Who: South Dakota
When: 2 p.m. CT
How: TV: BTN Plus; Radio: ESPN 1500
Gophers over Coyotes 85-65
- Can the Gophers continue their hot shooting?
- Are we already abandoning any sort of inside game?
- How will Jordan Murphy follow up his 24-point, 10-rebound performance?
The Gophers get back to their regularly scheduled non-conference programming today against the vaunted South Dakota Coyotes. After a relatively impressive performance, at least in the context of the season so far, against the Clemson Tigers in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, the Gophers actually have a little bit of momentum as they head into the final stretch before conference play starts.
The Coyotes are the first in a South Dakota-heavy part of the schedule over the next couple weeks. The Gophers face South Dakota and South Dakota State before actually heading to South Dakota (Sioux Falls, specifically) to face Oklahoma State in a neutral-site contest. Are we tracking okay so far? Who knew South Dakota had so much going on?
The Coyotes come in at 4-3 with losses to Wright State, Northern Illinois and Kansas State, and their most notable win against Sacramento State. Oh, and they also beat the South Dakota School of Mines (go Hardrockers!) So, not much to write home about. They’re picked to finish middle of the pack in the Summit League and, even though they won 17 games last season, have lost their two top scorers and are kind of a personnel mess. Shy McLelland is probably their best, or at least most consistent player, and will be the guy scoring the buckets.
Defensively, the Coyotes are a mess and rank 319th nationally in defensive efficiency according to KenPom, and allow almost 80 points per game. After scoring 90 and 89 points the last two games, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Gophers crack 100 if their hot shooting continues.
One thing to note: the Coyotes employ four Minnesotans on their roster. Will they have a chip on their shoulder after not being recruited by the U? Something to consider.