Minnesota Golden Gophers (17-14, 6-12)
Coach Tubby Smith (90-61) enters his fourth season at Minnesota.
Project starting five:
Sr. F Trevor Mbakwe
Fr. F Andre Ingram
Jr. G Julian Welch
So. G Austin Hollins
Sr. F Ralph Sampson III
Blake Hoffarber: 13.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.1 apg, 38.9 percent from 3-point range
Al Nolen: 8.4 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.7 apg
Colton Iverson: 5.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg
Fr. SG Joe Coleman (Rivals.com three-star player)
Fr. SG Andre Hollins (Rivals.com three-star player)
Minnesota looks solid with their two returning starters in Mbakwe and Sampson, both of whom entertained notions of leaving for the NBA. The Gophers surprised people last year with a late run in the Big Ten tournament, but unfortunately that fluke will not play out again. A lot of Minnesota’s players are good, but few are great and teams will exploit their weakened bench.
A very weak nonconference schedule will help inflate the Gophers’ final record, but after being cannibalized in their conference, Minnesota will sink to somewhere at or below .500 overall.
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