Saturday, March 06, 2010

Sports Saturday: 3/6/10

College basketball - It's March! And that means that for the next few weeks, college basketball is my favorite sport. I don't like college basketball enough to follow it in earnest from November to March, but I do like it enough to make it my primary sport of interest for four or five weeks, at least. And that month might as well be the last (and most exciting) month of the season, don't you think?

This time last year, I was all about the "tournament bubble". Penn State was on the "bubble" (and ultimately didn't make it), while Florida State was in position to make their first NCAA Tournament in over 10 years. Back then, I was that guy who scoured the web every day looking at Person X's latest bracket projections to see not only whether Penn State was "in" or "out", but what seed Florida State was looking at getting. (If only I had known about this site this time last year.)

This year? Meh. Florida State doesn't have that "haven't made the NCAA Tournament in over 10 years" stigma hanging over their head anymore, and they're firmly in the field (for now - knock on wood), so...whatever. Does it really matter whether FSU is an 8, 9, or 10 seed? Not really. (Don't take this the wrong way - I am thrilled that Florida State has put together a tournament-caliber team for a second consecutive year. I am very happy with how this season has gone.) Meanwhile, from what I've gathered, the general consensus is that Penn State will not make the NCAA Tournament this year. So instead of checking this sort of thing every day for the next eight days, instead I'll just tune to CBS on Selection Sunday and see who made it where.

As for this weekend's college basketball games...there is that North Carolina v. Duke game, which as a Triangle resident, I feel it's my duty to watch. Meanwhile, in addition to the usual slate of ACC / Big Ten / Big East / Atlantic 10 games, this week (and next) I'm also going to list all conference championship games, because those are fun, too. Let's go, Jacksonville University Dolphins!

Sat 12:00p - Florida State at Miami (FL), ESPN2
Sat 12:00p - Northwestern at Indiana, Big Ten Network
Sat 12:00p - West Virginia at Villanova, CBS
(not televised locally)
Sat 1:30p - Maryland at Virginia, WRAL (Raycom)
Sat 2:00p - Syracuse at Louisville, ESPN
Sat 2:00p - Connecticut at South Florida, MASN
Sat 2:30p - Purdue at Penn State, Big Ten Network
Sat 4:00p - Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech, WRAL (Raycom)
Sat 4:00p - St. Bonaventure at Xavier, Fox Sports Ohio
Sat 4:00p - Big South Conference Championship, ESPN2
Sat 4:30p - Rutgers at Pittsburgh, MASN
Sat 6:00p - Atlantic Sun Conference Championship, ESPN2
Sat 8:00p - Ohio Valley Conference Championship, ESPN2
Sat 9:00p - North Carolina at Duke, ESPN
Sun 12:00p - Wisconsin at Illinois, ESPN
Sun 2:00p - Boston College at NC State, WRAL (Raycom)
Sun 2:00p - Missouri Valley Conference Championship, CBS
(locally on WRAL.2)
Sun 4:00p - Michigan at Michigan State, CBS
Sun 6:00p - Clemson at Wake Forest, FSN
Sun 6:00p - Iowa at Minnesota, Big Ten Network

NHL - I have a few things to talk about here. First off...based on the reactions I've seen from other hockey fans, I am apparently the only non-Canadian, non-Pittsburgh fan who doesn't hate Sidney Crosby. I've spent the past week trying to figure out why everyone hates Crosby so much, and honestly, I don't see it. Sure, he's one of the best in the game, he routinely beats [insert your favorite team here], he's talked about constantly, he never really says anything of worth to the media, and is perceived as kind of a "pretty boy". All are perfectly legitimate reasons for you to not like him. But don't all of those things also apply to Tom Brady? Yet, Tom Brady is not hated anywhere near as much as Sidney Crosby is. Maybe Crosby's popularity would go up in this country if he started dating a supermodel. And if he can get one or more of those supermodels pregnant...bonus! (Actually, I think there is something to that.)

