6 p.m. at Michigan State • Breslin Center • BTN • (1500-AM)
Preview: The 24th-ranked Gophers (15-2, 3-1) are playing their first game as a ranked team since the 2012-13 season. The last time Minnesota was a top-25 team playing an unranked Michigan State squad was during the 1996-97 Final Four season. Pitino defeated the Spartans in East Lansing, Mich., for the first time since 1997 in the Gophers’ last game at Breslin Center in 2014-15. Three out of the past four games in the series have been decided in overtime, including Michigan State’s 75-74 victory in Minneapolis on Dec. 27. The Spartans (11-6, 3-1) won without freshman G/F Miles Bridges, who is playing his third game since returning from an ankle injury.
Players to watch: The Gophers won two consecutive road games after falling to Michigan State in the Big Ten opener. They were led by freshmen in both. F Eric Curry, who is recovering from a bruised heel, scored seven of his 10 points in overtime in the win at Purdue. G Amir Coffey scored a team-high 17 points in the victory at Northwestern. … Michigan State freshman F Nick Ward had 22 points and 10 rebounds at Minnesota.
Numbers: The Gophers were last ranked on Feb. 4, 2013, at No. 18 in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls. Their first loss after that was 61-50 at Michigan State two days later.