Hartman: Gophers have enough talent to make tournament run

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 17, 2013 - 11:33 PM

Now that the Gophers are fortunate enough to have been selected to play in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, there is no reason they can’t advance if they play like they did in beating Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan State. The 11th-seeded Gophers face UCLA, the sixth seed in the South Region, in Austin, Texas, on Friday.

The top six Gophers players are probably as good as or better than any of the middle seeds who made the NCAA tournament.

Trevor Mbakwe has the ability to help win every game if he plays up to his ability. If Rodney Williams would return to the form he showed late last season, and if Andre and Austin Hollins would regain their ability to hit long-range shots along with Julian Welch, who was fifth in the Big Ten in three-point shooting percentage last year (43.8 percent), there is no reason the Gophers can’t surprise some teams and advance.

This is one of the most talented teams the Gophers have put on the Williams Arena floor. This was the year for the Gophers to make hay. It will be a lot tougher to win with four seniors leaving.

This team has to quit turning the ball over and making stupid mistakes and return to the form it had when it was 15-1 and playing the second-toughest schedule in the country.

A couple of years ago, a group of Gophers hockey boosters tried to get hockey coach Don Lucia fired, but then-athletic director Joel Maturi stood behind Lucia. Now look how well the hockey team has done. It’s no secret there now is a group who would like to see the University of Minnesota buy out Tubby Smith’s contract for $2.5 million and replace him.

Basketball titles have been few and far between. In the 1971-72 season, the Gophers won a Big Ten title, but coach Bill Musselman was later fired for recruiting violations. Jim Dutcher coached the Gophers to a Big Ten title in the 1981-82 season. And then Clem Haskins won one in 1998-99, but the NCAA voided that title following the academic fraud scandal.

This Gophers team has a chance to make amends after losing eight consecutive conference road games. It has the ability to go a long way in the NCAA if the players just use their brains and play like have in their 20 victories.

Memo to Tubby Smith: Here is a friendly suggestion for change. It might help the Gophers advance if you dropped the philosophy of removing star players such as Mbakwe, Williams and Andre Hollins when they get two fouls in the first half and keeping them on the bench until the second half. The Gophers probably would have won against Illinois in the first round of the Big Ten tournament if Mbakwe and Andre Hollins had not warmed the bench for much of the first half.

Dozier impresses

Going into spring training, the only Twins infielder who had a starting job locked up was first baseman Justin Morneau.

The other three positions were wide open.

Now, according to Twins General Manager Terry Ryan, Brian Dozier has pretty much won the second base job.

“Dozier looks good,” Ryan said. “He’s made some unbelievable plays at second base here in the last week.

“He’s probably got about eight of those [great plays] that he’s made, which is very good for all of us to see. His at-bats have gotten better each week. So I don’t have anything that I could tell you that’s concerning right now about Dozier. He’s played good baseball. His hitting has been fine. He’s putting good at-bats together. As we get deeper into March, he’s going to get better.”

Ryan said the team has some depth at shortstop with Pedro Florimon and Eduardo Escobar.

“Both those guys have done fine,” Ryan said. “We’ve got a couple of nonroster guys. Ray Olmedo is a pretty good defensive player in his own right. So we certainly could move around with Jamey Carroll and Dozier if you want. So we’ve got enough people right now that would allow us to pick and choose, but right now Florimon and Escobar are playing pretty good baseball at shortstop.”

Then there is third base, where Trevor Plouffe had a productive early part of last season and then went into a hitting slump in the second half. He has been limited recently after aggravating a right calf injury, but the Twins will start with Plouffe at third and hope he retained the power he showed by hitting a career-high 24 homers last season.

Still, it is going to be an unproven infield except for Morneau, not like the past when they went into spring training with all the infield positions settled.

Jottings

• The negotiations between the Vikings and former Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings lasted some eight hours over two days before Jennings signed Friday. One of the things Jennings insisted on doing before he would sign was to study film of the performance last season of quarterback Christian Ponder. “I had to watch Christian,” Jennings said. “I had to see what I was getting myself into. Very athletic quarterback, obviously his upside, his future is bright. I saw a young guy who was maturing.”

