Gophers coach Tubby Smith said that after the Michigan State loss on Wednesday, one of the things he told his players was that they needed to get a lot tougher between then and Saturday.

Rodney Williams said that process had already begun, that the Gophers had a more-physical-than-usual practice yesterday and that they were excited about the second chance against Illinois, a team the Gophers brought to double overtime on the road in their first game of the season.

Just a few notes from practice:

  • Smith said Williams rolled his ankle slightly in the MSU game and it was still a little tender. But Williams downplayed the injury, saying “I’ll be fine.”
  • After Williams hit three three-pointers in the Michigan State game, Smith suggested that perhaps he should take more shots in the future. Asked whether Williams felt he was building Smith’s trust he said “I definitely hope so now.”
  • Smith has been vocal about wanting a practice facility for the Gophers, but Friday he was asked about whether he thought a new arena was in order as well. “I would think so,” he said. “You can only play so long in any building. I’m sure Joel [Maturi] is starting to realize that and I’m sure anybody who has a love for this building knows that is going to happen eventually … It’s like buying a new home. Do you build a new home or do you try to fix up the one you have. If it’s 80-years old then you have to decide.”



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