Sunday, March 31, 2013

March Madness: The Fantastic Four!

CONGRATS to No. 1 Louisville, No. 4 Michigan, No. 4 Syracuse and No. 9 Wichita State on reaching the Final Four!

  • For the Syracuse Orangemen this is the 5th trip to the Final Four (1975, 1987, 1996, 2003, 2013) in school history.
  • For the Wichita State Shockers this is the 2nd trip to the Final Four (1965, 2013) in school history.
  • For the Louisville Cardinals this is the 10th trip to the Final Four (1959, 1972, 1975, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1986, 2005, 2012, 2013) in school history.
  • For the Michigan Wolverines this is the 7th trip to the Final Four (1964, 1965, 1976, 1989, 1992*, 1993*, 2013) in school history. (*vacated)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

March Madness: The Orange and the Shockers Are Fantastic!

CONGRATS to No. 4 Syracuse and No. 9 Wichita State on reaching the Final Four!


  • For the Syracuse Orangemen this is the 5th trip to the Final Four (1975, 1987, 1996, 2003, 2013) in school history.
  • For the Wichita State Shockers this is the 2nd trip to the Final Four (1965, 2013) in school history.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

27! Heat Wave Continues!

24! 

Miami Heat 98 - Cleveland Cavaliers 95

Miami Herald

25! 

Miami Heat 103 - Detroit Pistons 89

Getty Images

26! 

Miami Heat 109 - Charlotte Bobcats 77

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27!

Miami Heat 108 - Orlando Magic 94

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The longest winning streaks in NBA History:
  • The 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers - 33 in a row.
  • The 2012-13 Miami Heat - 27 in a row.
  • The 2007-08 Houston Rockets - 22 in a row.
  • The 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks - 20 in a row.

 

2012-13 Southeast Standings

Team W  L Pct GB  Streak
y -Miami 56  14 .800  -- Won 27
Atlanta 39  32 .549  17.5   Lost 1
  Washington 26  44 .371  30.0   Won 1
Orlando 18  53 .254  38.5   Lost 7
Charlotte 16  54 .229  40.0   Lost 2

Simply astonishing!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

March Madness: The Eagles Have Landed! In the Sweet 16, That Is!

USA Today Sports

Once again CONGRATS to the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles on becoming the first 15th-seeded team in NCAA tourney history to reach the Sweet 16. The Eagles did so by first ousting the No. 2 Georgetown Hoyas 78-68 in the Round of 64 and today they took care of the No. 7 San Diego State Aztecs 81-71 in the Round of 32. Both have been impressive double-digit wins for a team most people had never heard of prior to this tournament. Nice!

AP Photo
Getty Images
How sweet it must be!

March Madness: Shockers and Awe!

No. 9 Wichita St. 76 - No. 1 Gonzaga 70


The Gonzaga Bulldogs became the first No. 1 seed to go down in the 2013 NCAA Tourney. The Zags were fed a heavy dose of 3-pointers from the No. 9 Wichita State Shockers which in the end proved to be too lethal. I guess we can say the Shockers shocked the Bulldogs.

In the Round of 64 Gonzaga almost became the first No. 1 seed to ever lose to a No. 16 seed when they narrowly escaped with a 64-58 win over No. 16 Southern. Maybe that nail-biter was a prelude of things to come for the team dubbed as the "weakest No. 1"? 

So for the legions of people who had their doubts about Gonzaga getting a No. 1 seed this was definitely an "I told you so" moment. Gonzaga's lack-luster performance as a No. 1 seed did not advance the cause of the so-called mid-majors in future tournaments, that's for sure.

Friday, March 22, 2013

March Madness: Welcome to the Map, Florida Gulf Coast Eagles

My oh my! No. 15 FGCU stuns No. 2 Georgetown!

This latest shocker comes in the footsteps of No. 14 Harvard shocking No. 3 New Mexico and No. 13 La Salle shocking No. 4 Kansas State. Not to mention the 3 No. 12 seeds (Oregon, California and Ole Miss) that also won, making the 2013 tourney the tournament of upsets with 8 double-digit seeded teams winning games in the round of 64. 


