Over the next seven days, PowerMizzou.com will preview every team in the 2012 Battle for Atlantis. Missouri opens play in the tournament at noon Central time on Thanksgiving Day and we will have complete coverage of the Tigers throughout the three-day event.
Our previews continue today with the Duke Blue Devils.
Coach: Tubby Smith
Last Year: 23-15, 6-12 Big Ten (9th)
Postseason: NIT Runner-Up
Returning Starters: 4
Strengths: Like virtually every other team in the tournament, Minnesota returns the bulk of its starting lineup. Tubby Smith has been around the block a few times and has a decent pedigree. Rodney Williams is one of the most powerful dunkers in college hoops and can fill it up from the power forward spot. Point guard Andre Hollins came on strong at the end of last season and made the all-Big Ten-tournament team. He and Austin Hollins (no relation) give the Gophers a solid duo in the backourt.
Weaknesses: Depth is a question mark, but could get a big boost if Trevor Mbakwe, who was given a sixth year by the NCAA, is all the way back fron a knee injury. Mbakwe led the Big Ten in rebounding a year ago, but no one knows exactly what to expect out of him. Was the late season run in the Big Ten tournament and the NIT an aberration or a sign of things to come?
Overview: Minnesota has some pieces. But with this field, even a potential NCAA Tournament team could struggle. Starting with Duke is no easy task and either Memphis or VCU awaits in the Gophers' second game. Minnesota could be a better team this year than last and still leave the Bahamas without a win.
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