Archive for March, 2011
In college football, some major drama circulating the Fiesta Bowl. The Fiesta Bowl is one of the big 4 bowls that makes up the BCS. And every 4 years, the Fiesta Bowl in Arizona hosts the Championship Game. Last year, it played home to the National Championship Game between Auburn and Oregon. Now it looks like the CEO of the Fiesta Bowl may have done wrong by reimbursing his employees for around $46,000 in political contributions. This is a big no-no in the college sporting world, and if the Fiesta Bowl is ousted by the BCS Committee, this may open the doors for the Cotton Bowl (usually considered a major bowl outside of the Top 4) to become part of the Championship Series. That means serious money for any bowl organization. But, as of now, it’s still under investigation, and the Fiesta Bowl is still in the BCS family.
In the NBA, the Heat are still jockeying for that #1 spot with the Celtics and Bulls. And, at times this season, they have been suspect when playing teams they SHOULD beat. The Wizards were ready for D-Wade and company coming into Washington. JaVale McGee swatted away a few Dwayne Wade dunk attempts, and rookie star John Wall even got ejected for getting in a tussle with Zydrunas Ilgauskas. The Wizards were out there with fire, but, in the end, LeBron James just had too much firepower with 35 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists. The Wizards are now hoping for a good draft lottery spot, while the Heat are trying to get in a rhythm before the playoffs. Miami 123, Washington 107.
And today is the day we’ve all been waiting for: Opening Day in Major League Baseball. To start things off, it’ll be the Detroit Tigers vs. the New York Yankees. Then, the San Diego Padres take on Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals. Finally, in the prime-time match-up, it’s Tim Lincecum and the defending champion San Francisco Giants vs. a Los Angeles Dodgers team poised for a comeback season. Can the Giants win it all again? Will the Yankees regain the throne? Will the Phillies be unbeatable with Cliff Lee back in their rotation? Will the Cubs, gasp, win it all? We’ll get some clues tomorrow.No comments
In the NBA, it was Part 3 of Cleveland vs. LeBron and Miami. They got blown out in Game 1, blown out again in Game 2, but this time, the Cavs were more than ready to defend their home court. LeBron, of course, didn’t hold back at all. He put up a double-double with 27 points and 10 rebounds. But, the Cavs are now equipped with a motivated Baron Davis, and he ran their offense to perfection. Ryan Hollins had a fantastic game and controlled the boards for the Cavs, and Anthony Parker had a great night with 20 points, as the Cavs ran away with the victory. This is the first double-digit win of the year for the Cavs, and it couldn’t have come against a better foe. Cleveland 102, Miami 90.
In women’s college basketball, the Final Four is now set. Notre Dame and Stanford are already there, and two games Tuesday night would complete the picture. First up, it was #1 UCONN vs. #2 DUKE. This game was all UConn from the top. The Huskies Maya Moore posted a spectacular 28 points in the victory. Then, it was #2 Texas A&M vs. #1 Baylor. Baylor has All-American Brittney Griner, a sure bet for the WNBA, but A&M came in determined. They played lock-down defense against the Baylor Bears, and Sydney Carter put up 22 points in the upset victory. So it’ll be UConn vs. Notre Dame, and Stanford vs. Texas A&M in the Final Four. UConn 75, Duke 40. Texas A&M 58, Baylor 46.
Finally, Cowboys star wide-receiver Dez Bryant is in some serious trouble. A few days ago, it was reported that Bryant was being sued by a jeweler for failing to pay around $246,000 in jewelry costs. That’s not exactly good for your image. But, just yesterday, it looks like Bryant is under another lawsuit. Eleow Hunt, another famous jeweler in Texas (and also a ticket broker) is suing Bryant for $600,000 in unpaid jewel costs and tickets to major events. These items included a Cartier Watch and a fine set of dog tags. It is the lockout right now, but this is not the kind of bad press anyone wants over their head.No comments
In the NBA, the New York Knicks have been on a skid lately. They are still playoff bound, but many think they will get toppled in the first round. They needed a turnaround; to prove they could beat a solid team. That’s why Carmelo Anthony called their Monday night game against Orlando a “must win” game. Well, you better believe that the Magic heard those words and put up a fight. Dwight Howard put up 29 points and 18 rebounds, but, in the end, Carmelo walked the walk. In OT, Carmelo was sensational and gave the Knicks the win. ‘Melo posted 39 points and 10 rebounds in a much needed comeback game for the Knicks. NY Knicks 113, Orlando 106.