• The Vikings had 10 free agents when the season ended. Only two of the 10 — wide receiver Devin Aromashodu and linebacker Marvin Mitchell — are not signed by anybody. The Vikings lost linebacker Jasper Brinkley to the Cardinals and guard Geoff Schwartz to the Chiefs and signed the others.

• The Packers have now lost three of their starters, with Jennings signing with the Vikings and the club not resigning center Jeff Saturday and defensive back Charles Woodson.

• With Seattle’s first-round pick (25th overall) going to the Vikings in the trade for wide receiver Percy Harvin, USA Today’s recent mock draft had them taking Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree. The same mock draft had the Vikings taking California wide receiver Keenan Allen with their 23rd pick. The Harvin trade certainly will change things.

 

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. shartman@startribune.com

  • related content

  • Video: Harlem Shake (Gophers style) with Sid

    Monday March 18, 2013

    Sid Hartman, age 93, does the Harlem Shake with Goldy Gopher and former Minnesota star Quincy Lewis.

  • Gophers to play UCLA in first round on Friday

    Monday March 18, 2013

    Perhaps if things had gone differently, Sunday’s announcement would have been viewed as more of an accomplishment.

  • Trevor Mbakwe (32) was guarded by Ray Gallegos (15) in the second half...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Dallas 6:00 PM
Orlando
Sacramento 6:00 PM
Indiana
Toronto 6:00 PM
Washington
Houston 6:30 PM
Detroit
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
Atlanta
Cleveland 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Oklahoma City 7:00 PM
Memphis
Portland 7:30 PM
Milwaukee
LA Clippers 8:00 PM
San Antonio
Charlotte 8:00 PM
Denver
Phoenix 9:30 PM
Golden State
Washington 0 FINAL(OT)
Montreal 1
NY Islanders 1 3rd Prd :35
Detroit 4
Arizona 1 2nd Prd 8:11
Ottawa 1
Los Angeles 6:00 PM
Boston
Florida 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Carolina 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Toronto 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Dallas 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Columbus 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Edmonton 9:00 PM
Calgary
Chicago 9:30 PM
San Jose
Boston College 49 FINAL
Clemson 64
Western Mich 63 FINAL
Eastern Mich 69
NC State 81 FINAL
Georgia Tech 80
Wisconsin 74 FINAL
Iowa 63
Stony Brook 48 FINAL
New Hampshire 63
Notre Dame 72 FINAL
Pittsburgh 76
Providence 66 FINAL
St Johns 75
Davidson 70 FINAL
Saint Josephs 75
Xavier 82 FINAL
Seton Hall 90
Tulane 37 FINAL
Temple 55
Auburn 63 FINAL
Tennessee 71
Texas Tech 58 FINAL
West Virginia 77
Arkansas 56 FINAL
Florida 57
Penn State 58 FINAL
Illinois 60
Lipscomb 73 FINAL
Stetson 75
South Florida 71 FINAL
Tulsa 78
Bradley 58 FINAL
Indiana State 64
UMass Lowell 69 FINAL
Binghamton 76
Green Bay 62 FINAL
Cleveland State 76
Georgetown 67 FINAL
Creighton 40
Coll of Charleston 68 FINAL
Delaware 71
Villanova 68 FINAL
DePaul 55
Vermont 65 FINAL
Hartford 46
TCU 66 FINAL
