Minnesota hits the road for the final two regular season games of the 2007-08 season. First up is a trip to Bloomington, Indiana to take on the #18/17 Hoosiers. Minnesota hasn’t defeated a ranked team, while unranked, on the road since they defeated #19 Michigan State 81-75 on Jan. 19, 1985 in East Lansing, Mich.
The Gophers will be trying to avenge an earlier defeat by the Hoosiers, 65-60 on Jan. 17 at Williams Arena. The loss was just the third for Minnesota in the last seven meetings with Indiana.
Overall, the Hoosiers hold a 85-57 record against the Gophers in the all-time series including a 15-game win streak between 1983 and 1989.
Indiana is led by freshman guard Eric Gordon, who is averaging a conference best 21.4 points per game, and senior forward D.J. White, who is second in the conference at 17.0 ppg and leads the conference in rebounding at 10.4 rpg.
The Gophers trimmed Ohio State’s all-time series advantage to 75-47. The last wins for the Gophers in the series came when they swept the season series against OSU during the 2004-05 season. That season was the last time the Gophers made a NCAA tournament appearance.
The win ensured a split in the season series and knots the teams at fifth place in the Big Ten standings with identical 8-8 conference records.
In the first contest between the two schools this season, Ohio State defeated Minnesota by a 76-60 score in Columbus. During the game, OSU bolted to a 19-3 advantage. The Gophers rallied to within 44-41, but Jamar Butler’s 27 points and nine assists were ultimately too much for the Gophers.
With the win, the Gophers would move into a fifth-place tie in the Big Ten standings with the Buckeyes.
The game saw six ties and eight lead changes.
Minnesota improved their record to 15-0 this season when leading at the half. The Gophers led the Buckeyes 24-23 at halftime.
Minnesota improved their record to 14-1 this season when scoring at least 70 points.
Minnesota outshot the Buckeyes at the free-throw line 25-18, pushing the Gophers record to 14-1 when attempting more free throws than its opponent.
Minnesota’s bench outscored Ohio State’s 17-11, led by Blake Hoffarber’s 10 points. The Gophers are 17-5 in games when they outscore their opponent’s bench.
Seniors Spencer Tollackson, Dan Coleman, Ryan Saunders and Lawrence McKenzie were honored for their contributions to Gopher hoops during pre-game ceremony.
Lawrence McKenzie finished the game with 20 points. The performance was the senior’s 13th career 20-point game. McKenzie has now been in double figures 20 times this season and 72 times in his career.
Lawrence Westbrook scored a career-high 16 points. Westbrook also pulled down six rebounds and dished out two assists.
Dan Coleman’s 13 points marked the 20th time this season and the 67th time in his career that he has scored in double figures
Blake Hoffarber finished with 10 points. The freshman has been in double figures 13 times this year.
With the Gophers’ 77-65 victory over Michigan Jan. 31 in Ann Arbor, head coach Tubby Smith become a member of the 400 win club. Smith is 405-155 in 17 seasons as a head coach (79-43 at Tulsa, 45-19 at Georgia, 263-83 at Kentucky and 18-10 at Minnesota). Coming into the season, only 19 active coaches had amassed at least 400 career wins.
Bob Knight leads all coaches (active & retired) with a record of 902-371 in 42 seasons on the bench with Army, Indiana and four-plus seasons as the head coach of the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
THE TUBBY EFFECT
Coaching apparently makes a difference. Tubby Smith took over a club that finished the 2006-07 season with a record of 9-22, including 3-13 within the Big Ten Conference. The current nine-game change is tied for the third-best turnaround in Division I this season. With eight wins in conference play, the Gophers are tied with Purdue for the biggest conference turnaround.
COMPARING RECORDS (as of Mar. 3)
University 06-07 07-08 Change
UNC Wilmington 7-22 19-12 +12
Arizona State 8-22 18-10 +10
Cleveland State 10-21 20-11 +10
Iona 2-28 12-19 +10
Minnesota 9-22 18-10 +9
Northern Colorado 4-24 13-16 +9
UNC Asheville 12-19 21-8 +9
Delaware 5-26 13-16 +8
Miami (Fla.) 12-20 20-8 +8
Tennessee Martin 8-23 16-15 +8
The Gophers defense was strong through the non-conference portion of the schedule and it has continued into the Big Ten schedule. Through 28 games, the Gophers have averaged 9.5 steals per game, tops in the conference, blocked 4.2 shots per game, fifth in the conference, have averaged 21.7 defensive rebounds per game while holding opponents to 63.6 points per game.
Individually, Gopher freshman Al Nolen leads the Gophers and is second in the Big Ten Conference in steals with 2.1 spg while sophomore Damian Johnson holds the team-lead in blocks, swatting 1.3 per game (sixth in the conference).
