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Friday, January 22, 2010
Tubby planning on life without Nolen

By Andy Katz

Minnesota coach Tubby Smith told ESPN.com Friday he doesn't anticipate junior guard Al Nolen winning his appeal to play this season.

Nolen was recently ruled academically ineligible for failing to meet the minimum requirement of passing six credit hours in the first semester. Minnesota was appealing on his behalf because of extenuating circumstances, including a death in the family.

"He had a lot of issues this fall but he still had to do the work," Smith said. "I'm planning that we won't have him for the rest of the season."

Smith said that he would hope Nolen would continue to pursue a degree and stay in school for his final season, assuming he is eligible.

Smith said he would start Devoe Joseph in place of Nolen against Michigan State on Saturday, with freshman Justin Cobb getting major minutes as well.

Meanwhile, Smith said freshmen Royce White, who had been indefinitely suspended due to his role in a shoplifting and dormitory trespassing incident, may not play this season either. White started practicing for the first time this week, but Smith said the highly touted frosh isn't in shape and with only a dozen games remaining, it might not make sense to play White even if he is completely cleared.

As for the game against the Spartans, Smith termed it a "must-win" if the Gophers have any vision of competing for the Big Ten title.

"We have to win our home games if we want to have a chance," Smith said.