Expectations are sky-high for the Gophers men's basketball team after a 16-win improvement in 2016-17 and a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Head coach Richard Pitino knows the bar has been raised, and in a blog post Monday he made it clear that anything less than last season will be a disappointment.
Get his full blog at GopherSports.com. Here's a piece of it.
"The phrase I will use often with our guys going into the season will be "up the ante." Let's not be afraid to take the next step. If you are ten percent body fat, get to seven. If you shot 62 percent from the free throw line, get up to 70. If you averaged eight rebounds, go get 12 this season. You get the point. The most important thing, more than anything else, is we don't lose that starving mentality we had in the past. Don't let the "disease of me" creep into the locker room.
I can't wait for the season and the challenges that lie ahead. The expectations will be the highest they have been in many years. They should be! There is no shying away from them. There will be ups and downs. Our schedule is extremely challenging. Adversity will hit. The good teams weather the storm and keep moving forward. I can't wait to get started. Time to up the ante and go all in. How will we handle high expectations? We will have to block out the noise like we have done in the past. It's the only way."
Minnesota is expected to be a top 15-20 team in every preseason national poll. The way-too-early polls released by media outlets earlier this summer all said the Gophers are capable of challenging Michigan State for the Big Ten title.