Exhibition season is officially underway in college basketball, with Minnesota being the second Big Ten team to play their first exhibition game (Iowa knocked off Sioux Falls heading into the weekend) and most teams set to play one or two exhibition games over the next week. These games usually need to be taken with a grain of salt as most coaches will utilize the games against lesser competition as a way to experiment with rotations and younger personnel. Basically, it's time to finally start figuring out your rotations in games that mean absolutely nothing while breaking in your freshmen, meaning some of these games can get pretty ugly.
Also, a couple of teams participated in secret scrimmages, which are essentially private exhibition games that are decisively more fragmented and controlled by the coaches instead of being more fluid and unpredictable (things like coaches stopping everything right in the middle to run designed plays and so on).
Minnesota takes down Minnesota Crookston 74-57
It took a little while for Minnesota to get rolling, but they eventually took out Minnesota Crookston by 17 points in their first exhibition game. The two teams went back and forth throughout the first half, with the Gophers entering the break with a slim 30-26 lead. They would jump out of the gate in the second, though, opening the half with a 13-6 run and quickly opening up the lead to 20 points. After that the Gophers were able to keep UMC at bay the rest of the way.
Leading the Gophers in scoring was forward Jordan Murphy, adding 19 points on 7 of 11 shooting. Besides Murphy, only Mason (12) and Buggs (11) reached double digits. The Gophers didn't shoot the ball particularly well, being held to 38.6% shooting from the field and only converting on 52% of their free throws.
Up next for the Gophers will be Southwest Minnesota State on Friday night.
Bakary Konate set to return for Minnesota opener
In some good news for the Gophers, it is being reported that projected starting center Bakary Konate should be ready to go for their opener against Missouri-Kansas City. It's unknown if he'll be ready to participate in Minnesota's second exhibition game, but having Konate for the opener will be big for the Gophers. It was reported last month that Konate had suffered a broken foot and would miss about a month. The 6'11" center is basically the Gophers starting center by default, with the departures of Elliott Eliason and Maurice Walker, especially as no one else measures in at taller than 6'9" on the roster.
Something that has became a thing is teams playing in "secret" scrimmages. Basically, these are controlled games (scrimmages) that are a bit more controlled than a traditional game, and are closed off to the public entirely. Regardless of the private nature of these events, the results have a tendency to leak out one way or another.
One of these scrimmages took place yesterday between Purdue and Dayton. While it's hard to put much weight on the results, Purdue freshman Caleb Swanigan had a big day for the Boilers recording 15 points and 14 rebounds per Gold and Black. ESPN's Jeff Goodman also reported that Purdue ended up knocking off Dayton by about 10 points, with a few people on Twitter mentioning the final score being 84-74 (though that's not officially reported).
Another recent 'secret scrimmage' that took place this weekend was between Maryland and Villanova, with Maryland reportedly losing a close game to the Wildcats:
Villanova edged out Maryland today in scrimmage. Kris Jenkins was really good for Nova. Made a bunch of 3's.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) November 1, 2015