COLEMAN ON THE CHARTS
Senior Dan Coleman became just the 34th player in school history to record 1,000 career points, thanks to a 22-point effort in the Gophers 91-74 victory over Colorado State on Dec. 8. Coleman has added 253 points since and currently is 17th place on the career points list with 1,271. Mychal Thompson (1974-78) sits atop the list with 1,992 career points.
Also, with 14 rebounds vs. Northwestern (1/9) Coleman become just the 17th Gopher player with 1,000 points and 500 boards in a career. Michael Bauer was the last Gopher to join the club, reaching the milestone in 2004. With his blocked shot against Ohio State on March 1, Coleman now has 107 career blocks, good for ninth place on Minnesota’s all-time list. Coleman has also played in 121 career games, tied for sixth most in team history.
TWO GOPHERS AMONGST LEAGUES'S 1,000 POINT SCORERS
Of the eight active players in the Big Ten Conference to surpass the 1,000-point plateau in their careers, two are wearing Maroon & Gold. Senior forward Dan Coleman is currently the 17th leading scorer in Gopher history with 1,271 points. Fellow senior Lawrence McKenzie has scored 1,333 total points in his collegiate career, 792 as a Gopher following his transfer from the University of Oklahoma.
Player Total Points
Geary Claxton, PSU 1,542
Drew Neitzel, MSU 1,425
D.J. White, IND 1,365
Lawrence McKenzie, MINN 1,333
Dan Coleman, MINN 1,271
Jamar Butler, OSU 1,168
Jamelle Cornley, PSU 1,041
Brian Butch, WIS 1,017
Minnesota’s bench has provided a big punch this season, outscoring its opponents in 22 of the team’s 28 games. The Gophers hold a cumulative 682-447 bench scoring edge on its foes including a 30-1 advantage over Iowa State on Nov. 20, a 27-4 advantage over UC Riverside on Dec. 1, a 41-7 edge over North Dakota State on Dec. 3, a 44-27 margin against Colorado State, a 26-13 edge on Dec. 12 vs. South Dakota State, a 16-2 margin against Santa Clara on Dec. 22, a 33-10 edge against Nicholls State on Dec. 28, a 22-21 against Michigan State in the conference opener on Jan. 5 and a 31-14 edge over Northwestern on Jan. 9. The Gophers bench also outscored Penn State 29-8 on Jan. 12, Ohio State 20-6 on Jan. 26, Northwestern 20-10 on Feb. 6 in Evanston and held a 31-7 bench scoring edge over Iowa on Feb. 9.
A Gopher has scored at least five points off the bench in 2 7 of the team’s 28 games, led by Blake Hoffarber’s 21 points against Colorado State, 15 points against Northwestern on Jan. 9 and a 19-point effort against Penn State on Jan. 12. Hoffarber was also the leading bench scorer in all three Duel in the Desert games (Dec. 28-30) with 13, 10 and 13 points against Nicholls State, Kennesaw State and UNLV, respectively. Al Nolen scored seven off the bench against Michigan State while Damian Johnson and Kevin Payton both scored six points off the bench against Santa Clara on Dec. 22. Lawrence McKenzie scored 20 points off the bench against Iowa State and 16 at Northwestern on Feb. 6; Johnson chipped in a career-high 12 points against Army; Hoffarber scored 12 off the bench against Florida State while Hoffarber and Johnson chipped in with 13 and 12 points, respectively, off the bench against UC Riverside. Nolen had 15 to lead the Gophers against NDSU, while Johnson contributed 10 points against South Dakota State.
Date Opponent Margin Score
12/3 North Dakota State +34 41-7
11/20 Iowa State +29 30-1
12/1 UC Riverside +23 27-4
12/28 Nicholls State +23 33-10
12/8 Colorado State +17 44-27
11/10 Army +17 47-30
12/22 Santa Clara +14 16-2
12/12 South Dakota State +13 26-13
11/27 Florida State +13 29-16
12/29 Kennesaw State +7 28-21
11/24 Central Michigan +4 26-22
12/30 UNLV +2 29-27
1/6 Michigan State +1 22-21
1/9 Northwestern +17 31-14
1/12 Penn State +21 29-8
1/17 Indiana -12 17-29
1/20 Michigan State -12 15-27
1/26 Ohio State +14 20-6
1/31 Michigan -23 5-28
2/3 Wisconsin -2 6-8
2/6 Northwestern +10 20-10
2/9 Iowa +24 31-7
2/12 Illinois -4 26-30
2/16 Wisconsin +4 18-14
2/21 Michigan +5 17-12
2/24 Penn State +4 23-19
2/27 Purdue -11 11-22
3/1 Ohio State +4 17-13
Minnesota has relied heavily on its two freshmen, Al Nolen and Blake Hoffarber this season.
