Cubs Chase Glory

Growing up a Cubs fan, I have been used to heartbreaking baseball. It seemed like every year I would always say, “there’s always next year.” Well, I am glad to say that next year is NOW.

I had the opportunity to go to the last two home Spring Training games in Arizona, and  the Cubbies were impressive. They were fantastic last year and are thankfully returning with the same core of great players.  With the addition of Jason Heyward, John Lackey, and Ben Zobrist to the roster,  the Chicago Cubs are truly a force to be reckoned with. Losing Kyle Schwarber for the year to an ACL and MCL tear definitely hurts, but the Cubs are the definition of deep. Jorge Soler will take over in right field, and the Cubs will be poised for a World Series run. Having the Cub’s hitters along with Arrieta, Lackey, and Lester on the mound. the rest of the MLB should watch out. I am ready for my Cubbies to reverse the curse and FINALLY win a World Series for the best fans in baseball.

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GO CUBS GO!

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College Basketball National Championship

The Final Four was not what most were expecting. I can say that this was the worst Final Four games that I have seen in my life. Although the two semifinal games were blowouts, it did set the stage for an epic Championship game. The high flying Tarheels form North Carolina will face off against the scrappy rough Wildcats of Villanova. The two best teams in the country will play for their one shining moment.
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North Carolina dunked over Syracuse on Saturday. Their size showed big time in their victory over the Orange. They crashed the boards, and got offensive rebound after rebound. Brice Johnson, Kennedy Meeks, and Isaiah Hicks need to keep eating. Carolina’s big boys have been dominating the whole year, and if they are able to keep it up on the offensive glass, it is going to be a long night for coach Jay Wright and his Villanova Wildcats.
Villanova has been playing their best basketball of the season, I guess they chose a good time to kick it in gear. Villanova’s guards match up pretty well with Carolina’s athletic guards. The Wildcats have to be concerned about grabbing defensive rebounds. Villanova is a great shooting team. Power forward, Chris Jenkins may be the biggest factor in this ball game. With his lights out perimeter shooting, he can spread out Brice Johnson and the North Carolina rim protecters. This will open up the lane for Villanova.
The Championship game will be up and down. I truly believe these are the two best teams in the country and they will prove that tonight. This will be a fantastic game, I can’t wait. During the North Carolina vs Syracuse game, it seemed like all of the Cuse players would have their heads up watching the ball while the Tarheels would be in the air grabbing the rebound. Villanova coach, Jay Wright will not let this happen. His Nova teams are way to fundamentally sound. The Wildcats will not make the same mistake the the Orange did. Chris Jenkins, Josh Hart, and Daniel Ochefu will grab a body and box them out. The Villanova Wildcats will party like its 1985, as they hoist the trophy up as the 2016 National Champions.
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Prediction: Villanova 81, North Carolina 79

Final Four Preview

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After a season full of ups and downs, tears of joy and sadness we have finally reached the Final Four. Buddy and his Sooners will face off against the Villanova team that just keeps shutting down the doubters, and Power House North Carolina against America’s darlings, the Cinderella Syracuse Squad. No matter who wins, this Final Four will be magical.

