Tired of losing, Gophers met to clear the air

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 28, 2013 - 6:36 AM

Blunt talk in private might have helped the basketball team regroup and upset No. 1 Indiana on Tuesday.

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toadspitFeb. 27, 1310:54 PM

Maybe the team should meet on its own more often throughout the season.

loop80Feb. 28, 13 3:27 AM

Tubby talks of taking responsibility? What a joke. This win shouldn't take Tubby off the hot seat. This was a win by the players. Probably more in spite of their coach than because of him.

hjlazniFeb. 28, 1311:09 AM

"Tuesday's win -- and whatever adjustments the Gophers made to attain it -- is certainly a big step in the right direction." The writer was at the game and can not tell us what happened. Indiana plays a center and three wings and a guard with no real forwards so the Gophers Eliason and Mbakwe took advantage and the Gophers had 19 more rebounds and possessions than Indiana and the two played great defense in the paint and at the rim and the offense flow is better with Eliason playing a role passing player. If Smith plays Otto instead of Eliason as he has done most of the season after Mbakwe's return from injury the Gophers would have lost again. The Gophers missed nearly every three point shot attempted and had moments of no real offensive system. Indiana does not have the "big forward" they need to be a final four team in a single elimination playoff. I expect Crean has to have thoughts he did not chase Mbakwe down so he would have his center and Mbakwe playing next to each other. A Gopher team of Andre, Austin, Buggs, Mbakwe and Eliason and Rodney and Welsh and Coleman as reserves is a final four team this year and last and a better team than Indiana, before Smith changed Andre's and Welsh's shooting mechanics. We can only dream.

hobie2Feb. 28, 1312:32 PM

Smith has a problem that few coaches ever face, and he won't win the battle for control for it. He can ride it, enjoy it, win big with it, nurture it - but he won't ever beat it... Dre Hollins - 4.5 Grade Point Average in high school(4 is an A)... Eliason a junior, one of the 10% of the applying wunderkinds accepted at Carlson School... Mbakwe in grad school... Another a biomedical engineer... another with a perfect score on the SAT reading... yet another with a 4.1 GPA in high school - and four of the players with immediate family who play/played in professional basketball... You get the picture- His players are not your average Kentucky or Duke basketball team - his problem is that nearly all the players are a fair bit smarter than he is, and obviously are focused - and that they have incredible personal basketball resources. He won't lead using force of will, on knowing more, by keeping knowledge to himself, or by BS to get through a tough time. And he sure as Hades is not going to have his pick of leader ever accepted for a group like that.

hobie2Feb. 28, 13 1:12 PM

Oh -- Put a group of a dozen kids smart like that together and they are a hundred times as self confident as each alone (even when wrong), and coaching them is something else... Smith is human - and he has to be in charge without being the smartest, strongest, or biggest... and that is really tough... Smith has had his problems, but because of this team's unusual smarts, he also has one of the toughest coaching jobs in the country. Doesn't mean he is the right man for the job yet, but if he realizes he can only guide and he gets out of the way when they take the reins - i.e., he coaches, not manages - for the rest of the way, then if this team should get to the Final Four, he should get coach of the year NOT for getting there, but for realizing his part and for allowing that crew to do it. Coaching.. (I have a sense of what he faces from my first "job" in D1 coaching- a HOF coach recruited a handful, and it was looking disaster - so his brain trust thought getting a slightly-older-than-the-players former Nam combat Marine who was on full academic scholarship on the staff would be a stabilizing but not stifling influence. He coached basketball, I did what I did. We started winning, raised h___ off-team without at-risk, and we had five NBA players over a four year period come out of that short time. Some very special teams... OK, TMI...).. A coach can't force great, they can only water and feed it - not too much so it wilts or too little so it starves - and then step back and allow it to bloom.

hobie2Feb. 28, 13 2:06 PM

hjlazni - Some points are sound, but keep in mind that 1) each team plays around a basic scheme - some use 2 guards, 2 forwards, and a center; some use two guards and three forwards, some use a four-square. (That is why some teams "own" other teams - their scheme is fundamentally superior to the other team's scheme - and why they always have trouble against certain other teams.) And you can't shift schemes game to game without seriously losing effectiveness... 2) Some players talents are great in some schemes when used against other schemes, not so in other combinations. So you stay in your scheme and adjust talents for opportunity 3) With those constraints, it's about mismatches of schemes and players in schemes. Players are selected to exploit mismatches of the moment - but WHY has to be kept in mind... Two short men in against certain bigs is giving away the house, others it works if you spot a weakness that can be used to attack to negate height before it can be used (your opponent fixes that stuff pretty quick in the Big Ten). I like certain players because I think the team plays more cohesively when they are in, a cornerstone for success- and they have a big upside against most schemes... and as old coaches say - Any idiot can shoot a ball - team glue is hard to find...

truehomerFeb. 28, 13 2:51 PM

Duke gets to pick the top of the crop nationally,they are NOT the average IQ guys as someone had posted.Far from it,add to it coach K and then you understand why they very seldom miss the "dance". Minnesota kids on the floor may be bright,but they do not compare with Duke.Unfortunatelly it's just the way it is.

nomorebrewFeb. 28, 13 3:17 PM

Maybe they should meet with Norwood and help him select Tubby's replacement. The players won this game in spite of Tubby. He is still a terrible coach and should be gone at the end of the season.

kev5115Feb. 28, 13 4:48 PM

Theres a big difference of having a high IQ and having good basketball smarts. As far as the players getting together and airing their frustrations thats great. My question is why did they wait so long. One can only hope that they win these last 3 very winnable games and have momentum going into the B1G tournament.

clnorthFeb. 28, 13 6:25 PM

At least they don't have to worry about being the first Big Ten win for PSU.

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