Tired of losing, Gophers met to clear the air

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 28, 2013 - 6:36 AM

Blunt talk in private might have helped the basketball team regroup and upset No. 1 Indiana on Tuesday.

Behind closed doors, it all came out. After consecutive losses by more than 20 points, the Gophers finally had been pushed to their tipping point.

Everything was aired aloud in a players-only meeting over the weekend. In the overflow came all the thoughts and frustrations, the dissatisfactions, the embarrassment. Above all, the decision was made to make a change and take on a new collective mindset: no excuses.

Though the players wouldn't share the specifics of the get-together leading into Tuesday night's potentially season-changing victory over No. 1 Indiana -- with Austin Hollins saying it was "just between us" -- the motivation was clear.

The Gophers had eight losses in their past 11 games as a once-promising season started to crumble, and Minnesota's highly touted NCAA tournament résumé was getting nudged closer and closer to the bubble. Minnesota was being viewed as a fraud or a flop publicly and was being suffocated by its mounting failures.

"It was just us getting tired of losing," Andre Hollins said. "We have to hold ourselves accountable, because we're the ones out there turning the ball over. It's nobody else's fault if we turn the ball over but our own."

Coach Tubby Smith said on Wednesday that he had encouraged his struggling players -- who he had called upon to find better leadership and get angrier about their current position -- to meet amongst themselves and speak bluntly.

"One of the things they needed to do is take ownership of what's going on," Smith said. "We all have the tendency to want to blame somebody when things are not going well, and I always tell them, 'Fellas, I haven't played a game since 1973 that was meaningful at all. Not that I'm telling you that I have nothing to do with it, but it's pretty important -- you guys are a pretty important part of this basketball team and it is your team.'"

And as the team talked, that anger and discontent rose.

"It was a little bit emotional," Austin Hollins said. "We definitely got everything out there that we needed to and we talked about it as a team. We talked about what we needed to do as a team moving forward and holding each other accountable."

Whereas in the past, a couple of players would do the bulk of the talking in such situations, Andre Hollins said this time, everyone got involved. There was open discussion, tossing around ideas, different perspectives. Players believe the session had something to do with Tuesday's victory that yielded a memorable court-storm at the Barn, and they hope the perspective gained can help the team finish strong.

The Gophers found out after a big victory two weeks ago against Wisconsin -- one that featured a postgame dance celebration -- that momentum swings quickly. They lost their next two games by 20-plus points before redeeming themselves against Indiana.

Now the challenge is carrying the positive feeling into the rest of the season. The Gophers finish the regular season with their easiest stretch, on paper, in conference play. It starts with a home game vs. Penn State on Saturday, followed by road games at bottom-half teams Nebraska and Purdue.

Minnesota's 15th-ranked RPI and No. 1 strength of schedule have been the team's saving grace, but sneaking into the NCAA tournament and heading there with momentum in tow are very different things. Tuesday's win -- and whatever adjustments the Gophers made to attain it -- is certainly a big step in the right direction.

"We were in a slump," Austin Hollins said. "We weren't playing to our potential. And with the team that we have, it's tough to see us not playing to our potential. So we wanted to come out and get back to the way we were playing at the beginning of the season. We didn't have any worries, our confidence was through the roof and we had to get back to that."

  • related content

  • Reusse: It's logic: Gophers find bench they need

    Thursday February 28, 2013

    Elliott Eliason and Maverick Ahanmisi proved their worth against Indiana. and logic says Tubby Smith now has a bench for tough games

  • Hartman: U victory silences criticism of Smith

    Wednesday February 27, 2013

    The Gophers basketball coach showed all his detractors he still knows a thing or two about winning big games.

  • Chart: Key stretch in Gophers' upset of Indiana

    Wednesday February 27, 2013

    Before fans could storm the court and the Gophers could make national headlines with their 77-73 victory over No. 1 Indiana, there was this reality: Minnesota was staring at a...

