Edition 3.24.14

The opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament…talk about amazing! There was joy, and there was heartbreak. There were disappointments, and there were heroics. Most of all, there was MADNESS. But, that’s not all that happened this weekend — The Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant also hit a sweet game winner on Saturday night!

QUIPS FOR THIS WEEK

College Basketball

Wow, the NCAA Tournament certainly started with a bang. There were quite a few noteworthy upsets this weekend. In the opening weekend of the tournament, we saw Duke lose a heartbreaking game to Mercer in the second round, Kansas fell to Stanford in the third round, Dayton upset both Ohio State and Syracuse to reach the Sweet 16, Baylor defeated Doug McDermott and Creighton in the third round, and Shabazz Napier willed Connecticut to the Sweet 16 with a big win over Villanova. And, in one of the best games of the tournament so far, Kentucky upset undefeated Wichita State in an incredibly well-played game by both teams.

Not every team was upset, though. Number 1 seeds Florida, Arizona, and Virginia all took care of business and led their teams to the second weekend. Michigan State, Wisconsin, UCLA, Kentucky, Baylor and San Diego State all looked strong while Louisville and Iowa State overcame tough games to propel themselves forward to the next rounds. Dayton and Stanford were the biggest surprises of the weekend, and are your new Cinderellas.

And now we’ve reached the Sweet 16. Your college basketball sweethearts getting ready for their next dance include:

  • East: Virginia (1) v. Michigan State (4) and Iowa State (3) v. Connecticut (7)
  • West: Arizona (1) v. San Diego State (4) and Wisconsin (2) v. Baylor (6)
  • Midwest: Kentucky (8) v. Louisville (4) and Tennessee (11) v. Michigan (2)
  • South: Florida (1) v. UCLA (4) and Dayton (11) v. Stanford (10)

These teams will play their games on Thursday and Friday, before the Elite Eight begins on Saturday and Sunday. Here’s your updated bracket.

After the madness, what comes next? In some cases the NBA. That’s right, ’tis the season to guess whether some of college hoops’ most talented players will head to the league or return to school. As of right now, freshman Noah Vonleh of Indiana is one of the only freshmen to announce that he’s headed to the NBA Draft. Stay tuned for announcements from Kansas’s Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins, Duke’s Jabari Parker, Arizona’s Aaron Gordon and Kentucky’s Julius Randle. These guys have some time to announce their plans, but until then the speculation will continue.

The women’s hoops tournament kicked off this weekend as well. Connecticut Huskies’ Coach Geno Auriemma celebrated his 60th birthday with a 43 point victory over the Prairie View A&M. The next rounds of the tournament continue Monday and Tuesday.

Stay tuned for our in-depth Sweet 16 & Elite Eight Primer NCAA Tournament Primer coming your way on Wednesday!

NBA

In a scary moment during Saturday’s game against the Toronto Raptors, Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook appeared to re-injure his knee again after colliding with Raptors’ star Kyle Lowry. Fortunately for the Thunder, Westbrook’s MRI showed no new damage and he will be just fine. Westbrook wasn’t the only big story from that game, as Kevin Durant put on a show for the Thunder with a 51 point, 12 rebound and 7 assist performance that also included a game winner in double over-time.

Are the New York Knicks feeling the zen already? Maybe or maybe not. Before Phil Jackson joined the team as President of Basketball Operations, the Knicks had started a nice little winning streak. That streak ended at 8 wins on Sunday night when the Knicks lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were playing without their all-star point guard, Kyrie Irving. The Knicks not only lost the game, they also cost themselves a chance to get slightly closer to that final 8th playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

LA Lakers star Kobe Bryant has started his own businessKobe Inc. The company will develop Bryant’s own products as well as invest in others. While he’s still working on coming back from a knee injury, he will also be focused on growing his business. His first investment — announced last Sunday — is a sports energy drink called BODYARMOR.

What should you be watching this week in the NBA? Look out for Portland at Miami and Indiana at Chicago on Monday night. Also try to catch the Miami at Indiana game on Wednesday evening.

Other

J-E-T-S. That’s right, New York’s other pro football team made waves this weekend when they signed quarterback Michael Vick. Jets fans will have to wait and see who their starting quarterback will be when next season kicks off. Following the announcement, current Jets quarterback Geno Smith praised the move and said he was eager to work with Vick.

What a bummer for Patrick Kane. The Chicago Blackhawks’ star player will be out with a knee injury for the remainder of the regular NHL season. While the Blackhawks might be okay for now, they will need him back for the playoffs if they want to defend their title as hockey’s Stanley Cup Champions.

Major League Baseball season is right around the corner and the Boston Red Sox are making moves. On Sunday, the Sox and David Ortiz agreed to a 2015 contract, a new deal that will include options for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. It’s a move that will surely make Red Sox fans very happy, as Big Papi is both a winner and a fan favorite in Boston.

Who doesn’t love a good hat trick? Lionel Messi led his Barcelona squad to a nice 4-3 victory with his very own hat trick against Real Madrid in Sunday’s El Clasico finale. Gotta love La Liga!

It was just another weekend for Kyle Busch. The NASCAR driver concluded a big race at Fontana with a huge win in the Sprint Cup Race Series.

JUST FOR FUN

Soaring to New Heights
Ever wonder how tall you have to be to play in the NBA?

STORIES FOR INSIGHTS, COOL FACTOR + DEBATE

Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered
NFL expands its television package
Mavericks’ Mark Cuban suggests that the NFL’s greed will become its downfall

A Cinderella Story 
March Madness teams that have stunned us all
A look back at the surprising wins of past March Madness games

Fearless
Amar’e Stoudemire on New York and the New York Knicks
He reflects on his choice to come to the Knicks, his injuries, his team, and the journey that lies ahead

There’s no place like home
BC running back Andre Williams heads home
Between the end of the college football season and the NFL draft, the pressure builds. Sometimes it takes a visit home to recharge

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