3.28.16: Final Four

So, this weekend happened… and all roads lead to Houston now! How did we get here? Let’s check out a mini-recap:

 

QUIPS FOR THIS WEEK

College Basketball

College hoops was nothing short of dramatic this past week/end…but we’ve finally reached the Final Four.

Like we said in the intro, how did we get here? On Saturday, No. 2 seed Oklahoma dominated No. 1 seed Oregon with the help of 37 points from Buddy Hield to win the West 80-68, while No. 2 seed Villanova beat No. 1 seed Kansas 64-59 in a tough match-up to win the South. On Sunday, Syracuse came back from a 16-point deficit in the second half to become the 4th 10 seed to reach the Final Four in a 68-62 win over No. 1 seed UVA in the Midwest, while No. 1 seed UNC scored an 88-74 win over No. 6 seed Notre Dame.

Next week we’re headed to NRG Stadium in Houston, where #2 Villanova will play #2 Oklahoma and #1 Syracuse will play #1 UNC (scheduling TBD).

In women’s hoops news, Coach Geno Auriemma defended the dominance of his UConn program. Even though the team is three wins away from their fourth straight national championship, critics are saying UConn’s success may not be beneficial to the sport.

NBA

LA Clippers star Blake Griffin has finally healed from his broken hand incident and will now begin his 4-game suspension before returning to his team (who just clinched a spot in the Western Conference playoffs).

It appears that LeBron James might be interested in teaming up with Carmelo Anthony and Co. sometime before their playing days are over… as indicated in this Bleacher Report longread.

Other

With less than 30 seconds left in OT, Sidney Crosby scored his Pittsburgh Penguins a big win over the New York Rangers, 3-2. We’re getting geared up for NHL playoffs, which are drawing nearer and nearer. Your current top 5 teams headed into the end of regular season play are the Washington Capitals, Dallas Stars, St. Louis Blues, Los Angeles Kings, and New York Rangers. Check out the current playoff pairings here.

In soccer, international games took place this weekend and domestic league action will return next weekend. In international soccer community news, Johan Cruyff, Dutch football hero, passed away at the age of 68. Rest in peace.

JUST FOR FUN

Cubs with cubs
In case your Monday morning needed a little pick me up, take a look at the baby bears at the Cubs’ spring training

 

STORIES FOR INSIGHTS, COOL FACTOR + DEBATE

Resignation
Indian Wells CEO and tournament director steps down
Raymond Moore made unacceptable comments regarding equal prize money for male and female tennis players

Rest in Peace
Joe Garagiola spent 9 years playing baseball and 57 years in broadcasting
The fan favorite will be sincerely missed

 

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3.21.16: Yeah Buddy

 Opening weekend… SO, that happened. While there were a lot of standout moments from this weekend, let’s take a moment to highlight Buddy Hield’s amazing second half performance that sent his Oklahoma Sooners into the Sweet 16.

QUIPS FOR THIS WEEK

College Basketball

If your bracket is busted, you’re not the only one – double digit seeds have been playing extraordinarily well this tournament! No. 2 seed Michigan State lost to No. 15 seed Middle Tennessee 81-90 on Friday. No. 5 seed Indiana upset No. 4 seed Kentucky, and No. 14 seed Stephen F. Austin State University shocked West Virginia in the round of 64 before narrowly losing to No. 6 Notre Dame in the round of 32. No. 7 seed Wisconsin edged No. 2 seed Xavier with a buzzer-beater, No. 3 seed Texas A&M beat No. 11 Northern Iowa after a 12-point comeback and 2OT, and No. 1 seed Oregon rallied to beat Saint Joseph’s.

So where does that lead us? The Sweet 16. Games kick off this Thursday/Friday in Philadelphia, Anaheim, Louisville and Chicago and we couldn’t be more excited. Of note, the ACC sent a record 6 teams to the Sweet 16 round and while there a few Cinderellas, all number 1 seeds survived the opening rounds.

NBA

The best of the west, the Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs, faced off on Saturday evening down in Texas. The Dubs didn’t have their best game and the Spurs looked strong in an 87-79 win. Stay tuned, the story between these two isn’t over!

The New Orleans Pelicans announced that Anthony Davis is done for the season and will be shut down as he recovers from injury.

Finally, the Cleveland Cavs lost on the road in Miami 122-101. Why is this significant? It’s the 11th consecutive home victory for the Heat over the Cavs.

Soccer

The Champions League final 8 is now set. Last week, we noted that Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Wolfsburg, and Benfica moved on to the quarterfinals. This week, Manchester City, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, and Bayern Munich joined them.  

Other

As of this week, the MLB is now allowed to sign Cuban baseball players, similar to how they sign nationals from other countries. In the past, due to sanctions, this was not possible.

JUST FOR FUN

Fetch
Why use ball boys if you could use dogs instead?

 

STORIES FOR INSIGHTS, COOL FACTOR + DEBATE

Goodbye football, hello rugby
Nate Ebner is taking a leave of absence from football to train for the summer Olympics
He’ll be joining the U.S. rugby team at their training facility in California, but will rejoin the New England Patriots after August

3.14.16: THE MADNESS

Remember that time that it was almost March Madness? Oh wait, that time is NOW. Let’s get into the moment with a little magic from last season…

QUIPS FOR THIS WEEK

College Basketball

Last week, we watched a bunch of really great NCAA basketball conference tournament games. You can check out all of the final scores here, but some notable winners are North Carolina (ACC), Michigan State (Big Ten), Kansas (Big 12), Fresno State (Mountain West) Oregon (Pac-12), and Kentucky (SEC). Remember, there are 32 automatic bids for the NCAA tournament, and 31 of those come from the winners of the conference tournaments.

