“Weekly Nickel”

Amare Stoudemire (pictured above) has put the Knicks on his shoulders and led them to 8 straight wins. Can he keep the Garden buzzing with two major matchups vs the Heat and Celtics this week?

It is Monday.  And you all know what that means.  It is the beginning of another amazing week in the wide world of sports.

We got NFL action.  College Football minutia and Bowl Madness debates.  NBA Action.  NCAA “totally awesome time.”  MLB blockbuster signings.  And we even got hockey hysteria.  It is a great time to be a sports fan.

5.  NHL Action continues on.  And on Tuesday night, the battle for the state of Pennsylvania takes center stage.  The two top teams in the League, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers square off in Philly.  Can the Flyers make a statement and slow Sid the Kid and the seemingly unbeatable as of late Penguins?  Make sure to tune in for this one.

4.  So it is not the greatest week for College Hoops.  There is only one matchup of ranked foes all week.  This game pits #5 Kansas State vs #24 Florida next Saturday.  But College Hoops are College Hoops.  The unpredictability and excitement are always there.  Plus, if the men’s game is not that appealing this week, you could always tune in and watch Geno Auriemma’s Lady Huskies continue to make history next Sunday at Madison Square Garden right?

3.  The Bowl Game Madness begins this weekend.  We got some barn burners set for Saturday.  Here is a closer look.

-New Mexico Bowl: BYU and UTEP square off in a hotly anticipated matchup.  Okay, this game is not on everybody’s “to do” list, unless of course you attend or attended one of the schools.  I am not quite sure how either of these teams find themselves in postseason play.  But they both won the mandatory 6 games to get an invitation.  Other than a 4 game losting streak early in the year, BYU has played pretty solid football.  I expect their overall depth to prove too much against a UTEP team that are losers of two straight coming in to this one.  BYU wins this very lackluster matchup by 3.

-Humanitarian Bowl: A tough Northern Illinois team squares off with the always dangerous Fresno State Bulldogs.  This is definitely the marquee matchup of the day.  These are both pretty solid teams that have each taken down some decent foes this year.  NIU had won 9 straight games until being shocked by Miami in the MAC Title game last weekend.  The Huskies feature a special running back in Chad Spann.  He is one of the best backs in the country that you have probably never heard of.  Expect him to put on a show in his last collegiate game.  Fresno State on the other hand has been extremely Jekyll and Hyde all year.  I have not been able to figure them out.  Sadly for them, I do not see their good side showing up in this one.  Expect NIU’s blend of an outstanding rushing attack and a solid defensive unit to defeat the Bulldogs by 6.

-R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl:  Hey, at least this game is being played in New Orleans.  One of the most fun cities in America.  Sadly, the caliber of the teams participating in this game are not the greatest.  Troy has a lethal passing attack, but OU was a game away from playing in the MAC Championship.  I am going to go with my conference rankings on this one.  The MAC is a stronger conference than the Sun Belt in my eyes.  Go with the MAC team.  The Bobcats will win this less than stellar matchup by 9.

2.  The NBA is full of major win streaks.  Will they continue for another week?  There are some great matchups as usual all throughout the upcoming week.  Here is a look at the “key matchup” of each night.

Monday

New Orleans at Miami:  The South Beach boys appear to finally be getting it together.  Winners of 8 straight.  They look outstanding.  Lebron and D Wade claim that they have figured things out.  Well it appears that way.  New Orleans on the other hand is a team heading in another direction.  They are losers of two straight, and the hot start appears to be a mere memory.  Can New Orleans cool off the trifecta in the heat of South Beach?

Tuesday

Orlando at Denver:  Orlando is no longer in first place in their division, or in the state of Florida.  They trail the Miami boys by half a game.  The Nuggets are coming off of a tough loss at MSG and appear to be in for more tough losses in the near future.  It is likely that the Nuggets will be “Carmeloless” at any time now.  So the Magic are dealing with the soaring Heat while the Nuggets deal with a star player’s outcry. Which team will overcome and conquer?

Wednesday

Boston at New York:  The two hottest teams in the East square off at the “Mecca.”  Boston appears to be the cream of the East again while the Knicks have now turned into a playoff bound team.  It is always exciting when a good team comes to Madison Square Garden.  Which team will go cold first?

Thursday

Atlanta at Boston:  Following a date at MSG, the Celtics head home the next night to take on a high-flying Hawks team.  Will Boston once again show the Hawks that they are not quite at that “elite” level yet?  Or will the ATL guys take another step in the right direction?

Friday

Miami at New York:  To cap off the week, one of the best rivalries of the late 90s is renewed.  This is the first time in a decade where both teams sport winning records.  And you know that Lebron always gets up to play in the Big Apple.  You better believe that LBJ will not receive the warmest of welcomes.  This may be the most hostile crowd he faces all year, outside of Cleveland.  Are Lebron, D Wade, and Bosh up to the challenge of yet another very hostile environment?

1.  NFL Football.  Enough said.  It is Week 15.  There are teams looking towards next year’s draft.  There are teams clinging to a last hope of desperation to make the playoffs.  There are teams looking to secure home field advantage.  And I could go on.  Key matchups next week feature the Jaguars looking to stake claim on the AFC South against the Colts.  The Jets looks to wake up after a two-week nap against the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Could it be a rude awakening?  And of course Green Bay heads to Foxborough to take on the NFL’s best team of the moment.

There are also plenty of other things going on in sports as well.  MLB Free Agency continues featuring the “Cliff Lee Sweepstakes.”  The NFL impending lockout discussions continue.  And of course there is High School Basketball going on in every one of your hometowns. 

So enjoy the sports for the week.  It should be another memorable one.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

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