Minnesota Travels to Lincoln to Face Cornhuskers

Go Gophers! Redshirt Freshman Elliott Eliason, a Chadron, Neb. native, will face the Huskers for the first time.
Go Gophers!
Redshirt Freshman Elliott Eliason, a Chadron, Neb. native, will face the Huskers for the first time.
Go Gophers!

Feb. 4, 2012

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GAME INFORMATION

Date: Sunday, February 5, 2012
Time: 12:00 p.m. CT
Location: Lincoln, Neb.
Arena: Bob Devaney Sports Center
Television: BTN
Tom Hart (Play-by-Play)
Keno Davis (Analyst)
Radio: Learfield/1500 ESPN Twin Cities
Mike Grimm (Play-by-Play)
Spencer Tollackson (Analyst)

SERIES INFORMATION
Series: 60th meeting (46-13)
Series (Away): 21st meeting (14-6)
Current Streak: W-1
Last Meeting: Dec. 8, 2004 (W, 57-48)
Tubby Smith vs. Nebraska: First meeting
Minnesota vs. Current Big Ten: 706-743
Tubby Smith vs. Current Big Ten: 57-58

Game day Tid-Bits:
• Minnesota heads to Lincoln, Neb. and the Bob Devaney Sports Center to face the Cornhuskers for the first time since the 2004-05 season, a 57-48 Gopher victory.   
• The Gophers hold a 46-13 record against Nebraska in a series that dates back to a 52-9 win on Feb. 15, 1902.
• The all-time series is one of streaks, including a 15-game Gopher win streak from 1906-13 and a 17-game win streak from 1937-1958. Minnesota's longest losing streak in the series is three games from 1934-36.
• The Gophers & Cornhuskers met twice during the 1995 non-conference schedule, the first coming in Hilo, Hawaii - a Nebraska victory. Minnesota won the rematch a couple of weeks later at Williams Arena.
• Since being inserted into the Gopher starting lineup, Joe Coleman is averaging 11.6 points and 5.2 rebounds, second on the team behind Rodney Williams. He has gone to the free throw line 51 times in those seven games for an average of 7.3 per game, by far the most on the team. His averages were 3.7 pts & 1.1 rbs prior to entering the lineup.
• Minnesota has led the Big Ten Conference in blocked shots during the last three seasons, including three of the top four season block totals in the history of the Gopher program: a program leading 201 in 2008-09, 199 in 2009-10 and 169 last season. Senior Ralph Sampson III led the team in blocked shots last season and is currently third all-time in program history with 193 career swats. Minnesota has blocked 126 shots this season for an average of 5.5 per game, tops in Big Ten, led by Rodney Williams with 35. Williams is fifth in the conference with an average of 1.5 bpg. Sampson III is seventh at 1.4 bpg with 27 swats on the season.

Sampson III & the Gopher Record Books:
Trevor Mbakwe had been the talk of the Gophers entering the season but the other senior co-captain, Ralph Sampson III, will more than likely finish his Minnesota career as one of the best big men in program history.

He has a chance to become just the fifth player to finish his Gopher career with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 150 blocks (Kevin McHale, Randy Breuer, Mychal Thompson and Michael Bauer).

Sampson III Career Numbers
• 117 career games played (106 starts)
• 964 career points (8.2 average)
• 595 career rebounds (5.1 average)
• 191 career blocks (1.7 average) - third-most in Gopher History

The Emergence of Joe Coleman:
Joe Coleman has played in all of the Gophers games this season but has but has been in the starting lineup the last seven.
• The freshman scored a career-high 23 points in the win at Penn State, including a 13-of-14 shooting day at the free throw line.
• Coleman led the team in scoring against Northwestern as well with 16 points to go along with three steals and three assists.
• He led the Gophers with eight rebounds and three steals to go along with nine points at Michigan State.
• Coleman is averaging 11.5 points to go along with 5.2 rebounds a game as a starter - second on the team in both categories - and is shooting .447 from the field and .765 from the line.

Williams is Showing his Versatility:
• Minnesota foward Rodney Williams has adapted well since being moved to the power forward position following the loss of Trevor Mbakwe.
• Williams set career-highs with 19 points and 14 rebounds against Purdue (1/8), his third career double-double and second in as many games.  
• Williams leads the team in scoring, rebounding, blocks, steals, field goal percentage, minutes played and is third in assists.
• Since being moved to power forward, Williams' numbers have improved across the board:

Category Pre-Injury Post-Injury
Minutes (avg.) 26.0 32.1
Points (avg.) 7.7 11.8
FG% .538 (21-39) .586 (75-128)
Rebounds (avg.) 2.7 6.6
Blocks (avg.) 1.0 1.8