It may be the last week of February, but it already feels like March Madness. Well, at least it does for college hoops’ best coaches. Just ask Coach Boeheim of Syracuse…
QUIPS FOR THIS WEEK
Who said a sequel can’t be better than the original? In college basketball on Saturday night, #5 Duke beat #1 Syracuse in a thrilling re-match in Durham, NC. The game was tight all night and it took a close call at the end of the game and a minor freakout to decide the outcome. What do we mean by this? Well, C.J. Fair was called for a charge foul (which could have gone either way) against Rodney Hood in the last 10 seconds of the game and let’s just say Coach Boeheim of Syracuse respectfully disagreed. And by respectfully disagreed, we mean he got upset, stormed onto the court and was ejected from the game. Duke went on to get 4 free throws and the ball, and pulled away with a big win that makes last week’s loss against UNC feel far, far away.
And then there was one. #3 Wichita State at 29-0 is the only undefeated team left in college hoops. #1 Syracuse started the week undefeated but two losses to unranked Boston College and #5 Duke will likely drop them back in the rankings. #20 Michigan beat #13 Michigan State to take the lead in the Big Ten while #8 Kansas looked sharp in a dominating win over #19 Texas. Reigning champs #11 Louisville defeated #7 Cincinnati in one of their best wins this season. Finally, after a couple of close wins this week, #2 Florida will likely be your new #1 team when the new polls come out Monday afternoon. Don’t expect too much movement in the top 25, as many teams lost this week, but it is likely that UNC (riding 9 straight wins) will be back in the top 25.
What do college football players do to show they’re ready for May 8th’s NFL draft? Go to the NFL Combine of course! The NFL Combine takes place from February 22-25 and gives college football players the chance to show their skills in a series of drills in front of scouts. Of note, although he is not participating in the passing drills, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel ran an impressive 40 yard dash. Will he be the first player taken in the draft? It’s too soon to tell, but there are no guarantees he will even be the first quarterback chosen on May 8th.
What should we look for in college basketball this week? #1 Syracuse looks to bounce back Monday on the road at Maryland while #4 Arizona looks to avenge a loss in a rematch at home against Cal Berkeley on Wednesday.
At age 35, Jason Collins is back in the NBA. The center signed a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets, and played his first game against the LA Lakers Sunday night. He is the first openly gay male athlete to play professional basketball in the NBA. Further, he is the first openly gay male athlete in any of the four major professional North American leagues. Last year, Collins wrote a piece about his decision to come out in Sports Illustrated. We look forward to watching him play.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are back at full strength with Russell Westbrook back in the lineup, but they have lost their last two games. Earlier this week they fell to the Miami Heat, in a game where LeBron James looked dominant and also broke his nose. On Sunday, they lost to the LA Clippers in a close game where the Thunder’s Kevin Durant put on a show with a 42 point and 10 assist performance — just another normal game for the MVP candidate. What do these two back-to-back losses mean to Oklahoma City? Not much. The Thunder are still the #1 seed in the west at the moment, and although no one likes to lose, there’s no reason to be concerned just yet.
Speaking of the Miami Heat, LeBron James’ broken nose kept the star out of Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bulls, but it didn’t matter too much. Greg Oden started, and the Heat defeated the Bulls. Why does that matter? Greg Oden is the former #1 pick for Portland in the same draft where Kevin Durant went #2. After a series of knee injuries and setbacks, he’s struggled to stay on the floor, and now, a healthy Oden is back on the court for Miami. Miami is now 1.5 games back behind the Indiana Pacers for the overall #1 seed in the east. Don’t think the Pacers will give that up so easy — the #1 seed means home court advantage in the NBA playoffs. Given this, the best teams are going to play hard for the rest of the season.
The trade deadline came and went with no major team-altering trades, and the Boston Celtics’ Brad Stevens was ejected in a game against the Sacramento Kings. This week, look for a good match-up between the Houston Rockets and the LA Clippers on Wednesday, and on Friday look for an entertaining game between the Golden State Warriors and the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
Canada remains queen and king of the ice. In a devastating loss for the Americans, Team Canada won the Olympic gold medal in women’s ice hockey last week. On the men’s side, Canada overcame the United States and Sweden to win the Olympic gold medal. Both the Canadian women and Canadian men won the gold at the previous Winter Olympics.
In a somewhat controversial victory, 17-year-old Russian Adelina Sotnikova won the gold medal in ice skating. The win raised questions over the scoring and the judges. Sotnikova defeated South Korea’s Kim Yu-Na, the heavy favorite who went on to win the silver.
After two captivating weeks in Sochi, the Winter Olympics are finally over. The closing ceremonies concluded the games on Sunday night and we’ll have to wait until 2016, when the Summer Olympics kick off in Brazil.
In all things NASCAR, Dale Earnhardt Jr. won his second Daytona 500 on Sunday night. It took the driver 10 years to get his second title and although rain stopped the race for nearly 6 hours, Earnhardt went onto finish with the biggest victory of them all. This is his first win since 2010, congrats Junior!
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