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Quick Minnesota game reading

It's the first real big game of the season, so it's only natural that I have no time to write about it.

Thankfully, there are some folks who did:

Minnesota vs. Louisville - TDG Preview (The Daily Gopher)

I am more confident in our chances than I was a couple weeks ago.  Louisville dropped a game to Western Kentucky, did not look particularly dominant last night vs. Ole Miss and on one day's rest they have to travel to Arizona and play.  I'm still not confident enough to predict a victory.

This game has the potential for us to make a lot of mistakes due to Louisville pressure and increased game speed.  If we can take care of the ball, take good shots and not get killed on the boards we can stay in this game.  I know that is true for most games but there is serious potential that we all three of those areas go very wrong and this game gets out of hand very quickly. 

Here is what will happen.  Louisville gets out to a quick start because we haven't played in 10 days and they are going to come out ready to go.  But I then expect they will have a lapse in the middle of the half.  THIS is when we either get back into the game or stay at arms length until the Cardinals go on another run to burry us. 

We keep this game close but eventually lose by 7.

Pitino again benchmark for Tubby's team (Rick Bozich)

For Smith, it's another Show-Me Moment in his Show-Me career. His team is 9-0 but unranked, receiving two votes in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll. Pitino's team is 7-1, ranked ninth and considered capable of crashing the Final Four.

Win this game and Tubby has no longer disappeared, he's reappeared, perhaps in the Top 25. Beating North Dakota State won't dazzle the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee.

A win against U of L? Bingo.

"It's a great opportunity," Smith said. "Rick wanted us to play in the game. I don't think we would have played it if it wasn't Louisville.

"But it's not about me. Sometimes coaches get too much credit when their team wins and too much blame when they lose."

Gophers' toughest test has arrived (Star Tribune)

The Gophers have a chance to crack the Top 25 in a major poll for the first time since December 2002 and prove that their 9-0 record is no fluke. And it's the Gophers' only chance in the nonconference schedule to test themselves against a team with the potential to go deep into the NCAA tournament.

On paper it's the most intriguing -- and biggest -- matchup of Tubby Smith's tenure at Minnesota, partly because of his relationship with Louisville coach Rick Pitino. Smith was a member of Pitino's staff when Pitino took the head coaching job at Kentucky in 1989, and then Smith succeeded his mentor as Kentucky coach in 1997. The two have remained close over the years.

Even Johnson, when pressed, admits the game carries more than the normal significance.

"I think it would give a lot of guys confidence," he said. "We've got a lot of new guys that may need that confidence. Also, a lot of returning players that might have been wondering if this team is better than last year or whatever. After a big win like that, we'll know for sure."

Pitino, Smith renew friendly rivalry in the desert (AP)

Appreciation is a little easier to come by at Minnesota, where the Golden Gophers are off to their best start in more than 30 years. Smith is doing it the way he's always done it: with a suffocating man-to-man defense and just enough offense to get by.

Though Louisville and Minnesota haven't met in 14 years, Louisville forward Terrence Williams knows what to expect in the desert. He got a good long look at it during his freshman and sophomore years when Smith led the Wildcats to decisive victories over the Cardinals.

"He has teams that play for 40 minutes," Williams said. "They have a great style. They get up on you and pressure you. They're relentless on defense and they have the type of style where they deny the ball so if you're not ready for it, it's going to make it a long game."