Golf writer Jerry Zgoda
Q Do you think fans will be allowed at the 3M Open?
A The PGA Tour is scheduled to return without spectators June 11 in Fort Worth, Texas, and bring back fans four weeks — and four tournaments — later, starting July 9 at the John Deere Classic. That's two weeks before the 3M Open. This is just me personally talking, but I'd be surprised if they play at the Colonial on time and if they play with fans in Blaine. I'll be a little surprised if they play the 3M Open at all. I hope I'm wrong, but there's just so many variables and so much that needs to go right, even if they play without spectators. The TV crew alone is 300 people they need to keep safe, let alone players, caddies, officials, volunteers, etc.
Gophers Men's Basketball Writer Marcus Fuller
Q Is there any chance Richard Pitino gets a waiver for Liam Robbins to play next season based on the current environment? — Keith Berger (@Krb1max)
A The chances are very high for Robbins to either receive a waiver or be immediately eligible to play for the Gophers without a waiver next season. Having family on the team helps his waiver situation. But that might not matter, because I'm hearing that the one-time transfer rule to play immediately could pass next month to be ready for the 2020-21 season. Robbins replacing All-America center Daniel Oturu is a tall task. But his shot-blocking presence makes the Gophers a sleeper in the Big Ten. The 7-foot Iowan was rated as high as the No. 1 non-graduate transfer on the market, with high-profile teams such as Duke, Kentucky and Louisville interested after he announced he was leaving Drake.
Gophers Women's Basketball Writer Kent Youngblood
Q If we're expecting to have the Gophers' deepest roster in Lindsay Whalen's three years, ideally what would be the rotation number? Eight deep? Is 9-10 doable and keep everybody happy with playing time?
A Whalen got another big commitment when junior college post player Daja Woodard said she would attend Minnesota. Her addition will make the Gophers longer and more athletic. The 6-3 Woodard averaged a relatively modest 9.3 points for Jones College in Ellisville, Miss., last season, but she also grabbed 8.9 rebounds and blocked 2.7 shots per game. "It's nice to have more rim protection," Whalen said. "… She could be a shot-blocking force." But back to that rotation. I believe incoming point guard Alexia Smith will get good minutes as Jasmine Powell's backup. I think incoming combo guard Caroline Strande will work into the rotation; she's one of the highest-scoring players in Wisconsin girls' basketball history. In the post, Klarke Sconiers finished her freshman season strong and Erin Hedman comes in highly touted. Graduate transfer Laura Bagwell-Katalinich is a proven player. So: It's not out of the question the Gophers could, some nights, go as deep as 10. But more important, the roster is deeper and gives Whalen more options.
PUCK DROP Writer Randy Johnson
Q Where are we at today on the men's side of the WCHA? Is it going away & is the CCHA now going to be resurrected? — @HerrickScott
A Whenever the college hockey season starts, the WCHA men's league will have 10 teams for the final time before Bemidji State, Bowling Green, Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State Mankato and Northern Michigan leave to begin play in the new CCHA in 2021-22. That will leave the WCHA with only Alabama Huntsville, Alaska and Alaska Anchorage, and those three programs had financial challenges even before the coronavirus outbreak. WCHA Commissioner Bill Robertson is seeking more teams to join that trio. Arizona State is an independent. St. Thomas is targeted to play in Division I if and when the NCAA approves the Tommies' all-sports reclassification from Division III to Division I. Those two could be candidates for the WCHA or other conferences. Also, don't rule out tweaks in conference alignments. For example, would Miami (Ohio) be a better fit in the new CCHA with its Michigan and Ohio flavor than it is in the NCHC? Would Minnesota State, which applied and was denied membership to the NCHC in 2016, be a better regional fit in the NCHC than Miami?