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MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUND-UP: Golden Gopher gridders get ready for match-up against Hoosiers

MINNEAPOLIS - The University of Minnesota football team will leave today for Bloomington, Indiana, where tomorrow the 6-2 Golden Gophers take on the 3-4 Indiana Hoosiers. 

Indiana was off last week with a bye, while Minnesota beat Nebraska 34-23.  Minnesota defensive end Ra'Shede Hageman  of Minneapolis says the Gophers are clicking on all cylinders, with the offense and defense both stepping up.  Minnesota has won two straight games, including last week's upset of then-No. 21 Nebraska.  The game kicks off at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow and will be broadcast on BTN. Minnesota has not won in Bloomington since 1985.


The reeling Minnesota Vikings are on the road Sunday as they head to "Big D" to battle the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.  The Vikings were held to just 243 yards of offense in a 44-31 home loss to the Packers on Sunday night.  Adrian Peterson was limited to 60 yards on 13 carries, but did score a touchdown for Minnesota, which is 0-and-6 on American soil this season.  The Vikes' lone win was against Pittsburgh in London in Week Four.  The Cowboys are 4-4, but still lead the NFC East despite blowing a 10-point, fourth-quarter lead this past Sunday at Detroit.  Kickoff on Sunday is noon.  The Vikings have not named a starting quarterback yet for Sunday's game, although head coach Leslie Frazier says he and the team who it will be.  Either Josh Freeman or Christian Ponder will get the start.


When the Vikings and Cowboys meet in Dallas on Sunday, it will be the 29th meeting between the two NFL clubs.  Each team has won 14 games in the all-time series.  The Vikings have won seven of the last eight matchups in the series, including two wins in the last three visits to Dallas.  Minnesota has never played in the Cowboys' five-year old stadium in Arlington and is 7-5 all time in games in Dallas.  The Vikings have won the past two meetings, both in the Metrodome.  That last visit to Dallas for Minnesota resulted in a 24-14 Cowboys win in 2007.


Michigan State is a unanimous favorite to win the Big Ten men's basketball title, based on a vote of media members who cover the league.  The Spartans were chosen first, followed by Michigan and Ohio State.  The conference only releases the top three teams.  Michigan State players Gary Harris and Adreian Payne were chosen to be members of the preseason All-Big Ten team, with Harris earning preseason Player of the Year honors.  Michigan teammates Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary are also on the first team.  Penn State guard Tim Frazier, who missed all of last season with a leg injury, is returning and on the preseason first-team.  Ohio State guard Aaron Craft is also a preseason first-teamer.  No Golden Gophers were noted.  Yesterday was Big Ten Basketball Media Day in Chicago.


The University of Minnesota men's basketball team opens exhibition play tonight at Williams Arena against Cardinal-Stritch.  This will be the first game activity for new coach Richard Pitino's team.  They have scrimmaged throughout fall camp against each other, but this will be the opening act in regard to playing against someone else before a crowd.  Senior guard Austin Hollins says the team is in excellent physical condition because Pitino's style of play demands full court presence on the floor.  Tip time tonight is 7 p.m.  After tonight, the Gophers host Concordia-St. Paul in another preseason game on Monday night at Williams Arena at 7 p.m.  The Minnesota women's team entertains Minnesota State-Moorhead in an exhibition game tomorrow at the Barn at 2 p.m.

Nebraska Chosen As WBB Favorite.


Nebraska has been chosen as the preseason favorite to win the Big Ten women's basketball championship.  Penn State was selected second, followed by Michigan State.  Golden Gopher star Rachel Banham of Lakeville was chosen a preseason first-team All-Big Ten member.  She was joined on the first team by Samantha Logic of Iowa, Jordan Hooper of Nebraska, Purdue's Courtney Moses, and Michigan State's Klarissa Bell.  Penn State standout Maggie Lucas is the preseason Big Ten Player of the Year.  Yesterday was Big Ten Basketball Media Day in Chicago.


The Minnesota Timberwolves and Oklahoma City Thunder lock up in a key, early-season NBA Western Conference showdown tonight in Minneapolis.  Both teams won their season openers on Wednesday night.  OKC has been a title-contending type of team in recent years, but is playing short-handed with no Russell Westbrook in the lineup.  The Wolves have playoff aspirations and will need to be focused to have a chance tonight.  Tip time is 7 p.m.


The Minnesota Wild return to home ice with a game tonight against Montreal at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.  Wild tough guy Zanon Konopka says it was nice having three days between games, which gave them ample time on the ice to fine-tune their game.  He says they needed some work without the worry of playing games.  Minnesota last played on Monday, a 5-1 defeat to the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawk.  Tonight's game against the Canadiens begins at 7 p.m.  The Wild host New Jersey on Sunday night.


The Wild sent forward Stephane Veilleux back to AHL Iowa yesterday.  The 31-year-old was recalled earlier this month and recorded 11 hits and six penalty minutes in ten games with the big club.  He has played in 460 NHL games in his career.


The Minnesota Wild kick off their "Movember" campaign prior to tonight's game against Montreal in Saint Paul.  The November charity event encourages men to grow moustaches to raise awareness and funds for male cancers.  Wild spokesman Ryan Stanzel says it begins with a shave-off event and culminates November 29th with a team photo on the ice of all the men who've grown moustaches.  Stanzel says the Wild set a Guinness World Record with 11-hundred-31 moustaches on the ice at Xcel Energy Center in November 2010. "Movember" page launches today (11/1).


One of the most heated rivalries in college sports will be renewed beginning in 2016 when the Golden Gophers and North Dakota play again in men's ice hockey.  The two long-time foes switched conferences after last season, meaning they are not scheduled to play against each other in a regular season game for the next three seasons, including this one.  The two schools have agreed to a home-and-home schedule that will bring North Dakota to Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis in the 2016-17 season and return Minnesota to Grand Forks to play a series in 2017-18.  The two teams have played each other 290 times and have combined for 12 national championships and 39 NCAA Frozen Four appearances.


Tickets to the 2014 NCAA Division I men's ice hockey regional at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul go on sale this morning at 10 a.m.  The University of Minnesota is the host institution for the regional, which will take place March 29-30.  To purchase tickets, fans should log on to the NCAA Webpage or call 1-800-745-3000.


The University of Minnesota women's soccer team dropped its regular season finale yesterday 3-1 at home to Illinois.  The loss drops the Golden Gopher season record to 11-6-2 overall and 4-5-2 in the Big Ten.  Minnesota will now have to wait for outcomes of games this weekend to find out if they will make the Big Ten women's soccer postseason tournament.


Here are results from Thursday's games in the 2013 Minnesota State Boys' and Girls' Soccer Tournament at the Metrodome:

Class 1A Girls' Championship:  Benilde-St. Margaret's 1, The Blake School 0 (final)

Class 2A Girls' Championship:  Minnetonka 1, Lakeville North 0 (final)

Class 1A Boys' Championship:  St. Paul Como Park 2, Hill-Murray 1 (final)

Class 2A Boys' Championship:  Minneapolis North 4, Eastview 3 (final)