3.30.15: Final Four

Welcome back to SQ after an awesome weekend of college hoops. Check out this clutch 3-pointer from Kentucky’s Aaron Harrison during their game against Notre Dame this weekend:

 

QUIPS FOR THIS WEEK

College Basketball

Needless to say, the Elite Eight lived up to the hype this weekend. Wisconsin beat Arizona to win the West, Kentucky beat Notre Dame in a thriller to win the Midwest, Michigan State upset Louisville to win the East and Duke topped Gonzaga to win the South.

Next weekend, all four teams will meet in Indianapolis for the Final Four where Duke will take on Michigan State in the first semifinal followed by Kentucky versus Wisconsin in the second semifinal. On Monday night, the two winners will meet in the National Championship game for the chance to claim their one shining moment.

In the women’s college basketball tournament, we’ve got quite the Final Four coming up so far with South Carolina and Notre Dame heading to Tampa. Who else will join them? Stay tuned for Monday’s match-up between UConn and Dayton as well as Maryland and Tennessee to find out.

NBA

Let’s start with an injury report. Sadly, the Oklahoma City Thunder announced that star Kevin Durant will have season-ending foot surgery to repair the broken bone he’s been suffering from all season. Here’s to hoping he’ll be back on his feet by next season!

In on the court news, the Golden State Warriors clinched the top seed in the Western Conference on Saturday night with a win over the Milwaukee Bucks. The Warriors also achieved the greatest number of wins in franchise history with the victory.

This week, make sure to check out:

  • Golden State at LA Clippers – Tuesday
  • Miami at Cleveland – Thursday
  • Oklahoma City at Memphis – Friday

Other

Australia defeated New Zealand to win the Cricket World Cup on Sunday.

Denny Hamlin picked up his 25th victory at Martinsville Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Race.

Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson participated in a one day work out with the Texas Rangers (yes, the baseball team!).

JUST FOR FUN

You’re a Wizard
The Washington Wizards signed a 13-year-old to their team for a day

STORIES FOR INSIGHTS, COOL FACTOR + DEBATE

So happy together
Careers aren’t always about the next move
Geno Auriemma and Chris Dailey have worked with UConn basketball since 1985, and neither of them are looking to leave

Hot Rod
Rest in peace, Rod Hundley
He made a name for himself at West Virginia, played for the Lakers, and broadcasted for the Jazz (as well as other teams)

The floor slap
When you need a helping hand on defense
Historically, Duke players slap the floor to lift the intensity of the game. If you’re an opponent, this means trouble.

Hamburglar
Andrew Hammond of the Ottawa Senators gets free burgers for life
He’s the most trending player in the NHL after a Cinderella-esque rise to the top

One of a kind
Dean Smith left a gift for each of his players
A small check was sent out to each UNC letterman that played under him on behalf of his trust

3.23.15: How Sweet It Is …

Good morning Team SQ! After a fun first weekend in the NCAA tournament, we’re down to 16 teams that will get a few days to prepare for their next battle: the Sweet 16. Check out this awesome dunk by Kentucky’s Willie Cauley-Stein that emphasizes how awesome the tourney has been so far:

 

 

QUIPS FOR THIS WEEK

College Basketball

First thing first — March Madness. The NCAA Men’s Tournament has certainly lived up to the hype so far. We’ve seen top seeds fall (see: Villanova and UVA), strong performances (See: Notre Dame and Michigan State), and the best teams dominate (see: Kentucky and Duke), all of which got us here: the Sweet 16.

Who are the lucky teams that made it to the Sweet 16?

  • South:
    • #1 Duke vs. #5 Utah (3/27)
    • #11 UCLA vs. #2 Gonzaga (3/27)
  • Midwest:
    • #1 Kentucky vs.#5 West Virgina (3/26)
    • #3 Notre Dame vs. #7 Wichita St. (3/26)
  • West:
    • #1 Wisconsin vs. #4 UNC (3/26)
    • #6 Xavier vs. #2 Arizona (3/26)
  • East
    • #8 NC State vs. #4 Louisville (3/27)
    • #3 Oklahoma vs. #7 Michigan State (3/27)

The Sweet 16 kicks off Thursday and Friday and the winners will compete in the Elite 8 on Saturday and Sunday… and then it’s onward to Indy for the Final Four!

The Women’s Tournament is still proceeding with 3rd round games.  Make sure to check out undefeated #8 Princeton take on #1 Maryland tonight on ESPN in the Spokane region.

NBA

It was an interesting weekend for the Oklahoma City Thunder, as star point guard Russell Westbrook continued to dazzle with his 10th triple double of the season on Sunday night. The team also announced that star player Kevin Durant would be out indefinitely to recover from the foot injury that has plagued him for much of the season. It’s unclear how far the Thunder can go, but this is without a doubt a storyline to watch.

Steve Nash of the LA Lakers announced his retirement from basketball over the weekend. Nash is a 2-time MVP and one of the most fun to watch point guards in the history of the game.

