|Rodney Williams finishing a 360-degree dunk into what is probably the correct hoop.|
The Minnesota Golden Gophers men's basketball squads have a recent history of hot starts in the non-conference portion of their schedules during Tubby Smith's tenure as coach. Last year's team started 12-1 but could only muster an NIT berth after a 6-12 Big Ten campaign. The 2010-11 squad also romped through their early season schedule, going 11-1 with wins over North Carolina and West Virginia, but Al Nolen's broken foot derailed that team's chance at postseason success. Also, let's not forget the 16-1 start to the 2008-09 season that included a neutral-court win over 9th-ranked Louisville but ended in a 1st round thud in the NCAA Tournament at the hands of A.J. Abrams and Dexter Pittman.