MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Coming off its first NCAA Tournament appearance in the Richard Pitino era, the University of Minnesota men’s basketball team released its 2017 non-conference schedule on Tuesday.
The Gophers had one of the biggest turnarounds in the NCAA last year, finishing 24-10 and earning a No. 5 see for the Big Dance. That came after winning just eight games all season two years ago.
Minnesota returns almost every player from last year, including First Team All-Big Ten guard Nate Mason, All-Big Ten Freshman Amir Coffey and the league’s Defensive Player of the Year in center Reggie Lynch. Pitino was also named the Big Ten Coach of the Year after the Gophers went 11-7 in league play to finish fourth when most had them tabbed 13th of 14 teams.
The Gophers will open the 2017-18 season with an exhibition on Nov. 2 against Concordia-St. Paul. Their official home opener is Nov. 10 against USC Upstate. Other highlights include a Nov. 13 match-up at Providence, Pitino’s alma mater, as part of the Gavitt Tipoff Games. Minnesota will also face UMass and Alabama at the Barclays Center Classic over Thanksgiving.
Minnesota will host Miami for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Nov. 29, then travel to Arkansas Dec. 9 before hosting five straight games to end the non-conference schedule. The Gophers end that slate against Harvard on Dec. 30.