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GDG rundown for the weekend of Sept. 15th-17th

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It’s another week where frivolity mixes with tragedy.  For most of this episode, Eric and Larry bring the fun as all the sports worlds mix together.  The Lynx begin their quest for a fourth ring in seven years.  The Vikings make a triumphant return to NFL football.  The Twins make sure they keep their playoff hopes kicking.  Is Cleveland the latest lock to win the World Series?  Then, the show does turn to recap the wrath that another hurricane has brought to the U.S.  Tom Tuttle takes a few moments to discuss the light and heavy of the past week.  We also hear from some victorious Vikings (Dalvin Cook, Linval Joseph, Harrison Smith) after Monday’s opener.

Lynx Spring Into Action

Segment 1: The Lynx have finally entered their playoff run.  The guys dissect the team holding serve at home against the Washington Mystics.  Plus, one Lynx star gets her due from the WNBA.  After that, we hear a touching tribute to a Twins icon that you never saw play on the field.

 

Purple Pride on Display in Week 1

Segment 2: The Vikings got off to a victorious start on Monday.  Our hosts break down the Purple’s impressive win over New Orleans.  How good was Sam Bradford?  Is the offensive line closer to being fixed than broken?  And what momentum can travel with them as they head to Pittsburgh this Sunday?

 

Cleveland Crushes; Will Gopher Revenge Be Sweet?

Segment 3: Can anybody cool off the Indians?  Thursday marked the team’s 22nd consecutive win, an American League record.  Does this bode well for Cleveland returning to the World Series?  Plus, the Gopher football team can exact some revenge for the men’s basketball team?  Middle Tennessee comes to town for this week’s contest.

 

GDG’s Tom Tuttle Talks Tragic Weather and Terrific Twins

Segment 4: While the fun of sports continues, it’s trivial to the devastation this hurricane season has wrought on the American Gulf Coast.  Tom Tuttle joins the program to discuss the tragic wake that Hurricane Irma left across the Caribbean.  Then, can the Twins hang on for the next two weeks and make the postseason?

 

The Sound of Victorious Vikings, Courtesy of Gameday Gold

Segment 5: After the Vikings ran their 2017 record to 1-0, the fellas headed to the locker room to get some reaction from another good start.  They got mics in the vicinity of rookie rusher Dalvin Cook, defensive tackle Linval Joseph, and safety Harrison Smith.

 

The Rest of Weeks 1 & 2 Around the NFL

Segment 6: On Thursday, the Texans and Bengals provided the opener for Week 2 of the NFL season.  The guys wonder if Houston’s win may spell doom for Cincinnati.  After that, what are the rest of the headlines for the second week of regular season play.

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GDG rundown for Sept. 8th-10th

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Now, that Labor Day weekend has come and gone, it’s time to get down to business.  At least, that’s what pro and college football are thinking.  We’re thinking it, too.  Eric and Larry are back from the holiday to bring you all the football (and more) you need from the Downtown Minneapolis studio.  Of course, the Vikings are in the spotlight ahead of their opener in front of the national Monday Night Football audience.  But we’ll hear more on the start to the league’s season, including weather causing an issue and Colin Kaepernick’s continuing search for employment.  Plus, two special guests join us this week.  Our hosts talk with author and SB Nation national columnist Thomas George, as well as Taste of the NFL founder Wayne Kostroski.

A Whirlwind of Anticipation and Devastation

Segment 1: With football approaching to smother the sports landscape, there’s no way that it can deny Mother Nature.  Our hosts look at the devastating impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.  Then, they give us a tease to the NFL preview extravaganza.

 

Kaepernick Still Roams the NFL Desert

Segment 2: The season is underway, and Colin Kaepernick still doesn’t have a job in the league.  The fellas dig into the latest surrounding the former 49ers quarterback.  Is the most recent reason for his unemployment due to an association?  Do the guys think he will get a shot this to call a play this season?

 

The Smell of Success: Taste of the NFL Founder Wayne Kostroski Talks with GDG

Segment 3: With pro football back in gear, our taste buds also need to get going.  The Taste of the NFL kicks off its 25th year this weekend.  Founder Wayne Kostroski previews the opening events and looks ahead to what will take place when they attend Super Bowl LII in the foundation’s own backyard.

