Three-game stretch poses biggest challenge yet for Gophers basketball

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 9, 2013 - 8:12 PM

 Next up are all nationally ranked teams -- No. 12 Illinois, No. 5 Indiana and No. 2 Michigan -- to test the Gophers' own No. 8 rating.

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markdandersoJan. 8, 1311:31 PM

Here's wishing the Gophers all the best in the next 3 games. Good luck! We are all behind you!!!

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Jakein08Jan. 9, 13 7:19 AM

This is going to be fun, Go Gophers!

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hjlazniJan. 9, 13 9:28 AM

Amelia, did you see the picture of Mbakwe and Eliason accompaning your article. Truth is Smith never plays Mbakwe and Eliason together. This fact will become a paramount issue if the Gophers want to move from being a Bubble team at best and a ninth place team otherwise. Smith needs to have his best players on the floor as much as possible. The Gophers starting lineup is now too small to be a major Big Ten contender. Playing Eliason and Mbakwe together for twenty minutes per game would allow the Gophers to defend the rim against the top teams in the country. Smith needs to do this if he wants to be a contender at best and a Bubble team at worst.

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notsidJan. 9, 13 9:55 AM

A 5-0 conference record after the next three games would be great...unrealistic to expect that it will happen...but if it does, that would be great!

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dewarfJan. 9, 1310:10 AM

Tonight will be the key. Gotta win this one and then 2-1 in this stretch is realistic. Lose tonight and it gets really tough. Go Gophs!

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jonnybgoodJan. 9, 1311:10 AM

My biggest concern about this team is the lack of a coordinated half court offense and weakness in defending the 3 pt shot. I continue to blame this on Tubby. The next three teams will put much more pressure on the Gophs. I believe they will be 2-3 after this 3 game stretch. But I really hope not!!

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PhunnyfarmJan. 9, 1311:12 AM

hjlazni - The Gophers are the best offensive rebounding team in the nation, so it sounds like Tubby's defending the rim just fine with his coaching strategy! GO GOPHERS! WE BELIEVE!

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sane09Jan. 9, 1311:26 AM

"Playing Eliason and Mbakwe together for twenty minutes per game would"...force those two players to play thirty minutes each (20 together and 10 solo), so that Mo Walker would not have to defend Cody Zeller, et.al other Big10 post threats. It would also force Eliason and Mbakwe to tightly defend for thirty minutes while fatigued, rather than twenty minutes (which is their average minutes so far) while LESS fatigued.

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toner_04Jan. 9, 1312:45 PM

"Phunnyfarm - The Gophers are the best offensive rebounding team in the nation, so it sounds like Tubby's defending the rim just fine with his coaching strategy" I agree with you, but offensive rebounding does not equal defense of the rim. That's 2 separate sides of the floor. Look at Kevin Love for example - GREAT rebounder, mediocre defender/doesn't protect the rim.

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alextheturkJan. 9, 13 1:00 PM

This team can not continue to shoot free throws in the Big games at a 60% rate. They will lose all three if they do. If they shoot 75% or better on free throws they will go 2-1. No excuse for a college team to shoot freethrow that bad year after year. My niece's JV team can shoot over 70% as a team.

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