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TDG Preview: High Point at Minnesota

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Tip: 6 p.m. central time.

Television: ESPNU

Game Thread: Here at TDG

Storyline:

Tubby Smith faces his alma mater in the Golden Gophers' last tune-up before the Big Ten Conference season gets underway. This is the game where Minnesota needs to put everything together. The defense needs to lead to offense. The half court offense needs to be crisp and focused. The Twin Towers need to establish a presence inside. In short, the Gophers need to play a complete game today, forget about their national ranking and concentrate on preparations for the Big Ten slate ahead.

GameDay Reading:

  • Marcus Fuller looks at the starting lineup, and the different forms it has taken. What will the starting five look like come the start of Big Ten season next week? Good question. My prefernce would be Nolen, Westbrook, Johnson, Iverson, Sampson. That would allow bringing Hoffarber in off of the bench.
  • Myron Medcalf takes us back to Tubby Smith's days playing and coaching at High Point. In the first few paragraphs we learn about Tubby's realtionship with his wife, then nothing more on the matter.
  • The SportsNetwork has a preview here. Takeaway: "The Panthers have played stellar defense, limiting foes to 62.5 ppg on 39.8 percent shooting from the floor. Unfortunately, they have turned the ball over too much and are shooting 57.3 percent from the foul line."
  • Rivals has a pregame report here.

High Point Briefly:

Already 0-2 in the Big South Conference (think Charleston Southern and Gardner-Webb), the High Point Panthers come into Williams Arena sporting a pedestrian 4-7 record. As noted above, the Panthers have done well to hold opposition offense down. But the team also turns the ball over at an alarming rate. The Panthers are led offensively by guards Eugene Harris and Nick Barbour.

The Panthers aren't the tallest team on paper, so the game presents an opportunity for the Gophers to get healthy on the glass, an area where we've struggled mightily this season.

The Panthers have only played at the D-1 level since the 1999 season and are winless against ranked opponents. Let's hope we don't help them make history this evening!

Prediction:

The Gophers have now had more than a week to get used to the fact that they are a nationally ranked basketball team. It was reported that the players were "giddy" after seeing their national ranking prior to the SE Louisiana game. They win this game easily after jumping out to a big lead early. Minnesota 83, High Point 52.