#23 Minnesota Golden Gophers: College Basketball 111 in 111

tubby smith minnesota

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series.  Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.

We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

With Trevor Mbakwe returning from a torn ACL, Tubby Smith boasts his most talented roster since arriving at Minnesota.  Now the question becomes whether or not the Gophers can pull it all together and live up to their preseason Top 25 ranking.

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Tubby Smith’s son gets DUI, Gophers place him on leave

gophers

Tubby Smith’s son Saul was arrested for DUI this past weekend, and because of it the Minnesota Golden Gophers college basketball program will make sure he misses a few paychecks.

Here’s the statement from the University:

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Gophers Rodney Williams: most overrated NBA Draft prospect ever?

rodney-williams

Minnesota Golden Gophers forward Rodney Williams is a bonafide NBA draft prospect. Not so much this year, but for 2013 (where we have him projected as a mid-2nd rounder), and I can’t for the life of me understand why. (But I’m a NFL draftnik, not an NBA draftnik) When fighting for their NCAA Tournament lives this week, the 6-7, 205 junior forward from Minneapolis just disappeared in the 2nd halves of both games. Each of these contests saw Minnesota drop a second half lead and eventually lose.

When you lead the team in scoring, rebounding, blocks, steals, field goal percentage and minutes, you are expected to BE the leader, and THE GUY who takes over in crunch time.

In the loss at Northwestern, Williams had 7 points at halftime, but just two points and two shots in the second twenty minutes. In the 66-61 loss to Michigan State, Williams VANISHED in the second half when Minnesota Tubby Smith needed him most. And in the closing minutes with the game tied, he cost his team dearly at both ends of the floor.

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Michigan State Spartans avoid upset at the Barn

Tom Izzo

This one truly was a barn-burner.

Coming off a five-game hot streak in the Big Ten, Michigan State was looking to keep its position at the top of the conference, but the Golden Gophers had a different idea in mind. The first half alone had 16 lead changes and 4 ties. Minnesota’s Ralph Sampson III showed off his creativity with a variety of baby hooks and shots in the paint. The battle between Sampson III and MSU’s Adreian Payne became so hot at one point in the game that a double foul was issued.

These big men don’t play around in the Big Ten when it comes to being physical.

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Gophers Tubby Smith wears bow tie in honor of cancer survivors

Tubby Smith Minnesota

If you were following Twitter during the Michigan State Spartans 66-61 victory at the Minnesota Golden Gophers contest last night, you may have noticed UM Coach Tubby Smith rocking a blue bow tie.

There was praise, but there was of course plenty of jokes and insults. There was even speculation that the blue was in reference to his old job leading the Kentucky Wildcats. I do wish more college basketball fans would simply ask a relevant question or two before passing judgment. Now when they find out what the bow tie was for, and what it represents, they might feel more like the jackasses they are for shooting their mouths off.

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Realistic Expectations for the Golden Gophers

College basketball has something in common with high stakes poker. Both pastimes are a combination of skill and luck. Tubby Smith has been lacking in the latter since he began his tenure in Minneapolis. He has had to deal with health issues, an irrelevant football program, questionable decision-making by his players, and injuries. The one bright spot for fans and alumni is that he hasn’t forgotten the game since his more successful days with the most prominent program in the country: Kentucky.

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Golden Gophers Lose Trevor Mbakwe for Year; Torn ACL

trevor-mbakwe

Thus far into the young college basketball season, prospects haven’t looked exceptional for the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Tubby Smith‘s squad barely escaped versus Big East weakling DePaul over the holiday weekend, and plenty of holes in their game have been exposed.

Now this- losing their most talented player by far for the entire season. Senior forward Trevor Mbakwe suffered an ACL tear to his right knee. Surgery to repair the injury will be scheduled in the upcoming weeks.

Mbakwe, named to the Preseason All-Big Ten First Team and to the John R. Wooden award watch list, is currently leading the Gophers in scoring (14.0 ppg) and rebounding (9.1 rpg) through seven games.

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Can Gophers Ralph Sampson III Follow Dad to the NBA?

ralph sampson III

Minnesota Golden Gophers Coach Tubby Smith has seen drastic, if not dramatic improvements in the game of senior Center Ralph Sampson III.

“His consistency, his numbers have improved each year. They haven’t been leaps and bounds, but I think a lot of it has to do with Ralph getting in better shape, not that he hasn’t worked at it, but he’s had to focus on learning to breathe properly, I don’t know if he had asthma or another type of breathing disorder, but he’s got that under control better, and his stamina and strength are two issues he’s done a good job of addressing this summer and fall,” Sampson’s coach Tubby Smith said.

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Golden Gophers Trevor Mbakwe is NBA Ready

Conference play hasn’t yet begun for the Big Ten yet this season, but the Minnesota Golden Gophers are anxious to start play in a league where they are an afterthought. Wisconsin, Ohio State, Michigan State, and Michigan seem to be the consensus frontrunners for the top third of the league.

Minnesota played the DePaul Blue Demons in Lake Buena Vista, Florida on Thanksgiving in front of an announced crowd of slightly over three thousand.

The statisticians must have been counting all of the employees in the building in their tally. Nonetheless, Tubby Smith and crew fought through a double digit halftime deficit to pull out the victory 86-85 in a high scoring affair.

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#80 Minnesota Golden Gophers: College Basketball 111 in 111

tubby smith minnesota

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s second annual college basketball season preview series.  Last year we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  This year, we are being slightly more aggressive and expanding to 111 teams in 111 days.  We will rank the 74 power conference teams and top 37 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

Tubby Smith has to be on the hot seat, right?  In his four years as Minnesota head coach, the Golden Gophers have not finished with a winning Big Ten record or picked up a NCAA Tournament victory.  With a young roster and unproven backcourt, that trend will likely continue in 2011-2012.

GO HERE FOR OUR MINNESOTA FOOTBALL PREVIEW
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