The Latest – March 12, 2012 12 Mar 12

Timberwolves At Suns 

(Phoenix, AZ)  –  The Timberwolves are still within reach of a playoff spot in the NBA’s Western Conference, but All-Star forward Kevin Love admits the job of securing a postseason berth got tougher after the season-ending injury to point guard Ricky Rubio.  Rubio injured his knee in Friday’s home loss to the Lakers.  Minnesota lost Saturday to New Orleans in the first game without the rookie.  Now, the team embarks on a seven-game road trip, starting tonight with a 9 p.m. game at Phoenix.  The Wolves are currently only one game behind eighth-place Houston for the final playoff spot in the West.  Phoenix is two games back. 

Tubby Smith’s Team Practicing 

(Minneapolis, MN)  –  The University of Minnesota basketball team has a late morning practice scheduled at Williams Arena.  The team is preparing for the 75th annual National Invitational Tournament, where it will play at LaSalle in Philadelphia on Wednesday night.  The Gophers will leave for Philly tomorrow.  The Minnesota-LaSalle winner will play the winner of Wednesday’s game between Miami of Florida and Valparaiso.  Wednesday’s Gophers game begins at 6 p.m. 

Borton’s Team Waiting 

(Minneapolis, MN)  –  There is a chance that Pam Borton’s Golden Gophers women’s basketball team will earn a berth in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament.  The Big Ten has a guaranteed spot in the tourney, so if seven teams get berths to the NCAA Division One Women’s Tournament, then the eighth-place Gophers would earn the automatic bid to the WNIT.  The bracket selections for both tourneys will be announced tonight. 

Girls State Tourney 

(St. Paul, MN)  –  Here is this week’s schedule of first-round games at the 2012 Minnesota Girls’ State Basketball Tournament in Minneapolis: 

Wednesday – Class 4-A: Lakeville North vs. Hopkins, Target Center, 10am Wednesday – Class 4-A: Saint Michael-Albertville vs. Eastview, Target Center, noon Wednesday – Class 4-A: Duluth East vs. Edina, Target Center, 2pm Wednesday – Class 4-A: White Bear Lake vs. Osseo, Target Center, 4pm 

Wednesday – Class 3-A: Red Wing vs. Richfield, Williams Arena, 10am Wednesday – Class 3-A: Hutchinson vs. Hill-Murray, Williams Arena, noon Wednesday – Class 3-A: Chisago Lakes vs. Fergus Falls, Williams Arena, 2pm Wednesday – Class 3-A: Monticello vs. DeLaSalle, Williams Arena, 4pm 

Wednesday – Class 2-A: Braham vs. New Richland-H-E-G, Target Center, 6pm Wednesday – Class 2-A: Sauk Centre vs. Worthington, Target Center, 8pm Wednesday – Class 2-A: Providence Academy vs. Minnehaha Academy, Williams Arena, 6pm Wednesday – Class 2-A: Pequot Lakes vs. Zumbrota-Mazeppa, Williams Arena, 8pm 

Thursday – Class 1-A: Mountain Iron-Buhl vs. Sleepy Eye, Williams Arena, 11am Thursday – Class 1-A: Ada-Borup vs. Minneota, Williams Arena, 1pm Thursday – Isle vs. Maranatha Christian, Williams Arena, 3pm Thursday – Spring Grove vs. Warren-Alvarado-Oslo, Williams Arena, 5pm 

Twins-Rays 

(Port Charlotte, FL)  –  Twins ace right-hander Carl Pavano gets the start in today’s Grapefruit League game between Minnesota and Tampa Bay in Port Charlotte, Florida.  This will be Pavano’s third start of spring, which hasn’t been great so far for Pavano.  He has allowed three runs in five innings of work.  Glen Perkins, Phil Dumatrait [[ DOO-mah-tray ]] and Matt Capps will also throw in today’s game, which is set to start at noon.  James Shields starts for the Rays. 

Wild Working Out 

(St. Paul, MN)  –  The Minnesota Wild had a morning skate today in preparation for their home game tomorrow night against the Dallas Stars.  The Wild lost 4-3 to Calgary last night at the Xcel Energy Center.  Minnesota remains tied for 12th in the NHL Western Conference standings, eight points out of a playoff position with four teams between the coveted eighth-spot and where the Wild stand.  Tomorrow’s game faces off at 7 pm. 

WCHA Final Five 

(St. Paul, MN)  –  Here is this week’s schedule of games in the WCHA Final Five playoffs at the Xcel Energy Center: 

Thursday – Michigan Tech vs. Denver, 2pm Thursday – St. Cloud State vs. North Dakota, 7pm Friday – Michigan Tech/Denver winner vs. Minnesota-Duluth, 2pm Friday – St. Cloud State/North Dakota winner vs. Minnesota, 7pm Saturday – Friday’s winners play in championship, 7pm 

>>NCAA Women’s Frozen Four 

(Duluth, MN)  –  Here is the schedule of games in the NCAA Women’s Frozen Four to be played this weekend at AMSOIL Arena in Duluth: 

Friday – Wisconsin vs. Boston College, 5pm Friday – Minnesota vs. Cornell, 8pm Sunday – Winners Play In National Championship Game, 3pm 

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