The consensus is that these Gophers have talent. But in the early polls and predictions, the Gophers have been picked all over the place. That's because despite probably possessing the "stuff" needed to take it to the next level, there are five critical questions that still need to be answered:
1 CAN ANDRE HOLLINS BE AN UPPER-ECHELON BIG TEN POINT GUARD?
The sophomore is capable of dominating a game. But Hollins is a scorer first and is still learning the intricacies of guiding a team offensively. He made a big jump in his freshman season, but he'll need to make an ever greater one this season for the Gophers to keep up in the league.
2 WILL TREVOR MBAKWE BE THE OLD TREVOR MBAKWE?
With the sixth-year senior shaking off the rust in two exhibition games, it's tough to tell yet. If he takes the next step and once again becomes the vicious post threat he was before his ACL injury, the Gophers look great. If not, they don't. It's that simple.
3 CAN THIS TEAM SHOOT?
We know the Gophers are athletic. We know they can get to the basket. We know they've got better size and depth. But shooting? We still don't know that. The Gophers barely wandered outside the paint to score in the two exhibitions, and right now players are asking everyone to take their word for it that they can make outside shots.
4 HOW WILL THIS TEAM RE-ADAPT TO PLAYING WITH MBAKWE?
We saw him with the other starters only once during exhibition play, and it's clear there will be an adjustment curve. Without him, the Gophers found a chemistry and sync down the stretch last year. They'll have to find a new identity now.
5 WILL RODNEY WILLIAMS HAVE A BIG SENIOR YEAR?
Williams (right) was a major part of the answer late last season, and he's shown hints of it early. Coming out in the regular season and erasing any doubts would be a huge boost to a team that needs him.