This is Amelia Rayno's third season on the Gophers men's basketball beat. She learned college basketball in North Carolina (Go Tar Heels!), where fanhood is not an option. In 2010, she joined the Star Tribune after graduating from Boston's Emerson College, which sadly had no exciting D-I college hoops to latch onto. Amelia has also worked on the sports desk at the Boston Globe and interned at the Detroit News.

  Follow Rayno on Twitter @AmeliaRayno

Ten Gophers questions we can't answer yet

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players, Richard Pitino Updated: October 24, 2013 - 12:23 PM

As the new basketball season ramps up, scrimmages unfold, glimpes of players are revealed -- there is a desire to predict (for some of us, that's called a job) are made and analyze every aspect of a team.

But the reality is there are many things that simply can't be learned until later -- some when the season starts and some much later than that. 

Here are ten questions we can't answer just yet:

1. How this system will work with these players – Playing fast, now that’s something we’ve seen Michigan do and Indiana do plenty. So it seems to stand that an uptempo style is certainly possible to execute at a high level in the physical Big Ten. But can the Gophers do it with these players? There are some good athletes, sure, but the bunch is far from elite.

2. Whether coach Richard Pitino can be effective right away – The expectations for this Gophers team is not high. Most magazines and pre-season polls have Minnesota landing somewhere between No. 9 and No. 12 in the conference. But the pressure for Pitino to show the fans something will be turned up right away. Within the context of expectations, can Pitino get his squad to overachieve? In this state, coaches are on trial immediately.

3. Just how good a slimmed-down Mo Walker will be. Whether Oto Osenieks can improve, whether Maverick Ahanmisi can shore up his defense and for that matter, how all four brand-new players will perform. Let’s face it, there are a lot of questionmarks on this roster, whether it's players that underperformed or didn’t play much last year or whether it’s any of the four new players we’ve only barely seen in action. Osenieks needs to show real improvement in his shooting and his toughness inside to see significant minutes; Walker needs to show that not only has the weight been shed, but that a renewed energy has been built in its place. The newbies need to show they can be effective in the Big Ten.

4. Who will play point – Will Andre Hollins retake his role as floor general? Or does Pitino like him better as a shooting guard? Does Deandre Mathieu have half as much potential as we saw in the public team scrimmage? Maverick Ahanmisi is the team veteran at the position. There are plenty of options – who will get the nod?

5. Who will fill in the holes in the frontcourt – Elliott Eliason is expected to start at center – unless Walker suddenly impresses – but the power forward spot seems to be wide open. Will redshirt freshman Charles Buggs get a chance to show what he can do? Can Joey King handle the job? Should Osenieks be a part of the conversation? Likely all of them will need to play – there’s just no other depth. But if someone can convincingly claim the job, that will only help the Gophers.

6. Whether the Gophers’ perceived strengths will be actual strengths – With this roster and this style, speed, ballhandling and shooting need to be major strengths. Can they be? The Gophers are athletic enough, but need to improve in all of those areas and get better conditioned before those facets can fully be considered advantages.

7. What the starting lineup will be – Beyond point guard and power forward, there are a lot of different combinations Pitino could play with. He has plenty of options for the shooting guard spot (between Malik Smith, Andre Hollins, Maverick Ahanmisi and Austin Hollins) and the small forward spot (Austin Hollins, Wally Ellenson). There are more practices to watch, matchups to consider and many decisions to be made.

8. How the Gophers will produce in the halfcourt – You can’t run all the time, not in this conference. What happens when the Gophers get slowed down and must face the elite Big Ten defenses in the half-court setting? Will they be able to battle past the tough opposing frontcourts? A year ago, this was a major Gophers weakness, and now they only have skimpier personnel.

9. Whether Minnesota can find a tourniquet for their turnover problem – A liability a year ago will likely get worse before it gets better with Pitino dictating such a sprinting pace. Can he better get across his message about players holding on to the ball? Former coach Tubby Smith always seemed flummoxed. Improvement here will be the difference between “quick” and “sloppy.”

10. How a guard-oriented lineup will fare in the Big Ten – If the Gophers aren’t able to find adequate options in the frontcourt will a very small lineup be the way to go? Can such a group survive in the Big Ten? A couple years ago, Missouri was hugely successful with a four-guard lineup, getting ranked as high as No.3 by the AP at one point. But the Big 12 is not the Big Ten and Phil Pressey is rather special. It would be a huge experiment if Minnesota had to go this way.


Los Angeles - LP: B. Wilson 7 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Grimm 8
Detroit - WP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 2
Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams 3 FINAL
Oakland - LP: D. Otero 0
Toronto - WP: M. Stroman 6 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: C. Capuano 3
Arizona - LP: T. Cahill 1 FINAL
Colorado - WP: E. Butler 5
Boston - LP: R. De La Rosa 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: C. Tillman 7
Milwaukee - WP: Z. Duke 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: M. Melancon 0
Washington - WP: J. Zimmermann 3 FINAL
Miami - LP: J. Cosart 2
NY Mets - WP: J. Niese 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: M. Minor 2
Chicago WSox - LP: H. Noesi 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: C. Archer 3
Cleveland - WP: T. House 7 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: T. May 3
Seattle - LP: C. Young 1 FINAL
Houston - WP: D. Keuchel 10
Cincinnati - LP: M. Leake 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: J. Motte 8
San Francisco - LP: Y. Petit 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: A. Cashner 3
Texas - LP: C. Lewis 5 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: J. Weaver 8
San Diego 12:00 PM
Dallas 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 12:00 PM
Houston 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 12:00 PM
Baltimore 12:00 PM
Green Bay 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 12:00 PM
Oakland 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 3:05 PM
Denver 3:25 PM
Kansas City 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh 7:30 PM
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(13) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(11) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(21) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
(18) Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Appalachian St 20 FINAL
Southern Miss 21
Miss State 34 FINAL
(8) LSU 29
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 FINAL
Arkansas State 21
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Ball State 23 FINAL
Toledo 34
(14) So Carolina 48 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
(4) Oklahoma 45 FINAL
West Virginia 33
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
Houston 47
Miami-Florida 31 FINAL
(24) Nebraska 41
New Mexico 38 FINAL
New Mexico St 35
(22) Clemson 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 23
California 45 FINAL
Arizona 49
San Diego St 7 FINAL
Oregon State 28
(2) Oregon 38 FINAL
Washington St 31
Louisiana 9 FINAL
Boise State 34
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(20) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(23) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
(18) Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(8) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
(9) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(17) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Vancouver FC 0 FINAL
Portland 3
Houston 0 FINAL
Philadelphia 0
New England 0 FINAL
Columbus 1
San Jose 0 FINAL
Montreal 2
Seattle 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 4
Chicago 3
FC Dallas 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 12:00 PM
Ottawa 3:00 PM
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA




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