Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 11/11/11

The 2011-12 Gophers basketball season will tip off momentarily, as the Bison from Bucknell come to town.

The Gophers, who ended last season losing 10 of their last 11 games, look to get off on the right foot against the perennial NCAA tournament darling Bison.

The Gophers will rely heavily on the shoulders of senior forward Trevor Mbakwe.

Mbakwe, who dominated preseason foes Bemidji State and Augustana, will be joined inside by center Ralph Sampson III. For the majority of Gopher fans, the hope is that the two will have no trouble inside against the much smaller Bison.

The biggest question mark for the Gophers tonight will be at the point guard position. Smith will platoon two inexperienced guards in Andre Hollins and Julian Welch as they both hope to fill the void left by Al Nolen and the transferring Devoe Joseph.

Joining them is the freakishly athletic Rodney Williams. Williams, who can jump out of the gym, shines in the open floor, but often times struggles in the half-court offense.

The 2011-12 campaign is the fifth season for Smith as Gophers’ head coach.

Look for a rapid reaction upon the conclusion of the Gophers-Bison contest.

-Brett Cloutier

Brett is a contributor to The Sports Bank. He covers all things Minnesota sports. You can follow him on Twitter @brettcloutier

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