The Latest – January 4, 2012 04 Jan 12

(Minneapolis, MN)  –  The Minnesota Timberwolves look to extend their winning streak to three straight games with a home game tonight against Memphis.  The Wolves are coming off of back-to-back wins against Dallas and San Antonio.  Memphis knocked off Sacramento last night.  The Grizzlies could once again be without star Zach Randolph, who missed last night’s game.  Both teams enter tonight’s tilt with 2-and-3 season records.  Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.

(Minneapolis, MN)  –  The University of Minnesota men’s basketball team will try to snap a two-game losing streak with a game at home tonight against the Iowa Hawkeyes.  The Gophers are 12-and-3 on the season, but 0-and-2 in the Big Ten after having dropped two straight road games.  Iowa is 9-and-6 on the year, including 1-and-1 in the league with a big win last Saturday at nationally-ranked Wisconsin.  Gophers head coach Tubby Smith has not lost to Iowa in his time in Minnesota, having beaten the Hawkeyes in all six matchups.  But, the Hawkeyes did beat a Kentucky team that Smith coached in 2005.  Tonight’s game begins at 8 p.m.

Both Hollins In Town 
(Minneapolis, MN)  –  There is an interesting sidenote about the two major basketball games in Minneapolis tonight.  The Memphis Grizzlies are coached by former NBA player Lionel Hollins and, while he’s on the visiting bench at the Target Center tonight, his son will be playing for the Golden Gophers against Iowa at Williams Arena.  Austin Hollins is a sophomore at Minnesota who has started all 15 games for the Gophers this season.  He’s averaging 8.5 points per game.  Austin Hollins says he phones his parents after every Minnesota game.

(Vancouver, British Columbia)  –  The Minnesota Wild are likely going to get wingers Devin Setoguchi and Casey Wellman back tonight for a game at Vancouver.  Both had been on the Injured Reserve list.  Setoguchi has missed 12 straight games with a knee injury.  Vancouver is the Northwest Division leader with 51 points, while Minnesota is in second place, three points back.  The puck drops tonight at 9 p.m.

World Juniors 
(Calgary, Alberta)  –  The United States will take on Switzerland in the seventh-place game at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Alberta later today  The U.S. did not make it to the medal round, but a consolation round win yesterday secured an invitation to next year’s tournament.  Blaine native Nick Bjugstad [[ BYOOK-stad ]] tallied a hat trick in the Americans’ 12-2 win over Latvia yesterday.  Today’s game starts at 4 p.m.

Russia-Sweden In Title 
(Calgary, Alberta)  –  Russia will take on Sweden in the Gold Medal game of the World Junior Championships tomorrow night in Calgary.  Sweden advanced to the championship contest with a 3-2 win over Finland.  Wild prospect Mikael Granlund plays on Team Sweden and has 11 points in six games, which is second-most for any player in the entire tourney.  His nine assists lead the event.  Sweden beat Finland in a shootout to advance to the finals, while Russia held on to beat Canada.  Tomorrow’s Gold Medal contest starts at 7 p.m. 

Vikings Update 
(Eden Prairie, MN)  –  Vikings coach Leslie Frazier says he thinks his team will be much better in 2012 than it was in 2011 when it went 3-and-13.  Frazier admits that the “buck stops with the head coach,” and says he needs to do some things better as a coach. Frazier says the offseason is important and the team has a high draft position and salary cap space which should allow them to upgrade the roster.  Rick Spielman was named the team’s general manager yesterday.  Frazier says that was a good move. 

Many Resorts Wishing For New Year’s Snow 
(St. Paul, MN) –  Our mild dry winter has some outdoor enthusiasts feeling a bit blue.  Dan McElroy [[ MACK-el-roy ]], executive vice president of the Minnesota Resort and Camping Association, says the lack of snow has been a bit of a struggle for businesses who rely mostly on cross-country skiers and snowmobilers.  He says we are least five or six weeks behind a normal winter season.  MeElroy says the good news — lakes in northern Minnesota are filled with ice anglers and many ski resorts are busy thanks to artificial snow production. 


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