“Weekly Nickel”

I got the 22-year-old scoring machine Kevin Durant (pictured above) bringing home the All Star Game MVP on Sunday.

It is yet another Monday in the sporting world.  And things are as good as ever. Basketball is at full blow in both the Collegiate and the Professional ranks.  The hockey ice is beginning to heat up.  And Spring Training is upon us!

Lets take a look at this week’s top 5.

5.  In the NHL, we get to continue to watch the Wild Wild West unfold.  Every team but 1, is currently sitting with a record of 500 or better.  People say the NFL has parity?  Why don’t they start watching the NHL’s Western Conference.  It is absolutely unbelievable.  One key matchup this week that I will have my eye on this week will take place tomorrow night. 

Currently, the Vancouver Canucks are rolling and sport the best record in all of hockey.  On Tuesday evening, they travel to Minnesota to take on the Wild.  Minnesota currently sits in the 8th and final playoff spot out West.  A possible playoff preview?  You better believe it. 

The Wild come in very hot, winners of 3 consecutive games, and 8 of their last 10.  This could be a real statement game for the Wild as they look to climb up the Western Conference standings.  Sadly for Minnesota, the Canucks are one of the top road teams in the NHL.  Expect their high-flying offensive attack, which currently ranks number 1 in the League, to bring a “wild” offensive exhibition to Minnesota.  I got the Canucks handling business on Tuesday in my marquee game of the week.

4.  Not exactly the best week of matchups for the NBA.  I feel like the League really shot its load yesterday with some marquee games.  This week is all just a buildup to the All Star Extravaganza (I will talk about later).  But there is one very intriguing game this week.

It occurs on Thursday and pits 2 of the top teams in the NBA.  The Spurs travel to the Windy City to take on the Bulls.  These are both teams that are not really getting the due they deserve.  Though the Spurs sport the best record in the entire NBA, most of the talk out West has been centered on the defending champion Lakers, the always dangerous Mavericks, and the young star-studded Oklahoma City Thunder.  Where is the love for San Antonio?  And in the East, though the Bulls sport the 3rd best record, all of the title talk has been centered on Boston and Miami.  People talk about 1 and 2 in the East, and 3 is just an afterthought. 

Well here is a chance for both of these teams to grab some attention heading into the All Star Weekend.  This is the prime time game of the evening.  And I got the Bulls avenging their early season loss to the Spurs in mid November, due to a phenomenal effort from Derrick Rose.  This guy loves the bright lights and continues to get better with each game.  Look for him to control the tempo from the onset as the Bulls surprise the Spurs with loss number 10 heading into the break.

3.  Though I personally would like to rank this in my top 2, all bias aside, it does not quite belong above this week’s top couple.  I am talking about MLB Spring Training.  Pitchers and Catchers for many teams reported today.  It is just a matter of time before the 6 month saga begins at the end of March.  Who will make the roster?  Who will get sent to the Minors?  Who are the favorites? 

It is an extremely exciting time.  I will state this.  There are 3 main contenders in my eyes as we head into the middle of February.  The Philadelphia Phillies, the Boston Red Sox, and the New York Yankees.  Expect one of these three teams to be popping the champagne come November.  But in the meantime, the baseball journey is just beginning.

2.  Was this weekend’s slate of games not exciting enough for ya?  Well this Saturday will not feature 4 games pitting ranked foes.  But there is a steady digest of great games all the way through the week highlighted by an amazing evening on Wednesday.

Wednesday

Georgetown at UConn:  After a midseason slump, the Hoyas are winners of 8 straight, with 3 of those victories coming against top 15 ranked teams.  UConn on the other hand has lost 3 of their last 5.  Kemba has been held in check somewhat if that is possible.  UConn is an outstanding rebounding team while Georgetown executes on the offensive end as well as any squad in the country.  This explains the Hoyas overall team field goal percentage sitting at 50%.  Well expect them to continue to take quality shots, and outsmart a very good, yet overrated UConn team.  The Huskies are very good.  But I feel like they played much better than they actually were through their first 20 games and now are being exposed.  I got the Hoyas by 2 in a thriller.

Wisconsin at Purdue:  Wisconsin ended the dream of a team running the table this year with an amazing comeback win at the Kohl Center on Saturday.  Not much of a break for the Badgers as they now have to travel to Mackey Arena to take on the 11th ranked Boilermakers.  I know I have said this expression probably 100 times on this blog.  But after every high, there comes a low.  The Badgers hit a low in this one as they lose a tough one on the road.  Wisconsin is a great team, but they are an elite team at home.  On the road, they are beatable.  The Boilermakers have only lost once at home all year.  Do not expect number 2 to come Wednesday.  I got Purdue by 3 at home.

1.  As if you did not know what the top sporting event of the week was going to be.  It has to be NBA All Star Weekend.  Now I do not feel the game is as good as the MLB All Star Game.  But the events leading up to it are so entertaining.  

Friday

Things get kicked off on Friday with the Celebrity Game.  Do you have Bieber fever?  Well the teenage pop star will be taking the court with the likes of Jason Alexander, Jimmy Kimmel, and Mr. Basketball himself, Bill Simmons.  Plus former players Scottie Pippen, Jalen Rose, and Bill Walton will be on the court.  Following the celebs game, there is the Rookie Challenge.  The League is full of so much young talent, that this is a can’t miss event as the freshman (rookies), take on the sophomores (2nd year players). 

Saturday

Things kick off with the D-League All Star Game and then we move right into the skills competitions.  Now all of the competitions are exciting, but I expect the Dunk Contest to redeem itself from last year’s abysmal showing.  There is one reason why this year’s contest will be better. 

Blake Griffin.

You better believe that Mr. Griffin is going to bring excitement back to the Dunk Competition.  Not to mention the other participants, DeRozen, McGee, and Ibaka can all put it down with authority.

Sunday

It is game time baby. Expect a score in the 130s or 140s (per team).  Expect to see lots and lots of scoring.  There is no defense in this game.  But some of the moves and dunks can get pretty cool.  I am going to go out on a limb and pick the West to handle the East this year, now that the conferences appear about even.  Plus the conferences have rotated winners every year since 2006.  And normally I would go with Kobe to take home the MVP, in that this game is in his home arena, but I am going with the 22-year-old Kevin Durant.  This game sets up very nicely for the former Texas star to pump out 25 to 30 points.

So there you have my thoughts on the top 5 sporting events for this upcoming week.  Hope you enjoy.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

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