7 p.m. vs. Cleveland State • Williams Arena • no TV, 103.5 FM
Gophers 21-1 in past 22 openers
Preview: Coming off a 22-victory NCAA tournament season, the Gophers will look like a different team in their season opener vs. Cleveland State, with seven newcomers, including three new starters. Isaiah Ihnen, the team’s top incoming recruit, will miss the game because of a right wrist injury, but he was able to practice Monday. Fans might want to catch this new-look squad at home while they can this month; the next three games are away from the Barn. They play Oklahoma in Sioux Falls, S.D.; at Butler; and at Utah. There are only three home games in the month of November — and not again until Nov. 21 vs. Central Michigan. Cleveland State fired coach Dennis Felton last season after he went 22-44 in two years, including 10-21 in 2018-19. The Vikings under first-year coach Dennis Gates were picked last in the Horizon League preseason poll this year.
Players to watch: Replacing starters Amir Coffey, Dupree McBrayer and Jordan Murphy will be transfers Marcus Carr, Payton Willis and Alihan Demir. Carr and Willis combined for 26 points, 12 assists and just two turnovers in the Oct. 28 exhibition vs. Southwest Minnesota State. Demir struggled with only three points on 1-for-7 shooting and two rebounds in 16 minutes. Cleveland State’s top returning players are G G Kasheem Thomas (5.8 points and 2.9 assists per game) and F Algevon Eichelberger (5.2 points and 3.2 rebounds).
Numbers: The Gophers are 95-23 in season openers, which includes winning 21 of the past 22. The lone loss was vs. Louisville in Puerto Rico in 2014.