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Rapid Reaction: Gophers take down Lafayette 86-74

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Gophers dominate in season-opening win

NCAA Basketball: Louisiana-Lafayette at Minnesota Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

In a season of unknowns, the Gophers came out swinging against Louisiana-Lafayette and jumped out to a double digit lead they never gave back early in the first half. Flashing a starting lineup that was almost 100% different than last year, the Gophers used superior physicality and hot shooting to bury the Ragin’ Cajuns and take the season opener in convincing fashion 86-74, which was hardly as close as even the score suggests.

Some quick thoughts:

The Gophers destroyed a middle-of-the-road Sun Belt team

That might not sound like much but for a squad that lost to South Dakota and Milwaukee last year, the fact that they can come out on the first game of the season and mow down a not-terrible mid-major is notable. No one is quite sure where this team stacks up in the college basketball landscape, but “better than a mediocre Sun Belt team” is at least a step in the right direction.

Dupree McBrayer has got something to prove

McBrayer was unsung in his recruiting class, but the sophomore made a statement in the first game of the season, co-leading the team in scoring after a nice exhibition games. Lauded by Pitino for his offseason development, McBrayer racked up 15 points on 6-8 shooting and looked confident with the ball. He has a chance to make a big impact this season and the first game was a great indicator of what he’s capable of.

The Gophers are on the short list for best hair in the conference

With Eric Curry, Akeem Springs, Reggie Lynch, Jordan Murphy, Amir Coffey and Nate Mason all sporting excellent hairdos, it’s clear that the Gophers are in the running for the Big Ten’s best hair. Kudos to Curry, Springs and Lynch for really going after it.

1-0.