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Introduction: It's been proven through various studies that humans are wired to avoid pain more than they are wired to seek pleasure. That might explain some of the drama of sports, and particularly why it feels so draining while watching a team you are rooting for that is trying to protect a lead as opposed to one that is chasing a deficit. The U.S. men's soccer team gave us another lesson on Tuesday, as the Americans held on for a 1-0 win over Iran in a match that aged all of us more than 90 minutes (plus stoppage time).

8:00: With Karl-Anthony Towns out for several weeks with a calf strain, the Timberwolves are facing a critical (and fascinating) stretch of their season. Rand talked with Star Tribune beat writer Chris Hine about the implications of a KAT-free lineup and the various issues with the team that cropped up well before his injury.

30:00: St. Thomas is experiencing early D-I success, accelerating their football timeline and arrival on the local sports scene as a major player.

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Questions? Comments? Long-winded diatribes about nothing in particular? E-mail me at michael.rand@startribune.com. Follow me on Twitter @RandBall and Star Tribune sports @StribSports