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Game Thread: Minnesota Golden Gophers versus Michigan State Spartans

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Michigan State vs Minnesota Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off of absolutely dominating the rival Michigan Wolverines this past Sunday, Michigan State Spartans basketball is back tonight! The Minnesota Golden Gophers travel to East Lansing to take on MSU for a 9 p.m. tip-off at the Breslin Center. You can watch the game on ESPN2.

This is the fifth home game in a row for Michigan State, and the Spartans have won its last seven games total. Overall, MSU checks in at 12-3, and is the only remaining undefeated team in conference play, with a perfect 4-0 record in the Big Ten. Michigan State has been outstanding at home, with a 7-1 record — the only loss coming to Duke.

Minnesota, on the other hand, has been a bit of a streaky team. After a 1-3 start, the Gophers find themselves at 8-6 overall and 2-2 in the Big Ten entering tonight. Minnesota has won four of its last five contests, including winning last time out against Northwestern. The Golden Gophers also had an impressive in-conference win against Ohio State in December. The team struggles on the road with a 0-4 record in true road games (1-1 neutral site), including losing its last road contest at Purdue.

Minnesota is led by big man Daniel Oturu, who shoots 63.3 percent from the floor, and averages 19.1 points per game, and a ridiculous 12.4 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game. He’ll be a handful for Xavier Tillman/Marcus Bingham Jr. to handle in the post. The Gophers also have three other players who average double digits in scoring: Marcus Carr (15.9 ppg), Gabe Kalscheur (13.4 ppg) and Payton Willis (10.6 ppg).

Interestingly, Minnesota is one Big Ten program that has really been able to limit Cassius Winston’s effectiveness offensively. If my math is correct, in six career games against the Gophers, Winston averages just about 6.2 points per game and has shoot under 31.2 percent from the floor. He has, however, averaged nearly six assists per game in those contests, and the Spartans went 5-1 in those games.

At home, though, and with the way MSU is playing as of late, this is another game the Spartans should win, but you never know in the Big Ten.

Here is your game thread.

For more on Minnesota, check out The Only Colors’ preview.