Samstag, 31. März 2012

Nowitzki jumper leads Mavericks past Magic, 100-98 (Yahoo! Sports)

ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 30:  Hedo Turkoglu #15 of the Orlando Magic attempts a shot against Brandan Wright #34 of the Dallas Mavericks during the game at Amway Center on March 30, 2012 in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

There's something about playing on Orlando's floor lately that seems to bring out the best in the Dallas Mavericks. Dirk Nowitzki banked in a 15-foot jumper over Hedo Turkoglu with 5.9 seconds as Dallas overcame a 15-point deficit to beat the Magic 100-98 on Friday night. It was the Mavericks' sixth straight victory in Orlando.


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Rapid Reaction: Kentucky 69, Louisville 61

NEW ORLEANS -- A quick look at Kentucky’s 69-61 victory over Louisville in Saturday's first national semifinal. Overview: The commonwealth of Kentucky’s Game for the Ages boiled down to the simplest principle in sport -- talent wins. Louisville gave the archrival Wildcats all they could handle, coming back time and again from double-digit deficits, but guts and spunk simply don’t overrun talent. And Kentucky has it in droves, thanks in large part to the lanky body that is Anthony Davis.


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ANIMATED: Deshaun Thomas Loves Crossovers


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New York Knicks: Jeremy Lin Reportedly Having Surgery on Torn Meniscus

It looks like Linsanity will be put on hold for the time being, as the New York Knicks star guard Jeremy Lin will be sidelined for quite sometime as he will have to recover from surgery.

According to MSG Network's Alan Hahn, Lin will undergo arthroscopic surgery to fix the torn meniscus, resulting in him missing at least six weeks.



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WWE WrestleMania 28: Will Batista or Brock Lesnar Show Up Sunday Night?

WrestleMania is tomorrow night. Just think about that!

In just over 24 hours, the world will be watching the greatest wrestling spectacle of the year. In terms of business, you have to be expecting a very successful night for WWE.

The buildup had been for well over a year. The matches have been set for months. Finally, the anticipation from the WWE Universe has only grown with each passing week.

John Cena vs. The Rock

Triple H vs. Undertaker in a Heck on a Deck match

CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho for the WWE Title

Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus for the World Title

In what is absolutely a stacked show, it is bound to be huge. If you thought it couldn't get any bigger, you certainly don't know WWE.

Right when you think it can't get any bigger, it can.

According to reports, Brock Lesnar is in talks to return to WWE. Not only that, but an appearance this Sunday in Miami is a "50-50" shot.


I think the everybody expected Lesnar to be back in wrestling sooner or later. His days in UFC ended last year, and there isn't much else for Brock that would make sense right now.

However, will he really show up Sunday night?

I would love to know how late in negotiations the two sides are at. If they just started talking this week, he won't be there. If this has been going on for months now, I expect him to be at Mania or even Raw Monday night.

Remember, he isn't going to be full time! Anybody even thinking about that needs to stop now. That isn't happening but announcing a big match a year in advance for next year certainly seems possible.

On the other side, reports have Batista in Miami as well. Apparently, he was picked up by WWE yesterday upon arriving.

My first thought was that he was in town for Ric Flair. The two have a long relationship, and many veterans are likely to show up to support the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony.

That is nothing new. Every year, past stars return to watch the inductions Saturday. More often that not, it is simply a one night event for their friends.

However, is Batista getting the "wrestling itch" again?

Just like Lesnar, I think everybody has expected him back for awhile now. What he says on Twitter or in interviews means nothing. Remember, folks, there is a reason I follow zero WWE or TNA talents on social media.

None of what they say means anything.

Thus, you can throw out any comments he has made in the past. Sorry, but it is true!

He may dislike the PG rating for WWE. He may not be happy with certain aspects of travel. He may be thrilled to find success in acting.

Even with all that, WWE brings him large paychecks and a weekly format in front of millions of viewers. For both men, neither will pass up those two options with a fair deal.

Finally, some people may not like all this "ratings" talk, but it needs repeating.

WWE did not see any improvement the past few weeks on their Road to Wrestle Mania. Numbers stayed flat, and some week even saw decreases.

Guess what?

After next week, 'Taker, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Rocky, and maybe even Jericho won't be on WWE TV. That leaves a huge amount of main event spots open.

I am all for building young guys. Trust me, WWE needs to be doing that at all times. However, the current scene is very thin.

Bringing in a Brock Lesnar or Batista for a short run will only help the company. It gives them another few months (or years) to get ready for the future, and it certainly helps them launch the WWE Network sometime in 2012.

It is a win-win situation for all parties. The only question left is if it actually happens.

If I were a betting man, I would lean more towards Lesnar appearing. However, do not be shocked to see both men back with WWE before the year ends.

Follow Justin Watry on Twitter!


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Cavs' Irving has sprained shoulder (Yahoo! Sports)

Cavaliers rookie point guard Kyrie Irving's sprained right shoulder could keep him from facing the Knicks. Irving injured his shoulder during Friday night's loss to Milwaukee in Cleveland. He traveled with the Cavaliers to New York and was evaluated Saturday morning by the team's training staff, which listed him as questionable for the game.


