Minnesota Men's Basketball 2013 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Minnesota Golden Gophers
Big Ten (20-12, 8-10)

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Minnesota has not won an NCAA Tournament game since they were a number one seed in 1997 and there is the sense that the Golden Gophers may continue that streak. Once again Minnesota got off to a great start, but struggled during most of the Big Ten campaign. Coach Tubby Smith has done a great job this season, and throughout his tenure in Minneapolis, yet at some point the losing in March needs to come to an end.

Big Wins: 11/23 vs Memphis (84-75), 12/31 Michigan State (76-63), 2/26 Indiana (77-73)
Bad Losses: 1/23 at Northwestern (48-55), 3/6 at Nebraska (51-53), 3/9 at Purdue (73-89)
Coach: Tubby Smith (6 seasons at Minnesota)

Why They Can Surprise:
Coach Smith has a balanced scoring attack. The frontcourt is led by seniors Rodney Williams and Trevor Mbakwe and those two have been around the block a few times. Williams is a dynamic athlete who can even step outside and knock down the occasional three-pointer. Mbakwe is the more traditional interior scorer. He is a quality scorer, but he makes his biggest impact on the other end of the floor. Mbakwe is one of the best rebounders in the Big Ten and that is saying quite a bit. He is also a superb shot blocker. With Williams and Elliott Eliason joining Mbakwe, this is not an easy team to score against. The Golden Gophers will block a ton of shots and nobody is going to get a clear lane through the paint. The amount of depth in the frontcourt allows Coach Smith to rotate players in and out as needed. Oto Osenieks, Maurice Walker, Andre Ingram and Eliason are not on the same level as Williams or Mbakwe offensively, but they are more than capable defensively and on the glass.

Why They Can Disappoint:
The Gopher backcourt has plenty of scoring threats, most notably starters Andre Hollins, Austin Hollins and Joe Coleman. Julian Welch is a quality backup point guard and Maverick Ahanmisi can spark the offense on occasion with his outside shooting. Scoring is not much of a problem for Minnesota, but getting a good shot, or any shot, off has been. Turnovers can stall the Golden Gophers offense in a hurry and lead to easy buckets for the opposition. Minnesota commits about 14 turnovers per contest and they cannot afford to do that during the NCAA Tournament if they hope to actually win a tournament game.

Probable Starters:
Andre Hollins, Sophomore, Guard, 13.9 ppg, 3.4 apg, 3.5 rpg
Austin Hollins, Junior, Guard, 10.6 ppg, 2.5 apg, 3.3 rpg
Joe Coleman, Sophomore, Guard, 8.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg
Rodney Williams, Senior, Forward, 10.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.4 bpg
Elliott Eliason, Sophomore, Center, 2.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg

Key Roleplayers:
Maverick Ahanmisi, Junior, Guard, 3.5 ppg, 1.0 apg
Trevor Mbakwe, Senior, Forward, 10.0 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 1.5 bpg
Julian Welch, Senior, Guard, 3.2 ppg, 1.5 apg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 69.1 (133rd in nation, 6th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 62.0 (59, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.3 (115, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.9 (50, 7)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.2 (274, 8)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.5 (229, 8)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.3 (209, 9)
Rebound Margin: 8.1 (8, 1)
Assists Per Game: 14.8 (49, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.6 (209, 12)

Last Five Postseason Appearances:
2012    NIT        First Round win over LaSalle
2012    NIT        Second Round win over Miami
2012    NIT        Quarterfinal win over Middle Tennessee
2012    NIT        Semifinal win over Washington
2012    NIT        Final loss to Stanford
2010    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Xavier
2009    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Texas
2008    NIT        First Round loss to Maryland
2006    NIT        First Round win over Wake Forest
2006    NIT        Second Round loss to Cincinnati

*all team stats through 3/10


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules