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Keep informed about sports news and trends in Minnesota, and laugh along the way, with Michael Rand and other Star Tribune writers and special guests each weekday morning.
1 hour ago
The sale of the Timberwolves: Are they staying or moving?
Timberwolves beat writer Chris Hine joins Michael Rand for a long discussion of the impending sale of the team to Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore and what that means for the long-term future of the franchise. Fans are worried that the non-local ownership group will want to move the franchise to a different city. While those concerns are valid, there are roadblocks to prevent that from happening -- most notably that the NBA seems interested in keeping a franchise in Minnesota and expanding to other markets like Seattle and Las Vegas instead of relocating. Hine and Rand also discuss the collective trauma of this season on the Wolves and evaluate some on-court developments as well. At the start of the show, Rand expresses his SHOCK that a Twins pitcher was allowed to throw seven full innings and notes that Thursday's 4-3 win felt important. And he takes a look at the WNBA Draft and the Lynx selecting Tennessee forward Rennia Davis No. 9 overall.
1 day ago
MN United season preview + What is wrong with the Twins?
Star Tribune beat writer Jerry Zgoda and Minnesota United midfielder Wil Trapp join the show for a season preview as the Loons prepare for their opener Friday at Seattle. Expectations are high, both externally and internally, after MN United narrowly missed making the MLS Cup final last season. Will the addition of several veterans and the continued ascendance of Emanuel Reynoso propel the Loons to even greater heights, or will they struggle to live up to their own success? At the outset, Rand examines the suddenly ice-cold Twins, who have lost five straight games -- all at Target Field -- in frustrating fashion. At 5-7 on the season, the Twins seem like they are better than their record indicates. But it's also possible that their greatest strengths -- all-around depth and lack of a glaring weakness -- could also be a detriment in close games. Plus a Wild win, a look ahead and a look ahead to the WNBA Draft on Thursday night.
2 days ago
Wild big picture comes into focus + Four great listener questions
The Star Tribune's Sarah McLellan joins Michael Rand for a look at the Wild and how it didn't make any moves at the trade deadline. While that seems out of character for general manager Bill Guerin -- and might be disappointing to some fans given the Wild's playoff position -- it is reflective of an overall philosophy of patience and even better times to come. Plus: What does the Wild need to fine-tune in the final 16 games of the regular season? At the outset, Rand acknowledges what a relentless last five months it has been for the Timberwolves and contextualizes it with Tuesday's 127-97 loss to the Nets. And a bunch of listeners -- most of whom probably know who A-Rod is, unlike Anthony Edwards -- offer up some great questions that Rand answers.
3 days ago
Columnist La Velle E. Neal III and U assistant Dave Thorson
The Twins, Wild and Timberwolves were all supposed to have home games Monday. Instead, those three teams led the late "SportsCenter" because they were postponed in the wake of the police shooting of Daunte Wright. Michael Rand samples some of the nationwide reaction to Wright's death and is joined by Star Tribune columnist La Velle E. Neal III for a broader discussion of how local teams have responded in these defining moments. Later in the show, Rand is joined by new Gophers men's basketball assistant coach Dave Thorson, a longtime local high school coach at DeLaSalle who had Gophers head coach Ben Johnson on some of his earliest successful teams. How will Thorson's vast knowledge of basketball and the state of Minnesota help with in-state recruiting? And a movie about Sean Payton that you just can't believe.
4 days ago
Timberwolves bought by A-Rod; Twins bullpen owned by Mariners
Patrick Reusse joins Michael Rand at the outset of Monday's show to talk about the big news of the weekend: Glen Taylor is selling the Timberwolves to a group led by former MLB star Alex Rodriguez and billionaire Marc Lore. Aside from the stunning nature of the news, what does it mean for the future of the franchise? Plus Reusse and Rand lament the Twins' nagging issues -- and sagging late-inning bullpen -- that have turned an overall strong start into just a 5-4 record so far. Plus Jim Souhan joins Rand from the Masters after Hideki Matsuyama's historic victory and Rand gives a Wild trade deadline update.
Apr 9, 2021
Two Minnesota winners + a Zach Parise trade proposal
Michael Rand dives right into the Twins' 10-2 home opener win over Seattle, a day that couldn't have gone much better and showed the Twins flexing all of their strengths. Among them: the continued hot start of Byron Buxton, which Bally Sports North's Roy Smalley helps explain. Later on, Randy Johnson joins the show from Pittsburgh to break down the NCAA men's hockey Frozen Four, which saw St. Cloud State upend Minnesota State (Mankato) and UMass knock off two-time defending champion Minnesota-Duluth in a pair of dramatic semifinals Thursday. Plus, Rand has a wish: for the Wild and Zach Parise to part ways before the trade deadline on Monday, even if such a thing seems unlikely. Rand also delves into a Wolves lineup issue and muses about Richard Pitino's confirmed $0 buyout.
Apr 8, 2021
The Twins' identity? Winning. Plus: The Wild make a statement
Twins beat writer Phil Miller joins Michael Rand after a 4-2 road trip sets up Thursday's home opener and a return of 10,000 fans to Target Field. What did we learn about the Twins in the first six games? It might be too early to draw conclusions, but it seems like their identity might go something like this: Above average at everything with no glaring weaknesses. That should lead to a lot of wins, especially if Byron Buxton and Jose Berrios are as good as they have looked early. At the top of the show, Rand talks about how important the Wild's 8-3 win over Colorado was both from a psychological standpoint and a practical one. By scoring four power play goals, Minnesota kept improving in that pivotal area after an awful start, giving more evidence to the idea that the Wild could be dangerous in the postseason. Plus the immaturity of the Timberwolves, a 78-game streak broken and a huge signing by Minnesota United.
Apr 7, 2021
Time to see what D'Angelo Russell can do + an MLB rant
Timberwolves podcaster Dane Moore joins Michael Rand for an examination of what we learned from D'Angelo Russell's first game back from knee surgery Monday, just the sixth game he's played with Karl-Anthony Towns since Russell was acquired 14 months ago. The Wolves have 21 games left this season. What can they hope to accomplish with the KAT/D-Lo pairing intact? How does Anthony Edwards fit into the new pecking order? How much will the Wolves miss Malik Beasley, who will miss at least four weeks with a hamstring injury? At the start of the show, Rand rants about MLB's extra inning rule implemented in 2020, where a runner starts on second base at the start of each inning. The Twins are 0-2 in extra inning games and 3-0 in nine-inning games this season. Plus, the transfer portal is taking away from the Gophers men's basketball team at a much higher rate than it is giving them players.
Apr 6, 2021
Can Ben Johnson's Gophers recruit the next Jalen Suggs?
Star Tribune men's college basketball writer Marcus Fuller joins the show to break down Baylor's 86-70 win over Gonzaga in Monday night's NCAA title game. While Gonzaga came up short in its pursuit of a perfect season, freshman Jalen Suggs from Minnehaha Academy scored 22 points and has a bright future ahead of him. What is his next move? And can the Gophers under new head coach Ben Johnson recruit a player of that caliber in the future? At the outset, Michael Rand breaks down a newsy 24 hours. Vikings corner Jeff Gladney was arrested and accused of assaulting a woman in Texas. The Timberwolves and Wild both welcomed back fans into their arenas -- with the Wolves getting a win while also welcoming back D'Angelo Russell while the Wild lost again to Colorado. And the Twins seem to be firing on all cylinders in Detroit. Plus: Who won the Sam Darnold trade?
Apr 5, 2021
Patrick Reusse on Twins and college hoops + Ethan Casson on Wolves fans back at Target Center
Patrick Reusse joins Michael Rand to talk through an amazing weekend of sports. The men's and women's basketball Final Fours have been nothing short of spectacular, led by the heroics of Minnesotan Jalen Suggs for Gonzaga in Saturday's semifinal win. Plus the Twins rebounded from a tough loss in the opener to look quite impressive Saturday and Sunday. And what's up with the Thibs-like 44 minutes for Karl-Anthony Towns in the second game of a back-to-back? Later in the show, Wolves and Lynx CEO Ethan Casson joins to talk about the return of fans at Target Center on Monday night. Though capacity will be limited -- as it will be Monday when fans are back at Xcel Energy Center for Wild vs. Colorado as well -- it is a significant marker on the road back to "normalcy."
Apr 2, 2021
A Twins opener meltdown + Paige Bueckers and superstardom
Chip Scoggins joins Michael Rand from the NCAA Women's Final Four in San Antonio to talk about his big story on former Hopkins standout Paige Bueckers, whose stardom has only continued to ascend in college. She was named the national women's player of the year -- the first freshman to win that award -- and has embraced everything along the way. How does she do it? And why aren't women's players able to leave college after one season to turn pro like their men's basketball counterparts? At the outset, Rand breaks down what looked like a comfortable Twins opening day win that turned instead into a total ninth inning meltdown. New reliever Alexander Colome allowed three runs -- aided by his own mistake -- to let the Brewers tie, and Milwaukee won in extra innings. To make matters worse, Josh Donaldson was injured in the first inning. And what's up with the Bally Sports North score ticker? Everyone has an opinion.
Apr 1, 2021
Twins season preview: Predictions and more with La Velle E. Neal III
Michael Rand is joined by Star Tribune columnist and longtime Twins beat writer La Velle E. Neal III for a look ahead to the Twins season that starts Thursday in Milwaukee. Who will lead the Twins in a lot of different categories? What should we be concerned about? Did you know La Velle could do a pretty good impression of fellow columnist Patrick Reusse? Also, Rand takes a look at a Wolves win fueled by their youngest players -- and in particular by the defense of Jaden McDaniels. And he reassesses the 2020 season and absolves Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer of some blame.
Mar 31, 2021
Can the Wild regain its form -- and will the trade deadline help?
Michael Rand is joined by Star Tribune Wild beat writer Sarah McLellan for a look at the team's recent play. While Minnesota has still managed to secure wins lately, the Wild has been outshot -- often badly -- in seven consecutive games. Can the Wild regain the form that made this look like one of the NHL's top teams for a long stretch this season? Has Cam Talbot reclaimed his spot as the No. 1 goalie? And will the upcoming trade deadline bring any meaningful upgrades? Also: The NFL going to a 17-game schedule is an oddity in so many ways. And Rand gets to a bunch of listener hot takes.
Mar 30, 2021
FSN to Bally Sports North: The rebrand, impact and ongoing streaming battle
Michael Rand is joined by Mike Dimond, longtime senior VP and general manager at Fox Sports North, to talk about the rebrand and transition to Bally Sports North coming to your TV screen on Wednesday. What will change about the viewing experience? What about games within the games -- including the potential for sports wagering if it becomes legal in Minnesota? Dimond also gives his thoughts on the ongoing carriage dispute with streaming services that has left many Minnesota fans unable to watch their favorite teams with their current providers. Randy Johnson also joins the show to recap a big weekend of college hockey and to set you up for a Frozen Four that features three Minnesota teams. Plus Rand gives his thoughts on the thrilling Baylor/UConn women's basketball game -- and the nonsense about COVID that Baylor coach Kim Mulkey brought up afterwards.
Mar 29, 2021
A very Minnesota Frozen Four -- and sounding the Twins alarm
Patrick Reusse joins Michael Rand to talk about the men's college hockey scene -- and how St. Cloud, Minnesota State (Mankato) and Minnesota-Duluth are all represented in the NCAA Frozen Four while the Gophers were bounced. It's been quite a journey for several of the non-metro men's hockey programs to get to this point. Reusse also sounds the alarm on the Twins -- especially the offense -- after a lackluster last couple of weeks down in Florida -- and he and Rand get ready for Wolves vs. Thibs, Part II. Plus Rand's thoughts on the Vikings' recent defensive backfield signings, Randy Dobnak's new contract and the U.S. men's soccer team failing to qualify again for the Olympics.
Mar 26, 2021
A Timberwolves trade deadline breakdown and a Vikings offensive line disclaimer
Chris Hine joins Michael Rand to dissect what turned out to be a very quiet trade deadline for the Wolves on Thursday. They decided to stick with their roster despite having the worst record in the league (10-34). The rationale -- that they need some stability and to find out how some of their better players fit together after a season of injuries and disarray -- makes sense, but they still lack a power forward and weren't able to make any deals to fix their roster imbalance. At the outset, Rand talks through the Vikings' minor trade for offensive lineman Mason Cole -- a likely depth move that better not end up being more than that. Plus: Enjoy the Wild's season and get ready for a lot of couch time this weekend.
Mar 25, 2021
The Twins' outfield dilemma plus transfer portal and trade deadline talk
Phil Miller joins Michael Rand for a look at the Twins one week before the start of the regular season. What does Alex Kirilloff's demotion mean in the big picture, both in terms of his future and the Twins' outfield? Are Jose Berrios and Kenta Maeda going to form one of the best 1-2 top-of-the-rotation duos in the majors? And should we be concerned about the bullpen or lack of offense during spring training? Plus, Rand has a new love: the NCAA transfer portal. It's college free agency, and it's fascinating to watch player movement -- particularly with the Gophers, who look to be major players in the transfer market already under new coach Ben Johnson. And Thursday is the NBA trade deadline. Will the Wolves make a move -- and if not, should we look back at the deal for D'Angelo Russell at last year's deadline a different way? The Cooler: An ode to the steadying play of Wild goalie Cam Talbot.
Mar 24, 2021
Meet the new coaches: Ben Johnson and Chris Finch join the show
Ben Johnson was hired earlier this week. Chris Finch took over a month ago. As head coaches of the Gophers men's basketball program and the Timberwolves, respectively, they are being tasked with major turnarounds. Both coaches joined the podcast on Wednesday to provide insights into how they want fix struggling teams. For Johnson, it all starts with recruiting. That is his main known strength coming into the job, and the relationships he has already in Minnesota will help him. But he also talked strategy and how he wants his team to play. If you're frustrated that the Gophers take a lot of threes but don't make a lot of threes, Johnson promises to recruit more shooting to solve that problem. Finch took over in a unique situation: coming in midseason after being an assistant in Toronto. This is his first NBA head coaching job, though he ran several teams overseas. He's high on the future of Anthony Edwards, but Finch also acknowledges that until Edwards learns some things and makes adju…
Mar 23, 2021
Hiring Ben Johnson: The Gophers' ultimate risk-reward gamble
Marcus Fuller and Chip Scoggins join Michael Rand for separate segments discussing the hire of Ben Johnson as Gophers men's basketball coach on Monday. Johnson, 40, is a former Gophers player and assistant coach known as a strong recruiter. But he has never been a head coach at any level of basketball. Can he succeed in leading his own program -- particularly one as large as Minnesota's, in a Power Five conference like the Big Ten? A lot of that will probably come down to both is ability to recruit and carve out an in-game identity. Neither of those are sure things, making this a risk-reward gamble of a hire by athletic director Mark Coyle, Scoggins said. Johnson has the traits to succeed and was responsible for bringing in several of the best players during the Richard Pitino era. And by hiring a Black head coach, the Gophers at least took a step forward in addressing a negative record of diversity within their department, Fuller said.
Mar 22, 2021
A No. 1 seed for Gophers men's hockey -- and a coach soon for Gophers men's hoops?
Patrick Reusse joins Michael Rand to break down the opening weekend of the NCAA men's and women's basketball tournament -- and to provide an update on where the Gophers are in their search for a new men's basketball coach now that a few seasons are over for prospective coaches. Puck Drop editor Randy Johnson also joins for a men's college hockey bracket breakdown. The Gophers got a No. 1 seed and all five teams from Minnesota made the NCAA field of 16 -- the first time that has ever happened. Plus thoughts on United's Hassani Dotson dominating for U.S. Soccer, a big win for Gophers women's gymnastics and a big week for the Wild, Wolves and Vikings.
Mar 19, 2021
How the Vikings can make more moves; and many reasons to go deep into nature
Vikings beat writer Ben Goessling joins Michael Rand to recap what the Vikings have done in free agency so far -- namely moving a lot of money around in an effort to bolster a defense that sagged in 2020. What else might they be able to do? Look for at least one contract extension for a veteran, Goessling said, to free up some more money to perhaps address the offensive line. And don't forget: Kirk Cousins' 2022 salary ($45 million) becomes fully guaranteed Friday afternoon. Later in the show, Star Tribune outdoors writer Bob Timmons joins to talk about Friday's special section on going deep into nature. Getting outside for an hour or two is great. But to get an even richer benefit, try a week or more completely unplugged. And remember when Rand said the Wolves should consider trading Anthony Edwards as part of a deal of John Collins? Yeah, forget all that after Ant dropped 42 on Phoenix on Thursday.
Mar 18, 2021
Ryan Longwell fixes the Vikings' kicking; Spielman and Zimmer's last (defensive) stand
Former Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell, who gave the Vikings six seasons of stable kicking from 2006-2011, joins the show with insights into why the last several seasons have been so volatile in the kicking game -- and what the Vikings can do to fix it. What happens when you don't have stable kicking and every game is a struggle? "The coach is tight," Longwell says. "The GM is tight. The players play tight." At the start of the show, host Michael Rand examines the latest Vikings free agent signing, cornerback Patrick Peterson, and notices a theme: GM Rick Spielman is loading up on defensive players and short-term fixes in 2021, perhaps as he and head coach Mike Zimmer recognize their jobs could be on the line. Plus: Jamal Mashburn Jr. enters the transfer portal, a sign of how next season could be a tough one for any coach who lands the Gophers' job.
Mar 17, 2021
Lindsay Whalen on building a program + Vikings free agency strategy
Michael Rand is joined by Gophers women's basketball coach Lindsay Whalen for an examination of her program. In her third year as head coach, the Gophers went 8-13 -- a record that doesn't reflect the progress that was made under difficult circumstances, Whalen said. An avid local sports fan, Whalen also takes a spin through some of what she likes in Minnesota sports right now. Also: Did the Gophers men's hockey team lock up a No. 1 seed by beating Wisconsin for the Big Ten title -- briefly stealing the spotlight from another Wild win. Are the Vikings taking the right approach in free agency? And did Gophers AD Mark Coyle signal the continuation of a philosophical shift in the department with his comments Tuesday?
Mar 16, 2021
The Richard Pitino firing: What happened and what comes next?
Michael Rand takes a look at five questions in the wake of Monday night's announcement that Richard Pitino has been fired as Gophers men's basketball coach. Rand is also joined by Star Tribune columnist Jim Souhan for an overall look at the program and Pitino's tenure. How might this have turned out differently and what comes next? And he takes listener questions from frustrated fans who want to see the Gophers take the next step forward.
Mar 15, 2021
Pitino to New Mexico? And the golden age of young Minnesota athletes
Patrick Reusse joins Michael Rand at the outset to discuss the latest reports that Richard Pitino could be headed to New Mexico to take the job there. Plus a look at what a return to having fans in the stands means to Minnesota sports and a report on how the Twins look down in Florida. At the start of the show, Rand breaks down what might be the golden age of young athletes in Minnesota -- from Kirill Kaprizov on down, the list is impressive.
Mar 12, 2021
Who will coach the Gophers men's basketball team and what needs to change?
