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Lehigh at Minnesota Basketball Preview

The Richard Pitino era officially begins.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Lehigh (0-0, 0-0) at Minnesota (0-0, 0-0)
8:00 PM EST
TV: ESPN3
Line: Minnesota -15.5
Over/Under: n/a
Series Record: First Meeting
Last Meeting
: n/a
Blog Representation: the Daily Gopher

The Gophers will open up their season versus the Lehigh Mountain Hawks. Last season Lehigh finished second in the Patriot League with a record of 21-10. They lost to Lafayette in the conference tourney and ended up losing to Wyoming by a point in the first round of the CBI. The team was heavily dependent on a cast of seniors, including C.J. McCollum, a first round draft pick by the Portland Trail Blazers.

While Lehigh will be a young and inexperienced team, they'll also be facing another young and inexperienced team in Minnesota. Minnesota does bring back some pieces, including the dynamic Hollins brothers, but will be a team largely in transition under new hire Richard Pitino. Pitino should have the Gophers up and running sometime in the near future, but this season could be relatively rough waters for the Gophers.

If McCollum and company were still at Lehigh, this game would actually be an interesting matchup. As is, Lehigh simply doesn't have the fire power to keep up with this Minnesota team. If Minnesota wants to turn heads and make some noise in Pitino's first outing, they'll need to take care of business out of conference and win all of their winnable games. Even with both teams having numerous question marks, Minnesota should be fully capable of taking care of business here. Look for Pitino to get the team rolling and then start working through his bench to see what he has available for the season.