I said going into the Olympics that I was rooting for Canada to win in every Olympic sport except curling. That included hockey. But was I really rooting for Canada to beat the United States for the hockey gold medal last Sunday? Well...I thought I was, but a funny thing happens sometimes once the game actually
gets going. When Zach Parise scored the game tying goal for the USA with less than a minute to play, I did a fist-pump. Yeah! Go Team USA! Wait...what? I thought I was rooting for the Canadians here. I guess I have more American Pride than I thought. That said, I'm not all that disappointed in the result, because I still like Canada, and I know how much this game meant to them. I don't think there is an American equivalent.

Well, now the Olympics are over, so it's back to the old NHL. I have to admit, after watching that gold medal final, going back to a few NHL games this week seemed like a letdown. Regular season NHL games seem pretty boring in comparison. Do we really have to wait five more weeks for the playoffs? Let's just start the playoffs now! (Actually, check that...wait until DirecTV and Versus strike a deal, then start the playoffs.)

Speaking of the playoffs, let's talk Carolina Hurricanes. Yes, you heard me. The Hurricanes have won seven consecutive games and are (as of Friday morning) 7 points out of the final playoff spot. You can theoretically make up 7 points in as little as four games, and there are still 19 games to play, so heck yeah, the Hurricanes are in the playoff chase. Of course, that's the "glass half full" way of looking at it. Here's the "glass half empty" way of looking at it: the Hurricanes have been so crappy this season, it took a seven game winning streak, and 9-of-11 stretch, just to pull within 7 points of the final playoff spot. And even after all that, they're still only in 14th place in the 15-team Eastern Conference. They still have to pass six teams in the standings, and in the era of the "overtime charity point", making up 7 points isn't as easy as it sounds, either. And, they've traded away seven players over the last month, and their star goalie could miss the rest of the season due to injury, so conventional logic would seem to imply that they won't be able to keep it up. Playoffs? Please. Not gonna happen. They're better off tanking and getting a higher draft pick out of this season than winning just enough games to narrowly miss the playoffs, or narrowly make the playoffs only to be swept in the first round by the Washington Capitals anyway.

In case you're wondering where I fall between those two extremes...I'm a little closer to the "half empty" side. At least the Hurricanes are making it interesting. I guess.

Sat 1:00p - Dallas at Pittsburgh, Fox Sports Southwest
Sat 2:00p - Boston at NY Islanders, NESN
Sat 7:00p - Carolina at Florida, Fox Sports Carolinas
Sat 7:00p - Toronto at Ottawa, NHL Network
Sat 7:00p - NY Rangers at Washington, CSN Mid-Atlantic
Sat 7:30p - Atlanta at Tampa Bay, SportSouth
Sat 8:00p - Anaheim at Phoenix, NHL Center Ice
Sat 9:00p - St. Louis at Colorado, Fox Sports Midwest
Sat 10:00p - Montréal at Los Angeles, Fox Sports West
Sat 10:30p - Columbus at San Jose, CSN California
Sun 12:30p - Detroit at Chicago, NBC
Sun 3:00p - Boston at Pittsburgh, NESN
Sun 3:00p - Calgary at Minnesota, NHL Center Ice
Sun 3:00p - Vancouver at Nashville, NHL Center Ice
Sun 5:00p - Carolina at Atlanta, NHL Center Ice?
(not sure)
Sun 7:00p - Buffalo at NY Rangers, MSG
Sun 7:00p - Toronto at Philadelphia, NHL Center Ice
Sun 8:00p - Montréal at Anaheim, Prime Ticket
Sun 8:00p - New Jersey at Edmonton, MSG Plus

Auto racing - Am I tired of Jimmie Johnson winning all the time? Most fans are, apparently, but I don't care. Most NASCAR fans have a "favorite driver" that they root for every week. I guess if I had to pick, Jimmie Johnson would be my favorite, but I don't really care. Regardless of who wins, I'm not going to lose any sleep over it. I just want to watch the race.

Sat 2:00p - NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Atlanta, SPEED
Sun 1:00p - NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Atlanta, FOX

1 comment:

James Allen said...

Somebody who doesn't hate Sidney Crosby probably doesn't hate Jeff Gordon, too. Could you believe such a thing?