Date: Friday, November 10, 2017
Time: 7:00 p.m. CT
Location: Minneapolis, Minn.
Arena: Williams Arena (14,625)
Series: First Meeting
Series (Home): First Meeting
Current Streak: —
Richard Pitino vs. USC Upstate: First Meeting
Minnesota vs. ASun: 6-0
Richard Pitino vs. ASun: 2-1
• The University of Minnesota tips off its 123rd season of men’s basketball on Friday night, hosting the University of South Carolina Upstate in the first meeting between the two schools.
• The Gophers begin the season ranked 15th nationally in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches Polls. It marks the first time that Minnesota has begun the season as a ranked squad since 2009, when the Gophers were 25th in the AP poll. It is the Gophers highest ranking since 1993-1994, when they were 10th entering the season. The Gophers received votes in each of the preseason polls from 2011-13 and 2015.
• Minnesota returns all five starters from last year’s team which set several records en route to a 24-13 record and NCAA Tournament berth. Including that group, Minnesota brings back 87 percent of its scoring, 92 percent of its rebounding and 91 percent of its assist total. Four Gophers received All-Big Ten accolades last year, including First Teamer Nate Mason and Defensive Player of the Year Reggie Lynch. Jordan Murphy earned Third Team plaudits while Amir Coffey was named to the All-Freshman Team, and head coach Richard Pitino was selected Coach of the Year.
• The Gophers are looking to improve on an impressive record in season openers. Last year, Minnesota defeated to improve to 93-23 in lid-lifters since the program’s inception in 1896. The Gophers have now won
19 of their past 20 season openers.
• For the second time in three years, the Gophers have signed a top-25 class of prospects. On Wednesday, forward Jarvis Omersa and center Daniel Oturu inked their National Letters of Intent to join Minnesota next season.
SCOUTING THE SPARTANS
• Upstate returns eight letterwinners and three starters off last year’s team that went 17-16 overall and made its fourth appearance in school history in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT).
• Head coach Kyle Perry is in his first year at the helm after spending the previous eight as an assistant coach for the Spartans.
• Upstate’s leading scorer, shot blocker and assist man, Mike Cunningham, was a unanimous choice for the Atlantic Sun Preseason All-Conference Team.
• Friday’s game marks the sixth time that USC Upstate has faced a member of the Big Ten Conference.
HEAD COACH TALKS
MNN Sports Director Mike Grimm sat down with Gopher coach Richard Pitino to preview tonight’s game:
(content and photo courtesy of Gopher Sports)