Sports MMSR: Enter the (McIlroy?) Madness
This weekend we entered the month of March. For sports fans that means one thing. It is time to enter the madness–March Madness. The college basketball competition will begin to mean a lot more this month, and there is no lack of storylines.
The biggest college matchup of the weekend was on Saturday in the ACC, #5 Miami versus #3 Duke in Durham, NC. The home standing Blue Devils exacted some revenge from Miami, who handed Duke a blowout loss earlier this year, by winning 79-76. The key for Duke was the return of senior forward Ryan Kelly, who scored a career-high 36 points in the victory. Kelly had been out of the Duke lineup for the last 13 games with a foot injury. Miami continues to lead the ACC, but Duke will now reenter the #1 tournament seed conversation.
Another big matchup occurred in the Big Ten on Sunday–the battle for Michigan, #9 Michigan State versus #4 Michigan, in Ann Arbor. Once again the home team prevailed, with the Wolverines winning 58-57. Guard Trey Burke led the way for Michigan with 21 points and 8 assists. Both Michigan State and Michigan are 11-5 in the Big Ten, and along with two other teams trail only Indiana for the conference lead.
The college basketball madness is not limited to just March, and has been going on all season. Top-ranked teams have been losing games all season and once a team enters the top five, it seems like they can’t handle being there and fall back. Top five teams that lost this week include Indiana, Michigan, Duke, and Miami. Current #2 ranked Gonzaga is poised to ascend to the #1 overall ranking, which would be the first time in the school’s history. Other schools that are in the mix for #1 seeds in the NCAA tournament are Duke, Miami, Indiana, Georgetown, Kansas, and Michigan.
In the NBA, the leading headline is the continued dominance of the Miami Heat. The Heat have extended their winning streak to 14 games by beating another top Eastern Conference foe, the New York Knicks, 99-93. With the win, the Heat tie their franchise-best winning streak. In the Western Conference, the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 108-104, in a physical matchup which featured a Flagrant 1 foul by Serge Ibaka on Blake Griffin, when Ibaka struck Griffin in the groin. The biggest headline for the Western Conference is a bad one for the conference-leading San Antonio Spurs. Point Guard Tony Parker will be out for four weeks with a Grade 2 sprain of his left ankle.
Taking a quick trip around other sports, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods had a rough weekend on the golf course at the Honda Classic. Rory withdrew from the tournament with wisdom tooth pain, and said to reporters “I’m not in a good place mentally.” Some in the media have said that the problems with Rory stem from his switch to Nike clubs, others have said Rory might be slowly descending into a different version of March Madness. Tiger, meanwhile, finished the Honda Classic at +4 over par in a tie for 37th place.
In the NHL, the Chicago Blackhawks continued their record season-opening points streak with their ninth straight win to remain undefeated in regulation in 22 straight games, with a 2-1 win in an overtime shootout with the Detroit Red Wings.
On a personal note, in one of the best rivalries in College Baseball, the South Carolina Gamecocks defeated the Clemson Tigers in a series this weekend taking two out of three games! Go Gamecocks! Enjoy the week in sports!