Gophers ranked #16 in Creme’s Way Too Early preseason poll

Ignatius L Hoops

Active member
Yes, I agree with Creme.

16. Minnesota Golden Gophers
Previous: 18

Lindsay Whalen's first season as head coach at her alma mater was a bit of a roller coaster, but she was able to turn a 2-7 Big Ten start into a 9-9 finish and a trip to the second round of the WNIT. Despite the loss of top scorer Kenisha Bell, the Gophers should be better this season. Destiny Pitts, Taiye Bello and Jasmine Brunson are back. The final piece to a return to the NCAA tournament will be the health of Gadiva Hubbard, a guard who averaged 13.6 PPG in 2017-18 but missed all of last season with a foot injury.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

Active member
The other B1G teams in Creme's projections:


5. Maryland Terrapins
Previous: 4

The Terrapins return 90% of their scoring and welcome two top-20 recruits. They are the runaway favorites to win the Big Ten, but breaking the trend of three second-round NCAA tournament losses in four years should be the bigger goal. Senior guard Kaila Charles will again be Brenda Frese's go-to scorer and is a first-team All-America candidate. Taylor Mikesell, a dangerous 3-point shooter, and 6-foot-5 Shakira Austin, an intimidating defensive and rebounding presence, were one the best freshmen duos in the country a year ago and should be even better, especially if Austin's low-post offensive game develops. Senior guard Blair Watson and senior forward Stephanie Jones are lineup mainstays but could be pushed by 6-foot-1 freshman guard Diamond Miller and Tennessee transfer Mimi Collins, a 6-foot-3 forward, if she is granted immediate eligibility. Another freshman, 5-foot-11 Ashley Owusu, could start at the point.

21. Indiana Hoosiers
Previous: NR

Coach Teri Moren has engineered a steady climb in Bloomington after a WNIT title two years ago and a second-round NCAA tournament appearance last season. Now the Hoosiers are in position for even bigger results. The top four scorers return, led by junior guards Jaelynn Penn and Ali Patberg, who was granted a sixth year of eligibility. A top-three finish in the Big Ten is in play

23. Michigan Wolverines
Previous: 21

The Wolverines were one of the best teams in the Big Ten by the end of 2018-19. Sophomore Naz Hillmon, last season's leading scorer and rebounder, and sophomore Amy Dilk, who led the Wolverines in assists, are both back. Another jump by 6-foot-1 junior Hailey Brown would give coach Kim Barnes Arico a big boost.

25. Michigan State Spartans
Previous: 13

The Spartans likely won't challenge for a Big Ten title after the graduation of heart-and-soul Jenna Allen and the transfer of Sidney Cooks to Mississippi State. But the backcourt -- Shay Colley, the team's leading scorer last season (14.1 PPG), Taryn McCutcheon and Nia Clouden -- is back. Coach Suzy Merchant also brought in a top-10 recruiting class and should have plenty of depth with which to work.
 
I'm thinking that Creme has overrated the Gophers slightly, but I hope I'm wrong with that. Either way, I think the Gophers, if they can stay healthy, should be in the mix for an NCAA tourney berth. Creme is right in saying that Maryland should easily be the preseason pick to win the BIG. I'm a bit surprised that he doesn't have Ohio State ranked in the top 25. And although they may not be top 25 teams, Nebraska, Northwestern, and Purdue also have a chance to finish in the top half of the conference. I'm really interested to see which Gophers other than T. Bello, Hubbard, Brunson, and Pitts become key contributors to the 2019-2020 edition of the Gophers. If the Gophers can finish the season in the top 25 and earn an NCAA berth, I think we'll be able to say that Whalen and her staff have the program headed in the right direction. Whalen has had the Gopher job for just over a year now, she's added some good players to the program, but probably not yet the top recruits she'll need to take the program where she wants to take it. We've been reminded that it takes college coaches a while to cultivate relationships with recruits and, with the top recruits, it will be rare that you can start to recruit them when they are sophomores or juniors in high school. Many of the top recruits start to establish recruiting relationships when they are in the eighth and ninth grades. So, it seems unlikely that Whalen was ever going to be able to step in and land those top recruits immediately. But I've already noticed that the Gophers are on the top 5 lists for a number of top recruits for next year and the year after. That's a good sign, I think. Sorry for the long rambling dissertation, which may not even be in the proper thread.
 
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