Coach: Tubby Smith (5 seasons at Minnesota 103-68), Overall 490-213, 21 seasons
2011-12: Record 23-15 overall, 6-12 in Big Ten (9th)
Starters Returning (4) Julian Welch, Austin Hollins, Trevor Mbakwe, Rodney Williams
Preseason Tournament: Battle of Atlantis
Top Non-Conference Games: at Florida State, at USC
Transfer Out: Chip Armelin (Southern Mississippi)
Sat Out: Trevor Mbakwe (injury), Maurice Walker (injury)
The Golden Gophers were right in the mix of the NCAA tournament but they lost their final 6 out of 7 games. They did however make the NIT and made to the championship before losing to Stanford. Now to this season there is lot of hope for Tubby Smith’s squad. The Gophers only really lose 1 player off their roster plus they return a couple key players from injury.
Trevor Mbakwe is coming back after tearing his ACL. He only played in 7 games last season. When healthy Mbakwe is one of the most dominant post players in the country. His last full season he averaged a double double. Joining him in the frontcourt is Elliott Eliason (2.6 ppg). Look for Eliason to produce more with more playing time. He got some starting experience last year as a freshman. At the small forward will be Rodney Williams (12.2 ppg). With Mbakwe out last season Williams took over the offense. He is very versatile but his biggest strength is attacking the rim and his athletic and jumping ability. He is probably the best dunker in the country. The top option off the bench will be Maurice Walker, who was also out last season because of an injury. Also providing depth is freshman Charles Buggs, Oto Osenieks (3 ppg) and Andre Ingram (1.9 ppg).
The backcourt will also be strength for Minnesota. At the point will be Julian Welch (9.5 ppg). Welch led the Gophers in assists and three point shooter percentage wise last season. Joining Welch in the backcourt is Austin Hollins (9.2 ppg). Hollins is a very versatile scorer, he can attack the rim and he most the most three pointers for Minnesota last season. Andre Hollins (9.2 ppg) will be the top option off the bench and don’t be shocked to see him start any games. Hollins was just a freshman last season so he could have a breakout season. He is very versatile scoring wise also. Joe Coleman (5.8 ppg) is another quality player of the bench. He has some starting experience. Maverick Ahanmisi (2.7 ppg) and freshman Wally Ellenson will also provide depth.