Michael Rand is joined by Star Tribune columnist Chip Scoggins for a look at the Gophers men's basketball program. If the Gophers move on from Richard Pitino as head coach, as Scoggins expects them to, who are the front-runners to replace him? And a bigger-picture question: What needs to change within the program for any coach to find sustained success here? Also, Rand discusses a stunning 30-point win for the Wolves coming out of the All-Star break and shakes his head at familiar problems plaguing Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton
Mar 11, 2021
The clock is ticking for the Timberwolves to prove plan is working
Timberwolves beat writer Chris Hine joins Michael Rand on Thursday as the Timberwolves prepare to start the second half of their season. After a 7-29 first half that saw them fire head coach Ryan Saunders and play without several key starters for stretches, there is a lot to learn in the next 36 games. Will the Wolves make a major move at the trade deadline? Can Karl-Anthony Towns and D'Angelo Russell get on the court together and find chemistry? The clock is ticking. Also, Rand breaks down the Vikings' decision to cut offensive tackle Riley Reiff, gives kudos to the Wild for another big win and talks about one Gophers basketball team extending its season by a day while another one is finished.
Mar 10, 2021
Are the pieces in place for the Wild to be a serious contender?
Michael Rand is joined by forward Marcus Foligno for a look at the somewhat surprising Wild. Foligno talks about the message of accountability coming from head coach Dean Evason and how the team navigated Zach Parise's one-game benching last week. Foligno also jokes about how he reminds Kirill Kaprizov that he's leading the rookie sensation in goals (7 to 6) and assigns a nickname to teammate Jordan Greenway. Wild beat writer Sarah McLellan then joins the show to offer further perspectives on the team's 8-2-1 streak and the excellent goaltending coming from rookie Kaapo Kahkonen of late. Also on the show: Is tonight going to be Richard Pitino's final game as Gophers men's basketball head coach? If he's replaced, will the U address its glaring diversity hiring shortcomings? And an odd stat about Vikings kickers in the wake of Dan Bailey's release.
Mar 9, 2021
A Timberwolves trade proposal plus Minnesota United's great expectations
Michael Rand is joined by Minnesota United beat writer Jerry Zgoda for a look at where the Loons are in their roster building after a successful 2020 season. Minnesota United came within minutes of playing for the MLS Cup just a few months ago. Can they get back at least far this year? Rand also reveals his latest Wolves obsession: trading for the Hawks' John Collins. He offers three Trade Machine proposals to make that work. Also: A dive into Dak Prescott's contract, Kappo Kahkonen's emergence as a top goalie option for the Wild and a story about Naz Reid you won't want to miss.
Mar 8, 2021
Vikings WR Justin Jefferson on his big season, funniest teammates and more
Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson joins the podcast to talk about his big rookie season and how those who doubt the Vikings in 2021 are motivating him to be even better next year. He also has a TV recommendation and gives you the list of his funniest Vikings teammates. Star Tribune columnist Patrick Reusse also joins to talk through his bid to become the next, ahem, Gophers football writer and checks in with thoughts on Richard Pitino and the Twins. Plus: The Gophers women's hockey team was snubbed! And the Wild has a big one tonight
Mar 5, 2021
Har Mar Superstar delivers: halftime shows, new music and the mail
Har Mar Superstar (Sean Tillmann) joins host Michael Rand on today's show for an interview as wide-ranging as his musical offerings. Information about his new release "Roseville"? Of course. Pandemic life for a touring musician? You bet. Becoming a postal carrier? Why not. The time he played "Pink Cadillac" with Joe Piscopo after a St. Paul Saints game? Um, yes. New Twins beat writer Megan Ryan also joins to talk about the excitement she has for her new assignment and the style she hopes to bring to her coverage of the team. Plus: Was Kevin Garnett even really in the mix to buy the Wolves in the first place? And what is the difference between a beat writer and a columnist?
Mar 4, 2021
The three biggest takeaways as the Vikings prepare for free agency
Michael Rand is joined by Andrew Krammer as they set up the start of Vikings free agency in a couple of weeks. Krammer reported on general manager Rick Spielman's long session with reporters on Wednesday and distills that information into some big takeaways as the Vikings face a lot of decisions and a shrinking salary cap. At the outset of the show, Rand breaks down what could be a defining night in Minnesota sports: Zach Parise is benched for the Wild's 5-1 loss, a move that showed a lack of accountability on Parise's part but could divide the team. The Wolves were blown out again, and Karl-Anthony Towns' patience is wearing thin. And the Gophers lost by 19 at Penn State, doing nothing to help Richard Pitino's job security.
