Gophers Face Xavier In NCAA First Round No. 11 seed Minnesota (21-13) opens NCAA Tournament play on Friday in Milwaukee, Wis. when it faces No. 6 seed Xavier (24-8).
GOPHERS EARN SECOND STRAIGHT NCAA BERTH • Minnesota is making its 11th overall NCAA Tournament appearance (1972, 1982, 1989, 1990, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2005, 2009, 2010), and its second-consecutive trip under third-year head coach Tubby Smith. Minnesota’s appearances during 1994, ’95, ’97 and ’99 were vacated due to NCAA violations. • Officially, the Gophers are 7-7 in NCAA Tournament games. • Minnesota was awarded a No. 11 seed for the second time. The Gophers’ previous appearance as the 11th seed was during 1989, when they knocked off No. 6 seed Kansas State, 86-75, and No. 14 Siena (80-67) to reach the Sweet 16 before falling to second-seeded Duke, 87-70. • The Gophers were a No. 10 seed last year, losing by a score of 76-62 versus No. 7 Texas in the first round, and dropped a 64-53 decision to Iowa State as a No. 8 seed during 2005. • This will mark Minnesota’s first-ever NCAA Tournament trip to Milwaukee’s Bradley Center. • Minnesota’s most recent first round victory (not including vacated seasons) took place on March 16, 1990, as part of the Southeast Regional in Richmond, Va., when the No. 20 Gophers defeated Texas-El Paso, 64-61 in overtime. That season, Minnesota went on to defeat Northern Iowa (81-78) and Syracuse (82-75) before losing to Georgia Tech (93-91) in the Regional Final. • Tubby Smith is 29-14 (.674) in NCAA Tournament action as a head coach, which is the eighth-best active NCAA Tournament winning percentage. Smith is making his 16th appearance in the “Big Dance,” and is one of just nine coaches to have taken three different schools (Tulsa, Georgia, Kentucky) to the Sweet 16. His 1998 Kentucky squad captured the NCAA Championship.
OLD FOES REUNITE: Minnesota vs. Xavier • Minnesota is 3-0 all-time against Xavier in a series that dates back to December 8, 1952, but the teams haven’t met on the hardwood since an 83-76 Minnesota victory on December 27, 1956. • The Gophers are 13-7 all-time against schools currently in the Atlantic 10 Conference. Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith is 4-1 against schools from the A-10, including a 97-74 win versus St. Joseph’s on Dec. 15 at Williams Arena. Xavier recorded an 88-52 home victory against St. Joseph’s on Feb. 17. • The Gophers have never played the Musketeers in Minneapolis, while going 2-0 in Cincinnati, and 1-0 at a neutral site. • This will mark Tubby Smith’s first meeting with Xavier during his 19-year tenure as head coach at Tulsa, Georgia, Kentucky, and Minnesota.
MINNESOTA vs. POTENTIAL SECOND ROUND FOES The Gophers are 1-2 against #3 seed Pittsburgh (24-8), but it’s been awhile since those teams have faced each other, as well. The last time the teams met was December 16, 1950, with the Gophers winning, 72-43. Both of the losses to the Panthers took place during the 1932-33 and 1933-34 seasons. Minnesota has never faced No. 14 seed Oakland (26-8).
MINNESOTA vs. WEST REGIONAL TEAMS Minnesota has played 11 of the 15 teams in the West Region of the NCAA Tournament, and 13 of 15 if you count vacated games. The Gophers have faced Kansas State 15 times, more than any other team in the region. The Gophers have played No. 12 UTEP and No. 1 Syracuse in NCAA Tournament play, both in 1990. Overall, Minnesota owns an all-time mark of 28-13 against the other teams in the region (not counting vacated games).
TUBBY'S TOURNEYS Head Coach Tubby Smith has had great success in conference tournament action. He holds a 34-14 (.708) all-time mark in tourney play. He has won five conference tournaments, all at Kentucky (1998, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004). He has won at least one game in 16 of 18 conference tournaments. His Kentucky Wildcats did not win a game in 2000 and 2002.
Smith guided the Gophers to their first Big Ten Tournament championship game this March and has led the Gophers into the Tournament semifinals in two of three seasons in Minneapolis. The Gophers made it to the quarterfinals as an eighth seed last year after an opening round win over ninth-seeded Northwestern. Smith is 6-3 at the Big Ten Tournament as Minnesota’s head coach. The Gophers were just 6-10 prior to his arrival.
