Edition 1.6.14

QUIPS FOR THIS WEEK

NBA

Kevin Durant is a sight to be seen. The Oklahoma City Thunder star dropped 48 points, including game winner, and led his team to a close win against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night. The Thunder, one of the top teams in the Western Conference are looking to maintain their dominant status while point guard Russell Westbrook recovers from a knee injury that will likely keep him out until the all-star break in mid-February.

On the Eastern Conference sideStephen Curry continued his rising stardom as the Golden State Warriors defeated LeBron James and the Miami Heat on the road in Miami. Curry dropped 36 points including 8 threes and 12 assists in the big win. The Warriors continued their road trip with a big win over the Atlanta Hawks with a game winner by Andre Iguodala and on Sunday, they beat the Washington Wizards for their 9th straight victory. After injuries slowed them at the start, this squad is now at full strength and looking poised to show the Western Conference what they’ve got.

As the season continues, so do the injuries. And even though it’s not an abnormal year for injuries in the NBA, it certainly can feel that way. LA Clippers star point guard Chris Paul will be out for 3-6 weeks after separating his shoulder Friday against the Dallas MavericksNew York Nets center Brook Lopez had surgery on his broken foot that will end his play this season but likely save his career. Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving might miss a few more games but caught a break after a knee injury scare turned out to be just a bone bruise.

Trade talks continue as the Cleveland Cavaliers are looking to trade Andrew Bynum for the LA Lakers Pau Gasol. This trade might seem out of the box, but Bynum was once a big part of the Lakers rotation and Gasol’s contract ends this year. Pending a few details, this trade is looking more and more likely to happen, possibly by Tuesday. http://basketball.realgm.com/wiretap/231358/Lakers-Cavaliers-Making-Progress-On-Bynum-Gasol-Trade-Talks

NFL

What a wild weekend for the opening round of the NFL playoffs. On Saturday, Andrew Luck led theIndianapolis Colts on a ferocious 28-point comeback win against the Kansas City Chiefs. Talk about a heart-breaking loss for the Chiefs, not only did they lose, but they lost in historic fashion.  In the second game of the night, Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints beat the Philadelphia Eagles with a last second field goal. After a season apart, Coach Sean Payton and Drew Brees are looking to prove that they’ve got that same magic next week against the Seattle Seahawks.

Sunday’s first game featured the San Diego Chargers defeating the Cincinnati Bengals convincingly on the road. The Chargers are turning it on at the right time, and will face their greatest challenge yet next week against the Denver Broncos, the top seed in the AFC who they beat earlier this season. Sunday’s second game featured a great matchup between the San Francisco 49ers on the road in ice-cold Green Bay against the Packers.  The Niners would go onto with a game winning field goal as time expired and will travel to slightly warmer Charlotte next weekend to face Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.

The fun continues with more NFL playoff action next weekend.  The Divisional Round matchups include:

NFC Divisional Round (January 11th/12th)

New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks (January 11th 4:35pm FOX)
San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers (January 12th 1:05pm FOX)

AFC Divisional Round (January 11th/12th):

Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots (January 11th 8:15pm CBS)
San 
Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos (January 12th 4:40pm CBS)

COLLEGE SPORTS

Talk about an entertaining week of college football. Texas A&M beat Duke in a wild game at the Chick Fil-A Bowl. Michigan State looked strong and convincingly beat Stanford in the Rose Bowl and UCF toppedBaylor in the Fiesta Bowl.  Oklahoma dominated Alabama in a big win in the Sugar BowlClemsondefeated Ohio State in a very entertaining Orange Bowl, and Missouri beat Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl.

Charlie Strong is leaving the Louisville Cardinals to become the new head coach of the Texas Longhorns. It’s a big move for Strong; UT-Austin is one of the best jobs in college football.  He is now the first black head coach in the history of the school for men’s athletics and replaces Mack Brown.

College football season ends Monday night with the BCS National Championship game. This the season’s most important game largely because it is the last year of the traditional BCS system. The Auburn Tigersdefense will look to stop Heisman winner/star quarterback Jameis Winston and the dominant Florida State Seminole offense. Florida State may have the line on their side, but look for this to be a close, entertaining finale to the college football season.

In college hoops, the weekend kicked off with some surprising wins and upsets. Kansas fans just couldn’t catch a break this weekend as the Kansas Jayhawks lost at home to the San Diego State Aztecs. Two top ten ranked teams opened up conference play with losses as #7 Duke fell to the Notre Dame and #6Oklahoma State lost to Kansas State. This marks the first time in nearly 6 years that Duke might not be ranked in the top 10 in this weeks polls. On the flipside, the top two ranked teams overcame close games to remain undefeated as #1 Arizona rallied to beat Washington and #2 Syracuse pulled away from Miami.  Look for all teams to bounce back and continue to get tested as January heats up.

JUST FOR FUN

Football books to get you pumped for the NFL playoffs
A list of books that’ll carry you through the playoffs, no matter how your team fares

Swaggin’ it Out
MSU’s moves are off the charts as they celebrate winning the 100th Rose Bowl

STORIES FOR INSIGHTS, COOL FACTOR + DEBATE

X-Games Attract Gen Y?
The Sochi Olympics will feature nine extreme Winter X-game sports 
This programming is designed to attract a younger crowd and contribute to sales of commercial products attached to the sports

Going once, going twice… SOLD!
Here’s a loaded question – should college athletes get paid? 
With the dawn of the College Football Playoff system, is it time to reconsider NCAA policy?

QB CEO
Johnny Manziel needs to shape up if he expects to become the face of the franchise 
Social media allows for greater scrutiny than ever before, and Manziel must behave accordingly (and grow up) if he’s going to play for the NFL

Play fair, Priests!
Priests from the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England are set to face off in a cricket match in September
Both sides are looking forward to the togetherness and team sport, as well as the potential for charity.

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