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Final Four 2012: Defense Of Thomas Robinson And Jeff Withey Key To Kansas' Title Chances


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NCAA Final Four 2012: Players Who Will Guarantee Kentucky a Title Game Berth

John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats are going to beat Rick Pitino's Louisville Cardinals and move on to the NCAA Tournament title game. That seems to be all but set in stone.

But the one thing we don't know yet is which players will be the deciding factor in today's Final Four game.


1. Anthony Davis

Davis, the 2012 Player of the Year, is an absolute force in the paint. He's been huge for Kentucky this entire season, garnering as much hype as his coach's former protege, Derrick Rose.

Davis' main task will be to effectively neutralize Louisville big man Gorgui Dieng.

Dieng has been one of the Cardinals' most valuable assets in the tournament thus far. He has 13 blocks in four games, seven of those coming against Michigan State and Draymond Green.

Here's some bad news for Dieng: Davis has 19 blocks in the tournament. Also, he's accounted for nine-plus points and rebounds in every game, while shooting over 75 percent from the field.


2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

Another NBA-caliber player on the Kentucky roster, Kidd-Gilchrist, will have a pivotal role in deciding the outcome of this matchup.

After disappointing in the first two games of the tournament, he's turned it up in his last two tilts. He's averaged 21.5 points and 7.5 boards in his last two games and hasn't missed a free throw.

He'll need to step up and limit his Cardinals counterpart, Chane Behanan, on the glass so Davis doesn't get overwhelmed down low.

It won't be Kidd-Gilchrist's scoring that decides the game, but his ability to box out and pull down double-digit rebounds.


3. Marquis Teague

Another diaper-dandy for coach Cal, Teague leads the Wildcats in assists per game.

He doesn't seem to be as cold-blooded as Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist, which is what makes him an X-factor. Will the freshman out of Indianapolis be able to keep his nerves in New Orleans?

Signs point to yes, as he's been huge for his team in the tournament even though he was shaky against Baylor.

He turned the ball over four times, took just four shots and had his lowest assist output in over a month.

Teague will be able to compose himself in the Superdome, acclimate himself to the unfamiliar environment, and bring Kentucky back to the NCAA Championship Game with the help of Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist.

If that doesn't convince you to watch the game tonight, maybe this will.

Nothing like a couple of hardcore fans straightening out some Kentucky/Louisville issues at kidney dialysis.


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WWE WrestleMania 28: 5 Things the WWE Doesn't Want You to Know About The Rock

Dwayne Johnson's return to the WWE for WrestleMania XXVIII has definitely been rocky at times as John Cena and the WWE hype machine have launched a not-so-subtle smear campaign against what they want fans to believe is a Hollywood phony. 

There has been palpable jealousy and pettiness displayed this WrestleMania season by uneducated jobbers, insecure figureheads and/or myopic toy soldiers all at the expense of The Rock. 

Such trivial animosity is enough to make any other Hollywood megastar in a similar situation dismissively throw his hands up in frustration before walking onto the health-insured set of his next movie. 

Lucky for the WWE, The Rock loves pro wrestling too much to do such a thing during a period where they need him most. 

It has become quite apparent during the WrestleMania buildup period that the WWE simply doesn't deserve The Rock. 

They're like the redneck uncle who received part of his successful nephew's fortune, yet when they ran into hard times after becoming careless with their fortunes, they blamed The Rock because he didn't give them enough money.  But like a good nephew, flawed only by his allegiance to a struggling family member, The Rock scratched Uncle Vince a check.  No questions asked.

And while many of the jabs at The Rock's Hollywood persona have been lobbied in character by John Cena in an attempt to sell WrestleMania, one cannot help but feel a sense of mean-spirited propaganda considering the rarity of a wrestler escaping the WWE's iron fist and creating his own brand only to return as a conquering hero.  

They hate it when that happens. 

Pro wrestling headlines have been dominated with controversy surrounding The Rock's return.  Superstars from all areas of the pecking order weigh in on how they feel about Dwayne Johnson coming straight out of Hollywood and, in some cases, "stealing their spot."

What you're probably not reading are the headlines that make this alleged Hollywood phony more human.  Who he trains with, who he speaks to and what he still means to the WWE present day may be enough to surprise you. 


Begin Slideshow


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Wade and Bosh each score 30 as Heat beat Raptors (Yahoo! Sports)

Toronto Raptors forward Andrea Bargnani , right, is knocked down by Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh , center, as Raptors guard Jose Calderon , left, watches on during second-half NBA basketball game action in Toronto, Friday, March 30, 2012.

Dwyane Wade was determined to put in a strong performance for a stricken family member. Wade and Chris Bosh scored 30 points each and the Miami Heat beat Toronto 113-101 Friday night, their seventh straight win over the Raptors. Wade dedicated the performance to his nephew, one of 13 men shot -- two fatally -- during a violent six-hour stretch in his hometown of Chicago on Thursday.


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2012 Community Projections: Yu Darvish


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11 Greatest Announcer's Catch Phrases in World Footbal

What would this beautiful game called world football be without its commentary?

In many ways it would be fun to watch, but there would be much of the sporting experience missing without the additional turn a phrase from those whose words we remember for years to come.

