1. Wisconsin-Green Bay will be coming to the Barn for Wednesday’s opener with a name familiar to Gophers fans. The Phoenix are led by first-year Division I coach Will Ryan, the son of former Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan. The 42-year-old Ryan worked as Badgers director of basketball under his father. He coached at Division II Wheeling (W.Va.) College last year.

 

2. Two nonleague games were missing from the Gophers’ schedule released this week, but they are expected to host an event involving Loyola Marymount and North Dakota State on Nov. 28-30. The Bison, who have five Minnesotans on their roster, replaced Eastern Washington.

 

3. Richard Pitino’s newcomer-laden team (six new faces) will be warming up for Big Ten play against three Summit League opponents. There’s defending Summit League champ NDSU, North Dakota and Missouri-Kansas City. They’re picked to finish third, sixth and seventh in the conference’s preseason poll.

 

4. Big Ten-ACC Challenge opponent Boston College was picked to finish 14th out of 15 teams in the ACC preseason poll. But the Eagles’ leading returning rebounder is 6-8 senior Steffon Mitchell from Shakopee.

 

5. The toughest stretch for the Gophers will be from mid-December through mid-January. They could play nine straight games against opponents projected to make the NCAA tournament. It starts Dec. 15 in the Big Ten opener at No. 8 Illinois, followed that Sunday with hosting Atlantic 10 title contender St. Louis. Big Ten play resumes with seven games that look like this: vs. Iowa (home), Michigan State (home), Wisconsin (away), Ohio State (home), Michigan (away), Iowa (away) and Michigan (home). Ouch.

Marcus Fuller