Busting Brackets

Minnesota Basketball: Minnesota Golden Gophers 2015-16 Season Preview


Minnesota Golden Gophers

2014-2015 Record: 18-15 (6-12, Big Ten)
Postseason: None

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Head Coach Richard Pitino will be the first to admit that his 2014-15 team underachieved. He had a team with experience that was coming off of winning the NIT Championship the previous season, but lost too many close games which resulted in the Golden Gophers missing out on a postseason bid for the NCAA’s and NIT last year.

This season his team will be younger overall, but should have the type of athleticism he covets so he can run more of an uptempo style offense.

This team is going to be heavy with freshman and sophomore talent trying to find their way. Lack of experience should translate into a team that is eager to learn as Pitino builds for the future.


G – Kevin Dorsey  (Clinton Christian/Waldorf, MD)
G – Ahmad Gilbert (Constitution/Philadelphia, PA)
G – Darin Haugh (Transfer from Bethany Lutheran/Prior Lake, MN)
G – Dupree McBrayer (Sunrise Christian[KS] Academy/Queens, NY)
F –  Jordan Murphy (Brennan/San Antonio, TX)
G – Stephen Sharp (Hopkins/Bloomington, MN)

Key Non-Conference Games

Nov. 30 vs Clemson – The Clemson Tigers should be a nice test for Richard Pitino’s squad in the ACC/Big Ten challenge. Clemson is seen as a middle of the pack ACC team that could make the NIT tournament this season. Jaron Blossomgame vs Joey King will be a nice frontline battle.

Dec. 12 vs Oklahoma State – The Cowboys are viewed as a possible NIT tournament team as well. Travis Ford has guided Oklahoma State to three consecutive NCAA tournaments that all resulted in one-and-done endings. This will be another opportunity for Coach Pitino to see how much his team has grown before they get into Big Ten conference play.

Key Players

Carlos Morris – Morris is one half of the senior leadership that is going to be on the floor for the Gophers. The 6-foot-5 guard started in 25 games last season and is the lone returning double-figure scorer after putting up 11.1 points on 45.2% shooting from the field and 36.4% shooting from three-point range. Coach Pitino is going to need Morris to raise his scoring average this season with so much firepower being lost to graduation.

Nate Mason – Mason is going to be a key backcourt player and should have the duty of running the offense in the early going. As a freshman, the 6-foot guard was productive averaging 9.8 points and shooting 38.9% from three-point range.  If Nate Mason takes his game up a notch, Minnesota will have a very formidable frontcourt.

Joey King – The 6-foot-9 forward is going to be the most experienced frontline player for the Golden Gophers this upcoming season. King started in all 33 of Minnesota’s games last year and put up 9.7 points on 46.4% shooting from the field in his expanded role. He is going to be depended on for his frontcourt scoring, but also he will need to up his rebounding production from 3.0 per contest last season.

Season Outlook

Richard Pitino is going into his third season as head coach of the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Last season the team declined unexpectedly, but this season the team is expected to be a work in progress so there should be no feeling of disappointment.

The Golden Gophers should not be at the very bottom of the Big Ten, but a finish in the bottom three sounds about right unless Pitino’s bunch defies the learning curve.

On paper this looks like it could be a decent team but experience is what is going to keep this team from making a postseason run.

Finishing above .500 with this team would be seen as an achievement.

Next: Big Ten Season Preview

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