What started as an optimistic winter has grown negative with time. Therefore, we are going to inject some positive vibes into the situation from the most shocking source possible: our own keyboard. Here is a glass-half-full look at four teams:

*Gophers men's basketball: The squad has dropped four consecutive games after a 15-1 start, and many folks are thinking "here we go again." But let's stop for a minute and evaluate. Minnesota is 3-4 in conference play. Three of those four losses were on the road. Three of those losses were to quality teams. Four of Minnesota's next five games are at home, including the next two against Nebraska and Iowa. The Gophers could just as easily get back on a roll as they could slide into oblivion. And even with all their struggles, they are still No. 11 in the RPI. If they can at least get to double-digit wins in this very tough Big Ten, they will have a good seed in the NCAA tournament.

*Wild: Yes, the team has lost three consecutive games (one in OT) and given up 13 goals in the process. But don't forget this is a team with plenty of new faces coming off an extremely truncated training camp. If Minnesota is still having lapses and not getting scoring from more than one line after 20 games, then push the panic button. For now, wait it out because there is talent on this squad.

*Wolves: There are very likely too many injuries to overcome to make the playoffs this season. That said, Rick Adelman is back, Ricky Rubio is at least starting to look at little better, Pek and Shved will provide a lift when they return from their short-term injuries and, well, if this team can ever stay healthy for a long enough stretch it will be dangerous. That might not be until 2013-14, but the foundation is there.

*Twins: We are on record in print saying this team will win at least 76 games. Squint a little harder, and we see a plus-.500 team. Functional starting pitching will go a long way, as will a healthy Justin Morneau, who looks as good as strong as any time we've seen him since his concussion.

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Rob Ryan, much like Randy Moss in Minnesota, is a programmatic non-fit