How’s your NCAA tournament bracket? Mine actually went alright with one major exception. My tournament winner was Michigan State who loss in the 1st round to Middle Tennessee State. I know that #15 seeds have beaten #2 seeds before, but I really thought that wouldn’t happen to Michigan State. I thought a team with Denzel Valentine as their best player and coached by Tom Izzo would get through the first round against a much lower seeded team. Valentine struggled going 5 of 13 from the field including going 3 of 8 from behind the 3-point line. Oddly Valentine didn’t find his way to the free throw line and as a team Michigan State only shot 15 free throws in the entire game. Valentine ended up with a scoring line of 13 points, 6 rebounds and a tam high 12 assist. Middle Tennessee used pretty much just 5 players in the game as their bench as a whole played just 19 minutes and scored 9 points. Reggie Upshaw led the way for Middle Tennessee State with 21 points while playing 38 minutes. Giddy Potts had 19 points in 39 minutes. Perrin Buford and Darnell Harris each had 15 points. Buford also played 39 minutes while Harris played 28 minutes. Jaqawn Raymond also scored in double figures putting up 11 points in 37 minutes of action. Perrin also led the Blue Raiders in rebounding with 7 and assists wit 6. While Michigan State season and pretty much my tournament bracket are done for the season Middle Tennessee moves on to the 2nd round where they’ll face the #10 seeded Syracuse who beat Dayton (#7) 70-61 last night to advance. As a whole I didn’t do horrible picking the 1st round of the tournament. I lost 9 games total and I’m actually in the 84% of the contest I’m in. Of course with my tournament champion already eliminated my percentage will drop with the automatic losses I’ll take. Here’s hoping your 1st round went better than mine did.
Remember Chris Olmstead from Beyond the Flag will join me on the Sports Time Radio podcast tomorrow (Sunday) right around 10:00 a.m. to preview the NASCAR race at Auto Club Speedway. Austin Dillion won the pole position for the Auto Club 400 with an average speed of 188.482. Last weeks winner Kevin Harvick qualified 2nd with an average speed of 188.329. Denny Hamlin starts 3rd, Ryan Newman is starting 4th and Carl Edwards who was just nudge out by Harvick last week rounds out the Top 5 starting off 5th. It was another good qualifying set for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) with Hamlin 3rd, Edwards 5th as well as Kyle Busch starting 6th. The fourth JGR driver Matt Kenseth had a solid qualifying run as well and will start the race 20th on Sunday. Chris did very well with his picks last week; so you’ll want to know which 3 drivers he thinks have the best chance to end up in victory lane.
The Portland Trail Blazers beat the New Orleans Pelicans 117-112 last night, but the story from the game will be the clothesline Kendrick Perkins of the Pelicans center gave to Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard. Perkins hit Lillard in the chin or neck area as Lillard was attempting to score. Perkins was accessed a Flagrant foul 2; a call that was upheld after the video review. Trail Blazers center Mason Plumlee immediately took exception to the foul and stepped up to defend Lillard. Plumlee and Perkins had to be separated by the other players on the court. The play started with Perkins who was initially guarding Plumlee but, a screen switched him onto Lillard at the top of the key. The the much faster Lillard quickly drove past the 6-foot-10, 270-pound center, who then hit him as he prepared to go up with a shot from inside the free throw line. Perkins was ejected for the Flagrant 2 foul as Lillard went on to score 33 points grab 8 rebounds and hand out 6 assists in the Trail Blazers victory.
It’s another top notch match up for the NBA this Saturday night as the Golden State Warriors are at the San Antonio Spurs. They are the Top 2 teams in the NBA right now and are expected to be meeting in the Western Conference finals for the right to play for and as most people expect to win the NBA title. Golden State has the best record in the NBA at 62-6. San Antonio has the 2nd best record in the NBA at 58-10 and are a perfect 34-0 this season on there home court. As we’ve seen San Antonio’s head coach Gregg Popovich has rested his star player in these marquee type of match ups; so we’ll have to wait and see if any Spurs players are given the night off, but you’d think with a perfect home record on the line everyone one who’s healthy enough to play will play. San Antonio had the night off Friday night, but Golden State faced the Dallas Mavericks. Golden State picked up a 130-112 victory over the Mavericks, but 4 of the Warriors starters logged over 30 minutes in the game. Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes each played 36 minutes while Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson both played 34 minutes. Fatigue shouldn’t be a factor for Golden State as they’re an up tempo team and while San Antonio does play a faster paced game it’s not the same speed the Warriors play at. On yesterday’s (Friday)Sports Time Radio podcast Dan the Man picked San Antonio to win the game and stay undefeated at home. Do you agree or disagree with Dan’s pick?
We had another significant injury in spring training this week. The Tampa Bay Rays lost their closer Brad Boxberger for at least 8 weeks when he need abdominal muscle surgery to repair what was described as a core muscle injury. Last season the 27 year old Boxberger had 41 saves in 47 opportunities. He went 4-10 with a 3.71 ERA and was an All-Star for the first time. Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash didn’t name a replacement at closer, but has quite a few choices. Look for Tampa Bay to use Alex Colome, Ryan Webb, Xavier Cedeno, Danny Farquhar and Steven Geltz in that closer role as they try to find a way to fill the void until Boxberger can return.
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