Archive for the ‘College Basketball’ Category

How was your week

Posted: April 6, 2019 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, College Basketball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

Now I still believe that it’s too early to panic if you’re favorite Major League Baseball team has gotten of to a slow start, but you do have to wonder how safe the managers of these teams are. A lot of these guys have won World Series titles, but that doesn’t make them immune to being fired. Let’s take a look and see which manager might be the first to go.

Right out of the gate I think the manager who might be in the hottest seat is Joe Maddon of the Chicago Cubs. Just a couple of seasons ago the Cubs won their first World Series championship in 100 plus years with Maddon as their manager. Last season was the first time a Maddon managed Cubs team hasn’t been in the playoffs, but this season they’re off to a 1-6 start.

Last night the Cubs out up 10 runs against one of their top NL Central rivals the Milwaukee Brewers, but that still wasn’t good enough to win as Cubs pitchers gave up 13 runs. This is the third time this season the Cubs offense has scored 10 or more runs, but on the other side the Cubs pitchers have given up 8 or more runs in five of the teams seven games.

The Cubs only win was on opening day in Texas and they have played all of their games on the road; so maybe heading home for the first time this season after this series with the Brewers will help, but will Maddon be the manager when the Cubs play that home opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday.

Since we started with Maddon let’s go down his coaching tree a little bit. Could the Washington Nationals make a change at manager and remove Dave Martinez?

When the Nationals brought Martinez in he was looked at as someone who could relate to the younger players and hopefully help get Bryce Harper to stay in Washington. Obviously Harper got a better contract offer from the Philadelphia Phillies; which is really out of Martinez’s control.

The Nationals finished 82-80 in Martinez’s first season as manager and finished in 2nd place 8 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the NL East. With trades and free agent signings the NL East looked to be the most improved and possibly the toughest division in baseball. Washington is off to a 3-3 start, but they’re behind three other teams in the NL East already.

Martinez is in the second year of a three year deal; so right now I think that Martinez’s job is safe, but this is something that could be re-visited around the All-Star break if the Nationals aren’t in the division race.

After winning game 163 last season and getting into the playoffs is it possible that a 3-5 spot has Bud Black of the Colorado Rockies on the hot seat?

Before Colorado named Black as their manager he spent nine seasons with the San Diego Padres and never once made it to the post season. In his first season with the Rockies they where a wild card team. Last season which was Black’s second with the team the Rockies won the NL West. While the team has made it to the post season both season under Black they have yet to advance out of a round.

Now you’d have to think that Black has some job security after signing a three year contract extension this off season, but it seems like you just never know in today’s game.

Now it’s humorous to have these two managers on this list, but to be fair there teams haven’t gotten off to the start everyone expected them to and you know there are people out there blaming them for that. Is it possible that we could actually see Alex Cora of the Boston red Sox or A.J. Hinch of the Houston Astros replaced?

Of course Cora just led the Red Sox to the World Series title last season in his first season as their manager. As Astros manager Hinch led that team to the World Series title in 2017. I doubt that either of these guys are anywhere close to being on the hot seat since they’re recent World Series champions, but you never know.

The Red Sox are off to a 2-7 start while the Astros are off to a 3-5 start.

Of course the Red Sox started the season off with an 11 game road trip; so they haven’t played a home game this season. Boston’s first home game is this coming Tuesday when they host the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Astros just opened their first home series of the season with a 3-2 win over the Oakland A’s. Houston’s offense has been a little slow out of the gate, but maybe the first series at home will help that.

Just like it’s too early to panic about a teams record it’s probably too early to make a managerial change, but it’s possible that one of these managers could be the first to go this season.

Is there a manager out there that I didn’t list? Let me know if you think I should’ve included someone else.

The NCAA Final Four teams play for the chance to go to the title game on Monday. The first game tonight has the Auburn Tigers vs. the Virginia Cavaliers. This game should start around 5:00 p.m. the second game has the Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. the Michigan State Spartans.

It seems like there hasn’t been a lot of talk about this four teams and I’m not sure why that is. For some reason everyone still seems to be focused on Zion Williamson even though Duke was eliminated by Michigan State. While Williamson looks like he’ll be heading into NBA stardom wouldn’t it be nice if someone tried to draw a little interest in the NCAA championship? Now as you know I’m not a college basketball fan and with the way the reporting has went on they haven’t given me a reason to have any interest in these two Final Four games or the championship game.

While we’re on the NCAA tournament how did your bracket play out? I did two brackets as one of my friends challenged me. I have one team left in each of those brackets. I had Virginia getting to the final game in one; losing to Duke. In the other bracket I have Michigan State winning it all.

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

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Burketime

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How was your week

Posted: March 23, 2019 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, College Basketball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

The Major League Baseball season opened this week in Japan with the Seattle Mariners taking both games of a two game series against the Oakland A’s.

Of course the biggest news to co out of this series was that they ended up being the final two games of Ichiro Suzuki’s 19 year career in Major League Baseball.

Ichiro played in both games in Japan getting 5 at bats, but sadly he didn’t record a hit to add to his career total of 3089 in Major League Baseball. Ichiro spent 9 seasons playing in front of the Japanese fans as a member of the Orix Blue Wave; so it gave him a chance to walk away from the game in home country.

Ichiro joined the Seattle Mariners in 2001 and won the MVP and Rookie of the Year award as well as a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger. That was the first of the 10 Gold Gloves Ichiro would win; all in a row. He picked up 3 Silver Sluggers in his career and was named to 10 consecutive All-Star teams while with Seattle.

It’s not much of a stretch to say that Ichiro will be a first Ballot Hall of Famer when his name gets on the ballot. I’ve even heard some baseball people say that he should be a unanimous selection.

In his 19 year career Ichiro posted 3089 hits. He set the records for most hits in a season with 262 in 2004. He had 10 seasons all in a row with 200 or more hits. That’s tied with Pete Rose for the most consecutive. Ichiro won two batting title and has a career batting average of .311. While not a big time home run hitter even though there where people who reported that if he wanted to Ichiro could be a 20 plus home run guy. Ichiro hit 117 home runs in his career with a career high of 15 in 2005. Ichiro spent most of his career hitting at the top of the batting order; so he didn’t have as many RBI opportunities as some players might. He drove in 780 runs in his career, but as a player who was at the top of the batting order he scored 1420 runs in his career. It hasn’t even came up that he had 509 career stolen bases or the fact that he had 123 assists in his career. Ichiro had a career fielding percentage of .993. He assisted on 28 double plays in his career and made just 28 errors in a career that covered 20,030 1/3rd innings in the outfield. Remember this was all after he had out up 1278 hits in the Japanese League where he had a .353 batting average in 9 seasons.

Is there any question that Ichiro is a first ballot Hall of Famer? Do you think  he’ll be unanimous selection?

The other news coming out of the opening series in Japan wasn’t good for the A’s.

A’s first baseman and Gold Glove winner Matt Olson has under gone surgery on his right hand the team announced. The surgical procedure involved a right hamate excision.

As of the announcement there was no timetable for Olson’s return, but there are some comparable cases and the typical return time is between six to eight weeks.

It seems like there have been quite a few of these surgeries in baseball lately. The Hamate bone is an irregularly shaped bone located in the hand close to the wrist. The Hamate bone is wedged shaped that is curved; the curve is described as a hook. Since several players have had the Hamate bone removed the procedure actually has a name; it’s called “Wilson’s wrist”.

It’s unclear right now how the A’s will handle the 1st base spot with Olson injured. Mark Cahna is the only other player on Oakland’s 40 man roster that has extensive experience at 1st base. With opening day just 5 days away for every other team they’ll be trimming down their rosters; so the A’s may be able to find someone to help fill the void Olson’s injury has caused. The A’s could also choose to sign Danny Valencia or Logan Morrison who are still available free agents. Of course neither players has went through spring training and you’d have to wonder how long it would take them to get ready for game action.

Olson may be tough for the A’s to replace. Not only was he a Gold Glove winner last season he played in all 162 games. He’s a middle of the order bat for Oakland and last season he hit 29 home runs and drove in 84 runs while hitting .247.

We should see very quickly what kind of move the A’s will make to replace Olson as they play their next game at home on March 28th against the Los Angeles Angels.

I’m sure that you’ve heard or have been asked the question this time of year; so “how’s your bracket”?

I can tell you that through the first set of games this weekend I lost 8 games. To be honest I don’t know if that’s good, but for me it is. More importantly I didn’t lose any of the teams I picked to advance to the Final Four like last season. I think I mentioned that last season after the first weekend I had two of the teams I had picked to make the final four knocked out. Now of course that can still happen to me this time as there are another set of games to be player Saturday and Sunday. Let’s hope my luck is better this year.

Luckily for my the 8 teams that I had get knocked out I didn’t have getting past this weekend; so there’s a chance that my bracket can get back on track if I picked well. Of course since I hadn’t followed much college basketball coming into this tournament I wouldn’t count on that. Of course some people might say that it’s a good thing I didn’t know too much about college basketball before making my picks.

So let me know in the comments how your bracket held up.

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but if you miss the podcast live you can head over to TuneIn.com and listen to the podcast any time you want.

You can find me on Twitter @Burketime

Technically the Major League Baseball seasons has started, but to be honest I think the idea of these two games being played in Japan counting as regular season games is stupid.

It’s the Seattle Mariners and the Oakland A’s that are opening their season in Japan with a two games series. Now after this series wraps up the teams will head back to spring training for about a week before they play another game that’s going to count in the standings.

