Coach Pitino's move to insert Konate into the starting lineup back in Puerto Rico should pay dividends early against Nebraska-Omaha. Konate is a man among boys. He seems to take pride in bruising up opponents on the block, even if he is being passed the ball. That sort of banging around from Konate is exactly what this team will need early on. Setting the tone, imposing your will, and getting back on track.
Overview on Nebraska-Omaha
Conference: Summit ... Same league as NDSU and SDSU
Last sesaon record: 12-17 (5-11)
This season: 3-2
Key Stat: 4 out of 5 games played Omaha has scored 82 points or more
Players to watch: Tra-Deon Hollins Tre'shawn Thurman and Jake White
Game time: 2pm. Williams Arena
Tra-Deon Hollins is averaging roughly 8ppg, 5rpg, 5apg, 5spg. Insane. Thurman and White haven't taken a ton of 3s, but they have been hot shooting the ball beyond the arc through five games this season. If they can stretch the floor and force Konate/Diedhou out to the perimeter it will become somewhat of a chess game. This could be a UMKC-type game where we don't see Konate/Diedhou playing much at all.
It would serve the Gophers well if Konate plays some in the "small ball" sorts of games. He isn't a perimeter defender, but offensively he would be a vaccuum on the boards against the undersized defenders of Nebraska-Omaha. Taking that a bit further, the Gophers will not be able to keep hoisting 3s and taking so many shots outside the paint and expect to win games. Konate hasn't shown much touch in the post, but he is so imposing physically that you can trust that he will get his own rebound most of the time.
This Omaha team is ready for a track meet at Williams Arena. Give them something they can't compete in. Bakary Konate doesn't see any competition in the 'shot put' from the Nebraska-Omaha sideline.