Announcers are the voice of football — the medium that brings the paraphrased reality of the situation straight to our ears as our eyes feast on the action.

Without all of those that remain famous for their words and not their faces or actions on the pitch, our experience of the beautiful game would lack much of the personality that makes it such a great part of our lives.

Begin Slideshow


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Freitag, 30. März 2012

Video: Overshadowed in New Orleans

Rece Davis, Hubert Davis, Dick Vitale and Jay Bilas look ahead to Ohio State-Kansas.


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VIDEO: Vanilla Ice Performs At Halftime Of Minnesota Timberwolves Game


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Final Four countdown continues

Catch up on all of Friday’s action from the Final Four in New Orleans, with player interviews, features and videos setting the scene from the Big Easy. For the Final Four notebook, click here.


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Final Four 2012: Rivalry Lost On Friendships Between Louisville And Kentucky Players


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Final Four MOPs: The Great (and Not-so-Great) Pro Careers After the Award

Scan the list and you see names that are synonymous with greatness in the sport of basketball—Russell, Chamberlain, Baylor, West, Alcindor, Magic and Walton. Look a little closer at the same list and you discover names that you may or may not remember—Cleaves, Kotz, Hogue, Givens and Sheppard.

What all these players have in common is that they were selected as the Most Outstanding Player (MOP) is an NCAA men’s Final Four. We can see that an MOP was a step toward greatness for some, and not so much for others. That’s the beauty of the NCAA tournament; greatness from the expected and the unexpected. Who will be the MOP of this year’s tourney? A player destined for greatness in the NBA, or someone who will have their career moment this weekend?

Here’s a few stat lists regarding the MOPs. First, a look at those MOPs who went on to Hall of Fame professional careers (and those who were also MVPin an NBA Final). Next is a look at those MOPs who played less than 20 games in the NBA. Finally, a quick review of the MOPs this century and where they are today in their careers.

Final Four MOPs who are in the Basketball Hall of Fame

Year(s) as Final Four MOP, Player

1945-46: Bob Kurland

1952: Clyde Lovellette

1954: Tom Gola

1955: Bill Russell

1957: Wilt Chamberlain (MVP of 1972 NBA Finals)

1958: Elgin Baylor

1959: Jerry West (MVP of 1969 NBA Finals)

1960-61: Jerry Lucas

1965: Bill Bradley

1967-69: Lew Alcindor (MVP of 1971 & 1985 NBA Finals)

1972-73: Bill Walton (MVP of 1977 NBA Finals)

1974: David Thompson

1979: Magic Johnson (MVP of 1980, 1982 & 1987 NBA Finals)

1981: Isiah Thomas (MVP of 1990 NBA Finals)

1982: James Worthy (MVP of 1988 NBA Finals)

1983: Hakeem Olajuwon (MVP of 1994 & 1995 NBA Finals)

1984: Patrick Ewing

Fewest NBA games by players who won a Final Four MOP award

NBA games, Player, Year of MOP

0: Bob Kurland, 1945, 1946 (Never played professionally, instead choosing to play AAU ball; is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame)

0: Irwin Dambrot, 1950 (Choose a career in dentistry instead of basketball)

0: B.H. Born, 1953 (Played AAU ball)

0: Anderson Hunt, 1990 (Played professionally overseas)

0: Donald Williams, 1993 (Played professionally overseas)

2: Keith Smart, 1987 (Has been the head coach of two NBA teams)

3: Hal Lear, 1956

5: Miles Simon, 1997

18: Jeff Shepppard, 1998 (Also played professionally in Italy)


So how have the MOPs from this century done in their professional careers? Here’s a quick update.

Kemba Walker, 2011, UConn: Averaging over 12 points and four assists as a point guard for the Charlotte Bobcats.

Kyle Singler, 2010, Duke: Playing for Real Madrid in Spain

Wayne Ellington, 2009, North Carolina: In his third season with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Career average of over six points per game.

Mario Chalmers, 2008, Kansas: In his fourth season with the Miami Heat. Averaging just under 10 points per game this season.

Corey Brewer, 2007, Florida: In his fifth NBA season; currently with Denver. Career average of about nine points per game.

Joakim Noah, 2006, Florida: In his fifth season with the Bulls. Key member of the team who averages about 10 points and 10 rebounds per game.

Sean May, 2005, North Carolina: Played 119 games in the NBA. Currently playing in Italy.

Emeka Okafor, 2004, UConn: In his eighth NBA season. Currently with New Orleans. A double-digit scorer and rebounder.

Carmelo Anthony, 2003, Syracuse: Playing in his ninth NBA season. Has a career average of over 24 points per game.

Juan Dixon, 2002, Maryland: Played in 436 NBA games. Last played in the NBA in 2008-09. Playing professionally in Turkey.

Shane Battier, 2001, Duke: Has played in over 800 NBA games. A key free-agent signing for the Miami Heat this season.

Mateen Cleaves, 2000, Michigan State: Played in 167 NBA games in his career. Last played in the NBA in 2006.


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Ray Allen Participates In Shootaround, Game Time Decision For Timberwolves Game


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WWE News: New-Look Edge Spotted at WrestleMania Axxess

We all know Edge for his crafty nature, his amazing wrestling skills and his Rated-R gimmick. However, what perhaps caught everybody's attention were his long locks of golden hair.