 

Noted Author & Journalist Thomas George Discusses the Makings of an NFL QB

Segment 4: What does it take to make a franchise quarterback?  As the NFL season gets underway, the guys welcome in SB Nation national columnist Thomas George.  The author of the new book “Blitzed: Why NFL Teams Gamble on Starting Rookie Quarterbacks” tells us about the way organizations look at those highly-drafted signal callers and the differences in how they could be handled.

 

Thomas George Looks Into the Future of Football

Segment 5: Author/Journalist Thomas George stays with us for a few more minutes, with the conversation shifting.  Is there a nick in the impenetrable castle built up by the NFL?  Mr. George gives his thoughts on where the league is going.

 

Twins Holding Strong to Playoff Hopes

Segment 6: The pigskin isn’t the only thing stay front and center.  The Twins hover around one of the AL Wild Card spots.  Eric and Larry try to break down an important series in Kansas City.  You would think this effort is good enough to keep Paul Molitor on the bench next season.  Is it?  Plus, we hear a little more on P.J. Fleck’s Gopher debut and Giancarlo Stanton’s power-packed season.

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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: The Minnesota Twins have a trio of outfield talent

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By Eric Nelson
September 1, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD

 

MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from the Minneapple...

•Talented Threesome: There are many reasons why the Minnesota Twins are making a splash this season and three of them are in the outfield. LF Eddie Rosario (25 years old), CF Byron Buxton(23) and RF Max Kepler (24) are young, athletic and have plenty of upside. They can hit, catch, throw and run…

•Gap Coverage: Minnesota pitchers clearly benefit from having this trio roam the outfield. Rosario, Buxton and Kepler cover lots of ground. They routinely run down potential extra base hits in the gaps, or race in to catch would be bloop singles…

•Flashbacks: The Twins have not had an outfield this good since the “Soul Patrol” of Shannon Stewart, Torii Hunter and Jaque Jones, who played together from 2003-2005…

•Playoffs?: Apparently Twins Territory is not aware that their team has a legitimate chance of making MLB’s post-season. Target Field attendance for Tuesday’s Chicago White Sox-Minnesota game was just 20,530. On Wednesday the crowd was 21,172. Thursday’s match up drew 21,288…..

•Bidding Time: The Twins are doing their part to aid Hurricane Harvey relief in Texas. The Twins are holding a relief auction that runs through September 2. Items to bid on include, autographed cleats from Buxton, Kepler, Brian Dozier and Miguel Sano

•Giving Back: Minnesota United is also doing good things in the charity department. The Loons are hosting a back-to-school drive on September 9 before their match with the Philadelphia Union at TCF Bank Stadium. Supplies collected will be donated to St. Paul Public Schools – the district where Minn U’s future home, Allianz Field is being built. Fans who donate receive a buy-one-get-one ticket offer that can be used at the box office on the day of the Philadelphia match, or for either of the team’s last two games on September 23 against FC Dallas, or on October 7 against Sporting Kansas City…

•Raw Deal: There is plenty of hype surrounding new U of M football coach PJ Fleck – who could turn out to be a good hire. Of course, wins and losses will be the judge of that. That said, I believe Tracy Claeys did not get a fair shake from the Gophers and actually did a good job as HC…

•Claeys Data: For the record Claeys was 2-0 in bowl games and his Gophers were 9-4 last season. Minnesota’s Holiday Bowl win against Washington State in December was a signature win. Fleck is stepping into a good situation in Dinkytown. The cupboard is not bare and Claeys deserves credit for that…

•Fab Five: My top five NFL venues are … 1. Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City. 2. Lambeau Field, Green Bay. 3. CenturyLink Field, Seattle. 4. LA Coliseum. 5. Hard Rock Stadium, Miami…

•Shield Cathedrals: Arrowhead has incredible tailgating, cool architecture and fabulous gameday energy. Lambeau oozes history and is an NFL mecca. CenturyLink has a unique look, fantastic views of the Seattle skyline and is home base to Seahawk fans who shatter the sound barrier on a weekly basis. The Coliseum is an LA landmark that has plenty of tradition. Hard Rock’s new canopy protects fans from Miami monsoons and shields them from scorching South Florida heat, yet exposes the players to the elements…

