Can Richmond provide a test for the Gophers?

At 2-0, the Gophers have zipped through the early season without much impediment.

Lehigh looked nothing like the team that beat Duke two years ago, and Montana – though seemingly scrappy on paper – resulted in a Minnesota thrashing.

Now the Gophers have embarked on their first road trip of the season to Richmond, to see if the Spiders have anything up their sleeves.

The game tips off at 6 p.m. CT, and you can watch a live stream for a price, here.

A few things to know about Richmond:

  • Last year Richmond finished tied for seventh in the Atlantic 10 conference (by overall record, they were 10th). This year, they’re being picked anywhere from 7th to 9th in the greatly changed league.
  • Part of their low ranking is due to the team losing its top scorer from last year, Darien Brothers.  But Cedric Lindsay seems primed to step up in his place. The ultra-dynamic point guard has already averaged 17.5 points a game in the Spiders’ first two, and has added 3.5 assists and two rebounds a game.
  • Richmond’s frontcourt won’t be the Gophers’ biggest test this season, but it probably has improved from a year ago. The Spiders don’t have a ton of size, with 6-9 Alonzo Nelson-Ododa and 6-8 Terry Allen rooting the paint, and they struggled with rebounding and interior defense a year ago because of that, and inexperience. But Ododa was named to the preseason All-Defensive team for the league, indicating the step he took over the course of 2012-13. Derrick Williams, a physical 6-6 forward is back and healthy after dealing with ankle problems last winter.
  • Last year, Richmond played very well at home, going 15-2 at the Robins Center. (play caliber of MN at home?) The atmosphere should only be better this year after the university pumped $17 million worth of renovations into it over the offseason.
  • The Spiders have a deep bench, meaning that hypothetically they could keep fresh with the Gophers trying to run them to exhaustion. In the last two games, coach Chris Mooney has played 10 guys in one and nine guys in the other.
  • One thing the Spiders are not doing well right now is hitting 3-pointers, welcome news to the Gophers. In the last two games Richmond has made just 15 percent of its attempts from that range. So don’t be surprised if we see some zone D and the Gophers daring the Spiders to improve in that aspect.

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