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 look to continue positive run against North Florida

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players Updated: December 1, 2012 - 11:34 AM

It’s been almost two weeks now since the Gophers have played at home, and from the sounds of it yesterday they are eager for the return.

The perception of a lull in the schedule to go along with their homecoming, however, might be a little deceiving. The next three games, in fact, could actually be challenging for the Gophers.

Today they play North Florida at home, a team that doesn’t have the talent the Gophers do, but one that has experienced some of the same competition (Memphis and Florida State) and hung with those teams. Then the Gophers have a quick turnaround for South Dakota State, which hasn’t played up to its potential yet, but is always dangerous with the dazzling Nate Wolters. From there, the Gophers go back on the road, to Southern California to face an improved USC team.

Make no mistake – the Gophers should win all three of those games, just as they should win out the remainder of the non-conference schedule.

But this stretch will require the Gophers to maintain the same focus and intensity that they did through a long and successful road trip to the Bahamas and Florida State. And coming off an exhausting and momentous gamut such as that one, well, that might be the hardest time to hold that energy.

“I think our guys, coming off our road trip 3-1 are feeling pretty good about ourselves, but we know there’s a lot we have to do to improve on,” coach Tubby Smith said. “We’ve made some major improvements over the last week, but North Florida will give us another test.”

More notes on today’s game:

  • North Florida has a small, thin lineup and so the Gophers should have the clear advantage on the boards. However, the Ospreys have held their own against good competition so far this season, playing with both Florida State and Memphis for long stretches before losing. North Florida, like the Gophers, turn the ball over a lot, but they are also apt at causing miscues on the defensive end.
  • The player to watch is 6-3 Parker Smith, who has racked up 17 points a game and is making more than half of his shots from 3-point range. Austin Hollins will likely be the one to get the matchup.
  • Tuesday’s game at Florida State was probably the most complete contest the Gophers have played to this point, exhibiting a strong defense and balanced offense. Every starter except Elliott Eliason finished with double-digit points, and Eliason contributed with 10 rebounds. Joe Coleman had his best game since the preseason, finishing with 16 points, six rebounds and two turnovers.

Extra points:


*Today’s game is NOT on TV. You can watch it here, for a price.
*Listen to today’s game live on 1500-a.m.
*Check out my checklist for the Gophers in their remaining non-conference slate from today’s Star Tribune.
*Gophers-Florida State preview here.
*On the blog: Ellenson redshirting decision is still up in the air.
*On the blog: Can the Gophers be a top 3 team in the Big Ten?
*Eliason and others have earned their spots, but Mbakwe can help the team.
 

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Fla Southern 2 FINAL
Detroit 12
FIU 2 FINAL
Miami 7
Toronto 114 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Golden State 108 FINAL
Brooklyn 110
Phoenix 98 FINAL
Miami 115
LA Clippers 110 FINAL
Minnesota 105
New Orleans 93 FINAL
Dallas 102
Nashville 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Carolina 2 FINAL
Chicago 5
Montreal 0 2nd Prd 16:23
San Jose 2
Virginia 59 FINAL
Syracuse 47
Baylor 59 FINAL
Texas 61
SE Louisiana 79 FINAL
Northwestern St 92
Central Arkansas 49 FINAL
Sam Houston St 76
Norfolk State 59 FINAL
Howard 61
Bethune-Cookman 50 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 75 FINAL
Delaware State 85
Lamar 69 FINAL
McNeese State 70
Nicholls 89 FINAL
New Orleans 79
Incarnate Word 62 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 83
NC Central 62 FINAL
Savannah State 49
Texas Southern 77 FINAL
Alabama A&M 75
Prairie View 67 FINAL
Alabama State 65
Oklahoma 70 FINAL
Iowa State 77
Grambling St 62 FINAL
Miss Valley St 66
Boston College 66 FINAL
Virginia Tech 59
Jackson State 58 2nd Half 2:52
Ark-Pine Bluff 62
Bethune-Cookman 55 FINAL
NC A&T 58
Hampton 78 FINAL
Delaware State 63
Norfolk State 63 FINAL
Howard 60
NC Central 54 FINAL
Savannah State 65
Texas Southern 83 FINAL
Alabama A&M 46
Prairie View 42 FINAL
Alabama State 60
Jackson State 78 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 74
Grambling 56 FINAL
Miss Valley St 61
Tulsa 71 FINAL
Cincinnati 58
(1) Connecticut 88 FINAL
South Florida 65
UCF 57 FINAL
East Carolina 67
Central Conn St 53 FINAL
Bryant 55
Wagner 66 FINAL
Robert Morris 60
Sacred Heart 75 FINAL
Fairleigh Dickinson 84
St Francis-NY 73 FINAL
Long Island 49
Mount St Marys 87 FINAL
St Francis-PA 90
Temple 56 FINAL
Houston 45
Texas Tech 65 FINAL
(6) Baylor 75
Iowa State 64 FINAL
Kansas 68
SMU 60 FINAL
Memphis 53
Oklahoma 66 FINAL
Oklahoma St 56
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