Tag Archives: Elliott Eliason

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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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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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Gophers overcome slow start to down St. Mary’s

To say the first seven minutes of Minnesota’s 2nd round NIT tilt against the St. Mary’s Gaels was ugly would be a huge understatement. “Atrocious” is probably about halfway there, and so is “hideous.” Is there even a word for racking up six turnovers and spotting your opponent a 14-0 lead before even coming close to scoring? Indeed, the Gophers gave the Gaels a two-touchdown lead to begin the game, looking like they couldn’t (or didn’t want to) score. Committing interesting turnovers, putting up shots…

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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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Mathieu and Walker help Gophers stop the bleeding

After dropping three straight games to three very beatable teams, the Gophers came into their showdown with Indiana desperately needing a win. It wasn’t yet a “must-win” game, but more of a “need to win”. The conference standings had become congested in the middle, and the Gophers had dropped many opportunities to separate themselves from the pack. But behind an amazing game from Drizzy Mathieu, dominance down low from Mo Walker, and some terrific halftime adjustments, Minnesota upended the Hoosiers to protect their home court…

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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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Gophers upset Ohio State in double-digit fashion

After near misses against Michigan and Michigan State in conference play, it was starting to look like the Gophers would never get over the hump of actually taking down one of the Big Ten’s top teams. Wins over Purdue and Penn State showed that they weren’t at the bottom of the barrel, but without a shiny, big-time win on their resume, Minnesota still appeared to be a middling team. That line of thinking is now officially outdated. Minnesota used a stifling defense and an impressive…

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