By Josh Kramer
“Linsanity” has hit a whole new level as the lowly New York Knicks have now won five straight games. The little-known point guard out of Harvard whom nobody wanted is now both “known” and “wanted” by all. Though it was weird having no professional or collegiate football games this past week, it still was a great week in the wide world of sports. As I always like to say though. On to the next one. Here are the events to keep an eye on.
5. The AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am was without question a blast this past weekend. It was quite refreshing to have some of the “Big” names in golf back around the top of the leaderboard (Mickelson, Woods). For a short period, it felt as if golf was drifting back into the golden era of five years ago. Mickelson came out victorious, while Tiger struggled to a 15th place finish (though he was in contention until the final round). Well the tour does not start and end in Pebble Beach. Next weekend, all eyes will be on the Riviera Country Club in California. CBS will be heading up the coverage. I have a distinct feeling that the Woods/Mickelson Show could return in the very near future.
4. US Men’s tennis is back on the map. Well, not exactly. But the team did complete a 5-0 sweep of a Roger Federer led Switzerland team to earn a berth in the Davis Cup quarterfinals. Yes, Roger Federer went down to former Georgia Bulldog star and one of the tallest players on the tour, John Isner, in four sets. Last August, I called Isner the “It” American tennis player when he had a very good string of tournaments in a row. I jumped the gun. But after taking down Roger Federer on Friday, maybe the tall, hard-serving American is finally finding his stroke. It will definitely be something to keep an eye on. The American team will take on either France or Canada April 6th to the 8th. Also, the ATP heads to Brazil for the Brasil Open this weekend.
3. New York versus Boston. I will be quite frank with all of you. I cannot get enough of this great rivalry regardless of the sport and I live in Cincinnati. Who really doesn’t love to see two of the largest sports markets in the world that hates each other so much going head to head? Well in hockey, we are all given a treat on Tuesday night when the Rangers travel to the TD Garden to take on the defending Stanley Cup Champion Bruins.
New York Rangers at Boston Bruins: Currently, the New York Rangers sit atop the Eastern Conference with breathing room following an exciting victory over the Washington Capitals on Sunday. Could the glory days finally be back for the Rangers? Or at least the days of contention? Well, if there is going to be any team that puts an end to New York’s dream of returning to the Stanley Cup for the first time in 18 years (1994), it will likely be the Boston Bruins. Boston currently holds down the second spot in the East, and after a very sluggish start to the 2011/2012 season, finally seem to have regained their championship swagger. The Bruins currently boast the top ranked offense in the League and have the best goal differential in all of hockey (+64). New York on the other hand sports the second best defense in the NHL in terms of goals allowed and is currently on a three-game winning streak. Though the Rangers are the best road team in the NHL, traveling to Boston is a different beast. The Bruins at this time are playing for more, and it will show on Tuesday night, as they narrow the gap in the Eastern Conference race for the number one spot.
2. Who else already has a major case of “Linsanity?” I will be the first one to tell you that “Tebow Time” received way too much attention during the NFL season this year. But what is currently going on in New York with former Harvard star Jeremy Lin may be even more surprising than the success that Tim Tebow had this past football season. So much for logic in sports these days. It seems like logic and what we thought we knew no longer means anything. Either way, it is very exciting. My eyes this week will be focused on a battle in Dallas tonight.
Los Angeles Clippers at Dallas Mavericks: It appears that things are starting to go back to normal in Dallas as the Mavericks have now reeled off three straight victories and are once again in the hunt. “Lob City” on the other hand is continuing to go swimmingly in year one as the Clippers have won eight of their last ten games. The Clippers offense has demonstrated that they are going to put up a boat load of points every night. Sadly though for CP3 and Blake Griffin, the verdict is still out on whether they can play the defense necessary to make a deep run come playoff time. Dallas on the other hand has become a defense first team. Much different than the Dallas teams that we had become accustomed to over the past decade. In addition, Maverick’s star Dirk Nowitzki finally appears to have regained his footing, putting up over 20 points each of the last five games. If this game were being played at the Staples Center, my edge would go to LA’s new version of Showtime. Sadly for the Clippers though, this game is in Dallas. Expect the Mavericks to make a statement against one of the new up and coming teams in the West.
1. It is totally awesome baby with a Capital A! Selection Sunday is just 27 days away. So much will happen between now and then, and you all are already well-aware of everything that occurs during the actual “Madness.” Baylor and Creighton continue to struggle, while Ohio State showed some major vulnerability in taking a home loss to rival Michigan State. In addition, both Syracuse and Kentucky showed that they can win close games against tough opponents on Saturday. Here are the games to keep an eye on this week.
Syracuse at Louisville
-Pitino’s team has reeled off six straight victories and appear to finally be back to playing like the team that started off the season 12 and 0.
Ohio State at Minnesota
-How will Ohio State respond after being held to under 50 points at home against Michigan State?
Murray State at Southeast Missouri State
-The Racers responded with a 19 point victory after their first loss of the season against a vastly overmatched Austin Peay team. How will they do against a solid Southeast Missouri State team?
Wisconsin at Michigan State
-The last time these two teams met produced an overtime thriller. Can the Badgers exact revenge at the Jack Breslin Student Events Center?
Brown at Harvard
-These Ivy League Friday’s never get old. Besides, Harvard now has Yale breathing down their back after last Saturday’s loss at Princeton.
We have a tie for the top matchup:
Ohio State at Michigan
-One of the best rivalries in sports period. Plus, these two teams have not been this good at the same time in basketball in a long time.
Saint Mary’s at Murray State
-This will be the “Game of the Year” for both of these teams despite it being a non-conference battle.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.