I know that you’ll hear the term grow the game a lot when it comes to playing these games, but that’s complete b.s. Baseball is already a pretty well established sport in Japan as we see players not only come over form Japan to play in the majors, but players from here go over there all the time to play in their professional baseball league. So how does this grow the game?

Now I think when the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox head over to England for a series later this season that will be more inclined to grow the game. It will be the first time that Major League Baseball has played a regular season game in England; so it should be a real attraction. Unlike a game in Japan where Major League Baseball has played regular season games before and they just toured Japan this off season with a traveling group of what they called All-Stars.

Anyway since the game counted in the standings; here’s what happened. The Mariners beat the A’s 9-7; so at least the crowd which was announced at 45,787 got to see some offense.

Steven Piscotty got the A’s on the board in the bottom of the 1st with a 2 out solo home run. Oakland took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the 2nd when Marcus Semien singled to left to drive in the A’s 2nd run. The Mariners got their offense rolling in the top of the 3rd inning. Gordon Beckham led off with a single and advanced to 2nd base on a wild pitch. After an out Dee Gordon drove Beckham in with a single to right to make it a 2-1 game. After the second out was made Jay Bruce was hit by a pitch and Edwin Encarnacion drew a walk to load the bases. Carlos Santana unloaded the bases with a grand slam to right to give the Mariners a 5-2 lead. In the bottom of the 3rd Matt Chapman doubled for Oakland with 1 out. After the second out was made Khris Davis hit a 2-run home run center to cut the Seattle lead to 5-4. Seattle added a run back to it’s lead in the top of the 4th. Beckham and Ichiro Suzuki drew back to back walks. Gordon sacrificed the runners to 2nd and 3rd; then Mitch Haniger drove Beckham home with a sacrifice fly to right field to make it a 6-4 game. In the top of the 5th Encarnacion led of with a walk before the next two batters made outs with Encarnacion going to 2nd on a ground out. Ryon Healy doubled to left to score Encarnacion making it a 7-4 game. Beckham then hit a 2-run home run to center to make it a 9-4 game. In the bottom of the 7th Semien led off with a walk for Oakland. Robbie Grossman reached safely on an infield single as Semien moved up the 2nd. After a strikeout Chapman hit a 3-run home run to right to cut the Mariners lead to two at 9-7. That was it for the scoring though as the Mariners held on for  9-7 win.

Marco Gonzales went 6 innings to pick up the win for Seattle. Gonzales gave up 7 hits, 4 runs with 3 of them being earned. He also struck out 4 while walking 1.

Mike Fiers lasted just 3 innings for Oakland and took the loss. Fiers gave up 5 runs; all earned on 4 hits. He struck out 3 while walking 2.

Hunter Strickland worked a perfect 9th inning striking out 2 as he picked up the save for the Mariners.

The teams will wrap up their international series tomorrow. Yusei Kikuchi will make his debut for the Mariners on the mound while Marco Estrada gets the start for Oakland. The game will be carried live in ESPN and has a 4:30 a.m. start time if you’re interested in watching or just happen to be awake. As for me I’ll be at work at that time; so I’m out.

The NCAA tournament officially started last night as there where two play-in games. In the opener Fairleigh-Dickinson beat Prairie View A&M 82-76 to advance. While in the night cap Belmont oved on by beating Temple 80-71.

There are two more play-in games tonight. North Carolina Central will play North Dakota State for the right to move forward while the other game has St. John’s taking Arizona State with the winner advancing.

With their win Fairleigh-Dickinson becomes the 16th seed in the West regional and they’ll face Gonzaga. Belmont moves into the 11th seed in the East regional and they’ll play Maryland. Both these game will take place on Thursday.

Now if you’ve listened to the Sports Time Radio podcast you know that I’m not the biggest college basketball fan or basketball fan in general, but like just about everyone else I enjoy filling out a tournament bracket. To be honest my bracket never does very well and if I remember correctly I had two of the teams I had going to the final four last year get knocked out in the first round, but that doesn’t stop me from trying.

As I was putting my bracket together this year I ended up with a lot of the top seeds advancing; so I guess I’m not big on the upsets this year. Anyway; here’s who I have in the final four. I have Duke out of the East regional. I have Michigan out of the West Regional. I have Virginia out of the out of the South regional and I went with Houston out of the Midwest regional. I have Duke and Virginia meeting in the championship game with Duke winning the NCAA title. Let’s see if I have better luck this year. What’s your final four look like?

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

Look me up on Twitter @Burketime

How was your week

Posted: March 17, 2018 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, basketball, College Basketball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

The NCAA men’s basketball tournament started on Thursday and last night there was history made. For the first time in tournament history a 16th seeded team beat a #1 seed.

