Rand: Twins, hoops news from weekend stirs pot

  • December 3, 2012 - 12:42 AM

After a crazily busy sports weekend, here are four leftover thoughts:

• Try to contend in 2013 or build for two to three years down the road? That is the dilemma facing the Twins as the offseason heats up with the start of the winter meetings on Monday. The Twins would like to have it both ways, but it is likely that only one is possible -- and that one option is more probable to succeed. President Dave St. Peter and GM Terry Ryan both had quotes in Sunday's paper indicating no players are off-limits when it comes to potential trades -- even Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham. We've come to the conclusion that their best-case scenario is a major roster overhaul, with the hope that the rebuilt squad is ready to compete in 2015. The trick is doing just enough in the meantime to win 70-75 games and not completely alienate a fan base. If successful, though, a rebuild with tangible progress would be an easier sell to the public than crossing fingers and hoping for a change with the status quo.

• The Saturday death of Rick Majerus sent us scrambling back 14 years for the boxscore from the 1998 NCAA men's basketball title game. In case you forgot, Majerus' Utah squad took on Kentucky and Tubby Smith, then in his first season as the Wildcats' head coach. Kentucky trailed 41-31 at halftime before rallying for a 78-69 victory. The leading scorer for either team? Scott Padgett for Kentucky with 17. The stars for Utah were Andre Miller and Michael Doleac, two of three Utes players who played at least 34 minutes and might have worn down during the Kentucky comeback. Bottom line: Both coaches squeezed quite a bit out of their teams that season, which should not be forgotten.

• David Stern has a business to protect, and it would be bad for business if teams started copying the Spurs and resting their best players to keep them fresh for games they deem more important. So it's absolutely understandable why the NBA commish did what he did, fining the Spurs $250,000 for keeping Tim Duncan and Co. out of Thursday's game against the Heat in Miami. But it was still absolutely wrong what Stern did, and head coach Gregg Popovich's quote sums up why: "What I do from my perspective is from a coaching perspective. And I think the league operates from a business perspective. And I think that's reflective in the action that they took." A coach's obligation is to the long-term success of his team, not the financial health of the league, and should be able to make decisions with only end-goal success in mind.

• Wisconsin's impressive rout of Nebraska erased any doubt that it is a team worthy of a BCS bowl berth, right? Actually, no. It only served to reinforce the flaw in the system that gives the Big Ten championship game winner an automatic berth into the Rose Bowl. In an admittedly peculiar season, with the two best teams in its division ineligible, the five-loss Badgers should not be going to a BCS bowl while Georgia -- one play away from the national title game Saturday -- does not.


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