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

Missouri's Laurence Bowers' story is similar to Mbakwe's ... except Bowers is starting

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players Updated: November 21, 2012 - 2:53 PM

 

 

Like the Gophers’ Trevor Mbakwe, Laurence Bowers tore his ACL early in the year last season, and like Mbakwe, Bowers received an extra year (his fifth) from the NCAA to come back and spend another year with Missouri.

But unlike Mbakwe, Bowers has already found his place in the Tigers’ starting lineup and figures to be a major force this season.

Mbakwe has come off the bench for the Gophers in all four games this season and coach Tubby Smith has said he doesn’t see “any reason” why he would put the forward in the starting lineup with his current starting five – that brought the team to the NIT final last season – clicking.

Haith held out Bowers when the team played in Europe over the summer, but in the preseason the forward stood out.

“We started practice and he really went after it,” Missouri coach Frank Haith said. “Laurence has been terrific. He’s a guy as I talk about our team will get better and better as the year goes on.”

The difference, of course, with the Bowers scenario is that Missouri had just one starter returning to the lineup from last year’s successful NCAA tournament squad, so regardless the lineup was shifted a lot and a new style adopted.

“He’s not Kim English at that 4 spot,” Haith said, referring to his former power forward, who graduted. “We played with four guards last year, but he can make an open jump shot, and there’s other things he can do that Kimmy couldn’t do and that’s be very versatile on the defensive end and knock balls loose and block shots. And we can use that.”

--

VCU experimented with Navy Seal training over the summer, and one of the more memorable experiments was what the players called “the ice boat.” A rubber boat with three planks across was filled with ice and water (mostly ice, Troy Daniels said). Players had to dive into the boat and go under each plank and come up after each for a breath.

“It’s not the same breath that you take when you’re just swimming,” coach Shaka Smart said grinning. “Some of our guys had a real tough time with it, one of the guys in particular, but they all made it through.”

--

It’s obvious that Tubby Smith and the Gophers are excited to be at this tournament, but the coach is coming in as a realist. Asked what the advantages and disadvantages of playing in such a deep field are, Smith said: “Losing them all – that’s the disadvantage. How do you recover from something like that? But you hope that your team, even if they don’t come out on the winning side, they can measure themselves against other opponents from different parts of the country and different conferences and it gives us a good indication of where we are as a team. But even if you did not perform well and play well, you’re going to learn some things. You’re going to learn one way or the other, win or lose.”

--

The team was able to practice in Imperial Arena for the first time on Wednesday morning after getting in around Midnight the night before. “It’s a lot smaller than I thought it was going to be and a lot darker, but it’s a pretty nice court and I think the atmosphere will be real fun to be in,” Rodney Williams said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Houston 1 FINAL
Miami 1
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Minnesota 7
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Detroit 4
Baltimore - WP: T. Wilson 10 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: S. Baker 2
Boston 9 FINAL
Tampa Bay 6
Toronto 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 8
Atlanta 5 FINAL
Toronto 3
Washington 2 FINAL
NY Mets 10
Chicago Cubs 5 FINAL
Cincinnati 9
San Diego 3 FINAL
Texas 2
San Francisco 9 FINAL
Seattle 8
Colorado 4 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 18
Cleveland 3 FINAL
Milwaukee 2
Oakland 10 FINAL
Chicago WSox 4
Los Angeles 5 FINAL
LA Angels 4
Kansas City 10 FINAL
Arizona 5
Atlanta 100 FINAL
Charlotte 115
New York 80 FINAL
Chicago 111
Golden State 108 FINAL
Milwaukee 95
Oklahoma City 89 FINAL
Utah 94
Denver 114 FINAL
Portland 120
Nashville 4 FINAL
Washington 3
Arizona 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
San Jose 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 2
Anaheim 3 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Boston 4
Tampa Bay 0 FINAL
Detroit 4
New Jersey 1 FINAL
Carolina 3
Florida 2 FINAL(OT)
Montreal 3
Ottawa 3 FINAL(OT)
Toronto 4
Los Angeles 1 FINAL
Minnesota 4
Columbus 4 FINAL
St. Louis 2
Buffalo 3 FINAL
Colorado 5
Dallas 4 FINAL(OT)
Vancouver 3
Arizona 78 FINAL
Wisconsin 85
Canisius 73 FINAL
NJIT 78
Notre Dame 66 FINAL
Kentucky 68
San Jose 1 FINAL
New England 2
Orlando City 2 FINAL
Montreal 2
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
D.C. 1
Sporting Kansas City 1 FINAL
New York City 0
Red Bull New York 2 FINAL
Columbus 1
Portland 1 FINAL
Vancouver FC 2
Colorado 0 FINAL
Houston 0
Seattle 0 FINAL
FC Dallas 0
Texas 54 FINAL
(1) Connecticut 105
Dayton 82 FINAL
(8) Louisville 66
(16) Duke 55 FINAL
(4) Maryland 65
Gonzaga 69 FINAL
(6) Tennessee 73
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: Who is your favorite team in the NCAA men's hockey tournament?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT