Rand: Which dog has the fewest fleas in Minnesota sports?

  • Article by: MICHAEL RAND , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 4, 2014 - 7:31 AM

Which of the local teams that have struggled will have the best winning percentage this season? Stay tuned.


Vikings coach Mike Zimmer will try to point his team to a winning record, something that hasn't happened in the Twin Cities sports scene very often recently.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

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We’re well into the dog days of summer, with the Twins playing out the string, football still in “the coach has to answer the same question 72 different times until the actual games are played” mode and winter sports a mere whisper.

To liven things up, let’s create a speculative competition: which local will have the best winning percentage this season? Your choices: Twins, Vikings, Gophers football (Big Ten games only), Gophers men’s basketball (Big Ten only), Gophers women’s basketball (Big Ten only) and Timberwolves. The competition is purposely rigged to not include the Wild or Lynx since they would be clear front-runners. Let’s take a look at all of them:

Twins: Their biggest advantage is similar to a golfer playing the Sunday of a major — they will post a score first, and there is value in that. They figure to finish the year somewhere between .430 and .470. That’s not good, but the sheer volume of games means they have a chance to be better than all the rest of the choices (but if they were the best, it would be a long fall and winter).

Vikings: All they would need to almost certainly beat the Twins is an 8-8 record. But they have a thin margin for error. Even 7-9 (.438 winning percentage) might not get it done. Then again, quick turnarounds happen all the time in the NFL, and a 10-6 mark (.625) would make them hard to top by anyone else.

Gophers football (Big Ten games only): Similar to the Vikings, but with an even smaller margin for error. Minnesota was 4-4 in league games a season ago. They have a tough schedule this season, and improving to 5-3 (.625) would be a major accomplishment while slipping back to 3-5 (.375) is feasible.

Gophers men’s and women’s basketball (Big Ten games only): We’ll lump these two programs together. Both have the potential to finish .500 or better in league play. For the men, it will depend on how much they improve in Year 2 under Richard Pitino. For the women, it will depend on whether new coach Marlene Stollings can immediately harness the talent she is being given.

Timberwolves: Their edge is basically the opposite of the Twins’ edge. If every other team falters — and even if they don’t, we suppose — the Wolves will have the last crack at winning this imaginary championship since their season ends in mid-April. It would likely require an improvement from last year’s 40-42 record, and it will almost certainly need to be done with a remade roster minus Kevin Love.

Our best guess? Two of these teams will finish above .500 in the seasons outlined. Three will finish below .500, including the Twins and Wolves. One will finish at .500. Just don’t ask us (yet) how everything will shake out.




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Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Washington 102 FINAL
New York 91
Oklahoma City 114 FINAL
San Antonio 106
Cleveland 81 4th Qtr 3:53
Miami 90
LA Lakers 7:00 PM
Golden State 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
DePaul 69 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 72
Ohio 58 FINAL
Nebraska 71
Colorado 41 2nd Half 15:38
Hawaii 45
George Washington 7:30 PM
Wichita State
Central Mich 48 FINAL
Western Ky 49
Fresno State 6 FINAL
Rice 30
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama


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