Men's College Basketball: Minnesota vs. Vanderbilt
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The University of Minnesota men’s basketball program is making a return trip to the Sanford Pentagon, this time to face Vanderbilt University in a regular-season contest Dec. 3.
A game time will be determined based on television coverage.
Minnesota played Oklahoma State University at the Pentagon last season, falling 62-60 in front of a sell-out crowd. This will be Vanderbilt’s first trip to the venue, which has hosted eight NCAA Division I men’s college basketball games since opening in 2013.
“Sioux Falls fans provided Minnesota with a great atmosphere during its first trip to the Pentagon, and coach Pitino’s eagerness to bring a highly touted recruiting class to our facility validates us as great basketball stop,” said Eric Larsen, general manager of the Sanford Sports Complex. “Vanderbilt is the first SEC program to play in the Pentagon, and the tradition-rich Commodores have a proven winner in new head coach Bryce Drew.”
Minnesota went 8-23 last season and 2-16 in Big Ten Conference play. Richard Pitino returns for his fourth season as head coach of the Gophers in 2016-17. Minnesota welcomes six new players to the court this season, including four freshmen who were part of a top-20 nationally ranked recruiting class.
"We are excited about playing a quality opponent like Vanderbilt at the Pentagon,” said Pitino. “We played there last year and loved our experience. The staff treated us great and it's a first class facility. This will be the toughest non-conference schedule we have played."
Vanderbilt made the NCAA tournament last season—its 14 appearance in program history—where it fell to Wichita State in a First Four game. The Commodores finished 19-14 overall and 11-7 in Southeastern Conference action. Head coach Bryce Drew was hired in April after a successful run leading Valparaiso.
"We are excited to be part of this event,” said Drew. “I have seen it on television and loved the atmosphere and energy. It will be a neat experience for our players to play in Sioux Falls against a much-improved and well-coached Big Ten team."
The two programs have played four times but haven’t met since the 1950s. Minnesota has won all four games, the most recent coming during the 1959-60 season. They have never faced each other at a neutral site.
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