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.

  Follow Rayno on Twitter @AmeliaRayno

Gophers pregame: Minnesota anticipating a physical battle vs. Purdue

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers coaches, Gophers players Updated: January 5, 2014 - 12:55 PM

Read my story on Elliott Eliason and Mo Walker, and their friendly competition this season, in today's Star Tribune.

In Sunday's practice, Gophers coach Richard Pitino slacked off a little. 

Well, with the officiating. 

Everything else was more intense than ever, point guard DeAndre Mathieu said.

This afternoon (1:30 CT tip-off, BTN, 1500-AM), the Gophers, who are now 0-1 in the Big Ten after dropping their opener to Michigan on Thursday, face Purdue in their second league game of the year. They're expecting a battle.

"[Coach] said they're going to be one of the most physical teams we play against," Mathieu said. 

So Pitino had them practicing as such -- conducting rebounding drills over and over, and going through offensive drills while being heavily and intensely guarded, while calling fewer fouls than usual.

As it was, Mathieu, who came to Minnesota from Central Arizona College, noticed a big change in the physicality against Michigan, his first Big Ten game. The 5-9 guard's shot was blocked several times by the Wolverines, including a dunk attempt that was easily tossed by Glenn Robinson III. Against Purdue, which blocks shots at the 24th best rate in the country, according to, those challenges only become greater. Center A.J. Hammons is the third best shot-blocker in the country, and is coming off an 18-point, 16-rebound game against No. 3 Ohio State on Dec. 31. That means the Boilermakers have also had more time to prepare for Minnesota, which has the opportunity of starting off the year with a pair of games at home.

"He's a pro in my opinion," Pitino said of Hammons.  "He's got the size, he's got the skill. He's a very, very tough matchup for us. He's probably the best big man in the league, just because he affects the game offensively and defensively. It's going to be a tough test for him and Mo. We certainly have got to help them, we can't rely on them to do it all themselves."

Other notes:

* Redshirt freshman forward Charles Buggs has been incorporated back into practice, and should be available on Sunday.

* Pitino said that after reviewing the tape, he thinks that Austin Hollins' poor offensive performance on Thursday was just due to poor shot selection. "He took five 'challenged shots [something the staff tracks themselves]' which are a low-percentage shot," Pitino said. "It's not his mechanics, it's not his confidence, he's just taking tough shots."

* Pitino on Mathieu's dunk attempt against Michigan: "The one he tried to dunk on he just had no chance. He was just trying to show people that he can jump high. And it was just a silly play. He's got to do a better job, especially at the end of the game, of just getting people open shots. He'll learn from it."

* Mathieu seemed pretty upset with himself, still, after committing five turnovers on Thursday, including two in the last 1:26. "The last five minutes was just ridiculous," Mathieu said. "Just for me, turning the ball over, not making the right decisions, I've got to get better, got to get better in crunch time if I'm going to be a starting point guard ... no one wants to make those mistakes. They were crucial mistakes though and it really hurt so I kind of beat myself up for it. But I'll get better." 

* Asked whether he regrets not getting shooting specialist Malik Smith more minutes at the end of the game, Pitino said "not really," pointing out that while offensively that combination can be hard to guard, the defensive matchups were much more challenging for Minnesota.

*The Gophers went 1-for-13 in "challenged shots" on Thursday, Pitino said.


Texas - N. Martinez 2:35 PM
Oakland - S. Gray
Boston - B. Workman 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - G. Cole
Toronto - R. Dickey 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - S. Greene
Washington - G. Gonzalez 6:10 PM
Miami - B. Hand
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - T. Wada
Cleveland - D. Salazar 7:10 PM
Houston - S. Feldman
Milwaukee - K. Lohse 7:15 PM
St. Louis - S. Miller
Arizona - V. Nuno 7:40 PM
Colorado - Y. Flande
Philadelphia - K. Kendrick 8:10 PM
San Diego - R. Erlin
Seattle - F. Hernandez 9:05 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
Tampa Bay 7:25 PM
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
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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.
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




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