Tag Archives: Elliott Eliason

The Sad Tale of the 2014-15 Gophers

Ordinarily the season wrap-ups on our blog come in early April. That’s because March Madness is done and the Gophers’ postseason activities generally come to an end late in the month. This year we can do it a little earlier. I guess I’m not really sure where to start. In short, this was one of the most unexciting, dispassionate and lifeless seasons I’ve been a part of. It was hard to watch, and even harder to write about. We should have known something was off…

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The Gophers are getting better, and so is their non-conference season.

Just a few weeks ago, the Golden Gophers lost to St. John’s, after dominating the first three quarters of the game. The season looked over at that point. The Red Storm looked awful, and the Gophers looked worse. Flash forward to the present, and it is a whole new world. Ken Pomeroy’s computers are spitting out an 11-7 Big Ten record, which would be a tie for third in the Big Ten, and have the Gophers ranked 23rd in the country. The decidedly more human folks at CBS Sports have the Gophers ranked 24th. St. John’s, which looked awful, actually has one of the best defenses in the country, and is ranked 26th by KenPom, 13th by CBS Sports, 20th by the AP, and 23rd by the coaches. Georgia, which seemed just as bad as the Gophers, if not worse, has an RPI in the top 50, and in terms of RPI, Minnesota’s win over the Bulldogs is the Big Ten’s 8th best win this season. Combined with no horrible losses, which are mounting around the Big Ten, and the non-conference season is going well. However, I’m not convinced that the people who declared the Gophers to be terrible after the St. John’s game are wrong. The Gophers are just getting better…

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Pitiful second half dooms Gophers in NIT Tip-Off

Things were looking pretty rosy for the Gophers at halftime against St. John’s. They had just cruised to a 40-31 lead behind some nifty passing and a performance by Nate Mason that is short-listed for “Half of the Year” so far. And with the Red Storm struggling to put together any sort of organized rebuttal, it looked like a sure victory for Minnesota if they could just continue to hit St. John’s in its weak spots. Maybe it was harder than it looked. The Gophers…

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Some answers, new questions for the Gophers after first four games

Settling on assumptions only four games into the season is a dangerous game to play. With the ebb and flow of teams, in-season player growth and the evolution of a team’s identity, the November Golden Gophers will assuredly look different than the March version. That said, it’s four games in and we’re already starting to see some patterns, which can answer some initial questions we had about the team. But along with those answers come plenty of questions. Since we last checked in, the Gophers have…

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Gophers roll Western Kentucky in home opener

Four days after being punished by Louisville in an airport hangar on national TV, the Gophers were back in Williams Arena for their season home opener, facing Western Kentucky in what was officially the opening round of the NIT Season Tip-Off. Unlike the hangar slop fest, the Gophers were much more in control and confident. And behind a strong all-around performance by Deandre Mathieu and defensive domination, the Gophers took down the Hilltoppers with ease 76-54. Defensively, it was night and day for the Gophers,…

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6 things I’m watching for when the Gophers face Louisville

So it begins. We’ve seen one live exhibition and one intra-squad scrimmage, and heard from second and third-hand sources about another. What do we know about this year’s Gopher team? Well, not much. Andre Hollins is healthy, I guess. That’s about all we know. And that’s why the season opening game against Louisville is so simultaneously frightening and exciting. The Gophers return almost everybody important, which bodes well for continuity. And from what we’ve seen, most guys have matured and expanded their game. But that’s…

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Gophers rip Minnesota-Duluth in not-secret exhibition

The not-secret portion of Minnesota’s preseason schedule kicked off Thursday night against Minnesota-Duluth. Usually reserved as a hockey rivalry, the Bulldogs probably wished the game was held on ice, as it would have mitigated the talent gap between the two teams. While the Gophers have had close calls with D-II teams in the past,  UMD was no match, falling easily 95-68. Five players scored in double figures. Exhibition games, though, aren’t about the end result, but rather a glimpse at what we we might see…

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The front court closers, and not the starters, will determine Minnesota's success

One must forgive the media and message board posters for being, in the words of Richard Pitino, “obsessed about starting line-ups.” A lot of ink and pixels can be used when described by arguing who should start and come off the bench. There is also the matter of fancy graphics packages on television and pre-game introductions (of which “I AM… OTO OSENIEKS” was the greatest ever) which place undue attention on the matter of who will be on the court when the jump-ball occurs. However, basketball games are 40 minutes long, and often the last four minutes, and not the opening four minutes determine the outcome of a game. In a better, albeit very disjointed world, the lights would dim after the under four minute time-out, and we’d have a proper introduction for the players who matter most: the closers.

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5 burning questions heading into the season

A new season means excitement, anticipation and, most of all, uncertainly. Richard Pitino builds on a successful inaugural season as Minnesota’s head coach, with plenty of weapons to help extend the momentum an NIT championship. Things appear to be on the upswing, but with the notable loss of Austin Hollins, a Jekyll and Hyde routine from Elliott Eliason last year, and a ton of new faces on the roster, things are anything but settled.

To get us thinking about the upcoming season, we put together five burning questions that have yet to be answered.

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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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