Expect some changes tomorrow.
Returning home after an 0-4 start in the Big Ten, Minnesota coach Richard Pitino believes some shake up is warranted -- no, necessary -- as the team prepares for Iowa.
"I'm going to. I have to," he said. "Guys are playing hard, we've just got to continue to I don't know, maybe tinker with some lineups."
Pitino wouldn't say exactly which changes he plans to execute, noting that he'll make his final decisions after today's practice. But he hinted that it would be more than one position affected.
One of those moves will likely be swapping in freshman reserve Nate Mason for senior point guard DeAndre Mathieu, who is averaging eight points a game in the last four while compiling 17 turnovers to just eight assists. Mason, meanwhile, has eight assists and three turnovers off the bench while averaging 7.2 points a game in more than eight fewer minutes over the last four games.
The coach also mentioned that he wanted to play international big Gaston Diedhiou. The 6-foot-9 Senegal native remains raw, but has potential defensively and on the boards and has been working out at power forward in practice. Starter Joey King is averaging just 1.8 rebounds per game in conference play.
As much as anything, the moves would be to create a spark rather than reward bench warmers.
"I don't think Gas has done a whole lot to deserve playing time just because he hasn't played," Pitino said. "That's the difficult part of our team right now. The guys on the bench don't necessarily deserve it and vice versa. I think more than anything, it's just trying to get out of this rut a little bit."
Pitino named Mason, shooting guard Andre Hollins and center Mo Walker as the three who have been the most consistent, but wouldn't call anyone "safe."
"I think they can all do more," he said. "I give our guys a lot of offensive freedom. We've got to make sure they understand that freedom can't be abused. So we're really really trying to tighten all that stuff up a little bit."