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NBA Finals; The Trilogy

The NBA needs this to be a good series. After the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers absolutely demoralized the entire league, fans are on the edge of their seat for a fantastic finale to the 2017 year. Nothing is better than these two teams going head to head for the third time straight in an epic battle.

Let’s break it down:

5 reasons why the Warriors will win the NBA Finals

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  1. The Warriors have more talent than the Cavs, plain and simple. All the way through the lineup, from Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry to Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, it is hard to argue against Golden State being the more well-rounded team. Throw in the dunk machine of JaVale McGee and you have a literal “superteam”.
  2. Aside from being sidelined for an MCL sprain and other injuries, Kevin Durant has been the missing key that the Warriors were looking for last year. He can play different styles to adapt to the Cavs while additionally shooting the ball over 40% from 3-point range and averaging 25.2 points per game.
  3. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are not even at full force yet. That should be a massive scare to Cleveland with Thompson only averaging 14.4 points per game with a mere .383 shooting percentage. Curry’s numbers have not been bad, though he is expected to play even better in this crucial series

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The Blame Game; Officials in Sports

From little league baseball and recreational soccer to the Superbowl and the Stanley Cup playoffs, officials play a significant role in a game. Although the judges truly are not “playing” the sport, their crucial decisions can produce lasting impacts and momentum-swinging moments. Many calls go under severe scrutiny from players, coaches, fans and broadcasters. This raises an important discussion. Do these referees deserve the blame for their opinions on a game?

Let’s discuss the key factors in the process and whether their job can be modified:

In the moment- As a referee, games can change in a split-second, specifically in professional sports including hockey and football. Officials are forced to make pivotal calls in a quick second or two. They do not have instant replay in their heads and cannot go back in time to reverse a call unless looking tape after the play concludes. Therefore, it is ignorant to harp on officials to make a perfect call exactly when something happens.

Continue reading “The Blame Game; Officials in Sports”

Regular Season vs Playoffs

The question still lingers out there…does the regular season prepare teams for a grueling run at a title, known as the postseason?

Let’s break it down:

Regular Season impacts playoffs

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  • Seeding- As evident in March Madness, being a #1 seed vs a #2 seed can be the difference between statistical chances of success
  • Opponent- Most likely, when a higher seed, a better draw against a lesser opponent is given
  • Confidence- A better seed receives recognition from fellow teammates and the media giving the team confidence and belief that they can be win a championship

Regular Season does NOT impact playoffs

  • Unpredictability- Anything can happen in the playoffs. The sports world has seen crazy things, specifically when the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup after being the lowest seed going into the playoffs

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Celtics vs Bulls First Round Matchup

The beginning of the NBA playoffs features many great matchups. In particular the Eastern Conference includes the clash between the #1 Boston Celtics and the #8 Chicago Bulls

Let’s dive into the positional comparison between the two teams:

Point Guard

Boston: Isaiah Thomas

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The 5’9” machine averages a whopping 28.9 points and 5.9 assists per game. That speaks to his ability to pass when needed but also take crucial shots. He is known as “Mr. 4th Quarter” with his ability to crank up the intensity when the clock runs down. Thomas has been a major issue for opponents in the regular season and the Bulls will need to be cognizant of Isaiah at all times.

Chicago: Rajon Rondo

As a former Celtic, Rondo’s return to Boston for the playoffs is anticipated by many. He leads the Bulls with 6.7 assists per game and has a .408 field goal percentage. To match up with Thomas, Rondo will need to play exceptionally well; fans know he is more than capable of doing that.

Advantage: Boston

Continue reading “Celtics vs Bulls First Round Matchup”

March Madness 2017

The time has come! March Madness is finally here!

Here is my breakdown of some overrated, underrated, and champion-caliber teams:

Overrated

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#1 Gonzaga- They seem too good to be true. The Bulldogs wrapped up a 1 seed after a very impressive 30-1 season. However, their division included teams mostly outside the top 25 and therefore, a matchup against Duke or UNC remains unknown. Gonzaga has the potential to show many doubters wrong, though I do not believe the Bulldogs had enough competition during the regular season to prepare them for the upcoming tournament. I project a solid run at the title, but Gonzaga playing against difficult teams is scary.

#4 Florida- The Gators have played decently for the majority of the year, yet lost to unranked Vanderbilt 3 times in the same season! It could just be the Commodores, but Florida cannot waste energy or lose to a low ranked opponent. Florida ended the season with 2 defeats and they do not give off a strong vibe rolling into the tournament. A matchup with East Tennessee State seems like a problem waiting to happen.

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#3 Baylor- I just do not trust their pedigree. After losing to a #5 seeded Yale last year, the Bears hold an 11-12 tournament record with no championships. Additionally, Baylor faces the uninviting odds of being a 3 seed, with history not on their side. In the last 4 years, at least one 14 seed upset a 3 seed. Forward  Johnathan Motley is an absolute beast on both ends of the floor with 17.3 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. However, after Motley statistics drop dramatically in various areas for the other athletes. Baylor comes into the first round, losers of 4 out of the last 7 facing a solid New Mexico State team. Even if the Bears do win, I cannot see them succeeding much more.

