Rand: Gophers tank, but Wolves guard duo dazzles

  • Updated: February 18, 2013 - 7:34 AM

Basketball highs and lows from the weekend.

What a difference a weekend makes.

We woke up Friday morning to a new world order in Gophers men's basketball. Fresh off a seat-of-their-pants overtime victory over the Badgers, Minnesota looked transformed. A video of the team -- including head coach Tubby Smith -- dancing during a postgame celebration went viral. There was a sense that it was the kind of win that had the power to transform a season for the better.

The Timberwolves, meanwhile, woke up Friday morning staring at a week off after a disappointing lead-up to the All-Star Game. At one point, they were 16-15 despite a ton of injuries. Poor play and attrition caught up to them, and they went 3-16 after that start and carried a 19-31 mark into the break. If they had any kind of momentum, it was the wrong kind.

So, of course, this happened:

Friday night, in the admittedly defense-optional Rising Stars Challenge, featuring first- and second-year NBA players, Ricky Rubio and Alexey Shved dazzled for the Wolves. Shved had 12 points, including a pair of athletic dunks. Rubio had 10 assists, many of them spectacular. The duo teamed to help their squad to a 163-135 victory. That absurd score wasn't the point, though; it was the overall basketball IQ and athleticism shown by the pair that had people talking and Twitter lighting up.

Karl Malone, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal all had kind words for Rubio and Shved. CBS analyst Greg Anthony tweeted that Rubio and Shved looked to him to be among "the best backcourts of the future" and the Timberwolves "look to be in good hands."

The idea of "wait 'til next year" is getting old for Wolves fans. But maybe, just maybe, a fully healthy team led by this backcourt will be on to something good very soon.

And, of course, the basketball team that looked to have all the momentum going for it jumped out to a 21-5 lead on Sunday at Iowa. The Gophers were active down low, getting wide-open three-pointers and clamping down on defense. They looked unstoppable.

Then everything changed. Iowa switched to a zone defense and the Gophers, once again, didn't have an answer. Iowa became the more active offensive team. The Hawkeyes ended up outscoring the Gophers 67-30 after that initial surge in a 72-51 victory.

Suddenly all the questions about the Gophers, who have lost seven of their past 10 games, have returned. And we would imagine that no postgame dancing video will be surfacing Monday morning.

MICHAEL RAND

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Atlanta - WP: E. Stults 4 FINAL
Detroit - LP: J. Chamberlain 2
Washington - LP: X. Cedeno 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: M. Wacha 6
Philadelphia 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 18
Baltimore 6 FINAL
Tampa Bay 6
Miami - LP: D. Haren 1 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: R. Montero 7
San Diego 6 FINAL
Cincinnati 3
San Francisco 5 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 8
Colorado 2 FINAL
Oakland 11
LA Angels - LP: N. Tropeano 3 FINAL
Seattle - WP: T. Walker 5
Cleveland 4 FINAL
Chicago WSox 1
Kansas City 11 FINAL
Texas 7
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
Arizona 2
Toronto 7 FINAL
Houston 4
Minnesota - LP: C. Johnson 2 FINAL
Boston - WP: J. Masterson 14
Boston 116 FINAL
Charlotte 104
LA Lakers 113 FINAL
Philadelphia 111
Houston 96 FINAL
Toronto 99
Milwaukee 88 FINAL
Atlanta 101
Sacramento 83 FINAL
Memphis 97
Utah 104 FINAL
Minnesota 84
Phoenix 86 FINAL
Portland 109
Tampa Bay 5 FINAL
Montreal 3
Vancouver 4 FINAL
St. Louis 1
Calgary 5 FINAL
Dallas 3
Los Angeles 1 FINAL
Chicago 4
Edmonton 4 FINAL
Colorado 1
Buffalo 4 FINAL
Arizona 1
ULM 58 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 65
Dayton 70 FINAL
(1) Connecticut 91
(6) Tennessee 48 FINAL
(4) Maryland 58
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: What are you following most closely right now?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close