Iowa, which has three close losses against top teams, finally got the big victory it has been looking for this season when it beat then-No. 3 Ohio State in Columbus last Sunday. The Buckeyes then came to Williams Arena and lost again, giving the Gophers their first signature victory as well.
If the Gophers are to have any chance of winning their next two games, they are going to need some improved offensive production out of senior Austin Hollins, who was supposed to be one of the Gophers go-to players this season.
Hollins has had a rough start to Big Ten play, averaging 7.4 points per game on 30 percent shooting.
• While most of the Gophers football squads in the past have lost a number of players at the end of a semester, Jerry Kill’s roster has had only two leave: quarterback Philip Nelson and wide receiver Jamel Harbison. Early rumors have Nelson going to Wyoming under new coach Craig Bohl.
• The Gophers football team again did well in the classroom with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0, or a B average. Across the athletic department, 24 of the 25 men’s and women’s teams had a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better.
• Three college seniors with local ties will be playing in the 2014 Senior Bowl in Alabama on Saturday: Gophers defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman, Miami (Fla.) offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson of Cretin-Derham Hall and Billy Turner, a tackle at North Dakota State who attended Mounds View.
• The Timberwolves would like to get into their new basketball facilities in the Block E building, which would include the Lynx and other offices, for the start of the 2014-15 season. Wolves owner Glen Taylor says progress is being made in negotiating a deal and hopes to have it done soon.
• Former Osseo basketball standout Sam Dower is having a great year with Gonzaga, and he had a season-high 28 points in Saturday’s 82-72 victory at Loyola Marymount. Two days earlier, he was 7-for-7 from the floor and scored 18 points in a 70-53 victory over Pepperdine.
• Harvard is looking to make its third consecutive NCAA tournament behind the stellar play of Siyani Chambers, the former Hopkins standout. Chambers, the Ivy League Rookie of the Year last season, is leading the team in assists at 4.7 per game and is second on the team in scoring with 11.4 points per game. Coming off the bench is Jonah Travis, a DeLaSalle product who averages 6.2 points per game.
• Virginia native and Minnesota Duluth product Matt Niskanen is tied for the NHL lead in plus/minus at plus-26. The Penguins defenseman has six goals and 19 assists this season.