•Stadium Criteria: Deciding on the top five stadiums was a challenge. There are plenty of fabulous facilities on the NFL map such as Paul Brown Stadium (Cincinnati), FirstEnergy Stadium (Cleveland), Heinz Field (Pittsburgh) and Levi’s Stadium (San Francisco). The only easy decisions were eliminating domes or retractable roof facilities. Blocking out the elements creates an artificial and sterile setting. Weather games usually garner huge television ratings because NFL Nation loves watching duels in the rain, ice and snow…

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GDG rundown for Labor Day weekend 2017 (Sept. 1st-4th)

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It was a very busy day on Thursday.  The Twin Cities hosted a number of sporting events, including the location Eric and Larry ended up.  They host this week’s edition of the show from U.S. Bank Stadium, where the Vikings closed out their Preseason play.  They peer into what the Purple will look like in Week 1.  Plus, Gopher football opens its season, the Twins continue their postseason push, we hear about the tragedy going on in Southeast Texas, and more.  And this week’s guest is none other than NFL Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk.

Out of the Preparation…

Segment 1: The Vikings wrapped up their Preseason schedule on Thursday night.  The guys were there, and they look ahead to the regular season opener one week from Monday.  What do they expect after all of the “gear up” during Camp and practice?

 

…And Into the “Counting for Real”

Segment 2: The Gophers got going for real on Thursday night.  Our hosts look back on the team’s win against Buffalo.  What do they think of the start to the P.J. Fleck era over at the U of M?  And what impact did Tracy Claeys have on the program, good and bad?

 

Second is OK Right Now for Twins

Segment 3: The Twin continue to hold on to the second Wild Card spot in the AL Playoff race.  How are they sticking around?  Eric and Larry dig into how the starting rotation and everyday players have been contributing to the effort.

 

The Giving Spirit On Full Display

Segment 4: A few months ago, Houston was reveling in the glow of hosting a Super Bowl.  Today, the city is just starting to recover from the devastation left by Hurricane Harvey.  The fellas take a moment to discuss the impact of these historic floods and how sports is doing its best to help the city through a difficult time.

 

Make Way for the Marshall: NFL Legend Marshall Faulk Talks with GDG

Segment 5: He’s a member of the NFL Hall of Fame.  Now, Marshall Faulk tells it like it is on the NFL Network.  The analyst stopped by the program to chat about the upcoming season, along with seeing former teammate Kurt Warner getting his bust set up in Canton.

 

Lakers Pull A No-No; Back to Business?

Segment 6: The Lakers got popped on the wrist for tampering.  Was the punishment enough for the glamour franchise?  Tiger Woods says he can get back to some sort of practice.  Is it too soon?

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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: The Minnesota Twins best move with Brian Dozier was no move

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By Eric Nelson
August 22, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD

 

MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from the home of Post-It Notes...

•Status Quo: Sometimes the best move is no move. That is true for new Minnesota Twins bosses Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. Despite all the trade rumors swirling around 2B Brian Dozier, he is still wearing a Twins uniform – which is a good thing…

•Brian’s Song: It’s preposterous that Dozier was ever on the trading block. The guy is a cornerstone player and a key part of the Twins young foundation of talent. This season Dozier is batting .264 with 26 home runs, 71 RBI and 71 runs scored. He has also been solid defensively (just 4 errors in 534 chances) and is a leader in the clubhouse…

•Tater time: Dozier now has 143 career home runs, which is 10th on the Twins all-time list…

•Speed Thrills: Minnesota CF Byron Buxton has to be one of the fastest athletes in team sports. In a 100 meter sprint I would take Buxton over any of the Viking wideouts…

•Blair’s Revenge: It’s great that Seattle K Blair Walsh connected on a pair of 52-yard field goals last week against Minnesota and it’s great that Walsh apparently has his mojo back. Walsh even taunted his old team, gesturing to the Viking sideline after both kicks. But, the real test for Walsh will come in key regular season and post-season games. That’s when the kicks really count – not in the pre-season…

