Last season was a complete embarrassment and vultures were already circling around, labeling Pitino Jr as someone who got the job because of his name and not for his skills. Minnesota scheduled a relatively simple non-conference and Pitino Jr used it to hammer in his basketball philosophy, and it worked incredibly well. They finished the Big Ten with a great record, despite the three losses against Michigan State and Penn State. The son inherited from his father the attention to team’s defense, one of the best in the nation and their only chance to advance in the tournament.
There is not much in terms of talent, but Nate Mason is worth keeping an eye on. His shot selection is questionable (12 games below 35% this season) but he will have the ball when it matters the most. Sophomore Jordan Murphy and freshman Reggie Lynch have the best defensive rating for the team and both are taking 70% of their shots from 3 to 5 feet of the rim.
The dream scenario is a family feud in the first rounds and an honorable loss for the Golphers. They will not be around for the second week.