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MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUND-UP: U hosts Southern Miss in NIT quarterfinal

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MINNEAPOLIS - The University of Minnesota men's basketball team hosts Southern Mississippi in a quarterfinal round NIT game tonight at Williams Arena. 

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The winner of tonight's contest will advance to the NIT Final Four at Madison Square Garden in New York City next week.  The Golden Gophers are 22-and-13 on the year and have won five of their last seven games and three of their last four.  The Golden Eagles have already set a school record with 29 wins and could notch their 30th of the season with a victory at the Barn tonight.  The tipoff is set for 8 p.m. and Gopher head coach Richard Pitino is hoping to have a large, rowdy crowd on hand. Tip-off is at 8 p.m.

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The Concordia-St. Paul women's basketball team has a chance to make the NCAA Division II Women's Basketball national semifinals with a win today in the Elite Eight in Erie, Pennsylvania.  The Golden Bears take on No. 10 Nova Southeastern of Florida in a game at 1:30 p.m. today.  Concordia-St. Paul is 28-8 on the season, while Nova Southeastern is 27-and-4.  The winner today advances to the national semifinals tomorrow to take on the winner of Limestone and West Texas A&M.  The championship bout is slated for Friday night in Erie.

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There are only 13 games left of the regular season for the Minnesota Timberwolves and with the playoff picture about as dim as possible, star player Kevin Love says they simply just have to attempt to win as many games as they can.  He told reporters after last night's 109-92 loss at Memphis that they want to "win as many as we can and be satisfied with the season."  Minnesota hosts Atlanta tomorrow night.  The Hawks lost last night at home to Phoenix.

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After an off-day yesterday, Wild head coach Mike Yeo is put his team through a midday workout at the Xcel Energy Center today.  The team is preparing for a home game against Vancouver scheduled for tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m.  The Wild beat Detroit in overtime on Sunday.  After tomorrow's game, Minnesota embarks on a four-game road trip through St. Louis, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

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Tickets to the NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey West Regional in St. Paul are on sale.  The four-team regional features top-ranked Minnesota, St. Cloud State, Notre Dame and Robert Morris.  First round regional games take place on Saturday with the Golden Gophers skating against Robert Morris at 4:30 p.m., followed by the Huskies and Irish at 8 p.m.  All-session tickets are available for a cost of $94, while select single-game tickets are also on sale.  Tickets can be purchased at the Xcel Energy Center box office or at Ticketmaster locations and on line.

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After a 12-day layoff, the University of Minnesota spring football practice period resumes with an afternoon workout scheduled for today at the on-campus Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex.  Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill put his team through four practices prior to spring break and will now complete another ten workouts over the next two-plus weeks, culminating with the April 12th spring game at TCF Bank Stadium.  All practices are open to the public.  A schedule can be found at the Gopher athletics webpage.

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Hamline junior Evan Cordell of Lakeville is the MIAC Baseball Player of the Week after helping the Pipers to a 3-and-2 record last week  Bethel sophomore Tyler Heitmann of Baldwin, Wisconsin is the league's Pitcher of the Week after helping his team upset Augustana.  Augsburg junior Bekka Kelly of Columbia Heights is this week's MIAC Softball Player of the Week after hitting .500 last week in six games for the Auggies.  Bethel junior Courtney Saurer of Chanhassen is the MIAC Softball Pitcher of the Week.  She had a 1.00 earned run average in three appearances last week for the Royals.  Minnesota State-Mankato senior Samantha Holien of Forest Lake is the NSIC Softball Player of the Week.  She was 12-for-22 last week for the Mavericks.  Her freshman teammate Coley Ries of Eagle Lake is the NSIC Pitcher of the Week after turning in a 3-and-0 record and a 1.27 ERA for the week.

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