Purple Reign Pregame Intel Report

With a Bye week, did the The Golden Gophers got a mini-vacation in Mineapolis?<br><br> Not really - but they did get a day off...

It would appear the 4th place, 14-7 [6-4 BT] Minnesota Gophers took the weekend to work on fundamentals....running their offense without defenders, working on timing and those mental mistakes...trying to improve on their 1-5 road record tonight at Welsh Ryan.

Last time we played was up in Minnesota
the Gophers won at home 74-57. 6-10 Senior Center Jerry Holman [left] had his first ever double double against the Cats as the starting guards [Maurice Hargrow and Kevin Burleson]  combined for 35 points. The Wildcats never recovered from a 12-0 run by the Gophers in the 2nd half.

To get ready for the rest of the big 10 Season, they changed the practice basketballs from the Nike balls they usually use at home to the balls used at the other Big 10 arenas. They also took an extra day off, and practiced at the Sports Pavilion instead of Williams Arena. And they worked on fundamentals;
We did a lot of maintenance work and making sure we clean up the little things, forward Michael Bauer said [in the Star Trib]. We've been playing well as a team and want to make sure that continues.
Gopher Coach Dan Monson pointed out the goals of the weekend's work:
We're trying to keep our same rhythm we had and not lose that, and we need to get better at some of our weaknesses, we need to get better at rebounding and get better defensively. [in the Star-Trib]

So the goal appeared to be to rest up, and then practice the fundamentals of the Minnesota game...

We're either going to be better or worse on Wednesday after the week off. As I told the players we have to use it to grow and get better [Star-Trib]

At least the players seem to agree with the coach about the rest and practice...
If we come out with fresh legs, ready and willing to attack, it won't be a big deal. If it's the other way around, we're going to wish we played last weekend. [Jr Forward Michael Bauer[right] - Pioneer Press]
This week's practice had been a whole lot different than the last time we had a week off after Illinois. Coming off the loss you don't have the confidence. But now everybody's upbeat and ready to go. [Jeff Hagen - MN Daily]

We have to go in there with the mental attitude that we're going to come in and play our butts off, everybody knows that. [Soph forward Rick Rickert - left [Star Tribune]

The Big Guns
Last time it was: Scoring by the guards as Maruice Hargrow poured in 19 points with 4 rebounds and Kevin Burleson added 16 points. Center Jerry Holman also had a decent game....

But the Big Guy on the court is still 6-11 Sophomore Forward Rick Rickert  - averaging 31 minutes a game in the conference, 15.8 points and 5.9 rebounds, Rickert is both the scoring and rebound leader.

The Boards: Add two more big guys averaging over 5 boards a game - Michael Bauer and Jerry Holman. As a team, only 35% of their rebounds come from the offensive end.

From the Arc two starters, Maruice Hargrow [13-29] and Michael Bauer [28-70] both shoot over .400. Rickert and Burleson  aren't too far behing at .366 [15-41] and 14-44 [.318] either
The Starters
Forwards: #41 Michael Bauer [6-8 Jr/12.8ppg/4.7rpg] ,
#1 Rick Rickert [6-11 Soph/15.1/6.2 ]
Center: #41 Jerry Holman [6-10 Sr/9.9/5.9]

#12 Kevin Burleson [6-3 Sr/7.4/3.4],

#11 Maurice Hargrow [6-4 Soph/13.7/4.9]
The Gophers get 58.9 points a game from the starting 5 and just over 25 rebounds! The team averages 77 points a game and is 6-2 with this starting lineup.
The Rest of the Team
The big two off the bench are #21 Stan Gaines [6-7 Fr Forward/1.3 ppg - 8 mins] and
#42 Jeff Hagen [6-11 Soph Center/5 ppg - 12 mins]. You'll also see two sharpshooters come in; #3 Aaron Robinson [5-9 Soph Guard/1.8 ppg- 13 mins],
#31 Steve Esselink [6-6 Jr Forward/2 ppg - 7 mins].

Former Wildcat Guard Ben Johnson, has mononucleosis and is not expected to play.
The Coach
Dan Monson [right] is in his fourth season running the Gophers, taking over when the team was under a real cloud due to some academic integrity issues. He came to Minnesota from Gonzaga.

He cleaned the academic problem up, and has continued to develop a big, quick team. He's brought back some home grown Minnesota talent, developed some walk-ons and attracted one of the top 10 recruiting classes two years ago. Two of those kids [Holman and Rickert] start for the Gophers today.

They've had back to back NIT appearances and managed to finish 6th in the Big 10 last year.
Challenges for the Wildcats
  • This is our house - play like it
  • Keep the game outside - make them try 3 pointers
  • no long runs in the second half
  • AJ has to get the outside shots
  • We need to get more offensive rebounds - no easy task with Minnesota's tall front court.

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