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Michael Rand

Digital sports editor |
Phone: 612-673-7564
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Michael Rand is the Star Tribune's Digital Sports Senior Writer. In 20 years covering Minnesota sports at the Star Tribune, he has seen just about everything.

Rand is a North Dakota native and a graduate of the University of Minnesota. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two daughters.
Recent content from Michael Rand
Nelson Cruz, left, and Jonathan Schoop have been two big additions to the Twins lineup this season. But they're not the only newcomers making a differ

Most impactful new Twins player? You have a long list to choose from

An injection of talent and new ideas has fueled the Twins to a hot start and one of the best records in MLB. It might be hard to pick just one, but let's try: Which new addition to the Twins has made the biggest impact in 2019?
Lynx rookie Napheesa Collier, left, is trying to adjust her stroke after struggling with her outside shooting as a senior at UConn.

Lynx top draft pick Collier goes from All-America to wide-eyed rookie

And as much as her new teammates are learning about her, first-round draft choice Napheesa Collier is learning even more about them — and about life in the WNBA.
Blues goalie Jordan Binnington argued about a hand pass made by the Sharks that wasn’t called on the winning goal in overtime of Game 3 on Wednesday

It's NHL's turn to review replay

It was hockey's turn for a controversial no-call in a playoff game, after football experienced it earlier this year.
The Wolves’ Gersson Rosas, in the second row, saw his team drop one spot, but the Bulls, represented by Horace Grant, center, fell from fourth to se

Wolves' bad luck not as awful as it seems

On Tuesday night, for the 12th time in their history out of 22 NBA lotteries, the Wolves moved down from their pre-drawing slot. They have…
Lynx point guard Danielle Robinson, shooting over Sparks guard (and now teammate) Odyssey Sims of the Sparks last season, has made only three three-po

Do Lynx have right players to develop a three-point attack?

As the rest of the WNBA was gravitating toward shots beyond the arc during recent seasons, the Lynx were sticking with an offense built around two-pointers.
Mug shot of Klein combined with a screen grab of the petition

St. Thomas has unlikely ally in fight to stay in MIAC

In the fascinating, escalating story of conference power St. Thomas' possible ouster from the MIAC, the Tommies seemingly have few allies. The latest piece of…
Former Twins player Brian Dozier slumped in the 2018 season and was traded at the deadline.

Good trades are all in the timing

Here's an interesting case study involving three popular former or current Twin Cities athletes who are quite similar in many ways.
The Twins, including Eddie Rosario (20) and Jorge Polanco (11), have done a whole lot more celebrating at the end of games this season than originally

Twins might be a reality show

"Are the Twins for real?" is a question you have probably asked or tried to answer this spring.My stock answer is still that the lineup…
Giannis Antetokounmpo has carried the Bucks to a 3-1 advantage over the Celtics in their Eastern Conference semifinals.

The Minnesota Timberwolves should follow the Milwaukee Bucks model, not the Houston Rockets'

The Wolves could follow Milwaukee's model easier than Houston's.
New Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas laughed as his 3-year-old twins Giana, left, and Grayson took over the microphone as

Rosas lays out vision, confronts Wolves tricky roster situation

A decision on the futures of interim coach Ryan Saunders and general manager Scott Layden could come quickly; revamping the roster, however, will take more time to play out.
Wolves forward Andrew Wiggins got to the rim for this layup in a game against the Philadelphia 76ers, but nearly half of all Wiggins’ shot attempts

Will Wolves' new hire Rosas make Wiggins more efficient?

It's reasonable to think Gersson Rosas was brought in to build and manage a roster able to execute the style of play that has made Houston both efficient and successful.
Tyron Woodley, far right, showed off some sparring moves for fans at Mall of America on Thursday. Woodley will fight Robbie Lawler on June 29 at Targe

Ex-UFC champs Lawler, Woodley meet in rematch June 29 at Target Center

Though it's not a title bout, Lawler gets a chance to face the fighter who took away his belt.
The Twins averaged just 17,007 fans at Target Field through April’s end, a 19.3% decline from April 2018. Only the Toronto Blue Jays have been hit h

Twins endure difficult April attendance, but there's reason for optimism

Factors within, beyond Twins' control explain their April woes.
Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune November 28, 2004 Metrodome, Minneapolis, MN ñ NFL ñ Minnesota Vikings vs. Jacksonville Jaguars ñ FOR FILE_+----- Minn

Why haven't the Vikings retired Randy Moss' No. 84?

