This Month in Sports
Jack Markert ‘19
This December, the College Football season ended with #2 Clemson trouncing #3 Notre Dame 30-3 and #1 Alabama beating #4 Oklahoma 45-34. Additionally, LSU ended UCF’s undefeated streak in a 40-32 win at the Fiesta Bowl, Texas defeated Georgia in the Sugar Bowl 28-21, and Ohio State overcoming Washington in the Rose Bowl 28-23. Look forward to the fourth rematch of an Alabama-Clemson championship (Alabama leads 2-1). If you’re superstitious, Drake just announced his support for Alabama, which has proved bad luck for Kentucky Men’s College Basketball, the Toronto Raptors, and Conor McGregor. Despite the “Drake Curse,” I still predict Alabama will get the win because Nick Saban always finds a way to get it done. The game will be Monday, January 7th at 7 PM. Roll Tide!
Meanwhile, the NFL playoffs stage has been set, with a Ravens-Chargers matchup and a Texans-Colts matchup in the AFC Wild Card Round and a Cowboys-Seahawks matchup and a Bears-Eagles matchup in the NFC Wild Card Round. I predict the Colts and Chargers will win the AFC Wild Card Round and the Bears and Cowboys will win the NFC Wild Card Round. Meanwhile, the Saints and Rams in the NFC and the Chiefs and Patriots in the AFC have first-round byes. I predict the Saints will defeat the Cowboys and the Bears will defeat the Rams–with the Bears’ defense being the determining factor–in the NFC. In the AFC, I predict the Patriots will defeat the Chargers and the Chiefs will defeat the Colts. I predict the Bears defeat the Patriots in the Super Bowl.
In NCAA men’s basketball, Duke has regained momentum and sits atop the AP poll. Meanwhile, Michigan, Tennesse, Virginia, and Kansas are close-contenders in the top 5. Over the next month, conference play begins to start, with many intense ACC, Big Ten, and Big Twelve matchups critical to determining the March Madness Bracket. The most up-to-date bracket prediction can be found here: http://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/bracketology.
This week we’ve added segments from Spring’s own biggest NHL and NBA fans.
Ryan Scott’s NHL Segment
Halfway through the NHL season, the Tampa Bay Lightning are strong favorites to win the Presidents trophy(awarded to the team with the most points at the end of the regular season) with a 10 point advantage in the standings above the Toronto Maple Leafs, led by key free agent signing John Tavares. The Calgary Flames lead the Western Conference followed closely by our most local team the Nashville Predators. On the other end of the standings, the L.A. Kings have the worst record with 35 points but they are leading the hunt for the potential first overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, Jack Hughes, who is playing for the United States in the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships in Vancouver, Canada. Looking to the future, the NHL approved the addition of a new expansion franchise in Seattle, Washington, and they will join the league in 2021.
Krishna Josyula’s NBA Segment
NBA basketball has officially kicked into high gear this month. December was highlighted by the 5 Christmas Day matchups, with the Bucks taking down the Knicks 109-95, the Rockets closing out the Thunder 113-109, the Celtics defeating the 76ers 121-114, the Lakers blowing out the Golden State Warriors 127-101, and Jazz over the Blazers 117-96 to wrap up Christmas Day. The West playoff race has been historically close this season as the 14th seed (New Orleans Pelicans) is only 6 games behind the 4th seed (Houston Rockets). The back-to-back champion Golden State Warriors have been underwhelming so far, as they have shown signs of both mental and physical fatigue and are eagerly awaiting the return of 4-time all-star Demarcus Cousins. After a slow start to the season, the Houston Rockets have turned things around and are currently on a 6-game win streak in large part to James Harden’s historic run, averaging an absurd 36.5 ppg and 2.3 flops per game. Out East, four teams–the Bucks, Raptors, 76ers, and Celtics–have established themselves as the true contenders in the conference. The Bucks currently hold the top spot in the East in large part due to swingman Giannis Antetokounmpo’s play, as he has averaged 25.6 points and 12.5 rebounds in the month of December.