Richard Pitino and the Minnesota Gophers got their first power-5 opponent of 2020 on Tuesday night, with the Boston College Eagles in town for the ACC/B1G Challenge. BC entered the Barn as a 1-3 team whose record reflected their difficult schedule. Their losses came at the hands of teams like Villanova and Florida, to kick off the season.
They were hoping to prove themselves legit vs the Gophers and, at one point in the second half, they looked to be doing just that. After ANOTHER Eagle 3-pointer pushed the lead to 15 with 14:14 remaining, Richard Pitino called a timeout…
Jamal Mashburn Jr
Marcus Carr hit a 3 of his own shortly after the timeout, cutting the lead to 12. Both Gach was replaced with Jamal Mashburn Jr and that’s when everything changed.
Mashburn Jr checked into this game moments ago and has an offensive rebound that lead to an Ihnen 3, a steal that lead to Robbins FT’s and a 2-pt jumper that forced a BC timeout.— Minnesota Sports Fan (@realmnsportsfan) December 9, 2020
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) December 9, 2020
We had a game from that point on and it was fun to watch. This Minnesota Gophers basketball team is oozing with talent and it’s obvious every time they take the floor. The question for 2020-21, will be whether or not they are able to capitalize on that talent.
Tonight, just like every other game so far, the Gophers had flashes of greatness. They also had extended lulls, where guys looked lost and discombobulated.
The back-and-forth second half eventually led to overtime. I’ll take Minnesota and Marcus Carr over just about anyone in the country during a 5-minute OT, as long as he is focused and under control.
We saw the good and the bad from Carr in OT but he and the Gophers were able to get their shit together and hit enough free throws to pull out another close one. Here is the OT highlight everyone is clamoring over.
Without much of an offseason and limited opportunities to gel both on and off the court, can Pitino capitalize on all the talent they assembled before the season? That will be the difference this season.
Carr and Kalscheur are the only two who played significant minutes on this team in 2019 and Gabe has been terrible so far. Growing pains should be expected but, in a stacked Big Ten, that excuse will only get them so far. Grabbing all 5 of these early wins vs less competitive teams, could wind up a huge deal by season’s end.
The Gophers will get one more warm-up game on Thursday. Something called the “University of Missouri Kansas City”, comes to The Barn before Big Ten play opens @ #6 Illinois a week from tonight. That will be Minnesota’s first road game of the year.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan