The University of Minnesota men’s hockey team is one of four left competing for the national title, and the Gophers face rival North Dakota Thursday. The winner of that game plays for the national championship on Saturday.
The North Dakota-Minnesota hockey series was a significant casualty of the football-driven conference realignment that interrupted so many classic rivalries across the country. As if prearranged to mollify fans frustrated by the first regular season in 67 years without this border-state matchup, the rivalry will be revived at the Frozen Four in Philadelphia. Those close to the clash felt like it was supposed to happen.
Austin Hollins hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 46.1 seconds left and Minnesota won the NIT championship Thursday night, beating SMU 65-63 to give the Pitino family its latest postseason tournament title. Hollins scored 19 points and Andre Hollins had 14 for the Golden Gophers (25-13), who took home the trophy for the third time. They also won the National Invitation Tournament in 1993 and ’98, though the second one was vacated because of an NCAA rules violation involving player eligibility.
With two famous names on the sideline, the NIT championship has a New York feel. One coach is a rising young star, the other is in the twilight of his Hall of Fame career. Both with boyhood ties to the Big Apple.
The Pitino family still has a chance to win a championship this season. Substitute center Maurice Walker made six free throws in overtime and Minnesota held off Florida State 67-64 Tuesday night to reach the NIT title game at Madison Square Garden.
The court at Madison Square Garden got quite a workout over the weekend with the East Regional of the NCAA tournament held there. Four more college teams are back at the Garden in a hurry as the NIT semifinals will be played there Tuesday and the title game on Thursday.
Justin Kloos scored twice and Adam Wilcox made 24 saved shots to help top-seeded Minnesota beat St. Cloud State 4-0 on Sunday in the NCAA West Regional final. Minnesota (27-6-6) will face North Dakota in the Frozen Four semifinals in Philadelphia on April 10. Boston College will play Union in the other semifinal.
Minnesota earned the top overall seed in the NCAA tournament with strong goaltending and a balanced offense. The Gophers used the same formula Saturday night to advance to the West Regional final. Nate Condon scored twice and Adam Wilcox made 22 saves to help the Gophers beat Robert Morris 7-3.
The University of Minnesota has relieved women’s basketball coach Pam Borton of her duties. Assistant coach Kelly Roysland was named interim women’s head basketball coach.
The South Dakota State University women’s basketball team will host Indiana on Sunday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament. The Jackrabbits downed Minnesota 70-62 on Thursday night to advance.
Austin Hollins scored a career-high 32 points to lead Minnesota to an 81-73 win Tuesday night over Southern Mississippi and a spot in the NIT semifinals.
Minnesota is the top overall seed in the NCAA hockey tournament. Boston College, Union and Wisconsin also received No. 1 seeds when the 16-team field was announced Sunday.
Minnesota coach Richard Pitino said he gave his team a little advice when St. Mary’s started Sunday’s second-round NIT game by scoring the first 14 points. “I told them to make shots, put the ball in the basket,” he offered, then backtracked.
Shannon MacAulay scored on a breakaway with 4:16 left in the third and it proved to be the difference as Clarkson beat two-time defending champion Minnesota in Sunday’s NCAA women’s hockey championship.
When DeAndre Mathieu got hurt, Maverick Ahanmisi got his chance he’d been waiting his entire college career for. In what could have been the senior’s last college game, he scored a career-high 21 points in the Gophers’ opening-round win over High Point University.
No. 24-ranked Nebraska came into TCF Bank Stadium and walked out a loser, as Minnesota nabbed a 34-23 win.
Ohio St used their 16-0 second-half run to get past Minnesota.
The Golden Gophers gave up a fourth-quarter lead and lost 34-31 in the Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl to Texas Tech.