Key Losses Will Hurt Minnesota Golden Gophers Next Season

By Trevor Lowry
Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Golden Gophers will not be the same team next season, not even close. This is bad news for the Gophers and it could easily result in a down year for this team in the 2013-14 college basketball season.

Making the NCAA Tournament or not, it is never a good thing when a program fires its coach. Tubby Smith did pretty good for a school that was not known for its basketball team, but apparently that did not matter to Minnesota.

Player wise, both Trevor Mbakwe and Rodney Williams will no longer be on the team. That is a lot of points and rebounding that the Gophers will likely not be able to replace in an offseason. It does not help that the recruiting class coming in consists of one player, who is not the highest rated recruit by any means.

There will be some talent coming back, including the two leading scorers from this past year, but even this year Minnesota was only able to earn a No. 11 in the NCAA Tournament. Who knows what will happen next year. If it was my guess, I would say that the Gophers are NIT bound.

It is hard enough on this team that it will be getting a new coach. Factor in the losses of two great players, and a down year is definitely in store. The Big Ten is not an easy conference to play in by any means. In fact, this conference was regarded as the best one in college basketball this season.

Who knows what lies ahead of Minnesota for next year, but it is not looking good as of right now.


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