“Weekly Nickel”

The Final Four will be the top sporting event of the week, but Major League Baseball Opening Day on Thursday is not far behind at number 2.

After the week that just ensued, it would be hard to imagine a more exciting week in the wide world of sports.  But this week will be a good one.  All capped off will the Final Four Showdown in Houston.

Here is this week’s top 5.

5.  There are just 7 games left in the NHL Regular Season.  And in the Wild Wild West, only one spot has been clinched.  Plus only 2 of the 15 teams have been eliminated from playoff contention.  You want to talk about parity and an evenly matched field.  This is just ludicrous.  But my matchup of the week will come out of the East, where only 4 spots have been secured at this time (just 3 teams eliminated from contention).

Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins:  This could definitely be a potential late round playoff matchup.  Two of the very best teams in the NHL looking to make a major statement before heading into the postseason.  The Flyers have arguably the most potent offense in the East and also are hands down the best road team.  This spells trouble for the Pens.  The Flyers will handle business on Tuesday night against the still “Crosby-Less” Penguins.

4.  Barry Bond’s trial/NFL Labor disputes.  Neither of these items are that intriguing in actuality, but news is news.  And these are major headlines.

3.  I know the NBA has really taken a backseat to all that is March Madness, but there are only about 10 games left in the regular season.  The playoffs are coming up in a hurry.  In the West, only 3 teams have clinched playoff spots, while the East has 5 spots punched so far.  This week has an array of big time matchups. Portland heads to San Antonio tonight in what could easily end up being a first round playoff matchup. Lebron heads to Cleveland on Tuesday night for what is sure to be a wild evening.  Orlando heads to Hotlanta to take on the Hawks in what could easily be a first round 4/5 matchup in the East.  Plus Boston heads to San Antonio in a matchup of two of the NBA’s elite teams Thursday night.  But in my eyes, the marquee matchup of the week is the 2nd game on Thursday night.  And it is safe to watch this one in that the NCAA Action does not pick back up until Saturday.

Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Lakers:  Only one game separates these two great teams as we enter the home stretch.  Neither of these teams want to have to take on the very tough Spurs before the Conference Finals.  So this game has a lot of extra meaning and could go a long way towards one of these squads clinching the 2 seed in the Western Conference.  On the year, the series between these 2 is knotted up at 1.  Both teams are hot.  The Lakers have won 6 straight while the Mavs are winners of 3 in a row.  And though Dallas is the best road team in the League, the Lakers have been the 1 seed in the West for 3 consecutive years for a reason.  Do not expect them to drop below the 2.  Kobe and the Lake Show will move one step closer to clinching the 2 with a victory on Thursday.

2.  Opening Day is on Thursday.  There is a slate of 6 games.  Let the 162 game journey begin!  Coming from Cincinnati I truly understand the significance of Opening Day.  It is a huge deal and something that the city truly cherishes.  Thursday will be a special day as another season gets under way.

1.  As if you did not know what this was going to be.  Grab your popcorn.  The Final Four tips in Houston on Saturday.  What a wild tournament so far.  In the ESPN Bracket challenge, which featured over 5.9 million ballots, only 2, yes I said 2, had the Final Four correctly picked.  What are the odds. 

In one game you have two programs that are known as mid majors going toe to toe for a chance to play for the National Championship.  It is being declared the matchup of the “Cinderellas.”  If you act like you saw this matchup coming before the games started, I am going to call you a liar.  Only 2 people can say that they called this.

 In the other matchup, 2 very recognizable programs will be squaring off in a rematch of the Maui Invitational Finals, where Kemba Walker had his coming out party.  UK will take on Connecticut.  Many are calling this the matchup of the “Cheaters,” due to the coaches, Calhoun and Calipari not having the cleanest of reputations.  Either way, it should be a fantastic game with two of the hottest teams in the country looking for a chance to add another National Championship Banner to their respective beautiful arenas.

Enjoy what is sure to be another great week of sports.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

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