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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Turnovers still a problem as Gophers go to Northwestern

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players Updated: January 23, 2013 - 11:27 AM

Andre Hollins is so used to getting the question that you can hear the weariness in his voice. At the same time, he’s still fresh out of answers. How could he have the solution to the turnover carnage when it’s so clear the Gophers’ haven’t even taken steps to figuring it out?

“I don’t know – I guess we’re not concentrating hard enough,” Hollins said Thursday after the loss to No. 5 Michigan. “We’re being a little too stagnant and not attacking. We’ve just got to improve. We’ve just got to improve on our ballhandling. You limit the turnovers, it’s a whole different game.”

Thursday, the Gophers had 15, 10 in the first half, when Michigan cashed them in for 22 points. Minnesota is averaging 14.6 on the season, turning over the ball in a stunning 21.3 percent of their possessions.

Wondering if the Gophers have real reason for concern as they head to Northwestern and Wisconsin on this next road trip? Well, here’s one for you:

The Gophers rank 236th in the nation in turnovers-per-possession.

Northwestern is 21st.

And the Badgers are No. 1.

"[Turnovers are] the worst thing right now," coach Tubby Smith said. "It just takes so much life out of you, it takes the wind out of you when you work so hard on defense or try to run something and you throw the ball away. And we’re darn near last in the league in turnovers and we’re going to play a team that’s one of the best in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio. Northwestern doesn’t turn the ball over very much."

The Gophers know this is a problem, have said so repeatedly, and still can’t seem to stop it from happening. Often, a good proportion of the miscues will occur in one, very sloppy stretch.

Thursday, Minnesota wasn’t helped any by Hollins picking up two fouls quickly and leaving the game after 6:25 and not returning until after the break (despite the fact that he was fighting to get back in). Julian Welch did some good things in replacing the sophomore, but struggled to get the team into the offense – which led to seven of the Gophers’ 10 first-half turnovers, three of which were from Welch himself.

“[We were] just rushing,” Rodney Williams said. “Not being patient. We’re a team that likes to run, so it’s going to happen, but for it to happen as much as it did, we’re going to have to do something to fix that.”

What, exactly, is where the conversation stops – because it’s a sentiment that’s as tired as the season is old. And the fact that this issue has consistently plagued the Gophers from the start is cause for concern. It WILL need to be addressed if the Gophers are going to get back on track and make a splash in the Big Ten.




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