Is it time to wave goodbye to Tubby?
FELDY: It's been three years and 11 months since Tubby Smith was introduced as the head coach of the men's basketball team at the University of Minnesota. Apparently that's how long a honeymoon lasts for an established head coach in our state. Tubby's approval rating continues to drop, especially with die-hards in the Twin Cities (as well as some media members up there). How about you, Phersy? You on the Fire Tubby bandwagon yet?
PHERSY:Man, it's hard not to jump on. That ugly loss Tuesday night to Michigan State seemed to push many people over the edge. What bothers me is this seems to be a recurring theme with this guy. His teams continue to start out well, only to struggle during the homestretch. That's unacceptable at any level. And in the Big Ten, it will cost a coach his job in a hurry. Am I ready to pull the trigger? Probably not. I have one foot on the bandwagon, though. ... Feldy, your Wild are in the playoffs as of right now (of course they could move like five spots by the end of the day). I've asked this question like 45 times: Are they a playoff team?
FELDY: Of course they are. Was there ever a doubt? A lot could change by the middle of April (thinking back to the Wild's swoon in March last year should make fans a bit uncomfortable), but who would have thought they'd be tied for fifth place in the West in late February? Nik Backstrom is playing well, which will have to continue with Mikko Koivu out for three or four weeks. I better get my playoff media credential request in soon. … Phersy, we've been negative toward your favorite college hockey team most of the year, but the Gophers are in position to earn home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs. Will they finally make it back to the WCHA Final Five?
PHERSY:I have no confidence in them. They're definitely playing well right now. The Gophers have looked like a different team for the past few weekends, and that's certainly a good sign. While this version of the Gophers is playing hard, they don't appear to be a well-coached group, and that's going to hurt at crunch time. That said, I'll have to see who they get in the opening round before I predict a Final Five bid. I mean, if it's my Mavericks (unlikely), you know who I'm picking. ... (Sarcasm font on) Feldy, what's your take on this HUGE Timberwolves trade?
FELDY: Clearly, the vision David Kahn had for this team when he was hired two years ago is oh-so-close to playing itself out. The Wolves are not the worst team in the NBA, they have an All-Star and a $5 million per year center who averages 9 points and 5 rebounds per game, and calls his teammates soft. So, sure, getting rid of another bust of a first-round pick (Corey Brewer) and adding a 6-foot-10, 22-year-old who has been cast aside by two teams already, seems like a great move. Phersy, I'm less convinced today that Kahn is capable of running an NBA team than when he was hired in 2009. … You concerned at all about the most-watched knee in Minnesota, the lubricated joint of Joe Mauer?
PHERSY:He's a catcher, so we all should be concerned about his knee. However, I think this team has other, more pressing concerns heading into spring training. I'd say the middle infield is what I'm watching for the next month. There are definitely options, with Alexi Casilla and Tsuyoshi Nishioka being the obvious choices. Are those good options? I guess we'll find out in a hurry.