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

aMAILia Bag: Will the Gophers fizzle in conference play like last year?

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players Updated: December 3, 2012 - 11:58 AM

 *aMAILia bag is a new installment on the blog where I answer your questions every Monday. You can send your questions throughout the week to

Let's get to the questions:

Every year I get super excited about the team's up-tempo style and success in non-conference play. Yet, it seems we always struggle come conference time. I realize it is a step up in competition level and a different style, but I was just wondering if there was any indication of us doing a better job of dictating the tempo and having more overall success in conference play? This is clearly Tubby's most talented team, but I worry about our ability to win drag it out, slow down, half-court conference games which happens frequently in conference season.

---Kent Janikula: An optimistic, but worried to commit (because of past years heartbreak) Gopher fan

I understand your hesitation, Kent, and there’s plenty of cause for it. Take for example, last season -- with basically the same team – when the Gophers went 12-1 over the non-conference schedule and then got shell-shocked as they entered Big Ten play. What. A. Difference.

However (never fear, Kent’s optimistic side) I think there are a few major factors that indicate things could be different when the league schedule starts this season:

1) Better D. Look, the Gophers aren’t all transition offense, even if that’s what they’re going for right now, and already this year opponents have been able to give them problems when they slow them down. But the difference this season is a significantly improved effort defensively. Even if the Gophers don’t have the most prolific offense in any particular game, they are capable of holding the opponent defensively while they adjust.

2) More balanced offense. At the same time, the Gophers’ offense has been stabilized some because of the consistency of Rodney Williams and Austin Hollins, in particular – they were on and off at this time last year – while there are others stepping up as well. The Gophers’ half-court offense still needs plenty of improvement, but they have so many players with so much more confidence this year that are more likely to break the cycle of aimless passing while the clock runs down and either take a shot or make a move.

3) Better poise, and a killer instinct. Do you remember what those non-conference games looked like last year? We were biting our nails half the time, wondering if the Gophers were actually, actually going to lose to (lesser opponent X). They fell behind, they wobbled late, the let teams come back, they got lazy. It was a roller coaster. This year isn’t like that. For the most part, the Gophers put their foot down early and keep it there. Then, in games like the one against North Florida, when the Gophers started out slow, you didn’t see the panic creep in like it might have last year. There’s a lot more poise here.

All of that said, there certainly are flaws with this team and ones that haven’t really been very exposed yet. I promise the Gophers will not float through conference play. But they also should be able to hold their own better than they have in the recent past.

It appears that new AD Norwood Teague and local billionaire booster T Denny Sanford have become fast friends.

I saw on Twitter that Teague attended Sanford's birthday party Friday night. Chip Scoggins also wrote about Teague and Sanford's (sounds like a great buddy cop movie) trip to visit the new Nebraska basketball practice facility.

Norwood appears to be working hard to craft a relationship with Sanford and other local donors. Any word whether they are making progress on funding for a Gophers basketball practice facility?

Derek Wilken

Derek, I think as far as fundraising goes, Norwood might be just about the best bet Minnesota could have. I know he’s already reached out to a lot of potential donors and has been building relationships there. Sanford might end up being more involved on the football side of fundraising instead of basketball, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of hoops support. Last I caught up with Teague on the subject, he said that he felt very confident that the financial support for a basketball practice facility – which is one of the things at the top of his facilities wish list – is there. Now, it’s a matter of going through the appropriate steps. There are a lot of other factors (besides the $) that go into building a new facility. The University of Minnesota recently hired a master planning firm – POPULOUS – to construct an overall facilities blueprint based on what the University needs and where its priorities lie. That’s where the process is now.

What is covering the Gophers team like? What is the typical schedule for you on game days versus during the week when the team just practices?


Brandon Proctor

Oh you know -- glitz, glam, glory, the good life.

… just kidding. When people think of a sports writer, they often picture just watching games and casually writing about them, but it’s not often they consider the image of someone hunched over a computer in a coffee shop for hours and hours and hours.

My job is either really flexible or not at all – in other words, if there is an access or a game, I will be there or be dead (I have a theory that all sickness goes away one deadline), but otherwise, it’s pretty flexible. I split work between my apartment, the arena and the office (or the road). I spend most of my awake time working during the season, but the ability to work un-showered in your pajamas is a plus. For the most part, it’s just a lot of writing. We only get access to the team on game days and the day before game days, so the rest of the time, I’m working on blogs and advances, doing phone interviews and reading a ton (oh, and tweeting with you guys). On game days, I show up about two hours early and stay about three hours late, writing. First I file a gamer at the final buzzer that goes to all the readers up in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin. Then, after going down to the locker room and talking with Tubby and the players, I do another re-write and blog. That’s the bulk of it. It’s a good gig and the players themselves are very personable and nice guys, so that helps too.


Where's your favorite place to go squatchin, and do you have a signature call?
--Doug ‏@dgfair

So far, my favorite place to go squatchin is KETTLE RIVER, MINNESOTA!! (special hello to Bob Siltanen). As for my call, I’m a “whoop” girl.


