Richard Pitino and his Gophers basketball team will still play in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off in Connecticut this year, but the tournament now has officially changed dates.
Minnesota, along with a field that still includes Marquette and Rhode Island, will play in the HOF Tip-Off at Mohegan Sun on Nov. 28 and Nov. 29, sources told the Star Tribune.
Temple reportedly replaced Central Florida as a fourth team in the tournament. The Gophers were originally scheduled to play Nov. 21 vs. UCF, and on Nov. 22 vs. the winner or loser of Marquette/Rhode Island in Uncasville, CT.
But now the HOF matchups are to be determined in the coming weeks.
After the NCAA established a new start date during the pandemic, the Gophers as of now will open the season Nov. 25 vs. Wisconsin Green Bay at Williams Arena.
Due to the season starting later, Pitino won't be able to play his first three games vs. Albany on Nov. 11, Kent State on Nov. 13 and Long Island on Nov. 17. The Albany and LIU home games were part of the HOF Tip-Off’s Multiple-team event (MTE), which is now only two games at Mohegan Sun.
Minnesota's home games vs. Ft. Wayne (Dec. 9), Mississippi State (Dec. 16) and North Dakota (Dec. 29) could also be played under the “Golden Window” when students are off campus during the winter break. But only the Bulldogs have confirmed their game with the Gophers is so far still on as planned.
The Big Ten has not announced this year’s conference basketball schedule, but the Gophers could go on the road for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge (either Dec. 8 or 9). Big Ten Network analyst Andy Katz predicted Minnesota would play at Clemson.
College basketball’s first official practice of the 2020-21 season is about two weeks away on Oct. 14. The Gophers should be able to piece together their nonconference schedule by then.
Waiver update: Utah transfer Both Gach’s waiver had not been sent to the NCAA as of Friday afternoon. The Gophers are taking their time with the paperwork to make sure it’s solid. Drake transfer Liam Robbins’ waiver was eventually approved, but it took a second try after the NCAA asked for more information. Pitino obviously doesn’t want to take any chances.
Carr on the cover: Gophers point guard Marcus Carr, featured in Tuesday’s Star Tribune, returned in the best shape of his career after being away from the team training in Canada all summer. Carr is on the regional cover of the 2020-21 Lindy’s Sports College Basketball preview magazine. The magazine ranks him as the 31st best player in the country out of 150. Carr’s picked as a first-team All-Big Ten performer as well. But Minnesota’s team is ninth in the publication’s preseason projections for the conference.
Practice notes: Redshirt junior big man Eric Curry, who returned from his second ACL injury, has been participating more in team activities this fall. Curry is expected to be cleared to play this season … Sophomore forward Isaiah Ihnen missed time during the summer after his tonsils were removed, but he’s been one of the most impressive performers in team workouts. The 6-foot-9 German native could be the next man up at power forward behind senior Brandon Johnson, a Western Michigan graduate transfer.