• Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman was asked what he saw in Giants free-agent defensive tackle Linval Joseph that showed he fits in new coach Mike Zimmer’s defense. “Coach Zimmer is very big on having a big ‘two-type’ nose tackle and he has had a lot of success with that. Linval Joseph is a big man, but one thing I don’t think he gets enough credit for. People say, ‘Well, he is a great run-stopper,’ [but] he’s very athletic for his size. In fact, we had him here in our top 30 when he was coming out in the [2010 NFL] draft. We feel not only is he going to help us stop the run, but also he has enough power and enough athletic ability and enough quickness to get up the field and get some push as a pass rusher.”
• Through 35 games this season, the Gophers are 22-13 after defeating the St. Mary’s Gaels 63-55 in the second round of the NIT at Williams Arena on Sunday. That gives them one more victory so far than last year’s squad under Tubby Smith, which went 21-13 after losing to Florida in the third round of the NCAA tournament. … For the second year in a row, junior guard Andre Hollins is the Gophers’ leading scorer. He finished at 14.6 points per game last season and is at 13.8 this year, even though he shot only 1-for-7 from the field for five points Sunday, his lowest point total this season other than when he suffered a severe ankle sprain in the opening seconds of the Wisconsin game on Jan. 22 and left with two points.
• The Gophers will face Southern Miss (29-6) on Tuesday, and a familiar face will be playing for the Golden Eagles. Former Minnesota guard Chip Armelin is now a junior coming off the bench and averaging 4.7 points and 2.0 rebounds per contest. Armelin scored five and had two steals in Southern Miss’ 71-63 NIT victory over Missouri on Sunday.
Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 7:40, 8:40 and 9:20 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. firstname.lastname@example.org