Gopher Basketball and Richard Pitino Opens the 2013-14 Season Against the Lehigh Mountain Hawks - OPEN THREAD

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I bet you almost forgot it was basketball season didn't you? That can tend to happen in November when your football team is playing well and has people excited.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Minneapolis - Williams Arena
TV: none
Internet: ESPN3
Radio: AM 1500 ESPN

The Richard Pitino Era is about to kick-off (see my use of a football reference to hold your attention there) and we finally get a chance to see what this new system is going to be all about.

Pos. Minnesota Golden Gophers Pnt/Gm Pnt/Gm Lehigh Mountain Hawks Pos.
PG Dre Mattieu -* 11.9 Mackey McKnight PG
G Andre Hollins 14.6 4.6 Corey Schaefer G
G Austin Hollins 10.7 6.4 Anthony D'Orazio G
F Oto Osenieks 2.2 - Shane Whitfield (FR) F
F Elliott Eliason 2.2 - Tim Kempton (FR) F
Bench Malik Smith 14.1* - Jesse Chuku Bench
Bench Maurice Walker 2.2 - Austin Price (FR) Bench
Bench Joey King 6.9* 4.7 Stefan Cvrkalj Bench

* was not with Gophers last season

Looking at Lehigh the most notable thing about their current roster is more about who is not there than who is. C.J. McCollum was a lottery pick and along with fellow seniors Gabe Knutson and Holden Greiner; they notched three 20-win seasons and combined for over 4,800 points. But they are gone and the MOuntain Hawks will be led this year by Mackey McKnight who is a preseason All-Patriot League selection.

Keys to a Gopher Win

Maroon_key_medium Turnovers - Forcing turnovers is going to be a staple for this Gopher team. Force turnovers, turn those into points and they will be a lot of bad teams. Leheigh is not going to be very good this year, picked 6th in Patriot League. They have experienced guards but I expect the Gophers to force a lot of turnovers in tonight's tile. The flip side of that is limiting our own. This part of the equation is the one I worry about most right now.

Rebound -
This is probably the biggest question mark facing Minnesota. With the graduation of Trevor Mbakwe and Rodney Williams, who is going to fill the void in the middle and replace what was arguably the best rebounding team in the Big Ten last season. Tonight is an opportunity to show us what we can expect and if this year's interior is going to be able to hold up in the Big Ten. The Gopher frontcourt is going to be vital this year to the team's success and rebounding is the most important thing they can contribute.

Lehigh should not be a threat to beat the Gophers, this game is about seeing our pieces and how they work together. This is about learning the system and getting to know the Richard Pitino style.

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