  • Gophers 77, No. 1 Indiana 73

  • UP NEXT

    Gophers vs. Penn State

    2 p.m. Saturday • Williams Arena

    TV: BTN

    View photos from Tuesday's upset over Indiana at startribune.com/gophers.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 17 FINAL
New England 9
Cleveland 10 4th Qtr 6:05
Baltimore 13
Dallas 27 4th Qtr 6:45
Washington 17
Indianapolis 20 4th Qtr 4:19
Tennessee 10
Jacksonville 17 4th Qtr 5:37
Houston 23
San Diego 7 4th Qtr 6:42
Kansas City 19
NY Jets 27 4th Qtr 5:46
Miami 24
Chicago 9 4th Qtr 2:00
Minnesota 13
Philadelphia 31 4th Qtr 11:47
NY Giants 26
New Orleans 21 4th Qtr 1:31
Tampa Bay 20
Carolina 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/4/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/4/15 2:00 AM
TBA
Detroit 3:30 PM
Cleveland
Houston 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Oklahoma City 6:30 PM
Dallas
New York 8:00 PM
Portland
Toronto 8:00 PM
Denver
Phoenix 8:30 PM
LA Lakers
Toronto 4:00 PM
Florida
Vancouver 7:00 PM
Anaheim
Tulane 57 FINAL
St Johns 82
Central Conn St 48 FINAL
Connecticut 81
Iona 81 FINAL
Drexel 62
Concordia (MI) 42 FINAL
Eastern Mich 100
Harvard 44 2nd Half 0:50
Arizona State 54
Longwood 52 2nd Half 2:19
Ball State 57
Sacred Heart 69 2nd Half 1:32
Brown 71
Colgate 53 2nd Half 1:42
Columbia 61
MD-Eastern Shore 77 2nd Half 0:39
Duquesne 69
UNC Greensboro 48 2nd Half 1:33
East Carolina 70
Marist 46 2nd Half 2:56
Elon 60
NJIT 62 2nd Half 2:18
Lafayette 65
Cincinnati Christian 56 2nd Half 1:02
Liberty 73
Morgan State 47 2nd Half 3:22
Marquette 72
Campbell 53 2nd Half 2:54
Samford 59
Bucknell 64 2nd Half 1:47
Siena 66
Long Beach State 60 2nd Half 7:08
Syracuse 71
Coppin State 73 2nd Half 1:59
Evansville 74
UMKC 50 2nd Half 2:38
Indiana State 52
Hofstra 59 2nd Half 11:21
Long Island 37
Coast Guard 18 1st Half 2:45
Army 58
Thomas (GA) 22 1st Half 2:51
High Point 34
Texas Southern 19 1st Half 0:45
Kansas State 23
Rutgers 29 1st Half 0:14
Monmouth 29
NC Wesleyan 22 1st Half 0:05
NC A&T 27
South Dakota St 30 1st Half 0:04
Northern Iowa 39
Central Penn College 24 1st Half 3:08
Radford 55
Bowling Green 31 2nd Half
South Florida 34
Harris-Stowe 31 1st Half 0:10
SE Missouri St 36
Robert Morris-IL 25 2nd Half
SIU Edwardsville 55
Northland College 31 2nd Half
North Dakota St 46
Milwaukee 23 2nd Half
South Dakota 33
Northwestern St 15 1st Half 11:49
Arkansas 20
Saint Peters 3:00 PM
Cornell
St Katherine 3:00 PM
Fresno State
Haskell 3:00 PM
Oral Roberts
Wake Forest 3:00 PM
Richmond
Fla Gulf Coast 3:00 PM
Xavier
SD Christian 3:05 PM
Northern Ariz
Judson 3:30 PM
IUPU-Ft Wayne
Ill-Chicago 4:00 PM
Bradley
Loyola-Maryland 4:00 PM
Fairfield
Miss Valley St 4:00 PM
Houston
Lehigh 4:00 PM
UMBC
Delaware State 4:00 PM
Temple
Belmont 5:00 PM
Butler
Howard 5:00 PM
Fordham
NW Christian 5:00 PM
Nevada
UC Davis 5:00 PM
Washington St
Abilene Christian 5:00 PM
Grand Canyon
UCLA 5:30 PM
Alabama
Stony Brook 7:00 PM
