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Minnesota Basketball: Previewing Vancouver Showcase

Gopher Hoops heads to Vancouver to face Texas A&M, Santa Clara and Washington

NCAA Basketball: Arizona at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

GAME 1 - Texas A&M Aggies (Good Bull Hunting)

When: Sunday, Nov 18
Time: 9:30 PM
KenPom Rank: 64

What do we know about the Aggies? Well, they have played two games thus far. They beat Savannah St by 15 and then lost at home to UC Irvine (go Anteaters!) by one after having a 14-point halftime lead.

They are not terribly big with a starting frontcourt of 6’7” and 6’8” but what this team typically does well is crash the offensive glass and they have an unusually high % of their total points that come from 2s (not threes or free throws). So far this season they really have not shot the ball from three very well at all.

Sevion Flagg is their starting power forward and leading scorer. The sophomore also had a 24 rebound game against Savannah St.

If you want to get a little preview of the Aggies, they will be playing Gonzaga on Thursday night on ESPN2.

GAME 2 - Santa Clara Broncos

When: Sunday, Nov 20
Time: 8:00 PM
KenPom Rank: 230

This is the lighter game of the three for Minnesota. The Broncos are 0-1 after dropping a game to Prairie View A&M and then they will also play a game on Thursday, facing UC Irvine.

Anybody remember former Gopher, Josh Martin? He left the Gopher program after not playing as much as he would have liked and bolted for Cal Poly. He played for the Mustangs for 3 seasons and has since transferred to Santa Clara. His inclusion in this game is probably the most interesting aspect of it.

Herb Sendek is in his third season at Santa Clara and has not yet turned this program in the right direction. I do not expect that this game is going to be one the Gophers will drop.

GAME 3 - Washington Huskies (UW Dog Pound)

When: Wednesday, Nov 21
Time: 5:30 PM
KenPom Rank: 48

Now we get to the really interesting game. Washington currently sits just one spot ahead of the Gophers in KenPom rank and this should be a very good neutral court game. Both of these teams are going to be pushing for the NCAA Tournament and this game should be a key one for each program. This team is quite good and likely a top 3 finisher in the Pac 12, a very good test for the Gophers.

The Huskies are 2-1 on the season with their loss being a 20-point blowout by a very good Auburn team in a true road game. They got down 22-9 early and never recovered to make it a game. Sandwiched around that game was a win over Western Kentucky and a win over San Diego, both decent teams.

You will see plenty of zone defense from Washington. When they are on offense it is SG - Jaylen Nowell and C/PF - Noah Dickerson are the two who will need the most attention from the Gopher defense. Nowell is a sophomore who averaged 16 points per game as a freshman and so far this year is 5/10 from three. Dickerson is a their big man to start and he is coming of a 1st team All-Pac 12 season.

This should be a great test for the Gophers with two Power 5 teams at a neutral court. And that Washington games promises to be an entertaining one.