Always nice to see national attention for Tubby Smith's Gophers. This time it's Tubby Smith with the lead item in Andy Katz' blog. In the piece he says the Gophers are ahead of schedule.
"I think we're where we need to be, as far as being a work in progress," Smith said. "We're improving every day, and we're showing a lot of consistency."
This Minnesota team isn't going to be very sexy in the Big Ten. The Gophers will be productive and patient and likely defend in a conference in which most teams enter the league race feeling that they have a chance, save maybe Indiana. (The Hoosiers are 5-5, whereas no other team is under four games above .500.)
Playing Louisville provides Minnesota with a barometer. How tough is this team? Can it defend Samardo Samuels in the post, Earl Clark on the wing? Can it match the intensity of Rick Pitino's team? Smith knows Pitino well, having coached under him and against him.
"These guys have adapted and are playing well for us, playing hard and playing together," Smith said. "I think we can be in the tournament. We've got a lot to improve on, but we have the potential and the talent."
- NCAA FanHouse has a travel guide for any of you who are travelling to Arizona for the Insight Bowl.
- GN will have our preview of the Louisville-Minnesota tilt on Friday (I think), but if you want some meat now, the UofM communication folks have some nice information here. Tubby is apparently 4-6 all time against Rick Pitino.
- Interesting tidbit from this AP article, Pitino's Cardinals have lost 5 of their last 6 neutral site games, including one earlier this year to Western Kentucky. They have two neutral site games back to back. They play Mississippi in Cincinatti on Thursday (let's scout!) and then travel to Arizona for the Stadium Shootout.
- A Minnesota Daily blogger looks at coaching contracts and compares Tim Brewster, Joe Paterno and Nick Saban. I'm assuming the numbers are correct, and if so, I'm shocked at the gap between Brewster and Paterno.
- If you follow Minnesota high school hoops, The Basketblogger has some upcoming games in January you might want to attend. And who knows, maybe see Bo Ryan and Tubby Smith, and some future college ballers to boot.
- GN and I won't caucus for a couple days on the Caption Contest below, so feel free to keep throwing out good captions until we advise otherwise.