Mar 3, 2021
GM Thad Levine and La Velle E. Neal III on a big question: Twins pitching
Twins general manager Thad Levine joins the podcast to talk about the team's offseason moves (which included his son giving him the "stink eye" because of a slow start to free agency), their transition into being a team that can win with pitching and defense plus an update on what 2021 has in store for injured 2017 No. 1 overall pick Royce Lewis. La Velle E. Neal III then joins for a deeper look at a Twins pitcher who could hold the key to the season: Jose Berrios. Also: The Vikings released veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph on Tuesday in a widely expected move. What's still unclear, though: Why didn't the Vikings use him more, particularly in the red zone?
Mar 2, 2021
Richard Pitino's Gophers: What went wrong?
Fresh off of reporting that Gophers players took Richard Pitino's postgame comments after a loss Saturday to Nebraska as a sign that his coaching tenure is about to end, Marcus Fuller joins Michael Rand for a breakdown of what has gone wrong during Pitino's eight seasons. The short answer: Missteps in recruiting and a lack of player development left the Gophers without much depth, a story that played out again this season down the stretch. Also: An entertaining Wild game ends in a loss but still leads to thoughts of the playoffs. And what exactly did Ricky Rubio intend with his strong postgame comments after Sunday's Timberwolves loss?
Mar 1, 2021
Streaming Twins, Wild, Wolves games on FSN? The future is bleak
Michael Rand is joined by Jason Gurwin from The Streamable for an update on the ongoing battle between Sinclair-owned regional sports networks like Fox Sports North and streaming services like YouTube TV and Hulu. The upshot: Don't expect to watch the Twins (or Wild or Wolves) on those services in 2021. Gurwin helps explain why and tries to give you some options. Columnist Patrick Reusse also joins at the start of the show to expand on his opinion that the Gophers need to move on from men's basketball coach Richard Pitino. We get into a couple of possible replacements if the Gophers do, indeed, fire Pitino.
Feb 26, 2021
An awful Gophers loss and a deep look at the whirlwind Timberwolves week
Michael Rand breaks down Minnesota's 67-59 loss to Northwestern -- a team that entered on a 13-game losing streak -- on Thursday. It could spell doom for their NCAA tournament chances and spark even more talk of a coaching change. Rand is also joined by Timberwolves beat writer Chris Hine for a look at a very eventful week. On Sunday the Wolves fired Ryan Saunders. On Monday they officially hired Chris Finch. And on Thursday they learned Malik Beasley has been suspended for 12 games. What does it all mean in the short-term and the long-term? Plus a 40-year brawl anniversary and the debut column of La Velle E. Neal III.
Feb 25, 2021
Everything there is to know about the NFL draft process
Former Gophers defensive back Brock Vereen joins host Michael Rand to take listeners behind the scenes of everything that happens as a young player tries to get drafted and make it in the NFL. Vereen, a fourth-round pick of the Bears in 2014, said the mental grind of the scouting combine -- which normally happens this time of year -- is far more excruciating than anything on the physical side. Rand also digs into the Minnesota Wild, a team that had his curiosity but now has his attention. And an interesting stat about Ricky Rubio and what has gone wrong -- or right -- for the Wolves in the clutch lately.
Feb 24, 2021
Answering the four biggest questions in Minnesota sports
Chip Scoggins joins Michael Rand as they answer the four biggest questions in Minnesota sports: Will the Wolves ever get it right? Are the Twins a serious October threat? Will the Gophers make the NCAA men's basketball tournament? And should the Vikings pursue a Kirk Cousins trade? Rand also picks apart the Timberwolves after a 139-112 loss in Chris Finch's coaching debut, offering a pointed critique of their roster construction. Trade machine: Is a Deshaun Watson deal starting to feel like the Herschel Walker trade? And should the Wolves have made a different Jimmy Butler deal.
Feb 23, 2021
When can I go see a Twins game at Target Field?
Michael Rand is joined by Star Tribune reporter Rochelle Olson as they talk through the Twins' proposal to have around 10,000 fans per game at Target Field at the start of the season in April. Is that realistic? What hurdles are in place? And most importantly the fundamental question: When can fans expect to safely see games in person? Nick Kelly also joins to talk about his story in the Star Tribune about youth sports and challenges facing different youth basketball organizations. Plus: What did we learn from Chris Finch's introductory news conference at Wolves coach -- and what should you look for in tonight's game based on what he said.
Feb 22, 2021
Breakdown: Timberwolves fire coach Ryan Saunders, hire Chris Finch
A full episode on the Timberwolves' decision late Sunday to fire Ryan Saunders after a 7-24 start and hire Chris Finch off of the Raptors' staff. Star Tribune columnist Patrick Reusse joins to help break things down and assess where the Wolves go from there, and several reader questions are answered as well.
Feb 19, 2021
The Carson Wentz trade and Kirk Cousins; a Minnesotan who makes the NBA's Raptors great
Michael Rand is joined by Toronto Raptors executive Teresa Resch ahead of Friday's game between the Raptors and Timberwolves. Resch describes the strange 2020-21 season in which the organization has temporarily relocated to Tampa, explains the culture within the organization that allows it to thrive and gives insights into how the Raptors were able to strike gold with less-heralded players like Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam. Also on the show: After the Carson Wentz trade, what do we know about any potential Kirk Cousins trade value? Wild fans: Change your face. A very special new segment called "Are these guys for real" featuring Steve Neuman (aka RandBallsStu) and a nod to the underrated career of Brian Dozier.