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Game 1: 2 Oklahoma vs 2 Villanova
When I was watching Oklahoma take on my Oregon Ducks in the Elite 8, I wasn’t sure if I was watching Buddy Hield or Steph Curry. This dude was lights out. I haven’t seen a college player catch fire like that since Trey Burke and Michigan against Kansas.  It is not all Hield though, Isaiah Cousins and Jordan Woodard also got hot. I know I sound redundant, but it really was like watching the Golden State Warriors. The question is, can they keep up that hot shooting against this tough Nova team?
Villanova is the definition of grit and toughness. They fit the mold of a Philadelphia team. They are not just tough kids who get really physical…cough…cough Cincinnati, these cats are fundamentally sound. I think the game changer is freshman guard Jalen Brunson. This former Mcdonald’s All American hasn’t been the greatest scorer, but he does the little things that make a team successful. If Brunson can play to his full potential, Villanova will have an answer to Buddy. Throughout Jay Wright’s career as the Villanova head coach, he has had to endure a lot of failure, but that was needed. This Wildcat team wouldn’t be the same if they weren’t upset year after year. That pain has made them who they are. Villanova’s experience and toughness will get in the heads of Buddy and the Sooners. Villanova will move on to the National Championship.
Prediction: Villanova 73, Oklahoma 72
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Game 2: 1 North Carolina vs 10 Syracuse
Looking at this game it just looks like a regular season ACC game, but it’s not. This is the ACC championship… wait still wrong. Oh yeah, that’s right this is an all ACC Final Four game, the ACC has had a great year. North Carolina is back in the National spotlight, Roy Williams finally has a team that is talented and experienced. From preseason #1 to #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the Tarheels have been flexing their muscles. Brice Johnson has been the heart and soul of this team. He bleeds Carolina Blue. Johnson is an All American who can enforce his presence in the paint against the Orange. Normally a powerhouse, it is defiantly different seeing Syracuse as a Cinderella. I think Jim Boeheim and the Orange like the feel of the glass slipper. Malachi Richardson has turned himself into a star in a couple weeks. He went from disappointing freshman to March superstar who is getting phone calls from Carmelo Anthony. The combination of Richardson and  senior, Michael Gbinije has been lethal. This is not your father’s Cuse team, but they have been an incredible story. Syracuse will start off strong, but Marcus Paige and North Carolina will figure out their zone as the game goes on. The Tar Heels will move on to face Villanova in the Championship game. It will be a battle of blue in Houston.
Prediction: North Carolina 65, Syracuse 59

March Madness Elite 8

The Elite 8 starts today, and I am here to break down the biggest game of the day. The West Regional Championship between  #1 Oregon and #2 Oklahoma is the game you don’t want to miss. Chalk has played out in the West, and the Ducks and the Sooners will face off for a chance to play in the Final Four.
This will be one of the most exciting games we will see all year. These are two of the most explosive offensive teams in the country. Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield is the best player in the country and is most likely the Player of the Year.
hield-020316Hield and Oklahoma’s other guards will have their points, but the key for Sooners is to get their big men going against Oregon’s tough shot blockers. Ryan Spangler and Khadeem Lattin will have to assert their presence in the paint to make this Oregon defense honest.
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Oregon is the most well rounded team in the tournament. They are balanced at every position on the court, and extremely athletic. Sophomore forward Dillion Brooks has been a monster throughout the year and especially in March Madness. His motor is nonstop, and he will burst through the defense straight to the hoop. Brooks has been playing with a chip on his shoulder and now that he faces off against Buddy Hield, he will be very motivated. Oregon is so deep, they have their star Brooks, and you add on the likes of Tyler Dorsey, Chris Bouchier, Elgin Cook, and more. This team is very dangerous.
I think Oregon will over power Oklahoma’s big men, and will be the better coached team today. I am sticking with my championship pick, Oregon.
Prediction: Oregon 96, Oklahoma 92