Well, they're all gone now.

Fans have posted pictures of themselves with Edge on Twitter, and the world was in for a pleasant surprise.

The new-look Adam Copeland was seen at the WrestleMania Axxess Fanfest in Miami on Thursday. Gone was his trademark long hair, which would wrap around his ears. Instead, he was seen sporting much shorter hair, more pictures of which you can view here.

It's good to see that Edge's transition from a wrestler's life to one outside the squared circle is going so smoothly. 

While the long hair was what defined Edge, it's good to see that he has moved on from his character.

Edge gets inducted into the prestigious WWE Hall of Fame this Saturday by none other than his brother-turned-friend (Thanks, WWE) Christian. I'm quite sure the subject of his short, snazzy hair will be brought up by him in his speech. 

Hopefully we get to see the Rated-R Superstar back in the WWE in some sort of non-wrestling role soon!


CM Punk had some harsh comments for Chris Jericho. Find out what they were here.


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Friday morning Rangers things


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Deng's 3-pointers lead Bulls past Hawks 98-77 (Yahoo! Sports)

Chicago Bulls small forward Luol Deng (9) shoots as Atlanta Hawks small forward Tracy McGrady (1) defends in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, March 28, 2012, in Atlanta. Deng led all scores with 22 points as the Bulls won 98-77.

Home or away, with or without Derrick Rose, the Chicago Bulls just keep on winning. Luol Deng scored 22 points and led a flurry of 3-pointers as the NBA-leading Bulls took another game on the road, blowing out the Atlanta Hawks 98-77 on Wednesday night. Deng was 5 of 8 from beyond the arc and the Bulls finished 9 of 16 overall to improve their NBA-best record away from home to 21-6 and their...


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Aldridge leads Blazers to 99-93 win over Hornets (Yahoo! Sports)

Portland Trail Blazers interim coach Kaleb Canales signals from the bench during the second half of their NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Hornets in Portland, Ore., Thursday, March 29, 2012.  The Blazers won 99-93.

The grind of the season is wearing on LaMarcus Aldridge, although not enough to keep him off the court. Aldridge had an MRI on his sore right hip hours before he had 25 points, 12 rebounds and five assists in the Trail Blazers' 99-93 victory over the short-handed New Orleans Hornets on Thursday night.


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Rumor: Blazers Interested in Danny Ainge?


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Sharks Vs. Coyotes: Phoenix Blanks San Jose, Moves Up To No. 7 Seed


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Donnerstag, 29. März 2012

Johnson signs on to lend his magic to Dodgers (Yahoo! Sports)

Magic Johnson is about to learn $2 billion only buys you so much. Now he'll need to bring the Los Angeles Dodgers the same success he brought the Lakers. News that Johnson and his partners agreed to purchase the team sparked a groundswell of excited chatter and optimism Wednesday that the man who ran "Showtime" could restore luster to the once-proud franchise.


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Allen disputes report that Blazers are for sale (Yahoo! Sports)

Billionaire Paul Allen is emphatically refuting reports that he is entertaining offers for the Portland Trail Blazers. Allen went to Twitter on Thursday to rebut the report, which appeared in a blog post on Comcast SportsNet Northwest's website. CSNNW broadcasts Trail Blazers games. "It is absolutely false that I have entertained offers for (the Trail Blazers).


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Johnson signs on to lend his magic to Dodgers (Yahoo! Sports)

Magic Johnson is about to learn $2 billion only buys you so much. Now he'll need to bring the Los Angeles Dodgers the same success he brought the Lakers. News that Johnson and his partners agreed to purchase the team sparked a groundswell of excited chatter and optimism Wednesday that the man who ran "Showtime" could restore luster to the once-proud franchise.


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NIT 2012: Minnesota Golden Gopher Basketball, May I Have This Dance?

OK, so we all know this recent postseason run by the Minnesota Golden Gophers has been made at the kids table while the grownups just sit back and snicker while drinking brandy and smoking stogies.

Either way, I’m having a hell of a good time watching.

The rodents from the “U” have made an impressive run (at LaSalle, Miami, Middle Tennessee State; at MSG vs. Washington) to earn their first trip to the NIT championship since 1998. Say what you want, but a trip to New York and Madison Square Garden must be pretty exciting for these kids.

They also went down in the record books as only the second team in history to win all their NIT games on the road to advance to NYC.

The old argument (that even my buddies at STOB and I don’t bother going back in forth with), however, has reared its ugly head. You know the one—about if making a run in the NIT is, in some ways, better than a first-round knockout of the NCAA tournament. I can see people making arguments for both sides right now.

To me, it really depends on the team.

This year, for a team like UNC, I would say no because it is an experienced team that doesn’t really have much room for further growth with the players on the roster. The Tar Heels, like all established teams—yes, I am saying the Gophers aren’t established—would most likely stick their nose in the air at the NIT.

A young Gophers team, however? It accepts the invite and puts on its best dancing shoes.

The Gophers, unlike UNC, can grow—and have—from a run in the NIT. Now, notice I said "a run." If they would have been knocked out in the first game against LaSalle, this whole writeup would be null and void.