A social media dust-up involving the Packers quickly reassignment Clay Matthews' number to another player got Michael Rand thinking about how Minnesota teams have handled such situations.
Sloane Martin

Lynx hire Sloane Martin as radio play-by-play broadcaster

Martin will be the first female radio play-by-play broadcaster for a professional team in the Twin Cities.
North Carolina State’s Garrett Bradbury, left, is the highest-drafted offensive lineman selected by the Vikings since 2012, but 2017 and ’18 saw t

Vikings no longer waiting when it comes to drafting offensive linemen

The judgment point now — one that very well could make or break GM Rick Spielman's tenure — is the quality of those three selections.
Taylor Rogers is one of the Twins’ few dependable relievers so far.

Is it time to panic over the Twins' unreliable bullpen?

How — if at all — should the Twins respond to what looks like a deficiency?
Cori Kennedy, a catcher for Minnesota State Mankato softball, recently became a Twitter sensation (@Corikenned) for her witty “instructional” vide

Mavericks catcher's softball tips on video crack up viewers

Cori Kennedy was almost not famous.Kennedy, a Minnesota State Mankato softball senior whose "instructional" videos have made her a Twitter star with millions of views,…
The Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard left the court Tuesday after scoring a franchise playoff record 50 points in a series-clinching Game 5 win over th

Rather than leaving, Damian Lillard hoping to lift Trail Blazers to title

The moment was almost too perfect.Portland guard Damian Lillard dribbled on the perimeter — just inside half court, really — with the game clock winding…
Offensive linemen — the Vikings’ weakness last season — went through a drill last July in front of assistant offensive line coach Andrew Janocko

Vikings' Mike Zimmer, Rick Spielman need to pick right

The Vikings in the Mike Zimmer era have invested in defense, and they were rewarded with division titles in 2015 and 2017.What they have lacked…
Former Detroit Piston Chauncey Billups, center, addresses fans at Little Caesars Arena while Richard Hamilton, left, and Ben Wallace look on during a

Timberwolves' four finalist for president are pondered

Our Chris Hine provided clarity and a time framework to the Wolves' search for a new president of basketball operations, reporting that the field of…
Nelson Cruz hit two of the Twins’ 11 home runs in a doubleheader sweep of the Orioles on Saturday. For the season, the Twins have 33 homers in 19 ga

Are juiced baseballs causing another MLB home run surge?

Through Saturday's games, MLB teams were on pace to combine for 6,440 home runs in 2019. That would smash the record of 6,105 hit in 2017.
Lindsay Whalen and Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve at Thursday's press conference.

First in a series? Is Whalen's number retirement a sign of things to come?

Several Lynx players from the team's four-championship dynasty are worthy candidates, and are sure to be considered for the honor after their careers are done.
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins

Should the Vikings consider drafting a QB with one of their top picks?

The Vikings have chosen only two quarterbacks in the past 10 drafts, a low number compared with most NFL teams. Even with Kirk Cousins, should they?
The Vikings, and quarterback Kirk Cousins (8), avoided a lot of scheduling pitfalls this year, according to one of the experts who studies such things

Vikings did well, considering there are trillions of scheduling options

If you're a Vikings fan, there's a good chance you spent at least some time this week examining the 2019 schedule released Wednesday for pluses…
Welcome back! After losing to Wisconsin 14 consecutive years, the Gophers reclaimed Paul Bunyan’s Axe by thumping the Badgers 37-15 last November.

At long last, Gophers get to take Paul Bunyan's Axe on the road to meet U fans

In trying to create demand for a product, scarcity is a wonderful tool.For Gophers athletics, it's an unfortunate byproduct of a football reality — but…
Sidney Crosby won’t be adding to his collection of Stanley Cups after the Penguins were knocked out of the playoffs by the Islanders and Ryan Pulock

NBA postseason is as muddled as NHL so far

Parity, or at least the perception of it, has long been a staple of the NHL playoffs. In sports with less scoring and thin margins,…
Former first baseman Justin Morneau will provide analysis during 50 Twins TV broadcasts this season, second-most behind Bert Blyleven.

Justin Morneau getting favorable reviews for analysis on Twins TV broadcasts

Twins fans have been treated to some pretty good baseball so far with Minnesota winning in a variety of ways.They've also been getting acclimated to…
Tiger Woods’ ascent up the leaderboard — and Francesco Molinari’s descent — made for great theater on Sunday at Augusta National.

Tiger of old seizes the moment

There was no doubt about Sunday's star attraction — and a reminder of the sway Woods has even as his streak of not winning a major had reached a decade.
Wolves interim coach Ryan Saunders walked off the floor Wednesday night, the end of a losing season where he took over after Tom Thibodeau was fired.

