Life after Mbakwe, Gophers moving on - Bring Me The News

Life after Mbakwe, Gophers moving on

The Gophers' basketball season may have come to a crashing halt Monday when the University announced Trevor Mbakwe will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. Tubby Smith is now facing the challenge of replacing his best player.

The University of Minnesota announced Monday that star basketball player Trevor Mbakwe will miss the remainder of the season due to a torn ACL in his right knee. Mbakwe suffered the injury in Sunday's loss to the Dayton Flyers.

Head coach Tubby Smith is now billed with finding a successful way to play without his best player. Smith's first idea is to move Rodney Williams from small forward to power forward, and start redshirt freshman Elliot Eliason at center. Smith says he'll likely make this move Wednesday night when the Gophers host Virginia Tech in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

If that doesn't work, the Gophers could start playing "small ball." Redshirt freshman Oto Osenieks hinted that might be the case. If Tubby Smith goes this direction, expect him to start Julian Welch at the point or shooting guard.

Many fans are hoping senior center Ralph Sampson III will take some of the slack left by Mbakwe's injury. However, that's going to be difficult for him because he's still not practicing due to a sprained ankle.

Star Tribune columnist Jim Souhan believes Tubby Smith and the Gophers can no longer make excuses. Souhan says Smith can't point directly and Mbakwe's absence as an excuse for future losses.

With so many questions waiting to be answered, we can be sure of one thing. Tubby Smith's job just got a lot more difficult.

Next Up


Mbakwe injury puts pressure on Williams

Tubby Smith might make some big changes to the starting lineup now that Trevor Mbakwe is out for the season with a torn ACL. During his weekly radio show, Smith said Rodney Williams could start at power foward, where he'll be expected to be more of a rebounding presence.

Mbakwe surgery goes well

Gopher basketball senior Trevor Mbakwe successfully completed surgery for a torn ACL Friday, coach Tubby Smith said. Mbakwe was leading the Gophers in scoring when he went down with the injury in late November. Mbakwe is not expected to return to the Gopher’s lineup this year.

Tubby Smith won't use Mbakwe's injury as a scapegoat to another rough season

The Gophers have lost five in a row and six of seven in Big Ten play, but head coach Tubby Smith won't be blaming the struggles on the absence of injured star Trevor Mbakwe. Instead, Smith believes his team is struggling psychologically. He says he needs to find a way to boost the players' confidence, and that playing at Wisconsin on Tuesday will be a real test of character.

Mbakwe's first workout goes well

Gophers basketball star Trevor Mbakwe returned to the court on Wednesday to go through individual workouts with some of the team's coaches and a few of his teammates. Head coach Tubby Smith said Mbakwe is "looking good" as he continues working his way back from a torn ACL.

Mbakwe out for season with torn ACL

A body blow to the University of Minnesota basketball program. Gophers forward Trevor Mbakwe tore his ACL in Sunday night's loss to Dayton, and will miss the remainder of the season.