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PENN STATE, MINNESOTA REACH ALL-BIG TEN FINAL

Remembering the NIT's final night is simple. It'll be Bulldogs vs. Bulldogs and Big Ten vs. Big Ten on Thursday.

Minnesota and Penn State, who split their two conference games this season in the Big Ten, earned the right Tuesday night to play for a third time with semifinal victories in the NIT.

The Gophers outlasted Fresno State, 91-89, in overtime, and the Nittany Lions advanced to the first basketball title game in their history with a 66-60 win over Georgia. Penn State lost in the semifinals in 1995 and then beat Canisius, 66-62, in the third-place game.

"We had two tough games against them," Penn State freshman guard Joe Crispin, who had 18 points Tuesday night, said of Minnesota. "They're tough."

"This loss really hurts because of all the adversity we went through," said Fresno State (21-12) coach Jerry Tarkanian.

Mike Wallace, the CBS-TV correspondent, was Tarkanian's guest at the game. The coach wanted to tell Wallace he didn't appreciate his handling of a story on the team on "60 Minutes" earlier this month.

"I invited you here to tell you to your face that you lied to us," Tarkanian said.

The coach said he had been assured by Wallace that the segment would be fair.

The halftime discussion was described as cordial, but spirited.

Wallace told the coach he was surprised he had been invited. Tarkanian replied, "I invited you so I could blister you personally."

Stanford's Lee contrite

STANFORD, Calif. -- Arthur Lee staged a dynamic, head-spinning performance in leading Stanford back from the brink of defeat to a Final Four appearance. One part, he'd like to take back.

Lee said Tuesday he was sorry for the mocking choke signs he made when Rhode Island guard Tyson Wheeler missed three free throws near the end of Stanford's 79-77 win in last Saturday's Midwest Regional final.

"If I was in my right mind, there's no way that would have happened," said Lee. "I'm sure everyone in the whole world could see I was intense and just gone. I hope people realize that. I really didn't mean that he was a choker. He's a great player."

Flu hits Utes

SALT LAKE CITY -- The flu could do what Arizona couldn't: stop Utah.

Andre Miller, Utah's point guard who put up a triple-double against Arizona, reserve point guard Jordie McTavish and backup guard David Jackson all complained of flu symptoms after Monday's workout.

Utah coach Rick Majerus said Tuesday that McTavish left practice early Monday.

Miller said he has a sore throat, but it is not going to keep him out of the game Saturday against North Carolina.

Around the rim

Oliver Purnell, who rebuilt the University of Dayton's program and led the Atlantic 10 Flyers to a 21-10 record, is a candidate for the vacant head coaching job at the University of Virginia. . . . Alabama has reached a deal to hire Murray State coach Mark Gottfried, 34, a former Crimson Tide star, as its new head coach, the Birmingham News reported. . . . Two-sport star Ronald Curry said he will attend North Carolina and play both basketball and football. Curry, one of the nation's top high school recruits at quarterback and point guard, had previously made a verbal commitment to the University of Virginia. . . . Tournament most valuable player Lisa Shepherd scored 16 points to lead Penn State (21-13) to a 59-56 win over Baylor (20-11) in the Women's NIT final.

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