Read my full game story on Minnesota's 60-42 win -- moving the Gophers to 3-7 in the Big Ten -- over Nebraska here.
On Friday afternoon, the Gophers were stretching when senior guard Andre Hollins -- Minnesota's only real offensive highlight in the past three games -- alerted the staff.
"I can't feel my leg," he told them.
Coach Richard Pitino shook his head just remembering the moment.
"We were like 'What is going on?'" he said after Saturday's 60-42 win over Nebraska. "This year, we can't get any more unlucky!"
But although what was determined to be a tweaked right IT band kept Hollins out of most of practice on Friday and all of shootaround on Saturday morning, it didn't seem to have any impact on Saturday night, when the veteran continued his solid run of play that stretches throughout the last five games now.
Hollins scored 12 points to go with six assists, five rebounds in traffic, two blocks and a steal. Afterward, he said his IT band feels fine after getting some treatment before the game.
"My knee was killing me yesterday but I just had to get looser, get my hip and my IT band looser."
Said point guard DeAndre Mathieu of the teammate he calls the "Prince" of Minnesota: "You would have thought he was done for the season yesterday and then he comes out today and plays like nothing is wrong. So he's a warrior. He played through an ankle injury last year, played through IT band today, he's just going to fight to win."
Even so, when Pitino announced the team would enjoy two days off -- on Sunday and Monday -- in a rare week off of games, Holllins smiled. The coach noted that Hollins, as much as anyone, needs a break.
Hollins has played more minutes than any teammate in each of the last seven games, an average of 36.6 minutes in that span. In general, Pitino called his bunch "banged up," particularly as a result of the lack of depth that limits the team to eight big-minute players.
"I loved it," Hollins said of hearing about the time off ahead. "I need it."
For the senior to put up the performance he did in spite of the wear and tear that comes halfway through a league late, says a lot about his character, Pitino said.
"I've said all year, he does a lot of things that don't show up on the stat sheet when it comes to scoring," he said. "He's the quiet heart and soul of our team."
Nebraska coach Tim Miles, who previously came through the Barn several times when he coached at North Dakota State, has never won at Williams Arena. Still, the South Dakota native, who grew up bleeding maroon and gold, had some nice things to say about the venue.
"Growing up watching the Gophers and just being a Gopher fan as a kid, being in Williams Arena is one of the historic places in my eyes," he said. "There are only about three or four that you pick, and I've already played in Pauley Pavillion [UCLA's arena] and Cameron Indoor [Duke], and having the chance to play here is equal to those places in my eyes. It's just a really cool place."