Gophers aim for breakthrough season under Smith

5:53 PM, Oct 29, 2012   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - Minnesota coach Tubby Smith has yet to win an NCAA tournament game since his celebrated arrival at the school five years ago.

This season will give him as good of a chance as any.

The Gophers have every starter back from their squad that was runner-up in the NIT. Center Ralph Sampson III has graduated, but he was injured and didn't play down the stretch. They have standout Trevor Mbakwe in the post once again and an extra year of experience for developing prospects like Andre Hollins.

Smith says he hopes the Gophers "can be a very competitive team" in the Big Ten and compete for the conference championship. The highest they've finished under Smith is sixth place. They were ninth in each of the last two seasons.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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