Iowa State 83
Kennesaw St 51 FINAL
Jacksonville 50
Kansas State 57 FINAL
Kansas 68
Boston Univ 86 FINAL
Lehigh 89
Illinois State 48 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
Albany 77 FINAL
Maine 59
Butler 72 FINAL
Marquette 68
LSU 67 FINAL
Miss State 73
Mount St Marys 77 FINAL
Sacred Heart 71
Richmond 64 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 55
Virginia Tech 70 FINAL
Wake Forest 73
IUPU-Ft Wayne 75 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 65
Arkansas State 43 FINAL
Georgia State 74
Loyola-Maryland 42 2nd Half 14:20
Army 38
Tenn Tech 43 2nd Half 8:00
Belmont 57
Bethune-Cookman 26 2nd Half 20:00
Florida A&M 16
Valparaiso 55 2nd Half 11:51
Ill-Chicago 42
UAB 48 2nd Half 10:25
TX-San Antonio 39
Idaho State 42 2nd Half 11:09
North Dakota 59
Evansville 41 2nd Half 11:25
Drake 40
Rutgers 39 2nd Half 15:40
Indiana 40
Ball State 38 2nd Half
Miami-Ohio 30
Southern U 5 1st Half 13:43
Alcorn State 8
UNC-Wilmington 16 1st Half 8:56
Drexel 16
Coastal Carolina 13 1st Half 8:21
Gardner-Webb 8
Morgan State 3:00 PM
Howard
William & Mary 29 1st Half 9:39
James Madison 8
North Carolina 12 1st Half 12:28
Louisville 10
Coppin State 3:00 PM
MD-Eastern Shore
Ole Miss 22 1st Half 7:47
Missouri 18
Wichita State 18 1st Half 8:34
Northern Iowa 21
Loyola Marymount 9 1st Half 8:42
Pacific 15
Winthrop 12 1st Half 10:36
Radford 16
George Washington 8 1st Half 12:11
Rhode Island 10
Bryant 14 1st Half 11:00
Robert Morris 14
Long Island 15 1st Half 11:22
St Francis-NY 14
Fair-Dickinson 15 1st Half 7:51
St Francis-PA 19
Massachusetts 14 1st Half 9:19
Saint Louis 16
Georgia 12 1st Half 7:53
South Carolina 15
Central Conn St 15 1st Half 4:42
Wagner 31
SIU Edwardsville 0 1st Half 14:56
Eastern Ill 11
Ohio 3:30 PM
Central Mich
Eastern Ky 3:30 PM
Morehead State
Incarnate Word 3:30 PM
Nicholls
Campbell 3:30 PM
UNC-Asheville
Vanderbilt 3:30 PM
Texas A&M
South Alabama 4:00 PM
ULM
Western Carolina 4:00 PM
UNC Greensboro
Detroit 4:00 PM
Milwaukee
Idaho 4:05 PM
Eastern Wash
Marshall 4:30 PM
Louisiana Tech
Jackson State 4:30 PM
Miss Valley St
Houston Baptist 4:30 PM
Sam Houston St
Louisiana 4:30 PM
Texas State
Denver 4:30 PM
South Dakota St
Oral Roberts 4:30 PM
South Dakota
Texas 5:00 PM
Baylor
Citadel 5:00 PM
Chattanooga
Fresno State 5:00 PM
Colorado State
Yale 5:00 PM
Cornell
Ark-Pine Bluff 5:00 PM
Grambling St
Nebraska 5:00 PM
Minnesota
Hampton 5:00 PM
Norfolk State
Purdue 5:00 PM
Northwestern
Alabama A&M 5:00 PM
Prairie View
Dartmouth 5:00 PM
Princeton
Pepperdine 5:00 PM
St Marys-CA
NC A&T 5:00 PM
Savannah State
Delaware State 5:00 PM
SC State
Western Ky 5:00 PM
Southern Miss
Nevada 5:00 PM
Wyoming
Akron 6:00 PM
Bowling Green
Colgate 6:00 PM
Bucknell
FIU 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Brown 6:00 PM
Columbia
George Mason 6:00 PM
Duquesne
NC Central 6:00 PM
East Tenn St
Saint Peters 6:00 PM
Iona
Alabama 6:00 PM
Kentucky
Abilene Christian 6:00 PM
Lamar
Char Southern 6:00 PM
Liberty
Hawaii 6:00 PM
Long Beach State
New Orleans 6:00 PM
McNeese State
Lafayette 6:00 PM
Navy
Elon 6:00 PM
Northeastern
