The No. 19/20 Michigan State Spartans open Big Ten Conference play for the 2020-21 season tonight on the road with a trip to Dinkytown to take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Minnesota enters the matchup at 7-0, most recently defeating the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Sunday 81-76. The Gophers are one of just 12 remaining undefeated Division I teams in the country. The Golden Gophers have three players scoring in double figures, including Jamison Battle, who is averaging 17.9 points (5th in the Big Ten), and Payton Willis, who is scoring 17.4 points (6th in the Big Ten).
The four top scorers for Minnesota are all transfers, including Jamison Battle (George Washington), Payton Willis (Vanderbilt, Minnesota, Charleston), E.J. Stephens (Lafyette) and Sean Sutherlin (New Hampshire). Yes, Payton Willis transferred to Minnesota, transferred out of Minnesota, and is again back at Minnesota.
- This will mark the 135th meeting all-time between the programs.
- The Spartans lead the series 73-61.
- Minnesota won 73-61 in the only matchup between the programs last season on Dec. 28, 2020 at Williams Arena in Minneapolis.
- Michigan State trails Minnesota 27-37 all-time in road games at Minnesota.
- MSU has won five of the last six in the series and eight of the last eight against the Golden Gophers.
- Michigan State is 16-10 in Big Ten Conference openers under Tom Izzo.
- The Spartans are 7-9 in Big Ten road openers under Izzo.
- This is the second-straight year the Spartans are opening Big Ten Conference play on the road. MSU fell at Northwestern in the Big Ten opener last season.
RT if you're as hype as Coach Izzo.— Michigan State Athletics (@MSU_Athletics) December 8, 2021
B1G play starts tonight for @MSU_Basketball! pic.twitter.com/SXNVSqyDdw