Saturday, April 03, 2010

Sports Saturday: 4/3/10

College basketball - Alright, so...a couple of notes to get through here before I put basketball on the shelf for a few months.

First off, I love this Final Four. We have my hometown team (Duke), a team featuring a player named Chris Allen (Michigan State), a team from a "mid-major" conference that has never been to the Final Four before and actually has a legitimate shot to win (Butler), and a team without a bandwagon following that hasn't had enough basketball success for me to consider them "annoying" (West Virginia). I don't think you can do much better than that, at least from my perspective.

"But Chris! West Virginia's coach is a sleaze, nobody gives a crap about Butler, Michigan State is ALWAYS in the freaking Final Four, and you can't possibly get more annoying than Duke. I think this is one of the WORST Final Fours ever." I never said this was the best Final Four lineup ever from a national perspective. I only said that I like it. You don't have to like it. In fact, as implied by my anonymous question asker, my assumption is that you don't. Well...sorry! I can't say I'll be disappointed in the outcome, no matter what. However, I will win both the family bracket competition and the office pool should Duke win the national championship...so I guess I'll pull for Duke. But only quietly. I don't want to lose any friends over this.

Meanwhile...according to "general internet buzz", the NCAA is likely to expand the tournament field from 65 to 96 teams. My opinion? Assuming that the additional 31 tournament teams would basically be the would-be NIT field, then with an expanded field, NC State - the 11th place team in a 12-team ACC - would have made the NCAA Tournament this year. I can't think of a better argument against expansion than that. On the other hand...I don't watch that much regular season college basketball anymore anyway (outside of my two teams of interest), so I don't really care if they "cheapen the regular season". I'll gladly accept additional tournament games. But really...whatever. No need for me to get all up in arms about this. It's not like I have any say in the matter.

Sat 6:00p - Butler v. Michigan State, CBS
Sat 8:30p - West Virginia v. Duke, CBS


NHL - Have the playoffs started yet? No? Moving on...

Actually, I haven't been completely ignoring the NHL as of late. Over the last couple of weeks, I've been looking at each team's playoff probabilities according to SportsClubStats.com on an almost daily basis. Good stuff.

Anyway, to provide some clarity as far as which games are "important" and which aren't, I've crossed out all games in the list below that feature two teams that either have less than a 5% chance of making the playoffs, or have less than a 20% chance of improving (or lowering) their seed.

Sat 1:00p - Atlanta at Pittsburgh, SportSouth
Sat 2:00p - Nashville at Detroit, Fox Sports Detroit
Sat 2:00p - Ottawa at NY Islanders, MSG Plus
Sat 7:00p - New Jersey at Carolina, Fox Sports Carolinas
Sat 7:00p - Buffalo at Montréal, NHL Network
Sat 7:00p - Boston at Toronto, NESN
Sat 7:00p - NY Rangers at Florida, Fox Sports Florida
Sat 7:00p - Washington at Columbus, CSN Mid-Atlantic
Sat 8:00p - Dallas at St. Louis, Fox Sports Midwest
Sat 10:00p - Edmonton at Phoenix, Fox Sports Arizona
Sat 10:30p - Anaheim at Los Angeles, Fox Sports West
Sun 12:30p - Detroit at Philadelphia, NBC
Sun 3:00p - Calgary at Chicago, NHL Center Ice
Sun 8:00p - San Jose at Colorado, Altitude
Sun 10:30p - Minnesota at Vancouver, NHL Center Ice

Auto racing - The NASCAR Sprint Cup series is off this week, so...let's talk Formula One! Yes, again. I'll try to be quick.

I didn't really catch onto this at the time, but the "general internet buzz" surrounding the first Formula One race of the season (Bahrain) was that it was "boring as hell". I didn't really think it was that boring at the time, because I saw exactly what I expected to see: not much passing. The Australian Grand Prix was much more interesting, but that's only because it was raining. Wet Formula One races are always far more entertaining than dry Formula One races.

So...on one end of the spectrum, you have Formula One, a series where there is almost no passing. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have NASCAR, a series where passing is so frequent that the first two hours of the race are basically meaningless. My ideal racing series falls somewhere in the middle. Why can't one or the other just find a happy medium? IndyCar is actually fairly close to that happy medium, but the problem there is, it's IndyCar. Who cares?

Sat 4:00p - NASCAR Nationwide Series at Nashville, ESPN
Sun 4:00a - Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix, SPEED


Major League Baseball - I have a major announcement to make regarding my interest in professional baseball, but I'm saving it for next week. (Here's a hint: I have a new favorite team, and it's not one of these two.)

Sun 8:05p - NY Yankees at Boston, ESPN2

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