•Time Warp: According to ESPN.com, Atlanta HC Dan Quinn has a clock on his office wall with no numbers. Each of the 12 spots are replaced by the word “now,” reminding Quinn to stay in the moment…

•Dinkytown Depression: ESPN.com also ranked the happiest and most miserable college football fan bases. Minnesota is 107th on the list. Ohio State is number 1 and Texas State is last at 128…

•Long Trip: Rice and Stanford open the season on Saturday and it’s not in Houston or Palo Alto. Instead it’s in Sydney, Australia. For some odd reason the NCAA wants the Owls and Cardinal to travel to the other end of the globe to play a football game…

•Smart Move: Kudos to Notre Dame and Wisconsin for scheduling a home and home series. In 2020 the Irish and Badgers play at Lambeau Field in Green Bay and in 2021 they meet at Soldier Field in Chicago. It’s great to see teams play nonconference games with some juice…

•Badger Ball: Give Wisconsin credit, the Badgers usually face at least one power program in their non conference schedule. In recent seasons Wisconsin has played Alabama and LSU, and this year travels to BYU on September 16th…

•No DC for KD: No one should be surprised that Golden State’s Kevin Durant is not going to the White House if the Warriors are invited. Why go where you are not wanted or welcome? KD’s decision could open the flood gates for other athletes to ignore the polarizing POTUS…

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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: The X Games is X-treme fun

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By Eric Nelson
July 18, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD
@Ericinminny44

 

MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from the Sota sauna..

•Xtreme Fun: I had a chance to see the X Games on Sunday in Minneapolis and was impressed by the product. There was a cool vibe inside US Bank Stadium and the athletes on skateboards, BMX bikes and motocross cycles put on a spectacular show…

•Airborne: The final event of the X Games was punctuated by Colby Raha, who took gold in the Moto X quarter pipe. Raha can elevate better than Michael Jordan and thrilled the crowd with gravity-defying stunts. Three times Raha raced his 250 pound motorcycle up a steep ramp and soared into the air reaching heights equivalent to the upper deck of USBS…

US Bank Stadium interior - July 2017

US Bank Stadium plays host to the X Games – July 2017

•Sealed Up: The only caveat to the entire experience was being stuck inside a dome on a gorgeous July day. Temps outside were in the mid-80’s, but inside the Glass House it was air conditioned and sterile. The pivoting doors on the west side of USBS were even closed – which absolutely made no sense. Opening the doors would have at least brought in some natural air to part of the venue…

•The Sequel: If you didn’t go to the X games, or couldn’t get enough of the event, there is good news. The 2018 X Games are also in Minneapolis…

•Flashback: The Minnesota Twins will salute their 1987 World Series title team this weekend when they host the Detroit Tigers. Many of the ’87 Twins alumni are scheduled to appear…

•Major Legal: NY Yankees star Aaron Judge is a perfect fit for MLB’s all-time legal name team. Others include David Justice, Vance Law and Matt Lawton

•Power Ball: We all know about Judge’s prolific power at the plate (he leads MLB with 30 home runs), but the guy has a bazooka too. Judge threw out Minnesota’s Brian Dozier at home plate in Monday’s game with a one-hop strike from right field…

•Vanishing Breed: New Twins P Bartolo Colon is the last active MLB player to play with the Montreal Expos. Colon – who is in his 20th season – pitched for the Expos in 2002…

•Goodbye ‘Kato: The Vikings long-time marriage with Minnesota State is coming to an end. Next season the Purple will move training camp to the brand new Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center in Eagan, MN. That means this will be the 52nd and final year for Vikings camp in Mankato…

•No Surprise: The decision to leave Mankato is hardly shocking. Once the Vikings began building their state-of-the-art facility in Eagan, their days of camping in Kato were numbered…

•Soccer-Centric: Blaine, MN is the center of the soccer universe this week as the annual USA Cup is being played at the National Sports Center. The tournament began in 1985 with 69 teams but has ballooned to a global event. This year there are 1,168 clubs from 15 nations, 5 Canadian provinces and 15 US states…

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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: Northern exposure is great, but the Minnesota Gophers need to go north in the Big Ten West

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By Eric Nelson
July 12, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD
@Ericinminny44

 

MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from the home of Post-It Notes…..

