Postseason push: Will local teams be gone or go on?

  • Updated: March 5, 2014 - 8:05 AM
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Local sports teams - including the Timberwolves - will soon learn their postseason fate.

Photo: Photo Illustration, Star Tribune

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At different points this winter, each of these four teams have been written off. The Wolves repeatedly have played dead, but they just finished their best road trip (4-1) in years. The Wild spent the holidays in a nasty tailspin, but it now has won five in a row. And both Gophers basketball teams started this week labeled as the last team to get an NCAA bid in the tournaments, according to ESPN’s projections. All four have a chance to make a run, and any or all could fizzle before the finish:

Wild (34-21-7)

In the best position

Standings: Seventh in the Western Conference with 75 points — seven points up on Dallas, which is in the eighth and final spot, and eight points ahead of Phoenix and Winnipeg.

Rest of schedule: Twenty games remain, 10 at home.

Optimist’s view: The Wild is 14-4-2 in 2014, on pace for an impressive 99 points and peaking behind the play of young goalie Darcy Kuemper (above).

Pessimist’s view: The Wild plays eight of 10 on the road from March 17-April 3 and has wilted late the past two seasons.

Will the Wild make it? Vote here.

Wolves (30-29)

In need of a streak

Standings: 10th in the West, 4½ games out of the eighth and final position.

Schedule: Five of the next six at home against beatable foes. Then it gets tougher: road games against Dallas, Houston, Memphis, Brooklyn, Miami and Golden State.

Optimist view: The Wolves are healthy and capable of chasing down Dallas. The Mavs are 36-25, which projects to a 48-34 finish. The Wolves can go 18-5 to get to that record.

Pessimist view: Memphis is a game behind Dallas, and even 18-5 might not be enough to jump two teams.

Will the Wolves make it? Vote here.

Gophers men’s hoops (18-12)

20 wins could do it

Standings: Eighth in the Big Ten, with a 7-10 conference mark.

Schedule: One regular-season game (Sunday at home against Penn State) before the Big Ten tournament.

Optimist view: The Gophers should be favored to both beat Penn State and win their first-round Big Ten game, and that should put them on the right side of the bubble.

Pessimist view: They have been dismal away from Williams Arena (2-7), so getting that needed win at Indy won’t be easy.

Will they make it? Vote here.

Gophers women’s hoops (19-11)

Badgers in the way

Standings: The Gophers finished the regular season tied for sixth (8-8) in the league.

Schedule: The Big Ten tournament starts Thursday, and the Gophers play Wisconsin at 8 p.m.

Optimist view: The Gophers have beat Wisconsin twice by double digits, and should have no trouble getting an NCAA bid-clinching victory.

Pessimist view: In the past six years, the Gophers have lost their first conference tournament game five times.

Will they make it? Vote here.

 

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Atlanta - WP: E. Stults 4 FINAL
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