Five takeaways: Minnesota routs Seattle University 92-57

by Jack Satzinger

It's winter break and I'll be about 1,000 miles away from Minnesota for the next three weeks. But that doesn't mean I can't still watch games on television and provide some insight. Until I get back in the Barn next month to report on games, I'll be posting five takeaways from each contest. Here are my thoughts on Minnesota's 92-57 win over Seattle University on Friday:

1. Charles Buggs' knee looks fine.

The redshirt sophomore forward had a knee operation over the summer and aggravated the injury in pregame warmups earlier this season. Head coach Richard Pitino has repeatedly said Buggs isn't 100 percent healthy but he looked fine on Friday, playing meaningful minutes for Minnesota at the three spot and at power forward. He only tallied four points, but two of them got people out of their seats. If he can get up like that, odds are his knee is OK.  

2. Teams are starting to game plan for Mo Walker.

Mo Walker is turning into one of the Big Ten's best offensive threats down low — and opposing teams are taking notice. Minnesota's starting center has now scored in double figures in four of his past five games, which prompted Seattle University to start the game out in a 2-3 zone defense in an attempt to clog up the lane. Minnesota didn't know quite how to counteract the zone at first and was inefficient offensively before its defense turned the Redhawks over 21 times. Walker ended up tying for second in scoring behind Carlos Morris' 19 points with 15 of his own. It will be interesting to see if his efficient post play can translate to Big Ten play. 

3. DeAndre Mathieu wants to steal all the basketballs.

After tallying five steals, 11 points and six assists last month in a win over Western Kentucky, Mathieu said he was most proud of his steal total because it showed he was "getting after it." He was even more active Friday, recording six steals — many of which came in the game's opening minutes.

4. Bakary Konate is getting better.  

The freshman center still looks clueless on the court at times, but is showing improvement with more playing time. Minnesota has won each of its last four games against nonconference flotsam by at least 20 points, giving Konate more opportunities to play. His biggest issue thus far has been limiting fouls — Konate had eight in 32 minutes combined in the two games leading into the contest — but looked more disciplined defensively in the win over Seattle. He stayed on his feet, only fouling twice while also tallying nine points and eight rebounds.

5. Small forward help has arrived — maybe. 

With Carlos Morris as the only true small forward on the roster, Minnesota added walk-on Mike Lukashewich this week for added depth on the wing. Save a blocked shot, the freshman from Wisconsin didn't tally any stats on Friday. That being said, he held his own in limited minutes against a Division I team. If Lukashewich can provide a few minutes per game in Big Ten play to help spell Morris, it would work wonders for the Gophers. Beat writers will also have to get used to writing his name often, which unfortunately isn't easy to spell.