What’s on deck this week? Check out:

  • Oklahoma City at San Antonio – Wednesday
  • Golden State at Memphis – Friday

Other

In all things NFL, St. Louis Rams’ owner Stan Kroenke is looking to design a football stadium in the LA area, the Pittsburgh Steelers re-signed LB James Harrison to a  2-year contract, and LB Chris Borland of the San Francisco 49ers retired from football at the age of 24 due to concerns about long term health.

Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers is getting closer to a return to the ice. The star goalie is back at practice after damaging a blood vessel in his neck in February, but will take his time before rushing back to the game.

Barcelona defeated rival Real Madrid 2-1 to pick up a huge Clasico win in La Liga on Sunday.

Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs is looking particularly awesome so far in Spring baseball. He hit his 8th home run on Saturday in a win against the Seattle Mariners.

Novak Djokovic defeated Roger Federer at Indian Wells in a 3-set finale to win the championship trophy.

In case you forgot, Missy Franklin is still an amazing swimmer. She won her third NCAA title for the Cal Bears on Saturday night during the Swimming and Diving Championships.

JUST FOR FUN

When it’s all said and done
Danny Manning on what it feels like to win a national championship

STORIES FOR INSIGHTS, COOL FACTOR + DEBATE

Why doesn’t Westbrook like you?
The divide between players and the press
A story of a relationship that isn’t bad  – it’s just virtually nonexistent

With skin you’ll win
…but not really
If you’ve watched any March Madness at all, you probably noticed that the players are all covered up

Casualty counts
Baseball isn’t lookin’ as good as it was a month ago
Take a look at all the MLB players headed towards Tommy John surgeries

Real business
The benefits of sports documentaries
They’re inexpensive (in comparison to live television rights) and engage viewers for longer

Get used to it
Being an athlete means coping with both wins and losses
We saw Flavia Pennetta struggle with the same pressure we all feel when we’re in the heat of the moment

3.9.15: Time for conference tournaments

We know March is all about college hoops, but our video today is nothing but professional. Check out Stephen Curry being nothing short of magical in this awesome play from the Golden State Warriors’ win over the LA Clippers. WOWZA.

QUIPS FOR THIS WEEK

NBA

It was another fun week in NBA land. Russell Westbrook was the talk of the week after putting up 4 triple doubles in a row followed by an almost triple double and then another triple double this past Sunday as the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Toronto Raptors. Is he making a case for league MVP? It’s certainly not out of the question.

As we mentioned in the intro, the Golden State Warriors are looking pretty good these days. The Dubs have the best record in the league at 49-12, just edging above the Atlanta Hawks who have a 49-13 record. As we move towards the playoffs, it’s looking more and more like these two teams will finish on top of the East and West.

So, what should you be watching this week?

  • Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Dallas Mavericks – Tuesday
  • LA Clippers at Oklahoma City Thunder – Wednesday
  • Houston Rockets at Portland Trailblazers – Wednesday

College Basketball

The regular season in college hoops has come to a close. Before we get to conference play, let’s take a look at the big results from over the weekend. #1 Kentucky beat Florida to complete a perfect regular season at 31-0, #3 Duke beat #19 UNC in Chapel Hill, #15 Oklahoma upset #9 Kansas at the last second, #2 UVA fell to #16 Louisville on the road and #6 Wisconsin defeated #23 Ohio State with the help of a big second half rally.

Like we said, March is all about the Madness… but before the NCAA Tournament come the conference tournaments. Check out the 2015 men’s conference tournament schedule here.

Many of the women’s conference tournaments have already wrapped up. #1 UConn won the AAC tournament, #2 Notre Dame won their second ACC tournament championship in a row, #3 South Carolina won the SEC tournament championship,  #4 Maryland won their first Big Ten tournament championship and #21 GW won the Atlantic 10 championship title to receive an automatic NCAA bid.

What else is on deck? Selection Sunday! As in next Sunday, when both men’s NCAA Tournament seeds are announced. The women’s selection show is on that following Monday. Here we go!

Other

There were quite a few significant NFL off-season signings to talk about over the weekend. WR Jeremy Maclin is headed to the Kansas City Chiefs, RB Frank Gore is joining the Philadelphia Eagles, and Ndamukong Suh is expected to sign a very nice contract with the Miami Dolphins.

The Chicago Blackhawks are hopeful that Patrick Kane will be able to return from the injury reserve in time for the NHL playoffs. The star player fractured his clavicle in February and is working hard to make it back.

In all things baseball, the Texas Rangers are concerned that pitcher Yu Darvish may need Tommy John surgery after tests indicated a sprained ligament in his elbow. Here’s to hoping that he is okay.

JUST FOR FUN

What doesn’t Shaq endorse?
This list of all the products he’s supported over the years will exhaust you!

STORIES FOR INSIGHTS, COOL FACTOR + DEBATE

Who runs the world? Girls
In celebration of International Women’s Day
Educating the world on how important athletics are to young women

Kentucky
The scariest (and best) team we’ve seen in a long time
This college basketball team is anchored by two Godzillas, and they’re headed to the NBA

A new record
Congratulations to Lionel Messi
He just surpassed Ronaldo for the most hat tricks in La Liga history

Rounding up the all stars
Having a hard time keeping track of the best NCAA basketball players as we head towards the NBA draft?
Here are the big names across each of the conferences – keep an eye on these guys, they’re going to go fast!

