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:
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.
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.
|Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman||1||FINAL|
|Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta||4|
|Houston - WP: T. Sipp||5||FINAL|
|Cleveland - LP: C. Allen||1|
|San Francisco - WP: T. Hudson||10||FINAL|
|Washington - LP: D. Fister||3|
|St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright||4||FINAL|
|Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick||5|
|Chicago WSox - LP: D. Webb||3||FINAL|
|NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson||4|
|Tampa Bay - WP: D. Smyly||8||FINAL|
|Toronto - LP: M. Stroman||0|
|Atlanta - WP: D. Hale||3||FINAL|
|Cincinnati - LP: M. Parra||1|
|Seattle - WP: D. Leone||5||FINAL|
|Boston - LP: K. Uehara||3|
|Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura||6||FINAL|
|Texas - LP: C. Lewis||3|
|Pittsburgh - WP: J. Locke||8||FINAL|
|Milwaukee - LP: Y. Gallardo||3|
|Detroit - LP: R. Ray||6||FINAL|
|Minnesota - WP: R. Pressly||20|
|Miami - WP: H. Alvarez||13||FINAL|
|Colorado - LP: F. Morales||5|
|San Diego - LP: O. Despaigne||1||FINAL|
|Arizona - WP: J. Collmenter||5|
|LA Angels - LP: J. Grilli||3||FINAL|
|Oakland - WP: S. Gray||5|
|NY Mets - LP: J. Niese||2||FINAL|
|Los Angeles - WP: D. Haren||6|
|Tampa Bay||3:30 PM|
|New Orleans||7:00 PM|
|St. Louis||7:00 PM|
|San Diego||8/24/14 3:00 PM|
|Cincinnati||8/24/14 7:00 PM|
|Atlanta||8/28/14 5:00 PM|
|Detroit||8/28/14 6:00 PM|
|Indianapolis||8/28/14 6:00 PM|
|Kansas City||8/28/14 6:00 PM|
|NY Jets||8/28/14 6:00 PM|
|St. Louis||8/28/14 6:00 PM|
|Carolina||8/28/14 6:30 PM|
|New England||8/28/14 6:30 PM|
|Washington||8/28/14 6:30 PM|
|Baltimore||8/28/14 7:00 PM|
|Chicago||8/28/14 7:00 PM|
|Denver||8/28/14 7:00 PM|
|Minnesota||8/28/14 7:00 PM|
|San Francisco||8/28/14 7:00 PM|
|Arizona||8/28/14 9:00 PM|
|Seattle||8/28/14 9:00 PM|
|(21) Texas A&M||8/28/14 5:00 PM|
|(9) So Carolina|
|Wake Forest||8/28/14 6:00 PM|
|Boise State||8/28/14 7:00 PM|
|(18) Ole Miss|
|Tulane||8/28/14 7:00 PM|
|Temple||8/28/14 8:15 PM|
|Rutgers||8/28/14 9:00 PM|
|Weber State||8/28/14 9:30 PM|
|(19) Arizona State|
|BYU||8/29/14 6:00 PM|
|(6) Jacksonville St||8/29/14 6:30 PM|
|(8) Michigan State|
|Bowling Green||8/29/14 6:30 PM|
|TX-San Antonio||8/29/14 8:00 PM|
|Colorado State||8/29/14 8:00 PM|
|UNLV||8/29/14 9:30 PM|
|UCF||8/30/14 7:30 AM|
|Real Salt Lake||1||FINAL|
|Calgary||8/24/14 2:00 PM|
|Saskatchewan||8/24/14 6:00 PM|
|Ottawa||8/29/14 6:30 PM|
|Winnipeg||8/31/14 2:00 PM|
|Toronto||9/1/14 12:00 PM|
|Edmonton||9/1/14 3:30 PM|