Nonetheless, the Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles are officially on the (college basketball) map! Their first-ever NCAA tournament game was a colossal 78-68 win over the second-seeded Georgetown Hoyas.

In their tournament history Georgetown has now lost (in the round of 64) as a No. 2 seed and as a No. 3 seed (in 2010 to No. 14 Ohio). To add insult to injury, in 1989 as a No. 1 seed, they almost lost to the No. 16 Princeton Tigers, barely eeking out a 50-49 win. In the history of the tournament no No. 16 seed has ever defeated a No. 1 seed, but Georgetown's 1-point win is the closest any No. 1 seed has ever come to losing.

March Madness: Hail, Hail To No. 12

The 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament has (without a doubt) been the year of the No. 12 seed. For only the third time in tournament history 3 of the 4 No. 12 seeds have knocked off the No. 5 seed to advance. It also happened in 2009 and 2002.


  • No. 12 Ole Miss 57 - No. 5 Wisconsin 46
  • No. 12 Oregon 68 - No. 5 Oklahoma St. 55
  • No. 12 California 64 - No. 5 UNLV 61
The lone No. 5 survivor (in the Round of 64) is No. 5 VCU who crushed No. 12 Akron, 88-42. The Rams pretty much zipped the Zips in this one.


Next up for the Rams-- a clash with the No. 4 Michigan Wolverines.

March Madness: No. 14 Stuns No. 3


Kudos to the No. 14 Harvard Crimson on not only being the biggest bracket-buster of Day 1 of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament but for also winning the first tournament game in school history. The Crimson, who's only other trips to the tournament were in 1946 and 2012, had an 0-3 tournament record prior to today's upset win over the No. 3 New Mexico Lobos.

The Crimson stunned the Lobos 68-62 in a game that was pretty much under their control from start to finish. The Lobos made a few runs during the game but Harvard answered every call. New Mexico was a team that prior to the start of the tournament was considered (by many) to have Final Four potential. But I guess someone forgot to mention that to the Crimson. Congrats Harvard!


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

23! Heat Wave!

22!

Miami Heat 108 - Toronto Raptors 91

AP Photo

23!

Miami Heat 105 - Boston Celtics 103
 
AP Photo
The longest winning streaks in NBA History:

  • The 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers - 33 in a row.
  • The 2012-13 Miami Heat - 23 in a row.
  • The 2007-08 Houston Rockets - 22 in a row.
  • The 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks - 20 in a row.

And the beat goes on... and on.... and on.......

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Let's Dance!


THE BRACKETS ARE IN AND SOON THE DANCIN' BEGINS....

The No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs, the No. 1 Louisville Cardinals, the No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks and the No. 1 Indiana Hoosiers lead the march.....

GOOD LUCK TO ALL WHO ENTER THEIR OFFICE POOL!

The King and Queen of Indian Wells

AP Photos
The champions of the 2013 BNP Paribas Open have been crowned.

On the men's side, World No. 5 Rafael Nadal outlasted an early surge from World No. 7 Juan Martin del Potro and defeated the Argentine 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to capture his third title (2007, 2009, 2013) at Indian Wells, California. On the women's side, World No. 2 Maria Sharapova blew past World No. 10 Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 6-2 to capture her second title (2006, 2013) at the prestigious Indian Wells' event.

The women's final was no contest as Wozniacki was no match for Sharapova.  The 25-year old Russian demolished the 22-year old Dane in a match that lasted only an hour and 21 minutes. It was all Sharapova. Period.

The men's final was a little bit more competitive as del Potro controlled the match in the first set and early in the second set. But once Nadal found his groove it was all downhill for del Potro and at times it was clear that fatigue was getting the best of him. Not only fatigue from Nadal's punishing game but all the fatigue from his gut-wrenching wins against World No. 3 Andy Murray in the quarterfinals and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. Asking del Potro to defeat 3 of the Big 4 in a single tournament was simply just too much. He gave it his all against Nadal but in the end Rafa's game was just too overpowering. Nonetheless it was a great tournament for del Potro.

