Archive for the ‘College Basketball’ Category

The Baseball Writers Association of America announced their awards this week with the final award being handed out was the M.V.P. Since the awards are now formatted for television they narrow the race down to three finalist before they announce the winner. In the National League it was Paul Goldschmidt, Giancarlo Stanton and Joey Votto. In the American League the finalist where Jose Altuve, Aaron Judge and Jose Ramirez. This year there was going to be a first time winner in both leagues no matter which player won.

In the National League Stanton was named M.V.P. over Votto by just two points with Goldschmidt finishing a distant 3rd. Stanton ended up with 302 points. He got 10 1st place votes, 10 2nd place votes, 5 3rd place votes, 3 4th place votes, 1 5th place vote and 1 6th place vote. Votto ended up with 300 points as he also got 10 1st place votes. Votto also received 9 2nd place votes, 4 3rd place votes, 5 4th places votes and 2 5th place votes.

Believe it or not this wasn’t the closest M.V.P. voting ever. In 1944 St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Marty Marion beat Chicago Cubs outfielder Bill Nicholson 190-189. Then in 1947 Joe DiMaggio of the New York Yankees edged out Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox 202-201. Then in 1979 there was actually a tie for the National League M.V.P. award. Keith Hernandez who was with the Cardinals and Willie Stargell of the Pittsburgh Pirates each ended up with 216 points.

I’m always interested to see what other players picked up some votes as writers put 10 names on their ballot. Goldschmidt received 4 1st place votes, Charlie Blackmon picked up 3 1st place votes his teammate Nolan Arenado got 2 1st place votes and last years winner Kris Bryant received 1 1st place vote.

Now in the American League Altuve was the run away winner as he received 27 1st place votes and totaled 405 points. Judge got 2 1st place votes and racked up 279 points while Ramirez received the other 1st place vote and totaled 237 points. Interestingly even though he only played in 114 games last season Mike Trout ended up with 197 points and finished 4th in the voting.

This really should’ve been Altuve’s 2nd M.V.P. as he easily was the top player in the American League, but the voters love for Trout took the award away from him. You have to wonder if Trout had played an entire season if they would’ve given him the award again.

Altuve is the 11th second baseman to win the M.V.P. and the first since Dustin Pedroia won it in 2008. Altuve is listed as being 5’6 and this ties him  with Yankees shortstop Phil Rizzuto, the 1950 winner and Athletics pitcher Bobby Shantz, the 1952 winner as the shortest MVPs in history.

I think that the voters got this right, but what do you think? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

Danica Patrick is 35 years old and has made the decision that her full time racing career is over.

NASCAR’s final race of the season is at Homestead-Miami Speedway this Sunday and Patrick used one of their media rooms on Friday afternoon to let everyone know that she was retiring. During her press conference Patrick announced that she’s going to run two races next season. She’ll run in the Daytona 500 to kick off the NASCAR season in 2018 and then she’ll race in the Indianapolis 500 in May 2018 as her final race.

Patrick did have one season left on her contract with Stewart/Haas racing, but they decided to part company when they couldn’t find a sponsor for Patrick for the 2018 season. Aric Almirola will replace her at Stewart/Haas next season.

There where some questions if Patrick would look for another ride for 2018 and then if she wanted to continue to drive would she be able to find a new team. In the end there just wasn’t a seat out there for her.

Patrick finished a disappointing 27th in points this season. Her best finish in the NASCAR series was 24th in points. In 189 NASCAR races Patrick finished in the Top 10 seven times, but she also never found her way to victory lane as a NASCAR driver. Patrick did win in an Indy car back in 2008 at a race in Japan. She also finished third in the 2009 Indianapolis 500.

Even though Patrick didn’t have great success as a driver she was always one of the most popular. For quite a while her primary sponsor was GoDaddy. They built and entire advertising campaign around her including Super Bowl ads which where humorous and racy by nature.

In the comments, please let me know how you think Patrick will be remembered as a driver.

With Patrick’s announcement as well as the retirement of Dale Earnhardt Jr plus the fact that Matt Kenseth hasn’t found a ride for 2018 it’s almost difficult to remember that the Monster Energy Series will crown a champion Sunday.

The final four drivers looking for a title are Martin Truex Jr. who’s starting 2nd on Sunday. Kyle Busch who starts right behind Truex in 3rd. Brad Keslowski starts the race in the 5th position and the final championship driver Kevin Harvick starts 9th.

Earnhardt Jr. starts 25th with Patrick right behind him starting 26th while Kenseth is starting 4th for the Ford Eco-Boost 400 on Sunday.