Elsewhere in the NBA, the Chicago Bulls currently have the longest home winning streak in the league at 14 straight home wins. And they have been sensational lately under the poised leadership of Derrick Rose (who is playing out of his mind). Last night, they took on a surging 76ers team, a young squad that isn’t afraid of anyone. Rose had another sensational night with 31 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists, but they just couldn’t keep the Sixers down. The Bulls tried to comeback late, but the Sixers defended and nabbed the victory. Thaddeus Young had a fantastic night for the Sixers with 21 points, as Philly continues to roll. Philadelphia 97, Chicago 85.
It was the debut of none-other than… Ochocinco? That’s right, Ochocinco has been trying his soccer skills as of late, wanting to play with the practice squad of Sporting Kansas City. Yesterday, in a practice game, Ochocinco dawned jersey number (what else) 85. Chad towered over many of the players out there, but his finesse was lacking. He had the ball stolen from him a number of times, and got confused at different points in the game. Some soccer experts weighed in, saying that Ochocinco just needs to relax out there and not think so much about what he’s doing. But, everyone agrees, that Ochocinco’s enthusiasm for soccer is great for Major League Soccer. Plus, since it’s the NFL Lockout, Ochocinco can do things like this. He said, “What, it’s a lockout, that means I can do anything I wanna do”.No comments
Thursday night college basketball was back full force, as the Sweet Sixteen got under way.
First up — UCONN and the surprise team of the year, San Diego State. Both teams had a glorious run up to this point. UCONN rattled off 5 wins in 5 days to win the Big East, and San Diego State had a heroic season only losing 2 games. They were both on a mission, but… someone to go. San Diego State was scrappy and fast keeping the game close, but in the second half, Kemba Walker and the UCONN Huskies were just too much for the Aztecs. Kemba is not to be taken lightly any more. Watch out! UConn 74, San Diego St. 67.
Next up, it was one of the night’s marquee match-ups, as golden boy star Jimmer Fredette took the court with BYU against Florida. Jimmer has been shooting the lights out in the tourney, but Florida is a team that has it all, PLUS a deep bench. The Gators got up big early behind a big night from Alex Tyus. But Jimmer came roaring back and even hit a 3-pointer to send the game into overtime. Just an amazing comeback. In overtime, however, Florida’s versatility was on display and they ran away with the game. Fredette finished the night with 32 points, marking the end of a spectacular college career. Florida 83, BYU 74.
And then there was Duke and Arizona — two major college basketball programs squaring off in the round of 16. At this point, everybody was picking Duke as a lock to reach the championship because they got their star player, Kyrie Irving, back. He’s one of the best players in the country and that’s a nice thing to have back come tournament time. However, Arizona also has one of the best players in the country in Derrick Williams. Duke led most of the first half and went into the half up by 6. The second half started out in similar fashion, with Duke grabbing an 8 point lead. But then… pure chaos, as Derrick Williams got into his groove. And when he gets going, Arizona is unstoppable!!! Before the Blue Devils knew it, Arizona had a 16 point lead with under 6 minutes to go. And there was no turning back — the Wildcats keep marching on. Duke beat Arizona in the championship game in 2002, and this is sweet revenge. Arizona 93, Duke 77.
Finally, it was time for last year’s runner up, Butler, to take the court against a Wisconsin team people think could actually reach the Final Four. Wisconsin didn’t really pose a threat this game. Coach Brad Stevens’ Butler team were more than prepared to take on the Badgers. They went into the half up 9, and never looked back. Wisconsin gave them a little scare towards the end of the game, cutting the lead to 4, but it was too little too late, and the Butler Bulldogs advance to the Elite 8 for the second year in a row. Wow! Now that’s a true underdog team making it happen. Butler 61, Wisconsin 54.No comments
In the NBA, the Orlando Magic were hoping to keep rolling at the perfect time of the season. They’ve won 3 straight and wanted to grab another one against the Knicks IN New York. The Knicks, however, were on the border of sub-500. They are 7-9 since the Carmelo Anthony trade, whereas the Nuggets are playing incredible right now! T he Knicks came out swinging and draining three-pointers from all over. But, in the second half, Dwight Howard continued his MVP candidate run. He finished the night with 33 points and 11 rebounds, as the Magic edged the Knicks in the end. Orlando 111, NY Knicks 99.