NOW it’s time to embrace March Madness and the bracketology that comes with it! See here for the full bracket, and get ready for the magic to begin this week.

Soccer

Soccer on this side of the pond is back in action! The MLS season kicked off with all 20 teams having matches. Will the Portland Timbers repeat their championship-winning season, or does 2016 glory belong to another club? Stay tuned for all of the latest updates as this MLS campaign unfolds.

In Europe, Champions League action resumed with four teams advancing to the final 8. Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Wolfsburg, and Benfica moved on. They await potential quarterfinalists depending on this week’s matches: Barcelona/Arsenal, Bayern Munich/Juventus, Manchester City/Dynamo Kiev, and Atletico Madrid/PSV Eindhoven.

In English football’s oldest tournament, the FA Cup, last year’s champions Arsenal were knocked out in a surprise upset, losing 2-1 to fellow Premier Leaguers WatfordEverton defeated Chelsea 2-0, while Crystal Palace dispatched Reading by the same score line. The final spot in the semi-finals will belong to either Manchester United or West Ham United, who drew 1-1 on Sunday. Their quarter final replay date is TBD, dependent on the outcome of Manchester United’s upcoming Europa League match.

Other

Maria Sharapova tested positive for a banned substance at the Australian Open.  She had been taking mildronate – a drug that was recently placed on the banned substance list – for ten years. Following the drug test, sponsors including Nike, Tag Heuer and Porsche have suspended or severed ties with the 28-year-old tennis player.

JUST FOR FUN

Talking trash
The funniest signs from the Rangers/Penguins game this week

 

STORIES FOR INSIGHTS, COOL FACTOR + DEBATE

#rideforOlivia
A global phenomenon
The tribute to 17-year-old Olivia Inglis, who fell off her horse and died on a cross-country course, has touched individuals around the world

 

3.7.16: Here comes the 2016 Conference Tournament…

It’s conference championship week in college hoops land! We’re reminiscing over last year, but also wondering who your favorites for the 2016 NCAA Conference Tournament are…

 

QUIPS FOR THIS WEEK

NBA

In all things unlikely, the LA Lakers upset the Golden State Warriors on Sunday with a big
(actually historic) regular season 112-95 win. This was the Dubs’ sixth loss of the season… no more parties in LA!

And, on Saturday, LeBron James achieved two milestones – with the Cleveland Cavaliers’ win over the Boston Celtics 120-103, he joined Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the third player in league history to have 700 consecutive games with ten or more points, and passed Tim Duncan for fourteenth on the career scoring list.

Ex-Brooklyn Nets player Joe Johnson has been on fire for his first three games with the Miami Heat.

The Houston Rockets and Ty Lawson have finally reached an agreement regarding a contract buyout. Lawson has struggled to play with guard James Harden in Houston since he arrived in July.

College Basketball

The last weekend of the regular season in college hoops was full of big match-ups as UNC took down Duke 76-72 on the road, Indiana crushed Maryland 80-62,  Kansas got the victory over Iowa State 85-78, Virginia won 68-46 over Louisville, and Virginia Tech scored a surprising win over Miami 77-62.

This week it’s all about the conference championships (schedule here) which will lead us right into bracketology aka MARCH MADNESS. Because, ready or not…

Soccer

Leicester City is still sitting at the top of the table , five points ahead of their closest challengers, after Saturday’s 1-0 win over Watford. #5 West Ham United scored a 3-2 win over Everton, and #2 and #3 Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal (respectively) drew 2-2 in the North London derby despite Arsenal losing Francis Coquelin early on in the second half. #4 Manchester City had a great Saturday with a 4-0 win over Aston Villa, which closed their gap on the top 3 rivals.

Two top-10 teams, Chelsea and Stoke City, drew 1-1 and on Sunday, Liverpool beat Crystal Palace 2-1 and West Bromwich Albion took home a win over Manchester United, 1-0, after midfielder Juan Mata was sent off the field after 27 minutes.

And, in the German Bundesliga, we watched a fantastic, fast-paced game of football between top 2 teams Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund on Saturday. The match ended in a 0-0 draw, and Bayern Munich still remains 5 points ahead at the top of the league table.

Other

Aroldis Chapman, the New York Yankees closer, was suspended for 30 games after violating MLB’s domestic violence policy. The Cuban-born player is in the process of applying for United States citizenship at this time.
Conor McGregor was defeated by Nate Diaz in two rounds at UFC 196 on Saturday night in Las Vegas.

JUST FOR FUN

Goodbye, Peyton
In honor of Peyton Manning announcing his retirement, here’s a list of his greatest moments

 

STORIES FOR INSIGHTS, COOL FACTOR + DEBATE

Erin Andrews
Why questioning whether the peephole video benefited her career was a huge misstep
The public and the media are up in arms about the defense’s argument, designed to demean the already emotionally traumatized plaintiff

Teammates
Best friends forever
Former roommates Steph Curry and Bryant Barr are trying to make a splash in social media off the court

Making moves
The Ivy League approved measures to prevent brain trauma and other injuries in football
They are eliminating full-contact practices for the regular season, and it’ll be interesting to see who else joins them in this effort to keep players safe