Minnesota Golden Gophers Archive

2014-2015 ITH season preview: Minnesota Golden Gophers

With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’ll be taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster over the next month. Today, we continue our look at the Big Ten with the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Despite the fact that he won 20 games in five of his six years at the helm of the Gophers, Minnesota fired coach Tubby Smith following the 2012-2013 season. And after a lengthy coaching search saw the program get turned down by several of its leading candidates, AD Norwood Teague ultimately settled on a coach with just one year of head coaching experience in Richard Pitino.

The first year of the Pitino-era at Minnesota ended with a NIT championship and a 25-13 record, but the team scuffled down the stretch of the regular season after amassing a 15-5 record to start the year. A postseason championship of any kind is nothing to scoff at, but after only losing one starter, there are expectations for improvement in year two for Pitino.

The Gophers return one of the better backcourts in the conference with seniors Andre Hollins and DeAndre Mathieu, two players that both made our preseason list of the top 25 Big Ten players. Hollins battled an ankle sprain during the second half of the conference schedule, but still finished as the team’s leading scorer at 13.6 points per game. And Mathieu, a 5-foot-9 guard with tremendous quickness, is the top returning player in terms of assist rate at 31.1 percent.

Chipola Junior College (Fla.) guard Carlos Morris is expected to take on a major role in his first season and could slide right into the position departed by Austin Hollins.

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Film Session: Troy’s start, second half turnovers

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After just five turnovers in the first half, the Hoosiers coughed the ball up 11 times against Minnesota in their 66-60 loss at Williams Arena on Saturday evening.

We’ll take a look at how Minnesota’s press and trapping sped IU up, as well as Troy Williams’ strong start in the latest edition of Film Session:

Stanford Robinson finds Noah Vonleh with a pass near the top of the key:

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Vonleh surveys his options and opts to dribble right to hand off to Williams:

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Five takeaways from Indiana’s loss at Minnesota

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Indiana’s up and down season continued on Saturday night as the Hoosiers followed up an 11-point win at home over Michigan with a six-point loss to Minnesota at Williams Arena.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from Indiana’s third straight road loss:

· Indiana had too many lapses at key points in the game: This has become a theme this season in games away from Assembly Hall and it was a major theme in the loss to Minnesota. Momentum is a difficult thing to keep on the road, but the teams who win with any regularity in hostile environments are able to sustain it. Through five Big Ten road games, Indiana has four losses by a combined 19 points and led in the second half of all four defeats.

On Saturday, it was a game of runs for both teams, but two key lapses were costly. The first was late in the first half when the Hoosiers had possession up eight and a chance to take the final shot. Instead, Troy Williams turned the ball over with 15 seconds to go and Minnesota scored on an easy dunk by Maurice Walker to cut its deficit to six at the break.

The second key sequence was at the onset of the second half as IU turned the ball over four times in the first 3:02 and Minnesota quickly tied the game at 38 on a free throw by DeAndre Mathieu. Neither sequence in particular is completely to blame for the loss, but both are examples of what’s holding the Hoosiers back from pulling out road games.

· Turnovers were a major second half issue: Indiana did a solid job taking care of the ball through the game’s first 20 minutes. The Hoosiers had just five first-half miscues for a turnover percentage of 15. The second half was a different story as Indiana had 11 turnovers and finished the game with a turnover percentage of 25.2.

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A tale of two halves costs the Hoosiers once again

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Like many of Indiana’s road games this season, Saturday’s performance against Minnesota was a tale of two halves.

There was the first, in which Indiana built a double-digit lead for its second straight road game and appeared on its way to just its third win away from Assembly Hall this season.

And then there was the second, in which a collapse once again doomed the Hoosiers (14-9, 4-6), this time in a 66-60 loss at the hands of the Golden Gophers (16-8, 5-6) in Williams Arena.

“We had some turnovers in the second half, and we had some awareness issues at the end of possessions,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “And that’s what it was more than anything else. And in this league, it’s not possession-by-possession, it’s a pass-to-pass league.”

Indeed, such slim margins for error have been the difference makers for the Hoosiers in their first 23 games this season. At Penn State on Jan. 8, the Hoosiers trailed by as many as 15 points but limited mistakes in a second-half comeback victory, their only true road win of the season.

At Nebraska only two Thursdays ago, the Hoosiers led by 16 points but allowed the Cornhuskers to shoot a 66.7 percent effective field goal percentage in the second half in a 60-55 loss.

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Video: Tom Crean reacts to loss at Minnesota

Tom Crean met with the media following Indiana’s 66-60 loss to Minnesota on Saturday night at Williams Arena.

Watch his postgame comments in the media player below:

Video courtesy of J.B. Bauer of LateNightHoops.com.

Video: Noah Vonleh, Troy Williams react to loss at Minnesota

Noah Vonleh (12 points, 12 rebounds) and Troy Williams (11 points, three rebounds) met with the media following Indiana’s 66-60 loss to Minnesota on Saturday night at Williams Arena.

Watch their postgame comments in the media player below:

Video courtesy of J.B. Bauer of LateNightHoops.com.

The Minute After: Minnesota

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Thoughts on 66-60 loss to Minnesota:

The record skips once more on the road in the second half, and with it came another loss in a game Indiana controlled.

This was a near repeat of the Nebraska game. A  strong offensive first half from Indiana and a lead at the break, followed by a meltdown over the final 20 minutes that leaves you shaking your head. The Hoosiers had Troy Williams go to work right away on Joey King. He scored Indiana’s first nine points. Whether zone or man-to-man, Indiana didn’t have much issue with Minnesota’s defense and scored 1.09 points per possession in the first 20. Jeremy Hollowell was active and engaged.

They cleaned up the glass on the offensive end and got second-chance points. Yogi Ferrell pumped in 10 of his own. The Hoosiers withstood two 7-0 runs from Minnesota and limited time from Noah Vonleh, who sat the last 9:21 of the half with two fouls, to take a 36-30 lead into halftime. They turned the ball over just five times. The Barn rarely sprung to life.

But in the second half, the script flipped. Troy Williams turned the ball over on Indiana’s first possession — after he turned the ball over late in the first half — and that would set the tone. Eleven turnovers in the second half saw Indiana’s turnover percentage balloon to 25.2 percent for the contest, as it wasted possession after possession. Stanford Robinson (three turnovers, zero points) fumbled the ball away in the lane on a few occasions. Noah Vonleh (three turnovers) had issues passing the ball out of the post.

Minnesota’s defense got into the Hoosiers much more in the second half, got a bit more handsy, a bit more physical and Indiana just couldn’t counter. Minnesota got some good looks on pick and rolls down the middle of the lane, got some luck (banked 3-pointer) and DeAndre Mathieu’s (16 points, five assists) speed gave Indiana some issues.

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