Minnesota Sports Briefs: Gophers plays in NIT semifinalsMinnesota Sports
-- The University of Minnesota men's basketball team plays Washington tonight in the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden. Tip-off is at 8 p.m.
NEW YORK -- The University of Minnesota men's basketball team plays Washington tonight in the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden. Tip-off is at 8 p.m.
Minnesota forward Rodney Williams says they are all really excited to be in New York City. The Gophers had a late-afternoon practice Monday and were able to see some of the sites before their 11pm curfew. Sophomore guard Austin Hollins thinks they're getting better every game and says no one wants to stop playing now. Huskies coach Lorenzo Lomar expects Tubby Smith's team to play tenacious defense and make it difficult for his team to get easy baskets. The winner of tonight's game will face either UMass or Stanford in the NIT championship Thursday.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are on the road at Memphis tonight looking for their first win at FedEx Forum in six visits. The Wolves routed the Nuggets 117-100 in a rare home game on Monday. Minnesota had just wrapped up a season-long 13-day, seven-game road trip. The Grizzlies snapped a three-game slide with a 102-96 win Sunday at the Lakers. Memphis has won the first two meetings with the Wolves this season and six in a row. Center Nikola Pekovic is out tonight and guard J.J. Barea is questionable with a thigh contusion. The 24-26 Timberwolves are three games out of eighth place in the Western Conference standings.
The Minnesota Wild and New York Rangers face off at the Xcel Energy Center tonight for the only time this season. New York currently has a three-point lead over Pittsburgh for first place in the Eastern Conference. Rangers forward Marian Gaborik is returning to the arena where he spent his first eight NHL seasons. The Wild have been eliminated from playoff contention but can play the spoiler while building for next season.
The Minnesota Vikings will get two fourth-round picks in this year's NFL Draft as compensation for losing players to free agency. The selections will be the 128th and 134th overall for losing defensive end Ray Edwards, quarterback Tavaris Jackson, receiver Sidney Rice and linebacker Ben Leber. Minnesota will have a total of ten picks at next month's draft (4/26). The Vikings have the number-three overall selection.