1.26.15: 1K

We hope you had the chance to enjoy Sunday’s Duke/St. John’s game, because we sure did! Congratulations to Coach (1)K for his 1,000th win last night — we three Dukies were rooting for you all the way, and we’re so proud to be Blue Devils. In light of this legendary accomplishment, check out this cool collection of the top 10 most dramatic Coach K wins!

QUIPS FOR THIS WEEK

NFL

3 cheers for 49 years, the Super Bowl is almost here! Next Sunday the New England Patriots take on the Seattle Seahawks in Arizona in Super Bowl XLIX. What’s a bit unusual about this game so far? Well, normally the pregame talk is about the game…but in this case it’s been about Deflategate (otherwise known as that time someone on the Patriots deflated 11 out of the 12 game balls used when they played the Indianapolis Colts during the AFC Championship game). The whole thing is a little bit sketchy, and there have been denials across the board. Stay tuned to see how the NFL, the media and both teams react in the week before the game.

In other news, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon will face a 1 year ban after failing another drug test over the weekend, according to sources. Yikes.

Oh yeah, and the Pro Bowl was this past weekend and New Orleans Saints’ Jimmy Graham (once upon a time a Miami college basketball player) dunked in celebratory fashion after scoring a touchdown.

College Basketball

We said it before, and we’ll say it again: Congrats to Coach K on his 1,000th victory! How did it happen? Well, #5 Duke beat St. John’s in a nail biter of a game that included many lead changes and finished with a big dose of Duke momentum down the stretch at MSG. The young Duke squad looked tough in the comeback win — some might say they went 0 t0 1,000 real quick. So, what does this mean? Coach K is now the first Division 1 men’s basketball coach to win 1,000 games in his career as the head coach at Duke and previously at Army. Best Coach Ever.

In other college hoops news,#2 UVA remains undefeated after surviving a close game over in-state rival Virginia Tech. Next up for UVA is a big home game against Duke next Saturday.

This upcoming week is a fun one for conference play. Look out for:

  • #5 Duke at #8 Notre Dame – Wednesday
  • #1 Kentucky at Missouri – Thursday
  • #5 Duke at #2 UVA – Saturday
  • #15 UNC at #10 Louisville – Saturday

NBA

Hey now, you’re an All-Star. Congrats to this year’s NBA All Star starters:

West:

  • Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors (Earned the most votes)
  • Kobe Bryant, LA Lakers (Out with a shoulder injury)
  • Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
  • Blake Griffin, LA Clippers
  • Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies

East:

  • John Wall, Washington Wizards
  • Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors
  • LeBron James, Cleveland Cavs
  • Carmelo Anthony, NY Knicks
  • Pau Gasol, Chicago Bulls

And you know who else should be an All-Star? The Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson. In case you missed it, let’s just say Klay went cray and scored an NBA record 37 points in 1 quarter. That’s 12 minutes. It was amazing — watch it here.

Y’all, the Atlanta Hawks are really good. Over the weekend, they won their 16th straight win against the Minnesota Timberwolves to improve their record to 37-8. These Hawks are fly.

Ain’t no party like a Cleveland Cavs party. Okay, maybe there is no party yet, but the Cavs do seem to have some things figured out as they won their 6th straight over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday afternoon. LeBron James was in NBA 2K mode and notched 34 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks and 1 steal in the victory.

Things certainly were heating up down in Miami today for Hassan Whiteside. The Miami Heat player scored a unique triple double with 12 blocks, 14 points and 13 rebounds in their win over the Chicago Bulls on Sunday.

Sad news for the Detroit Pistons’ Brandon Jennings who suffered an ruptured Achilles tendon on Saturday night. He will be out for the remainder of the season.

Other

Rest in Peace to baseball legend Ernie Banks, who passed away over the weekend at the age of 83. Banks was a Chicago Cubs star and two time National League MVP who meant a lot to the game. We would like to extend our condolences to the Banks family.

In the highest scoring NHL All-Star Game of all time, Team Toews beat Team Foligno 17-12.  The NHL named Ryan Johansen of the Nashville Blue Jackets the MVP of the game.

Oh, and keep your eye on the Australian Open which continues this week!

JUST FOR FUN

Look at this photograph…
The best memories captured by Sports Illustrated staff photographers – which moments do you remember?