•Northern Exposure: U of M football coach PJ Fleck is trying to change things up at TCF Bank Stadium. Fleck wants the Gophers to switch from the southern sideline to the northern sideline. That’s great, but I will be more impressed if Minnesota starts going north in the Big Ten West standings…

•Doubling Up: All this sideline chatter conjures up memories of Milwaukee’s County Stadium and Met Stadium in Bloomington, MN. Green Bay occasionally played in Milwaukee and the Met was Minnesota’s original home. The bench areas for both teams at those venues were on the same side of the field…

•Name Change: Now that the U of M hockey team will be playing at 3M Arena it is time to clear up some rumors. The Gophers don’t have to use Scotch tape on their hockey sticks and HC Don Lucia does not have to draw up plays on Post-It Notes…

•Maiden Voyage: The state of Florida is used to hosting major sporting events. There have been 10 Super Bowls in Miami, four in Tampa and one in Jacksonville. There have been countless NCAA bowl games, PGA Tour stops and the annual Daytona 500. However, Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game in Miami was the first mid-summer classic ever played in Florida. Hard to believe considering that Florida has two MLB teams – Miami and Tampa Bay – and that 15 teams flock there every year for spring training…

•Good Show: Even though it’s just an exhibition, the MLB All-Star game still has juice. Compared to the NBA, NFL and NHL, MLB’s star show is actually worth watching…

•Candy Man: Now that Aaron Judge is the next NY Yankee superstar, does that mean he will get a candy bar named after him like Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson..?

•Standing Tall: Right now the only thing in NYC larger than Judge is the 104 story One World Trade Center…

•Ivy Costs: According to the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs are selling approximately 2,016 pieces of ivy that fell from the Wrigley Field outfield wall after the 2016 World Series championship season. The tab is $200 per leaf, plus $15 shipping and handling…

•One and Done: Based on the way the Cubs are playing in 2017, pedaling ivy won’t be an option next year. Chicago is 43-45 and 5 1/2 games behind Milwaukee in the NL Central…

•Soccer Signing: Minnesota United has inked 22-year old midfielder Sam Nicholson to a contract. Nicholson played the last four years with Heart of Midlothian in the Scottish Premiership League…

•Cool Look: The more I see the Minnesota Timberwolves new logo, the more I like it. The “Aurora green” north star mixed with the “lake blue” basketball is a creative concept…

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GDG rundown for the weekend of Mar. 17th-19th

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So many sports, so little time.  It’s the height of this crazy month we call March.  It’s so crazy that our hosts will be doing a lot of traveling over the next few weeks just to keep up.  This week, Eric is in the Downtown Minneapolis studio, while Larry is in transit from covering Day 1 of the NCAA basketball tournament.  They look at the Minnesota Gophers’ first foray into the tourney in four years.  Then, the Vikings bring in a new running back.  Where does this leave the legacy of Adrian Peterson?  The Wild have cooled off down the stretch run.  The Wolves are still trying to push for the West’s 8-Seed.  Plus, we’ll hear from Golden State star Steph Curry and revisit an interview on the renovation happening at the Target Center.

A Maddening Result

Segment 1: The Madness is here and running rampant on the sports world.  Eric and producer Jonathan Lowe look back on the first day of the NCAA basketball tournament, including a glimpse at the Gophers’ first-round loss to Middle Tennessee.  Plus, a familiar voice gets back behind the microphone.

 

Gophers’ Season Ends in Upsetting Fashion

Segment 2: Larry joins in on the fun in this portion of the show.  He joins Eric on the way back from Milwaukee, where he watched the Gopher hoops team fall in the first round of the NCAA tourney.  We hear a detailed breakdown of the loss to Middle Tennessee.  And the guys put a wrap on a surprisingly positive turnaround for the program.

 

Vikings Continue to Add During Free Agency

Segment 3: Even with the frenzy of March Madness, the NFL can always steal some of the headlines.  The Shield’s free agency season continues, and the Vikings appear to have made a statement.  The fellas discuss the team’s new tailback and what effect the signing will have on Adrian Peterson.