Feb 18, 2021
Anthony Edwards on his first 90 NBA days; Sarah McLellan on a critical Wild stretch
Timberwolves rookie Anthony Edwards joins the podcast to talk about his progress so far this season. In a normal year, he would be starting training camp around three months after the draft. This season, he's already 29 games into his rookie season at the three-month mark. But he's taking it all in stride and trying to meet every moment that comes his way. Star Tribune Wild beat writer Sarah McLellan also joins for a dissection of the Wild's long COVID layoff and the rust that was apparent in Tuesday's 4-0 loss to Los Angeles in its return. With games coming rapid-fire, this feels like a defining moment in the Wild's season. Plus dueling self-fulfilling prophecies for the Gophers men's basketball team and Timberwolves. And an Oasis song for every Minnesota pro sports team, not just Minnesota United.
Feb 17, 2021
The Twins made moves, but did they do enough to win in the playoffs?
La Velle E. Neal III joins Michael Rand for a breakdown of the Twins' roster heading into spring training. They made several additions in recent weeks -- including signing pitcher Matt Shoemaker on Monday -- but the question that remains unanswered is whether the sum of those additions will get them back to the playoffs and help them break an MLB-record 18-game postseason losing streak that dates back to 2004. Neal also gets fans ready for what to expect if they are trying to head down to Florida to see the Twins. Also on the show: Anthony Edwards took over in the fourth quarter of a close loss Tuesday to the Lakers, while Karl-Anthony Towns didn't attempt a shot in the quarter. That dynamic will bear watching, particularly with D'Angelo Russell out for 4-6 weeks. And a sobering stat if you are a Gophers men's basketball fan: No team has made the NCAA tournament with fewer than three wins away from home since 1994.
Feb 16, 2021
With Karl-Anthony Towns back, it's time to raise expectations for Timberwolves
Michael Rand is joined by Star Tribune Timberwolves beat writer Chris Hine for a dissection of the Wolves' first three games since Karl-Anthony Towns recovered from COVID-19. With D'Angelo Russell sidelined by a leg injury it's difficult to see the full picture of what this team wants to become, but one thing is clear: They shouldn't continue to play like a 7-20 team now that KAT is back, particularly given the emergence of young players like Jaden McDaniels. Rand also attempts to explain moves made Monday by the Twins and Lynx that might seem like head-scratchers at first. And what type of team might make sense if a Kirk Cousins trade became a reality? Rand answers that as well.
Feb 15, 2021
The Hold Steady's Craig Finn: On music, Minnesota sports and a Randy Moss moon story
Craig Finn, frontman for The Hold Steady, joins Michael Rand for a great segment full of stories, music and sports talk. Finn still considers himself a big Minnesota sports fan, and he takes us on a journey filled with stories about the Randy Moss "moon" game at Lambeau Field, buying counterfeit Twins/Yankees playoff tickets and more. The Hold Steady's new release "Open Door Policy" is out Friday, and you won't want to miss it. Also on the show: You don't have to be perfect, you just have to get better. That was the theme of the weekend in Minnesota sports. And a listener hot take about defensive-minded NFL coaches and offensive continuity.
Feb 12, 2021
Some good Minnesota luck? Plus a trip on the Gunflint Trail and Gophers hockey trouble
At the outset, Michael Rand rants and raves about the Gophers men's basketball team's 71-68 win over Purdue, which featured huge performances from Marcus Carr and Gabe Kalscheur -- plus a heavy dose of the sort of luck Minnesota sports fans insist never comes their way. Star Tribune Puck Drop editor Randy Johnson joins Rand for an investigation of the midyear struggles of the Gophers men's hockey team. After starting out 10-0, Minnesota is just 5-5 -- including getting swept by Wisconsin last weekend, with one of those losses an 8-1 drubbing. They also take a look at a daunting stretch for the Gophers women's hockey team and some good news for the Wild, which looks to get back on the ice Friday. Outdoors columnist and editor Dennis Anderson also joins the show for an expanded look at the Gunflint Trail and the Star Tribune's special section Friday about that hallowed area in Northern Minnesota.
Feb 11, 2021
A Timberwolves trade deadline primer through the eyes of an NBA expert
ESPN front office expert Bobby Marks joins Michael Rand for a breakdown of the Timberwolves' roster -- and what moves we might expect going into the trade deadline next month. Marks says there are reasons for optimism with the Wolves' young players but also says that just about anyone on the roster outside of Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards should cause Wolves President Gersson Rosas to at least listen to a trade offer. Later on the show, Gophers freshman guard Jamal Mashburn Jr. joins to talk about the unique family history he shares with Richard Pitino and how he manages to avoid Twitter. Plus: If the Twins are done with their "heavy lifting," is it enough?
