MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The University of Minnesota men’s and women’s basketball teams have high expectations going into the upcoming season, and they tipped things off with media day on Thursday at Williams Arena.
The men’s basketball team talked with media outlets Thursday afternoon. They will host the Gopher All-Star Friday night tomorrow with various skills competitions.
Tubby Smith said hopes his team is back in the NCAA’s this season, with Pam Borton’s expectations high as well. The Gophers men’s team is coming off one of its most disappointing seasons in recent memory. They didn’t reach the NCAA Tournament after two straight years of getting there and didn’t even get a bid to the NIT.
The Gophers have added Hopkins recruit Joe Coleman, junior college transfer Julian Welch and freshman Andre Ingram and Andre Hollins. Big man Maurice Walker is also back after suffering a season-ending knee injury early on last year in non-conference play.
He won’t admit it, but the season will be a major disappointment for Smith and the Gophers if they don’t reach the NCAA Tournament, especially with an expanded field. Smith is in his fifth year with the Gophers.
“I don’t even look at it that way. If I did that I would be a fool. You can go ahead and print it, but I can’t. I just want us to go out there and be the best we can be,” Smith said. “If that’s the NCAA or NIT. We probably could have gone to a postseason tournament last year but we weren’t playing very well and I didn’t think it would do us any good to play.”
“This team this year is a lot more athletic, quicker and a lot more versatile,” said Gopher women’s coach Pam Borton. “We’ll have better guard play this year. I think we’re a tougher team mentally and physically than what we’ve been in the past, and obviously you need that when you’re playing in the Big 10.”