A quick breakdown and key stats for sports in the Bold North
Here at Breakdown from the Bench, we cover a variety of sports about a smorgasbord of topics. However, one of our true passions is the Minnesota sports scene, so we have decided to start a weekly recap of all the top teams in the land of 10,000 lakes. This summary will give a quick synopsis of the results and news for clubs and teams in the North Star State, as well as a stat or two that we think you need to know as you follow all things Minnesota sports.
Results and News: The Vikings improved to 7-6-1 with a 41-17 win over the Miami Dolphins at US Bank Stadium. Dalvin Cook rumbled for 136 yards on 19 carries as the Vikings racked up a season-high 220 yards on the ground in offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski’s play-calling debut. The Vikes will play the Lions next Sunday at noon.
Stat of the Week: With the win, the Vikings playoff chances are now at 56% according to ESPN’s 538. Minnesota controls their own destiny, as two wins would get them into the postseason. Bonus stat: Minnesota’s 202 yards of offense in the first quarter against the Dolphins was the only time an NFL team has racked up 200+ yards in a quarter in the 2018 season.
Results and News: The winter meeting came and went and the Twins did…well pretty much nothing. They were said to be in talks or interested in a variety of players, including DH Nelson Cruz, C Wilson Ramos (now signed with the Mets), RP Trevor Cahill, and RP Joakim Soria, but the Twins didn’t pull the trigger on any trades or free agent deals.
Stat of the Week: Cruz has mashed 203 home runs over the last five seasons for an average of just over 40 a year. The “Boomschtick” would provide a big boost to the middle of the Twins lineup even as a 38-year old DH.
Results and News: After lighting it up the last couple weeks with a bevy of wins at the Target Center, the Timberwolves hit the road and came crashing back down to earth. With losses to Golden State (116-108), Sacramento (141-130), and even Phoenix (107-99), the Wolves have gone back to looking like pups on the defensive end with All-NBA defender Robert Covington hobbled by injury. The Wolves will face the Kings (home), Pistons (home), Spurs (away), and Thunder (away) next week.
Stat of the Week: The Timberwolves often-used backcourt duo of Jeff Teague and Derrick Rose isn’t getting it done on defense. Both sport one of the worst defensive ratings in the league when on court during the Wolves four-game losing streak, with both above 119 points per 100 possessions.
Results and News: The Wild busted out for 12 goals over two games, picking up a 7-1 win over Montreal and a 5-1 victory over Florida. Unfortunately they were only able to muster one goal in a 2-1 loss to Calgary. The Wild will play San Jose (home), Pittsburgh (away) and Dallas (home) this week.
Stat of the Week: Mikael Granlund and Ryan Suter combined for 10 assists last week, as each picked up five helpers.
Minnesota Golden Gopher men’s basketball
Results and News: After narrowly escaping North Florida to the tune of a 80-71 victory, Richard Pitino and his squad are sitting at 9-2. Although a majority of the team struggled, the performance was highlighted by three double doubles coming from Jordan Murphy, Daniel Oturu, and Isaiah Washington. This week, they play host to North Carolina A&T at WIlliams Arena on Friday, December 21st.
Stat of the Week: With last week’s 20 rebound performance, Jordan Murphy is now leading all of DI in that category with 139 boards. The closest Power 5 competitor is Big Ten standout and rival Ethan Happ of the Wisconsin Badgers.
Minnesota Golden Gopher women’s basketball
Results and News: Lindsay Whalen and her team are continuing their red hot start, now at 10-0 with a victory over Coppin State last Wednesday. Senior Kenisha Bell had 20 points to go with five assists on 7-12 shooting. Sophomore Destiny Pitts shot a perfect 5-5 from the floor and went 4-4 from the charity stripe to reel in 14 points, along with collecting four rebounds. They put their undefeated record on the line on December 22nd against Rhode Island at Williams Arena.
Stat of the Week: With their 10-0 start, the Gophers are now one of eight teams to be undefeated and in the AP Top 25. The other seven programs are UCONN, Louisville, Mississippi State, Maryland, Tennessee, North Carolina State, and California.
Minnesota Golden Gopher Football
Results and News: PJ Fleck has been busy since getting possession of Paul Bunyan’s Axe. On Friday night, Fleck was able to lock down 4* defensive tackle, Kristian Williams of Memphis, Tennessee. The 4* defensive lineman chose the maroon and gold over schools such as LSU, Missouri, Tennessee, and Ole Miss. Fleck also received a commitment from kicker, Michael Lantz of Fayetteville, Georgia. Early signing day is Wednesday.
Stat of the Week: PJ Fleck has received commitments from 4* defensive tackles, Kristian Williams and Rashad Cheney. Those two prospects rank as the two highest rated defensive line recruits Gopher football has ever received in the internet era.
Hope you enjoyed the Minnesota Minute! Check back next week for another fresh slate of Minnesota sports news!