Virginia is the best team in college basketball. Virginia holds the top spot in both the AP Top 25 and coaches poll. Through their 28 games, the Cavaliers have proven they are more than deserving of the top spot.
This group possesses as much fight and discipline as any team in the country. Tony Bennett’s teams are known for their defensive prowess. This year, Virginia has taken it to an entirely new level. The Cavaliers are the unquestioned best defensive crew in college basketball -- and it isn’t all that close. Through 28 games, Virginia is allowing a Division 1-leading 52.9 points per game. The gap between Virginia and second place Michigan State is over 10 points. At 26-2 (15–1 ACC) the Cavaliers prove once again that defense usually wins.
While their offense can be slow and plodding at times, a national ranking isn’t based upon the flashiness of an offense or the perceived NBA draft stock on a roster. Schools should be ranked on the team’s success alone, and no team -- including Michigan State or Villanova -- can compete with Virginia’s resume.
The Cavaliers are the best team in the ACC right now, and look poised to grab a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Villanova lost to Creighton on Saturday and dropped to number 4.
Virginia has already locked up the top seed for next month's conference tournament in Brooklyn. Duke as always looms big in a potential tournament match-up. Don’t be surprised if the Cavaliers come out on top. They might be the only surefire 1-seed come Selection Sunday.
Selection Sunday is no longer the only major thing looming over college hoops, as Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, Texas, USC, Auburn and of course, Arizona have been among the teams drawn into the fast-evolving specter of the FBI’s investigation into the corruption sewn across the sport.
Arizona’s Sean Miller and former Louisville coach Rick Pitino might not be the only big name coaches (Auburn’s Bruce Pearl?) exposed by the FBI as it continues its investigation into college basketball recruiting. Multiple reports last week indicated that the scandal could yet mushroom, implicating every major conference, several Hall of Fame coaches, a score of current top players and some of the nation’s most distinguished and respected programs.
The stunning revelations about one of my favorite sport’s open secret, unearthed in reports by Yahoo Sports and ESPN, have finally arrived for the NCAA and its absurd model of amateurism. This March, the madness likely means top programs worrying as much about FBI findings as RPI rankings, with their focus diverted from one shining moment by nearly 3,000 hours of potentially compromising phone conversations. Think of how nervous that number makes so many coaches.
Predictably, NCAA President Mark Emmert responded with a statement, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Referencing his appointed Commission on College Basketball, whatever that is, Emmert dropped committee member Condoleezza Rice’s (why is she even on this committee?) name in the third sentence to establish credibility and vowed what the NCAA seldom delivers. Yea, ok.
We didn’t need an FBI investigation to discover the current system lines the pockets of everyone but those who actually make the money, the players.
Now let’s talk the obvious: The time has come to adopt an Olympic-style compensation structure that permits so-called student-athletes in all sports to be paid what the market bears. This would eliminate the corruption that runs so rampant nowadays in big time college sports. A high school kid and his family can’t be on the take if there are no rules to break. The AAU coaches or middlemen like sneaker companies brokering seedy deals between schools, agents and recruits can’t wield such power in college basketball’s underworld if everything is done above board.
More leaks are expected. More programs will face accusations. More players will be forced to deny receiving goodies from agents. And it doesn’t sound like the NCAA is planning to make any of these schools ineligible for postseason play. Maybe it should. Then, just maybe we can eliminate college basketball’s worst kept secret…making millions from those so called student athletes.
The American hockey gold medal drought is finally over. They needed the first shootout in an Olympic women’s final to do it, too. Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scored a dazzling, triple-deke goal in the sixth round of a shootout to claim the hard fought victory. They piled over the boards, throwing gloves in the air before huddling and hugging on the ice — 20 years after the women’s last gold medal in women’s hockey and 38 years to the day after the men’s famous “Miracle on Ice” victory over the Russians in group play at Lake Placid. Thank goodness, because the men’s team were a no show. Bring back the NHL.
