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.
|Atlanta - S. Miller||12:07 PM|
|Toronto - D. Norris|
|Chicago WSox - J. Quintana||12:08 PM|
|Detroit - S. Greene|
|Miami - T. Koehler||12:10 PM|
|NY Mets - M. Harvey|
|NY Yankees - M. Pineda||12:10 PM|
|Tampa Bay - M. Andriese|
|Philadelphia - D. Buchanan||12:35 PM|
|Washington - S. Strasburg|
|Baltimore - M. Gonzalez||12:35 PM|
|Boston - R. Porcello|
|Milwaukee - M. Garza||12:35 PM|
|Pittsburgh - G. Cole|
|LA Angels - G. Richards||1:10 PM|
|Houston - S. Feldman|
|Cleveland - T. House||1:10 PM|
|Minnesota - T. May|
|Oakland - S. Kazmir||1:10 PM|
|Kansas City - D. Duffy|
|San Diego - A. Cashner||1:20 PM|
|Chicago Cubs - J. Lester|
|Arizona - J. Hellickson||3:05 PM|
|San Francisco - T. Hudson|
|Colorado - E. Butler||3:10 PM|
|Los Angeles - B. McCarthy|
|Texas - R. Detwiler||3:10 PM|
|Seattle - J. Paxton|
|Cincinnati - M. Leake||7:05 PM|
|St. Louis - A. Wainwright|
|San Antonio||9:30 PM|
|New England||4:00 PM|
|New York City|