I’ve said it from the minute the Gophers got the invite: “I’d be more impressed if they win the NIT than I would have been if they lost in the first round of the NCAA.” Some called me stupid, but I beg to differ.

A team currently starting three freshmen (Andre Hollins, Joe Coleman, Elliott Eliason) needed this. They needed this NIT berth to give them not only confidence, but also tournament experience.

If you have been watching the past four games, they are getting both by the handfuls.

Hollins, in my honest opinion, might be the best guard we have seen at the “U” since Bobby Jackson. Is that a stretch? Maybe, but I don’t think so. The kid is a stud. If not for the games missed earlier this season due to injury, this article might be about the NCCA run they might still be on.

Coleman is on his way as well. The Hopkins standout showed flashes earlier this year (see PSU game) but seemed to hit a wall late. However, like all great fighters, he has caught his second wind and is running full speed.

Double E is a monster. I could end it there, but I feel this Nebraska big man deserves some love. Since Ralph Sampson III has gone down, Eliason has been put into the starting five and, for the most part, hasn’t looked back. Sure, he might foul too much, but he is a redshirt freshman. Those things will happen. Other than that, he has been a hardworking, tough-nosed kid that might just be the “best big man” Tubby Smith has coached. His words, not mine.

With all that said about the freshman, there is still one man that has really turned it one. His name, you ask? Rodney Williams.

RW33 came in his freshman season with a load of hype. He didn’t live up to it. Plain and simple, it seemed like that hype was a load of manure. In fact, he hasn’t lived up to it until this year, his junior year. It all seemed to click when he was moved to the 4 spot after the season-ending injury to Trevor Mbakwe.

Even then, he wasn’t the force he is now.

Williams has scored more than 20 points in the last six games and is a new player. A switch has been turned on and I never want to see it turned off. Send me the Xcel bill if need be. I’ll gladly pay it.

He is a leader now, not just in the way he is playing, but in the way he is talking to his teammates. He is in their face—in a good way—letting them know it’s all right to make mistakes, it’s OK to get knocked down, just keep playing.

All I can say is that if this core is back and Mbakwe gets that sixth year of eligibility (and he should), watch out. The Gophers might just take a seat at the grownups table and drink everyone else under it.


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Barcelona vs AC Milan: Scoreless Draw Shows Barca's Champions League Dominance

AC Milan accomplished a feat on Wednesday that only four other clubs have managed to do this season—they emerged from a match against mighty Barcelona with a clean sheet.

And yet, even after holding the oft-lionized Lionel Messi in check and flustering the Blaugrana attack (with an assist from the dodgy pitch at the San Siro), the Rossoneri only confirmed the dominance of their visitors in all competitions, the Champions League included, and saved for themselves little more than a few moral victories.

For all their efforts—the expert defending, the chances squandered by Kevin Prince-Boateng, Robinho and Zlatan Ibrahimovic—the Seria A juggernauts were more the benefactors of good fortune than anything to have escaped their own grounds with a chance to advance to the semifinals. Like any Barca opponent, Milan were held down in possession, bunkering along the back line while the Spaniards batted the ball about the pitch for 65 percent of the match.

Each side managed just three shots on goal, though Barca had triple the total attempts (18) as did Milan (six). Where Barca connected on 82 percent of their passes (low for them but high for most), the Rossoneri made good on just two-thirds of theirs.

And there remains some question as to how serious an impact the condition of the Milanese pitch had on the competing clubs, particularly Barca, which is so well accustomed to playing amidst pristine conditions at the Camp Nou.

Not at a grounds garbled by joint ownership between AC Milan and Inter Milan. Whether a world-class club like Barcelona should be lodging complaints about pitch conditions depends on who you ask, though the fact that they have in this case would suggest that something was amiss.

Pep Guardiola is aware of how Massimiliano Alleghri, his Milan counterpart, has spun the result as a positive, though the Blaugrana boss knows that there's no need for politicking with regard to his side of the story:

"We played well, we had possession and we dominated. At half-time, I told my players not to take too many risks, but despite that we had 17 shots on target while playing with nine players from our youth ranks.

"We played like ourselves in a match which was really demanding. Milan are satisfied with the result and that is the biggest compliment we can get from a club with seven European Cups."

And isn't that the bigger takeaway here—that Barcelona went into Milan's domain and shut down an international football giant, one still replete with world-class talent, even if not of the same caliber as during its glory years?

But that's no surprise now, is it? Barca have been so superb for so long that we now expect them to destroy all comers, and when the final score—0-0, in this case—doesn't quite reflect that, it gives the other side hope.

If Ibra, Robinho, Prince-Boateng and the rest of Milan's glut of attacking talent can't muster a single goal while struggling to string together six shots at home, then what hope is there for them to find the back of the net on Barcelona's turf, where the Blaugrana surrender less than a goal per game?

And where, in turn, they average better than four of their own?

Milan can take comfort in shuttering one of the world's most prolific goal-scoring sides for now, but they'd be foolish to rest on their laurels, lest they allow themselves a rude awakening at Camp Nou as Barcelona move on to the last four of the Champions League next week.


