Gophers' guard play can make life easier on the court

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 24, 2013 - 8:52 AM

The Gophers can make life easier for themselves if they can get consistent play from the trio of Andre Hollins, Austin Hollins and Joe Coleman.

hide

UCLA's Norman Powell, left, and Minnesota's Austin Hollins, right, reach for the ball during the first half of a second-round game of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Friday, March 22, 2013, in Austin, Texas.

Photo: Eric Gay, Associated Press - Ap

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

– A three-pointer, three consecutive free throws and a jumper.

In the span of 96 seconds, Austin Hollins, Andre Hollins and Joe Coleman combined to ward off a second-half surge from UCLA.

When it works, it seems so natural that it’s hard to understand why it’s so rare.

Each guard has its role, and when each player executes it, the 11th-seeded Gophers can be a very formidable team indeed.

The key word here is when.

Friday, Andre Hollins aptly handled the role of the leader, Austin Hollins was the glue guy and the spot shooter and Coleman provided dynamic scoring. However, the number of times the three have synced up in such a way have been few and far between this season.

Finding that synergy once again in the NCAA tournament could help to turn the Gophers’ key to the Sweet 16.

–outside,” Trevor Mbakwe said Saturday of his teammates. “Joe’s a great slasher, and when he’s knocking down outside shots, it just opens up the game so much more because teams can’t sag off of him. It hasn’t been that often, I don’t think, that all three of them were on fire like they were yesterday. But it definitely makes us a better team, and when they’re playing that way, we could go pretty far.”

Heading into Sunday’s game against third-seeded Florida, the three guards had managed to score at least 12 points each in the same game only once since the nonconference schedule — and that was Friday, in the NCAA tournament-opening victory over UCLA. They did it twice before that, against Florida State and South Dakota State, but though Hollins, Hollins and Coleman are together averaging 11.7 points a game this year, they couldn’t manage to all go off at once at any point in the Big Ten schedule.

The potential for danger is there — but finding it all at once is a little tougher.

“When we’re knocking down shots … we’re hard to beat,” Andre Hollins said. “When we’re making shots, it makes up for mistakes.”

Mistakes were few for the Gophers on Friday — they had only 11 turnovers and outplayed UCLA in most respects.

But finding that dominance in the backcourt once again will be all the more critical against the Gators, whose quick, athletic guards and style of play will pose a challenge to the Gophers, even if they are clicking on all cylinders.

Two of Florida’s guards, Mike Rosario and the lightning-fast Kenny Boynton, are seniors, while the Gophers have no fourth-year players in those positions. Point guard Scottie Wilbekin has a reputation for his smothering on-ball pressure; he is the leader on a team that will likely try to press the Gophers plenty.

Still, the Gophers have a chance to take advantage of the backcourt of Florida, a team that thrives in the half-court set, shoots plenty of three-pointers and harasses opponents into turnovers on 21.8 percent of their possessions. But if the Gophers backcourt falls apart under the pressure, the frontcourt — which goes up against able big men Erik Murphy and Patric Young — could have its work cut out for it.

“He’s huge,” Mbakwe said of Young. “I’m looking forward to that challenge. Erik Murphy, the guys coming off the bench, they crash the boards pretty hard. It’s going to be a man’s game [Sunday].”

Against UCLA, when the Gophers had room for error, they executed pretty well across the board. Against Florida, however, Minnesota likely will need every bit of that efficiency, if not more.

That means that even though the Gophers’ backcourt barrage and truly balanced attack against UCLA might have been unusual, Minnesota probably will need it again to survive Florida on Sunday.

“We would win every game if they would play like that and if people didn’t take things away from them,” Gophers coach Tubby Smith said of his guard trio. “We would probably be undefeated right now. But unfortunately — I don’t know if it’s frustration, its just us finding that next person, player, that can pick up those pieces and be effective.”

 

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Oakland - LP: D. Otero 8 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Frasor 9
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
NY Islanders 5 FINAL
Boston 3
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Ottawa 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Tampa Bay 5 FINAL
Dallas 1
Colorado 0 FINAL
Calgary 2
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
San Jose 1
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
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 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 pm30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 am
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: How will the Gophers do against Michigan?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close