RandBall

Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.

Follow Randball on Twitter

261271731

TFD: Rob Gronkowski read from 'A Gronking to Remember' at Super Bowl media day

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated January 27th at 5:03pm 289988191

That headline really says it all. It was a Gronking to Remember.

Bill Simmons calls out yet another ESPN employee on Twitter

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated January 27th at 12:53pm 289954711

simmonsESPN’s Bill Simmons either can’t help himself, doesn’t learn lessons or simply doesn’t care because his contract with the Worldwide Leader expires later this year and he already has his sights on bigger and better things.

Or, we suppose, Simmons and ESPN have arranged a sort of tenuous marriage by which they give him some rope and he uses all of it, with the idea that any evolving controversy generates publicity for both the man and the media empire.

Whatever the case, Simmons can’t seem to stop taking shots at fellow ESPN employees, even though that has landed him in trouble in the past. The latest target: NFL analyst Ray Lewis. A tweet from Simmons:

The link on that tweet, as noted by Awful Announcing, is a Photoshopped image of Lewis with deer antlers — a reference to the deer antler spray controversy Lewis found himself in a couple years ago.

That tweet was two hours ago, shortly before 11 a.m. As of this posting, he hasn’t tweeted since.  WAS HE SUSPENDED?! (Probably not, but we’ll have to wait and see).

Can the Wild save its season?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated January 27th at 1:48pm 289934591

yeo2Sports Club Stats and Hockey Reference both offer up percentage chances, based on formulas, pace and simulations, that the different NHL teams will make the playoffs.

Their numbers are a little different, but both tell essentially the same unsurprising story: the Wild has A LOT of ground to make up and is a long shot to even reach the postseason one year after giving fans hope that deep postseason runs could be a trend going forward.

Sports Club Stats has the Wild at a 6.4 percent chance of making the postseason. Hockey Reference is a little more optimistic, but not much, giving the Wild a 9.3 percent chance — a little worse than 1 in 10 for those who don’t like percentages — of making the playoffs.

Hockey Reference has a best-case scenario of the Wild reaching 100 points. That would be crazily optimistic, but if we look at other projections the final Wild Card in the West can be expected to have somewhere between 93 and 95 points.

Minnesota is 20-20-6 and has 46 points in 46 games at the All Star break. So let’s say they’re going to need another 48 points in their final 36 games to reach that Wild Card projection territory. That’s a 1.33 points-per-game pace, on par with a 109-point season over a full 82.

That’s the type of total elite teams put up. So in essence, the Wild needs not just to be good in the second half. Assuming the projections are in the neighborhood of being correct, the Wild needs to play (and earn points) like one of the 3-5 best teams in the NHL over the final 36 games.

Can it be done? Sure. We only need to look at last year’s history as a guide. Minnesota was 24-17-5 for 53 points after 46 games (that was earlier in the year last year because the NHL had a long break in February for the Olympics). In Minnesota’s final 36 games, the Wild went 19-10-7, earning 45 points and qualifying for the playoffs before upsetting Colorado in the first round.

If Minnesota can be just a little better than that — say, 20-8-8 — the playoffs are a possibility. Getting there, of course, will require much better all-around play than we saw from the Wild pre-break. If there is any silver lining, it’s that everything that could possibly go wrong seemingly did in the first 46 games. But it could also be the case that this Wild team is less than the sum of its parts and that its on-ice deficiencies — goaltending, effort, lack of pure scorers, whatever the case might be on a given night –will continue to drag the team down into a disappointing, playoff-free finish.

The projections say the latter is the way the season almost certainly will play out. We’ll start to find out for sure tonight in Edmonton, the first of 36 games in which there is very little margin for error.

TFD: Vikings a top-5 NFL team in terms of 25-and-under talent, ESPN says

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated January 27th at 6:48am 289849521

fridgewaterLooking for some offseason Vikings hope after another losing season? Well, ESPN.com just ranked the 32 NFL teams in order of which have the most talented players who are 25-and-under. The Vikings, who have had seven first-round picks the past three years, fared quite well — No. 4 behind only the Colts, Patriots and Rams. The Packers were No. 9, the Lions were No. 20 and the Bears were second-to-last at No. 31. Per the ranking of the Vikings, five players were singled out — including QB Teddy Bridgewater and LB Anthony Barr, who are both 22.

Teddy Bridgewater, QB: The Vikings’ new franchise quarterback also happens to be the youngest player on the team. Bridgewater struggled early as a rookie, but the game looked like it slowed down for him as the season went on, and he already has a great understanding of how to distribute the ball. His lack of overwhelming arm strength and his slight frame worry me with regard to his long-term projection.