Underrated

#13 Vermont- The Catamounts could be a serious force and possibly could make a late run in the Midwest division. Vermont finished the season 18-0 in the American East Standings and have not lost a game since December 21, 2016. Many see the Catamounts are a wild card, but it is a mistake to underestimate the capabilities of a red hot team.

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#12 Princeton- Don’t be fooled. This team is compiled of brains over brawn and these college students know how to play! The Tigers finished 14-0 in the Ivy League and 23-6 overall. A matchup against Notre Dame is not very appealing, but players such as Devin Cannady and Steven Cook could lead Princeton to success. 12 seeded teams have statistics on their side, going 21-10-1 against the spread over the last 8 years. Watch out!

#6 SMU- With a 34-4 overall record (17-1 in the American conference), the Mustangs were certainly under-seeded. They have not lost since mid-January and have defeated a top 25 ranked Cincinatti team twice during the season. Also, SMU averages the 3rd lowest points per game in the country and 23rd best assists per game. That speaks to the Mustangs well rounded atmosphere with standout forward Semi Ojeleye, a former Duke athlete, averaging almost 19 points per game. The Eastern side of the bracket must be prepared for SMU or they could be taking an early trip home.

Championship Contenders

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#2 Duke- It is hard to argue with the best, and the Blue Devils are just that. Duke represents a model of success from coach Mike Krzyzewski to athletes Luke Kennard, Jayson Tatum, Grayson Allen and Amile Jefferson. As part of the challenging ACC conference, the Blue Devils have crucial experience in difficult situations that many opponents are lacking. Duke won championships in 2010 and 2015 and are driving for another tournament victory this year.

#1 Villanova- As one of the clear favorites, the Wildcats have the chance to repeat as champions with a 31-3 overall record on the year. Led by all-stars Josh Hart and Jalen Brunson, the ‘Cats are on a roll and do not seem to be slowing down any time soon. I see Villanova being a very plausible candidate for a title run again this season.

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#2 Arizona- The Arizona Wildcats ended the year on a spectacular note, which is why I put them in this column. Arizona comes into the tourney victors against #3 UCLA and #5 Oregon in their last two games. The Wildcats are not a 1 seed but have significant potential to reek havoc on the college basketball world. Arizona is lead by star Allonzo Trier, averaging 17.3 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. I would not be surprised to see these Wildcats in the Final Four.

Enjoy the tournament and choose wisely!

 

 

Sources: Featured Image Gonzaga Image, Princeton Image, Arizona Image, Arizona Wildcats Stats, March Madness Stats, Baylor Bears Stats, Baylor Image, SMU Mustangs Stats, Duke Image, Upset Seedings Information

 

The Role of Technology in Sports

Technology plays a significant role in both the real world and sports. It is hard for Americans to imagine a society without computers, cell phones or a laptop. However, face-to-face communication has been the price for this international connection. Sports too has undergone alterations to conform to this changing world.

Let’s dissect 3 major areas that technology impacts sports:

Social Media

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Positive: Social media enables people from a variety of countries to embrace in the sports culture by sharing their input on crucial games or news. It promotes team pride and establishes friendly competition between friends, family or others. People can watch games on their devices which include score updates and analyzation of the game.

In 2016, 78% of Americans had a social media profile; that is 54% more that just 2008!

Negative: Unfortunately, collaboration may become violent or abusive on the multitude of social media platforms; cyberbullying is a risk of this online usage. Additionally, being on one’s phone during the game can take away from the natural thrill that sports provide.

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The New NBA

With time, things change. The NBA has been no exception, although many Americans may not have anticipated the team sport to change so drastically.

Here is a breakdown of the new NBA today:

Individual Star Power- All sports have key players and more talented athletes than others. However, basketball by far exceeds those limits in that the sport is no longer represented by full strong lineups. Aside from very few, the days of having Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman on the same team are over, and instead, NBA teams have possibly one or two players that are all-stars. DeMarcus Cousins on the Sacramento Kings and Eric Bledsoe on the Phoenix Suns are examples. The athletes who previously were stationed as the headline of their weaker teams are being traded to a NBA Finals contender. Teams such as the Golden State Warriors (43-8 record) and Cleveland Cavaliers (35-15 record) have a multitude of star power with minimal chemistry, causing huge egos and talent to collide.

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Super Bowl Preview

Super Bowl 51 is here! The Atlanta Falcons are squaring off with the New England Patriots!

Here are the skill position breakdowns of this matchup:

Quarterback

Atlanta- Matt Ryan

  • 2016-2017 Regular Season MVP
  • 1st ever Super Bowl
  • 730 postseason passing yards
  • Best Total QB Rating in the regular AND postseason
  • No postseason interceptions

New England- Tom Brady

  • 4 time Super Bowl champion
  • 7th career Super Bowl
  • Averages 336 yards/game in the postseason

Edge: Equal

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My 2017 NFL Playoff Bracket

Here are my predictions for the 2017 NFL Playoff:

AFC Wild Card

#6 Miami Dolphins at #3 Pittsburg Steelers

Pick: Steelers

#5 Oakland Raiders at #4 Houston Texans

Pick: Texans

NFC Wild Card

#6 Detroit Lions at #3 Seattle Seahawks

Pick: Lions

#5 New York Giants at #4 Green Bay Packers

Pick: Packers

Continue reading “My 2017 NFL Playoff Bracket”

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