Date: Thursday, January 2, 2014
Time: 6:00 p.m. CT
Location: Minneapolis, Minn.
Arena: Williams Arena (14,625)
TV: BTN - Eric Collins (Play-by-Play); Jim Jackson (Analyst)
Radio: Learfield/1500 ESPN Twin Cities - Mike Grimm (Play-by-Play); Spencer Tollackson (Analyst)
Satellite Radio: Sirius 92/XM 190
Series: 141st meeting (59-81)
Series (Home): 68th meeting (38-29)
Current Streak: L-4
Richard Pitino vs. Michigan: First meeting
Minnesota vs. Big Ten: 717-761
Richard Pitino vs. Big Ten: First meeting
GAME DAY TID-BITS
Minnesota begins its 109th season of Big Ten Conference play, and the first under head coach Richard Pitino, on Thursday when it hosts Michigan. The Wolverines, the defending national runner-up, are receiving votes in both polls this week.
The Gophers are winners of six straight games, including Saturday's 65-44 victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, which gave Minnesota an 11-2 finish in non-conference play this season. That marks the seventh straight season the Gophers have finished non-league play with double-digit victories.
Minnesota will make its conference debut Thursday, and the Gophers enter B1G play leading the league in steals per game (8.8) and free throw percentage (.760), while ranking second in turnover margin (+3.8).
The Gophers are looking to win their second-straight Big Ten opener after defeating Michigan State last season. Minnesota is 11-16 in Big Ten openers since the 1980-81 season (not counting vacated years).
Minnesota has not opened Big Ten play against Michigan in 14 seasons, the last time coming on Jan. 5, 2000, an 85-68 Gophers win in Ann Arbor.
Richard Pitino is 1-0 in conference openers as a head coach, with his FIU squad defeating Arkansas State, 80-61, last season in the Golden Panthers' Sun Belt Conference opener.
On Dec. 10 against the Jackrabbits, Minnesota saw two players post double-doubles for the first time in more than three years. Austin Hollins had 20 points and 14 rebounds, while Elliott Eliason added 10 points and 12 rebounds. The last time two Gophers had double-doubles in the same game was Nov. 12, 2010 against Wofford (Ralph Sampson III - 20 pts., 13 rbs.; Trevor Mbakwe - 14 pts., 10 rbs.).
Before this year, the Golden Gopher program had not seen a pair of players reach the 1,000-point plateau in the same season since the trio of Randy Carter, Voshon Lenard and Arriel McDonald did so during the 1993-94 season.