Posts Tagged ‘NCAA tournament’

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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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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How many more injuries can the Oklahoma City Thunder take this season. Kevin Durant missed games early in the season recovering from his foot surgery and now he’s out because they had to go in and adjust the screws in the plate they put in that foot.  Russell Westbrook suffered facial fractures had surgery to repair them and didn’t miss too many games, but is playing with a protective mask on. Now Serge Ibaka injured his knee and is out four to six weeks. Ibaka had  successful arthroscopic surgery yesterday and would be back for the playoffs if the Thunder makes the playoffs. Westbrook has been keeping the Thunder in the playoff hunt while making a case for himself as the MVP, but with the New Orleans Pelicans victory last night Oklahoma City finds themselves 1/2 a game out of the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western conference. Oklahoma City has 15 games left starting tonight (Wednesday) against the Boston Celtics to get past the Pelicans and into the NBA playoffs. If the Thunder can find a way to pass the Pelicans and grab that 8th seed they’d  get a 1st round match up with the Golden State Warriors. You’d think the Thunder would have to go into that opening round match up without Ibaka, but Golden State doesn’t really feature their big men. If Oklahoma City can get a healthy Durant back playing with the MVP candidate Westbrook against Golden State’s “Splash Brothers” Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry in just the 1st round of the playoffs. Would a Durant return be enough for Oklahoma City to shock a team like Golden State?

The NCAA tournament goes into full swing tomorrow as the official 1st round starts. We don’t cover much college basketball on the podcast, but I always fill out a tournament bracket just for the fun of it. While I’m not going to go game by game through my picks, but here’s my Final Four teams. Out of the Midwest region I have who else, but Kentucky. I have the Wisconsin Badgers coming out of the West region and they’ll play Kentucky in the Final Four. In the South region I have the Gonzaga Bulldogs going to the Final Four to play the winner of the East region which I have as Northern Iowa; with Gonzaga going to the championship game. So my finals match up is Gonzaga vs. Kentucky and I have Kentucky winning it all with a 70 – 61 victory in the tournament final.

At just 24 years of age and with just one season of professional football under his belt San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland retired because he is concerned about head injuries. Now I have no issues with Borland deciding to walk away from the NFL but the mainstream media has handled this story very, very poorly. I’ve heard Borland called everything from a hero to a quitter and I don’t believe he’s either. To me he’s just a guy who no longer wanted to play football. When you’re an athlete you have this fire or love inside you for the sport you play; it’s what keeps you going when you think you can’t go on. I’m guessing that Borland didn’t have a love for football or the NFL and just decided to move on with his life. Of course the media jumped all over this story and started predicting the end of the NFL Just because Chris Borland didn’t want to play football anymore doesn’t mean there aren’t players lining up to find their way into the NFL Is it possible that you’ll receive an injury that might affect your long-term healthy; yes. Are you paid very, very well to take that chance and play professional football; yes. Let’s not turn Borland into the poster boy for leaving the NFL because of head trauma. I don’t believe he has or received a serious head injury; he may have had a concussion last season, but I don’t think he missed any games because of it. Borland is a guy who accessed the risk of playing in the NFL to what he’d like to do with the rest of his life and decided to leave the sport. Don’t expect the mass exodus that the media is predicting now that one player has done it. I’m interested to see if any other players go this route.

While the NASCAR season is only four weeks old with the way it’s started can anyone stop defending champion Kevin Harvick? Harvick started his season by finishing 2nd to Joey Logano at the Daytona 500. The next week at Atlanta Motor Speedway Harvick finished 2nd again; this time to Jimmie Johnson at the Folds of Honor Quiktrip 500. Week 3 in Las Vegas Harvick led 142 on his way to his 1st victory of the season at the Kolbalt 400. Then last week at the Phoenix International Raceway Harvick led 224 of the 312 laps and easily won the CampingWorld.com 500. So in four weeks of racing Harvick has two 2nd place finishes and two victories. This week NASCAR moves to Fontana California for the Auto Club 400 at the Auto Club Speedway. Will Harvick get his 3rd win in a row or can another driver find his or her way to victory lane. I guess the question if someone else does win the race will Harvick finish 2nd?