Next up, those new-look Nuggets were looking to continue their stellar play since the Carmelo trade. These guys all feel shunned and discarded becasue for two months Carmelo said he didn’t want to play with them anymore. Fast forward and these guys are probably the most feared team in the NBA right now. They hosted the #1 seed in the West last night: The San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs were dominating at one point. Gary Neal had a fantastic night with 25 points. But, in the 4th quarter, the Nuggets came surging back to find themselves up by 3 with just 6 seconds to go. The Spurs had one last chance, but Ginobili couldn’t do it, and the Nuggets take yet another win. The Nuggets are now 11-4 since trading Melo, whereas the Knicks are 7-10. Denver 115, San Antonio 112.
It looks like Chad Ochocinco will finally get a crack at his wish. And no, that’s not officially changing his last name to another nickname. Ochocinco has publicly admitted that he always wanted to play soccer. That’s his favorite sport. The Bengals even accomodated him one pre-season by allowing him to kick the extra point. The Bengals coach Marvin Lewis doesn’t have anything good to say about this endeavor. He stated that Ochocinco has never finished anything he set out to do in his life. Sure, it’s a bit tongue and cheek, but Chad tweeted that Marvin Lewis never criticizes quarterback Carson Palmer (who stated he wants out of Cincy), but he disses Ochocinco daily. Chad knows he won’t actually get to play in the league, but he would love to be on the practice squad of Sporting Kansas City.
In the NBA, the New York Knicks have been shaky as of late. Sure, they added Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups, but they only seem to really play well when playing the NBA’s top teams. After all, the did lose to Cleveland. You can better believe that they were going to bring everything they had against Boston as the Celtics came to town. Now, you must keep in mind that whenever a team visits Madison Square Garden, they also turn up their game a few notches. It’s a historic place to play and they want to play their best. New York got out to a big lead thanks to a very strong 22 point, 5 rebound night from Carmelo. They even had the game heading into the 4th quarter. But then, the Celtics do what they do best. That is, come back. Before the Knicks knew what hit them, they were down by 6 with under a minute to go. New York is still a team with kinks that better work them out before playoff time. Boston 96, NY Knicks 86.
And in college basketball, it looks like the Bruce Pearl era in Tennessee basketball has come to a close. Tennessee is all things football first, but Pearl put their basketball program on the map. It’s a major SEC school, and they love their sports. Basketball was one more thing for them to cheer for, as Pearl led them to several tournaments, and even the Sweet 16 last year. He was also a vibrant personality on the sidelines that got on highlight reels night by night. That’s always good for a school’s image. But, alas, there were too many off-the-court transgressions against Bruce Pearl for them to keep him on. He made some serious recruiting violations (e.g. hosting a cookout for star High School Junior basketball players at his house) and the University just couldn’t afford any serious fines they would face if they kept him on. So… who’s going to lead this school to the promised land next?
Finally, in the NFL, Bill Belichick is against a proposed rule change. The NFL competition committee wants to change the nature of the kickoff to prevent injuries. They are proposing moving kickoffs up to the 35-yard line (instead of the 30) and moving a ruled ‘Touchback’ automatically to the 25-yard line. In English, this means that there would be more players downing the ball, and less exciting kickoff return plays. Belichick doesn’t like it, saying it would take away from one of the best elements of the game. A kickoff return is a way for a team to catch-up fast if they’re down. It keeps games close and gives teams a chance to get good field position on key drives. Forcing more touchbacks to prevent injuries would be boring for the game. Plus, Belichick said he didn’t think that many injuries were occurring on kickoffs anyways.No comments
Whoa — what a weekend in college basketball.
