Tonight's game vs. Div. II Franklin Pierce tips at 7 p.m. You can watch online at BTN Plus or listen live on 1500-a.m.

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Five things as I down the liter of coffee necessary to sustain my life right now ...

1. There were several impressive things about Minnesota's bounce-back win on Tuesday evening, even if it came at the hands of a Western Kentucky team that didn't live up to their competitive billing. Freshman Nate Mason certainly made that list, showing up as a force on both ends of the floor once again. My story on the dynamic freshman, in today's Star Tribune. Preview box here.

2. Pitino wants to play fast? He seems to be on the road to that anyway. The 79 possessions played against WKU were the most Minnesota has played in a single game since Pitino arrived. There were 78 possessions in the Louisville game. Last year, the Gophers played in regulation games with more than 72 possessions just twice. And dating back to his 2012-13 year at Florida International, Pitino has only coached a game with more possessions twice.

3. Don't expect any changes at center anytime soon -- Richard Pitino seems very settled in his choice of Mo Walker over Elliott Eliason in the starting spot. The coach has complemented Walker's improved low post offense since the summer and after the big man's strong performance on Tuesday (14 points, three steals), seemed as settled in his starter at that position as he'll admit to. "I like [Eliason] off the bench, actually," Pitino said. "He brings a lot of good energy."

4. I noted yesterday that the Gophers' 17 steals on Tuesday night were the most of the Pitino era. They were actually the most Minnesota has had in a game in seven years since recording 18 against Santa Clara in 2007 -- per Minnesota basketball notes. Minnesota also had 42 deflections -- a stat Pitino's staff likes to track -- after managing just 30 in the Gophers' exhibition win (Pitino never revealed the Louisville deflections). "We showed we can be hounds defensively," center Mo Walker said after the win. 

5. From Joey King's shot fake to the Williams Arena mini ball toss, local blogger Down With Goldy has ten fairly entertaining observations from Minnesota's 76-54 win.


RANDOM RANKING
Top 5 road trips the Gophers will go on this year:

5. Ann Arbor -- The atypical (in a good way) college town.
4. Wake Forest -- Because the Rayno Clan is nearby.
3. DC -- The true beauty of Maryland joining the Big Ten.
2. New York -- No explanation necessary.
1. Puerto Rico -- No explanation necessary.