Washington
Buffalo 7:00 PM
Wisconsin
CS-Bakersfield 9:00 PM
California
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 42 FINAL
(24) USC 45
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
Toledo 1/4/15 8:00 PM
Arkansas State
Drexel 71 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 54
Holy Cross 63 FINAL
Norfolk State 62
East Carolina 62 FINAL
South Florida 69
(10) Oregon State 63 FINAL
(8) Tennessee 74
Providence 51 FINAL
Boston College 79
Florida A&M 47 FINAL
Miami-Florida 83
Oakland 69 FINAL
Central Michigan 74
Chattanooga 59 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 49
Fairfield 59 FINAL
La Salle 73
New Hampshire 58 FINAL
Manhattan 54
Lafayette 49 FINAL
Saint Peters 34
Duquesne 82 FINAL
Lehigh 75
St Francis-PA 47 2nd Half 4:29
Pittsburgh 83
Milwaukee 64 2nd Half 2:46
IUPU-Ft Wayne 69
Gardner-Webb 57 2nd Half 2:47
Longwood 58
Bucknell 61 2nd Half 3:10
Binghamton 47
Northeastern 61 2nd Half 3:29
Albany 59
George Mason 58 2nd Half 0:57
Towson 66
Richmond 43 2nd Half 4:43
William & Mary 49
Tulane 32 2nd Half 18:58
Cincinnati 20
North Florida 40 2nd Half 3:55
Florida 58
(14) Georgia 51 2nd Half 1:33
Seton Hall 66
Tennessee St 63 2nd Half 6:04
(12) Kentucky 73
American Univ 64 2nd Half 0:10
Wake Forest 77
Massachusetts 69 2nd Half 3:44
Boston U 50
Quinnipiac 62 2nd Half 3:47
Saint Josephs 59
Northwestern 57 2nd Half 1:23
(20) Michigan State 54
George Washington 72 2nd Half 0:16
Loyola-Maryland 49
(17) Rutgers 58 2nd Half 3:52
Indiana 41
(24) Green Bay 66 2nd Half 0:20
Dayton 69
Western Mich 34 2nd Half 16:07
Stony Brook 27
Davidson 49 2nd Half 11:14
Virginia 38
UNC Greensboro 17 1st Half 7:23
LSU 21
Denver 24 2nd Half
North Texas 25
VA Commonwealth 30 1st Half 1:26
Coppin State 28
Huston-Tillotson 9 2nd Half
Houston Baptist 43
Lamar 33 1st Half 0:38
Rice 39
Miss Valley St 22 2nd Half
Alabama 29
Saint Louis 35 2nd Half
Eastern Illinois 20
Middle Tennessee 38 1st Half 0:50
Tenn Tech 32
Penn State 20 1st Half 3:51
(23) Iowa 33
Purdue 27 1st Half 1:12
Illinois 18
DePaul 45 1st Half 4:47
Illinois State 25
Sam Houston St 13 1st Half 1:37
Wichita State 36
South Dakota 10 1st Half 12:28
TX-San Antonio 9
(4) Notre Dame 3:00 PM
UCLA
Coll of Charleston 3:00 PM
SC State
Alcorn State 3:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Dartmouth 3:00 PM
Niagara
Colgate 3:00 PM
Siena
Michigan 3:00 PM
Wisconsin
Fla Gulf Coast 3:00 PM
CS-Northridge
Yale 3:30 PM
(25) Arizona State
UC Santa Barbara 4:00 PM
(16) Stanford
Long Island 4:00 PM
Long Beach St
Jackson State 4:00 PM
Louisiana
Eureka 4:30 PM
Western Ill
Cornell 5:00 PM
(22) Syracuse
Temple 7:30 PM
Memphis
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

<
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

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: What's your favorite Gophers football uniform colors?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close