The University of Minnesota is playing its role in helping the Big Ten’s clutch extend eastward.
The school announced on Wednesday that the Gophers would be participating in a hockey-men’s basketball “Super Saturday” double-header in New York in 2018.
Both games will be held at Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden on Sat., Jan. 20 of that year. Gophers basketball will tip off against Ohio State while Gophers hockey will face Michigan State that day.
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney's desire to enter the East Coast market in a big way has been obvious over the last few years, particularly as the league added Maryland and Rutgers and announced that the 2018 conference tournament would be played at Madison Square Garden.
“We are excited for the opportunity to be a part of the Super Saturday doubleheader in 2018,” Gophers basketball coach Richard Pitino said in a statement. “With the Big Ten Tournament scheduled to be played at Madison Square Garden later that year, it will give our team valuable experience on the court there. Our guys will be excited to play at one of basketball’s greatest venues. We look forward to facing Ohio State in what will be a fantastic event.”
Pitino has coached the Gophers at Madison Square Garden on two occasions already -- winning the NIT tournament in 2014 at the culmination of his first season and competing in the NIT Season-Tipoff tournament in November of the following season. Pitino and Minnesota won three of their four games there in that span.
The men’s hockey team will be making its first appearance at the current Madison Square Garden.
“The Super Saturday doubleheader will be an exciting event for our program and our fans, and we’re certainly looking forward to playing in the World’s Most Famous Arena,” hockey coach Don Lucia added in the statement. “Madison Square Garden is an iconic venue for a hockey game, and we want our players and fans to enjoy memorable experiences like this one as often as possible.”
The Big Ten also announced three additional basketball matchups and two additional hockey matchups, to be played between 2016 and 2019.
That full lineup:
Jan. 30, 2016
Basketball: Michigan at Penn State
Hockey: Michigan at Penn State
Jan. 28, 2017
Basketball: Wisconsin at Rutgers
Hockey: Wisconsin at Ohio State
Jan. 20, 2018
Basketball: Ohio State at Minnesota
Hockey: Minnesota at Michigan State
Basketball: Illinois at Maryland