Gophers must regroup for Big Ten tournament

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 11, 2013 - 6:59 AM

Illinois’ 68-55 loss at Ohio State on Sunday determined that the Illini will be the Gophers’ first-round matchup in the Big Ten tournament at 11 a.m. Thursday in Chicago, perhaps the best-case scenario for hot-and-cold Minnesota.

hide

Gophers senior forward Rodney Williams (33): "The Big Ten tournament is a whole new season, we can go out there and make a name for ourselves and make some noise in that.”

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune file

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

WEST LAFAYETTE, IND. – Among players and coaches, the consensus was clear.

After the Gophers basketball team stepped out of the locker room and headed toward the bus shortly after getting blown out 89-73 by Purdue, a team that almost surely will not make the NCAA tournament, they all knew the reason.
 

“We didn’t match their intensity,” sophomore guard Andre Hollins said. “We were right there — we cut it to 10 and we didn’t grasp it, so that was it.”

The Gophers, who began the season with such high expectations, have been baffling to watch. After a midseason slide in the conference and now two consecutive “bad” losses to finish the year, the Gophers wound up with the No. 9 seed in the Big Ten tournament and at least damaged their NCAA positioning, even if their strong RPI (still 24 as of Sunday afternoon) likely means they will not miss the tourney altogether.

Illinois’ 68-55 loss at Ohio State on Sunday determined that the Illini will be the Gophers’ first-round matchup in the Big Ten tournament at 11 a.m. Thursday in Chicago, perhaps the best-case scenario for hot-and-cold Minnesota. The Gophers lost their last game against Illinois — at home — but beat the Illini in Champaign for their only road win in the Big Ten schedule. The Illini don’t have the same inside presence that Purdue used to harass the Gophers on Saturday, but they are capable outside shooters and can be dangerous when they get hot from three-point range.

Considering their inconsistent track record this season — beating then-No. 1 Indiana and losing to lowly Nebraska the next week — it’s almost impossible to predict how the Gophers could perform on a given day. But even if the Gophers lost to Illinois, it wouldn’t be a “bad” loss in the eyes of the NCAA selection committee because Illinois has a strong RPI (40).

The Gophers have certainly given the selection committee a finishing stretch, anyway, that will likely furrow some brows when discussing Minnesota’s stance in the NCAA tournament. The Gophers probably need a decent showing in the Big Ten tournament in order to enter the Big Dance with anything but a double-digit seed.

“Anything can happen,” Gophers coach Tubby Smith said. “It’s not up to me. We’ve just got to do what we can and get ready for the Big Ten tournament.”

One harbinger of hope for the Gophers is Smith’s success in his tenure at Minnesota when it comes to neutral-court situations, where some of the team’s signature victories have come.

This season, the Gophers beat then-No. 19 Memphis and Stanford in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas.

And the Gophers have won at least one game in the Big Ten tournament in all but one year Smith has coached at Minnesota. Last season, the Gopher won only one game (against Northwestern), but then challenged a talented Michigan team before falling 73-69. In 2009-10, the Gophers plowed all the way to the conference title game before losing to Ohio State 90-61.

If the Gophers can pick up the intensity for good in the conference tournament, they have a chance to quickly put their past two losses in the rearview mirror.

 “You never go into a season thinking that you’re going to be on the bottom half of your conference,” senior forward Rodney Williams said. “Especially with the team that we had — I mean we had expectations coming into the year. But the ball doesn’t always bounce your way. The Big Ten tournament is a whole new season, we can go out there and make a name for ourselves and make some noise in that.”
 

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

St. Louis 1 Bottom 7th Inning
Pittsburgh 3
Texas - C. Lewis 2:40 PM
Seattle - E. Ramirez
Washington - D. Fister 6:05 PM
Philadelphia - K. Kendrick
Tampa Bay - D. Smyly 6:05 PM
Baltimore - K. Gausman
Boston - J. Kelly 6:07 PM
Toronto - M. Stroman
NY Yankees - S. Greene 6:08 PM
Detroit - D. Price
Atlanta - J. Teheran 6:10 PM
NY Mets - Z. Wheeler
Chicago Cubs - J. Turner 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - M. Latos
Cleveland - C. Kluber 7:10 PM
Chicago WSox - H. Noesi
Minnesota - P. Hughes 7:10 PM
Kansas City - L. Hendriks
Oakland - D. Pomeranz 7:10 PM
Houston - B. Peacock
Milwaukee - Y. Gallardo 8:10 PM
San Diego - O. Despaigne
Los Angeles - C. Kershaw 8:40 PM
Arizona - W. Miley
Miami - H. Alvarez 9:05 PM
LA Angels - H. Santiago
Colorado - F. Morales 9:15 PM
San Francisco - T. Hudson
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:02 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
D.C. 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pm
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pm
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pm
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. TBA
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

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which football team will have the best record in 2014?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close