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Golden Nugz for 2.24.09

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Tubby Smith's Gophers blew out the Northwestern Wildcats Sunday night. The ball coach praised the team's energy.

"I thought our guys were focused and ready tonight," said Smith, who earned his 16th consecutive 20-victory season with the victory Sunday. "I think they understand the urgency and the intensity that we have to play with."

A couple comments here.

1) The team did seem focused and ready Sunday night. It's too bad that focus wasn't present for the past month or so as the Gophers went from an NCAA lock to bubble team.

and

2) I think that focus, urgency and intensity was a byproduct of the decision to put the team into a full-court defense mode. It wasn't extremely high-pressure defense, but the team was playing full-court. I think that leads to more energy then having the team fall back and simply play defense from the three point line in.

  • Pretty much the majority of the Big Ten--sans the three bottom feeders and MSU, Purdue and Illinois--are solidly on the NCAA Touranment bubble. Here's a look at said bubble from the Ohio State perspective, courtesy of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
  • If you follow the NBA at all you probably know that former Tubby Smith point guard Rajon Rondo has been blossoming into one fine professional point guard. The Louisville Courier Journal looks back at Rondo's days in Kentucky and states that Tubby helped Rondo mature and prepare for an NBA career. And Rondo is similar to Al Nolen in one respect, his college detractors used to trash his jump shot.
  • Maize and Blue Nation has a "ridiculously early" preview of Michigan's quarterback battle.
  • ESPN's Rittenberg has a list of the best Big Ten performers at the NFL combine. It's a lengthy list with no Gophers. But we'd do well to remember  that last year's Minnesota team was one of the youngest in the nation.
  • I'm not sure who recommended Damages here, but it's great. I bought the first season and am totally addicted. I do communications consulting for a living in the political realm, and in a very scary sort of way I admire Patty Hewes. Now, does anyone know where online I can catch up with season 2? I'm about through with season 1 and know season 2 is halfway through.