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

Gophers basketball: The best-and-worst-case scenarios this season

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players Updated: October 19, 2011 - 1:01 PM

 

I’m still in my first week on the beat, which means I’m going through the usual first-week stuff for the first time. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been doing tons of reading and have looked at ranking after ranking for the Big Ten. Now, it’s time to form my own prediction.
 
So I thought I would open the floor. Nearly every national and local publication I’ve read puts the Gophers somewhere between 7 and 10. But with so many new expectations for new players and old, hopeful expectations for old players, two very, very different seasons could play out.
 
First, imagine the best-case scenario:
 
 
 
  • Andre Hollins is your point guard and he proves to be everything Tubby thinks he can be: athletic, a scorer and intelligent enough to take the reins and truly run an offense.
  • Trevor Mbakwe leads the team and naturally improves on his game from last year.
  • Rodney Williams puts together the season he should have put together the last two years.
  • Ralph Sampson III steps up in his senior season to be the late-game force he needs to be.
  • Mo Walker is healthy and other young players on the team make solid contributions.
  • Tubby finds the players he needs to make his offense go and things run like a well-oiled machine.
 
Secondly, look at the flip-side:
  • Tubby said of Hollins and Joe Coleman “I don’t think we’ve recruited two better people, maybe in my coaching career.” He’s put a lot of stock in his young guys. If they can’t play, the entire team struggles. In the worst-case scenario, Hollins is young and technically not a true point. That shows, and the Gophers are again weak at the position.
  • Williams underperforms and Sampson is inconsistent as he was at times last season.

 

 

  • The team struggles as a whole from outside the arc, and gets lost late in games when they are down by just a few points.
  • The youth of the team proves to be a hindrance resulting in mental mistakes and turnovers.
 
What’s the highest the Gophers could go? What’s the lowest? Most likely, the Gophers won’t see either a best-case or worst-case scenario. Some things will go right –maybe an unexpected player will emerge as a force. Some things – perhaps ones that none of us could predict preseason – will go wrong. Realistically, where do you put them in the Big Ten this year?
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Pittsburgh - LP: F. Liriano 0 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: J. Cueto 4
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Odorizzi 0 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: M. Gonzalez 3
Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Hammel 0 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Tanaka 3
St. Louis - LP: J. Kelly 1 FINAL
Milwaukee - WP: W. Peralta 5
NY Mets - WP: D. Gee 5 FINAL
Arizona - LP: B. McCarthy 2
Atlanta - WP: J. Teheran 1 FINAL
Philadelphia - LP: C. Lee 0
Chicago Cubs - LP: T. Wood 0 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Pineda 2
Cleveland - WP: Z. McAllister 3 FINAL
Detroit - LP: A. Sanchez 2
Washington - WP: D. Storen 6 FINAL
Miami - LP: M. Dunn 3
Seattle - LP: F. Rodney 2 FINAL
Texas - WP: P. Figueroa 3
Boston - WP: C. Capuano 6 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: L. Garcia 4
Kansas City - WP: D. Duffy 6 FINAL
Houston - LP: J. Williams 4
Toronto 0 Postponed
Minnesota 0
Oakland - LP: D. Pomeranz 4 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: J. Smith 5
Colorado - LP: J. De La Rosa 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: A. Cashner 4
Los Angeles - LP: J. Howell 1 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: J. Machi 2
Chicago 86 FINAL
Charlotte 91
Indiana 101 FINAL
Orlando 86
Atlanta 111 FINAL
Milwaukee 103
Dallas 105 FINAL
Memphis 106
Detroit 111 FINAL
Oklahoma City 112
Houston 100 FINAL
New Orleans 105
LA Lakers 113 FINAL
San Antonio 100
Brooklyn 85 FINAL
Cleveland 114
Philadelphia 100 FINAL
Miami 87
Utah 136 FINAL
Minnesota 130
Washington 118 FINAL
Boston 102
Toronto 92 FINAL
New York 95
Golden State 116 FINAL
Denver 112
LA Clippers 104 FINAL
Portland 110
Phoenix 104 FINAL
Sacramento 99
Montreal 5 FINAL(OT)
Tampa Bay 4
Columbus 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 4
Dallas 3 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 2
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