We had a match-up featuring last year’s Cinderella story, Butler, vs. #1 seed Pitt. Many people thought this is the year that Pitt could make a serious run at the title. They’re big, deep, and motivated. But… you should never sleep on a team that knows how to win in the tourney. The game was neck and neck most of the way, but in the end, some horrible fouls created a new destiny. First, Butler hit a great shot that put them up 70-69 with under 5 seconds to play. That put Pitt on the foul line with under 1 second to play. They hit the first one to tie it at 70. Then, he missed the second, Butler rebound and threw the ball up and was bumped by Pitt. They called a FOUL!!!! OMG!!! That put Butler on the line with 0 seconds left. Never… happened…before. Matt Howard went to the line and hit the foul shot to put them up 71-70. He intentionally missed the second so the clock would run out, and it did… on Pitt’s season. An amazing finish, and Butler is still alive. Butler 71, Pitt 70.
Syracuse was another team that spent most of the season in the Top 5. But they slowed down in the weeks prior to the tourney. People thought they might have their hands full with North Carolina in the next round, but nobody thought they would meet their end against an inferior Big East colleague in Marquette. Marquette held tight with Syracuse the whole way. Syracuse pulled up by 5 with just under 5 minutes to go, but still let Marquette back into the game. And, in the end, Marquette had the answer for them. Syracuse had one last chance to tie the game, but accidentally stepped on the half court line and got a backcourt call. And that did them in. It was a great season for Syracuse, but it’s over. Marquette 66, Syracuse 62.
In Oklahoma, an amazing game between Arizona and Texas. The first half was all Arizona, but Texas came storming back in the second half. They even took the lead towards the end. Up 69-67, all they had to do was inbound the ball and get fouled. But, in a rare call, they took longer than 5 seconds, and that’s a turnover. That gave the ball back to Arizona, and they put the ball in the hands of their star Derrick Williams. He did an amazing move to get to the rim, did a layup, and got fouled. He had been shooting poorly from the line up to that point, but he floated the ball up and got a beautiful swish to put them up 1. Texas had 5 more seconds, drove the lane, but couldn’t connect. They got a rebound, and were blocked again. Some thought it should have been called a foul, but the refs decided not to call it. Arizona now moves on to play Duke. Arizona 70, Texas 69.No comments
In college basketball, the madness has begun!! It was a wild day that saw college hoops action across 4 TV Networks (CBS, TNT, TBS, and TruTV).
We got some early buzzer beater action in a much anticipated game between a surging Old Dominion team and last year’s Cinderella runner-ups Butler. With just one second left on the clock, Butler’s Matt Howard grabbed a rebound and put it up just as time expired. It was a dagger to Old Dominion, but hey, that’s what happens in March Madness. Butler 60, Old Dominion 58.
Elsewhere, Big East Conference runner-up Louisville was expected to run all over #13 Morehead State, but it didn’t exactly play out that way. Morehead pulled out to a very big lead to start the game, but Louisville was able to come back and take their own commanding lead. However, Rick Pitino’s Cardinals got too comfortable and let Morehead back in the game, and gave them one last possession down by 2 points. The Cardinals’ Demonte Harper let the clock tick down and then sunk a beautiful 3-pointer from the top of the arc. Wow! Louisville would have one last chance though and drew up a beautiful play to get off a good shot, but Morehead’s potential NBA-bound center Kenneth Faried had an amazing block that looked like a foul. But it wasn’t, and kudos to great officiating by the refs for not calling it. Morehead State 62, Louisville 61.
And how about the Ivy League’s Princeton giving Kentucky all they could possibly handle? The Tigers simply would not let Kentucky pull ahead. Princeton even led at a few points down the stretch. They kept Kentucky’s star player Brandon Knight scoreless for 9 minutes, but then, in the end, Knight drove the lane and hit a beautiful off-balance lay-up to give the Wildcats the lead. Amazing! Princeton couldn’t get off a decent shot after that and the Wildcats move on. In an emotional speech after the game, Princeton coach Sydney Johnson cried while saying that his Princeton players lived up to the powerful tradition that is Princeton basketball. Kentucky 59, Princeton 57.
