Pitino orders Twitter blackout for struggling Gophers

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In an effort to help his players remain positive following his team's 2-7 Big Ten record, Minnesota Gophers basketball coach Richard Pitino is banning his players from using Twitter.

The Gophers host Nebraska on Saturday and the Pioneer Press reports Pitino and his coaching staff felt that was the best way to keep his players away from some of the negativity surrounding their rough start.

"More than anything, just getting them to block it all out," Pitino told reporters on Friday. "I don't know if all of a sudden now it's going to change the season: it's just a little thing, just to get them to not have the weight of the world on their shoulders, because they don't deserve that."

It's not an uncommon thing around college basketball. According to the Star Tribune's Amelia Rayno, several other college coaches around the country do the same thing – including Pitino's father Rick at Louisville. Rayno also notes:

  • Iowa's Fran McCaffery banned his players from Twitter during the last month of last season when Iowa lost seven of their last eight games.
  • Purdue's Mat Painter bans players in season as well.

"It's not so much that our fans are negative, that's not the point," Pitino said Friday. "The point is just to block out all the noise. They don't need to be dealing with it, it's not fair to them."

As for the Gopher players, they didn't seem to affected by the Twitter comments much.

"What really matters is what we think of each other," Gophers guard Andre Hollins told reporters. "We're all confident in each other. We talk to each other. We've gotten closer as the year has gone on."

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