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Celtics' Bradley, Johnson Take Opposite NCAA Routes to NBA


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Video: Vitale previews Louisville-Kentucky

Dick Vitale looks at the Final Four showdown between Louisville and Kentucky.


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Masters TV Coverage 2012: Where and When to Watch Major Championship

The battle to become Masters champion and win the famous green jacket begins next Thursday as golf's most prestigious tournament gets underway at Augusta National Golf Club.

This year's Masters will be one of the more exciting ones in years because of the momentum Tiger Woods is taking into the event. Woods won his first PGA event since 2009 last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill and is once again a legitimate threat to win another green jacket, which would be his fifth.

Woods will have to battle Rory McIlroy to win his 15th major, and the young star from Northern Ireland is looking to build on his Masters performance of last year, when he became the youngest player to lead the tournament after day one. He finished tied for 15th.

Let's look at where you can catch all the action from Augusta and witness history in the sport's greatest tournament.


Masters in 3D

Watch the Masters in 3D online and on television starting with the Par 3 Contest on April 4.


Watch the Masters on the go

People with an iPad can watch the Masters via the tournament's official mobile app ($1.99), while those with iPhone and Android devices can also download the app.


Live stream

Catch live video action of the Masters on your computer by visiting the tournament's official website.


Full TV Schedule (information found at

Par 3 contest

Wednesday, April 4 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET on ESPN

First-round coverage

Thursday, April 5 from 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

Second-round coverage

Friday, April 6 from 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

Third-round coverage

Saturday, April 7 at 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET on CBS

Final-round coverage

Sunday, April 8 at 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET on CBS



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If You Can't Have The Center You Love, Love The Center You've Got


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Dustin Tokarski and Norfolk Admirals Thaw IceCaps 2-0, Win Streak Grows to 21

The Norfolk Admirals' epic history-making and record-breaking win streak grew to 21 games Wednesday after the Admirals and goalie Dustin Tokarski shut out the St. John's IceCaps 2-0 at Scope Arena in Norfolk, Va.

Backed by second-period goals by LW Ondrej Palat (his eighth), a short-handed effort, and the game-winning power-play goal by RW Richard Panik (19) deep in the second, Tokarski stood on his head in net and turned away all 32 IceCap shots.

Rookie center Tyler Johnson's goal-scoring streak ended at nine, but his consecutive point scoring streak stretched to 13 games, assisting on both Norfolk goals. Johnson now has 35 points (14 G, 21 A) during the streak and 26 points ( 11 G, 15 A) in his last 13.

Tokarski made 11 saves in the third period on way to recording his 10th straight win and fifth shutout of the season. 

Killing an IceCap penalty in the second, 21-year-old birthday boy Palat started the scoring 12:27 into the second frame on a rebound off a Mark Barberio right circle shot. Barberio's shot came after Johnson stripped a St. Johns player of the puck at his own blue line and got the puck past a defender in the neutral zone. Johnson skated into the IceCaps zone and dropped the puck to Barberio.

Palat took Barberio's shot in deep and off balance, back-handed his shot past IceCaps goalie David Aebischer (14-9-2), who did all he could to keep his squad in the game, stopping 25-of-27 Admiral shots.

Panik added the insurance tally in the second off a deflection off a IceCaps defender that just beat Aebischer five-hole.

The 21st straight victory tied the Admirals with two other professional sports records of the New England Patriots (over the 2003 and 2004 seasons) and the 1935 Chicago Cubs.

The win put the Admirals at 48-18-1-2 and dropped the IceCaps to 39-20-5-3. The IceCaps still sit atop the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference with 86 points and third in the conference.

The Admirals hope to continue their winning ways Friday night against the same IceCaps at Scope Arena.


Please read my piece here for a detailed analysis of the streak.

Thanks for reading!

Game recap used from


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Boston Celtics Daily Links 3/28


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Mittwoch, 28. März 2012

Cleveland Cavaliers Mock Draft: Cleveland Becomes "Beal"ieveland

The Cavaliers have been an exciting, fun and dynamic team to watch this season. I must admit, I have never been quite as excited as I am about this team as I have been any other sub .500 team before. However, with the trade of Ramon Sessions and the potential departure of Antawn Jamison the team will lose a good majority of their scoring, which drove this team in the beginning part of this season.  To correct that the Cavs must find someone in this year's draft who can create their own shot and put up points to pair with Kyrie Irving.

#8 Bradley Beal, SG Florida

Beal is exactly the kind of player that Cleveland needs to pair with Irving. He showed in the NCAA tournament that he is a dynamic player with the ability to create his own shot and definitely has the looks of an NBA ready talent.

#26 Festus Ezeli, C Vanderbilt

Festus Ezeli would be an excellent addition for the Cavs. They are lacking a true center down low, and with the selection of a true center would allow Tristan Thompson to play his natural position at power forward. Ezeli is tall, strong and can run the floor quite well for a big man.

#32 Draymond Green, SF/PF Michigan State

Green is a tremendous talent out of Michigan State. He is one of the best leaders in this draft class and would be a welcome addition to the Cavaliers' roster.

#37 Yancy Gates, PF Cincinnati

Gates is best known the sucker punch he threw early this season against Xavier. However, this kid is a bruiser down low and could turn out to be a lot like fellow UC grad Jason Maxiell, with his physical prowess.  It would be nice to have a banger down low rotating in for a few minutes a game.

