Gopher fans are back in "The Barn" tonight with a lot of new names to cheer for.
Tip-off: 8pm (CST)
Opponent: UMKC. The Kangaroos.
UMKC player to watch: Martez Harrison (17.5 ppg last season)
Record last season: 14-19 (8-6)
How to watch: BTN Plus
Radio: ESPN 1500
The Gophers get a feisty WAC opponent tonight that posted a 14-19 record last season, but held a respectful 8-6 record in conference. UMKC returns Kansas City-native Martez Harrison, a Junior PG that was the only player on The Kangaroos or "The 'Roos" to average double-digits in points per game last season. The 'Roos are coming into Williams Arena with a very inexperienced frontcourt and you can expect that they will be trotting out a very small lineup that will be ready to run against Pitino's fast-paced style of play.
With Sophomore Center Bakary Konate and Freshmen Dupree McBrayer both expected to be in the lineup against UMKC tonight the Gophers are playing at full strength. Pitino has dubbed his freshmen class as the class that will "turn it around", but the Gophers may have to wait a year for that national recognition.
Speaking of natonal news, former UMKC Assistant Coach Andree McGee resigned three weeks ago to the day, amid sex scandal allegations for when he was a Graduate Assistant Coach at Louisville. McGee has seen his life flipped upside down and with UMKC also scheduled to play Louisville this season you can bet that this will be a topic that just won't go away. UMKC vs. Louisville is already scheduled to air on ESPN's network.
This may be where Pitino wants the focus for the time being, i.e. off his freshmen and on UMKC. The young Gopher team will get some experience tonight and I look for them to win the possessions/rebound battle against a scrappy UMKC. Many eyes will be on Murphy tonight as he is making most of the headlines, but Martezz Harrison (UMKC) and Kevin Dorsey of the Gophers could very well steal the show. Game one of the expected "turn around" is tonight, and I'm not even sure what to wear.