Posted January 09, 2013 on AP on Fox
Minnesota has already proven to be of one of the Big Ten's better teams. The Golden Gophers' next three games should show if they're truly ready to compete for their first league title in 16 years. No. 8 Minnesota will begin as tough a three-game slate as the conference has to offer on Wednesday night when it visits No. 12 Illinois. The Gophers (14-1, 2-0) are seeking their first 3-0 start in Big Ten play since 1996-97 - the last year they claimed a conference championship. They beat Northwestern 69-51 on Sunday for their 10th straight victory since their only loss Nov. 22 against No. 1 Duke. Wednesday marks Minnesota's first road game since a 71-57 win at USC on Dec. 8. Coach Tubby Smith's team won its only other true road game at Florida State, 77-68, on Nov. 27. Should the Gophers extend their streak against the Illini, they'll have a chance to keep it going at No. 5 Indiana on Saturday before hosting No. 2 Michigan on Jan. 17. Those three opponents own a combined 43-3 record...
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