Much of the national media thinks Richard Pitino was a good-to-great hire by Minnesota. Vegas, even, has the Gophers at 35-to-1 odds to win the NCAA tournament next season.
That said, nobody really knows what to expect on the court next year with the Gophers under a new coach with a new system and some pieces conspicuously missing.
The Gophers have just nine scholarship players on their roster as we speak. It is confirmed that both of the recruits who signed in November -- Alvin Ellis and Alex Foster -- who were slated to come in have been released from their NLIs. So there are four available scholarships and no takers at the moment, with the late signing period starting next Wednesday.
On the other hand, the backcourt looks to be in good shape with Andre Hollins, Austin Hollins and Joe Coleman all returning. That was not enough, however, to convince at least one writer that the Gophers will be competitive next year. In fact, that writer -- BTN.com's Brent Yarina -- has Minnesota dead last in his current Big Ten power rankings for the 2013-14 season:
The Gophers have talent in the backcourt, but they aren’t the greatest shooters, and with forwards Trevor Mbakwe and Rodney Williams no longer around to grab second chances, there will be struggles.
It should be noted, as Yarina did, that this is a VERY early look. The college basketball season just ended Monday. With that in mind, though, how do you predict Minnesota will finish next season in conference play?