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What's gotten into the Gophers?

Tubby Smith's Gophers have looked like a completely different team in the N.I.T. They're playing better defense and running a more efficient offense. The changes might have something to do with Andre Hollins becoming a leader and Ralph Sampson not playing.
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Tubby Smith's Gophers have looked like a completely different team in the N.I.T. They're playing better defense and running a more efficient offense. The changes might have something to do with Andre Hollins becoming a leader and Ralph Sampson not playing.

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Madison Square Garden plays host the Gophers and Stanford tonight in the NIT championship game. Minnesota defeated Washington in the semifinals thanks to a big game from freshman Andre Hollins. Tubby Smith says he wants Hollins to have the ball in clutch situations "because he’s making very good decisions with it.”

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Ralph Sampson III is back in the starting lineup tonight as the Gophers host Appalachian State in non-conference play at Williams Arena. Sampson missed the previous two games because of a turned ankle. Andre Hollins is also starting despite turning an ankle in Saturday's win over USC.

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Minnesota (12-1, 4-6 Big Ten) will play at Nebraska Sunday afternoon for the first time as Big Ten foes. Tubby Smith is looking for more from his leaders, Ralph Sampson III and Rodney Williams. Smith told the Star Tribune "if they're not doing it, we have to find guys that will do it." The two veterans only had four rebounds combined in the tough 63-59 loss at Iowa on Wednesday.

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