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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Julian Welch and Andre Ingram could start vs. Nebraska

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players Updated: March 5, 2013 - 10:09 PM

What was meant to be simply an honor to this year's seniors has turned into the Gophers' potential new starting lineup as they barrel toward the NCAA tournament.

On Saturday against Penn State, Minnesota coach Tubby Smith threw out a special starting five in ode to "Senior Day" -- all four seniors started, including Julian Welch and Andre Ingram, who have come off the bench all season.

Now, after watching that group's success -- albeit against basement-dweller Penn State -- Smith is perhaps ready to give it a try again.

"Those guys that we started played extremely well together, so they may get the nod tomorrow," Smith said. "I haven’t really decided yet.. But I like the way Julian played – seven assists, no turnovers. He really defended. We were able to shut down their best players in [D.J] Newbill and [Jermaine] Marshall, and the reason was that we probably had our best defensive team on the court. Andre Ingram is one of our better, if not our best post defender. He’s probably a pretty heady player in that area."

Smith praised the ultimate size of the lineup around Trevor Mbakwe as well, noting that it gave Rodney Williams the freedom to work more from the perimeter -- where the forward spends lot of time anyway. The coach also liked the spark he got from Joe Coleman -- who had stuggled offensively until the Penn State game, when the sophomore went off for 12 points in 13 minutes -- off the bench.

The real issue would be that in that lineup, Andre Hollins, often referred to as the leader of the team, would be a reserve. On Saturday, Austin Hollins was the lone non-senior to start with the bunch. Smith has been using Andre off the ball a lot more in attempt to re-energize the other things the point guard does well, like, for instance score, an aspect that has been up-and-down for the sophomore. But bringing him off the bench is a different story.

"Dre is our leading scorer and probably our best all-around player, so it’s tough to keep a guy like him out of the lineup," Smith said.

Other notes from tonight's media access:

  • Smith has been dealing with a bad sore throat last week and early this week, staying home sick for most of Monday. Smith was back on Tuesday, though, saying that after a few rounds of antibiotics and steroids over the last couple days, he's feeling better.
  • Elliott Eliason seems to have picked up the bug, and at a bad time as Nebraska is a home-coming for the Chadron, Neb. native. He had a sore throat on Tuesday. "It's going around," he said.
  • If Welch does start, it will be a surprise to him. "[Coach] hasn’t said anything to me," he said. At the same time, the senior who was a starter a year ago would welcome it, saying he enjoyed his first start of the year on Saturday. "I was way more comfortable," he said. "It felt more like last year, so it was definitely a good experience ... It was a little weird, but it was a good weird."
  • Count Mbakwe as a fan of the Gophers' recent offensive adjustments -- Smith has basically simplified Minnesota's half-court and made a return to the flex offense that the team used successfully a year ago in the Indiana game. "Coach has been great," Mbakwe said. "I know he went to the blackboard and said ‘How can we improve offensively?’ We went through a stretch where it felt like it was hard for us to score 30 points in games. Lately we were able to score more points."
  • Mbakwe said his recent proliferation inside is a blend of those changes plus him making an effort to call for the ball more and aggressively go to the hoop once he has it. "I think previously, I was only shooting four or five times a game," he said. "And I made put more emphasis on myself to just be more aggressive and getting more of a feel during games. And part of it has been the change in offense and getting the ball more inside. We’ve been working the high-low to me and Elliott."



Kansas City - WP: J. Guthrie 3 FINAL
San Francisco - LP: T. Hudson 2
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Dallas 117 FINAL
Orlando 92
New York 80 FINAL
Toronto 83
San Antonio 87 FINAL
Houston 96
Miami 104 FINAL
Memphis 98
Minnesota 113 FINAL
Chicago 112
Phoenix 105 FINAL
Utah 100
Sacramento 93 FINAL
LA Lakers 92
Denver 112 FINAL
Golden State 119
Portland 99 FINAL
LA Clippers 89
Dallas 3 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Tampa Bay 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Vancouver 3 FINAL
Colorado 7
Carolina 3 FINAL
Edmonton 6
Columbus 1 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Connecticut 21 FINAL
(18) East Carolina 31
Miami-Florida 30 FINAL
Virginia Tech 6
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
Boise State 55
(6) Oregon 59 FINAL
California 41
North Texas 11:00 AM
UAB 11:00 AM
Rutgers 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 11:00 AM
Texas 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 11:00 AM
Memphis 11:00 AM
North Carolina 11:30 AM
San Jose St 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 1:00 PM
Akron 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 1:00 PM
Ohio U 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 1:30 PM
Oregon State 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 6:30 PM
So Carolina 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 9:45 PM
Nevada 10:59 PM
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Houston 1 FINAL
Chicago 2
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 27 FINAL
Calgary 40
Hamilton 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 6:00 PM
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
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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 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
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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