Sunday was a great day to a sports fan in America. I am not sure what more a die-hard could possibly want out of a typical Sunday in mid February. On this day, there was a little bit of everything.
First of all, 4 of the NBA’s top 5 matched up in two outstanding games. These games hyped me up for playoff basketball already, as the Nuggets handled the Celtics in a great game, and the Magic outlasted the Cavs. Dwight Howard won the battle of Superman on this day, though Shaquille had quite possibly his best all around performance of the year. Though the Cavs have lost some games since the arrival of Antawn Jamison, do not sleep on them. Remember what everyone was saying at the beginning of the season when the Cavs went through some growing pains with the arrival of the Diesel? Give Lebron a couple of weeks to acclimate to his new supporting cast. Lucky for them, they still have a 5 game lead over the Magic so they have time to work out the kinks before losing their home court.
In college basketball, the Big East shined as Villanova was upset by a very strong, and underrated Pittsburgh team. UC fell in an instant classic to Marquette in a battle of bubble teams. Though both of these teams are middle of the pack Big East squads, they looked very tough and demonstrated why the Big East is the best basketball conference in the land. The Cats and the boys from Marquette would both be near the top in most other conferences with a much more aesthetically pleasing record. In addition, OSU took care of business against Tom Izzo and the Spartans in a clash of Big 10 titans.
Now I will admit, I have tried really hard to get excited for the Winter Olympics. This has been a challenge and though the skiing events and curling are fun, they do not provide me with the same fire as watching a ball game does. But either way, whether you are into these games or not, the US beating a rival in a team sport is always exciting. Especially a sport which is the rival country’s pastime.
In probably the most exciting sporting spectacle of the day, the US put on its own re-enactment of Miracle on Ice 30 years later with a stunning upset defeat of the heavily favored Canadians. Alright, so maybe this game did not carry nearly the magnitude of that game 30 years ago. It was not quite the David vs Goliath matchup of Eruzione and the misfits taking on the invincible Soviets. But hockey is Canada’s sport. They have a squad that is supposed to already have the gold wrapped up. And they are playing in front of their home crowd in Vancouver. Barry Melrose, America’s hockey expert, has continuously said that it was a good decision by the US to go younger this year and get rid of the Modano’s and other former American superstars. By going younger, the Americans look hungrier and more poised to go for the gold. The results have shown as the US is now 3 and 0 in the tourney and in great shape to capture a medal. Also take note, that though this victory did not come during the medal round, it was the first time that the Americans have beaten the Canadians in Olympic hockey play since 1960! Over 50 years! I think the real question is can the US continue to play with the same fire and intensity throughout the rest of the Olympics and can US goaltender Ryan Miller continue to make 40 saves a night? Only time will tell.
But this Sunday was one of those days that you should be proud to be an American sports fan.
Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.