and... i like them? I think I like them.
Finishing 8-10 in the B1G last year was pretty disappointing for the Gophers. One more win would most likely have vaulted them into the tournament at 21-13. It is worth noting that they went on to win the NIT, which although it is the NIT, it still means you are the 65th best team in the country. And hey! Banner!!! This offseason Minnesota loses more than they gain. They lose Malik Smith, Austin Hollins, and Maverick Ahanmisi to graduation. Oto Osenieks is graduating early due to injury. Losing these players means losing:
Although this is not catastrophic, it is a good amount of their production gone. They do still have a big team (excluding Mathieu) and bring in three three stars. Here is their projected roster:
# Name HT WT YR. POS
15 Maurice Walker 6-10 250 RS. SR. PF
Maurice Walker had a incosistent year. He would have some games that flashed brilliance, runnning the floor, post moves. And some games where he picked up cheap fouls and quickly exited. He will start at Power Forward, which could present matchup issues for teams since he is so tall. He averaged 7.8 and 4.5 last year which is pretty good for his limited role.
55 Elliott Eliason 6-11 240 RS. SR C
The best big man in the B1G according to Pitino, had games where he was a complete beast. He will most likely improve even more. The starting Center, he averaged 5 points and 6.6 rebounds per game last year.
2 Kendal Shell 6-0 185 SR. PG
4 Deandre Mathieu 5-9 165 SR. PG
The starting Point Guard, arguably the quickest player in the B1G. Fastbreak and assist machine. Averaged 12 points and 4.2 assists last year.
1 Andre Hollins 6-2 195 SR. SG
The best player on this team, he is a good shooter and a good athlete. The starting shooting guard. He averaged 13.6 points per game last year.
24 Joey King 6-9 225 JR. SF
Tall but he does not really use it to his advantage. Almost half of his shots last year were three pointers. He averaged 7.1 points per game last year.
23 Charles Buggs 6-9 210 RS. SO. PF
Exploded late in the season after doing nothing all year. Will be the first forward off the bench.
5 Daquein McNeil 6-3 195 SO. SG
The first guard off the bench, he did not play much but he will play a similar role to Malik Smith last year.
Josh Martin 6-8 215 FR. PF
Needs too put on some weight but this 3 star should play about 15 minutes a game.
Carlos Morris 6-4 FR. SG
Morris, also a three star will come in and play about 10 minutes a game.
Nate Mason 5-11 160 FR. PG
A three star who will play about 5 minutes a game. If McNeil plays well, Mason will redshirt. If McNeil is iffy, Mason will be needed.
Gaston Diedhiou 6-9 225 FR. C
Will most likely be raw since he comes from overseas. Does not even have a star rating.
Point Guard: Deandre Mathieu
Shooting Guard: Andre Hollins
Small Forward: Joey King
Power Forward: Maurice Walker
Center: Elliott Eliason
Michigan plays Minnesota at home only. This favors Michigan as this team will be hard to beat at the barn.
This team is uber-experienced with 4 senior starters. This will contribute to early success and good road play. I see this team having a repeat 8-10 season as they lose a big part of their team in Hollins.
Next Up... Illinois
Huge game in the Big Ten standings tonight with Minnesota trying to pull away and Ohio State looking to jump into 2nd place. Michigan State sits at 19 points, one behind the Wolverines. The game is on FSD.
The Wolverines head to Minnesota six points behind the Gophers in the standings and one behind Wisconsin. The game is on BTN.
In a pretty good game, Nebraska beat (upset?) Minnesota 82-78. Nebraska remains unbeaten at home except for its loss to Michigan. In the only other Big Ten game today, Indiana beat Illinois 56-46 in a not-so-pretty game. Arizona also leads Utah 31-26 at the half.
Here is the "Littlest Brown Jug" that I received as part of my reward from the Kickstarter Campaign for John Falk's retirement party on the MGopatio. It is a 1 gallon jug from Red Wing. It was originally unfinished. I met Jill Gordon, the lady who currently paints the scores on the jug, at the party. I commissioned her to paint this smaller version of THE Jug. It is AMAZING! She meticulously duplicated the M's and score columns. The colors are awesome. The bottom of the jug is stamped "100th meeting between Michigan and Minnesota 5th, Oct. 2013. It is hard to say which is my more prized possession, this or my stuffed wolverine. Superlatives do not exist to describe how cool this looks. Now I need to make a shelf that deserves to hold this beauty.
Replay started at 11. I watched this in a bar with bad audio, so I'm going through the Mike Patrick Experience at the moment. I am nauseated thus far.
Minnesota's about to score their first TD and I forgot that Leidner got the world's most generous spot on a 3rd down run in the red zone for a first down.