We have reached December and the winter sports are kicking into full gear. We have Big Ten basketball games for the first time this year on both the men’s and women’s sides, a Volleyball NCAA Tournament appearance, and a huge wrestling tilt against a ranked opponent on live TV. Add in three of four hockey games on TV and yeah, your remote is going to get a workout. Better change those batteries now.
**A notice that DirecTV is threating to lock out customers from Fox Network broadcasting at midnight Friday night. If you have DirecTV and there is no agreement you will not be able to see any Fox network, FS1 or BTN programming until an agreement is reached. **
Friday December 2nd:
Swimming and Diving—Minnesota Invite 10AM
The Gophers swimming and diving teams are hosting the Minnesota Invite this weekend at the Jean K Freeman Aquatic Center. The meet began last Wednesday and continues through Sunday featuring some of the best collegiate swimmers in the nation. Besides the #24 Gophers the men’s field includes #1 Texas, #2 Cal, #21 Wisconsin, #25 Arizona and Harvard, Pitt and UNLV. The women’s field is highlighted by #11 Texas, #13 Wisconsin and #14 Cal.
Prelims began at 10 AM with twelve different finals set for Friday night beginning at 6 PM. The event is being streamed live on NSPN.tv for a fee.
Men’s Hockey @ #11 Michigan State—-5:30 BTN
The Gopher men’s hockey team returns to Big Ten play after a weekend non-conference series at Arizona State last weekend that didn’t see the team play great. Minnesota did get a split of the series against the Sun Devils but did not play will all weekend and lost a game in OT on Saturday they had no business losing. Minnesota fell back to #4 in the USA Hockey poll while they are still ranked #1 in the nation in the USCHO.com poll.
Minnesota will face a Michigan State team this weekend in East Lansing that has surprised early and is just a single point behind the Gophers for the top of the Big Ten standings. Minnesota has won nine consecutive meetings against the Spartans but that will not be nearly as easy this weekend.
Under new head coach Adam Nightingale, the Spartans are playing their best hockey in years. They are scoring at a clip not seen in recent seasons. MSU’s 3.63 goals per game is fourth in the Big Ten and eighth nationally. Daniel Russel leads them with 18 points o the season while Karson Dorwart leads in goals with 7. In goal former Notre Dame goalie Dylan St. Cyr has been great leading the Big Ten in save percentage at .934 and has a 2.13 goals against average.
Minnesota will need to play their best to make sure they stay atop the conference by the end of the weekend. Face-off Friday is at 5:30 and the game will air live on Big Ten Network, and stream on foxsports.com.
Women’s Hockey vs Minnesota State 6PM
The Gopher women’s hockey returns home after a split in the Henderson Hockey Classic last weekend. Minnesota cruised to a 5-1 win over Penn State before losing to #5 Yale 4-3 in the Championship game. Minnesota now dropped back to #5 in the nation in this week’s rankings.
Minnesota has been missing several of their best players of late out with injuries. Neli Laitinen has not played in two weeks for the Gophers, and last weekend Minnesota missed 5th year senior Abagail Boreen for the entire series and Swedish freshman Josefin Bouveng for the Yale game.
Minnesota will look to “get healthy” against a Minnesota State team they already swept once this season by a combined score of 20-4. But the Mavericks have gone 7-1 since that weekend in October.
Friday’s game faces-off at 6 PM in Ridder Arena and will stream live on BTN+.
Volleyball vs SE Louisiana—NCAA Tournament 1st Round 7 PM
The Gopher volleyball team opens up NCAA Tournament play at 7 PM against SE Louisiana at the Pav. Minnesota is the #8 overall seed in the tournament and the #2 seed in the Texas region. A full preview of the Minneapolis quadrant in the volleyball tournament is HERE. The match is scheduled to start at 7 Pm and will stream live on ESPN+.
Saturday December 3rd:
Swimming and Diving—Minnesota Invite 10 AM
Another day of the Minnesota invite takes place on Saturday with prelims starting at 10 AM. and another 12 finals kicking off at 6PM Saturday night. As Friday, the event is being streamed live on NSPN.tv for a fee.
Women’s Hockey @ Minnesota State 2 PM Fox9+
The Gophers and Mavericks face off in game two of the home and home series and this one will be able to be watched on live TV. Fox9+ will air the game between the two squads at 2PM in Minnesota and it will also stream on BTN+.
Men’s Hockey @ Michigan State 5 PM BTN
Game two of the series between the Gophers and Spartans in East Lansing faces off at 5 PM and will once again air live on Big Ten Network and stream on Foxsports.com.
Volleyball—NCAA Tournament Road 2 vs Florida State/UNI 7 PM
Assuming the Gophers win Friday they will take on either Florida State or Northern Iowa in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Saturday night. The match will be Hugh McCutcheon’s final one in the Pav as the coach of the Gopher volleyball team. The match is slated to being at 7 PM and will stream live on ESPN+.
Women’s Basketball vs Penn State 7:30 PM BTN
The Gopher women’s basketball team opens up Big Ten play Saturday night in The Barn against Penn State. Minnesota is 4-3 on the season with a late loss to Wake Forest earlier this week their most recent game. Penn State is 7-1 with wins over Syracuse and Fresno State and their lone loss to Virginia by 20+ points—a team Minnesota lost to by only three.
Minnesota has been led by their outstanding freshman class, most notable Mara Braun. Braun has been electric for the Gophers and against Wake Forest on Wednesday scored 27 points and it made her just the fourth freshman since 2009-10 to score 27+ points, make 5+ 3FG, register 3+ steals and 1+ blocks against a Power 5 opponent.
The game will tip at 7:30 and will air live on Big Ten Network or stream on foxsports.com
Sunday December 4th:
Wresting @ #5 Oklahoma State 2PM
The Gophers will take on their toughest test of the season when they head to Stillwater, Oklahoma for a duel meet against the #5 ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys. The Cowboys lineup features a solid mix of veteran leadership and young talent with all ten wrestlers being ranked in the InterMat polls. Three-time NCAA finalist Daton Fix leads the way for Oklahoma State, along with fellow All-Americans Dustin Plott, Travis Wittlake, and Wyatt Sheets. Oklahoma State heads into the contest with a 3-0 record on the season with an average margin of victory of 25 points, defeating No. 22 Lehigh, Bucknell, and Wyoming on the year thus far. The two teams met last fall with OSU willing 23-10 in the Pav.
The highlights of Sunday’s matchup are a couple of top-10 meetings. 125 pounds will feature a top-10 rubber match between No. 4 Patrick McKee and No. 7 Trevor Mastrogiovanni, as the two split matches last season with McKee taking the most recent contest at the NCAA Championships with a 9-1 major decision.
Another top-10 matchup could come at 157 pounds, as No. 2 Brayton Lee faces a potential matchup with top-ten foe Kaden Gfeller.
The match will begin at 2PM and will stream live on ESPN+
Men’s Basketball @ Purdue 4 PM BTN
The Gopher men open the Big Ten slate against a top-5 opponent at Purdue awaits Minnesota in West Lafayette. Purdue moved up to #5 in the most recent poll after a string of impressive neutral site wins over West Virginia, Gonzaga and Duke. They sit at 7-0 on the season.
Tip time is set for 4 PM and will air live on Big Ten Network.