Skip to main content

Despite failed season, Gophers have reasons for optimism in 2018-19

2017-18 was a failure, but 2018-19 could be very fun.

There are 14 teams in the Big Ten and the team that finished dead last beat the Gophers in the opening round of the conference tournament Wednesday night. 

The 65-54 loss to 14-seed Rutgers gave Minnesota, the 11-seed, a final record of 15-17, including 14 losses in their final 16 games. 

Richard Pitino's team was 13-1 before injuries and off-court issues spoiled what many national analysts thought could've been a Final Four season for the Gophers. They were ranked 15th in the preseason polls and got as high as No. 12 before everything crashed. 

What killed Minnesota most was Reggie Lynch's legal troubles, which kept him suspended before eventually being expelled from the U of M due to multiple sexual assault allegations. 


Reggie Lynch is officially done with the Gophers

Amir Coffey's season-ending shoulder injury was also a killer. 

Despite a horrific season, things still look promising for the future. With that, here are five reasons to be excited about 2018-19.

1. Amir Coffey is back next season

Coffey was just a sophomore this season and will be 100 percent healthy by the start of the 2018-19 season. Remember, Coffey has already proven an ability to bounce back strong from injury. He tore his ACL as a junior in high school and came back for a fantastic senior season at Hopkins. 

2. Isaiah Washington takes over at point guard

Washington, the freshman from Harlem, led Minnesota with 18 points in the season-ending loss to Rutgers. He'll take over as the starter, replacing senior Nate Mason. 

Washington has already shown the ability to be one of the Big Ten's most explosive playmakers and he should only get better as a sophomore in the starting lineup. 

3. Jordan Murphy should dominate as a senior

As a junior this year, Murphy led the Gophers with 16.8 points and 11.3 rebounds while shooting 52.2 percent from the field. Pitino told KFAN this week that he wants to see Murphy get quicker and develop his 3-point shot before next season. Regardless, Murphy has the potential for an All-Big Ten season. 

4. The incoming freshmen will be exciting

Pitino's Class of 2018 features some really promising recruits from Minnesota: Daniel Oturu (Cretin-Derham Hall), Gabe Kalscheur (DeLaSalle) and Jarvis Thomas-Omersa (Orono). 

Oturu is a 4-star power forward while Kalscheur and Thomas-Omersa are 3-star, borderline 4-star, recruits. It won't be a big surprise if all three receive a decent amount of playing time as true freshmen.

5. Gophers could be recruiting a 5-star player

Fans might get the chance to see Rochester John Marshall's Matthew Hurt play in the State Tournament this year. 

The 6'9'' junior forward, who is the younger brother of current Gopher Michael Hurt, is ranked fifth in ESPN's national rankings for the Class of 2019. 

Hurt is a phenomenal scorer and rebounder, averaging more than 30 points and 14 rebounds per game this season, and he recently posted a huge stat line in front of Kansas coach Bill Self. 

Minnesota certainly has a chance to land the 5-star Hurt. 

Next Up

940 Margaret St, St Paul, MN 55106, United States - May 2019 (1)

4-year-old girl struck by hit-and-run driver in St. Paul

The girl was struck by the driver around 5 p.m. Monday.

Minneapolis police

Baby found safe inside car that was stolen in south Minneapolis

The incident happened near 32nd Street and Chicago Avenue around 7 p.m.

Anthony Edwards

Ant puts on a show to help Timberwolves beat Pacers

A third-quarter surge gave the Timberwolves their seventh win in their past eight games.

Mikko Koivu

Wild to retire Mikko Koivu's No. 9 jersey

Koivu will be the first player in franchise history to have his number retired.

Boebert-Omar - Flickr Gage Skidmore

Rep. Boebert refuses to apologize for Islamophobic comment toward Rep. Omar

A phone call Monday between the two lawmakers ended abruptly.

Patrick Peterson

Vikings place Patrick Peterson on COVID-19/reserve list

The Vikings cornerback said he was vaccinated in August.

flickr - thin ice warning - USFWS Midwest

'Numerous' reports of eager anglers falling through ice

Conditions are still unpredictable, and can vary even across a single body of water.


Minnesota health officials watching closely for omicron variant

Health leaders do not yet know how transmissible or severe the new variant is.

school bus stop pixabay

School bus driver charged in fatal hit-and-run will plead guilty

Another motorist told the driver to call 911, but he instead got on the bus and drove off, charges say.

Franconia Sculpture Park - Lorie Shaull - Flickr

5 outdoor destinations to explore around the Twin Cities

There's something for everyone on this list of overlooked spots.

Child mental health counseling

As pandemic continues, so do efforts to improve child mental health access

Children's Minnesota has announced it will open its first inpatient mental health facility for under 18s.

Dalvin Cook

Mixed reports on Dalvin Cook's injury status

The Vikings running back could miss two games...or he could play Sunday.


Marcus Carr

Gopher men's basketball will finally have depth in 2020-21 season

With Both Gach receiving immediate eligibility, the Gophers could be an interesting team this winter.

5 Gophers to be excited about for the 2018 football season

There's some legit potential with a bunch of these players.

No. 14 Gophers too much for Providence in Big Ten-Big East showdown

The No. 14 Gophers imposed their will on the Friars in the second half.

Duluth's kings of college hockey will host Gophers in 2018 opener

UMD never would've had the chance if not for Minnesota's flop.

2 freshmen start in Gophers exhibition rout of UMD

The lineup could change if Marcus Carr is granted eligibility to play.

Marcus Carr

What the Gophers' starting 5 could look like next season

It's very possible that Minnesota's lineup features three new starters.

Maroney, McCarville headline 2018 Gophers Hall of Fame inductees

Maroney racked up nearly 4,000 rushing yards in three years.