All we do is, uh, not win enough here to make the playoffs?

Minnesotans woke up to some very cold realities Thursday.The first was the weather, of course, which is just dumb. Sure, all this snow will be…
Former Nebraska coach Tim Miles said he grew up rooting for the Gophers and even made moves to try to become their coach after Dan Monson was fired in

Ex-Nebraska coach Tim Miles has always been a fan of Gophers

On the day last week when his successor was introduced as the new head coach of the Nebraska men's basketball team, Tim Miles hopped in…
Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter made plenty of big plays in both games, including dunking between Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver (23) and Tariq Owens.

Ten shining moments from Minneapolis' Final Four

Lest we lose track of some of the moments we won't want to forget, let's round them up here.
Virginia's bench erupted after De'Andre Hunter scored and got the foul during the second half.

Were you expecting a low-scoring, boring Final Four title game? Sorry

Monday's title game will be remembered for the exact opposite of how many thought it would play out.
Fans took in the scene from high in the U.S. Bank Stadium seats Friday, when practice was open to the public, free of charge and surrounded by festivi

What's a business trip for Final Four players is a fun vacation for fans

Out-of-towners arriving to support Virginia, Auburn, Michigan State and Texas Tech are, by and large, here on a vacation. But the teams themselves? This is a trip
Nice to meet you: This Final Four is all about new blood, not blue bloods

Nice to meet you: This Final Four is all about new blood, not blue bloods

Three upstarts are joining Michigan State in an atypical Final Four at U.S. Bank Stadium. It has not diminished the event.
Anfernee McLemore applied the Auburn touch, disrupting what Kentucky’s Tyler Herro was trying to accomplish during the Midwest Region final.

Auburn builds it all on getting turnovers

A steal is so often the starting point for an Auburn success.
Virginia’s Kyle Guy, shown with Ty Jerome, is one of the team’s highest-volume long-distance shooters, at 42.7 percent on 267 attempts.

Virginia's extra-long possessions can frustrate both opponents and fans

If the expression "slow and steady wins the race" applies to basketball, then this much is certain: Virginia men's basketball players will be cutting down the nets
Coach Tom Izzo, holding up the net Sunday after Michigan State defeated Duke, has brought his team to the Final Four seven other times in his tenure.

Izzo's tough customers: Spartans play great defense AND offense

North Score: Second in a series analyzing the Final Four teams, today featuring Michigan State.
Gonzaga’s Rui Hacxhimuira was surrounded by Texas Tech defenders in the West Region final Sunday. The Red Raiders held the potent Zags to 69 points.

Texas Tech relied on its dominating defense to make the Final Four

North Score: In the first of a series breaking down the Final Four teams, Michael Rand sizes up the tenacious defense of Texas Tech.
Tre Jones covered his face but didn’t cover up his disappointment after the Blue Devils lost Sunday and cost him a trip home for the Final Four.

Any chance we'll miss Duke at the Final Four?

With Auburn, Texas Tech and Virginia already in, it felt like the field needed Duke, the No. 1 overall seed, to get the job done in order to inject some royalty and star power into this week.
The Wild and forward Jason Zucker had nothing to show for many point-blank shots at Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros on Monday night.

Net expectations not being met

Big gap separates Wild's true goal differential and statistical predictions.
The Timberwolves are a plus-0.2 points per 100 possessions when Jeff Teague is on the court and a minus-1.7 when he isn’t.

Wolves are better with Jeff Teague than without him

It's not just wins and losses, although the Wolves have a winning record with him and are 10-21 when he can't go.
Marcus Sherels finished in the top 10 in punt-return average in five of the past six seasons and is third among active punt returners in yards.

Sherels will be missed for sure by Vikings, but by how much is unclear

Not only was he a fan favorite for his Minnesota roots, but he also contributed mightily to the Vikings' field position.
Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino directs his team during a first round men’s college basketball game against Louisville in the NCAA Tournament, T

Upside separates Richard Pitino from Tubby Smith

Richard Pitino entered Year 6 as Gophers men's basketball coach with zero NCAA tournament victories, a Big Ten career record well below .500 and whispers…
Fans were waiting for Jordan Murphy and his Gophers teammates as they took the court for practice Wednesday before their game Thursday in Des Moines.

Gophers' early NCAA tournament game creates conundrum for fans

As soon as the Gophers men's basketball team's 11:15 a.m. Thursday tip-off against Louisville was announced, I thought: This is great!It's the first of the…
As temperatures have warmed and the forecast has improved, fears for Target Field’s status for the home opener on March 28 are fading.