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County or UMBC beat the #1 seeded University of Virginia 74-54 in 1st round tournament action last night. Not only was Virginia a #1 seed, but they where the #1 overall seed in the entire tournament.

The game was tied at 21 all after the 1st half and it looked as though the game was setting up the way Virginia likes to play. UMBC scored the first six points of the 2nd half and they where on their way to building a double digit lead. With 16:24 left to play Joe Sherburne hit a 3-pointer to give UMBC their first double digit lead at 36-24. Virginia was never able to get the lead under 12 points after that. As the game went on UMBC slowly added to their lead and in the end they picked up a 20 point win74-54 over Virginia.

Senior guard Jairus Lyles was the games leading scorer with 28 points for UMBC. Sherburne added 14 points while K.J. Maura had 10 points for UMBC. Arkel Lamar had a double-double for the Retrievers scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome each scored 15 points to lead Virginia in scoring. Seven players in total scored for the Cavaliers.

Of course with the win UMBC advances to the 2nd round of the tournament. On Sunday they will play the Kansas State Wildcats. Kansas State advanced to the 2nd round with a 69-59 victory over the Creighton Blue Jays.

Of course one of the first questions that’s going to come up with you and your friends after this upset is, how’s your bracket? Well here’s what I think is a humorous story about my brackets.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know and or watch a lot of college basketball, but like a lot of people I enjoy filling out a tournament bracket. Now one of the things I always do is just fill out one bracket. While I understand that the more brackets you fill out the better chance you have to be right I just can’t handle filling out more than one bracket. Accidentally this year I ended up filling out two. I joined the group I was in last year and set up e reminder for myself so I could go in and fill out the bracket. When I got the reminder I clicked the link and it brought me to a blank bracket; so I filled it out. What I didn’t realize was the link to me to a generic bracket and not the one I had set up earlier. Since I was to lazy to go in and delete the work I had just done that I decided to just go ahead and fill out the second bracket.

Now it’s time for me to show off my college basketball knowledge. In the first bracket I did I had the Virginia Cavaliers winning the whole thing. Yes, you got it the same Virginia team that was just upset by the #16 seed last night. My other three Final Four teams Houston, Michigan State and Purdue did all advance, but my champion in this bracket was gone.

Now admittedly I took a few more chances with my second bracket because I didn’t want it to look to similar to my other bracket. After listening to some of the experts who have been watching college basketball all season I thought that the University of Arizona would be a good choice to win it all in my second bracket. Well on Thursday Arizona was beaten 89-68 by the University of Buffalo. Now again my other three Final Four teams Xavier, Villanova and Michigan State (again) all advanced.

As you can clearly see my college basketball knowledge really helped me out in picking a tournament winner. So as you can guess my bracket is a bit of a mess. Feel free to let me know how your bracket held up through Round 1.

We’re inching closer and closer to the start of the baseball season and there are a few teams out there still adding some of the lingering free agents.

There had been reports that the Washington Nationals where interested in added one more veteran starting pitcher. It seemed as though Jake Arrieta was going to be their target, but they where waiting for his asking price to go down. After the Philadelphia Phillies locked up Arrieta with a three year $75 million dollar deal the Nationals had to start looking elsewhere. Of course the first name to come to mind would’ve been Alex Cobb, but the Nationals went with some one else.

The Nationals chose to go with former 2011 American League Rookie of the Year Jeremy Hellickson, who they signed to a minor league contract with and invitation to the major league side of spring training. Hellickson made 20 starts for the Phillies last season before they traded him to the Baltimore Orioles where had made 10 starts. Over those 30 starts Hellickson was 8-11 with a 5.43 ERA covering 164 innings.

Hellickson pitched well for the Phillies in 2016, but didn’t have any luck on the free agent market then either and re-signed with Philadelphia for the qualifying offer of $17.2 million dollars. After what was a down year in 2017 Hellickson will be given a chance to earn the 5th starters spot with the Nationals.

Are you worried about Shohei Ohtani? In an inning and a third against the Colorado Rockies Ohtani gave up 7 runs on 7 hits. Now this was just his second spring start, but in his first start he also pitched 1 1/3rd innings. His numbers weren’t that much better in that start as he gave up 2 runs on one hit which was a home run.

I’m not sure if panic would be the right word to use here, but there has to be some concern from the Angels as Ohtani hasn’t hit particularly well this spring either. In 20 at bats Ohtani has 2 hits and has struck out 7 times.

I’m sure if you could get the Angels to comment on Ohtani they’d tell you that they expected their to be a learning curve, but with the season getting under way in less than two weeks you have to wonder how they’re really feeling.

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but don’t forget that you can also listen to the podcast any time you want at TuneIn.com.

Remember to look for me on Twitter @Burketime

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

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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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