Pitino: Gophers at full-strength for season opener against UMKC


The Minnesota Gophers men's basketball team has some good news as they get set to tip off the 2015-16 season Friday night at the Barn.

Gophers coach Richard Pitino expects his squad to be at full strength for the opener against Missouri-Kansas City.

Freshman Kevin Dorsey returns after serving a one-game suspension for Minnesota's final exhibition game against Southwest Minnesota State, and Bakary Konate returned to practice Tuesday after missing a few weeks with a stress fracture in his foot.

"Kevin has been good this week," Pitino said on a conference call for the Puerto Rico Tip Off. "So I anticipate him playing tomorrow."

According to the Pioneer Press, Konate was projected to start at center, but Gaston Diedhou replaced him in the lineup for both of Minnesota's exhibition games.

"He'll be a little bit raw," Pitino told reporters. "I'm looking at him as a full go. If he's not playing well, I'll certainly adjust. He'll go about an hour today. If I don't like what I'm seeing from a physicality standpoint, then we'll adjust. But he's moving good."

Minnesota features six freshman on this year's squad, so outside expectations aren't really high. Senior Carlos Morris, who averaged 11.1 points per game last year will lead the team.

FOX Sports Net notes that if the Gophers want to contend in the Big Ten, they'll need to be more consistent than last year's disappointing 18-15 finish – which included a 2-7 mark in conference road games.

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