The Big Tenn / ACC matchups have been established and the Gophers will host the other school from Virginia this year. Last year Minnesota dropped a home game to the Cavaliers from Virginia, this year we will host the Hokies from Virginia Tech.
Minnesota will host Virginia Tech on day 2 of the Challenge.
Last year VaTech just missed the NCAA Tournament and went 1-1 in the NIT, losing to Wichita St in the 2nd round. They lose six players to graduation including their top 2 leading scorers. In total they graduated 56.4% of their points scored and 56.3% of their rebounding. With that said, the Hokies are bringing in the 12th best recruiting class according to ESPN. The class includes three top 100 players headlined by Dorian Finney-Smith a very talented small forward from the state of Virginia. Seth Greenberg will have a veteran core returning that will be complimented by a strong 4-man freshman class.
Despite losing a lot of production this team is projected to be an NCAA Tournament team in Lunardi's way too early Bracketology. It is probably a good thing we play them early in the season as this team may really come together later in the year.
The Gophers are hosting, and that is a good thing but last year proved that it doesn't guarantee much if you don't come ready to play. Under Tubby Smith the Gophers are 1-3 in this event, 3-5 before the Tubby era.
On the surface this looks like a good matchup for us. We should be much larger and more talented inside. SBN's Purdue affiliate picks Minnesota to win this one and even Gobbler Country thinks the Gophers are going to prevail. The last few years I thought we'd surely win our matchups with Virginia, MIami and Florida St in 2010, 2009 and 2007 respectively. I was wrong, so I am officially predicting a Virginia Tech win next November 30th.