• Gophers at a glance: Minnesota comes into the season with high expectations in Tubby Smith's sixth year at the school. The team lost no significant players from its NIT run last season (graduated senior Ralph Sampson III was injured and didn't play) and big men Trevor Mbakwe and Maurice (Mo) Walker have returned from knee injuries. Rodney Williams showed significant improvement last season and looks poised to dominate. Andre Hollins showed he's capable of being the point guard the Gophers need. There are still plenty of questions, but the Gophers seem to have the tools available to put together a successful season.

• Minnesota State Mankato at a glance: After finishing 7-19 last season, the Mavericks are ready to head in a new direction. Former Roseville guard Lucas Brown, an athletic sophomore, joins the team after one season at Wofford, along with three other transfers who could factor into the lineup. Three starters from a year ago are back, including 6-8 forward Zach Romashko, who averaged 12.1 points a game. The trio accounted for a little more than half of the squad's production last season, though, so the Mavericks will have to find some new answers.

AMELIA RAYNO