Tallahassee, FL (Sports Network) - The Minnesota Golden Gophers will defendtheir newly acquired national ranking in a contest at the Donald L. TuckerCenter against the Florida State Seminoles as part of the ACC/Big TenChallenge.
The Gophers are coming off a successful run in the Battle 4 Atlantis in whichthey managed to grab two wins in three games. The only loss came againstnow second-ranked Duke (89-71) with the wins against strong Memphis andStanford squads. Before that Minnesota had racked up four straight wins athome where it will return for six of its next seven games.
After a shocking loss on its home floor to South Alabama in the seasonopener, Florida State looks a lot more like the team that won the ACCTournament last season. The Seminoles have won four straight games, includingan 73-66 victory over Saint Joseph's in the title game of the Coaches vs.Cancer Classic. Florida State should get settled in now as they play four morehome games, including a battle with instate rival Florida, over the next fewweeks.
Florida State leads the all-time series with the Gophers after having won thelast two meetings to earn a 4-3 series lead.
Tied 63-63 with just one second remaining, Minnesota's Andre Hollins wasfouled on a 3-point attempt and sent to the line. Hollins sank all three freethrows and the Gophers topped Stanford 66-63. The game featured 12 ties and 11lead changes, with neither team ever going ahead by double digits. It wasTrevor Mbakwe's 19-point, 12-rebound double-double that carried Minnesota inthe win.
The backcourt tandem of Andre and Austin Hollins has been a very productiveone of Tubby Smith. Andre (14.0 ppg, 4.0 apg) is scoring and distributing wellbut could use some improvement in his shooting from the field (37.5 FGpercentage). Austin (11.3 ppg,, 4.0 rpg, 2.4 spg) has been a less prolificscorer but is disruptive on defense and can hit shots when called upon. In thefrontcourt, Rodney Williams (14.1 ppg, 6.1 rpg) is the top option in thestarting five. He finishes well around the rim (66.7 FG percentage) and is oneof only two players on the team brining in more than five boards a game.Mbakwe's contributions off the bench (8.4 ppg, 6.7 rpg) have been a big boostas well.
Florida State took on North Florida last time out and came away with a 75-67victory. The Seminoles opened the game on a 16-3 run and would never lead byfewer than five points the rest of the way. Florida State shot 45.5 percent inthe game but did struggle from beyond the arc where it was outscored 27-6.Michael Snaer hit both of those triples and finished with 21 points and eightrebounds.
Getting Snaer going is something Florida State needed after he was slowed inthe season-opening loss. Snaer has turned it around and is scoring a team-high16.0 points per game, while bringing in 6.4 rebounds. He missed all six of his3-point attempts in the opener but has knocked down 11-of-21 attempts since.The Seminoles are also an imposing team on the front line with Okaro White(14.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg) and Terrance Shannon (10.8 ppg, 6.4 rpg). By poundingthe ball down low the Seminoles have earned a stellar 51.9 field goalpercentage overall, while scoring an impressive 80.4 points per game.