This week in sports: Lynx, Gophers and Tom Brady's (second) retirement
There’s no better place to get a roundup of the week’s sports news than with Wally Langfellow and Eric Nelson.
This week, they’re talking about the Minnesota Timberwolves face off against the Golden State Warriors, the Minnesota Lynx announcement that they will retire Sylvia Fowles' #34 jersey this season to celebrate 25 years in the WNBA, and the Gophers Big Ten basketball game against Rutgers.
In football news, Tom Brady announces his retirement (again!) and the teams in playing in this year’s super bowl are set.
Wally is the creator of Minnesota Score Magazine and the co-host of 10,000 Takes Sports show. Eric Nelson is the other co-host of that show and the Vikings reporter for CBS Sports’ Eye on Football show.
Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.
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WALLY LANGFELLOW: Indoors, so warm, and I'm fine.
CATHY WURZER: Excellent.
ERIC NELSON: Cathy, I'm ready for -17 degrees tonight. Let's embrace it.
CATHY WURZER: Yes. Gird your loins. Here we go. Golden State and Minnesota played Wednesday night in Minneapolis last night. Where are we in terms of the T Wolves? Are they anywhere near the playoffs at this point? I've lost track.
WALLY LANGFELLOW: They are, actually. They are currently in sixth-- theoretically tied for fifth with percentage points behind fifth place. So the top 10 teams make it in. The top six don't have to play in the play-in round, and the top four will get home court advantage, at minimum, in the first round. And the Wolves are actually-- I just did the math on this-- just one game out of fourth place. So they're not that far behind. Beating Golden State-- now Golden State is not what they were last year, but they are the defending NBA champions. The Wolves trailed in that game, but came back and won it in overtime 119-114. They played again without Rudy Gobert, who is still nursing a sore groin. So he was out. Of course, there's no sign of Karl-Anthony Towns-- possibly back after the All-Star break in a couple of weeks.
But they got 29 from DeAngelo Russell, they got 27 from Anthony Edwards, and here's the key piece-- Naz Reid, who started in place of Rudy Gobert in the middle, 24 points, 13 rebounds. So with the Wolves two games over 500, I would say, theoretically, things are looking up. They still have a couple of games left on this homestand, which by the way, is a six-game homestand. They play tomorrow night at home against Orlando. That's a team that they should beat. Jalen Suggs, a Minneapolis product, plays for Orlando. And then on Sunday they play the West-leading Denver Nuggets. That should be an interesting ball game. It'd be nice if they could beat them both. I think they'll take the split, but it would be good if they could really show themselves against Denver.
CATHY WURZER: OK let's talk about the Lynx. Lynx, Eric, are going to retire Sylvia Fowles' jersey this season. Is that right?
ERIC NELSON: Yeah, no question. She's one of the greatest players in Lynx franchise history. So her number 34, which coincidentally that's the same number that Shaq wore in the NBA-- she was like Shaq in the WNBA. She was very tough to defend. She had a great offensive game-- the complete package. So on June 11, as the Minnesota Lynx celebrate 25 years of being in the WNBA--
CATHY WURZER: Wow.
ERIC NELSON: I know. Time has gone by at warp speed. They're going to have a lot of stuff going on this season. And Sylvia Fowles-- very deserving, four-time gold medal winner in the Olympics, two-time WNBA champion. She was the MVP in 2017. And they're also-- the Lynx, on August 4-- going to have Whay Day. They're going to celebrate Lindsay Whalen, who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2022, and of course, had a marvelous career as a player for the U of M and with the Minnesota Lynx. Now I don't think they're going to bring up her coaching record a lot, because last night, as Wally is going to tell us, was not good for the Gopher men or women on the hardwood.
CATHY WURZER: Yeah, what's the deal with this, Wally?
WALLY LANGFELLOW: I wish I had the fix-it for it. We've got a couple of Minnesota products that are coaching the men's and women's basketball teams. And the men clearly are in rebuilding mode with a brand new coach in Ben Johnson, but they got thumped last night, 90-55 at Rutgers. Oh, by the way, their worst Big Ten loss since 2001 when they lost by 36 points to Indiana. They lost 90-55 last night at Rutgers. Ugh. Six-straight loss. They're still playing without Dawson Garcia, who has been their leading rebounder and scorer. That's a huge factor. He makes them more competitive, but he certainly doesn't put them over the top.
They only have one Big Ten win right now. It's ugly, right now, for Ben Johnson and the Gophers, particularly since they've had some good games where they've played well. They haven't necessarily won, but they have played well at times. But it's going to be a long, long season, and they can't get to next year soon enough.
As for the women, they lost to Indiana, as Eric just mentioned, 77-54. They are now 9-13 overall, but their Big Ten record isn't much better. They are now 2-9 in the Big Ten. Things just are not going well hoops-wise over at the U of M. The women next play on Sunday at Illinois, and that's a 2:00 central time start. They actually go to Ohio State next Wednesday. So they've got a couple of road games coming up. Hopefully Lindsay can get them turned around, because they're not headed towards the tournament either.
CATHY WURZER: Oh. So, hey, before we go, guys, we've got two minutes. I have to ask you about Tom Brady retiring for a second time. I'm assuming that this is it for him, right? You're both sports announcers and broadcasters-- is he going to make a pretty decent NFL commentator?
WALLY LANGFELLOW: Well, I think, Cathy, we have no idea. They're going to hand him Fox-- the top analyst job on their NFL games. They're going to prop him up as the number one color guy. And I think that's risky business. Now CBS set the template for this a few years ago by doing it with Tony Romo. And I'm not one of these guys who thinks Tony Romo walks on water. Some people love him, but he's also been getting banged on recently for his analysis last Sunday in the Cincinnati Kansas City AFC Championship game. And the problem is, Fox has groomed Greg Olsen-- right now their number one analyst-- who's set to work the Super Bowl with Casey in Philly a week from Sunday in Glendale Arizona with Kevin Burkhardt.
Greg Olsen has gotten much better in a short span of time. Now, Tom Brady might be the next John Madden, or he could be a flop. Just because you can throw a spiral and win Super Bowls doesn't mean you can talk about it. I think he needs to pay his dues a bit. Of course he's the GOAT, and they're going to pay him $35 to $37 million, so they're not going to do that so he can be on the regional broadcast and have to talk about a game that involves the Arizona Cardinals and New Orleans Saints.
CATHY WURZER: Good point. All right, you guys, I'm going to go. Thank you. Appreciate it. Wally Langfellow and Eric Nelson, and that's going to do it for Minnesota Now this week. We appreciate you listening. I hope you have a good rest of the day. Stay warm.
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