Super Bowl Countdown: T-6 days
Fun Fact of the Day: This is the first time starting quarterbacks drafted #1 in the NFL draft will meet in the Super Bowl: Peyton Manning to the Indianapolis Colts in 1998 and Cam Newton to the Carolina Panthers in 2011.
From a land down under... This weekend #7-ranked Angelique Kerber defeated tennis god #1 Serena Williams in the Women’s Australian Open. Serena was trying to add to her collection of 21 Grand Slam titles and catch up to Steffi Graf’s record of 22. But after a shaky start to the match, she wasn’t able to recover and graciously lost to Kerber. This makes Kerber the 2nd German woman to win a Grand Slam title. Who was the first? Steffi Graf, of course. What about the dudes? Novak Djokovic swept Andy Murray in 3 sets to win the big prize. This must feel like an early Groundhog’s Day to Murray who has lost 11 of his past 12 meetings against Djokovic.
This Saturday #1-ranked Oklahoma narrowly defeated LSU (77-75). Why was everyone excited about this game? Even though LSU is unranked, they have the prospective #1 NBA draft pick freshman Ben Simmons, who is hyped as one of the best players of this decade. College basketball fans were excited to see him go up against Oklahoma’s star senior Buddy Hield, who is the favorite to be the national player of the year. Hield lived up to his reputation and scored 32 points to help Oklahoma come from behind to win this game. What happens to LSU? LSU’s record is now a mediocre 13-8. They’re really going to have to pick up their game or they might not make it to the Big Dance (psst that’s March Madness).
NFL PRO BOWL
If you’re not going, I’m not going. Last night, Team Irvin won in the NFL Pro Bowl (the NFL’s All-Star game), but all anyone will be talking about is how no one really cared enough to show up. There were a record high 47 alternate players chosen because so many of the All-Stars decided decided to pass instead of getting injured in this meaningless exhibition game.
NHL ALL-STAR GAME
… and they all lived happily ever after. The Pacific division won yesterday’s NHL All-Star tournament. The game’s MVP was enforcer John Scott, who scored two goals during the tournament. Yes, you’ve heard that name before. Scott was the victim of a fan-voting prank that got him into the All-Star game. The NHL did not find that amusing and may have been behind Scott’s demotion to the AHL (like the NHL minor leagues) to get him out of the game. Being named MVP last night was a lovely storybook finish for Scott. Sometimes nice guys do finish first.
Spotlight on the Cleveland Cavaliers
On Saturday night the Cleveland Cavaliers handily defeated the San Antonio Spurs (117-103). Even though the Spurs were without star Tim Duncan, this was an impressive turnaround from just a couple weeks ago when the Spurs beat the Cavs.
What’s the big deal? You may remember that the Cavs spontaneously fired their head coach David Blatt a little over a week ago. This move was a real head-scratcher because the Cavs are the best team in the East this season and made it to the NBA Finals last year. Instead, the Cavs decided to give the head-coaching gig to assistant coach Tyronn Lue.
How’d Lue do? Lue has spent his first week whipping his players into shape and getting them to play more up-tempo basketball. So far so good. They have won their past 4 games, and this win against the Spurs (the #2 team in the West) is a big deal.
What’s been the big change? All the players have a lot of respect for Lue, who is a former NBA player. In this weekend’s game, the team looked cohesive and balanced with each of their 3 big stars (LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love) scoring over 20 points. This was a huge improvement because Love has been struggling to figure out his role on the team since he joined last season.
Seen and Heard
Was this one “Billy” Manziel too? Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel’s personal life implosion continues. Just this weekend, Manziel’s ex-girlfriend called the cops about a possible assault. This is just another chapter in Johnny Football’s saga of excessive drinking and bizarre behavior. Johnny’s really got to get his life together or he could be cut from the team. The Browns new Head Coach Hue Jackson is already playing the field and exploring other options…