Golden Gophers Announce Big Ten Schedule

The Minnesota men's basketball program announced its 2008 Big Ten schedule today. The conference schedule increases from 16 to 18 games and Gophers fans will be able to see the entire Big Ten schedule live on national television.

"We're excited about the Big Ten portion of our schedule, and for the first time in seven years, Gopher fans will see all our league games live." head coach Tubby Smith said. "It's a test every night in the Big Ten and we will be ready for each test that comes our way."

Minnesota opens its conference season on the road in East Lansing, Mich., against the Michigan State Spartans on Jan. 5. It will be the first matchup between head coaches Tubby Smith and Tom Izzo since the 2005 NCAA Regional Final in Austin, Texas. The game will be shown live on the Big Ten Network at 7 p.m., Central Time.

The Gophers open their home Big Ten schedule against the Northwestern Wildcats on Wednesday, Jan. 9, at 8 p.m., on the BTN. In all, the Maroon and Gold will appear on the Big Ten Network at least 13 times this season.

"The Big Ten Network gives the Gopher program unprecedented national exposure and was one of the things that attracted me to this opportunity," Smith said. "Gopher fans in this great state and across the nation will be able to see their team all season long."

After a trip to Happy Valley on Jan. 12, the Gophers return for home games versus Indiana and its second matchup in the first five games against the Spartans. The Gophers' home game on Jan. 17 against the Hoosiers will be broadcast on either ESPN or ESPN2 with tip set for 8 p.m., Central.

Minnesota will make at least three appearances on the ESPN family of networks during the conference season. Minnesota's lone contest with the Iowa Hawkeyes will be shown on ESPN on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 1 p.m., at The Barn. In addition, Minnesota's home game against Michigan on Feb. 21 will be on ESPN or ESPN2, tipping at 8 p.m., Central.

With the 18-game conference schedule, the Gophers face the Hawks and the Purdue Boilermakers only once during the conference season. Minnesota travels to West Lafayette on Wednesday, Feb. 27 for an 8 p.m., Central tip on the Big Ten Network.

Two Gopher games are subject to Wildcard selections by the networks. Minnesota's home tilt versus Ohio State will be played either on Saturday, March 1 or Sunday, March 2. If CBS selects the game, it will be Sunday at 1 p.m. If not, the OSU game will be Saturday at 3 or 5 p.m., Central time on either ESPN or the Big Ten Network.

Minnesota's game at Indiana is a possible ESPN Wildcard selection. The game will be played either Tuesday, March 4 or Thursday, March 6 at 6 or 8 p.m., on ESPN. If ESPN does not select the game, it will be played Wednesday, March 5 at 6 or 8 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.

The Gophers conclude their conference slate at Illinois on Saturday, March 8 at noon on the BTN. The Big Ten Tournament is set for Indianapolis, Ind., on March 13-16.

The Gophers non-conference schedule will be released later this month.

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