San Juan, PR
Gophers kick off the Puerto Rico Tip-off this morning with a game against the Temple Owls. Temple has played just one game losing by 24 points to #1 North Carolina to open their season. So that makes it a little hard to get a good gauge on what kind of a team we are facing. Projected to be around 5th in the AAC and on the edge of being a postseason team. This will be a decent early season test for the Gophers that could come back to be a slight resume booster.
Minnesota has played a couple games but they were not particularly challenging.
Keys to a Gopher Win
Defend the Backcourt - Quenton DeCosey and Devin Coleman combined for 30 of Temple's 67 points last week. These senior guards can both score and should be a focal point of the Gopher defense. Hard to know much more than looking at box scores and stats over the past couple years but DeCosey has been a double-digit scorer for the past two seasons and is expected to be one of the leaders of this team. Coleman was a bench player last year who is stepping into the starting lineup and had 19 against the Tar Heels hitting 3/4 from behind the arc.
Box Out - Lets win the rebounding battle here this morning. Jaylen Bond is the focal point inside at PF. DeVontae Watson is 6-11 and the senior starting center but played just 7 minutes against North Carolina. Bond if the threat, big body and needs to be kept off the boards. Bond, a transfer from Texas, grabbed 6 offensive boards against UNC but managed to only shoot 1/8. If he gets that kind of production on the offensive glass but manages to make a few shots, he's going to be a real problem.
Shooting Well - I'm not sure this team really has established an identity yet but I think we are clearly more of a perimeter team than an interior one. Shooting the ball well really opens things up and gets this offense rolling. If you take away Joey King's 7/13 shooting from behind the three-point line, the rest of the team is shooting almost 19%! That needs to improve. I'm looking at you Nate Mason, Kevin Dorsey and Carlos Morris.
KenPom believes we should win this game and I won't argue. I'm not all that confident but assuming we play defense well on the perimeter and box out...I think our offense will be just fine. One of these days maybe I'll get to watch a game. Lets win and get a better TV time for tomorrow!