Chad Graff, St. Paul Pioneer Press
During the Minnesota Gophers' loss to Michigan in the Big Ten tournament semifinals on Saturday, new starting guard Dupree McBrayer occasionally looked to the bench, wondering whether coach Richard Pitino was going to sub him out. Nope. In Minnesota's first game without Akeem Springs, the starting guard who suffered a season-ending Achilles injury Friday, two guards played all 40 minutes, and a third played 39, in a 84-77 loss to the eventual tournament champion Wolverines.
The Minnesota Gophers celebrated the program's invitation to the NCAA men's basketball tournament Sunday evening by jumping in a team circle. Akeem Springs joined from the fringe, steadying himself on co-captain Nate Mason's shoulders. Springs transferred to Minnesota for one year, hoping to play in his first NCAA tournament. Playing in Milwaukee, where he spent the previous three years, would be a bonus. What are the odds? Two days before Selection Sunday, Springs suffered a torn Achilles tendon that effectively ended his college basketball career.
With four minutes remaining in a seventh straight Gophers win, University of Minnesota men's basketball coach Richard Pitino shook his head after his only senior hit another 3-pointer, seemingly in disbelief at how much continues to go right for his surging team. As a long season winds down, the Gophers (22-7 overall, 10-6 Big Ten) are playing their best basketball, making a case for a good seed in March's NCAA tournament and improving their chances of earning one of four coveted double-byes in the Big Ten tournament.
ST. PAUL — Jeff Sauer, who led Wisconsin’s men’s hockey team to two NCAA championships, died Thursday morning at the age of 73. Sauer, a Wisconsin native who grew up in St. Paul, started his 31-year coaching career at his alma mater Colorado College in 1971 and led the Badgers to titles in 1983 and 1990. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, he was suffering from pancreatic cancer.
Former Minnesota Gophers football coach Jerry Kill, a longtime friend and colleague of his successor Tracy Claeys, said he took offense to athletic director Mark Coyle's comments regarding Claeys' dismissal on Tuesday. In a wide-ranging, 25-minute interview with KSTP-AM 1500 on Wednesday, Kill blasted Coyle's handling of the situation, said the university has "real sensitive issues that are deeper than just football" and vowed he "won't be stepping foot" back on campus.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — There have been so many steps in the unlikely journey to NFL mainstay for Adam Thielen that he insists he doesn’t think about his upcoming contract negotiations. From practice squad player to being on the cusp of becoming the Minnesota Vikings’ first 1,000-yard receiver in seven years, Thielen said he’s faced too much adversity to worry about his contract. “For so long, there were so many steps to get here,” Thielen said.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Four months after Sam Bradford arrived at Winter Park just before the Minnesota Vikings’ season opener, the quarterback is on pace to set a single-season NFL record for completion percentage. Despite playing behind a porous offensive line, having his offensive coordinator leave the team, and playing for a team that has lost seven of its past nine games, Bradford’s play has stood out enough that he was one of few players coach Mike Zimmer lauded Wednesday.
Gophers newcomers respond with Vanderbilt game on the line
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings auditioned six placekickers Tuesday at Winter Park, but Blair Walsh insists he isn’t concerned about job security. “I have to do my job...
MINNEAPOLIS — From the back of a large classroom at Hopkins High School, Amir Coffey sat at a table by himself, a sea of anxious onlookers before him. “Next year,”...