Do you think with a title on the line and three big name drivers leaving the sports that the ratings will go up for the final race of the 2017 season?

I’m sure just about every sports fan heard about the three UCLA basketball players that where arrested in China for shoplifting. As we know the players have returned to the United States and the school announced that the players where suspended indefinitely.

Now I’ve heard lots of sportswriters and others on television talk about how long these suspensions should be. I’ve heard everything from the entire season to just a couple of games. I’ve been trying to come up with a number of games myself and I just can’t seem to come to a conclusion. I’d be very interested to know what you think. Would you like to see them get a long suspension, a short suspension or are you somewhere in the middle? Again please leave your thoughts in the comments for me.

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but eh podcast is also available to you any time you want at TuneIn.com.

Don’t forget to look me up on Twitter @Burketime

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How was your week

Posted: March 18, 2017 by Sports Time Radio in Auto Racing, basketball, College Basketball, football, NASCAR, sports

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a huge college basketball fan, but it seems like this time of year you almost have no choice. With the NCAA tournament under way it seems like there are no other sports on television to watch. It’s always more interesting when there’s a local team in the tournament and in my area we have the Northwestern Wildcats. It was the first time they’ve ever made the tournament and they won their 1st round game against Vanderbilt on Thursday. In the 2nd round they play the #1 seeded team in their region Gonzaga. It was a big plus that they made the tournament and then it’s cool that they won a game. I’m not sure how many people expected them to beat Gonzaga today, but I do know quite a few people who picked Northwestern to get a win in their bracket. I picked Gonzaga to win this game, but I don’t think it will be a blow out. Do you have a local team in the tournament that you’re rooting for?

While we’re talking about the tournament; how did your bracket end up after the 1st round? I managed to get through the 1st round losing just four teams, but none of the teams that I lost in my bracket I had going to the Sweet 16. I lost two teams in the  Midwest bracket and two teams in the East bracket. I had Creighton over Rhode Island and Nevada over Iowa St. in the Midwest and I had UNC Wilmington over Virginia and SMU over USC in the East. I thought losing just four teams in the 1st round was pretty good, but I don’t really know. How did you do in the 1st round?

Now not only did UNC Wilmington lose in the first round of the NCAA tournament, but after the game they also lost their coach. On Friday it was announced that Kevin Keatts would be moving from UNC Wilmington to take the head coaching job at North Carolina State. Keatts was 72-28 in three seasons at UNC Wilmington and the last two years they went t the NCAA tournament. The team won CAA regular season titles all three seasons under Keatts, who became the first coach in conference history to win back to back Coach of the Year accolades. The team also set a new season high in wins with 29 this season. He will replace Mark Gottfried, who was fired after six seasons in Raleigh. Gottfried took the Wolfpack to the NCAA tournament in each of his first four seasons, but the program failed to live up to expectations the past two years and finished 13th in the ACC each season.

The Milwaukee Bucks beat the Los Angeles Lakers last night 107-103, , but more interestingly there was a bit of a shoving match that ended with three players being ejected. With :36 seconds left in the 3rd quarter Malcolm Brogdon fouled Nick Young a little on the hard side. Young didn’t appreciate the foul and shoved Brogdon. Gregg Monroe quickly jumped in and shoved Young, That in turn brought D’Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram into the fray as they engaged Monroe. The referees quickly jumped in and accessed double technical to Russell and Monroe; so they where ejected. Young had picked up a technical foul earlier in the game; so when he was given another one by the officiating crew he was ejected as well. Young and Russell addressed the media after the game, but Monroe left without speaking to reporters. The players will now have to wait and see how the NBA rules on this incident and if there will be any suspensions or fines from it.

Now the loss by the Lakers did eliminate them officially from the playoffs for the fourth year in a row. This is the longest stretch that the Lakers have went without making the playoffs. Before this stretch the longest the Lakers had been without making the playoffs was two consecutive seasons.

Latavius Murray signed with the Minnesota Vikings as a free agent this week. Murray was with the Oakland Raiders last season and his departure leaves the raiders with a need at the running back position. Adrian Peterson is still out on the free agent markets, but there are reports that the Raiders would like to acquire retired running back Marshawn Lynch from the Seattle Seahawks. Since Lynch is still under a contract with the Seahawks the Raiders would either have to workout a trade with Seattle or just hope they would release Lynch; so they could sign him. Under Lynch’s contract he has a $9 million dollar salary for the 2017 season with a salary cap hit of $9 million dollars as well. For the 2018 season Lynch’s salary is $7 million dollars, but there is also a $3 million dollar roster bonus he would be due. Now Lynch is from Oakland; so would playing for his hometown team be enough to get hi to return to the NFL. Lynch also has a “Beast Mode” apparel store in Oakland. Lynch will turn 31 in April.

