Ready my story on Minnesota’s early penchant for fouling, here.
Previewing the Gophers and Nebraska Omaha, here.
News and notes from Wednesday’s media access with coach Richard Pitino, here.
Three things to watch as Minnesota returns home, attempting to get back on track.
Pace. Through five games, Nebraska Omaha is playing at the third fastest pace in Division I college basketball. The Mavericks have reached at least 75 possessions in all of their games, and three games have boasted possessions in the 80s. It will be interesting to see how Minnesota handles such a uptempo attack because the Gophers haven’t reached 75 possessions in any of the games they’ve played so far this season. And they’ve been extremely foul prone, particularly on drives, which is most of Omaha’s game. “They want to score in the first 12, 15 seconds,” Pitino said of Omaha on Wednesday commenting on the close loss to Colorado on Sunday. “They had Colorado beat, they must have been winning for most of the game and then Colorado kind of made a run the last couple of minutes.”
Jake White. The senior forward from Chaska didn’t get the chance to face his home-state school last time Omaha was in town, in 2013, because he was redshirting after transferring from Wichita State per NCAA rules. This year, he should more than welcome the opportunity as he’s appeared ready to take his game to the next level early. White, who was part of Wichita State's Final Four run in 2013, has totaled 58 points in his last three games, including 25 points vs. Northern Colorado on Wednesday, a new season high. He went 8-for-11 from the field in that game and 9-for-9 from the free-throw line. He also has turned the ball over just three times in five games.
The fundamentals. In the last five games, we’ve watched Minnesota sport an inconsistent defense and the Gophers struggle to rebound, share the ball efficiently, not turn it over and not foul. The team is young and inexperienced, which means it’s not surprisingly to see hiccups in some of the little things early. But the 2015-16 Gophers will be in trouble if they don’t get at least some of those shortcomings shored up soon. Pitino scheduled an extra practice on Tuesday morning just to work on the basics. Will any of that additional work show Friday vs. Omaha? Minnesota could use a statement game.