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Minnesota Basketball: Three keys to Gopher hoops winning their opener over Western Michigan

The basketball season is here and the Gophers are opening with Western Michigan

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Minnesota Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

The Barn

8:00 PM


Western Michigan

The season is finally here and the new-look Gophers take the Barn floor to face Western Michigan.

Western Michigan

Mascot: Broncos
Record: 0-0
KenPom Rank: 268

The Broncos were 8-23 last year and finished last place in the MAC. This should be a Gopher win, but what do they need to do?



Rebounding - Dwayne Stephens was the long-time top assistant coach for Tom Izzo at Michigan State. I’m making an assumption here that he is going to try and play a similar style here as they did in East Lansing. Which means that rebounding is going to be a premium. Control the boards tonight.


Make shots - Sounds simple enough, right? But so many new players, especially a handful who haven’t played at the collegiate level. When they execute the offense to get open shots, make them. Finding offense may be a challenge without Jamison Battle playing, so make the ones we should make.


Pound the ball inside - I don’t know much about this Gopher team, but I do believe that we have a decent advantage inside. Let’s get a lot of inside touches for Pharrel Payne and Dawson Garcia (who is expected to play).


This should be a Gopher win, but it may be closer than it should be.

Minnesota - 68
Western Michigan - 60