Lynch spent nine seasons in the NFL. Lynch spent three plus seasons with the Buffalo Bills before being traded to the Seahawks after the fourth game of the 2010 season. Lynch has 9112 career rushing yards and has rushed for more than a 1000 yards in a season six times. Lynch led the NFL in rushing touchdowns in 2014 and 2015. If the Seahawks decide to trade Lynch to Oakland would his season off hurt him in his return? If there is a trade what would the Raiders have to give the Seahawks for Lynch?

NASCAR is entering the third week of their season as they heads to Phoenix International raceway for the Camping World 500 on Sunday. Joey Logano took the pole for Sunday’s race with a speed of 137.321 m.p.h. Ryan Blaney will start 2nd with Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3rd. Kyle Larson (4th) and Jamie McMurray (5th) will round out the Top 5. While Logano took the pole after his run in with Kyle Busch last week; Busch will start 9th on Sunday.

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com but you can also find the podcast any time you want at TuneIn.com

You can find me on Twitter @Burketime

 

Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: March 15, 2017 by Sports Time Radio in basketball, College Basketball, football, sports, Uncategorized

We’re just one day from the NCAA men’s basketball tournament starting; otherwise called March madness. Now I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know a whole lot about college basketball, but I filled out a tournament bracket. I think there are a lot of people in the same situation as I am. What I’d be interested to know is; how did you pick your bracket? Now I’m not the kind of person who fills out multiple brackets to try to get the best outcome. I actually do two bracket and they always seem to end up being pretty much the same. I one of my brackets I have Villanova, Duke, Kansas and Louisville in the final four with Duke and Kansas meeting in the finals and Duke winning it. My second bracket has Duke and Kansas in the final four again, but this time they’re joined by Florida St. and UCLA. My finals match up is Duke vs. UCLA with UCLA winning it all. I don’t know if this will actually help anyone and I doubt it will, but those are the teams I went with.

My next question for you about March madness is; what’s your favorite part of it? Now for me I like the first weekend of the tournament more than the rest of it. You always get those big upsets in the first weekend. Sometimes it’s a #5 seed beating a #12 or like last year we got a #2 seed losing to a #15 seed. Of course the one upset we’ve yet to see is a #1 seed going down at the hands of a #16 seed. I don’t think that we’re going to see one of those upsets this season, but it would be fun if we did. Who’s your big time underdog team that’s going to pull off these upsets. It seems as though the experts like Wichita St. who drew a 10th seed, but everyone seems to think is better than that. I think after all the hype I heard about Wichita St. I picked them to win their 1st round game, but I’m not sure if I have them going any farther than that. There always seems to be that one team that wins a couple of games that no one was expecting and this of course can make or break your bracket. I’d love to know which higher seeded team you picked to make a tournament run.

With NFL free agency still rolling along a running back has finally signed with a team. I think  most people thought we’d see Adrian Peterson or Jamaal Charles be the first running back to sign, but it turned out that Eddie Lacy was the guy. Lacy signed a 1 year $5.5 million dollar deal with the Seattle Seahawks. $3 million dollars in Lacy’s deal is guaranteed.

Lacy is looking to bounce back after a disappointing 2016 season. Lacy played just 5 games last season. Lacy was averaging 5.1 yards per carry before he injured an ankle that required surgery and ended his season. Lacy was a 1000 yard rusher his first two seasons (2013 & 2014) in the NFL, but rushed for just 758 yards in the 2015 season. Lacy can also be a factor in the passing game as he has a career high of 42 receptions in 2014.

The biggest issue with Lacy seemed to be his weight. He was listed at 235 pounds by the Green Bay Packers, but I’m not sure anyone ever believed that. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll mentioned that they’d like to see Lacy’s weight in the 240’s.

Lacy is being brought in to help a Seahawks running game that averaged 3.8 yards per carry and ranked 24th in the NFL last season. It was a tough season for the Seahawks running core as they struggled though injuries which led to 18 different guys getting a carry during the season. Lacy will join Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise in the Seattle backfield mix. Rawls had a very good rookie season averaging 5.6 yards per carry and rushing for 830 yards. Last season Rawls battled through multiple injuries playing in 9 games last season and rushing for 349 yards and 3.2 yards per carry. Prosise was a rookie in 2016 playing in 6 games and rushing for 172 yards and averaging 5.7 yards per carry. The Seahawks are hoping that Prosise will blossom into a 3rd down back. Carroll has said often that his preference is to go with multiple backs. Lacy is the favorite to get the bulk of the carries, but Rawls and Prosise will also factor in.