STORIES FOR INSIGHTS, COOL FACTOR + DEBATE

What’s in a number?
The franchise value of NBA teams has increased 72% this year
When Steve Ballmer bought the LA Clippers for $2 billion, he drove the valuation of many other teams up past $1 billion

The limit doesn’t exist
Mike Conley isn’t underrated – he’s coming up
“As he goes, so go the Memphis Grizzlies”

Breaking down stereotypes
George Washington University’s Yuta Watanabe
He’s got the speed, the jump shot, and the smarts — he’s an inspiration to all basketball fans, but especially to those who can relate to his Japanese heritage

Rest in Peace
Chicago Cubs’ “Mr. Cub” (Ernie Banks) passed away this Friday
Fans took to Twitter and other social media sites in order to express their appreciation of Ernie Banks’ legacy, and grieve as a community

You do you
Lessons learned at the NHL All-Star Weekend
The guys opened up once they were off the ice, and we loved getting to know them better!

1.19.15: One step closer to the Super Bowl

This was quite the weekend of NFL football. How does it feel to make the Super Bowl? Just ask Russell Wilson…

QUIPS FOR THIS WEEK

NFL

The reigning champions the Seattle Seahawks are going back to the Super Bowl. After a rocky start, the Seahawks stormed back in dramatic fashion (with the help of an onside kick) and defeated the the Green Bay Packers in overtime during the NFC Championship Game in Seattle. Talk about epic.

The New England Patriots dominated the Indianapolis Colts 45-7 despite the heavy rain in Foxboro to win the the AFC Championship and the right to meet the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl. Oh yeah, and Tom Brady (who will start his 6th Super Bowl) set a NFL postseason passing record. Just another day in the life.

There are plenty of story lines on deck for Super Bowl XLIX as the Seahawks attempt to be the first repeat Super Bowl Champions since the Patriots in 2004… but first thing’s first: the game kicks off at 6:30pm on Sunday, February 1st in Glendale, Arizona. Get ready for a Pats-Seahawks showdown!

In non-Super Bowl news, Gary Kubiak will be the next coach of the Denver Broncos, and earlier in the week John Fox signed on to be the new head coach of the Chicago Bears.

College Football

As you already know, Ohio State beat Oregon to win the first ever college football playoff national championship game last week. Now it’s time to talk next season.

Oregon quarterback and Heisman trophy winner Marcus Mariota announced that he will go pro and enter the NFL Draft. Ohio State’s Cardale Jones decided that after only 3 starts, he will remain at Ohio State and return to the team next season.

The NCAA has reinstated the late Penn State Coach Joe Paterno’s 112 wins that were taken away after the Jerry Sandusky scandal. This means that Paterno is now the winningest coach in college football.

NBA

And just like that the Cleveland Cavaliers are starting to show a little something. After an up and down start to the season, the Cavs picked up 2 key wins on a West Coast road trip and more importantly got their MVP back in top form. That’s right, LeBron James looks healthy and played great which will be important if the Cavs want to make some noise in the playoffs. Time will tell if they can continue to improve.

The LA Clippers made NBA history when they traded for Austin Rivers. Austin will now be playing for his father, Coach Doc Riversmaking them the first father-son combo in the league.

Welcome to Atlanta where the Hawks playas play, and they dominate all the teams in the East each and every day. No really, the Hawks are legit and appear to be the best team in the Eastern Conference. More than that, they have the number 2 record in the entire league at 33-8 behind the Golden State Warriors who are sitting at 32-6.

College Basketball

It took a week of growing pains but #4 Duke appears to be finding their way. After losing back-to-back games to N.C. State and Miami, Duke dominated #6 Louisville on the road in a game where they showed some new stuff, namely on defense. Duke plays Pittsburgh tonight and if they win, they will have the chance to give Coach K his 1000th win at MSG when Duke takes on St. John’s next Sunday in New York.

In other weekend hoops news, #1 Kentucky and #2 UVA remain undefeated after big wins against Alabama and Boston College, respectively. #11 Iowa State defeated #9 Kansas in a tough Big 12 match-up and #10 Arizona got a nice win over #8 Utah while #3 Gonzaga cruised past Loyola Marymount.

This week tune in for #1 Kentucky at South Carolina next Saturday at 12pm and #2 UVA at Virginia Tech next Sunday at 1pm.

Other

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, ESPN put together a roundtable of union leaders from the NBA, NFL and MLB to come together and discuss race, unions, equality and diversity.

In all things tennis, the Australian Open kicks off this week. See predictions here.

The St. Louis Cardinals will honor Oscar Taveras, who tragically died in a car accident during the baseball off-season, with a patch on their jersey for the 2015 season.

It was a big weekend for the Power 5 conferences as the Division I Board of Directors passed a full cost of attendance measure 79-1 that will help support college athletics scholarships with more financial resources.

Finally, the NHL revealed their bright uniforms for the upcoming All-Star Game.

JUST FOR FUN

Best we’ve ever had
…or seen. take a look at the coolest celebratory cakes the sports world has ever seen

STORIES FOR INSIGHTS, COOL FACTOR + DEBATE

Brady v. Manning
The deciding moment
Who wins “best quarterback of his generation?” Looks like we’re leaning towards Brady now!

The Winningest
Settlement to reinstate Penn State Football wins
They had 112 wins removed from their history as a result of their Jerry Sandusky scandal, but now the NCAA is looking at reinstating those wins and giving Joe Paterno back his title as college football’s winningest coach

Title Race
Barclays’ Premier League
Arsenal traveled north to the Etihad and defeated strong favorites Manchester City. City is one of the many clubs paying the price that is the African Cup of Nations, as one of their most impactful players, Yaya Toure, is away on international duty (Ivory Coast)

Drama
Raging ups and downs
Kobe versus LBJ — what’s happening to both of their teams?

We are family
What it means to be a part of the University of Miami Hurricanes family
Coach Jim Larranaga dedicated the Miami/Duke game last week to Jim Palma, a player from the ’40s who passed away shortly after the game

1.12.15: Championship night

We are the champions, we are the champions, no time for the losers ’cause we are the champions of the world… wait, who is? No, this isn’t the Mighty Ducks 2 hockey championship — but there are ducks involved and the tune still fits! Get ready Team SQ — it’s championship ball night! Tonight at 8:30pm, Oregon will face Ohio State for the rights to call themselves the college football playoff champion of the world. Don’t miss out!

 

QUIPS FOR THIS WEEK

NFL

Okay so the Divisional NFL match-ups certainly lived up to the hype…

In the AFC, the New England Patriots rallied past the Baltimore Ravens 35-31 in a game that was nothing short of intense. And on Sunday, the Indianapolis Colts looked strong in a big 24-13 win over the Denver Broncos in Denver.

Now let’s talk about the NFC Divisional games.  On Saturday, the Seattle Seahawks got a big game from Kam Chancellor and Russell Wilson to roll past the Carolina Panthers 31-17. They will head back to the NFC Conference Championships next weekend and face the Green Bay Packers who defeated the Dallas Cowboys 26-21 after a slow start and some play reversal on Sunday night.

What’s NEXT — Conference Championships

  • AFC: Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots on Sunday, January 18 at 6:40pm ET
  • NFC: Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, January 18 at 3:05pm ET

College Football

As we mentioned in our intro, championship night is here. #2 Oregon (13-1) will take on #4 Ohio State (13-1) in the first ever college football playoff national championship game.

Seven Key Names:

Logistics: (Today) Monday, January 12 at 8:30pm in Arlington, Texas — watch the game on ESPN!

Prediction: Ohio State

NBA

It was a big week of trades this past week in the NBA. Early last week, the Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks and Oklahoma City Thunder completed a 3-team trade that sent J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to the Cavs, Dion Waiters to the Thunder and Alex Kirk, Lou Amundson and Lance Thomas to the Knicks.

As of Sunday night, sources say that a trade involving the New Orleans Pelicans, Boston Celtics and Memphis Grizzlies will likely end up with Jeff Green headed to the Grizzlies.

Oh, and talk about a big performance as Pau Gasol picked up a career high 46 points and 18 rebounds as his Chicago Bulls defeated the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday evening. Klay Thompson of the league’s best Golden State Warriors also had a career game last week with 40 points to show why he’s one of the best shooting guards in the NBA this season.

On Thursday, the New York Knicks will face off against the Milwaukee Bucks in London as part of the Global Games.

Speaking of the Knicks, Phil Jackson took full credit for the team’s rough start (5-35) to the season…

College Basketball

Much to discuss in college hoops after this weekend. On the men’s side, #2 Duke lost on the road to unranked N.C. State, #1 Kentucky beat Texas A&M in 2OT, #2 UVA rallied past #13 Notre Dame in South Bend, Rutgers upset #4 Wisconsin and #5 Louisville fell to #18 UNC at the Dean Dome.

In women’s hoops, #3 Texas lost on the road to Iowa State in a close 59-57 game.

So what’s on deck this week? #2 Duke will play at #5 Louisville next Saturday in what should be a very good game.

Hockey

The roster is set for the NHL All-Star Game which takes places in Columbus, Ohio on Sunday, January 25.