 

A.P. Sits and the Wild Slip

Segment 4: The discussion continues to focus on Adrian Peterson for the start of this segment.  Where does AP stack among the all-time prolific rushers (Vikings and NFL history)?  Then, have the Wild hit their traditional regular season swoon?  We hear about the team’s recent struggles.

 

A Look Back: GDG’s Digs Into Renovations at Target Center

Segment 5: The NCHC’s Frozen Faceoff is this weekend at the Target Center.  It’s a good time to step back into the GDG vault and discuss the ongoing renovations with the facility.  We revisit Eric’s interview with Mortensen Construction project manager Derek Hansen on the progress of the upgrade.

 

The State of Golden State

Segment 6: The Timberwolves had a big flourish last week, beating the Clippers and Warriors in back-to-back outings.  After last Friday’s win over Golden State, we got into the locker room for some postgame sound from reigning MVP Steph Curry.  After that, our hosts discuss the practice of marquee NBA teams sitting star players during the regular season.

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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: Cold and snow make for one cool MLS opener in Minnesota

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By Eric Nelson
March 15, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD

MINNEAPOLIS -Sports Nuggets from the snowy Twin Cities…

Minnesota Loons MLS soccer team at TCF Stadium in Minneapolis

Minnesota Loons take the field

•Flakes and Loons: Minnesota United’s first-ever MLS game in the Twin Cities was a dud on the scoreboard. Atlanta United FC thumped Minn U 6-1 Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium. But in every other way the match was epic. The snowy day produced great visuals in the venue and on ESPN2. Snow and soccer are a rare combination, but thanks to the Minnesota elements, this historic match was a unique snapshot in time for Minnesota sports fans…

•Crowd Count: The attendance was an impressive 35,403 – the largest soccer turnout in the Land of Lakes since 1984 when the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Minnesota Strikers played before 52,621 at the Metrodome. According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the temperature was 20 degrees, tying the 2013 MLS Cup in Kansas City for coldest game in league history…

MLS fans in the snow at the Loons home opener

Minnesota United fans at the home opener

•Slow Start: Minn U (0-2) has clearly struggled this season. In games against Portland and Atlanta the Loons have been outscored 11-2. Meanwhile, Atlanta – also an MLS expansion team – won its first-ever match. The snowy pitch did not deter F Josef Martinez who scored three goals for AUFC…

•Quality Opponent: It’s a good news, bad news scenario for the Minnesota basketball team. The good news is that the Gophers (24-9) are a 5th seed in the south region. The bad news is they face a solid opponent in 12th seed Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders are 30-4 and have won back-to-back CUSA titles. They are led by F Jacorey Williams (17.3 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per game), F Reggie Upshaw (14.5 ppg and 6.8 rpg) and G Giddy Potts (15.8 ppg and 5.5 rpg)…

•Quick Trip: The game tips off at 3 pm CT Thursday at Bradley Center in Milwaukee. It’s only 337 miles from Minneapolis to Milwaukee on I-94, so Gopher Nation should be well represented in Wisconsin…

•Purple Defections: The NFL is a revolving door league as players are always coming and going. Minnesota lost a couple of former top draft choices to free agency as WR Cordarrelle Patterson (Oakland) and OT Matt Kalil (Carolina) signed with other teams. Kalil was the fourth choice in the 2012 NFL draft and made the Pro Bowl as a rookie. However, that was his pinnacle moment for the Vikings. In four other seasons, Kalil’s productivity dropped off because of injuries and sub-par play. Patterson, meanwhile, was a first round selection in 2013 and played in two Pro Bowls. He was very good on kickoff returns and punt coverage, but below average at wideout…

•Publicity Hounds: Give the NFL credit – the Shield has a knack for staying in the news cycle year-round. March used to be dominated by NCAA hoops, the NBA, NHL and MLB spring training. But, thanks to free agency, the NFL garners plenty of attention, stealing headlines from those other sports…

•Tasty Golf: Twin Cities restaurant mogul Wayne Kostroski has come up with another creative way to aid those in need. Kostroski – who started taste of the NFL during Super Bowl week – is staging the first-ever Taste of the Master Chefs in April. Kostroski has lured some of the top chefs on the globe to Augusta, GA for the Masters golf tournament. It’s a charity event, with all of the proceeds going to the Salvation Army of Augusta. Tickets cost $150. For more info go to www.tasteofthemasterchefs.com