Top Seed Controversy

march_madnessIt is that time of the year again… The weather is changing, flowers are blooming, and best of all March Madness is on its way. The Selection show will be airing at 4:30 CT on CBS. Every time the brackets are revealed, the teams on the bubble draw all the attention. This would make sense, these teams are waiting on their postseason future. The bubble teams absolutely deserve all of the drama and attention, but with all of the parity in college basketball this year I thought it would be appropriate to focus on the top of the line.
Most years we have a pretty clear picture of which team will be the #1 seeds, but in this crazy season, there might be 10 teams deserving of a top seed. Going into Saturday, there seemed to be a clear picture of the top seeds. North Carolina, Virginia, Kansas, and Villanova. Once Seton Hall’s Isaiah Whitehead banked a last second layup plus the foul, full chaos broke out. The Wildcats were knocked off their Big East throne and opened the gate for another team to sneak into a top seed.
While the Pirates sunk Villanova’s ship in Madison Square Garden, North Carolina and Virginia were amidst a heavy weight battle in our Nation’s capital. The Tarheels held on to their early lead, and were able to escape D.C. with a number one seed as a lock. Virginia was not able to say the same thing.  Although Virginia lost in the ACC Championship they still looked like one of the top teams in the country. It seemed very possible that even with a loss Virginia would be a number one seed.
That was until the Oregon Ducks absolutely obliterated the Utah Utes 88 to 57, completing their sweep on the Pac-12 regular season, and tournament titles. Oregon has quietly been having an incredible year. They ran right through the Pac-12 conference, and I believe right into a number one seed. Oregon has been playing some of the best ball, and their up tempo run and gun offense is almost impossible to stop. Oregon dropped 88 points on Utah,  the top defensive unit in the Pac-12. When the Pac-12 champ has the fifth hardest schedule in the country, and dominated the competition, it would hard placing them anywhere lower than a one seed.
Michigan State also has a great chance of being at the top of the seeding, but they still have to beat Purdue today in the B1G Championship game. No matter if you are on the bubble or a top team, everybody will be anxious leading into the Selection Show.

College Basketball Stock

March Madness is only a month away and no teams have really separated themselves from the pack. I’m sorting out some of college hoops most confusing teams and offering a look as if they were commodities on the NY stock exchange. Here are my thoughts, what would you do?
Texas Longhorns, BUYimgres
Coach Shaka Smart has his Longhorns playing fantastic basketball. Texas is one of the elite defensive teams in the country with great size. Texas has been on a two game loosing streak, but both games were to top 15 teams on the road. Isaiah Taylor has been playing out of his mind on both sides of the ball. It took a couple of years, but it seems Taylor has truly blossomed to his full potential and has stepped up as the leader of this team. Come March Texas will have a great chance to make a run. Buy high for these Longhorns.
imgres-1Texas A&M Aggies, SELL
It was only a couple weeks ago that Texas A&M was a top 5 team and a popular pick to make it to the Final Four. Since then, the Aggies have been a completely different team, loosing 4 in a row to unranked opponents. A&M has struggled having the target on their back. This team has a ton of talent of their team, but they seem to not get it done time after time. Aggie fans will hate to hear me make this comparison, but A&M reminds me a lot of last years Texas team. Texas was chalk full of talented players, but they were not ready for the spot light. If the Aggies can’t even take being the team to beat in the terrible SEC, there is no way they can handle the bright lights of the NCAA Tournament.
imgresOregon Ducks, BUY 
It may be a year early, but the Oregon Ducks have established themselves as the class of the Pac-12. Although they have lost their past two games on the road, this Duck squad is for real. This team has a great balance of young talent and experienced players. It also helps to have a super star in Dillion Brooks on your team. Brooks has been the bet player in the conference, putting up 30 point games with ease. Freshman point guard Tyler Dorsey is the key for this team’s success. He is a great young player who has a bright future in college ball and beyond. Success in the NCAA Tournament comes with great guard play. Dorsey is the man to take the Ducks to Houston for their first Final Four in a long time.
imgresMichigan Wolverines, BUY
I am going to be on record saying, I think the Wolverines can make the Final Four. I know I sound crazy and a little biased, but here me out. I am not saying they will, but there is a chance. Michigan has been a tough team to figure out this year. They have looked like a top 10 team, but they have also looked like a team that doesn’t even belong in the NIT. Injury has been most to blame for Michigan’s inconsistency. Losing Caris LeVert for a long stretch of the season was tough for this team, but it has also been good as other players including Duncan Robinson and Muhammed-Ali Abdur-Rahkman have stepped up to add great depth. Now the Caris LeVert is finally back into the line up Michigan has gone from a okay team to a team that is down right scary. Michigan is on of the best shooting teams in the country and they live and die by the three point shot. If the Wolverines become hot during March, watch out.
imgres-1Purdue, SELL 
Yes I am selling on Purdue, a team that has consistently been in the top 25 week after week. The Boilermakers are tough, physical, and have some of the best big men in the country. They are a great team, but they have on major flaw that will be their Achilles heel in March. Purdue does not have consistent guard play. As I mention earlier that is crucial if you want to make a good run in the NCAA Tournament. I am selling on Purdue and look for the Boilermaker to be upset and make a early exit from March Madness.

