Tag Archives: Spring Training

Weekly Nickel 3-12-2012

Photo courtesy of Mr. Eddie Trost and Mrs. Jayne Robertson, Event Directors of the Babolat World Tennis Classic. Francesca Schiavone (pictured above) is one of many players looking to make some noise at Indian Wells this week.

By Josh Kramer

The greatest weekend in sports is just ahead.  It is time for some March Madness and there is only one way to describe it.  “It’s totally awesome baby with a capital A!”  I know Championship Week was fun.  But the first few days of the NCAA Basketball tournament are the most exciting in sports.  Utilize your sick days or your vacation days.   Thursday and Friday will not be days that you will want to be stuck at your desk.  Also, despite popular belief, other sports have been going on over the past week and will continue to despite the lack of attention given.  Last week was great.  But this week will be ever better.  Here are the events to keep an eye on.

5.  Indian Wells is still doing swell.  All eyes in the tennis world are focused in California.  Sadly, at least in the US, many potential eyes have been and will continue to be focused on March Madness.  But for all of my die-hard fans out there, it is a great time to be an American tennis fan.  First Indian Wells, and then the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami next week?  It doesn’t get much better. Continue reading

Weekly Nickel 2-20-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. The New York Rangers currently possess the best record in the Eastern Conference. Much of the team's success is due in large part to goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (pictured above).

By Josh Kramer

The Garden was simply “Linsane” yesterday as Jeremy Lin led the Knicks to a huge home victory over the defending champion Dallas Mavericks.  Michigan finally exacted some revenge on their bitter rival, Ohio State, handling Sullinger and Co. in Ann Arbor for the first time in a long time (previously had lost 7 straight to the Buckeyes).  And pitchers and catchers began reporting to warm and beautiful cities across the country.  This past week was absolutely wild, but the current week should be some fun too.  Here are the events to keep an eye on.

5.  Is it 1994 all over again?  For the first time in a long time, both the Rangers and Knicks are contenders at the same time (granted the Knicks are only 500, but winners of 8 of 9).  The Rangers currently possess the best record in the East, while the Red Wings have been simply unbeatable as of late, winning six straight games, and 23 straight at home.  This week my attention is focused on a marquee matchup in Pittsburgh tomorrow night. Continue reading

“Food for Thought 3-22-11”

Cincinnati Bengal's wide receiver has talked trash to Raven's Safety Tom Zbikowski (pictured above, left) via Twitter about a possible boxing match between the two NFL players. Does Chad Ochocino really want to get in the ring with that guy?

It is another Tuesday.  Which means it is time for some “Food for Thought.”  These are the topics in sports that have really caught my attention in the past 24 hours.  Items that must be discussed.  So let’s jump right into it. Continue reading

“Madness Highlights Thus Far”

UConn star Kemba Walker made a name for himself in Maui. He continued his great play throughout the regular season and wowed New York in the Big East Tournament. Now he looks to take his team to the Final Four.

As if there is anything else going on in the wide world of sports that is on the same wave length as the NCAA Tournament right now.  Sure there is the Roger Goodell versus Kevin Burnett bickering, Spring Training, and NBA Action.  But none of these things compare to the first Thursday of the NCAA Tournament.  And yes I said the first Thursday, because it is no longer the first round technically.  It is the start of Round 2.  Whatever it is the start of, you got to love it.

No predictions today.  I will let my bracket play out a little.  But I wanted to check in and let you know my initial thoughts of this year’s edition of March Madness. Continue reading

“Food for Thought 3-8-11”

Could the days of Jim Tressel (pictured above) and the trusty sweater vest be over in Columbus? Don't count on it.

There is so much going on in sports right now.  NCAA Basketball madness all day.  MLB Spring Training.  NFL Labor Negotiations.  NBA Basketball.  And I could go on.  It is time to delve into some of the major headlines today.

Tressels Sweats it Out in the Sweater Vest Continue reading

“Weekly Nickel”

I do not see Duke being able to win the ACC Tourney Title if they match up with UNC again in the finals. Unless of course, freshman phenom, Kyrie Irving (pictured above) returns.

It is another beautiful March Monday.  March truly has many qualities that make it “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”  There is no better sporting event than March Madness.  And Selection Sunday is right around the corner.  Spring Training is at full go.  The NFL Labor fiasco continues, and the NBA has guys crying in the locker room over regular season losses.  What more could you want?

Here is this week’s top 5. Continue reading

“Food for Thought 3-1-11”

Back on February 12th, Jacob Pullen (pictured above) and Kansas State appeared on their way to missing the big Dance in March. 5 games later they are back in the picture and are one of the hottest teams in America.

