Sid Hartman: Memories of 2010 still fresh for U

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 4, 2012 - 12:41 AM

The Gophers believe they can put together a run in Indianapolis like they did when they went to the championship game two years ago.


Gophers forward Rodney Williams, getting fouled by Nebraska’s Toney McCray, left, while Caleb Walker also defended Saturday, remembers how well the team played at the Big Ten tournament during his freshman year.

Photo: Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Two years ago, the Gophers men's basketball team finished 9-9 in the Big Ten, compared to a rather dismal 6-12 record this year, but the Gophers went to the Big Ten tournament championship game by beating Penn State, No. 11 Michigan State and No. 6 Purdue in three days before losing in the championship to Ohio State.

For their performance in beating those ranked teams, the Gophers earned a berth in the NCAA tournament, losing in the first round to Xavier.

Tubby Smith believes the Gophers can repeat that performance and so does Rodney Williams, and when "Mr. Dunk" is playing up to his form, the Gophers have a chance to beat anybody.

After all, the Gophers did lose four conference games by five points or fewer, and they lost another one in overtime. Smith said one of the reasons the team has been struggling was because nobody got hot like Chip Armelin did Saturday, when the sophomore guard scored 20 points.

"I think this was definitely one of our biggest wins because going into the Big Ten tournament, it's like a whole new season," said Williams, who scored 16 points and added eight rebounds in the 81-69 victory over Nebraska to close out the regular season.

"So if you can go in there with confidence, anything can happen. Just like my freshman year, we kind of went on a losing streak, won the last one and then we made the championship in the Big Ten tournament. That's the kind of run that we're looking to make again this year."

One of the biggest problems the Gophers have had this year is finishing games and, after losing six in a row, they finally did it Saturday.

"It was about time, we've been thinking the same thing," Williams said. "Usually late in games, we've been having trouble turning over the ball and getting stops, but besides those deep threes, I felt like we closed out the game pretty well."

And Williams is confident the Gophers can score a second victory over Northwestern, whom they face in the first round of the Big Ten tournament Thursday. The teams also met in last year's tournament, with the Wildcats winning 75-65.

"I think it's very possible," Williams said. "We play them tight when we play them. I think it's very possible for us to make a run.

"If everybody is out there playing 100 percent we can definitely make a run in the tournament, I feel like."

One thing encouraging about Saturday was that they moved the ball well, with a season-high 23 assists.

"You know it's definitely good to see that we can come out here and play and have five players in double figures," Williams said. "We kind of struggled scoring the basketball on and off this season, so I think it's real good for us to see that we're still capable of doing that."

Nebraska coach Doc Sadler paid tribute to Williams when he said: "He's a good player. Again, Rodney has been a good player all year, but he makes spectacular plays. I don't know what he ended up with, 16 points, you'd think he'd ended up with 40 because those 16 points were usually plays that are really exciting. ... You'd think he ended up with 20 [rebounds] and you find out he had eight."

While this Gophers team has been up and down, they were in just about every game and had chances to beat Michigan State and Wisconsin at Williams Arena. So if senior Ralph Sampson III goes all out like he did Saturday and they get the same effort with Williams, anything can happen.

And the Gophers might get guard Julian Welch, one of their top players who has been sidelined by a hip problem, back for the Big Ten tournament.

Elite squad tied to Minnesota

The Penticton Vees, led by a number of Minnesota players, entered Saturday having won 39 consecutive games going back to November and as they near the end of the regular season are ranked No. 1 in the Canadian Junior Hockey League rankings, after starting the year ranked 12th.

Former St. Francis High School athlete Joey Benik, who has committed to St. Cloud State, led the team in scoring with 89 points (28 goals, 61 assists). Chanhassen's Connor Reilly (35 goals, 51 assists), a former Holy Angels athlete who has committed to the Gophers, and Wayzata's Mario Lucia (37 goals, 49 assists), the Wild draft pick and son of Gophers coach Don Lucia, were tied for second on the team with 86 points.

Mike Reilly, brother of Connor and also a Gophers recruit, was the team's top-scoring defenseman with 74 points (23 goals, 51 assists), and the third brother in the family is Ryan, another Gophers recruit who had 66 points (29 goals, 37 assists).

Other players on the team with Minnesota ties include Canadians Bryce Gervais (40 goals, 32 assists) and Nick Buchanan (one goal, 14 assists), who are Minnesota State Mankato recruits. Defenseman D.J. Jones (two goals, eight assists) is a former Wayzata High School athlete, and defenseman Chad Bannor (four assists) is from Hermantown.