And at night, everyone was excited to see St. Johns potentially start their miracle run. St. Johns was responsible for beating some of the top teams in college basketball this year. They’re a team playing with swagger and many thought they could make serious noise in the tournament. Unfortunately, they lost their best player D.J. Kennedy in the Big East tournament. Unfortunately for the Johnnies, the Gonzaga Bulldogs were just too strong and dominated the game throughout. St. Johns was a fan favorite at Madison Square Garden this year, but their extraordinary bounce-back season has now come to an end. Gonzaga 86, St. Johns 71.No comments
In college basketball, with March Madness starting Thursday the 17th, a team had to prove it belonged. Wednesday night, USC took on Virginia Commonwealth for the right to play #6 Georgetown in the 2nd round. Many people believed that (1) USC could really make some noise in the tournament if they got in because of their great coaching and dangerous three-point shooting and (2) VCU had no business even being in the field of 68. You can bet that VCU came to play. VCU’s stingy defense in the second half held USC to just one field goal. Now, they’ve advanced to the 2nd round. Who knows if they will have enough firepower to play Georgetown, but this team is on a mission to prove itself. Maybe they advance two rounds. VCU 59, USC 46.
In the NBA, the Miami Heat are surging right now and teaching teams a lesson. They’ve beaten some of the NBA greats in this recent stretch and hoped to continue this dominating stretch against Oklahoma City last night. This would not prove easy, as Kevin Durant and company came to play. Plus, with Kendrick Perkins in the line-up, they are very VERY dangerous. From the get-go, the Thunder jumped out to a big lead. Miami battled back in the first half, but in the second half the Thunder just pulled away. Kevin Durant had 29 points on the night and gave the Thunder their 5th straight win. Now, LeBron and his buds are going to have to regroup… again. Oklahoma City 96, Miami 85.
Finally, some news from the White House. Barack Obama made his annual picks for the NCAA tourney. How has he been the last 3 years? Well, not bad. He’s able to provide commentary on the teams out there and makes it seem like he catches the occasional game now and then. His first year he picked North Carolina to win it all… and he was right. Last year, he picked Kansas… and we saw them get eliminated in the second round. This year he’s going with… Kansas again. That’s right, the president picked ‘all chalk’, meaning all the #1 seeds. This is an expression used in the sports world to express when someone is agreeing with the masses. However, Ohio State is the #1 favorite, so at least he’s going against the grain… a little.No comments
In college basketball, yesterday marked the official tip-off of March Madness. Sure, it wasn’t a part of the field of 64, but to the teams playing, this was a big deal. First up, #16 seed North Carolina-Asheville took on #16 Arkansas-Little Rock. This game was a back and forth battle that even needed overtime to settle things. But behind a big-night and incredible overtime play from Matt Dickey and J.P. Primm, NC-Asheville took the win and earned the right to play #1 seed Pitt on Thursday. Perhaps they will be the first #16 to ever knock off a #1. North Carolina-Asheville 81, Arkansas Little Rock 77.
Next up, a play-in game for a #12 spot between UAB (Univ. of Alabama-Birmingham) and Clemson. There was a lot of controversy as to why UAB even got a shot to play in this game. Many thought Colorado should have earned a spot. But, it is what it is, and UAB would get a chance to prove themselves. Except… they stunk. Clemson was in charge from start to finish and got a solid 22-point night from Jeral Grant. With the win, Clemson has earned the right to play #5 West Virginia in the second round. These 4 play-in games are most likely a preview of what’s to come, the potential to add probably 25 more teams to the tournament (that would play before the 64-team tournament we’re accustomed to). That would be too bad and would seriously devalue the quality of what March Madness is. Clemson 70, UAB 52.
In the NBA, the surging Chicago Bulls are now on a mission. Two months ago, they were considered a very good team. Now… they could possibly be the #1 seed in the East. Last night, they were without both Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah, but they had a clear agenda: Win. That wouldn’t be too difficult against a hapless Wizards team they have swept thus far this season and is remarkably horrible on the road. Derrick Rose went to town again, scoring 23 points, and netting 4 rebounds and 7 assists. With the win, they are officially in the top spot and could play in the Eastern Conference Finals, which will most likely be against Boston or Miami. The playoffs are going to be very exciting. Chicago 98, Washington 79.No comments