Wednesday

DFTU

Hello again everybody...

Today's column is going to be brief. There's a new sheriff in town at WCCO Radio, so I'm thinking it's a good idea to stay on task as much as possible.

With that, let us away...

"The best way out is always through."
- Robert Frost (1874-1963), American poet


I love it when you can communicate a deep thought very simply.

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As I said, I'm limiting myself to the DFTU today, so without further ado, it's time for everybody's favorite segment, Dan's Favorite Teams Update!

Minnesota Wild: The Wild are 14-8-1, good for 29 points and second place in the Northwest Division.

Since the last update the Wild are 2-2 with wins against Nashville and Washington and losses to Dallas and Colorado.

The 6-5 loss to the Avalanche might have been one of the ugliest in recent years. I don't know if it was because it was their 3rd game in 4 days and they were tired? Or perhaps the onset of Winter has them feeling blue. But the Wild were as awful defensively as I've ever seen them. The Avs had numerous opportunities in front of the Wild net. And it's not like the Avs are at the top of the offensive totem pole in the NHL at this point.

A co-worker of mine wanted to blame the effort on the Wild's switching their captaincy from Mikko Koivu to Kim Johnnson. Not so much, Steve. Not so much. No, it was simply a lackluster defensive effort on the part of the Wild.

Hopefully they pick up the pace a bit tonight when they face the Blues at home. After tonight, it's another back-to-back Friday/Staturday pairing as the Wild host Vancouver Friday before taking yet another trip to Nashville on Saturday. After that, mercifully, they get 4 days off before heading to Phoenix a week from tomorrow.

Wisconsin Badgers (basketball): The Badgers are 6-1 (0-0 in the Big Ten) and ranked 22nd in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.

That's right hoops fans, college basketball is underway and rolling through pre-season tournaments. Sorta sneaks up on you doesn't it? Maybe that's for the best. It lets the kids get on the floor and get comfortable without a huge national spotlight on them. That will change soon with the football season coming to a close.

The Badgers have played their fair share of "warm-up" games: Long Beach State, SIU-Edwardsville, Iona, and San Diego. They're 2-1 against legitimate competition: beating UW-Milwaukee and Viriginia Tech, while losing to 2nd-ranked Connecticuit.

This year's club lacks the star power of past teams. There's no Alando Tucker and no Brian Butch. But what this year's Badger team seems to have a lot of is depth. And balanced depth at that. You have an experienced group of upperclassmen: Marcus Landry (a pre-season All-Big Ten pick), Joe Krabbenhoft, Trevon Huges and Jason Bohannon. But you also have a talented group of underclassmen: Keaton Nankivil, Jon Leuer, Tim Jarmusz and Jordan Taylor.

Without a star player, it'll be tough for this team to repeat as Big Ten champions, or to make a deep run into the Tournament. But if the youngsters develop - and given head coach Bo Ryan's track record, there's no reason to doubt that they should - they could easily be the dangerous team that no one wants to play headed down the stretch.

The Badger take the floor next on Saturday as they travel to take on Marquette. Then they come back home Tuesday night to face Idaho. The Big Ten campaign begins on New Year's Eve as the Badgers travel to face Michigan.

That's all for today. Again, apologies for the short post, but I'm sure you understand. I'll be back tomorrow with picks at the very least. Until then, thanks for reading!

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