VIDEO: Coach Smith Previews B1G Tournament game with Northwestern
Series: 152nd meeting (90-61)
Series (Neutral): 6th meeting (3-2)
Current Streak: L-1
Last Meeting: Feb. 18, 2012 (L, 64-53)
Tubby Smith vs. NU: 14th meeting (8-5)
Minnesota vs. Current Big Ten: 708-749
Tubby Smith vs. Current Big Ten: 59-64
Game Day Tid-Bits:
• Minnesota is the No. 10 seed in the Big Ten Tournament for the fourth time (2000, 2004 & 2006) and holds and 2-3 record.
• The Gophers are 7-6 all-time in Big Ten Tournament first round games and 12-14 overall.
• Tubby Smith is 34-14 in conference tournament action as a head coach, including 6-4 at Minnesota. He has won at least one game in 15 of 18 conference tournaments.
• The Gophers are facing Northwestern for the sixth time in Big Ten Tournament history and hold a 3-2 record in the previous five. The two teams also played in opening round of the 2008, 2009 & 2011 tournaments, Minnesota victories in `08 & `09 and Wildcat victory last year. The Wildcats are the Gophers most commonly played opponent in B1G Tournament play.
• This will be the third matchup of the season between the Gophers and Wildcats. Each team held court at home as Minnesota won 75-52 on Jan. 22 at Williams Arena and Northwestern won 64-53 on Feb. 18 at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
• Andre Hollins led the Big Ten Conference with a .923 (36-39) FT percentage in conference games. His overall season percentage of .905 (57-63) is currently the best single-season effort in the history of the program, besting Terrance Woods (1986-87) percentage of .882 (45-51).
• Minnesota has now led the Big Ten Conference in blocked shots the last four seasons, including four of the top five season block totals in the history of the Gopher program: a program leading 201 in 2008-09, 199 in 2009-10, 169 last season and the 2011-12 total that currently sits at 157. Sampson III led the team in blocked shots last season and is currently third all-time in program history with 203 career swats. Rodney Williams tops the team this season with 45, good for fourth in the conference with an average of 1.5 bpg. Sampson III is fifth at 1.3 bpg with 37 swats on the season.
Sampson III Reaches Milestone:
Trevor Mbakwe had been the talk of the Gophers entering the season but the other senior co-captain, Ralph Sampson III, will finish his Minnesota career as one of the best big men in program history.
Sampson III went over the 1,000 point mark on Feb. 28 against Wisconsin, the 37th player in program history to amass 1,000 career points. He currently sits in 34th place with 1,016 points and has a chance to surpass Maurice Hargrow on Thursday (33rd w/1,021 points).
He also 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). He has 203 career blocks, just the third Gopher player to reach 200 in a career (McHale & Breuer).
Sampson III Career Numbers:
• 125 career games played (113 starts) - 7th All-Time
• 1,016 career points (8.1 average) - 34th All-Time
• 630 career rebounds (5.0 average)
• 203 career blocks (1.6 average) - 3rd All-Time
Smith Seeking 100th Win at Minnesota:
• With two more wins this season Golden Gopher head coach Tubby Smith could join a short list of coaches to reach the 100-win plateau at the University of Minnesota.
• Smith began the season with a Gopher record of 80-53 and currently stands at 98-66.
• Smith's 80 wins at Minnesota to start the 2011-12 season are the most by a coach in his first four seasons on the bench in Gold Country.
• Smith's winning percentage of .598 is the fourth highest in the history of the program.