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#SpeedBracket: You picked, we picked. Now let the fun begin

Posted by: Brian Stensaas Updated: March 17, 2015 - 5:41 PM

If it's true your gut reaction is usually best, we'll soon find out who's got the best gut. Last week we asked Star Tribune readers and staffers to fill out an NCAA tournament bracket the moment the picks were released Sunday evening. Writers and editors had five minutes. We gave readers an hour. Forty-seven brackets beat the bell. And now the games begin.

One thing is for sure: Heavy-favorite Kentucky ruled the evening. Seven of 10 Star Tribune staff brackets have the Wildcats cutting down the nets (The others: Wisconsin, Duke and ... NDSU).

Readers weren't quite as sold on Calipari and Co. But it's no surprise Kentucky led the way with 16 of 36 submissions going with the 'Cats.

Perhaps with a nod to Apple Valley's Tyus Jones, Duke was the next favorite among readers (5), with Wisconsin (4), Virginia (3) and Arizona (3) right behind. Gonzaga, Georgetown, Louisville, North Carolina and Iowa State each got one vote.

(With a little more than five minutes to pick, our Amelia Rayno also likes the Cyclones)

Upsets? Of course we think there will be upsets. The trendy 12-over-5 pick was abundant. Twenty-six readers and seven Star Tribune staffers picked at least one 12-5 upset. In the South region, Stephen F. Austin is a popular pick to topple No. 5 seed Utah. Also in the South, many believe 7-seed Iowa will fall to 10-seed Davidson and 13-seed East Washington will get by Georgetown.

You can view all of the #SpeedBracket submissions here. Or scroll down.

We'll have updates throughout the tournament on startribune.com

 

Kevin Mustain (via Facebook)

Kevin Nelson (via Facebook)

 

Kari Roble (via Facebook)

 

@sarastenny (via Instagram)

 

Ex-Twins closer Joe Nathan a target of unhappy Detroit fans

Posted by: Howard Sinker Updated: March 17, 2015 - 2:35 PM

When Joe Nathan was the closer for the Twins, it wouldn't exaggerate to say that he was much beloved from his arrival in 2004 to his exit after the 2011 season.

The same can not be said for Nathan's relationship with Detroit fans.

This happened when he came in to pitch during an exhibition game Tuesday:

Nathan earned the derision in Detroit by putting together the worst season of his career after signing a two-year, $20 million deal, including seven blown saves and 4.81 ERA.

And there was the time he made a disparaging gesture toward booing fans in August after struggling his way through a game-ending situation.

Over the weekend, Nathan had a bad outing and was scorched again by the fans in Florida.

Afterward, he said: “I don’t want to make a bigger deal than it is. Fans are going to be the way they are, and that’s the way it is. That doesn’t bother me. It’s not a part of my life. They’re not a part of my life. Period.”

You can read a detailed account of the weekend dust-up from Mark Townsend of Yahoo! Sports here.

Tuesday, pitching against Washington, Nathan pitched a one-two-three inning that included a strikeout.

Here's what happened:

Odds are the sincerity of that ovation was somewhat suspect.

Older Twins fans: Does it remind you of the treatment received by a former Twins closer who came to Minnesota amid high expectations and left to relief of almost everyone?

'Du-by, Du-by, Doo.' Yes, Wild fans, it's a Devan Dubnyk song

Posted by: Howard Sinker Updated: March 11, 2015 - 11:32 AM

Lester McLean is a Canadian singer-songwriter who is billed as the "resident musician" for TSN, which is Canada's version of ESPN. As you might expect, TSN pays considerably more attention to hockey than ESPN, which isn't difficult, or most other media outlets in the United States.

Recently, as a tribute to the standout play of Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk, McLean offered up a song to TSN viewers.

We knew you'd want to see it.

And now, you want to know more about Lester Mclean, right.

So go here.

