Look Out For The Minnesota Golden Gophers In The Big 10
The Big 10 might be the toughest conference in college basketball. And while many have Michigan State as the heavy favorite, Minnesota isn’t going to lay down for anyone. Is it possible the Minnesota Golden Gophers take the Big 10 title this season?
Minnesota head coach, Richard Pitino, has assembled quite the roster. Like his father, the younger Pitino has evolved into a top-tier coach, one that is good enough to make it to the Final Four. He’s got a long season ahead of him, but the Gophers appear to be the firing on all cylinders.
One of the main factors for the success of Minnesota is the play of Jordan Murphy. The 6’6 Junior has shown why he deserves to be a candidate for the Wooden Award this season.
During the first two games of the young 2017-18 campaign, Murphy has averaged 29 points and 14.5 rebounds. He was the first Golden Gopher since Kris Humphries to score 30-plus points in a game, a record that has stood since the 2003-04 year. And while Murphy will slow down some, he’s the catalyst of the Minnesota offense and defense.
ESPN college basketball analyst, Jay Bilas, stated his thoughts on Murphy last week. Marcus Fuller of the Star Tribune wrote the following.
“One of the guys that I think will probably make the biggest jump from last year to this is probably Jordan Murphy,” Bilas said. “He’s a double-double guy and gives them a lot. I think he can be one of the more consistent producers in the league.”
In addition to Murphy, there’s Amir Coffey, and preseason Wooden Award candidate, Nate Mason. Also throw into the mix, Freshman Isaiah Washington, who has shown an ability to score and find the open teammate during his first two games.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers might not be the odds-on favorite to win the Big 10 as of yet. That will all change as the season progresses. As we get into Conference play at the beginning of 2018, the Gophers will be ready for whatever challenges the Big 10 throws at them.
With a roster of impact talent, Minnesota will be fighting for a Big 10 title this season. Sure, Michigan State has a potential player of the year and a top-5 ranking, but Minnesota can afford to play under the radar all season. With the Big 10 being such a strong conference, players like Jordan Murphy will need to continue strong play throughout the year.
There should be little doubt to the Minnesota Golden Gophers making the tournament this season. Pitino is a great coach that will have his team playing with their greatest effort every night. They are a favorite to win the Big 10. For that reason alone, they have to be favorites to win the National Title.Follow @DGentleman9288