The Gophers are two games in, and I have very little to say since there is still so much unknown about this team. They seem like they play pretty decent defense, but they can't rebound at all. The pass the ball well and Carlos Morris seems like the only ball stopper, but they shoot way too many threes for a team that hasn't shown much of an ability to make them. As people always like to say, we won't really know about this team until they play a real opponent. Even if this event isn't exactly loaded with top tier teams, there's enough here that we should, indeed, know quite a bit more about this team afterwards.
First up is Temple on Thursday. The Owls have only played one game this year and they got their doors blown off by the Tar Heels, but since the Gophers have a wee bit less fire power than Carolina who knows what that means. Temple was maybe an NCAA snub last season, but they also lost two of their top three guys from last season so this is probably a decent test for our Gophers here.
Generally Fran Dunphy's teams vary their statistical profile based on personnel, which means he's a good coach, but they almost always have two things in common - tough defense, and they don't turn the ball over. Since we don't really know what we have in the Gophers the tough defense will be a good test, but I'd feel better if they weren't playing such a traditionally disciplined team. Overall, given the Owls have a decent team but not a good one, this game should tell us a ton about the Gophers this year.
Which is good, because the second game won't tell us anything, either way. If the Gophers lose they will most likely play Missouri State, who is a bottom tier Missouri Valley team that lost to Oral Roberts by 15 in their only game this year. Nothing is a guaranteed win, especially for a team like the Gophers this year, but this would be as close to one as any game they've played this year.
On the other hand if the Gophers win, they'll most likely play Butler, who has holes like any other team but is a tremendously awful matchup for them. Butler will pound the paint, crash the offensive boards, defend like hell, and take care of the basketball. They aren't a great team because they don't really have much size, but that won't matter against the Gophers. Basically if I was engineering a team to beat the Gophers, Butler is really close. If this matchup happens I'll have money on Butler, which is always fun because if you lose your bet that means your team won! (or did well).
The final game would be against Utah, Miami, Mississippi State, or Texas Tech. Utah is legit and is the favorite to win. In fact if they don't most likely they had a really bad tournament, so if the Gophers do end up playing the Utes that would mean good things for the Gophers. Plus it would be fun to watch the Gophers try to find a way to stop seven-foot monster Jakob Poeltl. Miami might not be completely terrible and we'd get to watch that jerk Ja'Quan Newton and see if Tonye Jekiri can get to 20 rebounds. Mississippi State is bad and just lost to Southern which is in the SWAC who should never beat anyone, but Malik Newman is a super stud freshman who would be fun to watch. Texas Tech is still mostly a garbage fire and it would suck to play them because the whole Gophers vs. Tubby narrative would drive me insane.
So there you go. Should be pretty fun.