I’ll be the first person to say that I can’t stand the way Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and the Chicago Cubs are handling the Kris Bryant situation. To tell you the truth though I’m not really that upset with the way they’re handling his situation this spring training. The Cubs front office is making a business decision not a baseball decision to send Bryant to Triple A Iowa to start the 2015 season. In case you don’t know if Bryant goes to Triple A and spends 12 days there the Cubs gain and extra year of salary control with him. I can deal with him just going to Triple A for 12 days. The issue I actually have is this shouldn’t even be an issue as Bryant should’ve been in the major leagues last season and we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. Imagine if Bryant had a years worth of big league experience under his belt going into this season and wouldn’t have to learn on the fly at the major league level. Major league pitching is tough and it’s a lot more difficult to adjust to than Triple A pitching is. That would all be out-of-the-way had the Cubs just looked ahead and brought Bryant up last season. This is just part of the reasons why the Cubs don’t win. Poor front office decisions lead to poor on field results and the Chicago Cubs are living proof of that. Now the Cubs look better than they have in a long time and might have an outside shot at making the playoffs. How much more help would a Kris Bryant with one year of major league at bats be compared to a Kris Bryant who’s a rookie and learning major league pitchers be?

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There’s a special edition of Sports Time Radio today (Saturday) at 11:00 a.m. on www.blogtalkradio.com Mr. Fantasy and I have our first fantasy draft of the upcoming baseball season tomorrow (Sunday) so will discuss our strategy and what we might do with the 14th and 15th picks. Will work our way deeper into the draft and find some sleepers for you to use to win our own fantasy league as well. This is an interesting league for whatever reason outfielders seem to hold less value. I’d have to guess it’s because it’s not position specific or maybe the fact that there are so many more outfielders than other positions. It’s always fun to do and depending on how your season goes sometimes the draft is the most fun. Hopefully you’ll be able to listen live, but if not you can always find the show in the Blog Talk Radio archives or look for the show at www.ultimatesportstalk.com.

How’s your NCAA tournament bracket going? It looks like no one is perfect as I saw a blurb that nobody will win the Warren Buffet billion dollar bracket challenge. I was a respectable 25 of 32 correct so far. Luckily I got some upsets right and of course lost some games because of upsets. While we don’t talk much college basketball on the show it’s always fun to put a bracket together and who doesn’t want to win a billion dollars. I was unhappy to see the way the tournament committee treated Wichita State. The bracket they made them the #1 seed in was so stacked against them winning it that it makes you want to root for them. I get it they don’t want the smaller schools to advance to far in the tournament. If they go to far it’s bad for television ratings and of course that means less money. Just to put it out there; so no one can say I lied about it; here’s my final four. I have Louisville, Virginia, Creighton and Florida. I have Florida and Louisville in the championship game with Florida winning the tournament. I showed you mine; what does your bracket look like?

Patrice Bergeron and Carl Soderberg each had a goal, Chad Johnson stopped 31 shots for his third career shutout, and the Boston Bruins beat the Colorado Avalanche 2-0 on Friday night for their 11th win in a row. The Bruins became the 1st team to clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Boston has 101 points and is the leader in the Atlantic division of the Eastern conference. I saw some talks about who is going to win the Hart (MVP) trophy; there seems to be three top candidates. It’s looking more and more that Sidney Crosby is going to win this award, but there are a couple of other players who will get some votes. How about Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks. Getzlaf has put up career highs in points per game at 1.15 and goals with 29. Then there’s Phil Kessel, Toronto Maple Leafs. Kessel has 35 goals and 39 assists and Toronto is in 4th place with 80 points in the Atlantic division. It will be difficult to give this award to anyone else but Crosby, but Getzlaf and Kessel should get special mention for the seasons they’re having.

Did you get up at 3:00 a.m. central standard time to watch the Los Angeles Dodgers play the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 1st game of the baseball season in Australia? The Dodgers won the game 3 – 1; Clayton Kershaw pitched 6 2/3 innings striking out 7 and giving up 5 hits. Scott Van Slyke doubled and homer while driving in two runs for the Dodgers. Wade Miley took the loss for the Diamondbacks while Paul Goldschmidt had two hits. Kenley Jansen did save the game for the Dodgers. The two teams play again tonight.

So how was your week?

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