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MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUND-UP: T-Wolves top Chicago behind Love's 31 points.

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MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUND-UP: T-Wolves top Chicago behind Love's 31 points.
Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

CHICAGO -  The Minnesota Timberwolves are back at .500 again after beating the Chicago Bulls 95-86 at the United Center in Chicago last night. 

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Minnesota forward Kevin Love scored 31 points and snatched eight rebounds in the victory.  Each of the past nine times Minnesota has been even in the win-loss column they have lost the next game.  Ronny Turiaf contributed 14 points and seven rebounds off the bench in the victory.  He was filling in for Nikola Pekovic, who suffered an Achilles injury in the first quarter.  Chicago was without center Joakim Noah who missed the game because of an illness, as well as Kirk Heinrich, who is injured.  Carlos Boozer paced the Bulls with 20 points, 14 rebounds and five assists as they have lost two of three.  The Wolves host New Orleans tomorrow night at the Target Center.

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The University of Minnesota men's basketball team is off until Saturday when Northwestern comes to town for a Big Ten showdown at Williams Arena.  The Gopher men have alternated wins and losses over their last six games following Sunday's 82-78 setback at Nebraska.  Minnesota sits at 15-6 on the year and 4-4 in conference play.  Meanwhile, the Gopher women's team will entertain Iowa tomorrow night at the Barn at 7 p.m.

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The Big Ten Network announced that last Wednesday's men's basketball doubleheader was the highest-rated Wednesday night in the history of the cable network.  The second game of the doubleheader was Minnesota against then-No. 8 Wisconsin.  The Golden Gophers won the game 81-68.  The opening game of the twinbill was Iowa at Michigan with Michigan getting the victory.  The ratings are based on meter readings from the eight major media markets in the Big Ten's footprint, including Minneapolis.

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Thirteen cities and regions have been named finalists to host the Men's and Women's Final Fours in 2017-2020, including the Twin Cities.  The eight finalists for the Men's Final Four are Minneapolis, Atlanta, Indianapolis, New Orleans, North Texas, Phoenix/Glendale, San Antonio and St. Louis.  If Minnesota is granted a Final Four, it would be played at the new Vikings stadium in downtown Minneapolis. The winners will be announced in November along with the preliminary rounds for the 2016-18 men's basketball tournaments.  The 2014 Men's Final Four will be played in North Texas, while Indianapolis will host next year and Houston hosts the event in 2016.  The seven cities being considered for the Women's Final Four are Columbus, Dallas, Houston, Nashville, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay. 

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Governor Dayton yesterday named top business leaders to head Minnesota's bid for the 2018 Super Bowl at the Vikings' new stadium.  Dayton says unlike this Sunday, that game will be indoors.  He says the NFL won't have to provide warm clothes for those attending a 2018 Super Bowl in Minneapolis, because there will be climate-controlled stadium and a lot of good activities.  The governor will be in New York this weekend making the pitch to NFL officials. Indianapolis and New Orleans are also in the running for Super Bowl 52.

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Super Bowl week is in full force.  The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks are in place in New Jersey and gearing up for Super Bowl 48 Sunday at MetLife Stadium.  Although the official Media Day is Tuesday, coaches and some players met with reporters on Monday.  Broncos head coach John Fox says both teams have been peaking at the right time.  The Seahawks are practicing this week at the Giants' training facility in East Rutherford, while the Broncos are using the Jets' facility in Florham Park.  This year's game pits the number-one rated offense in Denver going up against the top-rated defense in Seattle.  Cold Spring native Eric Decker is the lone Minnesota native playing in the big game.  The Denver wide receiver is a former Golden Gopher star who has 87 catches for 1,288 yards and 11 touchdowns during the regular season.

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The Dallas Cowboys are bringing in former Minnesota Vikings, Miami Dolphins, and Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, according to several media outlets.  Linehan will serve as passing game coordinator.  Linehan will be the third different play-caller for the Cowboys in as many years.  The 50-year-old was OC in Detroit from 2009-13 following two-plus seasons as head coach of the St. Louis Rams.  He worked with Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett in Miami in 2005.  He was with the Vikings from 2002-2004.

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University of Houston football is looking to lock up head coach Tony Levine for a long time.  According to the Houston Chronicle, the Cougars and Levine are looking to extend his contract that still has three years left on it.  His current deal was for five years and worth around $800,000 per season.  Levine is a St Paul native and former Golden Gopher wide receiver.

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St. Cloud State sophomore forward Jonny Brodzinski of Blaine is this week's NCHC Offensive Player of the Week.  He helped the No. 5 Huskies to a third-place finish in the inaugural North Star College Cup in St. Paul.  Minnesota-Duluth forward Alex Iafallo of Eden, New York is this week's NCHC Rookie of the Week after helping the Bulldogs to a second-place finish in the North Star College Cup.  St. Thomas junior goaltender Drew Fielding of Burlington, Ontario is this week's MIAC men's hockey Athlete of the Week after earning back-to-back shutouts over Hamline over the weekend.  Gustavus Adolphus senior forward Melissa Doyle of White Bear Lake is this week's MIAC women's hockey Athlete of the Week.  She tallied four points in two weekend wins over Saint Mary's.

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The Minnesota Wild continue their four-game road trip tonight in Anaheim against the NHL-leading Ducks.  Minnesota will then head to Colorado on Thursday and Calgary on Saturday.  The Wild opened the trip with a 3-2 overtime loss in San Jose on Saturday.  They are now 28-20-6 on the year.  The Ducks have the best record in the NHL at 39-10-5.

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Three-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart continues to claim he'll be ready for the Daytona 500.  Speaking on the first day of the annual Sprint Media Tour in Charlotte, Stewart told reporters he's doing everything he can to recover from an August wreck in Iowa that badly broke his leg.  The earliest "Smoke" could be cleared to drive is February 14th, a day before the season-opening Sprint Unlimited exhibition race.  Stewart acknowledged that there's risk involved and that he could aggravate the injury.  The Daytona 500 is set for February 23rd.

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