Philadelphia 3:30 PM
San Diego 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Utah 101 FINAL
Orlando 94
Charlotte 109 FINAL
Philadelphia 91
Brooklyn 91 FINAL
Cleveland 95
Washington 105 FINAL
Miami 103
Minnesota 98 FINAL
Boston 114
Toronto 110 FINAL
Detroit 100
Chicago 103 FINAL
Memphis 97
Portland 129 FINAL
San Antonio 119
LA Clippers 106 FINAL
Denver 109
Oklahoma City 104 FINAL
LA Lakers 103
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 3
Anaheim 2 FINAL
Ottawa 6
NY Islanders 2 FINAL
Detroit 1
Boston 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Dallas 2 FINAL
Calgary 1
Wilberforce 71 FINAL
Youngstown St 92
Jackson State 49 FINAL
Tulane 56
Siena 66 FINAL
Radford 76
Stillman 49 FINAL
Alabama 69
Case Western Reserve 65 FINAL
Bucknell 88
Niagara 62 FINAL
Buffalo 88
SD Christian 46 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 69
Concordia (MI) 60 FINAL
Central Mich 97
Northern Ill 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 58
North Florida 83 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Hiwassee 71 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 91
Tennessee St 54 FINAL
Hampton 66
Kent State 71
Central Penn College 65 FINAL
Liberty 94
Eastern Ky 72 FINAL
Miami-Florida 44
Northern Ky 83 FINAL
Morehead State 60
Northern Ariz 62 FINAL
Norfolk State 81
MD-Eastern Shore 43 FINAL
Old Dominion 60
St Marys-CA 47 FINAL
St Johns 53
Clemson 45 FINAL
South Carolina 68
Tenn Tech 58 FINAL
Tennessee 61
Washington-MD 46 FINAL
William & Mary 86
Bethune-Cookman 46 FINAL
Mercer 67
Furman 78 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 83
South Dakota St 53 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 49
Milligan 53 FINAL
Lamar 80
LSU-Alexandria 71 FINAL
ULM 76
Southern Utah 57 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 73
Chattanooga 58 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 68
Seattle 57 FINAL
Minnesota 92
Lipscomb 55 FINAL
Princeton 77
Winthrop 71 FINAL
SE Louisiana 81
Dickinson State 48 FINAL
North Dakota 78
New Orleans 56 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
TX-Pan American 60 FINAL
Creighton 75
Colorado State 85 FINAL
Denver 84
Alabama A&M 49 FINAL
Marquette 83
Ark-Pine Bluff 51 FINAL
Texas Tech 72
Eastern Wash 67 FINAL
California 78
Idaho State 56 FINAL
Utah State 69
Arizona 60 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 55
Hawaii 94 FINAL
Chaminade 63
Nevada 10:00 AM
Utah State 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
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
Ohio Valley 33 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
East Tenn St 48 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 61
Cal-Irvine 44 FINAL
Purdue 69
Campbell 63 FINAL
Stetson 76
Jacksonville St 70 FINAL
Charleston Southern 43
Louisiana 64 FINAL
Alcorn State 57
Denver 63 FINAL
Wright State 72
Blue Mountain 30 FINAL
Central Arkansas 71
Texas State 51 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 40
Albany 62 FINAL
Pepperdine 36
TX-San Antonio 53 FINAL
Houston 56
Yale 66 FINAL
Bucknell 73
Northern Colorado 56 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 69
Belmont 86 FINAL
Mercer 83
Massachusetts 66 FINAL
Georgia State 71
George Mason 69 FINAL
Winthrop 57
Portland State 33 FINAL
Princeton 104
Samford 52
Mobile 30 FINAL
Alabama State 66
Nicholls 49 FINAL
Texas Tech 76
Toledo 65 FINAL
Nevada 56
UMass Lowell 48 FINAL
(13) Duke 95
St Marys-CA 49 FINAL
Virginia 62
McNeese State 55 FINAL
Rice 57
McMurry 49 FINAL
Houston Baptist 69
Seton Hall 74
(6) North Carolina 65 FINAL
Maine 36
Lafayette 58 FINAL
Stony Brook 60
Siena 62 FINAL
Binghamton 53
Longwood 56 FINAL
Clemson 72
Savannah State 51 FINAL
Florida State 97
(19) Syracuse 72 FINAL
(9) Baylor 74
Buffalo 68 FINAL
Manhattan 58
Canisius 43 FINAL
Michigan 79
Davidson 66 FINAL
NC State 82
Northern Ky 63 FINAL
Delaware 58
Saint Louis 81 FINAL
Austin Peay 86
(25) DePaul 64 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 98
Ohio U 74 FINAL
La Salle 63
Florida Atlantic 60 FINAL
Long Beach St 85
Miami-Florida 65 FINAL
Tulane 70
Miss Valley St 39 FINAL
Memphis 62
Ark-Pine Bluff 56 FINAL
UAB 65
Bowling Green 58 FINAL
Illinois State 54
Arkansas State 78 FINAL
Missouri State 62
Wichita State 57
(16) Oregon State 71 FINAL
Southern Ill 55
Pacific 67 FINAL
New Mexico St 62
No Dakota State 79 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 86
Utah State 92 FINAL
Sacramento St 102
Bethesda (CA) 61 FINAL
Fresno State 83
Utah Valley U 44 FINAL
Montana 68
UC Santa Barbara 45
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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




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