Feb 10, 2021
The Klint Kubiak hire -- and a deep dive into the Vikings' salary cap
Ben Goessling joins Michael Rand for a breakdown of the Vikings' promotion of Klint Kubiak to offensive coordinator. Sorry to those who crave a Kirk Cousins trade; this move signals that the Vikings are trying to maximize Cousins in 2021, not send him away. We also debut a new segment "Where's the money, Brzezinski?" -- a deep look at the Vikings' salary cap. Plus: MLB is messing with the ball again; sports gambling explained! And a new Vikings mock draft.
Feb 9, 2021
A deeper look at St. Thomas and its transition to Division I sports
Rachel Blount joins Michael Rand on today's episode to talk about the University of St. Thomas and the ongoing process of a history-making jump from Division III to Division I sports. While athletes and coaches are enjoying their final months in the MIAC, preparations are already well underway for the bump up in divisions this summer. Also today: A look at the NHL's COVID problem, which might be more about the sport than anything else. Paige Bueckers did it again. That Ain't Schnelker's Fault: Malik Beasley edition. And the Vikings have a new offensive coordinator with a familiar last name.
Feb 8, 2021
What did the Super Bowl teach us about the Vikings' future?
Michael Rand is joined by Star Tribune columnist Jim Souhan for a dissection of Tampa Bay's 31-9 victory over Kansas City in Sunday's Super Bowl. The game itself lacked drama, but the lessons learned can be applied to what we know -- or at least what we think we know -- about the Vikings and their eternal quest to finally win the big one. Former St. John's quarterback Tom Linnemann also joins the show for the "Played the Game" segment, breaking down the most critical sequence in the Super Bowl from a QB's perspective.
Feb 5, 2021
Brad Childress and Drew Magary help tackle the Vikings' future
Michael Rand is joined on separate segments by former Vikings head coach Brad Childress and longtime Vikings fan Drew Magary of Defector Media. There's plenty of talk about the upcoming Super Bowl -- including Childress' thoughts on longtime friend Andy Reid -- and both take on tough questions about Kirk Cousins and the Vikings' future. Also: Another night, another case of hero ball dooming a Minnesota team. And looking forward to some big Gophers hockey action this weekend.
Feb 4, 2021
A Gophers hoops chat, then a Wasswa Serwanga rabbit hole
Michael Rand is joined by Marcus Fuller as they explore whether the Gophers men's basketball team might finally win a road game this season -- and whether their approach of shooting a lot of threes but not often making enough threes is a good one. Rand also talks to the Wild's Joel Eriksson Ek, wonders whether D'Angelo Russell needs a different late-game approach and falls far down a Wasswa Serwanga rabbit hole.
Feb 3, 2021
Has Timberwolves No. 1 overall pick Anthony Edwards turned a corner?
Michael Rand is joined by Chris Hine on this episode as they discuss some bright spots in the past week of an otherwise dreary Timberwolves season. High on that list: The improved play of rookie Anthony Edwards, for whom the game seems to be slowing down. Rand also checks in with his longtime internet friend Chiken Fingerz for some pretty revealing data on why Kevin Fiala's three-game Wild suspension was perhaps uncommonly harsh. Has Chiken Fingerz ever been more angry? Plus checking in on the Nelson Cruz re-signing as well as new shortstop Andrelton Simmons' revelation that he battled depression and thoughts of suicide in 2020.
Feb 2, 2021
What is the ideal type of center to pair with the Wild's Kirill Kaprizov?
Sarah McLellan, who covers the Wild for the Star Tribune, joins Michael Rand in a discussion of the Wild's first 10 games. Minnesota is off to a 6-4 start, fueled in large part by strong play from its third line and emerging forward Kirill Kaprizov. But can its depth withstand a current test? And long-term, can the Wild find the right type of center to consistently bring out the best in Kaprizov? Also on the show: A look at the Timberwolves' offensive woes, looming labor problems in baseball and three of your hottest -- but measured -- takes.
Feb 1, 2021
The Super Bowl is almost here -- but will Kirk Cousins ever get there?
Michael Rand is joined by Star Tribune NFL writer Mark Craig as they dissect a fascinating Super Bowl quarterback matchup that leads to a natural question: Kirk Cousins is neither elite nor a bargain. Is it still possible for him to get the Vikings to a Super Bowl in the near future? Also: A breakdown of the blockbuster Matthew Stafford for Jared Goff trade, a look at the plausibility of trading for Deshaun Watson, important wins for the Wild and Timberwolves on Sunday and some serious praise for the continuously excellent Minnesota Lynx.
Jan 26, 2021
Welcome to Strib Sports Daily Delivery
Curious about the Star Tribune's new daily sports podcast? Listen to this introductory episode for a virtual tour.