No. 13/11 Michigan State returns to conference play with a series against No. 4/1 Minnesota. It’s a battle for an early lead in the Big Ten race, as MSU sits one point behind the first-place Gophers in the Big Ten standings entering the weekend. The Golden Gophers hold a commanding lead in the all-time series between the teams, (129-50-16), and the Spartans are 30-51-8 in games between the two Big Ten rivals in East Lansing. Bob Motzko is in his fourth season as the head coach in the twin cities, and has guided his charges to a 11-5-0 record this season.