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
Old Dominion
Harvard 6:00 PM
Penn
La Salle 6:00 PM
St Bonaventure
Furman 6:00 PM
Samford
TX A&M-CC 6:00 PM
Stephen F Austin
Duke 6:00 PM
Virginia
Mercer 6:00 PM
Wofford
Northern Ky 6:00 PM
Fla Gulf Coast
USC Upstate 6:00 PM
North Florida
Longwood 6:00 PM
Presbyterian
Ark-Little Rock 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
SE Missouri St 7:00 PM
Austin Peay
CS-Northridge 7:00 PM
UC Riverside
Towson 7:00 PM
Hofstra
UT Martin 7:00 PM
Murray State
San Jose St 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Rice 7:00 PM
North Texas
Toledo 7:00 PM
Northern Ill
Oklahoma 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
San Francisco 7:00 PM
San Diego
Utah State 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Northwestern St 7:00 PM
SE Louisiana
UCF 7:00 PM
SMU
Southern Ill 7:05 PM
Missouri State
Troy 7:15 PM
Texas-Arlington
Jacksonville St 7:30 PM
Tennessee St
Alabama State 7:30 PM
Texas Southern
Stanford 7:30 PM
Washington St
Santa Clara 8:00 PM
BYU
TX-Pan American 8:00 PM
New Mexico St
Northern Ariz 8:00 PM
Southern Utah
Middle Tennessee 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Weber State 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
Chicago State 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
UC Santa Barbara 9:00 PM
UC Irvine
Memphis 9:00 PM
Gonzaga
Air Force 9:00 PM
UNLV
Cal Poly 9:00 PM
UC Davis
Seattle 9:00 PM
CS-Bakersfield
Montana State 9:05 PM
Portland State
Montana 9:05 PM
Sacramento St
Colorado 9:30 PM
UCLA
UMKC 9:30 PM
Utah Valley U
Mount St Marys 64 FINAL
Sacred Heart 71
Texas-El Paso 53 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 74
Arkansas State 61 FINAL
Georgia State 47
Bryant 84 FINAL
Robert Morris 87
Central Conn St 83 FINAL
Wagner 67
Fairleigh Dickinson 78 FINAL
St Francis-PA 60
Long Island 53 FINAL
St Francis-NY 62
Bethune-Cookman 70 FINAL
Florida A&M 57
Longwood 56 FINAL
Campbell 68
Charleston Southern 40 FINAL
Winthrop 77
Louisiana Tech 68 FINAL
Marshall 67
Ohio U 74 FINAL
Central Michigan 66
Western Mich 61 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 53
Coppin State 58 FINAL
MD-Eastern Shore 66
Incarnate Word 34 FINAL
Nicholls 67
Samford 46 FINAL
East Tenn St 48
Western Carolina 72 FINAL
Furman 84
Gardner-Webb 71 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 65
Liberty 58 FINAL
High Point 41
Presbyterian 46 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 59
Kent State 67 FINAL
Akron 74
Northern Ill 65 FINAL
Ball State 62
Houston 66 FINAL
Cincinnati 69
SIU-Edwardsville 65 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 48
Eastern Kentucky 58 FINAL
Morehead St 76
Holy Cross 67 FINAL
American Univ 61
Army 62 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 53
Niagara 53 FINAL
Manhattan 46
Lehigh 78 FINAL
Boston U 71
Navy 65 FINAL
Lafayette 60
Saint Josephs 57 FINAL
Davidson 52
Duquesne 56 FINAL
Fordham 46
George Washington 87 FINAL
George Mason 52
St Bonaventure 77 FINAL
Massachusetts 57
Milwaukee 64 FINAL
Youngstown St 87
Jacksonville 78 FINAL
Kennesaw St 64
