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UWRF to play first basketball game at U.S. Bank Stadium

UW-River Falls will play the first basketball game in U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis this November as the facility prepares to host the NCAA Division I Final Four in April, 2019.

The Falcons will face the University of St. Thomas in the opening game of the U.S. Bank Stadium Classic Nov. 30, followed by a matchup between the University of Minnesota and Oklahoma State University. North Dakota State will face Drake and South Dakota State will play Northern Iowa the following day.

U.S. Bank Stadium is the home of the Minnesota Vikings and a wide variety of events, including Super Bowl LII and ESPN's Summer X Games. Since opening in July 2016, the stadium has welcomed over three million visitors, quickly becoming one of the premier stadiums in the world. The U.S. Bank Stadium Classic will be the first basketball event in the stadium's history.

We are extremely excited to be part of the first basketball event to be held at U.S. Bank Stadium and to showcase the competitiveness of Division III basketball at such a tremendous venue,” UWRF Director of Athletics, Crystal Lanning, said.

This will be a great experience not only for the Falcon men's basketball program, but for the university and our alumni,” UWRF head coach Jeff Berkhoff added. “We look forward to playing a quality opponent in the University of St. Thomas and being part of the U.S. Bank Stadium Basketball Classic that includes so many great basketball programs.”

The Falcons defeated St. Thomas 71-57 last season at Don Page Arena in River Falls on their way to an 18-9 season. The Tommies, NCAA Division III national champions in 2016, finished 14-12 last season, snapping a string of 12 straight Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles.

The opener of the U.S. Bank Stadium Classic will be the 46th meeting between the Falcons and Tommies. St. Thomas leads the all-time series, 26-19.

We're excited to have the opportunity to make history in such a phenomenal building like US Bank,” said St. Thomas coach John Tauer. “We've had many spirited games against River Falls over the last 10-15 years, and to bring that rivalry to this facility will be fun. It looks like it will be a terrific weekend of college basketball that should bring fans from Iowa, the Dakotas and Wisconsin.”

Tickets for the U.S. Bank Stadium Basketball Classic go on sale Friday, August 10 at 10 a.m. and are available for two-day or single-day packages. A pre-game Tailgate Party, hosted in the Delta Sky360 Club with food and beverage specials, is available for $35 and begins three hours prior to the first game each day. Tickets for the Tailgate Party are available to the public for purchase on a first come, first serve basis and must be purchased in addition to tickets for the game. All tickets can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com.

Bob Burrows

Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.

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