• The Timberwolves are 22-35 at the All-Star break. With 28 games remaining, they are 3½ games behind Denver for the eighth and final playoff spot in the NBA’s Western Conference. Last year at this time, the Wolves were 18-39 and had a much better finish to the season, going 11-14 to finish 29-53.
• The Gophers men’s basketball team lost its first three games after coach Richard Pitino replaced Dupree McBrayer with Akeem Springs in the starting lineup, but it is 4-0 since. McBrayer scored 14 points in that first game off the bench against Wisconsin but hasn’t reached double figures since, but he is still averaging 10.3 points per game this season. Springs’ average sits at 10.0 points per game, giving the Gophers five players averaging double digits in scoring.
• Pro Football Focus had a glowing report on Arkansas’ Frank Ragnow, saying that they graded the former Chanhassen standout as the best center in college football last year. “He could help some NFL teams next year if he was eligible to enter the NFL draft,” they wrote. Ragnow will return for his senior season.
• Oddsmakers don’t have much hope for the Twins, who are 150-1 long shots to win the World Series, according to Bovada. Their over/under regular season win total has been set at 70.5.
• Jake Guentzel, son of Gophers men’s hockey assistant coach Mike, has two goals and two assists this month for the Pittsburgh Penguins, giving him six goals and five assists in 20 NHL games.
• Bemidji State men’s hockey coach Tom Serratore recently saw his team win its first MacNaughton Cup as WCHA regular-season champion. There’s a good chance Serratore will be up for National Coach of the Year when all is said and done.
• ESPN.com’s Bill Barnwell noted that one of the big surprises of the Vikings offseason is that they have failed to sign tight end Rhett Ellison or punter Jeff Locke to long-term deals.