By Josh Kramer
“Tebow Time” is back and bigger than ever. The Twitter world and ESPN will be a Tebow fest for the next week as Tebow preps for Round 2 with Brady and the Patriots. Sports are a funny thing. But I have never been as perplexed as I am by the whole “Tebow Phenomenon.” The whole thing seems ludicrous and almost fake, but it is real. Though the sporting world will center its attention on Tim Tebow and the Broncos this week, there are plenty of other things going on. Here are the events to keep an eye on.
5. The Winter Classic is in the rearview, and so is the NHL in essence. This is typically the time of year where Canada’s favorite pastime really gets lost in the shuffle. But, the beat still goes on in the NHL. My eyes will be focused on a colossal matchup this evening in Florida (yes I realize the BCS National Championship Game will be on at the same time).
Vancouver Canucks at Florida Panthers: This game is a big one for obvious reasons. On one hand, you have the defending Western Conference Champions and current top team in the conference that has been straight cruising as of late (7-2-1 in their last 10). On the other hand, you have an up and coming Panthers team which currently resides in the top spot of the Southeast Division. Sadly, the Panthers have been struggling lately, and are in need of a big-time victory. The Canucks rely on both an electric offense and a great defense. Florida has a solid defense, but typically just finds ways to win. One team is hot. And one team is cold. Plus Vancouver is one of the elite road teams in the NHL. Edge Vancouver.
4. “It’s totally awesome baby with a capital A.” We are finally into conference play. This is where College Basketball really shines as the madness creeps ever closer. The renovation project in Bloomington seems to be complete, as the Indiana Hoosiers creep up the rankings. Crean’s crew shot an astonishing 16 of 24 from downtown yesterday (66.6666%). And no Jimmy Chitwood is not on the roster. This team makes the 3-point line seem like the free throw line. In addition, both the UConn Men’s and Women’s hoops teams lost on Saturday. The last time this happened was January 6, 2007. Here are some matchups to keep an eye on this week.
West Virginia at Connecticut
-Do not sleep on a Mountaineers team coming off of a huge win against Georgetown.
Baylor at Kansas State
-Could Frank Martin’s Wildcats slay an undefeated squad for a second straight game (Baylor is one of three undefeated teams in the nation)?
St. John’s at Marquette
-Though seven of the ten eligible players are freshman, St. John’s is by no means short on talent as they demonstrated in Cincinnati on Saturday.
Virginia at Duke
-The Cavaliers have won 12 straight games while the Blue Devils have looked extremely vulnerable as of late.
Creighton at Illinois State
-Led by stud sophomore Doug McDermott (25.2 PPG), Creighton leads the country in field goal percentage and should be around for the Madness.
UNLV at San Diego State
-Two ranked teams from the Mountain West Conference going toe to toe.
3. Every team in the League has at least two losses now. We are nearly ten games into the season and I think I can say with full confidence that the majority of the country is very happy to have the NBA back. The Pacers appear to finally be back from their 8 year hiatus following the “Malice at the Palace.” Miami and Oklahoma City appear to be on a collision course to meet in the finals. And Kevin Love is quietly becoming a superstar. My eyes this week are focused on a showdown in LA. Amazingly though, this matchup does not involve Kobe Bryant and the Lakers (times have changed).
Miami Heat at Los Angeles Clippers: Thus far, both of these teams with high expectations have lived up to the hype. The question is, can they sustain. In Miami’s case, I think most would feel safe saying that this team will be around in June. In terms of “Lob City,” the verdict remains to be determined. Only two teams in this League have an average margin of victory that is in double digits. One of those teams in the Heat (the other is the surprising 76ers). The Clippers appears to be gelling well and of course providing some fireworks on a nightly basis. I just do not think they have the horses to hang with a great road team in the Miami Heat. The Clippers are a definite playoff team that could win a round, but they are not a title contender (yet). Miami is the team to beat and will win this game on the big Wednesday night stage.
2. There once were 30. Then there were 12. Now there are 8. Somebody please explain to me the “Mystery of Tim Tebow.” This is hands down the oddest thing that has happened in the sporting world over a sustained period in my lifetime. In addition, who was better this weekend, Eli Manning or Drew Brees? I think Eli has demonstrated that he is actually an “elite” quarterback. After watching the Giants yesterday, Green Bay may not be such a sure thing.
-New Orleans at San Francisco (4:30PM) (Fox)
-Denver at New England (8:00PM) (CBS)
-Houston at Baltimore (1:00PM) (CBS)
-New York (Giants) at Green Bay Packers (4:30PM) (Fox)
(All of the picks for the first round playoff games will be included in the weekly NFL Picks on Friday)
1. “The Game of the Century Part Deux.” You will not want to miss this game this evening. All eyes will be on the Superdome tonight, as LSU and Alabama go toe to toe. This one is for all the marbles.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.