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Minnesota Golden Gophers: The Early Games

Yesterday, I stated how difficult the first two games are on the schedule for Michigan State.  Today, it’s Minnesota’s turn.  And, let me tell you, it’s pretty much the opposite.  The Golden Gophers begin the season on 11/11/11 by hosting the Bucknell Bison.  The Bison aren’t a fabulous team by any means and should be an easy first matchup for Minnesota. 

Minnesota is led by senior Trevor Mbakwe.  He had a coming-out party during the World University Games by snatching up more double-doubles.  Mbakwe will continue to succeed especially with the early easy schedule that Minnesota is putting out.

After Bucknell comes to town, three more mid-majors come to Williams Arena to face Minnesota.  South Dakota State has a pesky lineup, but they don’t have any amazing players on their squad.  They will be followed by Fairfield and Mount St. Mary’s/ 

Only one of the first four games will be played on the Big Ten Network (Fairfield) and the rest will be aired online.  Minnesota should began the season on a solid winning streak as they normally do under Tubby Smith. 

After the four home games to start the season, the Golden Gophers head down to Orlando for the Old Spice Classic.  The Classic this year features a lot of bad teams from bigger conferences including Texas Tech, Wake Forest, and Minnesota’s first opponent, Depaul. 

The private school out of Chicago is in the Big East and is still in the rebuilding process.  They will be under the helm of Oliver Purnell, the former coach of Clemson who is now in his second season.  Then, the Gophers will play two opponents out of the bunch of Dayton, Wake Forest, Indiana State, Arizona State, Texas Tech, and Fairfield.  So, yes, there is a slight chance that Minnesota will play Fairfield twice in a matter of two weeks. 

Minnesota will come back after the Old Spice Classic to finish its non-conference schedule, which includes two opponents from major conferences, but that’s a discussion for another week.