Tag Archives: Austin Hollins


Let’s wrap the 2013-14 season

I guess I’ll start at the end. The Gophers are the 2014 NIT champions. The best of the second-best. The champion of the bubble teams. Conquerors of the consolation. All that. While it might not sound all that impressive only a year after being ranked as high as #8 in the nation and getting into the second round of the NCAA Tournament, think of the context. Exactly one year ago we were little more than a week into the Richard Pitino era. The son of…

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Four reasons why the NIT championship mattered.*

I had planned to write about the reasons why the Golden Gophers N.I.T. championship mattered. I do think it matters and I’ll still write about why, but context matters too. The game of college basketball isn’t nearly as important as the lives of the people who are touched by the game we love. The twitterati, along with fans of teams that were able to participate in the NCAA tournament, snarkily declared the N.I.T. championship meaningless. In the grand scheme of things, it was meaningless. The world of college basketball, today alone, provided two examples of how a kids game played by kids and young adults doesn’t mean a whole lot in the tapestry of life. Lacey Holsworth died way too young of a disease too horrible. Meanwhile, UMass guard Derrick Gordon is finally himself, and finally happy. Death, and (a fuller, happier) life mean a lot more than any basketball game, any basketball season.

In the proper context of a kids’ game, here is why the N.I.T. mattered.

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Gophers find themselves in another NIT championship

In a game that felt like it would never end, and with a clown car of announcers and color commentators talking about anything other than the game in front of them, the Gophers overcame a back-breaking end of regulation to rebound and take care of Florida State in OT in the NIT semifinals, 67-64. With the game well in hand heading into the final 10 seconds of regulation, Malik Smith, perhaps the team’s best free throw shooter, clanked two attempts, resulting in utter panic and…

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Why I’m stoked about an NIT Final Four run

It’s been a weird season so far for the Gophers. Uncertain expectations before the season, followed by initial excitement, followed by actual excitement, followed by February frustration, followed by hope, followed by disappointment, and finally followed by rejuvenation and inspiration. Inspiration? Let me back up a second. Many pundits before the season picked the Gophers to finish dead last in the Big Ten. Like, behind Northwestern and Penn State. For a team that’s enjoyed success (at least by our standards) for the past few years,…

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Gophers save tournament hopes in season finale

The narrative all season, at least during conference play, was that the Gophers were a Jekyll and Hyde. They could play with the best in the conference but also had a frightening tendency to play down to teams they were clearly superior than. Naturally, with the Penn State Nittany Lions coming to town for the season finale with postseason implications hanging in the balance, there was a nervous air surrounding the game, as it was unclear which Minnesota team would actually show up. Bucking that…

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Senior Day 2014

The home careers of Austin Hollins, Maverick Ahanmisi, Oto Osenieks, and Malik Smith will (hopefully) come to an end on Sunday afternoon, as the Golden Gophers celebrate senior day, and hopefully inch one step closer to a return to the NCAA tournament. The basketball game is self-evidently big, and if the Gophers do want to return to the tournament, they need to win. After thirty games, you don’t need me to tell you that the Gophers’ defense needs to improve, including their defensive rebounding, or that Deandre Mathieu needs to play well for the Gophers to win, so I won’t tell you any of that. Instead, it seems like and appropriate type to recognize and appreciate the the class of 2014, who for between one and four seasons, represented the University of Minnesota about as well as anyone can.

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Backs against the wall, Gophers score huge win over Iowa

With the narrative firmly in place, the Gophers entered Tuesday night’s game against #20 Iowa in a precarious position: win and put themselves in position to score an NCAA Tournament bid or lose and abandon basically all hope of waltzing into the postseason. And for a team that has basically played up or down to its opponent’s level all season, Minnesota’s found itself in an opportunistic situation. Behind career games from Austin Hollins and Charles Buggs (!) and superb performances from Andre Hollins and Drizzzzzy…

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Huge road win keeps Gophers in control of their postseason destiny

It wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t particularly fun to watch, but when the final horn sounded only one thing mattered — the Gophers had taken down Northwestern 54-48 on the road to lock up a huge win as the stretch run of the conference season began. Welsh-Ryan Arena has recently become something of a house of horrors for Minnesota, who hadn’t won there since Feb. 6, 2008. And with the Gophers doing themselves no favors by giving up a winnable game when the Wildcats visited…

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Tears and heartbreak in loss to Northwestern

In a game that served as an opportunity to rebound from a loss on the road to Nebraska, the Gophers came out flat against a hot, yet still suspect, Northwestern team and threw away another prime opportunity to pick up a home win against a beatable conference opponent, dropping their second consecutive game in a 55-54 heartbreaker. Perhaps even more painful was the way it ended. After the Gophers battled back to tie the game and found themselves with the ball and 11 seconds left,…

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Gophers shaky in loss at Nebraska

Fresh off an impressive win over arch rival Wisconsin at home, the Gophers continued to curious, if not frustrating trend of playing to their opponent’s skill level in an 82-78 loss in Lincoln. Andre Hollins found himself on the bench in a walking boot – unable to play due to an ankle injury suffered early in the Wisconsin win. And with the Gophers beating a top-10 team without their best player, hitting the road against the Cornhuskers seemed like a challenge they could handle. Instead,…

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