Good Monday morning to you #SportBits readers. I am currently filing what’s left of my nails and the little stubs they’ve become after a weekend of #madness. My bracket is totally busted, but my teams ARE GOING TO THE #FINALFOUR. I’ll take my teams doing well over a winning bracket any day. Kudos to my Syracuse Orange, who have both the men’s AND women’s teams heading to the #FinalFour next weekend. But the joy and excitement came with the painful, bloody stubs. I’d post a picture, but it’s sort of gross. I watched the men’s #Sweet16 round with a friend at my favorite sports drinkery. We bellied on up to the bar and chatted with a woman sitting next to us who was visiting #SoCal with her son. She told us about the senior softball league she played in, and chuckled how she was more into the games than her son. I asked her where he was, and she said he was taking in the sights of the town while she enjoyed her beer and basketball. The sports bar was their meeting place. My kind of gal! I watched the Easter Sunday #Elite8 games in my living room where I was free to scream, shout, swear and cry. AND OH MY LORD, I DID IT ALL! Exhausting. I need a spa day.
Let’s talk some #SportBits. The #FinalFour is set. Next weekend in Houston, No. 2 Villanova (who upset No. 1 Kansas to advance) plays No. 3 Oklahoma (who took out No. 1 Oregon). On the other side, we have an all #ACC matchup between SYRACUSE (the first #10 seed to advance to the #FF) and No.1 North Carolina (who beat #6 Notre Dame). I know I’ve been talking a lot about Syracuse, but that’s my team, and we were down by 15pts with 9 minutes to go… and we somehow got the win. One of the most exciting games I’ve ever watched. #bloodystubs
On the women’s, side No.4 Syracuse makes it to its first #FinalFour with a win over No.7 Tennessee on Sunday. #Cuse will play the Washington Huskies who beat Stanford 85-76. Regional finals continue tonight with No.1 UConn playing No.2 Texas, and No. 1 Baylor taking on No. 2 Oregon State. Coverage begins tonight at 7pm ET on ESPN.
In the NBA, the story that really caught my eye last week was how the all powerful and mighty Nike lost superstar Steph Curry to rival company Under Armor. It’s fascinating to read how Nike had Curry under contract but dropped the ball when renegotiating, and to see just how important these sneaker contracts are to both players and companies. If you were to ask LeBron James who his employer is, he should say Nike, because they pay him waaaay more than the Cavaliers do.
Good news for the LA Clippers. Star player Blake Griffin has been cleared to play after breaking his hand, but needs to serve his 4-game suspension first. His first game back will be April 3rd v. the Washington Wizards. On Sunday, the Clippers beat the Denver Nuggets 105-90, and are currently in 4th place in the Western Conference.
The Best v. Worst: Golden State Warriors beat the 76ers 117-105 to improve to 66-7.
After a week of Twitter flurry, LeBron James settled down and his Cavaliers beat the NY Knicks 107-93. The Cavs lead the eastern division by 2.5 games over the Toronto Raptors.
On Saturday, the Spurs lost to OKC Thunder 111-92. The Spurs are 4 games behind the Warriors for best record in the west. OKC is in 3rd place.
We’ve got 8-10 games left in the season. Will the Warriors beat the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls record of 73 wins? Will Blake Griffin’s return give some life to the sagging Clippers? Will LeBron stay off social media and focus on his team? #staytuned
See all scores and highlights…here.
The Florida Panthers took over first place in the Atlantic Division by beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2 on Saturday night.
The St. Louis Blues beat the Washington Capitols 4-0 for its fourth consecutive shutout.
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman will miss the rest of the regular season after suffering a non-displaced fracture of his left fibula Friday night. Stralman left in the first period of the Lightning’s 7-4 win over the New York Islanders with the injury after getting checked by Anders Lee.
The playoffs start on April 13th. Here are the current standings.
In PGA golf, Jason Day regains the No. 1 ranking with his win of the Dell Match Play title. Day outlasted Rory McIlroy in the morning semifinal by making a 12-ft par putt, and then beat Louis Oosthuizen in the championship match in the afternoon.
In other news:
The NBA voiced its concerns over a new law in North Carolina which discriminates against the LGBT citizens of that state. The new law forces all people to use the bathroom assigned to their biological sex, and allows anti-LGBT discrimination by businesses. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has not officially pulled the game from Time Warner Cable Arena, home of the Charlotte Hornets, but the league made its opinion clear with the following statement.
“The NBA is dedicated to creating an inclusive environment for all who attend our games and events. We are deeply concerned that this discriminatory law runs counter to our guiding principles of equality and mutual respect and do not yet know what impact it will have on our ability to successfully host the 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte.”
The NBA joins other companies with NC ties (American Airlines, IBM) in expressing their concerns. Losing the NBA All-Star game would be a big blow to Michael Jordan and his Hornets, who are desperately trying to rebrand themselves. We’ll keep an eye on this one.
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Time Warner Cable, which bought the media rights to distribute SportsNet LA (home of the Dodgers games) from the organization for $8.35billion dollars in 2013, are about to begin a 3rd season with no deals in place with major carriers DirecTV, Fios, and Cox. This means 60% of the market cannot watch their hometown team. TWC offered 30% off their asking rate but only for the upcoming season. I can’t imagine DirecTV et al will want to take the deal only to have to renegotiate next year. Very disappointing that the Dodgers have forgotten about their massive fan base…and look to leave them out in the cold for another season.
In other baseball news, New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriquez announced the upcoming season will be his last. A-Rod’s 10-year contract expires after the 2017 season and he will be 42 years old at that time. In a career marred by postseason shortcomings and performance-enhancing-drug use, no one can argue with his stats: He’s hit 687 home runs, the fourth-most in MLB history, won three AL MVP awards and won the 2009 World Series with the Yankees.
Even MORE baseball news: The Tampa Bay Rays won a historic exhibition game vs. Cuba in Havana last week with President Obama in attendance, 4-1. The game marked the first MLB game in Cuba since 1999. With the more lenient trade embargo regulations between the US and Cuba announced 2 weeks ago, the door is now open for Cuban baseball players to legally earn salaries as part of MLB. Players won’t have to defect in order to play.
Lastly, there was some interesting discussion over the concussion controversy at the NFL owners meeting last week. Cowboy owner Jerry Jones said it’s “absurd” to link football with head trauma and brain disease, CTE. This after the NFL senior VP for Health and Safety acknowledged that football should be linked to CTE. Jones said in the Washington Post:
“We don’t have that knowledge and background, and scientifically, so there’s no way in the world to say you have a relationship relative to anything here. There’s no research. There’s no data. …”
Not sure what Jones is smoking because it’s widely known that CTE is a degenerative brain disease caused by head trauma that leads to depression, dementia and physical ailments. The NY Times got into the mix last week when they reported a flaw in the NFL’s concussion research, as well as suggesting a connection between the tobacco industry and the League. This story is messy and gross..#bloodystubs… I’ll keep you posted.
That’s all I’ve got folks. This weekend of #MarchMadness wore me right-the-heck down. It’s Sunday night after the big win, and I can barely see straight. I’m going to be a nervous nelly all week waiting for Saturday night and our matchup with Carolina. I LOVE SPORTS AND BEING A SPORTS FAN. If you haven’t followed the tourney so far..well jump in next weekend root for #Cuse…they’re going to need all the help they can get! And thanks for putting up with me. Follow me on da’gram and Twitter for scores and highlights throughout the week.