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Continued: Gophers set to open season as Pitino era begins

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Last update: November 8, 2013 - 10:59 AM

“It’s fun,” Pitino said. “A normal game may have 60-62 possessions, we’re going to get to 69, 71. What does that mean? That means more shot opportunities for you, more assist opportunities for you, more steal opportunities for you. If you’re a guy that doesn’t play a lot, listen — you keep working and you’re going to get in the rotation. And again, I believe in the style of play, and it’s been proven to win.”

Minnesota quickly grasped the offense — built mostly on the pick-and-roll — but the defense has been tougher to pick up. The press requires constant focus — especially now that the NCAA has created a host of new touch fouls — and complex traps. Any lapse could result in opponents finding gaps and getting the ball to an open man.

“We’re getting really close,” Eliason said this week. “I think once we get that down for the full 40 minutes — we have it now in spurts — I think we’ll be really tough.”

With the team, the energy and dedication already shows. With Pitino, the passion is evident. Whether the Gophers can transform Pitino Ball into overachievement in a nightmare conference can only play out on the court.

  • GOPHERS MEN’S BASKETBALL

    Season opener: 7 p.m. Friday vs. Lehigh Williams Arena • no TV (1500-AM)

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