The Met’s Zach Wheeler went 3-7 with a 5.21 ERA in 17 starts for the Mets last season before he was shut down in August with a stress injury to his right arm. Wheeler missed the previous two seasons rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. Then after hearing of the Vargas deal Wheeler told the press he wasn’t happy. He feels he is one of this years starters. Zach... when you can stay healthy and pitcher better than a 5.21 ERA then you complain to the press, not before.
Looks like Brain Cashman has stolen another one from the Dimondbacks. Brandon Drury isn’t exactly the Next Big Thing but the natural 3rd basemen who can play all over the place is insurance for the Yankee infield. My guess is he’s the starting hot corner guy on opening day. Drury, who turns 26 in August, has had a couple of solid seasons in Arizona, hitting .267 with 37 doubles and 13 home runs last year. Is Drury the latest notch on the GM’s belt? Would you bet against it?
The rebuilding Rangers on Tuesday traded defenseman Nick Holden to the Bruins for defenseman Rob O’Gara and Boston’s third-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft in the first of what should be at least a few deals GM Jeff Gorton makes before Monday afternoon’s trade deadline. The first domino has fallen.
With the NCAA forcing Louisville to vacate its 2013 national championship, the title is now up for grabs and a group of Michigan fans are claiming it as their own. The fan blog site Maize n Brew announced they will be selling T-shirts commemorating Michigan's newfound de-facto 2013 national championship starting Tuesday. Louisville defeated the Wolverines in the championship game. In sure current Knick guards Tim Hardaway Jr. and Trey Burke will take some.
It’s no secret that the Jets absolutely would love to sign Kirk Cousins in the coming weeks, according to actual team sources. He’s a win-now AND win-later quarterback entering the prime of his career. There’s a large enough window (at least five seasons) to win with the soon-to-be 30-year-old signal caller to make it more than worthwhile to make a strong investment in him, but let’s be clear: The Jets are not going to try to bring him aboard by any means necessary. But suppose we renamed Met life The Cousins Colisuem?
Pitchers and catchers report. They’re four great words, no doubt. Spring Training is now underway and it couldn’t come sooner for this die hard baseball fan. Not much to root for in New York area this past fall and winter, unless maybe you’re a Devils fan.
Pitchers and catchers reported last week and position players are trickled in to Tampa early like Stanton, Wade, Frazier and Austin. Even the non-rostered players were arriving early. Each hoping to impress the new manager Aaron Boone and his staff. The Yankees' first full-squad workout is scheduled for today.
I am weirdly interested in hearing how Spring Training runs this year. Rob Thomson had been in charge of Spring Training since 1998, even when he wasn’t on the coaching staff, third base coach Phil Nevin and infielder coordinator Carlos Mendoza will run the show this year.
It’s a time-honored tradition to see what uniforms the non-roster invites will don. The Yankees always run out a few zany ones considering their increasingly large list of retired numbers. As for the veterans… Austin Romine will have number 28, previously worn by Girardi. Romine surrendered number 27 to Giancarlo, who is somehow on the Yankees. Let that sink in for a minute. It’s going to be a fun spring, isn’t it?
Spring training games kick off on Friday, which means that baseball season is right around the corner. I’m loving it.
To get more days off during the season, baseball will start one week earlier than in the past. The Yankees were told to pack their passports for Spring Training, as they are scheduled to open the 2018 regular season north of the border with a four-game series against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, beginning with Opening Day on March 29.
The 115th home opener in Yankees history is scheduled to be played against the Rays on April 2 at Yankee Stadium, beginning a six-game homestand that also welcomes the Orioles to town. April 10-12 marks their first visit to Fenway Park. Boston is scheduled to visit the Bronx on May 8-10, June 29-July 1 and Sept. 18-20. The Yanks-BoSox rivalry should be intense this year as the “Evil Empire” is favored to win the AL East.
