Minnesota's men's basketball team has flirted with the idea of being a top-10 squad in this young Big Ten season.
The No. 12 Gophers are currently third in the conference in scoring -- putting up 76.2 points per game -- but they've lowered their own ceiling by turning the ball over at a higher clip than any other conference team.
Tubby Smith's group averages 14.7 turnovers per game, just below Tom Izzo's Spartans, who turn it over 14.3 times per game.
Big Ten turnovers per game:
Michigan State: 14.3
Penn State: 13.1
Ohio State: 11.1
No one Gophers player is to blame, as four starters average at least 1.9 turnovers. Andre Hollins (2.3 turnovers per game), Joe Coleman (2.2), Rodney Williams (1.9) and Trevor Mbakwe (1.9) all have contributed to Minnesota's most looming problem.
However, against Michigan on Thursday, Minnesota's bench turned it over seven times. The starting five had eight turnovers.
"There were so many live ball turnovers [against Michigan] that led to layups, dunks," Smith said after Tuesday's practice. "This is a veteran team that still hasn't learned how to handle the ball."
Despite the poor ball handling, the Gophers rank seventh in the Big Ten in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.12). Their average ranking is due in part to Minnesota's 16.4 assists per game, enough for second in the conference and 18th in the nation.
"We find ourselves out there dribbling the ball for no reason," senior Rodney Williams said Tuesday about the turnover problem. "Just being more patient, we rush a lot of times and force things, and that's not us. Not our style of basketball."
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