Gophers vs. Nebraska Omaha: 5 things to watch for

Jace Frederick

The Gophers longest in-season hiatus is officially over. Minnesota hits the court on Friday against Nebraska-Omaha — the Gophers first game since their win over South Dakota St. on Dec. 10.

Here are my five things to watch for:

Andre Hollins 1,000 point watch: Austin Hollins scored his 1,000th point against the Jackrabbits. Andre Hollins is next, and it's almost sure to occur on Friday night. Dre Hollins is just six points shy of the mark. 

Keeping pace with the Mavericks: Nebraska-Omaha is averaging 84.5 points per game this season. The new, up-tempo Gophers? 77.2. And as Gophers head coach Richard Pitino pointed out yesterday, says Nebraska-Omaha's pace is wicked fast. The Mavericks play at a faster pace than Minnesota. When the Gophers played up-tempo Arkansas in Maui, they looked frantic and out of control in a loss. Can the Gophers play fast, without playing too fast?

Sluggish start?: As mentioned, the Gophers haven't played since Dec. 10. They don't play again after tonight until Dec. 28. A lot of players will be heading home for the holidays in the near future. Will their heads be in this one?

Andre Hollins shot watch: Yep, two Andre Hollins things to watch for — I like to think of it as twice the fun. Hollins is still the team's leading scorer (15.8 ppg), but he isn't shooting at the most impressive clip. Hollins is shooting 32 percent from the field (21-for-64) during Minnesota's last six games — a sharp decline from the 41.6 percent he shot last season. Minnesota is going to need Hollins playing at a high level as it heads into Big Ten play, which is now just two games away. 

Elliott Eliason: Eliason is averaing 2.5 blocks and 8.4 boards per game this season. Nebraska-Omaha's tallest player is listed at 6-8. If he can stay out of foul trouble, Minnesota's big man could be in line for a big night.