The Yankees are loaded. Of course we know how close they came last October. They might get 100 home runs or more out of Stanton and Judge, and who knows how many Sanchez hits if he stays healthy? They have that kind of power in the batting order and we know how much power they have out of the bullpen. Only question is, can the starters stay healthy and the rookies make an impact?
The Astros may have the target on their backs, but the Yankees have the ammo to slay them.
So hurry up, lets get thru Spring Training and get the season going.
In an important game within the Metropolitan Division, the New Jersey Devils prevailed over the Carolina Hurricanes, 5-2. For anyone waiting for the shoe to drop, the resurgent Devils are for real. After pulling out a shootout victory to end a losing streak in Philly, the Devils won in regulation last night. What’s more, it was against another team right by the Devils in the Metropolitan Division standings, Carolina. This regulation wins matters.
New Jersey has 66 points; this puts them in a tie with Philadelphia for third place, as both teams have the same number of games.
As for the other locals, the Islanders remain on the bubble with a 3-0 shut-out of the Rangers. Again we saw shaky goal tending from the fading once spectacular Henrik Lundqvist and continued inability to score. If the Islanders played the Rangers more often, Garth Snow just might become GM for life.
Even though the Blueshirts had 50 shots on goal, nothing got by Halak. Since the All-Star break they have only scored 13 goals in eight games. Both the Devils and Islanders have scored 26 in their last eight.
The Islanders (28-25-6, 62 points) are 3-0-0 against the Rangers (27-26-5, 59 points) this season and are 10-1-0 in the last 11 matchups. Halak is 13-1-0 in his last 14 head-to-head battles with Lundqvist. The Islanders moved within a point of the fore mentioned Hurricanes for the last playoff spot.
It wasn’t that long ago we were talking about for the first time in a long time, all three area teams qualifying for the playoffs. Not so much anymore.
Yeah, there are plenty of games left, and anything is possible, but at this stage, only the Devils look like the sure thing.
A pretty powerful and moving moment at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics was when four South Korean singers sang John Lennon’s “Imagine”. The performance of Lennon's peace message emphasizes world harmony, peace, hope and the world living as one, fit the theme of the PyeongChang Olympics' opening ceremony, "Peace in Motion." And it was way cool to watch the North and South Korean teams walk in under one flag for the first time in 12 years. But it was those four singers and their beautiful cover of a classic that stole the spotlight.
The Eagles were so paranoid about the Patriots spying on their Super Bowl practices; they held a fake walkthrough at U.S. Bank Stadium before the game to throw off any potential espionage. Can you blame them??
All you need to know about the current impasse with free agents in baseball is the headline I saw the other day about Eric Hosmer looking for an 8 or 9-year deal for in the neighbor hood of 135 million. Well, OK, Hosmer can look for a contract like that. But on what planet?
The St John’s Red Storm hoops team was having a tough go of it until it came time to play Number 4 Duke at the Garden. Since then, eight crazy days of winning (and Shamorie Ponds) have brought hope to St. John's fans everywhere. Upset wins over those Blue Devils, Number 1 Villanova and a 12 point win over Marquette have made me believe that this team could be something special come Big East tournament time. I can dream, can’t I?
Malcolm Butler a two-time Super Bowl champion cornerback may have just hit the market for the Jets and Giants. Butler, 27, is an unrestricted free agent and while it is early in the free agent process, he could still be appealing to both teams. I’ll take him.
How is it that the IOC decided to ban Russia from the games and yet there are over 40 athletes competing as an Olympic Athlete from Russia?? Please, someone explain this to me.
The LaVar Ball news is so ridiculous, I won’t even mention it.
The New York Rangers are in trouble, so is their head coach Alain Vigneault.
Management or ownership would be derelict not to review the situation following the end of this season that continued with Wednesday’s 6-1 Garden rout by the Bruins that marked the depleted, demoralized team’s fourth straight loss and seventh in the past eight games, all in regulation. The Rangers are keeping company with their hapless MSG roommates, the Knicks. Everything that can go wrong, has gone wrong.
