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First-year Gophers men's basketball head coach Ben Johnson was giving an honest and commanding account of his 7-0 team Tuesday, so the honesty needed to be reciprocated.

I'm beyond surprised that this team is undefeated through seven games. Shocked isn't overselling it. Based on the roster turnover and what figured to be first-year coaching growing pains, it seemed possible this team wouldn't win seven games all year, let alone in a row to start the season.

So I shared my thoughts with Johnson and asked if we're at the point where wins by this team no longer qualify as a surprise. He answered that and delivered even more.

"I don't know. I think that's for the fans to decide. For me, I see these guys every day. I just tell them that the wins and losses in my opinion somewhat take care of themselves if you're consumed and obsessed with just the details of getting better every day," Johnson said, adding that the details the team worked on in the summer and fall helped lead to Sunday's win over Mississippi State. "True competitors, you don't let human nature come into play if you want to be great. ... Are you going to let it go to your head, get complacent, or are you going to still be hungry for more? So the point is hopefully we want more. This (7-0 start) can't be the highlight of the year."

Eric Curry, one of the greatest stories in college basketball and a key contributor this season, joined the Daily Delivery podcast and I asked him essentially the same thing.

"I would say you shouldn't be surprised, but we're going to let the doubters keep doubting us," Curry said. "We're just going to keep proving people wrong all year."

That helps explain part of why the team has started 7-0. Here are a few more key factors:

*Chemistry: It's a bit of a catch-all word, and it doesn't ensure success. But teams with good off-court bonds tend to have intangible qualities that translate on the court. Curry and teammate Jamison Battle both talked at length about how this year's Gophers players are always together, even when they aren't playing or practicing.

"I knew this team had the chemistry. We've always been together off the court," said Curry, mentioning that players have gone to other Gophers games and Wolves games together. "This is one of the closest team I've ever been on since I've been here because of the way we treat each other off the floor."

*Three-point defense: Perhaps no single on-court factor has been more significant than this metric. Gophers opponents are shooting just 23.1% from three-point range this season, the second-best mark in Division I basketball in terms of team three-point defense.

That figure will rise as the year goes on — the best mark in D-I last season was 26.4% and it's rare for a Power 5 school to hold opponents below 30% for a full season — but it was an encouraging sign that Mississippi State made just 31% in Sunday's game.

*Schedule: The Gophers are No. 37 in the NCAA's initial NET ratings that came out this week, which is quite good. But six of their seven wins came against teams in either Quadrant 3 or 4. They have the good Quadrant 1 win at Mississippi State, but aside from that their tests haven't been too stressful.

That said, the Gophers do have two road wins at major conference schools (Mississippi State and Pitt) and two neutral site wins (Western Kentucky and Princeton), proving they should be able to be competitive against the bulk of the Big Ten — at least far more competitive than I thought they would be.

We'll know more Wednesday night against Michigan State.

"Just don't let them get caught up in the awe," Curry said of how he is preparing teammates for a jump up in competition level. "We're here too, we're in the same conference as them and we're going to compete just like they're going to compete."