- Sep 9, 2015
- Reaction score
LSU, South Carolina and ...? Which other teams are championship contenders? Chantel Jennings answers your mailbag questions.
What is your outlook for Minnesota now that Dawn Plitzuweit is at the helm? — Christopher K.
The good news for Gopher fans: Plitzuweit was the right hire, and the freshman core from last season — Mara Braun, Mallory Heyer and Amaya Battle — is taking that sophomore jump, which is usually a place where we see major improvement. This feels like a season in which Minnesota can move a few pegs up the conference standings and get into the middle of the Big Ten.
The bad news for Gopher fans: The Big Ten is about to get a lot harder, and most of the teams coming in — at least in the near future — are going to slot in front of the Gophers. But with that comes an opportunity. The Big Ten now has an expanded recruiting footprint, and Plitzuweit’s staff can make some inroads. Keeping talent in state is going to remain paramount, especially since the Gophers haven’t batted 1.000 there, but if Minnesota can make some gains, keep more players home and earn some wins on the recruiting trail outside of its previous footprint, basketball in The Barn will improve. Does that improvement equate to conference championships? It’s going to take several steps to get there, but it’s not impossible.
And in top five non-conference games:
4. UConn at Minnesota, Nov. 19.
Don’t get me wrong, the UConn-UCLA and UConn-UNC games will tell us a lot more about the Huskies. But we love sports for the storylines that exist off the court, too. And this game is the ultimate “What Could’ve Been” for Gopher fans. As Bueckers returns home, Minnesota fans will get a glimpse of their homegrown player at The Barn