For Nadal, 2013 has been a storybook year thus far after a 7-month absence due to a knee injury. He is now 17-1 for the year, playing in 4 tournaments, making the final in all 4 and winning 3 titles. His only blemish was his final's loss in his first tournament of the year in Chile to a guy named Horatio something. The 17-1 start is the best start of his legendary hall-of-fame career. And this is supposed to be a work in progress. You know, a comeback.

For 99.9% of players comebacks are usually a slow process but Nadal is making it look easy. How he has been able to do it is beyond anyone? I guess only he and the laws of physics know. Incredible!

AP Photo

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Indian Wells: What A Week For The Argentine!

Getty Images
No, not the new Pope.

No, not Lionel Messi.

But World No. 7 Juan Martin del Potro who just stormed his way into the BNP Paribas Open final with a gut-wrenching semifinals win over World No. 1 Novak Djokovic. Del Potro beat Djokovic 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 ending the Serbians 22-match winning streak and handing him his first loss of the 2013 season. It takes a whole lot these days to beat the World No. 1 and del Potro had to play a near flawless match to do so. And he did.

It now seems like the 24-year old Argentine is finally back after a devastating wrist injury nearly ended his career almost two years ago. As we may remember, in 2009, he shocked the world when he stunned then-World No. 1 Roger Federer in the U.S. Open final to capture the Grand Slam title. From that point it seemed like he was headed for greatness but then came the wrist injury which (at the time) derailed his career, dropping him from No. 4 in the world to No. 485, due to his absence after undergoing wrist surgery. When he returned nearly a year after the surgery it took him a while to find his old form again. Since then, by winning a few lower-tier tournaments, he has clawed his way back and is currently ranked No. 7 in the world.

And today he has stunned the World No. 1 in a big time event-- again!  

Today's monster win is his second straight win against a Top 3 after ousting World No. 3 Andy Murray in the quarterfinals. He will now face World No. 5 Rafael Nadal for the championship.

Earlier today Nadal ousted World No. 6 Tomas Berdych 6-4, 7-5 in the other semifinals match.

AP Photos

Will Nadal be the third member of the Big 4 taken down by del Potro this week? We'll see.

Read a post I wrote on del Potro's comeback over two years ago, here.

Friday, March 15, 2013

21! Can Anyone Beat The Heat?!

Miami Heat 107 - Milwaukee Bucks 94

AP Photo

The longest winning streaks in NBA History:
  • The 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers - 33 in a row.
  • The 2007-08 Houston Rockets - 22 in a row
  • The 2012-13 Miami Heat - 21 in a row
  • The 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks - 20 in a row

To be continued....

Nadal and Del Potro Win Big At Indian Wells!

Getty Images
The highly anticipated match between World No. 2 Roger Federer and World No. 5 Rafael Nadal at the BNP Paribas Open was not exactly the clash we all expected. Nadal crushed Federer 6-4, 6-2 and pretty much controlled the match from start to finish. The dismal showing by Federer was a result of an ailing back which bothered him throughout the contest. However, give Federer credit for playing the match out and not withdrawing because of his injury. Nonetheless, Nadal improved his all-time record to 19-10 against the 17-time Grand Slam champion.

Nadal next faces World No. 6 Tomas Berdych in the semifinals.

In another quarterfinals match, World No. 7 Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina defeated World No. 3 Andy Murray 6-7, 6-3, 6-1. For del Potro this is by far his biggest win since his comeback from wrist surgery over a year ago. Yes he's won some tournaments during his comeback but this is his first win against any of the Big 4 (Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal) since his return.  This is no doubt a huge confidence booster for the 2009 U.S. Open champion who is looking to join that elite group and dub it the Big 5.

He now moves on to the semifinals to face World No. 1 Novak Djokovic who easily won 6-3, 6-1 over World No. 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 54 short minutes. This next match will be a huge test for del Potro who, before his wrist injury, was no stranger to big-time semifinals matches.

Getty Images

His match against Djokovic should be a good one.   


Alls Well at Indian Wells

AP Photos
The folks at Indian Wells, California are in for a treat as World No. 2 Roger Federer and World No. 5 Rafael Nadal will clash in the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open which, in all accounts, is considered the fifth Grand Slam of the season.

The Nadal-Federer rivalry is perhaps the most legendary rivalry in tennis history as these two men have dominated the sport of tennis for the better part of a decade.