No ruling has been set for the concussion suit filed by former NHL players against the league. U.S. District Judge Susan Nelson has heard from both sides and gave no indication as to when she would make a decision.

Who is leading the way in the NHL? The Nashville Predators hold the league best record at 28-9 and showed their stuff on Saturday night in a 3-1 win over the Minnesota Wild that gave them a league best 60 points.

Other

Our hearts are with France. On Friday night, the Washington Wizards’ Kevin Seraphin wore a “Je Suis Charlie” shirt during pre-game warmups to honor his country after a week of tragedy. He was joined by Nicolas Batum of the Portland Trail Blazers who wore a similar shirt prior to his Thursday game. Players in the NBA were not the only ones showing solidarity, as the Montreal Canadiens showed their support by playing the French national anthem on Saturday night before their game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

In baseball news, after undergoing arthroscopic shoulder surgery, Jayson Werth of the Washington Nationals will be out on recovery for roughly 2-3 months.

Morgan Brian of UVA is the back-to-back winner of the Hermann Trophy, awarded to the top players in women’s college soccer. She is the 5th woman to win the trophy more than once.

 

JUST FOR FUN

Katy + Lenny
Are you ready for Katy Perry and Lenny Kravitz to perform during the Super Bowl halftime show?

Chef Curry
Could Riley Curry (daughter of Steph and Ayesha) be any cuter???

STORIES FOR INSIGHTS, COOL FACTOR + DEBATE

What’s in Cardale’s future?
We’re wondering if the Ohio State QB will be forgotten, or go down in history as a star
At this rate, the backup backup quarterback will be the favorite forever… but we’ll see if he can handle the heat tonight!

Boston 2024
Whaddya wanna know?
After presenting a $4.5 billion proposal to the USOC, Boston was selected as the US bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics

Next
Ball to the Future
Breaking down why the future of pro hoops looks a lot like James Harden

Internal Review
No true resolution in sight when it comes to the Ray Rice scandal
We’re still asking questions and wondering about the NFL’s decision making going forward

Our obsession with barre extends to the NFL
The Dallas Cowboys work on their knowledge of ballet
Before the on-field stretches, they use ballerina barres to stretch and loosen their muscles — it’s a whole new dynamic warm up, and it seems like it’s working well!

Man, can he swim!
Rob Konrad of the Miami Dolphins fell off his boat
…and swam 9 miles to shore (which is the equivalent of swimming 290 lengths of an Olympic-size swimming pool)

1.5.15: It’s 2015

Today we begin a new year of SQ. We want to take a moment to remember ESPN anchor Stuart Scott, who passed away at the age of 49 over the weekend. He fought a brave battle against cancer for the past several years and was truly an inspiration to us all. He was one of the most innovative and fun ESPN anchors and brought joy to the sports world with his creative catch phrases and commentary. When honored with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance and Courage in July of 2014 at the ESPYs, he gave a beautiful acceptance speech: “When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.” We send our thoughts and prayers to his family and friends and encourage you to watch many of the touching tributes in remembrance of Stuart Scott.

 

QUIPS FOR THIS WEEK

NFL

In the AFC, the Baltimore Ravens defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday night 30-17 to advance to the next round. They will play the New England Patriots next. On Sunday, the Indianapolis Colts easily defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 26-10 to advance as well. They will face the Denver Broncos next weekend.

In the NFC, the Carolina Panthers took down the Arizona Cardinals 27-16 on Saturday to move on to play the defending Super Bowl Champs — the Seattle Seahawks. And on Sunday, the the Dallas Cowboys made things interesting by overcoming a poor start to defeat the Detroit Lions 24-20.  They will play the Green Bay Packers next weekend.

Here is the official schedule of the divisional rounds:

Saturday, January 10:

  • Baltimore at New England – 4:45pm – NBC (AFC)
  • Carolina at Seattle – 8:15pm – FOX (NFC)

Sunday, January 11:

  • Dallas at Green Bay – 1:05pm – FOX (NFC)
  • Indianapolis at Denver – 4:40pm – CBS (AFC)

College Football

Oregon will meet Ohio State in college football’s National  Championship game on Tuesday, January 12th. How did they get there?

Turns out this whole college football playoff thing is kind of exciting. On Thursday, the first annual college football playoff semi-finals kicked off with two big games between #2 Oregon vs. #3 Florida State in the Rose Bowl followed by #1 Alabama vs. #4 Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl.

