Minneapolis (gophersports.com) - The University of Minnesota men's basketball team tips off its 112th season of Big Ten Conference play Tuesday evening, hosting the Michigan State Spartans.

The game will mark the fifth time in the last 10 seasons that the Gophers have kicked off conference play against the Spartans, including four years ago, a 76-63 win at Williams Arena.

The Gophers have won six straight and, with 12 wins and one loss, are off to their best start in four years. In the latest edition of the NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), the Gophers stand in eighth place.

The Gophers have been able to hang their hat on defense this season thus far. Minnesota is allowing opponents to connect on just 36.2 percent of their field goal attempts, leading the Big Ten in field goal percentage defense and ranking 10th nationally in that category. In addition to ranking in the top-10 in that category, Minnesota is also ninth in total blocks (81) in the NCAA rankings (as of Dec. 21).

Tuesday night’s game at the Barn begins at 8 p.m.

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