Husker Extra's Brian Rosenthal takes a quick look at the Big Ten leading into the start of the season. Today, a peek at Minnesota.
Coach: Richard Pitino (third season, 43-28)
Last year: 18-15 (6-12, T-10th)
Top returner: Point guard Nate Mason had a strong close to his sophomore season, when he averaged 9.8 points with a 2.6-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Pitino calls Mason one of the hardest workers in the gym, a prototypical gym rat.
Newcomer to watch: Guard Kevin Dorsey is among six newcomers, and he’s the highest regarded of the freshmen. A four-star recruit from Maryland, the 6-foot Dorsey is expected to contribute major minutes.
Outlook: Much like Nebraska, the Gophers will feature a young, new-look team that not many figure will emerge from the bottom third of the Big Ten Conference. Minnesota loses four seniors, including Mo Walker, and has five freshmen and a junior college transfer joining the fold. Guard Carlos Morris, at 11.1 points per game, is the team’s top returning scorer.
Quote from Pitino: “We’ve got a long of young guys. We had an ‘old team’ last year, and I didn’t think it was easy, either. I think it’s just difficult regardless of what you’re doing. They’re going to have to grow on the fly.”