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

Gophers pregame: Minnesota looks to get back on track at Northwestern

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players Updated: January 23, 2013 - 5:57 PM

Two losses to two top-5 teams isn’t the end of the world – in fact, it’s tough to be too ashamed of that.

Outside of top-5 teams (the Gophers also lost to Duke, as you’ll remember), Minnesota has taken care of business, notching wins against three other teams ranked (at the time) in Memphis, Michigan State and Illinois.

But make no mistake; the Gophers badly need a win tonight.

They need a victory to bounce back from not just two losses, but two games that featured stretches of poor play and lackadaisical defense from the Gophers. They need a victory to quickly get back in line with the basics that have made them successful this season. They need a victory if they are going to prove that while they cannot compete with top-5 teams for now, they can compete with everyone else.

Northwestern is a team that could present a significant challenge to the Gophers if they don’t play with the sharpness we’ve been accustomed to seeing before the last two games. Their Princeton offense has proven to give this Minnesota team fits and their 1-3-1 zone defense can be difficult to penetrate. What’s more, the Wildcats’ ability to slow down the game helped contribute to one of the ugliest halves of Gophers basketball this season when Northwestern was in Minneapolis on Jan. 9.

Therefore, three things the Gophers need to do to pull out a win at Northwestern:

1) Force the pace sooner rather than later. Last time against Northwestern, the Gophers played the Wildcats’ game for a good 20 minutes, and it wasn’t very pretty. It was 17-14 Gophers at the half, but as they weren’t able to get out in transition, their strengths were mostly nullified. Thankfully for them, they were able to play solid enough defense to stay in the game. Then, they relied on some hot shooting from Austin Hollins in the second to create enough separation to force Northwestern to speed up. No reason to take so long this go-around.

2) Shoot well. It’s been the saving grace of the Gophers in their last 60 minutes of basketball – and one of the only things that kept them from being completely embarrassed by Michigan last week. The Wildcats have some shooters, too, so Minnesota will have to stay on its game.

3) Hold onto the ball. Is this seriously still as great of an issue as it is? We’re neck deep in the league season now, and still the Gophers haven’t been able to address their greatest flaw. Against Northwestern – a team that is ranked 21st in the nation in turnovers-per-possession – that issue could be exposed once more.

More notes on tonight’s matchup:

  • The Gophers have lost four consecutive games at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
  • With Drew Crawford gone for the year, Reggie Hearn has stepped up as leader. He is averaging 14.5 points and 4.6 rebounds a game and has scored 42 points in the last two games.
  • Coach Tubby Smith said Monday that the Gophers have been dealing with a couple of injuries, most notably Joe Coleman’s turned ankle, which kept him out of a couple of practices. Rodney Williams hasn’t missed any practice time, but he has been dealing with some hip soreness and a minor knee issue. Both, however, are expected to play tonight.

Extra points:

*Watch tonight's game live on Big Ten Network.

*Listen to tonight's game live on 1500-a.m.

*In today's Star Tribune: Gophers look to refocus on the stretch ahead.

*On the blog: Turnovers still a problem for the Gophers

*On the blog: Rodney Williams on tweet to teammates about being thrown under the bus: "It was just a dumb comment I made."

*Bigfoot click of the day: a rap about an encounter.

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Los Angeles 7 Bottom 8th Inning
Chicago Cubs 8
Detroit 3 Bottom 9th Inning
Kansas City 2
Philadelphia 0 Top 2nd Inning
Oakland 0
Toronto 1 Top 2nd Inning
NY Yankees 0
Arizona 0 Top 2nd Inning
Colorado 1
Boston - R. De La Rosa 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Milwaukee - M. Garza 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Washington - J. Zimmermann 6:10 PM
Miami - J. Cosart
NY Mets - J. Niese 6:10 PM
Atlanta - M. Minor
Chicago WSox - H. Noesi 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - C. Archer
Cleveland - T. House 6:10 PM
Minnesota - T. May
Seattle - C. Young 6:10 PM
Houston - D. Keuchel
Cincinnati - M. Leake 6:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Wacha
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San Diego - A. Cashner
Texas - C. Lewis 8:05 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
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St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
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Detroit
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Seattle
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Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(13) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(11) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 3rd Qtr 3:34
Colorado 21
Marshall 38 3rd Qtr 7:20
Akron 3
Louisville 0 Delayed 15:00
FIU 0
North Carolina 13 2nd Qtr 14:20
East Carolina 14
Army 14 2nd Qtr 9:26
Wake Forest 14
Virginia 13 2nd Qtr 9:43
(21) BYU 10
(6) Texas A&M 23 2nd Qtr 12:43
SMU 0
Rutgers 10 2nd Qtr 12:01
Navy 7
Central Mich 0 2nd Qtr 8:15
Kansas 7
Utah 10 2nd Qtr 10:16
Michigan 3
Florida 14 1st Qtr 0:00
(3) Alabama 14
Fla Atlantic 0 1st Qtr 4:15
Wyoming 7
Indiana 7 1st Qtr 3:55
(18) Missouri 0
San Jose St 7 1st Qtr 0:40
Minnesota 10
Texas State 7 1st Qtr 5:30
Illinois 6
Massachusetts 0 1st Qtr 2:38
Penn State 6
Georgia State 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(20) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(23) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
(18) Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(8) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(9) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(17) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Vancouver FC 4:00 PM
Portland
Houston 6:00 PM
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New England 6:30 PM
Columbus
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Montreal
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Red Bull New York
D.C. 7:30 PM
Chicago
FC Dallas 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
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Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
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Winnipeg
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Calgary
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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.
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
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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