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My longtime buddy and Duluth YMCA Noon Basketball Hall-of-Famer Fred Friedman on the Gophers men's basketball team, which edged Big Ten rival Michigan State 59-56 on Tuesday night at historic Williams Arena in Minneapolis – "I like (power forward Pharrel) Payne's game a lot and believed he should have been starting from the beginning of the season. He plays hard, blocks out and is fearless. I'm hoping (guard Cam) Christie continues to improve and that he stays around. (Forward Dawson) Garcia is good but nowhere near the mid first-round NBA draft pick that was projected when he graduated from high school.

"I would love to see them make the big tournament, but they have to substantially improve recruiting and give talented players reasons to stay. Kids want to win, play, make the tournament, play in front of large crowds and pocket NIL money – and not one of those requirements is enough alone to attract the best and get them to stay."