This is Vigneault’s fifth full season behind the bench on Broadway. It is safe to say that the Rangers coach is not necessarily safe for a sixth season, even if he has two years remaining at just over $4 million per on the contract extension he was granted in January 2017.
The Blueshirts, 3-10 in their last 13 are going through their least productive stretch of hockey since the 2003-04 club wheezed to the finish line at 2-10. Is it time to purge this club and it’s coach? They were projected to be a playoff team. That’s what they were until the bubble burst almost immediately following the Winter Classic victory. The reasons are many.
Kevin Shattenkirk and Chris Kreider went down for the long haul before being joined on the sideline by Pavel Buchnevich, Marc Staal and Jimmy Vesey. Recently waved Brendan Smith was a bust. No. 7 pick Lias Andersson would not only be able to make the jump directly from the draft to the NHL as a 19-year-old, but would be able to assume third-line responsibilities. The Swede was not ready. J.T. Miller hasn’t picked up the slack as management thought he would. Mika Zibanejad has under performed as well. 36 year old Henrik Lundqvist the face of the franchise, has been terribly inconsistent. He has been pulled 3 times recently. The defense has been porous, Hank is actually getting less support than he did at the damn All-Star game.
Is all of this on Vigneault? I think much of it is. After last night’s beating he was quoted as saying “I think tonight there’s no doubt that our guys were prepared to play and we knew what we had to do. We came out and we were doing it.” Really??? As Vigneault was saying that, by the way, probably-out-the-door Ryan McDonagh rightfully blasted the Rangers for not being ready and not having a compete level. At least someone in the room gets it.
McDonagh, Nash, Smith and Nick Holden may not be here next year as the Rangers will probably have a fire sale in the off season or by the trade deadline. Maybe they need to add Vigneault to that list.
It was Todd Frazier who came to the Yankees last summer and helped them come within one victory of the World Series. It is he who is returning to New York…as a New York Met. The Little League legend from Toms River, N.J., who loves Frank Sinatra, will play 3rd for the Mets in 2018 and 2019, at $17 million.
For the Mets, this is a significant improvement at a low cost, one that strongly suggests they don't expect any contribution from David Wright, who didn't play at all last season and most likely won’t ever be in a Mets uniform again.
I wonder had the Yankees made the same offer to Frazier if he would have returned. All we have heard since October is that he wanted too much and they wanted to stay under the salary cap. So instead they will take their chances with Miguel Andujar.
Frazier split last season between the White Sox and the Yankees. His .213 average was hardly a knockout, his 27 homers and 83 walks were. His defense was above average and his clubhouse influence helped many of the young baby bombers.
Frazier made his major league debut in May 2011 and spent five seasons with the Reds, earning All-Star honors in the final two (2014-15). In 2015, after hitting 25 homers in the first half of the season, he won the Home Run Derby hosted in Cincinnati, but fell into a second-half slump and finished with 35 homers and a .255/.309/.498/117 OPS+ line. The Reds, who went into rebuilding mode soon after hosting the All-Star Game, dealt Frazier to the White Sox in December in a three-team, seven-player swap. In his lone full season on the South Side, Frazier set a career high with 40 homers but slipped to a .225 average.
Now he’ll play cross-town and improve them at the hot corner. While the return of Jay Bruce and the addition of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, whose 2017 season was wrecked by back woes look rather meek, there’s a lot more the Mets could and should do to return to contention after a dismal 70-92 season, but this is a step in the right direction.
I liked having him on the Yanks. Goodbye Todd and Thanks!
Super Bowl LII is in the books and the Philadelphia Eagles have been crowned the unlikely champions after a 41-33 win over the New England Patriots. Nick Foles has become a hero and the boisterous Eagle fans smashed a department store window, broke into and looted a convenience store, while other revelers flipped over a car or two and leaped off a hotel entrance's awning. Congratulations Philadelphia!
