The Gophers brought it back to basics on Tuesday against Nebraska – they stripped their offense down to its fundamentals, then added one seemingly tiny wrinkle – lots of screens.
But the result was an incredibly more active and efficient offense than we’ve seen at least in the last four games with this team.
Yes, it was Nebraska – and the successes of the Gophers against them weren’t at all indicative of how they could perform the same offense across the Big Ten. But the effort, intensity was good to see. The screens, the movement, the pressing were all good to see. Can they be as efficient against every team? Well, we’ll see – but if they are at least attempting to do those things they’ll be in better shape.
Some notes on today’s game vs. Iowa:
- On Saturday, coach Tubby Smith said “It’s [Minnesota vs. Iowa] not much of a rivalry when you’re getting beat all the time.” He was referring to the Gophers, since they were swept by the Hawkeyes last season, but Minnesota won six straight before that. Overall, the Gophers are 57-32 vs. Iowa.
- In Iowa’s last game (against Penn State), the Hawkeyes inserted Melsahn Besabe into the starting lineup (at power forward) for the first time this season, which shifted Aaron White to small forward. That lineup is expected again today.
- Rodney Williams scored a personal Big Ten-best 23 points against Nebraska, coming just one point shy of his career-high. Asked whether he got his “swagger back,” Williams said “I hope so. After having a bad stretch of games like I did, it was just good to come out and have a good one.”
- Andre Hollins is now third in the league in scoring in Big Ten play. The Gophers’ point guard averages 16.1 points a game.
- Smith said yesterday that the team is completely healthy now. “Psychologically, physically, mentally – they’re healthy,” he said.
*Watch today’s game on Big Ten Network
*Listen to today’s game live on 1500-a.m.
*In today’s Star Tribune: how the Gophers de-frilled their offense to make it effective again.
*National notebook: lack of a dominant team mean college basketball is “down?”
*More on the matchup here.