Edition 4.7.14

It’s so hard to say goodbye to the 2014 college basketball season, but the time has come. Don’t forget to tune into the National Championship game, where Kentucky and Connecticut will fight to determine who really is the team of destiny. What are the odds that Aaron Harrison will hit another crazy big shot for Big Blue Nation? Don’t ask Michigan or Wisconsin fans…

 

QUIPS FOR THIS WEEK

College Basketball

Talk about teams of destiny and not your average Cinderellas. Connecticut (#7 seed in the East) will play Kentucky (#8 seed in the Mid West) for the 2014 National Championship in men’s college hoops on Monday night at 9:10 pm (CBS). It’s a match-up for the ages, as Kentucky’s team (full of seasoned youth) faces a good Connecticut team with a major star in Shabazz Napier. It would be the first NCAA title for Coach Kevin Ollie of Connecticut, or the second for Coach John Calipari of Kentucky, both of whom have done a great job overcoming tough seasons to reach the Championship game. What should we expect from the Championship? Anticipate a close game with strong performances from Kentucky’s Julius Randle and the Harrison twins, and UConn’s Shabazz Napier. It will be interesting to see which player will bring the x-factor for his squad, and if that will be enough for victory. What’s our prediction? While both teams might seemed destined for the title, we’re sticking with Kentucky — the young kids look unbeatable at times and have figured it out.

Speaking of the Championship game, how did both teams get there? Remember when Aaron Harrison hit that amazing game-winning shot against Michigan in the Elite Eight? Well, he did it again on Saturday night against WisconsinKentucky topped Wisconsin in a very close game (74-73), and after a pretty tight first half, the UConn Huskies pulled away and beat Florida, who had been riding a 30-game win streak. After people claimed UConn’s December victory over Florida was a fluke, they came out ready to go and made a statement in their 63-53 victory. With that, we’re on to the last game of the season, where we’ll find out if the Huskies or the Wildcats will be the last ones shining.

The women’s college hoops National Championship will kick off in Nashville on Tuesday night with the battle of the undefeated squads. Connecticut will play Notre Dame for the title and the perfect season. Both teams have been consistently impressive, so it’s only fitting that they play each other in the Championship game. Although the outcome could very well go either way, we’ve got UConn cutting down the nets for a second straight season.

That’s all, folks. The 2014 college basketball season is almost a wrap. Don’t worry, though — the 2015 pre-season starts now 🙂

NBA

The New York Knicks continue their quest for the elusive 8th spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. After a big victory earlier in the week, they couldn’t quite muster up enough to beat LeBron James and the Miami Heat on Sunday. That’s not to say it wasn’t an interesting day, as JR Smith set the Knicks’ record for most 3-pointers made in one game with 10, and subsequently the NBA record for most 3-pointers taken in a game with 22. LeBron netted an impressive 38 for the day, and Shane Battier played excellent defense on Carmelo Anthony to help secure the win. Currently, the Knicks remain in 9th place and will have to win if they want to pass Atlanta for the 8th spot. On the flipside, Miami is back in control and in possession of the #1 seed in the East, for now.

The San Antonio Spurs winning streak is over. After 19 straight wins, the Oklahoma City Thunder came out rolling and defeated the Spurs at home in what some might call a statement win last week. Both teams are potential favorites in the Western Conference to contend for the NBA Championship, with the Spurs still sitting in 1st place atop the NBA standings. Despite losing to the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night in a game where Kevin Durant scored 38 points and continued his streak of 25 points or more at 41 games, the Thunder are in control of the 2-seed. However, the LA Clippers are sitting in 3rd place and look like a team on a mission. As the regular season winds down, one thing’s for sure — the West is loaded, and how it’s won will be worth watching.

What’s wrong with the Indiana Pacers? It’s a popular question, as the Eastern Conference contenders have continued to struggle in the last few weeks. After starting the season off strong, the Pacers have lost quite a few questionable games. However, they’re still well in control of the 2-seed in the East, and have enough time to get back into a rhythm. The real concern will be during playoffs, when the Pacers won’t have the home court advantage if they meet the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.

What to watch this week? Check out a great game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the LA Clippers on Wednesday, and stay tuned for another great match-up between the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat on Friday.

MLB

LA Dodgers star outfielder Yasiel Puig will undergo an MRI to diagnose a left thumb injury that occurred during a game against the San Francisco Giants on Saturday. The team is hopeful that there is no serious damage and that Puig will be back in the line-up quickly. Although they were missing Puig, Matt Kemp and the Dodgers still got the win over the Giants on Sunday night.

As the retirement tour continues, Derek Jeter is moving on up. In his last season in a New York Yankees uniform, one of baseball’s most famous current stars has set yet another record. After getting 2 hits in the first 4 innings in a game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Jeter is now 8th all-time in hits in baseball at 3,320. Expect that milestone to go up as the season continues.

The Atlanta Braves have looked strong, but the Washington Nationals avoided the sweep. The Nats used all the Natitude they could to get a 2-1 victory after losing earlier in the weekend. Both teams are doing well, standing at 4-2 respectively in the first week of the season.

Other

DeSean Jackson is officially a Washington Redskin. After being cut by the Philadelphia Eagles, the talented wide receiver will head to DC to play for a team that is not only in the NFC, but also in the same division as the Eagles. That means these teams will play twice a season, and there’s no doubt that Jackson will be playing with something to prove. More than that, the loaded Redskins offense just got that much better. Will this be the year the Redskins finally get it together? Time will tell.

Speaking of professional football, the NFL Draft is getting closer and closer. One of the hot topics leading the conversation is, of course, Johnny Manziel. After a successful pro day, Johnny Football is making the rounds and meeting with teams. He is headed to Oakland to spend time with the Raiders. Expect talk to continue — he’s a great player, but it’s still too early to tell which team he’ll land with.

There’s only one week to go until the regular season ends in professional hockey, and things are heating up in the NHL. The Boston Bruins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers to take the #1 spot in the East, but that doesn’t mean the seedings are set as we head into the playoffs. The wildcard spots are still up for grabs, and the exact playoff match-ups are yet to be determined. Get ready for a wild last week in the NHL!

 

JUST FOR FUN

Tricked out Ride
Check out Michael Jordan’s personalized golf cart for his charity event

STORIES FOR INSIGHTS, COOL FACTOR + DEBATE

Not a quick fix
NCAA President speaks out against unionization
Mark Emmert acknowledges the need for change in collegiate athletics, but insists that unions won’t help

It may be goodbye, but it’s not good riddance
Florida’s seniors say goodbye to their collegiate careers
They bled for each other, and it hurts them to think about never playing for the Gators again

Hip, Hip, Hooray!
Nolan Richardson will be inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
He is the winningest coach in Razorbacks history, and led Arkansas to the 1994 NCAA national championship and three Final Four appearances

Going cuckoo for the McDonald’s Game
Exciting new talent is coming your way!
Even if you’ve given up on your bracket, check out your team’s new high school recruits

Revolution Riders
Imagine not being allowed to ride a bicycle?
The Afghan National Cycling Federation is the only female-friendly bike-racing team in Afghanistan, and the team members have to fight for their right to ride

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