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Minnesota Basketball: Previewing Alabama A&M

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Gophers go for fifth straight against a beatable Bulldogs team

NCAA Basketball: Minnesota at Providence Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Hoo boy. So, how do I put this? Alabama A&M is ... um ... not good. And not good is an understatement. The Bulldogs are ranked 350 out of 351 teams by KenPom, putting them precariously close to being literally the nation’s worst team. It’s a dubious distinction. In fact, only Mississippi Valley State is ranked below A&M.

The Bulldogs come to town as part of the “campus games” portion of the Barclays Center Classic, which is why you’re seeing Alabama, UMass and BYU all playing the same teams this week. So, while A&M and Western Carolina won’t get to go to beautiful Brooklyn this weekend, they’re technically part of the tournament. The Bulldogs are 0-3 on the year, having just lost to Alabama 104-67.

The Gophers ran Western Carolina out of the gym on Sunday, routing the Catamounts 92-64. For the first time this season the Minnesota ran into foul trouble, but that had more to do with the refs being awful than player miscues. Still, it showed the thinness of the frontcourt when Reggie Lynch had to sit for most of the second half, which gave the second line plenty of opportunity to prove themselves. Something tells me we’ll be seeing a lot of Michael Hurt and Davonte Fitzgerald this year.

Essentials:

Who are the Gophers playing?

Alabama A&M Bulldogs (0-3, 0-0)

What time are they playing?

Tuesday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. CT

Where are they playing?

Williams Arena

Can I watch the game on TV?

Yes, BTN.

Can I listen to the game on the radio?

Yes. 1130 AM and 103.5 FM.

Tell me more about the opponent.

Things are not going well in Normal, Alabama. The Bulldogs spent the majority of last year ranked dead last in the NCAA, and finished a dismal 2-27 overall. They have a new coach, who is working on turning around a program that hasn’t seen success in quite a while.

A&M is led by a couple of young guys, including freshman Arthur Johnson and sophomore De’Ederick Petty. Johnson leads the team in scoring and rebounding, chipping in nearly 15 points and six rebounds per game. Petty scores 13 points per game.

The Bulldogs don’t shoot a ton of threes, but they’ve tended to go in when they do. Still, there’s no assassin on this team the Gophers need to worry about. They’ll try their best to score inside, but this is a team that does not match up well with Minnesota at all. The Bulldogs are in for a long evening.

Keys to the Game

No one get hurt

This game does absolutely nothing for the Gophers except present opportunities for injury and lower their RPI. Let’s just get this over with and head to Brooklyn.

Predictions

KenPom likes the Gophers in this one, predicting an 93-59 blowout and giving the team a 99.9 percent chance of winning. I’ll take the Gophers by 30.