Now there was another running back signed, but again it wasn’t Peterson or Charles. Rex Burkhead signed with the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots on Tuesday. Burkhead spent his first three seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, but was the #3 running back behind Jeremy Hill and Giovanni Bernard. Do to injuries Burkhead saw a little more playing time last season. I the final week of the season Burkhead rushed 27 times for 119 yards against the Baltimore Ravens. Burkhead has returned kicks as well as playing other special team role and he has lined up as a slot receiver. With that kind of versatility he seems like a good fit for the Patriots. Burkhead will compete with Dion Lewis and James White in the New England backfield, but should see more time on the field than he did in Cincinnati as the Patriots use all of their running backs on the roster.

It appears that the two teams that everyone expected to make it to the NBA finals have it a regular season wall. The Cleveland Cavaliers did right their ship a little last night with a 128-96 win over the Detroit Pistons, but even with that win the Cavaliers have lost 4 of their last 6 games. The Golden State Warriors also managed to get a win last night, but they struggled to do that. Golden State beat the Philadelphia 76ers 106-104 Tuesday night. Coming into that game the Warriors had lost three games in a row. Now the Cavaliers are still on top of the Eastern Conference by 2 1/2 games, but Golden State has fallen off the top of the Western Conference standings. The San Antonio Spurs have taken over the top spot in the Western Conference by 1/2 game. Both teams are dealing with injuries to top players and the NBA regular season is long even with the days off. With both teams hitting this bad stretch do you think will see anyone else in the finals besides the Warriors and the Cavaliers?

You can listen to Sports Time Radio live on BlogTalkRadio.com but you can also find the podcast any time you want at TuneIn.com

You can find me on Twitter @Burketime

 

 

The MLB

The Major League baseball season got under way Sunday with 3 regular season games and 1 exhibition game. I’m always going to bring that 1 game up because it was so stupid I just can’t let it go. Now I watched all 3 games on Sunday and I’ve been spending quite a bit of time watching the free preview of the MLB Extra Innings package. I don’t have any issue sitting down watching an out of market game to see what other teams look like. Now we’re just 2 games into the 2016 season and it’s way, way too early to start taking away anything from these games, but fans will. I understand the excitement of a fan when a player starts the season out with a hit and he thinks he’ll hit 1.000 for the season. There’s also the negative side where if a player takes an 0 for 4 in Game 1 of the season there are fans who think he’s not going to get a hit all season long. Now with fans it’s just the rooting interest for that team inside them that brings it out. Now when a teams announcers do it; it’s just plain stupid. After Bryce Harper and Freddie Freeman homered for their respective teams on opening day I heard an announcer from one of the tams mention that there both on pace to hit 162 home runs this season. Now I’m guessing this announcer thought it would be cute or funny, but it’s not; sadly it’s just plain stupid to say. Let the fans make those kind of statements and you spend your time giving us useful information about the players. This wasn’t the only example I saw. As the Chicago Cubs where on their way to a 2 game series sweep over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim they couldn’t help pointing out that there next opponent the Arizona Diamondbacks have gotten of to an 0-2 start and a couple of there off season additions Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller had rough outings. While I don;t know how much it affected his pitching performance, but after the game it was revealed that Greinke had the flu. As far as I know Miller just had a rough outing to start the season. I don;t understand why you’d post these stats on the screen when your team is playing so well to start the season. Are we suppose to believe that Greinke and Miller are going to be this bad all season long. I’m guessing the Cubs announcers where pointing this out because the Cubs will face Greinke and Miller in there series against the Diamondbacks, but it seemed as though they expected to pitch the same way against the Cubs. I actual wondered if there was some bitterness on the Cubs part as they had a couple of chances to acquire Miller, but couldn’t get a deal done; so they want to point out to there fans that they did the right thing. Now maybe they both will go out and have another tough outing against a Cubs team that can really hit the baseball, but even if they do it’s only 2 starts of 30 plus they should make this season. Of course this is also the Diamondbacks opening series at home for the 2016 season and they could both easily come out and have quality starts against the Cubs. Now if your a Cubs fan you know that it can be difficult to keep their television announcers focused on what’s actually going on in the game. They have a tendency to wander off topic for one reason or another, but I’m hoping since the Cubs are suppose to be a very good team this season that won’t happen as much. I’m sure there are many, many, many more examples of this, but these where the two that stuck out to me. Please stop doing this and just call the damn game. Oh by the way sorry Cubs fans, but the St. Louis cardinals will win some games this season.

