Many moons ago the Gophers were scheduled to take part in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off with such teams as UCF and Marquette. With scheduling uncertainly that was eventually scrapped and Minnesota hoped to host its own multi-team event (MTE) at home. What originally was a three-team affair consisting of Minnesota, Eastern Washington and Loyola Marymount turned into North Dakota State and Loyola Marymount before state guidelines scrapped even that idea.
In Minnesota you’re allowed only one opponent within a three-day span. And with LMU already on the docket the teams are going to get in two games given the opportunity. While it’s rare enough that college basketball teams would play the same opponent in back-to-back games, it’s even rarer for non-conference opponents.
Minnesota destroyed Green Bay in the season opener, though had a very sloppy stretch in the second half where they did a good job of erasing a 31-point lead. Loyola Marymount represents a slight increase in quality of opponent, but one they should sweep in a two-game series. A good tune-up for a team with plenty of newcomers trying to figure each other out.
Loyola Marymount Lions (1-0)
Date and Time:
Saturday, Nov. 28 @ 5 p.m. CT
Tell me more about the opponent.
The Lions nabbed their first win for first-year coach Stan Johnson on Wednesday as they defeated Southern Utah. LMU comes in as a middling West Coast Conference team, picked to finish seventh in the ten-team league.
Senior G/F Eli Scott leads the way for the Lions, who was named to the WCC’s Preseason All-Conference Team. He was All-WCC Second Team last year after leading the team with 15.5 ppg, 6.7 rpg and 4.3 apg. He does it all and recorded the first triple double in program in 2019. He put up an 11-8-7 line in the first game against SUU.
But while Scott is getting the accolades it was C Mattias Markusson who led the way in scoring for the Lions in game one. The 7-3 senior scored 19 points and grabbed 5 rebounds in 23 minutes. Squaring off against fellow seven-footer Liam Robbins will be an interesting matchup.
Minnesota leads the all-time series 1-0, having beaten LMU in 2005 93-67. Rico Tucker scored 17 points in that game.
The Gophers routed Green Bay and showcased the type of firepower they can bring to the table, albeit against an overmatched opponent. That doesn’t change too much against Loyola Marymount, who comes into the game ranked 151 in KenPom. Vegas has the Gophers at -14 while KenPom predicts a 15-point win for the U.
Marcus Carr stole the show in game one against UWGB, but it would be really nice to see Gabe Kalscheur get back on track from behind the three-point line. With Minnesota’s clear firepower advantage I’ll take the Gophers by 18.