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Game of the week: 7:30 tonight (BTN) #2 Penn State at #15 Gophers volleyball
I’m not sure Gopher volleyball gets the attention it deserves. Most of the Gopher bandwidth in town is taken up with football, men’s basketball, and men’s hockey, and what’s left traditionally is absorbed by the amazing women’s hockey team and the ultra-successful wrestling program. Throw in a few memories of the Lindsay Whalen-Janel McCarville women’s hoops team, and there’s not a lot left for Gopher volleyball.
Allow me to give you a little background; the Gophers haven’t missed the NCAA tournament since 1998, a span in which they’ve made it to the Sweet Sixteen an astonishing ten times and advanced to the Final Four thrice.
The background on Penn State is even more impressive: nine of the last ten Big Ten titles, and four consecutive NCAA titles from 2007-2010. The Nittany Lions are on top of the Big Ten once again this year, with the Gophers in third place, and no doubt Penn State is expected to roll tonight.
I love cheering for an underdog, don’t you?
What else to watch this weekend
2:30 pm today (ABC): #16 Michigan State at Nebraska. Don’t pretend that you haven’t idly checked the Big Ten West (fine, Legends division) standings over the past couple of weeks and thought to yourself, “Huh, I wonder if MSU loses another one and Nebraska loses another one, then the Gophers beat Wisconsin and the Spartans, then… nah.”
1pm Sunday (NBC): United States Grand Prix. Granted, the Formula 1 championship is decided, and the two Red Bull cars were fastest in the practice sessions, so we can probably count on seeing another win out of Sebastien Vettel. Still, the Circuit of the Americas is one of the best tracks in F1, it’s got a fun, goofy hill in Turn 1… and if you watch this, you don’t have to watch either of the awful noon NFL games.
7pm Sunday (FSN): Winnipeg at Wild. I see no reason that these teams shouldn’t don Sioux and Gophers jerseys for this game. It’s geographically sound, and we might as well amp this budding Jets-Wild rivalry up a little bit.
7:30pm Sunday (NBC): Kansas City at Denver. Near as I can tell, these are two of the three good teams in the NFL. Instead of watching the third (Seattle) beat up on the Vikings late on Sunday, save your football watching for this game, and see if the Chiefs can beat the Broncos.
What to read this weekend
There have been a few profiles of Ra’shede Hageman this year, all of them interesting, but I encourage you to check out a very worthy one from SB Nation by John Rosengren.