NCAA

The NCAA basketball season ended for the men on Monday night and the woman last night. The men’s game featured a great finish to the game between North Carolina and Villanova. Now I wish I could say that I saw every minute of the game and it was the greatest tournament final of all time, but I can’t. I turned the game on just in time to see Marcus Paige of North Carolina hit that split legged 3-pointer to tie the game up. I was smart enough to stay with this game to watch the final play. Villanove inbounded the basketball with 4.7 seconds left. They rushed the ball down the floor and Kris Jenkins hit buzzer beating 3-pointer to give Villanove the win and the national championship. Seems to me like I flipped over the game at the perfect time. Now I didn’t see any of the woman’s championship game, but looking at the final score it went like a lot of people have been saying it would. The Connecticut Huskies defeated the Syracuse Orange woman 82-51. I believe Connecticut had been beating teams in the tournament by an average of 40 plus points; so this game was closer than people thought it might be. I wish I could crag as I did pick Connecticut to win the tournament in my women’s bracket, but given the fact that they where dominant all season and undefeated coming into the tournament; I’m guessing they where a very, very popular pick. The Connecticut victory capped off a great college career for Breanna Stewart. She was part of 151 victories and only five losses at Connecticut. She was Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four an unprecedented four times. She won the Wade Trophy twice. Stewart, fellow senior Moriah Jefferson and red-shirt junior Morgan Tuck, became the first college basketball players, men or women, to win four titles.

NBA

With a handful of games left in the NBA regular season and the Golden State Warriors 4 wins away from setting the record for most wins in the regular season you have to wonder if they should go for it. Golden State has loss it’s last two home games. One to the Boston Celtics and then last night in overtime to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Is it time for Golden State to give their starters some rest and focus on defending there NBA championship or is the wins record that important. Golden State was untouchable at home and now to have dropped two games to teams that most people think they shouldn’t of lost to has to bring up that question. If Golden State gets that 73rd win and sets the record, but doesn’t win the NBA championship was it worth it. While records are nice; they can be broken. Championships however go down in history.

You can find me on Twitter @Burketime

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast on BlogTalkRadio.com

If you’re a fan of the NBA or maybe just a basketball fan or how about just a fan of the Cleveland Cavaliers. I have to ask you; is this LeBron James media circus good for your team? There have been the passive aggressive tweets that James has sent out that makes it seem like he doesn’t want to play for the Cavaliers after this season. Then there was more social media drama when James stopped following the Cavaliers on there Twitter and Instagram accounts. James used the excuse that he was getting into “playoff mode’ as his reasoning for doing this. Then James came out and said that he’d like to put a “Super team” together wit his friends Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade and Chris Paul. And then the worst one of all to me is the Cavaliers went out on Thursday night and lost to the Brooklyn Nets 104-95. Yes you read that right the Brooklyn Nets. Now James actually had a very good game against the Nets. James shot 13 for 16 from the field on the night. He made 1 of the 2 3-pointers he took; while making 3 of his 4 free throws he took for a total of 30 points. James also had 6 rebounds; handed out 5 assists and had a steal in the game. If you take James shooting totals away from the rest of the Cavaliers that night they where 23 of 73 (31.5%) from the field. Now even with that loss to the Nets the Cavaliers are 52-21 and barring a complete collapse in their final 10 games they’ll be the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference. 4 of the Cavaliers remaining games are at home; so that means there’s 6 games on the road, but none of the games are against what you’d describe as top tier competition. The Cavaliers face the New York Knicks tonight in New York, but the only teams they’ll face that are in the playoffs right now are the Houston Rockets on March 29th, the Atlanta Hawks twice on April 1st and April 11th and they play the Indiana Pacers on April 6th. So with the schedule the Cavaliers have they should be able to get their players rest if they decide to and still coast into the playoffs. While there might be a team that the Cavaliers run into in the Eastern Conference playoffs that might win a game or two in that series. Even with all of the LeBron James stuff going on. Is there really a team out there that could be a threat of actually winning a 7 game series against them? What would be interesting to me to find out is how the other Cavaliers feel about some of the stuff that James has been saying or doing, but none of them are going to say anything right now. Maybe will catch a break and when the season is over someone like J.R. Smith will come out and let the media know how he feels about what happened. Is there another player on the Cavaliers besides Smith that might actual come out and say something?