Anthony Barr, OLB: A running back-turned-edge rusher at UCLA, Barr now is expanding his role even further at the NFL level by playing off the line of scrimmage and dropping into coverage — in addition to getting after opposing quarterbacks. He closes on the football really well. Just wait until he really gets comfortable at the position.

The Cavaliers are winning again, but Kevin Love still isn't his old self

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated January 26th at 3:02pm 289832521

lovePredictably, right as the latest flurry of “What’s wrong with the Cavaliers” stories started hitting a couple weeks ago (this was either the second or third round of them, depending on how you were counting), Cleveland started getting its act together. LeBron James returned from injury, he started getting more help, and Cleveland ripped off a six-game winning streak that is ongoing after Sunday’s win against OKC.

The Cavs are now 25-20 — not anywhere near what people thought they would be, but still they’re trending upward. That said, Kevin Love … well, he’s still working to find his game. He actually had his best game during the winning streak against OKC, getting 19 points and 13 rebounds while hitting 5 of 7 three-pointers despite having a dizzy spell early in the game. That kind of output used to be routine for Love; in the previous five games of the winning streak, though, Love:

*Missed one game with back spasms.

*Shot a combined 17 for 47 (36.2 percent) and was just 3 for 17 from three-point range while scoring an average of 15.3 ppg.

*Had a game against Charlotte in which he played 30 minutes but grabbed just three rebounds.

Long story short: Love is still trying to find his way in Cleveland, and the time for him to do it is shrinking with every game.

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Toronto 102 4th Qtr 0:48
Indiana 88
Cleveland 82 4th Qtr 6:55
Detroit 72
Milwaukee 82 3rd Qtr 0:07
Miami 80
Memphis 41 2nd Qtr 5:14
Dallas 36
Chicago 9:30 PM
Golden State
Washington 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
NY Rangers 0 3rd Prd 6:01
NY Islanders 3
Arizona 3 3rd Prd 7:44
Philadelphia 3
Winnipeg 3 3rd Prd 2:05
Pittsburgh 4
Washington 3 3rd Prd 3:21
Columbus 4
Tampa Bay 2 3rd Prd
Carolina 3
Dallas 2 3rd Prd
Montreal 3
Detroit 5 3rd Prd
Florida 3
Colorado 1 2nd Prd 7:18
Nashville 1
Buffalo 0 1st Prd 9:53
Calgary 0
Minnesota 8:30 PM
Edmonton
Anaheim 9:00 PM
Vancouver
Ball State 47 FINAL
Akron 59
Northern Ill 46 FINAL
Bowling Green 56
Western Mich 71 FINAL
Buffalo 77
Ohio 40 FINAL
Eastern Mich 76
Xavier 66 FINAL
Georgetown 53
Vanderbilt 62 FINAL
Georgia 70
West Virginia 63 2nd Half 0:21
Kansas State 57
Central Mich 53 FINAL
Kent State 63
Saint Josephs 48 FINAL
La Salle 53
Nebraska 44 FINAL
Michigan 58
Miami-Ohio 65 FINAL
Toledo 70
Tulsa 62 FINAL
Tulane 55
George Washington 48 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 72
Pittsburgh 67 FINAL
Virginia Tech 70
Indiana State 44 2nd Half 15:34
Evansville 50
Tabor College 43 2nd Half 8:34
Oral Roberts 80
Florida 10 1st Half 11:13
Alabama 6
Tennessee 14 1st Half 12:10
Arkansas 15
Texas A&M 17 1st Half 12:12
Auburn 8
Baylor 13 1st Half 10:41
Oklahoma State 9
DePaul 0 Postponed
Providence 0
Michigan State 0 Postponed
Rutgers 0
Wyoming 8 1st Half 9:51
Utah State 12
Fresno State 10 1st Half 11:40
San Diego St 11
UNLV 9:00 PM
Nevada
SD Christian 9:00 PM
CS-Bakersfield
Colorado State 10:00 PM
Boise State
Temple 71 FINAL
UCF 54
Campbell 42 FINAL
Presbyterian 51
Coastal Carolina 65 FINAL
High Point 73
Gardner-Webb 49 FINAL
Radford 59
UNC-Asheville 58 FINAL
Liberty 62
Winthrop 63 FINAL
Longwood 62
Columbia International 33 FINAL
Charleston Southern 74
Tulane 44 2nd Half 10:21
Houston 30
(3) Baylor 65 2nd Half 11:52
TCU 48
Navy 42 2nd Half 8:36
American Univ 51
Valparaiso 28 2nd Half 9:04
Illinois-Chicago 40

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which of the State Fair concerts announced so far do you most want to see?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT