Rand: What you think (and what we think) about local teams' playoff hopes

  • Updated: March 6, 2014 - 6:29 AM
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Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love, left, pulls a rebound away from Sacramento Kings' Quincy Acy, center, and Isaiah Thomas during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Saturday, March 1, 2014. The Timberwolves won 108-97.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

With four of Minnesota’s winter teams hanging onto various levels of playoff hopes, we asked readers on Wednesday simple yes or no questions: Would they make it, or would they be left out? Here are the reader results from those four polls (as of 9 p.m. Wednesday), along with our thoughts:

1) Will the Wild make the playoffs?

Reader vote: 91 percent yes.

Our take: 85 percent yes. The percentage is even higher based on number-crunching at hockey-reference.com, but even with the Wild adding reinforcements at the trade deadline, this feels slightly precarious. Darcy Kuemper has been great, but he has still only started 20 games in his NHL career. This team relies so heavily on goaltending that one bad streak could put the status back in limbo. That said, the Wild has done everything in its power to create a cushion. With a stretch of eight out of 10 games on the road coming up starting in mid-March, the Wild would be wise to expand it even more before then.

2) Will the Wolves make the playoffs?

Reader vote: 28 percent yes.

Our take: 20 percent yes. The readers were pretty much right on with this one. Minnesota at least put itself in a relevant position with a 4-1 road trip and could further close the gap with a string of winnable games coming up. But the Wolves probably squandered too many games early in the year. They will need to pass two teams — out of Dallas, Phoenix, Memphis and Golden State — and that’s a tall order. They might win 45 games and still miss the playoffs.

3) Will the Gophers men’s basketball team make the NCAA tournament?

Reader vote: 40 percent yes.

Our take: 50 percent yes. Here’s what I think happens: The Gophers win against Penn State on Sunday and get the No. 7 seed in the conference tournament after Indiana loses at Michigan on Saturday. That likely gives Minnesota a matchup against either Purdue, Penn State or Northwestern in the first round of the Big Ten tournament. While a victory in that game doesn’t help the team’s RPI, it should be just enough to sneak into the NCAA field, probably in one of the play-in games.

4) Will the Gophers women’s basketball team make the NCAA tournament?

Reader vote: 56 percent yes.

Our take: 65 percent yes. The Gophers went 6-2 in the second half of the league schedule and have won twice by double digits over Wisconsin this year. They play the Badgers in the Big Ten tournament on Thursday night Indianapolis. A victory there very well could be enough for a bid.

Michael Rand







 

  • related content

  • The Minnesota Wild faced the Calgary Flames in an NHL hockey game Monday night, March 3, 2014 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The Wild's Zach Parise signaled for a pass from the corner as he skated towards Flames goaltender Reta Berra in the first period. ] JEFF WHEELER ‚Ä¢ jeff.wheeler@startribune.com

  • Gopher Austin Hollins, right congratulated Andre Hollins after a foul was called on Iowa during the second half at Williams Arena Tuesday, February 25, 2014. Gophers won over Iowa 95-89. ] (KYNDELL HARKNESS/STAR TRIBUNE) kyndell.harkness@startribune.com

  • Gophers' Rachel Banham passes the ball during the second half of the Women's Gopher basketball against Ohio State on Sunday, March 2, 2014 at WIlliams Arena in Minneapolis, Minn.

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Team Irvin 32 FINAL
Team Carter 28
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
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Cleveland 108
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Orlando 99
LA Clippers 120 FINAL
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Minnesota 100 FINAL
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Toronto 114
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Ohio State 82
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Binghamton 54
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Hartford 61
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Manhattan 71
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Marist 73
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Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
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Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
NJIT 72 FINAL
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
UMBC 55 FINAL
Albany 69
Niagara 64 FINAL
Iona 87
Notre Dame 81 FINAL
NC State 78
Belmont 63 FINAL
Tennessee St 55
Creighton 50 FINAL
Villanova 71
Northwestern 67 FINAL
Maryland 68
Washington 56 FINAL
Utah 77
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
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Villanova 81
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Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
UMBC 42
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SMU 57
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William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
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Iona 80 FINAL
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Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
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Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
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Marquette 75
Providence 42 FINAL
DePaul 90
Northeastern 77 FINAL
Elon 80
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Oregon 78 FINAL
Arizona 81
Bradley 46 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
(7) Maryland 84 FINAL
Indiana 74
Illinois State 35 FINAL
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Washington St 73
Tulane 45 FINAL
South Florida 64
(14) Kentucky 83 FINAL
Missouri 69
(9) Oregon State 68 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 57
Vermont 63 FINAL
UMass Lowell 72
Iowa State 58 FINAL
(8) Texas 57
Southern Ill 61 FINAL
Wichita State 80
(15) Duke 74 FINAL
(12) North Carolina 67
Miami-Florida 55 FINAL
(4) Louisville 68
(21) Minnesota 61 FINAL
(25) Rutgers 66
California 72 FINAL
UCLA 57
(11) Stanford 71 FINAL
USC 60
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