Yes it was a very entertaining game. 1,151 yards of total offense between the two teams: 538 for Philadelphia, 613 for New England. The total figure is the best illustration of the kind of track meet this Super Bowl was. It was the highest total yardage in a Super Bowl ever by a margin of more than 200 yards. This looked like a Big 12 game at times.
It was an unexpected win by the underdogs Eagles, while their drunken fans sprayed beer and climbed trash trucks, street poles and whatever else they could find. That wasn’t.
It was such a wild game that Foles caught a touchdown pass , and Tom Brady was on the opposite end of a Danny Amendola throw that went off his fingertips. He looked like a 40 year old trying to catch it. Did I mention the defenses were missing?
There was only 1 sack in the entire game, which doubled as a pivotal fumble recovery by the Eagles late in the fourth quarter, which ended up as a pressure-packed 75-yard drive for the winning touchdown, 11 yards to Zack Ertz with 2:21 to go, and NBC only showed Gisele Bundchen 4 times.
There were 4 Extra-point or two-point conversion attempts that failed. The only time either defense could stop anyone was immediately after giving up a touchdown, and Pink sang the National Anthem with the flu and killed it.
Yes, it was an entertaining game with not such a great Justin Timberlake half time show, (with terrible sound) and so so commercials with one exception...the Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. Dirty Dancing parody “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.” Eli’s got moves!
Yes, an entertaining game, especially in the closing seconds...Brady escapes pressure and throws a Hail Mary in the direction of Gronk and company. The ball rolls off of Gronk’s helmet and bounces around for an extra heart beat but falls to the turf. Philadelphia has a Super Bowl title, and the Pat’s don’t!
The Eagles were at their best, their fans at their worst.
If you had told me in, say, in Week 7 that we were looking at a Philadelphia Eagles-New England Patriots Super Bowl, I would have agreed with you. So that’s not surprising, but how the Eagles got here is, considering how they stumbled to the finish line in the regular season without Carson Wentz.
They were home underdogs in both NFC playoff games. They were somewhat fortunate to win in the divisional round vs. Atlanta but then blew out the Vikings, 38-7, keeping the streak alive that no team will play a Super Bowl in its home stadium. Wentz looks like he will be one of the NFL's best quarterbacks for the next decade and a future MVP, but he couldn't have played better vs. Minnesota's top-ranked defense than Foles, who was 26-for-33 for three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Philly has a solid offensive line and a good, versatile running game. Ajayi and Blount need to find some success against New England. If so, and Foles gets into a rhythm early, he will become infinitely more dangerous.
On the other hand, the Pats D over the last 12 games of the year, ranked first in the league, giving up a mere 14 points per contest.
With multiple coverage looks and extreme talent in the defensive secondary, the Jaguars gave Brady and the Patriots trouble in the AFC championship game before New England pulled off yet another epic comeback. Yes, the Eagles enter Super Bowl 52 with a tough defense, but they don't have the talent in the back seven to contain the Patriots' passing game early the way the Jags could, and Brady is Brady, especially late in a game.
The Patriots are 4.5-point favorites over the Eagles, down one from the opening line. Concerns about the health of Rob Gronkowski (concussion) have helped push the line down (he WILL play). The Over-Under, or total number of points Vegas think will be scored, stands at 48, the same as where it opened.
You know how Alabama is never an underdog under Saban? Neither are the Patriots under Brady. This will be the 50th game in a row he's a betting favorite, including playoffs. That's the second-longest streak among starting quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era, behind only 55 in a row by the Rams' Warner from 1999-2003 (I looked it up) .
This game has the feel of a back-and-forth affair with neither team starting slow. It probably comes down the last possession, and Brady will need only one final minute to push the Patriots to victory — and the first Super Bowl repeat since they beat the Eagles in Super Bowl 39.
By the way, tough to root for either team, but I’ll pull for the Eagles, but in the end…
Patriots 27, Eagles 23.
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It's a somewhat tongue in cheek OPINIONATED sports blog that promises to cover baseball, football, hockey, basketball, and any other INTERESTING, stupid, and absurd STORY related to sports.