There is so much going on in the wide world of sports.  You got the NFL Combine, the NFL CBA soap opera, and MLB Spring Training.  It is March now though, and you all know what that means.  It is time for some Hoops Mayhem!

Here are some of the main thoughts that have been running through my head today.

When the East Returns to Prominence, so do the Chicago Bulls

-When was the last time the Eastern Conference was as good as or better than the Western Conference?  Lets go back to Michael Jordan era in Chicago.  It has been well over 10 years.  Hard to believe how fast time flies by.  Well the Eastern Conference has arrived, and appears ready to stay on top.  With the East back on a level playing field with the West, wouldn’t you know that the Windy City would have a great team for the first time since the Jordan days.  Chicago has had 2 winning seasons since Jordan helped the city rip out Utah’s heart for a 2nd consecutive year (1998).  The most wins they have had in a season is 49 back in the 06-07 campaign.  Want to know how many wins they have this year?   

Try 41 with 24 games remaining.  And this team only appears to be getting stronger as they get healthier.  Former Chicago Bull’s star Scottie Pippen has been blowing up the Twitter world with his tweets as of late.  The gist of Pippen’s message is that the Bulls are a contender and that they have the ability to bring back the title to Chicago.  Most of America thought Chicago lost big this off season in the epic “Free Agency Bonanza.”  In actuality, they won big with the pickups of Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver.  Two pieces that may have completed the puzzle.

People do not realize that this Bull’s team has gone 18 games without their best big man, Carlos Boozer, and 30 games without Joakim Noah, one of the scrappiest players in the League.  Yet they are still 3rd overall in the East, and just one game behind a Miami team that they are 2 and 0 against.  I will admit that Boston is still my pick to represent the East in the NBA Finals.  But the Bulls were my sleeper pick for a reason.  They have something that none of the other Eastern Conference contenders have.  A point guard who can do it all.

Sure the Celtics have Rajon Rondo, who is an elite PG.  But Rondo simply cannot shoot from the perimeter.  Rose can do it all.  He can fly all over the court.  He has tremendous vision.  He can score at will both by driving and shooting the jump shot.  Plus he is a leader who has a knack for hitting the big shot.  A point guard who can penetrate and shoot like Rose is capable of is nearly unstoppable.

Chicago has the perfect formula for a championship contender.  They have one superstar in Derrick Rose.  An All Star caliber big in Carlos Boozer and a possible future All Star in Joakim Noah.  A sharpshooter in Kyle Korver.  And a great talent on both ends of the floor in Luol Deng.  Maybe we should ask King James what he thinks of Mr. Deng. Each player on this team seems to know their role. Lastly, their effort level is tremendous.  They are currently 2nd in the League in both overall defense and rebounding.  Who says that guys in the NBA do not try.  Well that does not seem to be a problem in the Windy City. They could be scary come April/May and dare I say June.

Greg Jennings Who?

I am sure many of you have seen the infamous Greg Jennings YouTube video where he puts the team on his back with a broken leg.  Well Jacob Pullen has been doing his best Greg Jennings impression as of late in the College Basketball arena.  He has literally put Kansas State on his back.  And now has them sitting pretty for a tournament bid.  A little over 2 weeks ago this was far from the story in Manhattan, Kansas.

Lets rewind back to February 12th.  On this date, Kansas State lost a heartbreaker to a mediocre Colorado team and sat at 16 and 9, with a conference record of 4 and 6.  They appeared on their way to arguably the most disappointing season of any College Basketball team in the country outside of Michigan State.  These guys were highly touted preseason (ranked #3).  They had made it all the way to the Elite 8 last year.  This was not supposed to be the case.  Then something happened.  Something magical. 

The senior, Jacob Pullen, decided to put the team on his back.  First the Wildcats put a whooping on in state rival, and the number 1 team in the country at the time, Kansas.  Then the rest was history.  Kansas State has now won 5 straight games.  3 of those wins were against top 25 teams and last night’s victory over #8 ranked Texas on the road was the icing on the cake.  During this 5 game stretch, Jacob Pullen is averaging 27.2 PPG and shooting a remarkable 59% from the floor.  Want to know what is even more amazing?  He is 16 of 27 from 3 point range in this 5 game stretch.  This is also 59%.

Pullen has epitomized what a senior leader should be over these past two weeks.  I do not foresee Kansas State making a run to the Final Four this year.  But I do feel they are capable of going a few rounds deep, which is far better than not dancing at all.  Pullen has put Kansas State on his back.  The real question is how far can he lead them? I will tell you this much, I would not bet against Pullen at the end of a close game.

Just some “Food for Thought.”

Let me hear your thoughts though.  Please comment below with any questions or insights that you may have or shoot me an email at contact@thesportskraze.com.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze