Minnesota, Michigan and Michigan State are three of the 16 men’s hockey teams in the NCAA Tournament that leads to the Frozen Four. Michigan (9), Minnesota (5), and Michigan State (3) have combined for 17 NCAA championships. There’s more info at NCAA.com’s hockey section, including a great interactive bracket with game times and TV info.
Took a spin around the Internet and found a few solid pieces. With spring ball here, it’s time to rearrange the puzzle at Wisconsin; at Michigan, offensive coordinator Al Borges would like more depth on the Wolverines’ offensive line. Who will win the Penn State quarterback job? What’s new on the Iowa defense? And MarQueis Gray is the starting quarterback at Minnesota ‘right now.’
You have questions, I have answers in my weekly mailbag. There is a lot going on, with the NCAA tourney at the Sweet 16 stage and spring football in full swing across Big Ten territory. Which of the four Big Ten teams has the best shot to reach the Final Four? What will Wisconsin do at quarterback? I address those questions—and more—in this week’s mailbag.
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(AP) Rodney Williams and Andre Hollins each scored 24 points to help Minnesota advance to the semifinals of the NIT with a 78-72 win over Middle Tennessee on Wednesday night. Elliott Eliason added 12 points and seven rebounds, while Hollins also had six rebounds and four assists. Marcos Knight led Middle Tennessee (27-7) with 19 points and nine rebounds. Minnesota (22-14) will face Pac-12 regular-season champion Washington at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday (NIT bracket). It will mark the Gophers’ first appearance in the NIT semis since 2003. Read the full AP recap, see the box score and get Tom Dienhart’s analysis in this post.
In Wednesday’s web links, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart sends you to some of the best Big Ten spring football stories and offers his perspective on each one. Among the topics: Kirk Ferentz and his offense in need of a fix, a pair of receivers who need to prove something and an update on Maryland transfer QB Danny O’Brien, among other things. See the links, plus Dienhart’s take, in this post.
After six weeks of non-conference play, the Big Ten softball schedule opens this weekend for all 12 teams. Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State and Purdue all host conference-opening series this weekend.
Minnesota kicks off spring practice Thursday. As part of our daily spring “Football Fix” feature, I caught up with MarQueis Gray, the Golden Gophers quarterback who is trying to build on a breakout 2011 season and lead Minnesota to a bowl. Gray started 10 games last season after splitting time between quarterback and receiver earlier in his career. The focus on quarterback benefited Gray, who hit 108-of-203 passes (50.7 percent) for 1,495 yards with eight touchdowns and eight interceptions. Read the Q&A in this post.