In the first game, Oregon dominated (and we mean dominated) Florida State to win the game 59-20. Major takeaways: the PAC 12 might be better than people thought (or at least Oregon look great), and Marcus Mariota showed that he was the much better Heisman-winning quarterback in the game, in comparison to Jameis Winston, who didn’t have his best game. Ducks move on.

Without a doubt, the second game was the show of the night. Alabama got off to a hot start until Ohio State showed major heart in an comeback thriller of a game that came down to the wire. Of note, Ohio State was playing their third string quarterback Cardale Jones due to injuries and Ohio State coach Urban Meyer won the battle of the legendary coaches against Alabama’s Nick Saban.  Oh, and Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott put on a show with a 230 yard performance (also a Sugar Bowl record). Buckeyes advance.

To recap: Oregon will play Ohio State in the first ever college football National Championship game in Arlington, Texas on Tuesday, January 12th. We can’t wait.

NBA

What’s cooler than getting your first dunk of the season? Making an awesome one. Check out the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry’s breakaway slam from Friday night. The Warriors are still in the lead for the NBA’s best record, but many teams are catching up cc: Portland Trail Blazers and the Memphis Grizzlies. In the East, the Atlanta Hawks, Toronto Raptors, and the Chicago Bulls are all neck and neck towards the top of the conference. It’s still early (I know we say this often … it’s a long season), but some fun games to check out this week include the Golden State Warriors vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder on the 5th, and the Golden State Warriors against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday the 9th.

Speaking of the Cleveland Cavaliers, there has been more chatter about why they are struggling this season. Our view: it’s only year 1, and it takes time to develop team chemistry. More than that, they have a first year coach, have  been dealing with injuries to key players, and it’s only January. To make matters worse,  LeBron James announced he will be out for 2 weeks to recover from knee and back injuries. With that said, the narrative is interesting, and if the team doesn’t turn it around by the All-Star break, you never know what changes might be made. Stay tuned!

Rajon Rondo returned to Boston, as his new team (Dallas Mavericks) faced his old team (Boston Celtics). Rondo was dominant in the return, dropping 29 points in the Dallas win. The Celtics were classy in defeat and shared an emotional tribute video honoring Rondo and his time in Boston during the game. Rondo spoke about his love for the Boston fans before and after the game, showing that the appreciation was mutual.

Oh and LA Laker Kobe Bryant shared his thoughts on AAU basketball.

College Basketball

College basketball conference play is off to a sizzling start. Over the weekend, #2 Duke looked dominant in a win over Boston College, #3 UVA overcame a tough Miami team to earn their 2OT win, Seton Hall upset #6 Villanova in OT, #5 Louisville rallied past Wake Forest, and #13 Kansas fought back to defeat UNLV.

On Saturday #14 Notre Dame beat Georgia Tech in 2OT, but the real story was Jerian Grant’s amazing jump out the gym dunk that is potentially the best slam of the year thus far.

In terms of rankings, Kentucky is holding strong at #1 with Duke holding steady in the #2 spot. Time will tell if conference play leads to greater challenges for all of the remaining undefeated teams.

There are some good games to tune in for this week, including: #6 Villanova at #15 St. John’s on Tuesday, #13 Kansas at #22 Baylor on Wednesday, and #5 Louisville at #19 UNC on Saturday.

Other

Talk about a Catch 22 — or something like that. Real Madrid’s loss to Valencia 2-1 ended their winning streak of 22 games and their hope of reaching the world record of 24 wins in a row. 

Jaromir Jagr collected a Hat Trick for ages. No, really. At 42, he collected his 15th hat trick as his Philadelphia Flyers defeated the New Jersey Devils 5-2 on Saturday night to become the oldest hockey player to get a hat trick (3 goals) moving past hockey legend Gordie Howe.

And the light heavyweight defense UFC championship title goes to… Jon Jones, who defeated Daniel Cormier on Saturday night.

JUST FOR FUN

You never know who’s watching…
The strangest fans of 2014, caught in the act!

STORIES FOR INSIGHTS, COOL FACTOR + DEBATE

Pay Attention
What to look for when you’re watching Oregon vs. Ohio State
The game will be pretty balanced, but there are some players and plays that will stand out

Why are fans still at the Garden?
Even though the Knicks aren’t performing, the seats are still filling up
Is it the celebrity sightings, team loyalty, or cheap ticket prices?

Making an impact
espnW’s Impact 25
Women who broke down barriers, achieved great things, and paved the way for others in 2014

Laying down the law
What does Jim Harbaugh’s lawyer have to say?
Meet Jeffrey Klein, a man whose job is to handle employment negotiations in the sports world