Take a deep breath. Now another. Maybe one more for good measure, because the Big Ten journey might be extremely difficult for the Golden Gophers men's basketball team this season.
After going 6-6 in the non-conference portion of the schedule, the Gophers look like a bottom feeder entering their Big Ten opener Wednesday night against Ohio State – and head coach Richard Pitino still hasn't settled on a starting lineup.
"I don’t know who we’re going to start tomorrow," Pitino said Wednesday, per the Pioneer Press. "We’ll see how practice goes. We’ve been trying different lineups and doing all those things."
Game notes previewing the game suggest Pitino will roll with the following starters:
- G - Nate Mason
- G - Carlos Morris
- F - Joey King
- F - Jordan Murphy
- C - Bakary Konaté
Freshman point guard Kevin Dorsey's status for the game is uncertain due to an ankle injury.
Ohio State is not a Big Ten power this year. At 8-5, the Buckeyes have already lost to the likes of Texas-Arlington and Louisiana Tech. Its other three losses are to established programs at Memphis, Virginia and South Carolina.
The 2016-17 Gophers offer some hope. As Marcus Fuller notes, next year's team will include transfers Reggie Lynch (Edina High School) and Davonte Fitzgerald, along with the best senior basketball player in Minnesota high school, Hopkins' shooting guard Amir Coffey.
Next year's incoming recruits are ranked 17th nationally by 247Sports and 20th in the nation by Scout.com.
Pitino's attention is surely fixated on the potential of Minnesota's high school class of 2017, too. The main objective: keep Apple Valley's Gary Trent Jr. home.
Trent, via 247Sports, is the No. 9-rated recruit in the country for 2017 and the No. 2-rated shooting guard in the country. His father, Gary Trent, played for the Timberwolves.
The Class of 2018 also features Tre Jones, the younger brother of Wolves rookie Tyus Jones. Duke has already offered the younger Jones a scholarship.