Gophers coach Richard Pitino is trying to take over New York.
Well, that might not really be his intention. But making three trips there next season will give Minnesota a chance to make a statement in the Big Apple. The Gophers most recently found out they would be playing in the Barclays Center Classic in Brooklyn around Thanksgiving next season, a source with direct knowledge confirmed Tuesday.
CBSSports.com’s Jon Rothstein first reported the Barclays Classic field, which includes BYU, Alabama and Massachusetts. The exact date and matchups have yet to be determined.
Pitino should have a preseason top 25 team going into the 2017-18 season with nearly his entire squad returning from a 24-win team that reached the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2013.
The Gophers will return to New York after the Barclays Classic to play Jan. 20, 2018 against Ohio State in a basketball-hockey Big Ten doubleheader at Madison Square Garden. The men’s hockey team will play Michigan State.
In March, the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament will also be held for the first time at Madison Square Garden.
Imagine how many fans will be rooting for the Gophers with incoming freshman and four-star point guard recruit Isaiah Washington from St. Raymond. Washington was named New York’s Mr. Basketball this year. Fellow 2017 class member Jamir Harris is also from the Patrick School in New Jersey.
Both Washington and Harris played against one another in the Jordan Brand Classic regional game last month at the Barclays Center. Washington had 20 points and 15 assists and Harris had 20 points.