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.

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Gophers postgame: Smith questions effort after a second-consecutive loss

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players Updated: January 17, 2013 - 11:06 PM

At one point in the second half of tonight’s 83-75 Gophers loss to No. 5 Michigan, I had the following thought:

It may be time to make some concessions about this Minnesota team.

The problem with saying that is this: they keep changing up what they’re giving you. They hand you two different sets of data (in the last two games, anyway)– one from a team that looks bound for a run in the NCAA tournament; another from a team that looks lost, lethargic, uninspired and unworthy of winning the last two games.

Here it is:

When the Gophers play with the defensive intensity that has personified them this season, they can play with any team. When they don’t, they can’t.

Fans that will blame tonight on poor officiating and bad calls are seeing this team through a false lens – one that doesn’t take into account the ways they’ve shot themselves in the foot over the last two contests, the poor stretches of play, made worse by the fact that they’ve shown good and well they can play much better. It’s hard to blame bad calls when a team turns the ball over 15 times, 10 in the first half. It’s hard to blame calls when a team misses seven of its final 16 free throws. It’s hard to blame calls when a defensive-minded team misses switches, doesn’t communicate and allows an offense to shoot 54.9 percent. It’s hard to blame calls unless a team is darned-near perfect.

And in the last two games, the Gophers have been far from it.

They’ve played hard in stretches. They’ve played with impressive intensity. Other times, they disappear.

I knew that tonight’s postgame would be sullen, and the locker room was every bit of that. But the thing that surprised me the most was coach Tubby Smith’s comment afterward about the team’s lackluster practice a day earlier. He seemed not just concerned, but confused, because after all – he has lauded this team as hard-working and possessing of the tangibles from the start of the season.

“I was disappointed in our practice yesterday, to be honest with you in the defensive effort, especially in our starting group, and it showed today -- It raised its ugly head,” Smith said. “There’s no reason to panic, but I’m just really disappointed in two games, with the way we’ve played in the first half. And trying to make a comeback, that’s just a – well, I really don’t know what to call it. It’s just disappointing.”

Is it possible that the Gophers focused a bit too much on their early success? It doesn’t seem like this team, but then again, neither does these long, lethargic stretches where it’s only natural to question the apparent effort.

Too much shouldn’t be made of these two losses – after all, Michigan and Indiana are two of the best teams in the country. But the focus, instead, should fall within, on changing a sprouting trend that could prove dangerous if it continues.

Other notes from tonight’s game:

  • Austin Hollins was the true bright spot for the Gophers tonight. The guard was the impetus early, and finished with 21 points, six rebounds, three assists and no turnovers. Afterward, Smith was quick to point out once again, that Hollins is one to never go light on a practice. “We’ve got one guy that comes every day, every day, he’s going to give it everything he has and that’s Austin Hollins,” Smith said. “It’s not even close when it comes to the hardest worker in our program. Not that the other guys don’t work hard, but they don’t come with that type of intensity and it showed today, and that’s what was disappointing.”
  • Andre Hollins left 6:25 into the game with two fouls and didn’t come back until after halftime, even though as he said, he was angling to return. “Yeah, I wanted to go back in really bad because I was playing really good defense on them – but that’s the luck of the draw sometimes,” he said.
  • In his stead, however, Julian Welch did some good things for the Gophers, hitting three jump shots for a season-high eight points to help keep the Gophers in the game. Before tonight, Welch hadn’t scored a point since the Northwestern game and hadn’t had more than four since the win over Lafayette.
  • A season later, the Gophers didn’t seem to have any answers for Trey Burke or Tim Hardaway Jr. Burke was phenomenal and simply toyed with the Gophers, it seemed at times. Hardaway’s performance was muted some after the first half, but by then he had already done damage to the tune of 17 points.
  • A couple of reporters asked Rodney Williams at practice on Wednesday whether he had thought about a replacement for his signature 360-dunk for the Michigan game. But instead, the only person doing a 360 was Michigan’s Glenn Robinson III, in the second half, to the boos of the sold-out crowd.


Oakland - J. Lester 7:07 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
NY Islanders 0 1st Prd 14:57
Boston 0
NY Rangers 0 1st Prd 15:39
Philadelphia 0
Ottawa 7:00 PM
Carolina 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Tampa Bay 7:30 PM
Colorado 8:00 PM
Los Angeles 9:30 PM
San Jose
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
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Date/Opponent 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 pm30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 am
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA




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