Minnesota is a team that is likely going to the NCAA Tournament unless they completely collapse, but they are still looking for at least one more marquee win to solidify their place. We fill that role perfectly for them.
The defensive charge is led by Chris Kramer the 6’3″ JR Guard is typically a starter but has not started since returning from his injuries (back and foot) in December. The guy scores very little but seems to relish being the best defender in the Big Ten.
Lewis Jackson is the main triggerman for the offense, he’s started the last 11 games for the Boilers and leads the team in assists with 3.3 per game, and the freshman tied a career high with 6 assists in the Boilers last game against Iowa, not an easy team to get assists against. I’d say more, but in the two Purdue games I’ve watched this year I don’t remember him. I’m assuming Al Nolen can make him cry.
Bob Knight, here to do color commentary on tonight’s Purdue-Gophers basketball game on ESPN2, might have become the Gophers’ basketball coach had Tubby Smith not been available.
The Big Ten is known for its physical style, and some of its most recent national success mirrored that, even at the point guard spot. Michigan State won the 1999 national title behind a sturdy point guard in Mateen Cleaves. Illinois was the 2005 runner-up with Deron Williams.
These days, the league’s lead guards are more likely to blow by than bang.
Athletic director Joel Maturi said fundraising efforts for a practice facility that would be used by both the men’s and women’s programs will begin by January 2010.
“It’s a great day in our country,” Smith said. “Barack Obama’s inauguration is (today). It’s a great time in our country.”
Smith, who was the first black men’s basketball coach at Kentucky before taking the Minnesota job, has seen more minorities become head coaches in Division I basketball.
“There’s no way we’ll be able to press in practice the way they do in a game,” Painter said. “Minnesota is going to play hard whether it’s pressing us or in the half-court.
“We can match their effort in practice. As a coach, that’s all you can ask. We have to have a big-time effort. We can do a lot of things right, but if our effort isn’t big time, we don’t have a chance to win on the road in this league.”
“When you’re young, you’re hungry and you want to prove a lot of things,” said Johnson, a 6-foot-7 junior forward. “I think that’s what (the Boilermakers) did last year. I think we’re on the verge of doing that this year. With Ralph (Sampson III), Devoe (Joseph) and Colton (Iverson), we have freshmen stepping up. Then, we have junior college guys (Paul Carter and Devron Bostick) improving each game. I think that’s a big help for us.”
It’ll be especially important for the two freshmen to contribute with senior center Jonathan Williams limited by a strained calf muscle. Head coach Tubby Smith said he’ll try to avoid having Iverson and Sampson on the floor at the same time.
“We have to get the ball inside more, but … we’re probably going to change our lineup some,” Smith said.
Smith announced Wednesday that the team suspended junior guard Kevin Payton indefinitely due to academic reasons.
Payton has played in eight of the team’s 18 games and hasn’t scored.
“It’s very disappointing. But life is like that. You make your own bed and have to make some decisions,” Smith said. “But hopefully he’ll get what he has to get done, done.”
“This team does have to learn how to handle success,” Minnesota coach Tubby Smith said of his young Gophers. “After Louisville, we played Michigan State and got clobbered on the boards, but then we bounced back.”
Smith is hoping for the same result. But he said he’s got to trim down his rotation. He said he’s playing too many players citing the 12 that saw action against the Wildcats.
Bobby Knight previews tonight’s game, with video!