Gophers Open National Invitational Tournament at La Salle

Go Gophers! Rodney Williams leads the Gophers in scoring, rebounding, steals, blocks and minutes played.
Go Gophers!
Rodney Williams leads the Gophers in scoring, rebounding, steals, blocks and minutes played.
Go Gophers!
Minnesota (19-14) vs. La Salle (21-12) - NIT First Round
Tickets La Salle Ticket Office
Date Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Time 6:00 p.m. CT
Location Tom Gola Arena (3,400) - Philadelphia, Pa.
Series Record Minnesota leads 1-0
Last Meeting W, 92-87 (Dec. 30, 1965)
Television ESPN2 (John Saunders, Stephen Bardo)
Online ESPN3.com
Radio Learfield/1500 ESPN (Listen Online)
(Mike Grimm, Spencer Tollackson)
Live Stats Click Here
Game Notes Minnesota Get Acrobat Reader | La Salle
Season Statistics Minnesota | La Salle
Social Media Facebook | @MNGopherHoops | @CoachTubbySmith

SERIES INFORMATION
Series: 2nd meeting (1-0)
Series (Away): 2nd meeting (1-0)
Current Streak: W-1
Last Meeting: Dec. 30, 1965 (W, 92-87)
Tubby Smith vs. La Salle: First meeting
Minnesota vs. Atlantic 10: 14-9
Tubby Smith vs. Atlantic 10: 6-4

Game day Tid-Bits:
• Minnesota will travel to Philadelphia to take on La Salle in the first round of the 75th NIT. The Gophers and Explorers will be meeting for the first time since Dec. 30, 1965.
• The Gophers & Explorers share two common opponents this season in Bucknell & Dayton. Minnesota opened the season with a win over the Bison and dropped the Championship Game of the Old Spice Classic to Dayton.  
• Smith will be going for his 100th career win at  Minnesota. Only seven coaches in program history have won 100 or more games. L.J. Cooke (1897-1924) tops the list with 250 career wins. His winning percentage at Minnesota is fourth all-time in Gopher annuals.
• This is the 14th appearance for the Gophers in the National Invitational Tournament. They are 18-11 in non-vacated NIT games, including the 1993 championship. Minnesota also won the 1998 title but that has since been vacated. Minnesota's record is 24-12 when the vacated games are included.
• The Game against La Salle is just the second time Minnesota will open the NIT on the road.
• The last time Minnesota played an NIT game in Philly, the Gophers defeated Temple 63-58 in overtime to advance to Madison Square Garden. Minnesota finished fourth in that tournament.
• The winner of the Minnesota/La Salle game will play the winner of Valparaiso & Miami.
Andre Hollins was named to the All-Big Ten Tournament Team after averaging 23.0 ppg in Indianapolis. He established career-highs in points (25), field-goals (10), three-point field-goals (5), and three-point field-goal attempts (10) against Northwestern, his first career B1G Tournament game.
• Hollins leads all Big Ten Conference players in free-throw percentage. He comes into the game with a .914 percentage, currently the finest single-season percentage in Gopher history.

Dre Hollins Named to All-B1G Tourney Team:
• Freshman Andre Hollins was named to the All-Big Ten Tournament Team following a stellar showing in Indianapolis.
• Hollins averaged 23.0 points, 4.5 rebounds & 3.0 assists during the tournament.
• Hollins scored a career-high 25 points in the win over Northwestern and followed that up with 21 against Michigan.
• Hollins is the second Gopher player in three seasons to be named to the team (Devoe Joseph - 2009).
• Joining Hollins on the team were MSU players Draymond Green (Most Outstanding Player) & Brandon Wood and OSU's Jared Sullinger & Deshaun Thomas.

Smith Seeking 100th Win at Minnesota:
• With one more win 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 99-67.
• 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 .596 is the fourth highest in the history of the program.

Tubby Smith Trends:
In four-plus seasons under Tubby Smith, Minnesota has followed some pretty significant winning trends:
• 88-11 when leading with 5:00 remaining
• 81-42 when bench outscores opponents bench
• 81-13 when leading at the half
• 57-15 with fewer turnovers than opponent
• 66-6 when scoring 70 points or more
• 66-23 at Williams arena
• 71-29 when outrebounding its opponent
• 70-15 when attempting more free throws than its opponent

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 Wednesday (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