8 p.m. Thursday at No. 22 Wisconsin • BTN; 100.3-FM
Road wins hard to get in Madison
Preview: The Gophers (11-2 overall, 1-1 Big Ten) resume conference play Thursday on a five-game winning streak that started during early league games with an 85-78 victory Dec. 5 against No. 24 Nebraska at Williams Arena. That was the beginning of a five-game homestand that ended in Sunday’s 71-53 win against Mount St. Mary’s. Minnesota is undefeated at home (7-0) and at neutral sites (4-0) this season, but lost on the road 68-56 at Boston College and 79-59 at Ohio State. Pitino’s road record is only 2-11 the past two seasons, including six consecutive road losses to end last year. The Gophers are 0-8 in the Border Battle since last beating the Badgers at home in Pitino’s first season in 2013-14. Wisconsin (10-3, 2-0) defeated Iowa 72-66 and Rutgers 69-64 in the early December conference games, but the Badgers are coming off a disappointing 83-76 loss at Western Kentucky last week. That dropped them from No. 15 to No. 22 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.
Players to watch: Gophers redshirt sophomore Eric Curry made his season debut Sunday with four points and six rebounds in 17 minutes against Mount St. Mary’s. The 6-9, 240-pound sophomore was a key reserve on the U’s NCAA tournament team in 2017, but he missed last season and the first 12 games this year recovering from surgeries on his left knee. Wisconsin guard Brad Davison, a Maple Grove native, broke out of a sophomore slump with two 20-plus point performances in his past three games, including a season-high 26 points on 9-for-13 shooting against Western Kentucky.
Numbers: Minnesota’s last victory at Wisconsin was 78-74 in overtime on Jan. 15, 2009. The last U victory against a ranked Badgers team in Madison was on Feb. 12, 1994, in a 109-78 victory, but that win was vacated because of the academic scandal.