The greater college basketball season is off to a rocky start but that isn’t going to prevent the Gophers and Green Bay from trying to get this thing off the ground. The Phoenix come to town for the first of seven non-conference games the Gophers currently have scheduled.
The schedule literally continues to take shape by the hour. Just yesterday the much-maligned Minnesota Multi-Team Event (MTE) was adjusted to fit within state guidelines that allow for only one opponent within a three-day period, which meant that NDSU was punted in favor of two games with Loyola Marymount. So, for the MTE that means it’s just two games of Minnesota vs. LMU. Hey, it’s multi-team right?
Even Richard Pitino is excited!
First game tomorrow! ...I think....#SkiUMah— Richard Pitino (@CoachPitinoMN) November 25, 2020
All that to say that in a season trying to get started in the middle of a pandemic, it’s entirely unknown which of the games will actually get played and who the opponent will be. But hey, for now the Gophers start the season tonight against Green Bay and college basketball is back!
Green Bay Phoenix (0-0)
Date and Time:
Wednesday, Nov. 25 @ 6 p.m. CT
BTN+ (online subscription required)
Tell me more about the opponent.
The Green Bay Phoenix come into 2020 as a middle-of-the-road Horizon League team, making them an opponent the Gophers should beat handily. The finished third last year at 11-7 in the conference and are only predicted to finish eighth this year. They return just one starter from a team that finished third in the Horizon last year, sophomore Amari Davis, who was named to the Preseason All-Horizon First Team. Davis won Horizon League Freshman of the Year last year and was named all-league third team after averaging nearly 16 ppg and 4 rpg.
Also notable for the Phoenix? Tonight’s game will be the first for Will Ryan, Bo Ryan’s son, who takes his first D-I job after coaching at Wheeling University in West Virginia.
Green Bay runs with seven freshmen and two redshirt freshman on this year’s time, which isn’t a great matchup for a veteran-laden Minnesota team.
Minnesota leads the all-time series 1-0, having beaten the Phoenix 75-71 in 1984, though the teams did play an exhibition game in 2017, which the Gophers won handily.
It’s a delicious appetizer for the Gophers, who aren’t getting an exhibition game and certainly need some time to jel as a team given they are bringing in so many newcomers. Vegas has the Gophers as 18.5-point favorites and KenPom predicts a 22-point rout for Minnesota. I’ll take them by 20, 91-71.