Nolen is averaging 4.8 points, 3.6 assists, 2.1 steals and 22.6 minutes per game this season. He has tied for or led the Gophers in assists in 15 of the 27 games he has played in, including a career-high eight Feb. 9 vs. Iowa. He has recorded 57 steals (2.1 spg), which ranks him second overall in the Big Ten and ranks eighth in the Big Ten in assists at 3.6 per game and sixth in the conference with a 1.85 assist/turnover ratio.
Hoffarber is averaging 8.9 points for the Gophers this season and is shooting .462 (84-182) from the floor, including .442 (61-138) from behind the arc, the third highest percentage in the Big Ten Conference. He scored a season-high 21 points, hitting 6-of-11 three pointers, off the bench Dec. 8 against Colorado State. Hoffarber also came off the bench to contribute 13 points Dec. 1 against UC Riverside, 10 points against North Dakota State on Dec. 3, nine points Dec. 12 against South Dakota State and 13, 10 and 13 points, respectively during the three-game Duel in the Desert after Christmas. He chipped in with five points off the bench in the Gophers conference opener Jan. 5 at Michigan State, scored 15 points in the Gophers conference home opener on Jan. 9 vs. Northwestern, 19 at Penn State on Jan. 12, 15 points in the first start of his Gopher career on Feb. 6 at Northwestern, eight points in another start vs. Iowa on Feb. 9 and 10 in a win over Ohio State (3/1).
STAT SHEET FILLER
Minnesota forward Damian Johnson has been filling up the stat sheet all season. The sophomore from Thibodaux, La. started the regular season with a bang, as he came off the bench to score 12 points, grab eight rebounds, block four shots while also stealing four balls, all career highs at the time. He tied a career-high in points on Dec. 1 against UC Riverside while also grabbing seven rebounds, blocking three shots and stealing three balls. Johnson dished out a career-high five assists and tied a career-high with five steals against Ohio State on Jan. 26. He also contributed eight points and six rebounds. Johnson established a new career-high with five blocks against Wisconsin to go along with 10 points, three rebounds, two assists and one steal while playing a career-high 34 minutes.
Against Iowa on Feb. 9, Johnson played 31 minutes off the bench and scored nine points on 4-of-8 shooting and also contributed a team-high seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and an assist. He grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds, seven of which were offensive, against Illinois on Feb. 12 while also scoring nine points, swiping four balls and blocking a shot. Also, Johnson contributed five points, six rebounds and a steal against Wisconsin (2/16).
Johnson is sixth on the team in scoring at 6.7 ppg, second on the team in rebounding at 4.5 rpg, leads the team in blocks with 37 (1.3 bpg) and has the second most steals (49, 1.8 spg), which is fifth most in the conference.
Johnson helped limit Indiana’s Eric Gordon to 12 points on Jan. 17. Gordon managed just 3-for-8 shooting on the night. It was Gordon’s second lowest total this year, and lowest in Big Ten play. The three field goals were also tied for his second-lowest total of the season. He came into the Jan. 17 contest averaging 23.0 points per game. Johnson forced seven Gordon turnovers, while racking up five steals, three blocks and scored eight points.
After a year at Chicago’s United Center, the Big Ten Tournament returns to Indianapolis’ Conseco Fieldhouse for the next five tournaments beginning this season. In its first 10 years of existence, the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament has welcomed more than 950,000 fans and issued over 6,000 media credentials.
Five different league representatives have become Big Ten Tournament champions, with Michigan State (1999, 2000), Illinois (2003, 2005) and Iowa (2001, 2006) claiming the honor twice along with Ohio State (2007) and Wisconsin (2004) capturing one. In addition, every tournament game in the past 10 years has been televised live on CBS, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPN Plus.
2007-08 Big Ten Tournament Schedule
Thursday, March 13
Game 1 #8 Seed vs. #9 Seed Noon ET (Big Ten Network)
Game 2 #7 Seed vs. #10 Seed 2:30 p.m. ET*( ESPN2)
Game 3 #6 Seed vs. #11 Seed 5 p.m. ET* (ESPN2)
Friday, March 14
Game 4 #1 Seed vs. Game 1 Winner Noon ET (ESPN)
Game 5 #4 Seed vs. #5 Seed 2:30 p.m. ET* (ESPN)
Game 6 #2 Seed vs. Game 2 Winner 6:30 p.m. ET* (Big Ten Network)
Game 7 #3 Seed vs. Game 3 Winner 9 p.m. ET* (Big Ten Network)
Saturday, March 15
Game 8 Game 4 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner 1:40 p.m. ET (CBS)
Game 9 Game 6 Winner vs. Game 7 Winner 4:05 p.m. ET* (CBS)
Sunday, March 16
Game 10 Tournament Championship 3:30 p.m. ET (CBS)
* Approximate game times