Big Ten tournament quarterfinal
1:30 p.m. vs. Michigan State • Washington, D.C. • ESPN, 1500-AM
Gophers vs. Spartans, Part III
Preview: The fourth-seeded Gophers (23-8) earned their highest seed in the Big Ten tournament and a double-bye. They have a chance to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2010, when they lost in the title game. The Gophers saw their eight-game win streak end Sunday in a 66-49 loss at Wisconsin, their second-largest margin of defeat this year; 65-47 at Michigan State was their worst. The Spartans (19-13) also beat Minnesota at Williams Arena on Dec. 27, 75-74 in overtime. MSU dropped its last two regular-season games but made a statement with a 78-51 win against Penn State in Thursday’s second round.
Players to watch: Junior guard Nate Mason’s 17.2-points-per-game average in Big Ten play was the highest for a Gophers player since Vincent Grier in 2005. Mason, who has scored in double figures in 11 straight games, became the first Gopher since Grier to earn All-Big Ten honors. Spartans freshmen Miles Bridges and Nick Ward combined for 30 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks Thursday against Penn State. Bridges (16 points on Jan. 11) and Ward (22 points on Dec. 27) had big games against Minnesota.
Numbers: The Gophers’ streak of four games with 80 points or more came to an end on Sunday. They scored just 49 points at Wisconsin, their second-lowest total behind 47 at Michigan State on Jan. 11.