While CNN works out the final kinks of what should be some fantastic holograms of Tupac rapping election results, the Gophers will wrap up their brief exhibition slate against a team that may or may not exist. The one and only good thing about Monday night’s exhibition is that I can all but guarantee that those in The Barn will be free of political ads for a full two hours, maybe more if they don’t listen to the radio on the way home. Since I have no interest in researching the fighting (but probably not drinking or dancing) baptists, I will share a few relevant story lines.
1. Is a second exhibition worth while?
The NCAA allows teams to play two exhibition games, though they don’t necessarily have to be public or against Division II teams. Many teams play quasi-secret scrimmages against other Division I teams, which are legal as long as there are no spectators and the result is kept secret. A good argument could be made that playing another Division I team in an actual basketball game would be more worth while than beating up on a bunch of kids that can barely dribble. Like most things in college sports, and everywhere else, it is all about the Benjamins. The Gophers make money from scrimmages, and they don’t from a secret scrimmage.
2. A tale of two knee injuries
I haven’t decided if Mo Walker looked so good or Trevor Mbakwe looked so bad, or some combination of the two. Mo Walker looked better than he ever did pre-injury, and Mbakwe looked like he had lost a step. Walker’s injury was nearly two years ago while Mbakwe’s was just over a year ago, so they are bound to be at different stages of their recovery. My biggest concern for Mbakwe going into the season was that he would be tentative, and afraid to re-injure himself, and that is how he played in the first exhibition game. Hopefully this gets better as the season goes on, or I can get some anti-anxiety medication to keep me from worrying that every step Mbakwe takes on his surgically repaired knee will be his last.
3. Can Andre Hollins stay on the court
Minnesota’s sophomore point guard, well, combo-guard learning to play point guard, picked up two quick fouls in the first exhibition game and spent most of the first half on the bench. Instead of #hollinsanity we got all sorts of #mavness, which was not appreciated by anyone who likes a functioning offense, crisp decisions, or winning. Andre Hollins needs to do a better job staying on the floor, and knowing when giving up two points is more acceptable than picking up two fouls. Minnesota’s offense was run exceptionally well when he was on the floor, and was noticeably worse when he was not.