•Fab Four: The NCHC’s fourth annual Frozen Faceoff starts Friday at Target Center. Western Michigan plays 2nd ranked UM-Duluth at 4 pm followed by North Dakota and top-ranked Denver at 7:30 pm. The defending champion Fighting Hawks won the Frozen Four last season and their appearance means plenty of No Dak fans will invade the Twin Cities…

•Pioneer Spirit: Denver (28-6-4) has won 13 games in a row and is paced by D Will Butcher, who is one of 10 players up for the Hobey Baker Award…

•Puck Stopper: Bemidji State G Michael Bitzer is also a Hobey Baker finalist. Bitzer is the WCHA player of the year and led the Beavers to their first-ever conference title and MacNaughton Cup. Bitzer had a sparkling goals against average of 1.40, a WCHA record…

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Thomas U. Tuttle

Start the Madness

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by Thomas U. Tuttle

It’s that time of year again for basketball fans, tourney time, those giddy days of intense college hoops known as March Madness – which leads, for a select few teams, to April gladness (or sadness). Yes, the semifinals take place on April Fools Day (the 1st) with the finals on the 3rd, all in Phoenix Arizona.

The usual suspects are at the fore, as expected. Duke looks tough, although inconsistent at times and with a wildcard star (Grayson Allen) who tends to act out crazily on the court (check out the videos of his purposely tripping players during regular season contests). Kansas, Villanova, North Carolina and Gonzaga are the top seeds in each region, with all but Gonzaga (in my opinion) a threat to win the tourney.

Much has been made of the fact that no dominant teams have emerged this year as heavy favorites to make a title run. Defending champion Villanova (who won a title-game thriller last year) comes in at 31-3, but similar to Gonzaga, doesn’t get tested on a week to week basis like several of the other contenders. North Carolina looks good to me, but two of their losses are to Duke and they looked bad in those defeats.

The Big Ten is represented well, with seven teams at the party but most of those unlikely to dance for long – I don’t envision a scenario where a team from the Ten makes it to Phoenix, unless Michigan continues to astound as it did to close the season. Or if Wisconsin’s underrated and eighth-seeded senior squad gets hot right now and uses a perceived lack of respect to get rolling.

Minnesota is a good club this year, but will miss Akeem Springs (injured against Michigan State and out for the duration) and has a tough opener against giant-killer Middle Tennessee State. They knocked out a two-seed last year (MSU) and bring back a number of starters from that squad. A Gopher win probably brings them Butler, always solid and a victor over #1 seed Villanova earlier in the season. The sweet-sixteen is doable, but getting there is going to require strong, consistent play for it to happen.

My alma mater Northwestern has made the tournament for the first time, which you have been made aware of by throngs of NU media alums. Stephen Colbert, Julia Louis Dreyfus, Brent Musberger, Michael Wilbon, Christine Brennan, Etc…Etc… There has been a lot of attention paid to the Wildcats accomplishment – too much, and I can’t fault anyone for being exhausted by the Cat mania. Hey, I’m an alum and I’m tired of all the blather regarding this squad. Yes, I’m proud they knocked off Maryland and didn’t back into their first NCAA tourney, but the hammering by Wisconsin in the semi’s of the Big Ten tournament was discouraging – and a big reality check. The Cats play Vanderbilt and should be one and done.

Minnesota goes off at 100-1 odds in Las Vegas to win the tourney, while Northwestern lists at 300-1. Hey, are you kidding me? While the Gophers could somehow pull off a surprise or two, and Northwestern could conceivably win a game, I’d make the odds something like 1000 to one for the Goph’s and maybe 10,000 to one for the Cats. It ain’t happening and for anyone who thinks it will, I’ll take your money.

A few years ago, when Minnesota made their run to the semifinals under Clem Haskins and (unfairly) had to forfeit the season, I put $20 on Arizona’s Wildcats to win the whole thing – back in November. When I showed up in Nevada to watch the final four, I put a few more dollars on AZ to win it all. They did, and I was paid well both ways. What fun, and I owe eternal gratitude to my buddy “Hondo” in Tucson who saw that train coming.

