Michigan hosts Minnesota on Saturday evening (6:30 p.m., FS1) with a chance to move to 2-0 in the Big Ten. The Wolverines enter Saturday’s game coming off of their best two-game stretch of the season and face a Golden Gopher team that just lost its first game of the year on Wednesday, 75-67, at home to Michigan State.
Minnesota has exceeded expectations early this season and started the year 7-0 with a pair of neutral-court wins over Western Kentucky and Princeton and then a road win at Mississippi State last weekend. Those achievements might sound modest, but there was a point in the preseason where this team was considered a candidate to be one of the worst high-major teams in college basketball.
Instead, first-year head coach Ben Johnson has cobbled together a team of transfers that works together and plays a brand of basketball that allows it to compete. Time will tell whether the recipe is sustainable in the Big Ten — KenPom projects the Gophers to finish 6-14 in league play — but it’s clear that he has the program taking early steps in the right direction.
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