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

Pregame: Gophers perimeter D will be tested against Richmond

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players Updated: November 18, 2012 - 4:44 PM

Watching the Gophers, it’s clear this team has significantly improved on defense since last year.

In three games, a Minnesota opponent has managed to make 30 percent of its shots in a given half just once. For the most part, the Gophers have been shutting the opposing offense down:

Against American: 26.1 percent in the first half; 20 percent in the second
Against Toledo: 22.2 in the first; 44 in the second
Against Tennessee State: 29.6 in the first; 18.8 in the second

It seems like the Gophers have gotten better across the board, and that intensity has shown. But Coach Tubby Smith said Thursday that he believes the biggest improvement he’s seen with Minnesota’s defense is in contesting shots.

“I think we’re really doing a better job of not giving anyone an open shot and when they do get it, we’re really flying at them and challenging their shots,” he said.

The team’s effectiveness at doing so will be tested tonight against Richmond, by far the Gophers' toughest opponent to date and a team that has been very efficient from three-point range.

The Spiders have hit 30 three pointers so far (compared with the Gophers 15), and have made 41 percent of the shots they’ve taken. Richmond has three players on the roster with five or more: Darien Brothers (8; also making 59 percent of his shots from the field), Kendall Anthony (7) and Wayne Sparrow (5).

Whether or not the Gophers can move to 4-0 will have a great deal to do with their ability to stop the three.

More notes on tonight’s game:

  • Tonight’s game against Richmond is the Gophers last matchup before heading to the Bahamas for Battle 4 Atlantis. Their first opponent is Duke, which recently beat Kentucky –so if the Gophers struggle tonight, it could spell trouble in paradise.
  • The Gophers most consistent offensive player so far has been Rodney Williams (15 ppg), but Austin Hollins (14.3) and Joe Coleman (10) are also averaging double digits. Coleman had a bit of down game offensively against Tennessee State (finishing with six points), but defensively he looked more sound, and he added three assists.
  • Turnovers have remained a problem for the Gophers, who have had 17 or more blunders in two of their three games (17 against Tennessee State; 19 against American).
  • Trevor Mbakwe still isn’t getting many minutes (he had just 10 on Thursday), but he is being efficient with what he gets. The sixth-year senior is averaging five points and four rebounds in 12.7 minutes a game. Mbakwe also has four steals and five blocks on the year.

Extra points:

*Tonight’s game is on Big Ten Network
*Listen to tonight’s game live on 1500-a.m. here.
*In today’s Star Tribune: Austin Hollins’ steady approach has been a major factor for the Gophers.
*On the blog: Tubby Smith calls Mo Walker the biggest surprise for the Gophers early.


Cincinnati - WP: M. Lorenzen 7 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: J. Locke 1
Miami - WP: M. Latos 2 FINAL
Washington - LP: S. Strasburg 1
NY Yankees - WP: M. Pineda 6 FINAL
Toronto - LP: M. Estrada 3
Philadelphia - LP: C. Billingsley 0 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: S. Miller 9
Baltimore - LP: B. Norris 2 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: B. Colon 3
Tampa Bay - LP: D. Smyly 0 FINAL
Boston - WP: R. Porcello 2
Los Angeles - WP: Z. Greinke 8 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: M. Garza 2
Cleveland - LP: D. Salazar 3 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Vargas 5
Detroit - LP: S. Greene 2 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: J. Samardzija 5
Oakland - WP: J. Chavez 2 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: T. May 1
Texas - WP: W. Rodriguez 7 FINAL
Houston - LP: S. Feldman 1
Chicago Cubs - LP: E. Jackson 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: M. Harris 7
Arizona 0 Postponed
Colorado 0
Seattle - LP: D. Leone 4 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: H. Street 5
San Diego - LP: A. Cashner 0 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: R. Vogelsong 6
Washington 90 FINAL
Atlanta 106
Memphis 97 FINAL
Golden State 90
Chicago 1 FINAL
Minnesota 0
Anaheim 3 FINAL(OT)
Calgary 4
San Jose 1 FINAL
Houston 0
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Does it bother you that Tyus Jones chose Duke over Minnesota?

Weekly Question