This year, Arizona is back, and they are good. I’m going to stick with them to take me back to the promised land. I like UCLA, too, but not quite as much. My thinking is that the number-one seeds are not going to win it this year – not like last year, when they all showed up strong. The exception is North Carolina, who might be ready for this despite the disappointing Duke defeats. Those bad losses could be a motivator for the Tar Heels.

And Duke Blue Devil head-case Grayson Allen can really play – if he stays under control and provides the leadership his team thrives on, Duke could pull off something special.
But count me among the Wildcat backers – just not Northwestern’s breed of basketball Cat. The Arizona Wildcats to win it at home in Phoenix.

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Gameday Gold Radio – September 7, 2017 – s.6

Twins Holding Strong to Playoff Hopes

Segment 6: The pigskin isn’t the only thing stay front and center.  The Twins hover around one of the AL Wild Card spots.  Eric and Larry try to break down an important series in Kansas City.  You would think this effort is good enough to keep Paul Molitor on the bench next season.  Is it?  Plus, we hear a little more on P.J. Fleck’s Gopher debut and Giancarlo Stanton’s power-packed season.

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Gameday Gold Radio – August 24, 2017 – s.6

So Many Items to Cover…

Segment 6: It’s a chance for the hosts to unload on a number of topics, including whether Tracy Claeys was to blame for the Gopher football program troubles, which fighter will win the Mayweather-McGregor fight, the impact of Solar Eclipse fever, and the logic behind Andrew Wiggins firing his agent in the middle of a contract negotiation.

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Gameday Gold Radio – August 17, 2017 – s.3

Hoping To Be Fleck-Tastic

Segment 3: The Gopher football team is ready to start the P.J. Fleck era.  Are the fellas geeked to see how this edition of the team will look?  Then, the L.A. Dodgers are flat out steamrolling the rest of baseball.  We hear about an inspiring comeback story on the mound.  And there are other stories about athletics looking beyond the court.

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Gameday Gold Radio – August 17, 2017 – s.1

It’s getting toward crunch time in the MLB.  It’s getting toward game time in the NFL.  It’s getting toward But no matter what time it is, our guys are always at the ready to bring the heat.  Eric is back in the Downtown Minneapolis studio, while Larry gives his take from the Twin Cities’ suburbs this week.  It’s a packed week, with the NFL Preseason going into its second week, the anticipation of P.J. Fleck’s Gopher debut, the Wild re-signing a local product, and the Wolves’ increased exposure.  GDG’s Tom Tuttle joins in the fun as he tries to figure out if the Twins pulled the plug a little early on their postseason chances.

“Fake” Football Equals Real Big Money

Segment 1: The NFL continues to roll through its preseason…and continues to rake in the money.  Eric and Larry begin this week by looking at the process of how this month of the league’s calendar works.  This includes the money that fans are willing to spend.

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Gameday Gold Radio – July 14, 2017 – s.6

The Name’s the Thing

Segment 6: There’s something new about the Gopher hockey team.  Our hosts talk about the new name and sponsorship of Mariucci Arena.  Sticking with the U of M, can P.J. Fleck find an advantage over at TCF Bank Stadium?  Plus, we hear about the Mayweather-McGregor hype tour and the U.S. Women’s Open crossing paths with President Trump.

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Gameday Gold Radio – May 11, 2017 – s.6

A Segment Filled with Shoutouts

Segment 6: MN United appears to be gaining some positive traction after last weekend’s win over Sporting KC.  Then, it’s time to show a little love for the ladies.  The Gopher softball team is experiencing an historic season as they enter the Big Ten tournament.  And the Lynx begin their journey to redemption this weekend as the WNBA regular season gets underway.

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Gameday Gold Radio – April 20, 2017 – s.5

Greg Jennings Talks More Topics On & Off the Field

Segment 5: We hear a few more minutes from former Vikings WR Greg Jennings.  The Western Michigan star explains whether he thinks that former Broncos coach P.J. Fleck is the right man to lead the Gophers.  Plus, how is he handling life after football?  And how did he handle the annual release of an NFL schedule?