Chances are you didn't see the Gophers men's basketball team much in nonconference play if you weren't at Williams Arena last year.
Minnesota had just one home game before the Big Ten season televised on Big Ten Network last year, but it will have four nonconference games on BTN in 2016-17. That means the Gophers will be televised as many times on BTN (based on the current schedule) as Michigan State, Indiana, Ohio State and Maryland. Interesting considering Minnesota finished 8-23 overall and 2-16 in the conference last season.
Does BTN know something we don't about how good the Gophers will be?
The games are Nov. 18 vs. St. John's at 8 p.m., Dec. 6 vs. New Jersey Institutue of Technology (NJIT) at 7 p.m., Dec. 9 vs. Georgia Southern at 8 p.m. and Dec. 23 vs. Arkansas State at 6 p.m.
These games don't necessarily knock your socks off since three of the four opponents aren't from major conferences. But there will be more opportunities in early winter to sit at home on the couch and watch a possibly much-improved squad under fourth-year Minnesota coach Richard Pitino.
The Gophers are the only Big Ten team and one of only four major conference teams (also Arkansas, California, Oregon State) not scheduled to play in an exempt event aka preseason tournament/classic this year.
But the Gophers will be on national television to open the ACC/Big Ten Challenge 6 p.m. Nov. 28 at Florida State on ESPNU. Minnesota also plays Dec. 3 against Vanderbilt at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D., but no TV info is available yet.