The NCAA men’s basketball tournament is down to the Elite 8. Now if you’ve listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast I did a bracket, but I also admitted I don’t know a whole lot about college basketball. If you remember I had Michigan State winning the tournament and they got beat in the 1st round. There’s always talk going into the tournament about the best conference and from the looks of the final eight teams left you’d have to say it’s the ACC. Out of the 8 teams left the ACC has 4 of them. You have long time conference members North Carolina and Virginia along with conference new comers Syracuse and Notre Dame. Now with the way the bracket happens to be set up this year only one of these teams can end up in the championship game. On Sunday out of the East bracket North Carolina who was a #1 seed faces #6 seeded Notre Dame. Also this Sunday out of the Midwest bracket Virginia who was also a #1 seed faces #10 seeded Syracuse. Now the winners of these games will meet in a Final 4 game for the right to play for the national championship. The ACC or Atlantic Coast Conference will set a record for money earned in a tournament. According to Darren Rovell each game played in this year’s tournament is worth $265,791. Through Friday night, ACC teams have earned 23 units, counting their Elite Eight games. They’ll earn another two from the Final Four, putting the total at 25 units. That’s where the conference will finish, because no units are awarded for the title game. The previous record for the most units earned in a single NCAA tournament was 24 by the Big East in 2009. The 25 units are worth at least $39.9 million. The ACC guaranteed itself at least $32.8 million from the 21 units it brought home in last year’s tournament. I’d have to guess as this information gets out we’ll start talking about players being paid again. While the ACC has dominated one side of the bracket; there are 4 other teams left. The South bracket and the West bracket went just as they where seeded. In the South bracket it will be #1 seeded Kansas against #2 seeded Villanova. Over in the West bracket we’ll see #1 seeded Oregon against #2 seeded Oklahoma. These two brackets may actually be the bigger surprise with the way they played out. Didn’t we hear at the start of the tournament about the parity in college basketball and none of the experts expected any bracket to go as it was seeded. How’s your bracket?

The Chicago Cubs got their first scare of spring training when Cy Young award winner Jake Arrieta had to leave his last start after just 1/3rd of an inning due to a blister. Arrieta left his Thursday start against the San Francisco Giants after giving up 5 runs and throwing 34 pitches. The Cubs have come out and said they’d be “cautious” with Arrieta, but Arrieta himself has come out and said he’d be ready for opening day on April 4th. The difficulty may be that Thursday was planned to be Arrieta’s long start of spring training. It was reported he’d throw 80 plus pitches in that game. Now with the blister issue will he be able to get himself stretched out for his opening day start. The Cubs seem to be just about everybody’s pick this season. If you don;t have them winning the World Series you probably at least have them there as the National League representative. If this blister is a recurring issue and Arrieta has to continue to leave starts early or possible miss some starts as the blister heals that Cubs pick might be in some trouble. Can the Cubs find Arrieta some extra work and get him ready for his opening day start or will that start and maybe another be his stretching out period for the season. It will be important to see if the blister issue happens again to Arrieta because he’s the best pitcher on the Cubs and not many teams go far when their best pitcher is having injury issues.

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You can find me on Twitter @Burketime

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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You can find me on Twitter @Burketime

Last Sunday the NASCAR series was at the Phoenix International Speedway for the Good Sam 500. On Sunday morning Chris Olmstead from Beyond the Flag joined the Sports Time Radio podcast to preview the race. As Chris is wrapping up his preview we have him select three drivers that he thinks have the best chance to end up in victory lane. For the Phoenix race he went with Jimmie Johnson who finished 11th as one of his choices. His other two choices where Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick who ended up finishing 1st and 2nd. Harvick edged out Edwards by 9/100th of a second. Edwards had actually found his way past Harvick on the last lap, but Harvick was able to pull up side by side with Edwards and after some contact it was Harvick who was able to narrowly pull out the victory. The win of course puts Harvick in the Chase along with Denny Hamlin, Johnson and Brad Keslowski. The Sprint Cup series continues the west coast swing as they go to Fontana California for the Auto Club 400 at the Auto Club Speedway. Chris will join us on the podcast a little after 10:00 a.m. to preview the race and make his picks. Tune in to hear if Chris can pick back to back winners.

