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Minnesota Faces Augustana In Final Tune-Up Before Golden Gophers Begin Regular Season

The Minnesota Golden Gophers are expected to be relevant in the realm of men's basketball this season, but that hasn't exactly looked like it will be the case during their exhibition schedule. Head coach Tubby Smith expects all of that to change on Monday night, however, as the team faces Division II Augustana.

At least all of that better change, anyway, as Smith told the Minnesota Daily that he has been disappointed in most aspects of his team's prior preseason games.

"[Augustana] is very capable of beating us, especially if we don't play better than we did the other night," Smith said. "But I know they'll play better, and that's why you play exhibition games."

"There are a lot of things that we didn't do right defensively," Smith said. "Guarding the 3-point shot was one of them, and that was one of the problems we had last year."

Bemidji State shot 10-for-25 from 3-point range, and Smith expects Augustana to pose a similar threat.

"They shoot the ball extremely well from the outside," he said. "Their big men are mobile and can create the same sort of problems that Bemidji State created for us."

The Gophers are expected to rely heavily on Trevor Mbakwe and Ralph Sampson III this season. If Minnesota's perimeter players can't defend, however, there could be real problems -- trading two points for three points could easily come back and bit them in the long run.

After Monday night's game, the Gophers next game will be against Bucknell as they open their NCAA regular season schedule.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.