The coach: Tubby Smith—The long-time Kentucky head coach could get within two wins of 500 for his career if the Golden Gophers win the Battle 4 Atlantis.
The season so far: Though Minnesota has played a very weak schedule so far, they have dominated opponents, especially on defense. Opponents have shot just 28.6 percent from the floor including 19.1 percent from long range, and the Golden Gophers rank second in the nation with 35 blocks in four games.
The player to watch: Austin Hollins. Though 6-foot-8 forward Rodney Williams is Minnesota’s best-known star, junior guard Hollins has matched Williams’ scoring output so far with 14.5 points per game, He has added 4.3 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game and an 8-for-18 showing from beyond the arc.
Projected starting five: G Andre Hollins, G Joe Coleman, G Austin Hollins, F Rodney Williams Jr., C Elliot Eliason
Road to the championship: Minnesota must upset No. 5 Duke in the first round before facing a difficult matchup against No. 19 Memphis or Virginia Commonwealth in the semifinals.
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