3.2.15: March is HERE

Welcome to March! It’s no shocker that we are excited for the upcoming March Madness, and it appears that Tekele Cotton is too. Check out his awesome tomahawk dunk from over the weekend as his #11 Wichita State squad defeated #10 Northern Iowa to secure the MVC regular season title.

 

QUIPS FOR THIS WEEK

NBA

The playoffs are about six weeks away and things are heating up in the NBA. The Cleveland Cavaliers lost an intense game to the Houston Rockets in OT on Sunday night. The game featured MVP candidates James Harden and LeBron James. Despite the loss, the Cavs are looking pretty good these days and may be the team to beat in the East.

Stephen Curry dropped 37 points as the Golden State Warriors posted an impressive comeback from 26 down to beat the Boston Celtics on the road. The Dubs remain the team to beat in the wild wild West (for now).

We’ve also got some injury updates. Last week Chicago Bulls’ player Derrick Rose suffered a knee injury that required surgical repair. He is expected to return in about 4-6 weeks (in time for the playoffs). Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook also had surgery to repair a broken cheek bone, but should return within the week. That’s good news for the Thunder because he’s been playing out of his mind and posting up triple doubles left and right.

There was also sad news over the weekend, as former New York Knick Anthony Mason passed away at the age of 48. Our thoughts are with his family at this time.

College Basketball

Like we said in our intro, March is here and so many things are happening. After another strong weekend, #1 Kentucky looks awesome and remains undefeated, #2 Virginia remains strong and #4 Duke continues to impress in their 9 game winning streak since losing to #9 Notre Dame back in January. Despite losing last week to #14 Maryland, #5 Wisconsin looked solid this weekend and #7 Arizona picked up a big win on Saturday night against #13 Utah. So, what was the big surprise of the weekend? That would be #3 Gonzaga, who fell to BYU in a big upset on Saturday night.

#8 Kansas is working with the NCAA to examine the eligibility of star player Cliff Alexander. Time will tell how long the investigation will take.

In all things impressive in women’s college hoops, #5 Maryland defeated #25 Northwestern to finish with an 18-0 record in their first season of the Big Ten in their overall record of 27-2.

What to watch this week? Tune in for these awesome upcoming games in men’s hoops:

  • #2 Virginia at Syracuse – Monday
  • #20 West Virginia at #8 Kansas – Tuesday
  • #9 Notre Dame at #17 Louisville – Wednesday
  • Florida at #1 Kentucky – Saturday
  • #4 Duke at #15 North Carolina – Saturday
  • #8 Kansas at #16 Oklahoma – Saturday

NHL

The NHL trade deadline offered many impressive and noteworthy deals over the weekend. Of note: Keith Yandle was traded from the Arizona Coyotes to the New York Rangers.

The Florida Panthers and Jaromir Jagr may still be getting to know each other, but things appear to be going well so far as Jagr picked up 1 goal and 1 assist in a win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. He’s now tied for 5th all-time in goals in the NHL.

The Chicago Blackhawks have added Antoine Vermette to their squad. The Blackhawks have had to make some quick moves as they try to readjust to life without Patrick Kane, who’s out recovering from an injury.

NFL

The NFL draft may not be until the end of April, but there are still a few football stories to report this week:

The Dallas Cowboys have decided to put the franchise tag on WR Dez Bryant. This is expected to happen before the deadline on Monday.

The Seattle Seahawks’ Marshawn Lynch spoke to a Turkish sports network over the weekend about his expectations for the final play of Super Bowl XLIX. He stated: “To be honest with you, I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that I was expecting the ball. Yes, I was expecting the ball. But in life, these things happen. Like I told a reporter after the game, it’s a team sport.” 

Other

Rest in Peace to baseball legend Minnie Minoso of the Chicago White Sox. Minoso was the first black player in the league from Latin America and remains huge part of baseball history.

Chelsea defeated Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 on Sunday to win the Capital One Cup final. Oh, and in other futbol news, Liverpool came out on top against Manchester City 2-1.

It took Ronda Rousey only 14 seconds to become a champion. The UFC fighter defeated Cat Zingano in an impressive fight on Saturday night.

Let’s talk tennis, and the fact that Rafa is back on top! Rafael Nadal picked up a big win at the Argentina Open over the weekend to get his first title in roughly 9 months.

 

JUST FOR FUN

Better with age
Stephen Curry was the bomb even in the 8th grade

 

STORIES FOR INSIGHTS, COOL FACTOR + DEBATE

MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference
Just how important are analytics?
All of the important info you need to know about what went down over the weekend

Thank you!
Kevin Garnett shows his appreciation
He bought 1000 tickets to his first game back in Minnesota to thank his fans for their support

Have you seen the Browns’ new logo?
Neither have we!
They claim that they’ve rebranded, but we’re not really seeing much change

David Blatt
How the Cavs coach has shaped their team
He knows he’s got star players, but he needed to make them into a family — a little bowling trip may have done the trick!