We now know who the Gopher Basketball team will play when they will travel to Brooklyn for the 2017 Barclays Center Classic over Thanksgiving weekend. Minnesota will have a Friday game against the UMass Minutemen, and then will follow it up with a Saturday tilt against the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Minnesota will not face the fourth team, the BYU Cougars, on the weekend.
UMass went 15-18 a season ago finishing just 4-14 in the Atlantic Ten Conference. The Minutemen were a young team and will return their top seven players from the 2016-17 season for next year. That includes senior guard Donte Clark who lead the team with 12.6 points per game last season.
Saturday’s game will be the major matchup of the weekend. Minnesota will face an Alabama team that is expected to begin the season ranked in the Top 25, and should be an NCAA Tournament team. The Crimson Tide bring in a top recruiting class for coach Avery Johnson. The Tide finished 19-15 a season ago and ended their season with a first round loss to Richmond in the NIT.
The game against Alabama will be the first of two against teams from the SEC as Arkansas announced that the Gophers will make the return trip to Fayettville on December 9.
#Gophers basketball will travel to play at Arkansas on Dec. 9, per Razorbacks. Home-and-home series started with MN hosting last season.— Marcus R. Fuller (@Marcus_R_Fuller) May 30, 2017
The Gophers defeated Arkansas last season at Williams Arena in the first of the home and home series.
The announcement Tuesday of these three games now means that four of the Gophers non-conference games have been announced. The fourth game was announced last week—Minnesota will travel to Providence in the Gavitt Games played between teams from the Big Ten and the Big East.
Minnesota should find out another major non-conference game later this week when the matchups should be announced for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Minnesota should have a home game in the series, and its been rumored that their opponent is a marquis one. Rumors abound that either Louisville or Duke may be coming to Williams Arena this November. Either school would set up a major affair on ESPN between what is expected to be two Top 25 ranked teams, and would be the most anticipated Big Ten/ACC Challenge game in Gopher history.