Last night's award show came and went, and for the second consecutive year, no Minnesota players were called.

Coach Richard Pitino, who earlier in the day had said he was "not sure" whether any of his players were deserving of such honors, wasn't overly surprised.

"I don't think anybody individually had a great year and that's why you see nobody was on first, second or third team," he said. "I don't think anybody over the whole course of the season had a great individual year."

The Gophers were one of just three teams to not receive a single nod. The others were Big Ten Tournament 14-seed Rutgers -- Minnesota's opponent on Wednesday -- and Michigan, whose guard Caris LeVert likely would have received some sort of honor if healthy. 

Seniors Mo Walker (media) and Andre Hollins (media and coaches) did receive honorable mentions.

Hollins has struggled to get past that gray area in the last three years. Monday marked Walker's first honorable mention, but it was still a far cry from what many had projected we'd be talking about this time of year, before the season. Then, Pitino and Walker both echoed the same hope: that he'd be one of the better big men in the conference. 

"It just shows that people are kind of recognizing what I've been doing this year," Walker said of the honorable mention. "I've put in a lot of work, I've worked really hard for this. So it's good to get some kind of recognition."

Added Pitino: "There are a lot of good big men in this league, so I don't think he has anything to be ashamed of, Mo doesn't by getting honorable mention. I thought from where he was to where he is now, he made significant improvement."

One thing he was surprised about? That point guard Nate Mason -- who averaged 9.6 points, 2.9 rebounds and a 2.5-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio -- wasn't included in the All-Freshman team.

That team included Ohio State's D'Angelo Russell and Jae'Sean Tate, Indiana's James Blackmon Jr.,  Maryland's Melo Trimble, Northwestern's Bryant McIntosh.

"Nate Mason, in my opinion, has had a very good freshman season," Pitino said. "He hasn't really hit a wall at all. Most freshmen do that ... I thought personally he should have been [on] the all-freshman team. But there were some good ones on there, so he was a borderline guy. But now he's going to be a guy that everybody talks about. Will he fall into the trap of not making a jump? Because he's got to expand his game."


Walker on facing 11-seed Minnesota facing 14-seed Rutgers tomorrow. "Just like we feel like we can beat anybody in the conference, we know we can lose to anybody in this conference. We're trying not to take anybody for granted. We know they are a good team, they have a lot of talent. We're going to prepare for them just like we would prepare for anybody else."