Coach Smith talks about Thursday's game with Stanford.
SERIES INFORMATION Series: Fifth meeting (4-0) Series (Neutral): Second meeting (1-0) Current Streak: W-4 Last Meeting: Dec. 22, 1975 (W, 89-84) Tubby Smith vs. Stanford: Second meeting (1-0) Minnesota vs. Pac 12: 38-26 Tubby Smith vs. Pac 12: 15-4
Game Day Tid-Bits: • Minnesota has won six of its last seven games entering the NIT Championship matchup with Stanford. The Cardinal are the third Pac 12 team the Gophers have faced this season (USC, Washington) • With a win over Stanford, Tubby Smith can become the 10th coach to win an NCAA title and an NIT title. The others are Vadal Peterson (Utah), Nolan Richardson (Tulsa - NIT & Arkansas - NCAA), Bob Knight (Indiana), Adolph Rupp (Kentucky), Joe B. Hall (Kentucky), Al McGuire (Marquette), Dean Smith (North Carolina), Jim Calhoun (Connecticut) & Nat Holman (CCNY). • Tubby Smith defeated Stanford, then led by Mike Montgomery, in the 1998 NCAA National Semifinals 86-85 in overtime in San Antonio. Smith & the Wildcats went on to defeat Utah for the National Championship. Gopher assistant coach Saul Smith was a freshman guard on that Wildcat team. • This is the 14th appearance for the Gophers in the National Invitational Tournament. They are 22-11 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 28-12 when the vacated games are included. • The Gophers are one of four teams to have 28 or more wins in the history of the NIT. St. John’s, with a record of 45-26, has the most wins. Minnesota has reached the NIT Final Four in five of its 14 NIT appearances and is playing in its fourth championship game. • Andre Hollins enters the game against Stanford with a season free throw percentage of .922 (83-90) which would lead the nation if he had more attempts. The NCAA requires 2.5 makes per game. He is currently at 2.3 and would need nine makes against the Cardinal to qualify. • Rodney Williams played his 100th career game and scored his 800th career-point in the semifinal win over Washington.