If a Gopher fan were to have pulled a Rip Van Winkle during last year's basketball and football seasons, then awoke during this year's season, they might say something along the lines of "Whaaa?! Both teams are pretty good?! The Gophers got through their non-conference schedule undefeated?! Really?!" But yes, it's true. After a solid but less-than-impressive 2007-08 season with a 20-14 record, head coach Tubby Smith has helmed the Gophers to a 12-0 non-conference schedule with a victory over number-nine Louisville giving Minnesota legitimacy and helping propel them to a top-25 ranking. But games against basketball pushovers such as South Dakota State, Cornell, and Eastern Washington are now a thing of the past. The Gophers' conference schedule has them tipping off against a stacked Big Ten, including Purdue, Michigan, Ohio State, and Michigan State, all of which are currently ranked. Penn State, although not currently ranked, suffered two losses in the non-conference schedule, but, behind Big Ten leading scorer Taylor Battle, are sure to challenge the Gophers' defense.
Sun., Jan. 11, 2:30 p.m., 2009