Today's game vs. Georgia tips at 3:30 p.m. CT and will be broadcast on ESPNU and 1500-a.m. 

Five things as I remain safely off the streets on this Black Friday...

1. In today's Star Tribune: Freshman spark plug Nate Mason was on the bench on Wednesday as Minnesota fell apart down the stretch. Coach Richard Pitino says there are challenging decisions to be made with the shorter bench. Georgia update here. Full tournament preview here.

2. The Gophers' next two opponents -- Georgia (65) and Wake Forest (91) represent the only two opponents ranked better than 224 (according to kenpom.com) remaining in the non-conference schedule, and the only two opportunities to pick up a quality win before the league slate.

3. Pitino, on the team's mood after losing Wednesday night's NIT Season Tipoff Opener vs. St. John's: "I think the team was disappointed, because they knew they had an opportunity to go beat an NCAA tournament team on their home court and then have a chance to go play a top ten team in Gonzaga. I know they’re disappointed in that and that’s natural. I think everyone is disappointed. But we’ve got to get back to work ... Georgia is a good team as well."

Pitino on the team's leadership concerns on Wednesday: "I think everybody’s got to look themselves in the mirror when they make a mistake and say ‘OK, I’m not going to do that again, and we’ve got to stop compounding those mistakes. I think that’s where we did it."

4. Just how bad has Minnesota's fouling problem been? The Gophers are now ranked 323 out of 351 teams in the ratio of free throws to field goals allowed (Minnesota has allowed .538 free throws per every field goal).

5. The line for today's game: Minnesota by 4.5 ... Kenpom gives the Gophers a 58 percent chance of winning.


Random power rankings: New York neighborhoods

5. TriBeCa
4. SoHo
3. West Village
2. East Village
1. Nolita