Changing our minds on Adrian Peterson: A story in 10 poll questions

Posted by: Howard Sinker under Vikings, Vikings fans, Adrian Peterson Updated: February 25, 2015 - 10:29 AM

So these are the results of the latest Star Tribune question on whether the Vikings should keep Adrian Peterson:

# of votes   % of votes
Yes, he's vital to the team's success in 2015 2026 49% 49%  
No, it's time for both sides to move on 2071 51% 51%  
Total Votes 4097    

To put it mildly, Vikings fans have gone back and forth on Peterson as his issues with the NFL and the Vikings have played out.

In the beginning, on September 15, we asked what the Vikings should do with Peterson when reports of his child-abuse case were first made public.

 

Reinstate him during the legal process. 3530 42% 42%  
Suspend him during the legal process. 2693 32% 32%  
Release him outright. 2247 27% 27%  
Total Votes 8470  

Two days later, when the Vikings reinstated him, we asked how you felt about that:

 

Agree 5436 34% 34%  
Disagree 8972 56% 56%  
Not sure 1654 10% 10%  
Total Votes 16062

The next day, he was suspended again -- and wouldn't play for the rest of the 2014 season. Did you agree with the call?

 

Yes 7742 64% 64%  
No 4331 36% 36%  
Total Votes 12073  

Then we asked if Peterson would ever play for the Vikings again:

 

Yes 1716 35% 35%  
No 3139 65% 65%  
Total Votes 4855  

That was it for our Peterson questions until early November, when Peterson's legal case was settled and we asked if he should rejoin the Vikings. That's when we saw the first change of heart.

 

Yes, he should rejoin the team right away 16305 72% 72%  
Yes, but not until he serves a longer suspension 2174 10% 10%  
No, he should not play again for the Vikings 4090 18% 18%  
Total Votes 22569  

On November 17, after the NFL suspended Peterson for the rest of the season, we asked if you agreed with the decision:

 

Yes 4162 43% 43%  
No 5575 57% 57%  
Total Votes 9737  

A month later, when the NFL denied Peterson's appeal, you didn't like that by an even greater margin:

 

Yes 1670 30% 30%  
No 3882 70% 70%  
Total Votes 5552  

On New Year's Eve, we asked if you wanted Peterson to return to the Vikings -- and most were on board with that:

 

Yes 6090 77% 77%  
No 1843 23% 23%  
Total Votes 7933  

Earlier this month, when Peterson came to Minneapolis to appeal his suspension in court, we asked if you thought Peterson would play for the Vikings in 2015. You did:

 

Yes 4269 66% 66%  
No 2159 34% 34%  
Total Votes 6428  

And, once again, after Peterson said the Vikings didn't support him as much as he would have liked and his agent had a verbal altercation with a Vikings official, we asked one more time if you want Peterson back. Right now, you pretty much can't make up your mind.

 

Yes, he's vital to the team's success in 2015 2043 49% 49%  
No, it's time for both sides to move on 2085 51% 51%  
Total Votes 4128  

We'll see how you feel about this on April 15, when Peterson is eligible to be reinstated -- and maybe even again (and again) as the story plays out. Keep in mind, this isn't scientific polling. But we can make a pretty good argument these 10 polls do a pretty good job of tracking how the mood toward Peterson has shifted back and forth.

U's Zahui has one of biggest rebounding games ever in women's basketball

Posted by: Howard Sinker Updated: February 18, 2015 - 1:11 PM

The 39 points that Amanda Zahui B. scored in Tuesday night's Gophers victory over 13th-ranked Iowa were impressive.

The 29 rebounds were even more so.

It was only the 14th time since the NCAA began sanctioning women's basketball in the 1981-82 season that a player had gotten 29 rebounds in a game. The record is 40 by Deborah Temple of Delta State in 1983.

Plus, it was only the fifth time it had been done in a Division I women;'s game in the last 20 years.One of those came earlier this month when 6-foot-8 Mimi Mungedi of Nevada grabbed 29 against San Jose State.

Zahui, a 6-5 sophomore, also broke the Big Ten record of 26, which had been set by Jerica Watson of Iowa in 2001.

Here's a quick guide to top rebounding performances from hoopfeed.com, which is a comprehensive web site for all levels of women's basketball.

And if you missed the highlights from the game, here they are:

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