RECAPPING THE RUN – BIG TEN TOURNAMENT WRAP • Minnesota has advanced to the semifinals four times, but this was the Gophers’ first trip to the championship game. Minnesota has reached at least the semifinals in two of Tubby Smith’s three seasons. • Tubby Smith has won a game in 16 of the 18 conference tournaments in which he has coached. • Sophomore guard Devoe Joseph was Minnesota’s leading scorer over the four games, averaging 14.0 points to go along with per game averages of 3.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.0 steals. Joseph was named to the five-player all-tournament team, becoming the third Gophers player to earn the honor, and the first since Vincent Grier in 2005. • Joseph tied a conference tournament record for free throw percentage by making 12-of-12 to help the Gophers go 3-1. Joseph also made 10-of-18 three-point attempts to tie for fifth in treys made in a single tourney. • Minnesota became the first team to win two games by 20-plus points at a Big Ten Tournament. There have been 10 games in the history of the tournament that have been decided by margins of 20 or more points, and Minnesota leads with three. The Gophers opened this year’s tourney with a 76-55 win over Penn State, and also posted a 69-42 win against #6 Purdue. Minnesota also defeated Penn State, 84-60, in the 2002 tourney. • Minnesota made 98-of-211 (.464) field goals, including 28-of-65 (.431) treys. The 98 total field goals is a new Big Ten Tournament record, while the 28 three-pointers ties the record. The 211 field goal attempts is second-most all-time, while the 65 three-point attempts ties for second, and the Gophers’ three-point percentage ties for tenth. • Senior guard Lawrence Westbrook scored 43 points for an average of 10.8 ppg. Westbrook scored 17 points in the championship game versus Ohio State, giving him 97 career points during his career at the Big Ten Tournament to rank first all-time among Minnesota players. • Westbrook and senior forward Damian Johnson each played in their 10th career Big Ten Tournament game to tie for the most games played at the event. Dan Coleman (2005-08) had been the previous leader, with eight. • Westbrook extended a streak of made free throws to 31 before missing one in overtime of the win against Michigan State. • Johnson played in his 126th career game, which ranks fifth on Minnesota’s all-time list. Johnson also recorded eight blocks at the tournament to give him 65 for the season, which moves him into seventh on Minnesota’s single-season list in that category. • Johnson finished his career at the Big Ten tourney with 42 career rebounds to trail only Dusty Rychart (1999-2002), who had 46 in five career games. • Sophomore center Colton Iverson made 18-of-24 (.750) field goals, which would have been the second-best percentage in the tournament’s history, but it requires an average of five made FGs per game (Iverson averaged 4.5). Iverson had averages of 10.5 ppg and 4.0 rpg during the tournament. • Minnesota is 12-13 all-time at the Big Ten Tournament, 7-5 in opening round games, 4-4 in the quarterfinals, 1-3 in the semifinals, and 0-1 in the championship. • Tubby Smith is 34-14 all-time in conference tournament play, including 6-3 at Minnesota. Minnesota was just 6-10 in the Big Ten Tournament prior to Smith’s arrival. • The Gophers have a record of 6-4 as a #6 seed (1999, 2002, 2008, 2010). • Minnesota is 1-3 against No. 1 seeds in the Big Ten Tournament.
TWENTY FOR TUBBY With the 72-67 overtime win against #11 Michigan State in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament on March 12, Tubby Smith secured his 17th straight 20-win season, the longest active streak in the nation and the third-longest streak in NCAA history. Smith’s streak began during 1993-94 and has stretched across four different institutions (Tulsa, Georgia, Kentucky, and Minnesota). Smith has never had a losing season, and his teams have reached postseason play every season since the streak began.
TUBBY COACHES NO. 100 Tubby Smith coached his 100th game at Minnesota and it came in impressive fashion as the Gophers routed Purdue 69-42 in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals. Smith has coached more than 100 games at three schools (Tulsa, Kentucky, Minnesota).
TUBBY TIME IS TOURNEY TIME • In his 19th season as a head coach, Tubby Smith is making his 16th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. • Smith is 29-14 (.674) all-time in the NCAA Tournament to rank eighth among all active head coaches for winning percentage in the “Big Dance.” • Smith made 14 consecutive NCAA trips from 1994 to 2007 during his tenures at Tulsa (2), Georgia (2), and Kentucky (10). • Smith is one of only nine head coaches to have guided three different schools to an NCAA Sweet 16.
WINNING AND MORE WINNING • Minnesota has posted three consecutive 20-win seasons for the first time in school history (not including vacated games). (Clem Haskins won 20 or more games for six straight seasons from 1992-1998). • Minnesota’s 43 combined victories between 2008-09 and 2009-10 are the most ever recorded in back-to-back seasons at the University of Minnesota. The previous best had been a total of 42, which was accomplished three times – by Smith’s teams in 2007-08 and 2008-09, by Haskins’ teams in 1988-89 and 1989-90, and by Jim Dutcher’s squads in 1980-81 and 1981-82. • Minnesota’s 63 combined victories in Tubby Smith’s first three seasons are the most in a three-year span in Gopher history (not counting vacated seasons). • Minnesota reached 20 total wins for just the 10th time in school history.
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