Gophers Facing Syracuse Orange at Maui Invitational - OPEN THREAD

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport
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Maui Invitational time!

Time: 4:30 CST
Radio: AM 1500 ESPN
Internet Feed: maybe

Gophers get what will be their toughest test of the non-conference season going up against #8 ranked Syracuse Orange and All-American candidate C.J. Fair.


Minnesota Golden Gophers

Pnt/Gm Pnt/Gm #8 Syracuse Orange (4-0) Pos.
PG Deandre Mathieu 8.5 7.8 Tyler Ennis PG
G Andre Hollins 21.0 12.8 Trevor Cooney G
G Austin Hollins 11.0 18.0 C.J. Fair F
F Oto Osenieks 8.5 6.8 DaJuan Coleman F
F Elliott Eliason 8.5 4.8 Rakeem Christmas F
Bench Malik Smith 4.5 6.5 Michael Gibinije Bench
Bench Joey King 14.5 11.7 Jerami Grant Bench
Bench Maverick Ahanmisi 3.0 2.5 Baye Moussa-Keita Bench

Syracuse doesn't really go beyond those 8 guys much at all, not like the Gophers are going to overwhelm them with our depth but if we can get the press working and up the tempo of the game we might see some fatigue as a factor (not a game-changing factor, but it may come into play).

The Front Court -
This is more than just about rebounding, but that is a critical piece, but Syracuse has a big and athletic frontcourt. This should be a problem for Minnesota. Oto Osenieks guarding Coleman? That is a bit scary in my book. But the Gopher frontcourt is going to have challenges all season long, so let's get this figured out now. I'll be interested to see how they defend Fair, that match-up (my guess is Austin Hollins) is going to be our defensive key.

Maroon_key_medium Find Holes in the Zone - Easier said than done and everybody puts this down for a key against Syracuse. The Gopher offense is a pretty good shooting team and I think this is a pretty good penetrating team, at least a couple guys are. Getting penetration and then either kicking it out to shooters or finding the big man who slipped into a hole in the zone is how you'll have to beat it. Makes me start to wonder if Mathieu is kind of an offensive key for the Gophers this afternoon.

I know that Syracuse is very good and ranked in the to 10, but they have struggled against worse competition than the Gophers have faced this year. According to KenPom rankings Lehigh, Montana and Richmond were all higher quality opponents than anything Syracuse has faced and they just barely got by St. Francis last week. I'm grasping for optimism here, but this should be a fun game and great measuring stick for the Gophers in late November.

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