The Gopher men's basketball team begins the regular season Friday when they host American at 7pm, pregame on AM 1390-the Fan at 6:30.  The Gophers are receiving votes in the latest USA Today/ESPN poll top 25 poll.  Minnesota has won both their exhibition games but hasn't been tested yet.

The Gophers will face their first test when they play 8th ranked Duke in the "Battle 4 Atlantis" tournament November 22-24 in the Bahamas.  The Gophers are facing a 2nd round game against either VCU or Memphis.  Minnesota will also face Florida State as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on November 27 and will play at USC on December 8.

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The Gophers will depend on sophomore point guard Andre Hollins, senior forwards Rodney Williams and Trevor Mbakwe.  Mbakwe is returning from major knee surgery and its unclear how effective he'll be when they start the season but his health should improve as the season progresses.  6'10 280 pound center Maurice Walker is also returning from a major knee injury and the role he'll play on the team remains to be seen.  No doubt the Gophers have talent but 5 Big Ten teams are ranked in the top 25 including Indiana ranked #1 in both polls.

Big Ten Prediction:
1) Indiana
2) Ohio State
3) Michigan State
4) Michigan
5) Minnesota
6) Wisconsin
7) Iowa
8) Purdue
9) Illinois
10) Northwestern
11) Nebraska
12) Penn State