Minnesota vs. Michigan set to be Barn-burner

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Talk about your marquee matchups: No. 5 Michigan faces No. 9 Minnesota at Williams Arena Thursday night in a huge Big 10 college basketball showdown.

At about the same time, the Timberwolves take on one of the NBA's best: the L.A. Clippers at Target Center.

Which game will be place to be? The Star-Tribune's Chip Scoggins nails it in three words: "There's no comparison."

Scoggins also get this notion right: "Talk to long-time followers of Twin Cities sports and they contend that a relevant Gophers basketball team ranks third in popularity, behind only the Vikings and Twins." That's dead-on accurate.

One example to prove that point: Last Saturday's Gophers-Hoosiers game, which aired on the Big Ten Network. BTN says the clash -- with an 11 a.m. start -- was the top-rated regular season game ever on the network. It was also the top-rated cable program overall in the Minneapolis and Indianapolis TV markets.

Which brings us back to Thursday. On Monday, the U said the game was close to a sellout, with 300 obstructed view seats remaining. On the secondary ticket market -- Stub Hub, for example -- there are 235 tickets remaining as of 10:35 a.m. Tuesday. Price range? $55 for a single, and up to $444 dollars for seats at center court.

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