Grand Canyon University inducted Kevin Warren, the Vikings vice president of legal affairs, into its Hall of Fame this weekend. From 1984 to '86, Warren scored 1,118 points in men's basketball, good for a 20.0 average, fourth-best in the Phoenix school's history.

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman and coach Lester Frazier were present Saturday night in Kansas City, Mo., where defensive end Jared Allen was honored by the Kansas City Committee of 101 for being named the NFL Defensive Lineman of the Year.

Matt Birk, the St. Paul native who left the Vikings to play center three years for the Ravens, announced his retirement, but Baltimore coaches will try to persuade him to play another year. He would look good in a Vikings uniform playing a position other than center, where John Sullivan is doing a good job.

Visiting the Gophers football coaching staff for information this past week were coaches from Northern Illinois, Toledo, Augustana, Minnesota State Mankato, Winona State, Minot State, Central Missouri and Emporia State, as well as the Montreal Alouettes. Their presence was a real tribute to coach Jerry Kill and his staff. ... Before that, Gophers defensive coaches went to Mississippi State to check with its staff, while offensive coaches went to Baylor. The defensive staff will visit TCU in the near future.

Jackson Miller, who was a defensive lineman at Okemos, Mich., last season and is the son of Gophers assistant head coach Bill Miller, will walk on at Minnesota this fall.

Mikias Alipate, an outstanding Holy Angels linebacker and brother of Moses, was at Gophers junior day last week. Moses Alipate, who has lost 35 pounds and now weighs around 250, will be a tight end for the Gophers this spring rather than a quarterback.


