Tonight, the Gophers face Fairfield in the third game of the regular season.

To get a better idea of what to look for from the Stags, I chatted with William Paxton from the Connecticut Post about the team he covers.
 
Some notes:
 
  • Players to watch:

Derek Needham: The junior is averaging 12 points in two games after switching over to mostly playing shooting guard this season. As a point guard his last two years, Needham was ranked No. 24 in the country by CBSsports.com, but now he’s mostly turned over those responsibilities to Desmond Wade.
 
Ryan Olander: The 7-foot center, like Needham, was a preseason MAAC pick. He’s averaged 14.5 points and five blocks early.
 
Rakim Saunders: The redshirt senior came to the Stags last season from Boston College and has quickly showcased his ACC talent after taking a year off. He scored 20 points in each of Fairfield’s first two games and has sparked an offense that suffers when the foul-prone big man is not in the lineup.

  • Strengths: The Stags have a good veteran presence and can shoot from the outside. In its first two games, the team made 18 of 45 three-pointers.
  • Weaknesses: Fairfield has a serious depth issue. The bench has totaled just eight combined points in the last two games. The Stags are weak inside, something the Gophers should be able to take advantage of. The only danger is that when the Stags get boxed out, they have the tendency to rely on their outside shot, something the Gophers have had a tough time defending in general.
  • Wade transferred from Houston and was on the 2009-10 team that made the NCAA tournament
  • The Stags are coming off an emotional loss to Providence College, which is coached by former Stags coach Ed Cooley. 

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