Edition 3.31.14

Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the best college basketball team of them all? After a wild weekend of hoops, we’re down to the Final Four! But that’s not the only thing to get excited about in sports — baseball is back! Check out this video on everything you need to know to get into the game:

QUIPS FOR THIS WEEK

College Basketball

The NCAA Tournament has taken us on quite the wild ride, and look how far we’ve come: The Final Four is set, and your regional champions are: Florida (#1 seed in the South), Kentucky (#8 seed in the Midwest), Connecticut (#7 seed in the East) and Wisconsin (#2 seed in the West). Each team has had an impressive run to the tournament and shows no signs of backing down. The Final Four kicks off next weekend in Texas, where Florida will face Connecticut and Wisconsin will face Kentucky. The winners will advance to the NCAA Championship game to be played on Monday night (April 7th).

So, how did we get there? The eventful Sweet Sixteen featured crazy finishes between rivals Louisville and Kentucky and Michigan State and Virginia. From there, all four of the games in the Elite Eight were great match-ups. In the South, Florida showed us why they are the #1 team in the country with a strong win over the Dayton, the last Cinderella squad. Out West, Wisconsin played to their strengths and defeated Arizona in a game that went down to the wire and featured a few questionable calls. In the East, Shabazz Napier put UConn on his back and took down the veteran Michigan State team. Finally, the last game in the Elite Eight in the East between Kentucky and Michigan featured a game-winner by freshman Aaron Harrison.

In Women’s hoops, the tournament is down to the Elite Eight. It’s been a fairly steady tournament so far, but there have been a few upsets including #4 seed Maryland over #1 seed Tennessee in the Louisville region. The Elite Eight will kick off Monday and Tuesday night where #1 seed Connecticut will face #3 seed Texas A&M in the Lincoln region, #4 seed Maryland will take on #3 Louisville in the Louisville region, #4 seed UNC will face #2 seed Stanford in the Stanford region and #2 seed Baylor will face #1 seed Notre Dame in the Notre Dame region.

Stay tuned for our in-depth Final Four Tournament Primer coming your way on Thursday!

NBA

If Kevin Durant can add 2 more games to his streak of 38 games with 25 points, he will tie Michael Jordan, who currently holds the record for the most in the last 50 years. And, if he gets 1 more after that, he can break Jordan’s record! What’s even better than that? The Oklahoma City Thunder are winning and are currently in possession of the #2 spot in the West. After a few shaky weeks, the Thunder are 8-2 in their last 10 games, in large part due to the great play of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

Speaking of impressive streaks, let’s talk about the San Antonio Spurs. They’ve won 17 straight games, have the #1 spot in the West and are looking more and more like last year’s dominant team that made it to the NBA Finals. On the Eastern side, the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat are neck and neck in the race for the #1 spot in the conference. The Pacers have lost their last two games and will need to step it up if they want to hold on to the top spot and home court advantage that is so coveted in the playoffs.

Finally, on the opposite end of the spectrum, we saw one team break a losing streak this week — The Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Detroit Pistons on Saturday night to break their 26 consecutive game losing streak. Despite the big win, the Sixers are still bound for the NBA Draft Lottery, where they will have the chance to get a top prospect. What top prospect will they go for? It’s too early to tell, but it’s unlikely to be Syracuse freshman Tyler Ennis, who declared for the draft this past week. Not to say that Ennis isn’t talented — the kid will likely be a top 10 pick, but the Sixers already have a great young point guard in Michael Carter-Williams. Anyways, congrats on the win, Philly!

What’s on deck this week? A huge game between the San Antonio Spurs and the Indiana Pacers on Monday night in Indiana! And, another great game for San Antonio, when they travel to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder on Thursday.

Other

In a big ruling for college athletes, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled for Northwestern and said that their college athletes have the right to unionize. What does this mean? This is potentially a game-changer for college football, amateurism rules, and status, and could lead to big changes in the future. Former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter has been one of the key players leading the charge to allow college athletes to form unions in a fight for their rights. What’s next? Colter and Ramogi Huma, president of the College Athletes Players Association, will be in Washington D.C. this week to hold informational briefings with legislators on Capital Hill to promote their cause. 

Baseball season is here, but the talk of the town is understandably all about contracts. Miguel Cabrera signed an 8-year contract extension worth $292 million with the Detroit Tigers while Mike Trout signed a 6-year contract extension worth $144.5 million with the Los Angeles Angels.

It may be the off-season, but it was quite the news-worthy weekend in professional football. The Philadelphia Eagles cut pro-ball wide receiver DeSean Jackson in a move that surprised quite a few. The Eagles claimed their decision was based on Jackson’s character, which Jackson quickly denied. Time will tell where he will play next season, but teams are without a doubt interested in his talents.

Lastly, in all things professional tennis, Novak Djokavic defeated Rafael Nadal in the Men’s Sony Open down in Miami while Serena Williams defeated Li Na for the women’s title.

 

JUST FOR FUN

Are you an ex-athlete?
Things that ex-athletes learn when they enter the real world

STORIES FOR INSIGHTS, COOL FACTOR + DEBATE

Playing for more than just themselves
Louisville’s Shimel sisters are playing for the Native American community
They were raised on a reservation, and their biggest fans are the Native Americans that drive hundreds of miles to watch them play basketball

Where is the Love?
Kevin Love has a big decision to make
Where will the NBA player be playing in the future?

Let’s find some real champions
Playoff expansion is coming to the NFL
Peter King suggests leveling the playing field by expanding the playoffs by one or two teams to give it a March Madness feel

Ch-ch-ch-changes…
Pros and cons of players entering the NBA draft
Did Tyler Ennis make the right choice in going pro?

120 Hours
2014 Philippine Basketball Marathon finally ends
After five straight days the stunt was completed — they beat the previous world record by eight hours

Playing by the book
The NFL is making some interesting changes
The NFL owners meeting featured some decisions that will lead to new rules for next season

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s