  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Denver 28 4th Qtr 7:49
Cincinnati 30
Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Carolina 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Detroit 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Green Bay
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Denver 82 FINAL
Charlotte 110
Portland 95 FINAL
Houston 110
Utah 97 FINAL
Memphis 91
Toronto 120 FINAL
Chicago 129
Atlanta 105 FINAL
Dallas 102
LA Clippers 118 FINAL
San Antonio 125
Sacramento 32 2nd Qtr 6:52
Golden State 46
Ottawa 1 FINAL
Washington 2
Nashville 5 FINAL
Columbus 1
Pittsburgh 3 FINAL(SO)
Florida 4
Arizona 0 2nd Prd 12:36
Vancouver 4
San Jose 0 2nd Prd 10:40
Anaheim 1
Calgary 0 2nd Prd
Los Angeles 2
Ark-Little Rock 64 FINAL
Bradley 54
Brown 67 FINAL
Central Conn St 55
Stetson 59 FINAL
Florida State 63
Ill-Chicago 46 FINAL
Northwestern 63
Ohio 49 FINAL
George Washington 77
Southern Utah 61 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 70
Elon 67 FINAL
Kennesaw St 65
Dartmouth 49 FINAL
Penn State 69
Green Bay 70 FINAL
UC Irvine 72
DePaul 68 FINAL
Colorado 82
Lewis & Clark 49 FINAL
Portland 71
SC State 59 FINAL
Abilene Christian 65
Manhattan 71 FINAL
Fordham 57
Truett-McConnell 57 FINAL
Ga Southern 90
Citadel 56 FINAL
Michigan State 82
Miami-Ohio 55 FINAL
Ohio State 93
Gardner-Webb 89 FINAL
Purdue 84
Idaho 68 FINAL
Northern Ky 81
Fairfield 66 FINAL
Albany 77
North Dakota St 61 FINAL
Alcorn State 50
UT Martin 37 FINAL
Butler 64
SE Louisiana 65 FINAL
UCF 70
Oakland 60 FINAL
Clemson 70
Florida A&M 57 FINAL
East Carolina 75
Eastern Ky 66 FINAL
Fla Atlantic 69
IUPU-Ft Wayne 43 FINAL
Illinois State 68
Norfolk State 74 FINAL
James Madison 71
Binghamton 68 FINAL
Mount St Marys 69
Towson 56 FINAL
Navy 61
Long Island 73 FINAL
New Hampshire 72
Northern Ill 66 FINAL
Notre Dame 91
William & Mary 62 FINAL
Old Dominion 69
Liberty 47 FINAL
Princeton 65
Delaware 81 FINAL
Robert Morris 84
MD-Eastern Shore 82 FINAL
St Bonaventure 80
Colgate 43 FINAL
Syracuse 78
Kansas 52 FINAL
Temple 77
Mercer 54 FINAL
Tennessee 64
East Tenn St 60 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 84
Va Military 74 FINAL
Virginia Tech 87
Bucknell 53 FINAL
Wake Forest 60
Alabama A&M 62 FINAL
Western Mich 71
New Orleans 59 FINAL
Indiana 79
Columbia 65 FINAL
Connecticut 80
Long Beach State 49 FINAL
St Johns 66
Wofford 44 FINAL
West Virginia 77
Southern U 66 FINAL
Baylor 70
Chattanooga 83
Char Southern 54 FINAL
Colorado State 75
North Florida 70 FINAL
Iowa 80
NC Central 67 FINAL
Jackson State 64
Rice 72 FINAL
Lamar 79
Central Mich 89 FINAL
McNeese State 56
Coppin State 56 FINAL
Michigan 72
Furman 76 FINAL
Minnesota 86
SE Missouri St 51 FINAL
Ole Miss 82
Weber State 51 FINAL
Oklahoma 85
Grambling St 39 FINAL
TCU 80
Loyola-Chicago 62 FINAL
Texas Tech 44
Incarnate Word 47 FINAL
Tulsa 76
Penn 50 FINAL
Vanderbilt 79
Chicago State 38 FINAL
SIU Edwardsville 63
Simpson 62 FINAL
Drake 84
Tenn Tech 81 FINAL
Murray State 83 FINAL
Southern Ill 71
Oral Roberts 45 FINAL
Missouri State 52
Jacksonville St 65 FINAL
Air Force 66
Milwaukee 54 FINAL
Arkansas 84
Wisconsin 68 FINAL
California 56
Coll of Charleston 47 FINAL
LSU 71
North Dakota 54 FINAL
Marquette 67
Northern New Mexico 39 FINAL
New Mexico St 78
UC Santa Barbara 78 FINAL
Oregon 82
Miami-Florida 62 FINAL
Providence 76
Northeastern 68 FINAL
St Marys-CA 72
Kent State 71 2nd Half 0:27
Texas-El Paso 75
UC Davis 73 FINAL
Northern Colorado 63
Lewis-Clark State 81 FINAL
Eastern Wash 87
Walla Walla 52 FINAL
Portland State 94
TX A&M-CC 45 2nd Half 13:50
Cal State Fullerton 52
Marshall 34 2nd Half 14:49
Nevada 51
Boise State 31 1st Half 1:14
Houston 20
UC Riverside 8 1st Half 11:29
San Diego St 14
Tulane 8 1st Half 14:10
Washington 11
Loyola Marymount 4 1st Half 15:48
Wichita State 6
Nebraska 12/23/14 12:00 AM
Memphis 55
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
UMass Lowell 63 FINAL
Holy Cross 78
Temple 59 FINAL
Villanova 64
Georgia Southern 68 FINAL
Southern U 52
Xavier 60 FINAL
Kennesaw St 61
Eastern Michigan 52 FINAL
Michigan 81
Brescia 56 FINAL
Marshall 127
(21) West Virginia 54 FINAL
Ohio State 96
MD-Eastern Shore 78
Cornell 79 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 61
St Bonaventure 70 FINAL
Georgetown 64
New Hampshire 63 FINAL
Northeastern 62
Eastern Washington 67 FINAL
Florida 56
Rice 63 FINAL
Texas Southern 69
Butler 72 FINAL
Illinois State 60
UC Davis 59 FINAL
(16) Stanford 71
Washington St 87 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 60
Sacramento St 94 FINAL
San Jose St 97
SIU-Edwardsville 74 FINAL
Oakland 92 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 84
Belmont 43 FINAL
(14) Georgia 62
George Mason 83 FINAL
Longwood 61
Kansas 81 FINAL
Creighton 84
Abilene Christian 53 FINAL
Kansas State 68
UT Martin 65 FINAL
Missouri 74
Hampton 67 FINAL
DePaul 86
Florida State 65 FINAL
Tulane 54
Murray State 44 FINAL
Illinois 64
Fla Gulf Coast 74 FINAL
Arkansas State 68
Utah State 58
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters


Gophers Football Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 amX28-24
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa 11 amX51-14
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State 11 amX31-24
Nov 22 - at Nebraska 11 amX28-24
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin 2:30 pmX34-24
Jan 1 - vs. Missouri noon




question of the day

Poll: What's your favorite Gophers football uniform colors?

Weekly Question