Gophers get No. 9 seed for Big Ten Tournament, face Michigan State Thursday

Parker Fox had 14 points and five rebounds in the Gophers' 70-58 loss to Indiana on Wednesday at Williams Arena. (University of Minnesota Athletics)

The University of Minnesota men’s basketball team is the No. 9 seed for the Big Ten Tournament, and the Gophers will open play Thursday against Michigan State at Target Center.

The Gophers and Spartans will tip-off at 11 a.m. in the first game of the first round. Minnesota finished the regular season 18-13, and 9-11 in Big Ten play. The Gophers enter the tournament having lost six of their last nine games. Minnesota split with Michigan State this season, losing 76-66 at the Breslin Center and getting a 59-56 win at Williams Arena.

Minnesota’s 18 wins eclipses either of the past two seasons under Ben Johnson. The Gophers also won nine league games after going 2-17 in conference play last year. At one point, Minnesota was in the NCAA Tournament conversation, but the Gophers would have to win the Big Ten Tournament to get there now.

Thursday’s winner gets No. 1 seed Purdue on Friday. The Gophers likely need to beat Michigan State at the very least to be considered for the NIT.