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Golden Gophers Enter Post-Mbakwe Era Hosting Virginia Tech in the Big Ten / ACC Challenge - OPEN THREAD

The Gophers take aim at Virginia Tech minus their star power forward. I will be on hand at The Barn tonight to witness the new 2011-12 Gopher basketball team.

Game Time: 8:15

Pos Minnesota Pnt/Gm Pnt/Gm Virginia Tech Pos
PG Andre Hollins 8.6 14.8 Erick Green G
G Julian Welch
7.4 14.3 Dorenzo Hudson G
F Austin Hollins 10.3 8.8 Jarell Eddie F
F Rodney Williams 7.7 8.0 Dorian Finney-Smith F
C Elliott Eliason 2.6 7.5 Victor Davila C
Bench Chip Armelin 5.4 8.2 Robert Brown Bench
Bench Joe Coleman 2.6 6.2 Tyrone Garland Bench
Bench Andre Ingram 2.0
3.2 Cadarian Raines

This one is all about the Gophers, I don't even care about Virginia Tech's strengths and vulnerabilities. Minnesota had an identity. We had some areas where we struggled but at least we also knew what we were good at. We rebounded well and we got to the free throw line, both were largely (100%?) because of Trevor Mbakwe. Well, we have lost our identity and all we have is what we struggled with before. We have an inexperienced backcourt that is prone to turnovers. We have a soft frontcourt that lacks intensity and toughness.

There are SOOOO many questions going into tonight's game, what are we going to see tonight? Are we going to see the beginnings of a three-guard offense? Are we going to put more full-court pressure on teams hoping to generate more turnovers? Who is going to step up and fill the scoring vacuum. Who is going to step up and be the emotional leader of this team?

For your information here is the Gopher's record in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. We started out strong but have really struggled in the last eight games.

2010 Virginia L
2009 Miami L
2008 Virginia W
2007 Florida State L
2006 Clemson L
2005 Maryland L
2004 Florida State L
2003 Virginia L
2002 Georgia Tech W
2001 Wake Forest L
2000 Florida State W
1999 Virginia W