(AP) Freshman guard Andre Hollins scored 20 points, including five in overtime, and short-handed Minnesota beat Washington 68-67 on Tuesday night to advance to the NIT title game. With the shot clock winding down and the Golden Gophers clinging to a one-point lead in the final minute, Hollins banked in an off-balance shot to put Minnesota up 68-65. The sixth-seeded Golden Gophers (23-14) will face No. 3 seed Stanford in Thursday’s title game at Madison Square Garden. The Cardinal beat Massachusetts in the first semifinal. Read the full AP recap, see the box score and interactive NIT bracket and get Tom Dienhart’s analysis in this post.
Illinois centerfielder Willie Argo became the program’s all-time stolen base leader in Tuesday night’s 16-7 defeat to Illinois State. Argo wasted no time breaking the nearly 30-year-old record, stealing his 84th career bag in the first inning. With the steal, Argo, a senior, supplanted Todd Schmitke (1983) atop the program’s record book.
Tuesday night on “Big Ten Football Report,” Gerry DiNardo visited Lincoln, Neb., to catch up with Nebraska offensive coordinator Tim Beck and watch film of the Cornhuskers’ offense this spring. Yes, quarterback Taylor Martinez’s progression as a passer was a popular topic. Also, Howard Griffith visited with Michigan State’s William Gholston, one of the nation’s most feared defenders.
Who is the longest-tenured coach at his Big Ten school? It’s Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz, who is entering his 14th season in Iowa City. And as he embarks on another spring practice, he faces a unique set of challenges he never before has encountered. Chief among the challenges is developing chemistry on a coaching staff that long has been a beacon of stability but has been shaken up like never before on Ferentz’s watch. On top of the staff overhaul, Ferentz also has some key personnel issues to deal with this spring. I caught up with the Iowa coach this week to discuss those issues—and others.
The New Orleans Saints’ official Twitter account (@Saints) released photos of the 2012 Final Four court and other scenes around the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, home of this year’s Final Four. So, if you’re interested, get your first look at the court Ohio State will be playing on Saturday night. Spoiler alert: It’s in the same design as all the NCAA tourney courts, only it’s green — two shades of it — where those courts are black, and it features the Final Four logo at midcourt. See pictures in this post.
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Lots buzzing around Big Ten football gridirons on this day, with Michigan State taking the wraps off its spring drills. And questions loom, as you’ll see in this post. I talked to Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald today, and he has some pretty passionate feelings about protecting the sanctity of the bowl experience for student-athletes. More to come from Fitz later. Here’s some interesting items that I came across today.
Let’s say you were running for Student Body President — how would you separate yourself from the competition, make yourself stand out? Whatever you came up with, Purdue’s Ishmael Aristide just topped you. The safety is going all “Old Spice” on Purdue’s campus to promote his presidency and QB Rob Henry’s vice presidency. Watch Aristide’s spot, plus Henry’s, in this post.
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