Now I don’t watch much if any college basketball, but you know that I filled out a tournament bracket. Pretty much all I know about the college basketball season is the highlights I’ve seen on the various sportscasts I watch. Anyway here’s what I managed to come up with for my Final Four. I have Villanova coming out of the South bracket; facing Texas A&M out of the West bracket. Villanova wins this match up and goes to the championship game. I have North Carolina coming out of the East bracket to face Michigan State who wins the Midwest bracket. I have Michigan state winning this game and advancing to the Championship game. So my finals match up has Villanova vs. Michigan State and I have Michigan State winning the NCAA championship. So my Final Four is actually Villanova, Texas A&M, North Carolina and Michigan State. I guess will have to see how this goes for me.

I was a little surprised when the report came out that the Denver Broncos matched the contract offer made to running back C.J. Anderson by the Miami Dolphins. The contract has a  a guaranteed $5.25 million signing bonus, and his base salary of $675,000 is also guaranteed. In addition, $1.7 million of his $2.9 million base salary in 2017 is guaranteed. Anderson’s base salary of $4.5 million in 2018 and 2019 are not guaranteed. He will have to be on the Broncos’ roster to earn his base salary in those years. Anderson was tendered at a one-year, $1.671 million deal, with the Broncos holding right of first refusal on the restricted free agent. That meant the Broncos could match any offer, but it also meant they would not have received any compensation from the Dolphins if Anderson had signed there.With Anderson back in the fold it will give the Broncos one less thing to worry about as they try to figure out their quarterback position. Denver did acquire Mark Sanchez from the Philadelphia Eagles, but they’ve said all along he won;t be the only quarterback in camp. Denver has shown some interest in Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers as well as free agent quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

The New England Patriots made a couple of moves yesterday. First they sent defensive end Chandler Jones to the Arizona Cardinals for guard Jonathan Cooper and a 2nd round draft choice. Jones is entering the last year of his contract, but is coming off a career high 12 1/2 sacks last season. In 4 years with the Patriots Jones had 36 sacks. Cooper was the 7th overall pick in the 2013 draft. He played in 14 games last season starting 9 for Arizona, but has had some injury issues. The 2nd round pick is a plus for New England. Remember they lost their 1st round draft pick as a penalty for deflate gate. Even without Jones New England was still deep along the defensive line, but that didn’t stop them from adding one more as they signed free agent Chris Long to a one year deal. Long formerly of the St. Louis now Los Angeles Rams is coming off a couple of injury plagued seasons. He played in just 6 games in 2014, but came back to play 12 games last season recording 3 sacks. Long was the 2nd overall pick of the 2008 draft and had 54 1/2 sacks in 8 seasons with the Rams.

The Oakland Raiders have made quite a splash in free agency this off season. They brought in pass rusher Bruce Irvin as well as signing the best offensive lineman on the market in Kelechi Osemele. Not it’s being reported that the Raiders will offensive tackle Donald Penn. Bringing Penn back means that Osemele will play guard for sure. It also means that quarterback Derek Carr will have a very large offensive line in front of him. Penn goes 6’5 and 305 pounds, Osemele goes 6’5 and 333 pounds along with the other starters Rodney Hudson at 6’2 and 291 pounds, Gabe Jackson 6’3 and 336 pounds and Austin Howard 6’7 333 pounds. If it’s not the biggest offensive line on the National Football League it has to be right at the top.

Another signing took place yesterday as Mike Wallace agreed to a deal with the Baltimore Ravens. Wallace spent last season with the Minnesota Vikings and on his way out the door took some shots at his now former quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. After being released by the Minnesota Vikings in a salary cap move there was some talk Wallace would resign with Minnesota, but Wallace didn’t feel this way saying “When this process started, I knew I wasn’t going back to Minnesota. I was like, ‘I need a good quarterback,'” Wallace said. “I need a quarterback who is proven and can get things done. [Ravens Quarterback Joe] Flacco has always been that guy.” In his one season with the Vikings Wallace caught 39 passes for 473 yards and 2 touchdowns. The 39 catches tied for Wallace’s career low. He also had 39 catches as a rookie with the Pittsburgh Steelers. In Baltimore Wallace will team with the returning Steve Smith and hopefully Breshad Perriman. Perriman lost his rookie season last year to injury, but if he can contribute the Ravens could have a solid receiving core.