This draft would allow the Cavs to add a primary scorer, in Beal to pair with Irving along with three rotational players who could make an impact, and Ezeli has the potential to be a starter at center down the road.


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Javale McGee Video: Watch Jose Calderon Get Posterized by Nuggets' Dunk Master

At least Jose Calderon hustled back on defense. So he's got that going for him on this play. He may have been well-served to stop that hustle about two feet sooner, though. 

The unfortunate series of events started for Calderon when he offered up a lazy pass. It was tipped and picked by JaVale McGee, and the high-flying McGee was off to the races. 

Undoubtedly fueled by the burning embarrassment of a terrible pass, Calderon hustled back and tried to get himself between McGee and the rim. The problem was that he was too late and back-pedaling into the circle of no return for would-be charge inducers. 

It should have been a foul, and the refs likely would have called it as such if they weren't internally "oohing and ahhing" over the impressive dunk, and it was impressive. 

The 7' McGee carefully placed his steps so he could glide into a smooth, one-footed takeoff. He then rose the ball way over his head—which was soon about 6 feet over Calderon's head—and slammed it down without even noticing Calderon was there.

Calderon was not in an enviable position. And just for good measure, he was sent flying right through the Raptors' crazy 3-D logo under the hoop. So I guess we can say that Calderon also had the fact going for him that the logo is an illusion. 

It would have been typical of the play if he had been sent hurtling into a real sign. 


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WWE WrestleMania 28: 5 Reasons Why John Cena Will Beat the Rock

The title referred to John Cena crushing The Rock. Whether Cena wins of loses, there will not be this "crushing" everyone is talking about.

Cena and The Rock are about as evenly matched as two can be (much like a Cena-CM Punk match).

And while I think Cena gets over Sunday night, it will not resemble the Randy Orton-Mark Henry match where Henry dominated the WWE superstar.

There has to be more to the match and the substance must last awhile. This match has had too much hype for anything else to happen. It needs to be nip and tuck (Undertaker and HHH last year).

If both men can hold their ends of the bargain, then this goes down in WWE history as one of the greatest matches of all time. Here is why Cena should beat The Rock Sunday night.

Begin Slideshow


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NFL Draft Projections: Players Who Are Flying Up Draft Boards

With a month or so left before the 2012 NFL draft, the following prospects are starting to climb draft boards:


WR Michael Floyd - Notre Dame

Slowly, Floyd has become the draft's No. 2 overall receiver, with some under the assumption that Floyd could be the very best. He's not as physically dominant as Justin Blackmon, but there's better separation from Floyd, and that sometime trumps what you get from other attributes.


QB Kirk Cousins - Michigan State

Cousins isn't going to be a first-round pick—not even close—but there's some value here that teams are seeing as a mid-round quarterback with upside. If you can get Cousins in the late third round or so, you're getting good value. 


DE Jack Crawford - Penn State

Crawford is still raw as a football prospect—he played just one year of football before signing with Penn State—but he's got the power and size to be an impact defensive end in a 4-3 at the next level. He won't wow you as an athlete, but give him a year or two to get his feet wet in the NFL, and Crawford may turn some heads.


OLB Shea McClellin - Boise State

Few players are rocketing up boards like McClellin, who is quickly becoming one of the more intriguing 3-4 outside linebackers in the 2012 class. He's a much better athlete than people give him credit for, and that athleticism is going to help him get sacks by firing off the edge and bending around offensive tackles. 


CB Trumaine Johnson - Montana

Johnson is growing on people because he is big and strong and can play press at the next level. Cornerbacks that can get their hands on receivers in the NFL are typically the ones who are playing in Pro Bowls. There's some thought that Johnson might be able to transition into safety, too. 


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The Jets' Locker Room Woes, as Seen from Revis Island

Well, this had to have happened eventually. Darrelle Revis kicked off the New York Jets' annual descent into madness by simply failing the word association section of an ESPN interview. When given the term "locker room", Revis responded with "disarray right now". 

Yeesh. This is not necessarily a surprise, but it adds fuel to the already Tim Tebow-induced fire. The furor that stemmed from the Tebow signing has, as Revis implied, helped add to the dysfunction that had been going on pre-Tebow.

Here's Revis on the Tebow signing: "I think he (Tebow) will have a big impact on [Sanchez] in terms of just trying to maybe push him a little bit more".

He then goes on to attempt to salvage the eminent commotion that comes from a statement like this, but the power of what he said still lingers. Tebow is the first backup player I can ever remember getting a freaking press conference, complete with the cartoonish nonsense that comes with such spectacles. He's obviously going to be a relevant part of the Jets' organization in some faction; this despite the fact that the Jets already have an able-bodied quarterback (a statement Jets fans may dispute in the comments section) which only makes such a showcase more ridiculous. 

That's why the Jets' locker room is in disarray. They allow themselves — not their play, but the players — to become the show. Backup quarterbacks are team enigmas. Everything is the biggest deal. Last season, there was the Santonio Holmes "quitting" issue, the Bart Scott "frustration" mess and so on.

