Many circled the Richmond game tonight as the Gophers first true challenge of the 2013-14 season. Minnesota beat the Spiders 72-57 at home last season, but this is Minnesota's first road trip of the season.
Here are my 5 things to watch for:
Andre Hollins: Not much else to say here. I would just always watch for the Gophers junior guard who was placed on the Wooden Award watch list. He’s averaging 21 points through two games and is looking for his shot every time down the floor.
Is Austin Hollins a menace on the glass?: Hollins reeled in 10 boards in Tuesday’s win over Montana. Hollins has been thrusted into some action at the power forward spot as the Gophers attempt to deal with a thin front court, especially without center Mo Walker. Any rebounding production the Gophers can get from Hollins is a plus.
Front court production: Elliott Eliason, Oto Osenieks and Joey King have been serviceable through two games for Minnesota. But Richmond should provide a tougher test. Can the Gophers big men bang down low with the Spiders?
Can this team play on the road?: Gophers head coach Richard Pitino said he’d learn a lot more about his team after watching how they react to a road game. He’ll get that chance tonight at Richmond.
3-point shooting: The Gophers have been much improved this season from beyond the arc -- averaging 10 made threes a game and shooting it at a 40 percent clip. They have more weapons from the outside with the additions of King, Malik Smith and DeAndre Mathieu. But the Spiders have held opponents to just 21 percent shooting from three this year. Can the Gophers make it rain triples in Virginia? That answer to that question may have a big impact on tonight’s outcome.