Most coaches will reply with the same general answer if you try to engage them in a discussion about rankings. The gist: rankings don't matter. That is, of course, true. No championship was ever determined based on the subjective ordering of teams during the middle of a year.
What rankings can tell us, though, is how teams are perceived by the people who pay attention to them (namely the media, but others too). And in that regard, two rankings that came out Monday show that the two Minnesota teams dominating most of the winter sports headlines this year — the Wild and Gophers men's basketball — have a lot of respect yet to earn.
The Gophers, in case you didn't notice, weren't ranked in the AP top 25 poll that came out Monday despite a seven-game winning streak. The Wild is No. 3 in ESPN's latest power rankings — behind nemesis Chicago, which trails the Wild in the standings.
Read Michael Rand's blog at startribune.com/randball. firstname.lastname@example.org.