Bank will open with D-III teams

More news about: St. Thomas | UW-River Falls
Great fisheye shot of U.S. Bank Stadium by Mac H (Media601) licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0
Division III baseball teams have already played in U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis, and basketball teams will get in on the fun in November.
U.S. Bank Stadium by Mac H (Media601) licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0

UW-River Falls and St. Thomas will have the distinction of playing the first basketball game in U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis as the facility prepares to host the Division I men's basketball Final Four in April 2019.

The Falcons and Tommies will play a non-conference game in the stadium, which seats 66,000-plus for football, as the opening of the US Bank Stadium Basketball Classic on Nov. 30. A game between Minnesota and Oklahoma State will follow, with North Dakota State facing Drake and South Dakota State playing Northern Iowa the following day.

"This will be a great experience not only for the Falcon men's basketball program, but for the university and our alumni," said Jeff Berkhof, the Falcons' men's basketball coach. "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."

"We're excited to have the opportunity to make history in such a phenomenal building like US Bank," said UST 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."

The Falcons defeated St. Thomas 71-57 last season en route to an 18-9 season. The Tommies finished 14-12, snapping a string of 12 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles. 

"We are excited to provide fans with an awesome opportunity to experience great basketball games at U.S. Bank Stadium in advance of the 2019 NCAA Men's Final Four," says Patrick Talty, SMG general manager at U.S. Bank Stadium. "The U.S. Bank Stadium Basketball Classic is an accessible way for college basketball fans to enjoy a game in this unique setting. Our participating schools deliver strong matchups for attendees, and we look forward to working with each university to give their athletes, fans, alumni, and staff a world-class experience."

Division III baseball teams play spring games inside U.S. Bank Stadium, as does the University of Minnesota. D-III teams do not get to use the stadium scoreboard or most of the stadium facilities in these events, however.