These stories could be found any place else in the NFL, but as the New York Jets play in New York, it gets magnified. It aggrandizes the problems these players have into giant ordeals, but in reality, they would be facing the same issues whether they were playing in New York or Kansas City. They appear to listen to the chatter, and buy into it.

Revis is right when he says the locker room is in disarray. How could it not be?

Follow the author @brendohare


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Fantasy Baseball 2012: 6 Under-the-Radar Sluggers to Target

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I gave a succinct account of my fantasy baseball strategy in this post from a few days ago.

To recap:

Find underperformers, exploit your opponents’ prejudices, repeat.

I should, however, add a caveat.

Let’s say every member of your league worships a certain fantasy analyst—for ego’s sake we’ll say me—and every member of your league re-adjusts their appraisal of players based on who I deem “under-the-radar.”

Well, guess what, that player isn’t under the radar anymore. You have to get a sense of your competitors and their biases before targeting certain players.

Or to put it another way: Don’t overdraft under-the-radar players. Don’t slot Eric Hosmer above Paul Konerko just because the former is underrated by most fantasy owners and the latter overrated.

Chances are Paul Konerko will have a better season on aggregate than Eric Hosmer, and that’s the only relevant comparison.

Now, if people are lunging for Konerko in the third round and you think you can get Hosmer in the eighth, by all means take Hosmer. But don’t pretend he’s the better player.

Perhaps that’s all obvious, but I think sometimes common sense gets lost in the bargain hunting.

With that pedantic ramble aside, let’s get to the video.

Be sure to sound off and let us know what you think in the comments below. If you like what you see, click here for more from Bleacher Report Productions. 


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Boston Celtics Daily Links 3/28


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Gorgui Dieng living his dream

Louisville center Gorgui Dieng has come a long way -- both on and off the court -- since he left Kebemer, Senegal, and came to the United States three years ago. He arrived as a bean pole with minimal skills and no grasp of the English language. Last week, his shot-blocking and rebounding has taken his Louisville team to the Final Four, and to the precipice of one of the biggest and most dramatic Final Four matchups in modern history. Dieng's continued development is one of the key reasons the Cardinals have their shot at intrastate drama Saturday.


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New Orleans Saints ownership adversely affected by Bountygate?

How bad is the “Bountygate” scandal? It’s far-reaching all the way to the top. Yes, there are 22-27 players under investigation, but the fallout doesn’t end on the field. Or with the defensive coordinator, or head coach. It reaches beyond Gregg Williams and Sean Payton, all the way to the owner’s box. New Orleans Saints [...]


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NIT Tournament 2012, Washington Vs. Minnesota Final Score: Gophers Win 68-67 In OT


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Frank Martin: Best Gamecocks coach ever?

OK, OK, I know, I know: Frank Martin has yet to coach a game at South Carolina. You have to coach a game at a school before you can be placed in the annals of said school's greatest all-time coaches. Coaching at Kansas State is not quite like coaching at South Carolina, and there's a chance Martin could fail miserably in Columbia. I don't think that's likely, but I get what you're saying. So let's ignore the superlatives. Let's instead talk about the hire itself, which Martin and South Carolina officially announced Tuesday.


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At the Watercooler: Kentucky vs. Louisville

Editor's note: Kentucky and Louisville are ready for an epic battle in the Final Four. But before they get started, Eamonn Brennan and Myron Medcalf discuss the rivalry, the matchup and the coaches. Myron Medcalf: Eamonn, I'm ready for this Watercooler now that I have my beads for New Orleans. What an epic Final Four … potentially. Question: Will the state of Kentucky explode Saturday? I mean, it's time for the citizens of that state to stock up on water, canned goods and batteries, right?


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Dienstag, 27. März 2012

UEFA Champions League: 10 Reasons Barcelona vs. Real Madrid Will Be the Final

It is arguably the football world's greatest rivalry: El Clasico. Barcelona vs. Real Madrid.

The two giants hate each other for all sorts of reasons, but for neutrals who have not pledged their allegiance to either team, watching Spain's two best teams play for the pride of their fanbases is superb theater.

Barcelona and Madrid are also two of the best teams on the planet in the Champions League arena. The Catalans have won two of the competition's past three iterations, and Los Blancos have won the world's most prestigious club competition a record nine times.

With both teams in sublime form and seemingly ready to obliterate any opposition who dares to challenge them, it looks almost certain that they will meet in the final of this year's Champions League.

Here's why.

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Texas Rangers offering 2 foot, 1 lb, $26 Hot Dog this season

What’s the over/under on media members leading their stories on this grande weiner supreme with “everything’s bigger in Texas!” Remember when Houston was voted the fattest city in the United States a few years ago? (Made popular in the documentary film “Super Size Me”) Well, Dallas is about to give them a run for their [...]


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Top 10 Celebrity/Athlete Tramp Stamps: Britney, Jenn Brown, Kournikova (PHOTOS)

Women with lower back tattoos- what can I say that I haven’t already said quite often in an extremely off-color and very inappropriate manner? I’ll defer to Guyism on this one, they gave as good a synopsis as you’ll find on the topic: It all started with the movie, The Wedding Crashers. Thank you Vince [...]


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Spring Training Game Game Day Thread


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