I cannot be the only one who is ready for the non-conference to be over.
Opponent: Seattle University
Where: Williams Arena
When: 7pm CST
Listen: 1500 ESPN
1. Will we see Gaston Diedhiou play?
It should not be surprising that the actual opponent is not of particular interest. We have only three more games before conference play, and Seattle is another bad team. KenPom puts them as the 248th best team in the nation. A top 250 opponent! What is at least of some interest is whether new team member Gaston Diedhiou will see any game action. He has not practiced or played with the team, so it's likely to be garbage time at best, however Diedhiou will provide additional depth at the 4 position going forward. Everyone prepare your best Beauty and the Beast jokes.
This is not a game that should be challenging for Minnesota. Even if the team struggles, their sheer talent advantage should carry them to an easy win. Of course that was also true for Michigan against NJIT and Eastern Michigan. Non-conference games against bad teams are easy when good teams follow correct fundamentals and knock down shots early. As GopherSports.com notes, the Gophers are leading the nation in assists per game and are third in steals (unadjusted). For the Gophers, this means spreading the floor and either utilizing DeAndre Mathieu's speed and court vision to find open shooters or get the ball into Mo Walker in the post.
Sidenote, there is no reason for Mo Walker to ever leave the low block. None. Absolutely none. I repeat none. He's a huge body that works best when he can make one move and shoot. Walker becomes noticeably less effective when he catches the ball 10 feet and out and has to move into the paint. The center does not have the necessary handles to keep the ball against a help man crashing down. Tonight, Seattle will at least have size to throw against Walker and Eliason in Jack Crook, but Walker should still be able to have his way in the post.
3. Backcourt Defense
Seattle University is led by the backcourt duo of Isiah Umipig and Jarell Flora. The two guards combine to take the majority of the Redhawks' shots when they are on the floor. Outside of those two players, Seattle does not have a single scorer averaging more than 8 points a game. The Redhawks do not play fast (299th in the country in adjusted tempo), which only emphasizes how important Umipig and Flora are to Seattle's chances. Stop them, and this game becomes a laugher in a hurry.
- Minnesota win 83-50.
- Charles Buggs has a highlight reel dunk in transition.
- Andre Hollins makes at least 4 threes.