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MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUNDUP: Gopher hoops on their way to the NIT

MINNEAPOLIS --  The University of Minnesota men's basketball team did not receive an invitation to the NCAA Tournament, but did receive the No. 1 overall seed to the National Invitational Tournament and will host a first-round game tomorrow night at Williams Arena. The Golden Gophers will entertain eight-seed High Point University for a 7:15 p.m. game tomorrow. Minnesota enters the tourney with a 20-and-13 overall record and will be making its second NIT appearance in the past there seasons. The Gophers lost in the NIT Championship game in 2012 in New York City. This will be the 15th time for Minnesota in the NIT, although two of those appearances have been wiped out by sanctions. High Point brings a 16-and-14 overall record to the game. The Minnesota athletic department announced that the first 500 students coming to the game tomorrow will get in for free. Tickets for the general public are on sale now at a cost of $20 apiece.


Minnesota guard Kevin Martin poured in a game-high 31 points as the Timberwolves clipped the Kings 104-102 at the Target Center in Minnesota last night. Kevin Love recorded 26 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for the T'wolves, who have alternated wins and losses over their last seven games. Gorgui Dieng added 12 points, 11 boards and five blocks while making his first career NBA start. Ricky Rubio had 12 points and nine assists in the victory. Isaiah Thomas tallied 27 points, seven assists and six boards to pace Sacramento, which has lost five-of-six. Former Wolves forward Derrick Williams posted 26 points and 11 boards off the bench for the Kings. Minnesota played without Nikola Pekovic and Sacramento played without DeMarcus Cousins. The Wolves visit Dallas on Wednesday.


March Madness is about to kick into high gear. The 68-team field for the NCAA Tournament is now set. Florida, Virginia, Arizona and Wichita State landed the number-one seeds. The action gets underway tomorrow night with the first pair of First Four matchups from Dayton, Ohio. The Big Ten sent six teams to the Big Dance, including Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Nebraska and Iowa. North Dakota State also earned an automatic berth and will take a roster which includes five Minnesotans to a first round game against Oklahoma in Spokane, Washington on Thursday.


The Golden Gopher baseball team beat Sacramento State yesterday, 5-3, in ten innings. Minnesota improved to 9-and-6 on the season and will play Saint Mary's tomorrow and Wednesday in Moraga, California. The 18th-ranked Gopher softball team beat Troy 4-2 yesterday, extending the Minnesota winning streak to five games. The Gophers are now 21-and-3 on the season and will play at South Carolina on Wednesday.


Minnesota's Eduardo Escobar drove in two runs in the seventh inning as the Twins doubled up the Marlins 4-2 yesterday in Fort Myers. Kurt Suzuki and Oswaldo Arcia also plated a run each for Minnesota. Ricky Nolasco tossed five innings of two-run ball. The Twins take on the Orioles today in Sarasota. Meanwhile, the Twins reassigned Sean Gilmartin, Darin Mastroianni, Jermaine Mitchell, James Beresford, and Brandon Waring to minor league camp yesterday.


 The Wild begin a three-game road trip tonight in Boston against the Bruins. Minnesota will play the Islanders in New York tomorrow before wrapping up the trip Thursday in New Jersey. The Wild have lost four of their last five games to fall to 35-22-and-10 on the season. The Bruins have won eight in-a-row and lead the Eastern Conference at 45-17-and-5.