Thursday is a big day for the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference at the conference office in Twin Cities suburb of Burnsville.
The league's 14 presidents will vote whether to expand the conference to 16 teams by adding Minot State University and the University of Sioux Falls. To pass, 10 of the 14 will have to vote in favor of the move.
If approved, the league will take on the new members in 2012-13 and go to eight-team north-south divisions. Not all the details are worked out but in football, teams in the same division would play each other every year and schools from the other division on a rotating basis. In basketball, teams would play every team in their division twice and teams from the other division once during the conference season.
A close vote is expected.
Northern State is in favor of adding Minot and USF. It will be interesting to see the results of Thursday's vote. If passed, the NSIC will have a unique situation with schools two blocks apart (USF and Augustana) in Sioux Falls.
To me, it would be good for the NSIC to add the two schools and to have two more Dakota schools in the mix. And with Sioux Falls being the state's major population center, the Wolves would theoretically get their name out in the city twice as much if USF is in the NSIC mix.
Nine of the current NSIC members are in Minnesota (Mankato, Duluth, Bemidji, Southwest, Winona, Crookston, Concordia-St. Paul, Moorhead, St. Cloud); two in South Dakota (NSU, Augie); and one each in Iowa (Upper Iowa), Nebraska (Wayne) and North Dakota (Mary).
RMAC: The Division II Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference presidents are meeting Feb. 3.
That 14-school conference has been talking about a variety of expansion options. Among the schools included in those talks are Black Hills State and South Dakota Tech.
The RMAC currently has institutions in Colorado (Adams State, Colorado Christian, Colorado Springs, Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State-Pueblo, Fort Lewis, Mesa, Metropolitan, Regis, Western State); Nebraska (Chadron, Nebraska-Kearney); and New Mexico (New Mexico Highlands, Western New Mexico).
MIAA: After the 2011-12 season, Nebraska-Kearney will be leaving the RMAC to join the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association as will three others: Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo., Central Oklahoma and Northeastern Oklahoma.
Currently, the DII MIAA is a 12-member league with schools in Kansas (Fort Hays State, Emporia State, Pittsburg State, Washburn); Missouri (Missouri Western, Missouri Southern, Northwest Missouri State, Central Missouri, Truman, Lincoln University, Southwest Baptist); and Nebraska (Nebraska-Omaha).
Here are some other things that I know:
Miller: Mitchell native Mike Miller of the Miami Heat is trying to find his rhythm while working his way back into the lineup after a painful injury (broken thumb and torn ligament) to his shooting hand. Before last night's game, he had 26 rebounds, 15 points and 10 assists in nine games (12.3 minutes per game). Miller missed the Heat's first 29 games.
With his nearly flawless mechanics, NBA experts often point to Miller as one of the best long-range shooters in the NBA. In his 12th NBA season, Miller has made 41 percent (1,257-3,107) of his three-point shots, including 48 percent (82-171) last year with the Washington Wizards.
Ironically: In his 14-year (1994-2008) NBA career, Rapid City native Eric Piatkowski was a 40 percent (865-2,168) three-point shooter. That makes him the 32nd best three-point shooter in NBA history. Miller would rank 29th on that career best list.
Former SDSU president: A former South Dakota State president died Monday.
Robert T. Wagner, 78, of Keystone, died in Sioux Falls of complications from lung cancer. He was the president of SDSU from 1985 to 1997. During his presidency, he helped to grow the SDSU Foundation's assets from $7 million to about $55 million.
He spent his childhood in Sioux Falls (1950 Washington graduate) and on the family farm in Bridgewater. I remember Robert from annual Fourth of July celebrations at his relatives Joe and Glenda Potter in rural Bridgewater, best friends of my parents who farmed 2 miles from the Potters.
Milestone in Aberdeen I: Northwestern College head men's basketball coach Tim Grosz earned his 200th career victory Saturday with his Eagles' win over Presentation College. In his 11th year, Grosz is his school's all-time wins leader in basketball.
Milestone in Aberdeen II: Mankato senior guard Marcus Hill became the 33rd member of his school's 1,000-point club when he scored 22 points in a win over NSU Friday.
John Papendick is the managing news-sports editor for the American News. Readers tell and e-mail him with stuff plus he reads all the daily newspapers in South Dakota on a daily basis. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Blog: aberdeensports.net/inthehuddle/.