Super Bowl 50

The 50th Anniversary of Super Bowl 1 is moments away from starting. Peyton Manning BIO_Mini-Bios_0_Peyton-Manning_0_FIX_SF_HD_768x432-16x9and the Denver Broncos face off Cam Newton and his Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50. This is the biggest age difference for quarterbacks in Super Bowl history. Once again it is the #1 defense, Denver vs the #1 offense, Carolina. This is going to be a game for the ages, maybe it will be like the Bills vs the Giants, an all time cam-newton-111615-getty-ftrjpg_109kzimizqgc71b3rse1zq1cd0classic. The Quarterbacks highlight this heavy weight matchup. Peyton Manning is looking to ride of in the sunset while Cam Newton is writing his own legacy day by day. I think Jonathan Stewart is the key to the entire game. The Broncos defense will be focused on Cam Newton the whole game, Stewart needs to get going to make the best defense in the NFL a little honest. I think this will be an incredible game, but Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers are too balanced, and they will win their first ever Super Bowl.
Prediction: Carolina 27, Denver 21

Let SMU Play in the NCAA Tournament

smuAaron Torres, writer for FoxSports wrote a story yesterday on SMU basketball and nailed it. I completely agree with everything he covered in this article and urge the NCAA to reconsider the sanctions placed on SMU.  I also hope those who agree and want to see justice done for the players of the best basketball team in the country to sign the petition attached to Torres story. Thanks Aaron Torres for covering this so well.

Lift SMU’s Basketball Postseason Ban  by Aaron Torress

 

 

College Football Playoff National Champioship Preview

The stage is set and #1 Clemson is ready to face off #2  Alabama for all the marbles. The National Championship is finally here. We are all hoping that this will be a great game, unlike most of the bowl games.
Clemson is the only undefeated team and has been #1 week after week, but once again they are underdogs. This is puzzling because Clemson has been the best team in football 635850100243740361-ACC-Championship-Football-bboatwri-greenvillenews.com-56this year. Alabama is favored seven points, which means the Tigers have them right were they want the. No one has given this team any respect, and this will be a benefit for Clemson. Deshaun Watson has been awesome this year. He is the best quarterback in the country and is already writing his legacy in college football history as a sophomore. In the first half of the Orange Bowl, Watson had to do everything for Clemson. It is remarkable they were in the game at half time, but he is that great. In the second half Wayne Gallman and the other Tiger running backs decided to show up and they ran all over the Sooners. Watson and Gallman need to get the running game going and be creative with their play calls to keep this massive Bama defensive line on their toes.
This may have been Nick Saban’s best coaching job of his career. Many people including me thought this was going to be more of a transition year after loosing a lot of talent to the NFL, but as Alabama does time and time again, they prove me wrong. During their blowout www.usnewsCotton Bowl victory over the Spartans, quarterback Jake Coker had a coming out party. Coker played the best game of his career in the bright lights, and proved all of the doubters wrong. I believe Alabama will go back to what they do best in the Championship, which is to run the ball. Coker had a great game in all, but when you have a 6’3 beast in the back field, who is also the Heisman Trophy winner… feed the ball to him. Derrick Henry is going to have to get a lot of carries and keep Clemson’s high powered offense off the field.
This will be a great game and a Championship to remember. Alabama’s kryptonite has always been dual-threat quarterbacks. Guess what, they are facing the best running quarterback and just the best quarterback in the country. Deshaun Watson will give Alabama’s defense fits and Clemson will win the College Playoff National Championship.
Prediction: Clemson 35, Alabama 34
Deshaun Watson

Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) throws oranges to the crowd after his team won the Orange Bowl NCAA college football semifinal playoff game against Oklahoma, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015, in Miami Gardens, Fla. Clemson defeated Oklahoma 37-17. (AP Photo/Joe Skipper)