten games by single digits last season. They shot 69 percent from the free-throw line, 10th in the Big Ten. See a correlation? A young Gophers squad with limited depth will need to improve from the charity stripe to secure more favorable outcomes in tight games this season.

4 NEWCOMERS MUST RISE ABOVE EXPECTATIONS

The Gophers roster features seven players who have never competed in a Big Ten game. But Tubby Smith needs one or two newcomers to play like a veteran. The most likely candidate is Andre Hollins, Tennessee's Mr. Basketball last season. Elliott Eliason, a redshirt freshman center, should help, too. Smith's young players must grow up fast.

5 TUBBY SMITH HAS TO MAINTAIN CONTROL

During last season's skid -- the Gophers lost 10 of their final 11 -- Smith offered few answers to remedy his team's woes. Despite the task and the problems that the squad encountered, Smith makes $1.8 million per year to create a sense of stability within the program. And last season's team lacked that quality. If his youngest Gophers squad hits similar obstacles, he will have to find a way to avoid the downward spiral that ruined the 2011-12 season.

 

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland - LP: T. Bauer 1 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: A. Swarzak 3
Cincinnati - LP: M. Leake 1 FINAL
Milwaukee - WP: K. Lohse 5
Kansas City - WP: W. Davis 2 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: Z. Putnam 1
Washington - LP: S. Strasburg 4 FINAL
Colorado - WP: J. De La Rosa 6
NY Mets - WP: B. Colon 3 FINAL
Seattle - LP: T. Walker 2
Detroit - WP: A. Sanchez 11 FINAL
Arizona - LP: T. Cahill 5
Los Angeles - LP: D. Haren 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: F. Liriano 6
San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 3 FINAL
Philadelphia - LP: J. Papelbon 1
Texas - LP: Y. Darvish 1 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Phelps 2
Boston - LP: C. Buchholz 4 FINAL
Toronto - WP: R. Dickey 6
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 1 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: E. Santana 6
Tampa Bay - WP: A. Cobb 3 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: L. Lynn 0
San Diego - WP: I. Kennedy 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: T. Wada 3
Houston - LP: B. Peacock 7 FINAL
Oakland - WP: J. Chavez 9
Baltimore - LP: T. Hunter 2 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: J. Weaver 3
Chicago 1 FINAL
San Jose 5
Calgary 8:00 PM
Edmonton
Winnipeg 7/25/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 7/26/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Toronto 7/26/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Winnipeg 7/31/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Toronto 8/1/14 6:00 PM
Montreal
Brt Columbia 8/1/14 9:00 PM
Calgary
Saskatchewan 8/2/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Connecticut 75 FINAL
Washington 89
New York 66 FINAL
Los Angeles 64
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which upcoming event are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close