Here is a brief history of their colossal rivalry courtesy of Wikipedia:
 
Federer and Nadal have been playing each other since 2004, and their rivalry is a significant part of both men's careers.

They held the top two rankings on the ATP Tour from July 2005 until 14 August 2009, when Nadal fell to World No. 3 (Andy Murray became the new No. 2). They are the only pair of men to have ever finished four consecutive calendar years at the top. Nadal ascended to No. 2 in July 2005 and held this spot for a record 160 consecutive weeks before surpassing Federer in August 2008.

They have played 28 times, and Nadal leads their head-to-head series 18–10 overall and 8–2 in Grand Slam tournaments. Fourteen of their matches have been on clay, which is statistically Nadal's best surface and statistically Federer's worst surface. Federer has a winning record on grass (2–1) and indoor hard courts (4–0) while Nadal leads the outdoor hard courts by 5–2 and clay by 12–2. Because tournament seedings are based on rankings, 19 of their matches have been in tournament finals, including an all-time record 8 Grand Slam tournament finals. From 2006 to 2008, they played in every French Open and Wimbledon final, and also met in the title match of the 2009 Australian Open and the 2011 French Open. Nadal won six of the eight, losing the first two Wimbledon finals. Three of these matches were five-set matches (2007 and 2008 Wimbledon, 2009 Australian Open), and the 2008 Wimbledon final has been lauded as the greatest match ever by many long-time tennis analysts.

They have also played in a record 9 Masters Series finals.

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And most important-- aside from being great rivals these two titans are also great friends.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

20! The Heat Is On!

AP Photos
With a 98-94 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers, the Miami Heat became the 4th team in NBA history to win (at least) 20 consecutive games in a single season.

The other three teams are:
  • The 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers - 33 in a row.
  • The 2007-08 Houston Rockets - 22 in a row
  • The 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks - 20 in a row
As with any monumental streak, the media attention the Heat are getting is starting to develop a life of it's own. Will the Heat break the all-time record of 33 in a row? That is the chatter surrounding the NBA these days. Personally I think it's a tall order but it is possible. The question is-- do they want to break this record? Would they rather end the streak and diffuse all the attention it's getting and get back to focusing on their primary goal which is locking up the No. 1 seed for the playoffs?

Besides, at the end of the day, the Heat's main goal is to defend their NBA championship. A 34-game winning streak would mean nothing if they don't win the crown. Not to mention, to get to 34 they first have to get to 30 and in their next 10 games they have some tough road games in Boston, Chicago and San Antonio. The streak could easily come to an end in any of these 3 hostile environments.

Said LeBron James, ''When you have a streak like this, you have to have some luck. We just think about winning the next game and we'll see where it takes us."

That's the only way to do it. Take it one game at a time and if they accomplish 14 one-game winning streaks, the record is theirs. But I'm sure the Heat have bigger fish to fry. Anything less than a championship will be unacceptable in South Beach.

Read more, here.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Tiger Woods: Still The Best In The World!

Getty Images
Today Tiger Woods won his 76th career PGA title at the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Doral, Florida, leaving him just 6 wins shy of Sam Snead's all-time record of 82 PGA Tour victories. Tiger has now won 5 titles over the past year after an extended drought of over 2 years without a victory dating back to November 2009. His win-less drought was no doubt the result of his personal problems during that time that have now become infamous. But in the past year he has proven once again that he is the best in the business climbing all the way back to No. 2 in the world after slipping to as high as No. 52 during his win-less hiatus. He can regain the World No. 1 ranking with a win in his next tournament.

Read more here.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

No. 1 Gonzaga!!!!

Fanatics.com
Kudos to the Gonzaga Bulldogs on reaching the No. 1 ranking for the first time in school history. At 29-2 the so-called "mid-major" has the best record in Division 1 basketball and took over the No. 1 ranking from the Indiana Hoosiers who lost to Minnesota last week. The Zags are the fifth different school to hold the elusive top spot so far this season.

Gonzaga is also the third non-Big Six school to reach the No. 1 ranking in the past decade, following in the footsteps of Memphis (2007-08) and St. Joseph's (2003-04).

Read more, here.