Seasons are changing before our eyes, on and off the field for Minnesota sports

At the risk of jinxing everything, we made it.Shhhhhh.Yes, yes. April snowstorm this, freezing rain that. The 10-day forecast looks really good. At least right…
The Vikings are counting run game coordinator Rick Dennison to improve the offensive line’s performance like he did with the Bills and the Jets.

New run game coordinator Rick Dennison will have to make the line better than its talent

Less than a week into free agency, the Vikings' philosophy for 2019 has taken shape. Namely: They're going to go with (and pay) the guys…
The Gophers’ Jordan Murphy, left, and Daniel Oturu will try to take luck out of the equation when facing Louisville in the NCAAs on Thursday.

Gophers feel the luck on Selection Sunday

Minnesota fans in general will tell you their teams never get any sort of good luck, but here's where the Gophers' basketball story gets interesting.
The Twins added designated hitter Nelson Cruz, part of an offseason in which they rank eighth in baseball in free-agent spending. (23) celebrated with

Twins fans remain negative despite positive changes

Having learned long ago that the online comments section on Star Tribune stories is a place to go for the loudest voices, but not necessarily…
Reports had linebacker Anthony Barr trading in his Vikings purple and gold for Jets green and white ... until he had a change of heart.

Free-agent history repeats itself when Anthony Barr picked Vikings over Jets

Allow me to present a play in three acts over 15 years. Depending on where you live, it's either a tragedy or a tale of…
A heated clash between the Thunder’s Russell Westbrook and a fan in Utah on Monday again spurred debate on when responses to heckling cross a line.

Controversies involving athletes could use a reality check in digital world

Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook was recorded by a fan Monday in Utah issuing an expletive-laden threat at a heckler, and after the game he said…
Gophers forward Sampo Ranta put pressure on the Michigan net during Saturday’s Big Ten tournament quarterfinal at 3M Arena at Mariucci. The Gophers�

Where have all the college hockey fans gone?

With an announced crowd of just 1,835 for its Big Ten playoff-opening game Friday against Michigan — and social media images painting an even more bleak picture of the attendance — the Gophers men's hockey program garnered some negative attention.
Wolves forward Andrew Wiggins is struggling in his fifth NBA season.

Wolves need to figure out what to do with Wiggins

North Score: Michael Rand and Jim Souhan debate the possibilities.
Gophers forward Jordan Murphy split the defense of Purdue Boilermakers forward Grady Eifert (24) and forward Trevion Williams onTuesday night.

Tuesday was a feel-good night for Gophers men, Wild and Wolves

Tuesday was a rare night when three local pro sports teams succeeded.
Wolves forward Robert Covington hasn’t played since Jan. 2 because of his right knee bone bruise.

Healthy Wolves roster still elusive

Since acquiring him in November as part of the Jimmy Butler trade, the Wolves are 13-15 when Robert Covington hasn't been able to play, including a single game he missed in December.
Newly acquired Minnesota Twins utility player Marwin Gonzalez (9) talked with shortstop Jorge Polanco (11) and third baseman Miguel Sano (22) in the d

Twins have been fine before with Miguel Sano out

They actually have a better record without him than with him.
A busy next five weeks around here culminates with the NCAA men’s basketball championship April 8 at U.S. Bank Stadium.

March Madness is in full swing now

The madness has arrived. And like the winter that will neither end nor relent, it figures to be particularly intense in these parts this year.
Ryan Donato, acquired from the Bruins on Wednesday, celebrated after scoring the game-winning goal in overtime against the Blues on Sunday.

Wild GM Paul Fenton acquiring picks, at least

The NHL trade deadline approached this year with the Wild in a familiar position in some respects: Battling for a playoff spot and hoping to…
Second baseman Jonathan Schoop, landed as a free agent in the offseason, was already making a difference Saturday, tagging out the Rays’ Jake Smolin

Twins' five free-agent signings near most in baseball

The Twins haven’t made a free-agent splash this offseason like the one the Padres made with Manny Machado. But their series of ripples, which included…
Clockwise, Wolves interim coach Ryan Saunders and Derrick Rose, Gophers women’s coach Lindsay Whalen and Destiny Pitts and Gophers men’s coach Ric

March will be a telling month for future of Timberwolves, Vikings, Wild and both Gophers basketball teams

During an unforgettable scene in "A Few Good Men" — which came out … checks notes … this can't be right … 27 years ago…
December 5, 1991 Bobby Bonilla wears a New York Mets hat during a news conference at Shea Stadium after signing with the team for $29 million USD for

After Manny Machado, can a $1 billion athlete salary deal be too far off?

