Minnesota at Michigan State
Minnesota Golden Gophers Preview
The Minnesota Golden Gophers might be more dangerous than their 8-6 record indicates. They claimed an 84-71 home win over Ohio State in mid-December and have one of the nation’s best big men, sophomore Daniel Oturu, who is averaging 19.1 points, 12.4 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game.
He comes in averaging 18 rebounds in the past three games, a stretch that includes a monster 29 points in a double-overtime loss at Purdue on Jan. 2. Electric point guard Marcus Carr averages 15.9 points, 6.9 assists and 5.5 rebounds per game. If he and Gabe Kalscheur (13.4 points per game) are hitting from deep, Minnesota is a tough out, despite getting little from its bench.
No. 8 Michigan State Spartans Preview
The Michigan State Spartans were No. 1 in the Associated Press preseason poll before plummeting after a 5-3 start. Now, they are back in the top 10, riding a seven-game winning streak that includes resounding Big Ten victories in the past week over Illinois (76-56) and then-No. 12 Michigan (87-69).
Senior point guard Cassius Winston showed his All-America form against the Wolverines, pouring in a career-best 32 points with nine assists. Coach Tom Izzo has been asking for more from his committee of big men around Xavier Tillman (13.9 points, 9.8 rebounds per game); starter Marcus Bingham Jr. had five points and six rebounds in 13 minutes against Michigan.