First off, Minnesota will be losing Trevor Mbakwe and Rodney Williams (among others). Not to mention, there really aren’t any big time freshmen joining the team.
The Golden Gophers may be coming off of an NCAA tournament appearance, but they definitely disappointed, hence why Tubby Smith was fired. The team is definitely losing its fair share of talent, but even with all of those great players leaving it was not like Minnesota was the best team in the Big Ten last season.
In fact, it was far from it finishing with a conference record of 8-10. Still, I am sure this team would have loved to have Williams and Mbakwe back, but that will clearly not be the case.
Minnesota will likely count on Andre Hollins to lead this team in the upcoming season. That is completely fine, but he will need some help and I do not see where that help is going to come from. With that said, the other Hollins–Austin Hollins–will be returning. He was the second leading scorer on the team this past season.
The Golden Gophers will not enter the season with high expectations. They simply are nowhere near as good as they were last season–on paper–and it will not be an easy year for Pitino. Surprise teams do happen from time to time, so hopefully Minnesota can pull something out if its hat. Until that actually happens, though, expect the Golden Gophers to have a down year.
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