Manny Machado reportedly agreed to a 10-year contract worth $300 million with the Padres on Tuesday, meaning the first of two giant dominoes of this…
If Gophers coach Lindsay Whalen was making a point about points on Sunday, she succeeded. Her team produced 97 in an easy victory.

U women's basketball victory looks good through the eyes of a child

Michael Rand's 4-year-old was a big fan of winning, a bigger fan of the pink uniforms the Gophers wore Sunday and the biggest fan of Goldy Gopher.
Wolves, Clippers coaches reminisce about Flip Saunders

Wolves, Clippers coaches reminisce about Flip Saunders

It was another milestone Monday for Timberwolves interim coach Ryan Saunders, who coached against one of his father's best friends at Target Center.
The pitch clock, looming over Rochester’s Alex Meyer during a 2015 Class AAA game, shortens games but doesn’t make their length predictable.

Page Two: Remedies to shorten Major League Baseball games hardly seem viable

Major League Baseball, in a proper and dutiful quest to work on the related (but not identical) problems of pace of play and length of…
The Star Tribune reported that the Wolves unsuccessfully tried to trade Jeff Teague, left, and Gorgui Dieng and their large contracts at the deadline.

Timberwolves shut out at trade table and on road

The Wolves will already have close to $110 million committed to next year's salary cap — more than $100 million of which is devoted to only five players — if Jeff Teague exercises his $19 million player option for 2019-20.
Lynx forward Maya Moore looked for an opening in the team’s Aug. 21 playoff loss at Los Angeles. That will be her final WNBA game for some time.

Breaking it down: Moore's numbers slipped during 2018

Advanced numbers can provide some insights into Maya Moore's greatness, and the extent that she slipped in 2018.
Andrew Wiggins is averaging 19.3 points in 12 Wolves games under Ryan Saunders, but that includes four games of scoring 12 points or less.
The Minneso

As always, looking for more from Andrew Wiggins

The excellent author Nassim Nicholas Taleb has a resonant expression in which he warns against walking across a river that is, on average, 4 feet…
Michael Rand made a few (hypothetical) prop bets on Super Bowl LIII. Here's how he did.

Super Bowl prop bets: For entertainment purposes only

Intrepid reporter Michael Rand made a few (hypothetical) prop bets on Super Bowl LIII. Here's how he did:
The Twins didn’t call up Byron Buxton in September, which might have been done to get another season of arbitration-eligibility out of him.

Twins not the only ones saving and not spending

MLB teams spend less than 50 percent of their revenue on payroll.
Michael O’Malley of Los Angeles showed his displeasure with the cold weather as he posed before entering U.S. Bank Stadium for Super Bowl LII last y

Believe it or not, we could have given Super Bowl fans a warmer reception this year

The arrival of swear-at-the-sky cold temperatures this week juxtaposed with the scheduling of the Super Bowl has led countless Minnesotans to gaze wistfully into the…
What outfielder Eddie Rosario produces will play a role in whether the 2019 Twins will be in position for a midseason spending spree.

Pay now or later? Twins' financial strategy sound (and raises questions)

The team's payroll figures to swell in coming years if all the core players it desperately wants to become stars actually achieve that status.
Gary Kubiak’s NFL coaching record shows his offenses are run-friendly.

What does Kubiak's hiring give Zimmer? More options and a run-loving ally on staff

Michael Rand and Chip Scoggins weigh in on the Vikings offseason.
Cowboys receiver Drew Pearson caught what eventually became known as a ‘‘Hail Mary Pass’’ on his left hip after pushing the Vikings’ Nate Wr

Let's right some wrongs of Minnesota sports injustices

If you could file a lawsuit to overturn the outcome of ONE specific injustice in ONE game in Minnesota sports history, what would it be?
Saints linebacker Craig Robertson (52) left the field after losing in overtime in the NFC Championship Game against the Rams on Sunday.

Admit it, Vikings fans: You kind of enjoyed the way the Saints lost

Any NFL season that advances far enough that the Vikings are no longer playing while others still are — so basically, every season in almost…
New Wild center Victor Rask was acquired from Carolina for winger Nito Niederreiter in a move that might have more long-term than short-term benefits.

Look at the long view on why the Wild traded Nino Niederreiter for Victor Rask

GM Paul Fenton is and should be keeping at least one eye on 2019-20 and beyond.
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