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It’s starting to look like shortstop will be the big injury position this season. The St. Louis Cardinals lost their shortstop Jhonny Peralta to a wrist injury last week. Peralta did end up having surgery on his injured wrist and is expected to be out until about mid-season. Then yesterday the New York Mets announced that shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera has been diagnosed with a strained patellar tendon in his left knee and appears likely to open the season on the disabled list. Cabrera will be inactive for at least two weeks. He;ll be allowed to resume some baseball activities if he is comfortable. The Mets Cabrera flew to New York on Friday to undergo platelet-rich plasma therapy at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. With only 23 days until the Mets open the season against the defending World Series champion Kansas City Royals on ESPN’s Sunday night baseball; it would be difficult for Cabrera to be ready for that game. Cabrera was part of the Mets off season reworking of their middle infield. He was signed to a two year $18.5 million dollar deal to play shortstop alongside new second baseman Neil Walker who the Mets acquired by sending left handed pitcher Jon Niese to the Pittsburgh Pirates this off season. With Cabrera and Walker brought in former starters Wilmer Flores and Ruben Tejada moved to backup infield roles. Now Flores and Tejada should go back to handling the shortstop duties until Cabrera is returns. There was some talk that the Mets might be looking to deal Tejada and with a salary of just $3 million for this season there where some teams interested. One of the teams that where interested in Tejada was the Cardinals who looked at him as a fill in for the inured Peralta. Of course with the injury to Cabrera it seems that Tejada is far more likely to stick with the Mets for Opening Day.

Tomorrow (Sunday) the NCAA will announce the tournament field for the men’s basketball championship. With the play in games and everything there is 68 teams; I think that have a chance to win the championship. I don’t watch college basketball and we don’t spend much time of any talking about it on Sports Time Radio. At least I do catch the highlights on whatever sports recap show I happen to be watching at that time. Of course with all this being said I still plan on entering a bracket into whatever championship pool I can find. Sometimes it seems as knowing less can actually be helpful, but I’m wondering how I should pick my bracket.I know there have been multiple teams that have held the #1 ranking in the polls only to be knocked off the top. That should mean the tournament is wide open, but could a mid-major team actually go all the way? I’ve heard over and over that you need good guard play to advance in the tournament. So who’s the best guard in college basketball? or do you need a pair of gourds in your back court to have tournament success. I’ve heard that Ben Simmons of Louisiana State University (LSU) is the best player in college basketball, but there’s a chance that his team might not even make the tournament. Of course then the question becomes; how far can the best player take a team? As you can tell I really have no clue who’s going to win this thing; so I’m asking for your help. Let me know who you think will win the title or even get to the Final Four. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

The NASCAR series is staying out west as they’re at the Phoenix International Speedway for the Good Sam 500. Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) showed it’s muscle in qualifying as Kyle Busch took the pole position with a speed of 138.387. Busch’s teammate Carl Edwards took the 2nd spot with a speed of 137.515 and another JGR and this seasons Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin will start 3rd and had a qualifying speed of 137.426. Rounding out the Top 5 is Kurt Busch; Kyle’s brother starting 4th and Jimmie Johnson starting 5th. The only JGR driver not in the Top 5 is Matt Kenseth who will be starting 6th on Sunday. Chris Olmstead from Beyond the Flag will join us Sunday morning to preview the race. Not only will Chris preview the race with us, but he’ll let us know which three drivers he thinks has the best chance to wind up in victory lane. Last week Chris had Joey Logano; who finished 2nd and Jimmie Johnson who finished 3rd. His third choice was Kenseth who got caught up in an accident and ended up finishing 37th. Chris should join the Sports Time Radio podcast a little after 10:00 a.m.

The NBA has another one of there marquee match up Saturday night games as the Oklahoma City Thunder are at the San Antonio Spurs. Oklahoma City is in 3rd place in the Western Conference with a record of 44-21. San Antonio is the team ahead of the Thunder in the Western Conference standings as they are 55-10 in 2nd place. Now it’s difficult to go into San Antonio and win as the Spurs are 31-0 at home this season. Oklahoma City is 6 games over .500 on the road this season at 18-12, but can they go into San Antonio and beat a team like the Spurs? If Oklahoma City could find a way to win this game it could be a statement that they’re a team to watch in the playoffs. If the Western Conference plays out like it should Oklahoma City would have to play San Antonio in a playoff series and they’d need to be able to win a game on the Spurs home court to advance. It looks like Oklahoma City will be playing without Dion Waiters who is away from the team because of a death in his family. Andre Roberson is battling a left ankle injury and it hasn’t been announced yet if he will play tonight. Of course with San Antonio you never know who is going to be getting a night off. Tony Parker does have a toe injury, but should be go to go for tonight’s game. Parker along with Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili all sat out Tuesday nights game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. You would think these three players where rested so they’d be ready to play tonight against Oklahoma City, but you never know with the Spurs. On Friday’s podcast Dan the Man took San Antonio to stay undefeated at home. Do you agree with Dan or do you have Oklahoma City winning tonight?

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You can find me on Twitter @Burketime