North Florida 49 FINAL
USC Upstate 61
Buffalo 75 FINAL
Eastern Michigan 53
St Marys-CA 41 2nd Half 7:58
Pepperdine 38
Nebraska Omaha 35 2nd Half 11:21
IUPUI 48
Houston Baptist 44 2nd Half 14:06
Sam Houston St 36
Mercer 50 2nd Half 4:00
(25) Chattanooga 66
No Dakota State 45 2nd Half 11:05
South Dakota St 61
Oral Roberts 45 2nd Half 11:58
South Dakota 59
Southern Miss 47 2nd Half 8:02
Western Ky 48
TX-San Antonio 38 2nd Half 12:13
UAB 53
East Carolina 47 2nd Half 7:18
Tulane 51
South Florida 46 2nd Half 7:39
Memphis 39
New Mexico St 40 2nd Half 18:15
TX-Pan American 34
Utah Valley U 38 2nd Half 5:24
UMKC 48
Jackson State 37 2nd Half 15:39
Miss Valley St 39
Louisiana 49 2nd Half 5:04
Texas State 54
South Alabama 32 2nd Half 8:17
ULM 44
Saint Louis 54 2nd Half 11:09
Dayton 64
Cleveland State 55 2nd Half 5:15
Oakland 50
Grand Canyon 56 2nd Half 11:00
Chicago State 35
UCLA 42 2nd Half
Oregon 33
Washington St 39 2nd Half
(12) Stanford 37
Alabama A&M 3:00 PM
Prairie View
Ark-Pine Bluff 3:00 PM
Grambling
Southern U 3:00 PM
Alcorn State
Kansas State 9 1st Half 11:22
Texas Tech 10
UNLV 7 1st Half 10:34
Air Force 18
UCF 15 1st Half 8:31
Tulsa 19
UNC Greensboro 18 1st Half 7:56
Wofford 17
Delaware State 21 1st Half 9:36
SC State 18
San Diego State 18 1st Half 8:37
Utah State 17
Sacramento St 24 1st Half 10:10
Montana 16
Hampton 29 1st Half 8:04
Norfolk State 20
NC A&T 17 1st Half 8:40
Savannah State 13
Toledo 14 1st Half 8:27
Bowling Green 15
Marist 15 1st Half 11:22
Iona 13
Bucknell 20 1st Half 6:18
Colgate 22
North Dakota 22 1st Half 5:08
Idaho State 22
Ark-Little Rock 3:30 PM
Georgia Southern
BYU 4:00 PM
Santa Clara
Gonzaga 4:00 PM
Portland
Pacific 4:00 PM
Loyola Marymount
Colorado State 4:00 PM
Fresno State
New Mexico 4:00 PM
San Jose St
UC Davis 4:00 PM
UC Santa Barbara
San Diego 4:00 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 4:00 PM
McNeese State
TX A&M-CC 4:00 PM
Stephen F Austin
Old Dominion 4:00 PM
Florida Atlantic
Tenn Tech 4:00 PM
Belmont
Eastern Washington 4:00 PM
Idaho
Stetson 4:00 PM
Lipscomb
Washington 4:30 PM
California
USC 4:30 PM
(7) Oregon State
IUPU-Ft Wayne 4:30 PM
Western Ill
Abilene Christian 4:30 PM
Lamar
Northwestern St 4:30 PM
SE Louisiana
SE Missouri St 4:30 PM
Austin Peay
Portland State 5:00 PM
Montana State
Columbia 5:00 PM
Brown
Northern Colorado 5:00 PM
Weber State
Charlotte 5:00 PM
FIU
(19) Princeton 5:00 PM
Dartmouth
Penn 5:00 PM
Harvard
UT Martin 5:00 PM
Murray State
Troy 5:00 PM
TX-Arlington
Morgan State 77 FINAL
Howard 64
Alabama State 5:30 PM
Texas Southern
Jacksonville St 5:30 PM
Tennessee St
Wyoming 6:00 PM
Nevada
Oklahoma St 6:00 PM
Iowa State
CS-Bakersfield 6:00 PM
Seattle
La Salle 6:00 PM
VA Commonwealth
Cal-Irvine 6:00 PM
Cal Poly
Fla Gulf Coast 6:00 PM
Northern Ky
Southern Utah 7:00 PM
Northern Ariz
Green Bay 7:00 PM
Illinois-Chicago
Cal State Fullerton 9:00 PM
Long Beach St
CS-Northridge 9:00 PM
Hawaii
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which of these teams is the most frustrating to watch right now?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close