Preview: The Gophers (10-1) are only two weeks away from the start of the Big Ten season, but they can’t afford to overlook their last two nonconference opponents. Minnesota is 9-0 at home this year, but it was just last season that Richard Pitino’s team dropped three nonconference games at Williams Arena. Long Island University-Brooklyn defeated St. John’s 74-73 on Sunday. The Gophers beat the Red Storm 92-86 on Nov. 18, but they trailed by 13 points in the first half. The Blackbirds (7-3) are led by Northeast Conference player of the year candidate Jerome Frink, who is averaging 17.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.
Players to watch: Minnesota junior Reggie Lynch tied a career high with 18 points, to go with 11 rebounds and three blocks in Sunday’s 77-57 win against Northern Illinois. Lynch and Jordan Murphy (12 points and 10 rebounds) were the first frontcourt starters with double-doubles in the same game since Trevor Mbakwe and Ralph Sampson III in 2010. … Frink was recruited and played for Pitino at Florida International in 2012-13.
Numbers: The Gophers lead the Big Ten in field goal percentage defense (35.4), allowing only two opponents this season to shoot 40 percent or higher.