Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene and advises you to never take his betting advice. He likes old guitars and old music, never eats press box hot dogs, and can be heard on 1500ESPN at 2:05 p.m. weekdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon.

Find him on Twitter

Friday Local Power Rankings

Posted by: Jim Souhan under Professional baseball, Target Field, Twins fans, Twins management, Twins offense, Twins transactions, Gophers coaches, Tubby Smith, Williams Arena, Wolves coaches, Wolves guards, Wolves management, Wolves players, Gopher coaches, Gopher quarterbacks, The Big 10, Vikings, Ex-Vikings, Vikings coaches, Leslie Frazier, Vikings defense, Leslie Frazier, Wild coaching Updated: January 20, 2012 - 10:27 AM

My weekly and highly irrelevant Local Power Rankings of Minnesota's seven prominent revenue teams:

1. Minnesota Timberwolves/Lynx

Suddenly beat-up old Target Center is the axis of power in Twin Cities sports. The Lynx won the WNBA championship and the Wolves have become easily the most likeable and interesting team in town.

They're 6-8 heading into tonight's game against the Clippers, and a fascinating contrast between the best young athletic power forward in the game (Blake Griffin) and the best young productive power forward in the game (Kevin Love.)

As I wrote today, I think the Wolves would be foolish to do anything other than sign Love to a maximum contract and depend on him being their franchise player. It's easy to watch Griffin and assume he's a superior player to Love, but the numbers don't bear that out. Love is better across the board, in pretty much every category other than dunking.

With Rick Adelman, Ricky Rubio and Love, the Wolves employ three people around whom they can build a winner.

What's going to be most interesting to me is how Adelman handles the return of Martell Webster and Brad Miller. Wayne Ellington is highly effective for short bursts at shooting guard. Wes Johnson continues to struggle with his shot but seems to be trying to play a better all-around game, and has had success driving to the hoop the last few games. Webster could make the Wolves much better at shooting guard.

At center, Darko has again proved that he's an NBA bust, Pekovic has become a useful center and Miller is perfectly suited to operating in Adelman's offense. If Adelman can get more production out of center and shooting guard, the Wolves' improvement could become a factor in the Western Conference playoffs instead of just a nice local story.

2. Gopher hockey

It will be an interesting weekend, seeing how the Gophers perform against third-place Colorado College. The Gophers had another so-so weekend at North Dakota, losing on Friday before playing very well in a win on Saturday.  More important, they survived all those handshake-line cheap shots.

The Gophers have become less dominant and impressive as the season has progressed but remain tied for first in the WCHA. We may find out a lot about their staying power this weekend against a good CC team.

3. Gopher basketball

I'll be at the Barn on Sunday for a deceptively big game. A victory moves the Gophers toward the middle of the Big Ten pack, a loss negates the progress they've made with two road victories.

A victory would also be a sign that Tubby Smith is doing what you would hope he would do, and find solutions to his team's problems during the season, instead of throwing his hands up and complaining about the lack of a practice facility and injuries.

4. Minnesota Twins

I know, I know, the average fan is screaming about the Twins not spending money or making a huge move this offseason, but the moves they have made have been logical and surgical. I like the signing of Joel Zumaya as a low-risk, high-reward investment. But no matter how the moves they made turn out, they need Mauer and Morneau to be healthy and Francisco Liriano to be outstanding to have a chance to contend.

If those three things happen, then the lineup and pitching staff could fall into place, thanks to Terry Ryan's moves.

5. Minnesota Vikings

It's hard to be impressed with the coaching staff Leslie Frazier has put together. Any improvement we see next season in terms of coaching will have to come from Bill Musgrave's work with Christian Ponder and Frazier's influence on the defense, along with new defensive coordinator Alan Williams.

6. Gopher football

Not much new to reflect on here. I still think Jerry Kill has a chance to build a solid program, and next season will be the first time in a long time the Gophers have a quarterback returning under the same set of offensive coaches. I could see MarQueis Gray having a big season.

7. Minnesota Wild

Yes, they've dropped from first to last in my rankings, just as they've dropped from first to out of the playoffs in the NHL. They are currently unwatchable.

Upcoming: I'm writing about the Vikings' coaching philosophies for the Sunday paper, then covering the Gopher-Northwestern game for the Monday paper.

I'll be on 1500espn at 2:05 today, and Tom Pelissero and I will run Sunday Sports Talk from 10-noon on Sunday from the boat show. Please follow me on Twitter at @Souhanstrib.

 

 

 

ADVERTISEMENT

more twins blogs

See all similar bloggersFull story

Post By Category

Professional baseball (155) Vikings (217)
Gopher coaches (49) Gopher quarterbacks (14)
Gopher recruiting (2) Gopher road games (3)
Gophers disciplinary action (2) Gophers recruiting (2)
Gophers spring football (4) TCF Bank Stadium (23)
The Big 10 (25) NCAA: football (15)
Gophers coaches (61) Gophers players (40)
Tubby Smith (38) Williams Arena (16)
Gophers post season (6) Gophers roster moves (4)
Golf (38) Soccer (4)
Twins news (39) WNBA (8)
Wild news (51) AFC (10)
Bears (24) Ex-Vikings (16)
Football on TV (87) Lions (19)
NFC (72) NFL draft (31)
NFL post-season (33) Packers (52)
Super Bowl (49) Vikings coaches (112)
Vikings defense (54) Vikings fans (39)
Vikings injury report (15) Vikings management (84)
Vikings off the field (29) Vikings offense (71)
Vikings quarterbacks (45) Vikings road games (15)
Vikings rookies (4) Vikings roster moves (3)
Vikings special teams (2) Vikings training camp (6)
Off the field (5) On the road (23)
Quarterbacks (37) Rookies (3)
Roster moves (1) Vikings draft (41)
Ron Gardenhire (120) Target Field (151)
Twins fans (159) Twins management (208)
Twins offense (115) Twins transactions (96)
NBA playoffs (40) Wolves coaches (72)
Wolves draft news (28) Wolves guards (37)
Wolves injury report (7) Wolves management (77)
Wolves players (59) Wolves trade talk (14)
Wolves training camp (11) All-Stars and honors (89)
Fighting (2) Wild coaching (42)
Wild management (53) Wild off-season news (9)
Wild player moves (8) Adrian Peterson (72)
Anthony Herrera (2) Antoine Winfield (16)
Ben Leber (1) Bernard Berrian (7)
Brad Childress (30) Brett Favre (56)
Brian Robison (3) Bryant McKinnie (3)
Cedric Griffin (5) Chad Greenway (11)
Chester Taylor (5) Chris Kluwe (2)
Darrell Bevell (6) E.J. Henderson (4)
Jared Allen (29) John Sullivan (6)
Kevin Williams (6) Leslie Frazier (55)
Madieu Williams (2) Pat Williams (3)
Percy Harvin (26) Phil Loadholt (3)
Ray Edwards (1) Ryan Longwell (9)
Sage Rosenfels (1) Sidney Rice (10)
Steve Hutchinson (7) Tarvaris Jackson (12)
Tyrell Johnson (2) Visanthe Shiancoe (5)
Brad Childress (30) Darrell Bevell (6)
Leslie Frazier (55) NHL news (9)
2010 Winter Games (13) Olympic curling (1)
Olympic hockey (8) Olympic skiing (4)
Olympic village (11)

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT