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Minnesota Basketball: Previewing Mount St. Mary’s

Gophers look for third straight win to start season.

NCAA Basketball: Mount St. Mary's at West Virginia
Elijah Long is averaging 16.5 ppg for the Mount.
Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota basketball plays tonight at Williams Arena in what seems to be their annual matchup against Mount St. Mary’s. The Gophers routed UT-Arlington in their second game, which was expected to be much closer than it actually was. This was thanks to an impressive second half and a barrage of scoring from most of the regulars. In fact, through the first two games FIVE Gophers are averaging in double figures in scoring. I’ll be.

Arlington was an interesting early-season matchup, as they’re a senior-laden team that has beaten some quality opponents, and Minnesota passed with flying colors. The Mount is the opposite, and doesn’t pose nearly as much of a threat.

Essentials:

Who are the Gophers playing?

Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers

What time are they playing?

7 p.m. CT

Where are they playing?

Williams Arena

Can I watch the game on TV?

Kind of. It’s on BTN Plus, which requires its own subscription OUTSIDE of cable and is available online. You can cast it through Chromecast, which I’ve done the first two games. It’s $9.95 per month.

Can I listen to the game on the radio?

Yes. 1500ESPN.

Tell me more about the opponent

The Mount is 0-2 on the season having dropped its first two games to West Virginia and Iowa State. It’s quality competition, but the Mountaineers haven’t put up much of a fight, having lost by an average of 23 points in each contest. The Mount clocks in at 287 in the KenPom rankings, while the Gophers have climbed to 66.

MSM is expected to compete in the NEC this season, but that doesn’t say a whole lot. They play really well at home, to be fair, (FUN FACT: they led the NEC in attendance), but were a dismal 5-15 on the road last year.

As far as NEC teams go, the Mountaineers are pretty consistent. They’re the only team in the conference to finish in the upper half of the standings the last four seasons. However, they lost two of their biggest guys to graduation and are now a pretty small team. They’re led by sophomore Elijah Long, who is averaging 16 ppg so far and can actually hit some shots. Junior Robinson is a sneaky 5-5 guard who can pose problems too. 5-5, though. That’s tiny.

Keys to the Game

There’s no such thing as a gimme these days in Gopher basketball, but compared to the upcoming schedule, the Gophers ought to make quick work of the Mountaineers or something is going wrong.

  1. Keep up the distributed scoring - Minnesota is doing a great job at spreading things among each other, which is great for depth. Let’s continue that trend.
  2. See if Reggie Lynch can stay out of foul trouble - it’s been his biggest vice so far and I’d like to see him lock it up before we start to really rely on him.
  3. No one get hurt.

Predictions

  • Minnesota takes this one 80-65.

Dupree McBrayer leads the team in scoring.