Couch Potato Alert: 3/13

Last night, you got a taste of madness…March Madness, as Connecticut/Syracuse played a 6-OT historic Big East quarterfinal game that seemed like it would never end. The player’s performances in this contest sum up why we love this time of the year in college basketball. You watch teams that will fight tooth and nail just to compete for another day. Neither team will receive a special trophy for last night’s game. No, Syracuse gets the opportunity to play West Virginia in a semifinal matchup this evening. Enjoy your hoop du jour.

All times ET…

NBA
Friday, 7:30 PM: Indiana Pacers @Atlanta Hawks (NBA TV)
Saturday, 9 PM: Los Angeles Clippers @ Denver Nuggets (NBA TV)
Sunday, 3:30 PM: Dallas Mavericks @ Los Angeles Lakers (ABC)
Sunday, 9 PM: Phoenix Suns @ Golden State Warriors (NBA TV)

NHL
Saturday, 3 PM: Ottawa Senators @ Pittsburgh Penguins (CBC)
Sunday, 12:30 PM: Philadelphia Flyers@ New York Rangers (NBC)

College Basketball
Friday, 7 PM: #13 Villanova vs. #5 Louisville (ESPN)
Friday, 7 PM: Maryland vs. #9 Wake Forest (ESPN2)
Friday, 9 PM: #23 Arizona State vs. #20 Washington (Fox Sports Net)
Friday, 9:30 PM: Boston College vs. #8 Duke (ESPN2)
Friday, 9:30 PM: #7 West Virginia vs. #20 Syracuse (ESPN)
Friday, 11:30 PM: USC vs. #14 UCLA (Fox Sports Net)
Saturday, 1:30 PM & 4 PM: ACC Semifinals (ESPN)
Saturday, 1 PM & 3:15 PM: SEC Semifinals (ESPN2)
Saturday, 1:40 PM & 4 PM: Big-10 Semifinals (CBS)
Saturday, 6 PM: Pac-10 Final (CBS)
Saturday, 6 PM: Big 12 Final (ESPN)
Saturday, 9 PM: Big East Final (ESPN)
Sunday, 1 PM: ACC Final (ESPN)
Sunday, 1 PM: SEC Final (CBS)
Sunday, 3:30 PM: Big-10 Final (CBS)
Sunday, 6 PM: NCAA Tournament Selection Show (CBS)

World Baseball Classic
Saturday, 8 PM: Puerto Rico vs. United States from Miami, FL. (MLB Network)

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Three Big 12 teams still have work to do

Joe Lunardi (ESPN “bracketologist”) projects four Big 12 teams to be safely in the NCAA tournament: Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Texas. Three other teams — Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Texas A&M — are on the bubble.

Lunardi has Oklahoma State as a #10 seed, so they are semi-safe. The Cowboys play Kansas State tonight in a game that the Wildcats desperately need. Oklahoma State closes the season with arch-rival Oklahoma on Saturday. OSU probably just needs to win one more game to feel safe, but if the Cowboys lose three straight to close the season (KSU, OU and the Big 12 tourney opener), it may knock them out of contention. It doesn’t help their cause that they are just 1-5 against Top 25 teams, but the Cowboys’ #32 RPI (a product of the NCAA’s 11th-toughest schedule) does help.


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2008 Year-End Sports Review: What We Learned

At the end of the year, it’s always interesting to look back at all that has happened in the world of sports over the last 12 months. 2008 brought us a host of compelling sports stories, including the culmination of the Patriots’ (unsuccessful) quest for perfection, a Bejing Olympics that featured incredible accomplishments by the likes of Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt and the Redeem Team, and, of course, Brett Favre’s unretirement, which managed to hold the sports news cycle hostage for a solid month or more.

As is our tradition, we’ve once again broken our Year End Sports Review into three sections. The first is “What We Learned,” a list that’s packed with a number of impressive feats. And when there are feats, inevitably there are also failures.

Don’t miss the other two parts: “What We Already Knew” and “What We Think Might Happen.”

The New England Patriots weren’t so perfect after all.

After rolling through the 2007 regular season unscathed, the Patriots entered the 2008 Super Bowl as overwhelming favorites to roll over the pesky, but seemingly inferior New York Giants. The Pats were just one win away from staking their claim as the best football team in NFL history. But thanks to a dominating Giants’ defensive line, an improbable catch by David Tyree, and a virtually mistake-free performance by Eli Manning, the unbeatable New England Patriots were beat. It’ll go down as one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history, and considering Tom Brady’s season-ending injury in 2008 cost the Pats a chance for redemption, it seems that many have forgotten how New England stood just one win away from perfection. – Anthony Stalter

Michael Phelps is part fish.

Eight gold medals in one Olympiad? No problem. Michael Phelps made the seemingly impossible look (relatively) easy en route to one of the most – if not the most – impressive Olympic performances ever. Phelps had to swim all four strokes, compete in both sprint and endurance races, and deal with the constant media attention and pressure that came along with his quest. Sure, NBC turned up the hype, but what Phelps accomplished is simply incredible. – John Paulsen

Usain Bolt is part cheetah.

First, Usain Bolt made Jamaica proud by setting a new world record (9.69) in the 100-meter sprint. Then, he broke the 12 year-old 200-meter world record with a time of 19.30 seconds. He showboated during the first race but cleaned up his act to win the second race in a professional manner. Some even say that Usain Bolt – not Michael Phelps – was the biggest story to come out of the Bejing Olympics. – JP

The Big 12 has the best quarterbacks in the nation.

The Big 12 housed some of the best quarterbacks in all of college football in 2008. Texas’s Colt McCoy, Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford, Missouri’s Chase Daniel and Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell were all considered Heisman candidates at least at one point during the season, while McCoy and Bradford are still in the running. Amazingly, Bradford and McCoy aren’t done; both will return in 2008. And although they don’t receive as much attention as the top signal callers in the conference, Kansas’s Todd Reesing and Baylor’s Robert Griffin certainly turned heads this year as well. In fact, the highly versatile Griffin is only a freshman and could make the Bears a very dangerous team for years to come. – AS


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2008 Year-End Sports Review: What We Think Might Happen

It’s time to look ahead to 2009 and play a little Nostradamus.

Last year, we predicted that God would anoint the “Devil-free” Rays World Series Champions (ding!), that Brett Favre would play another year or two (ding! – sort of), that Isiah Thomas would be canned (ding!), and that Kobe would be playing for a new team by the trade deadline…

Granted, that last one didn’t come true, but how were we supposed to know that the Grizzlies would trade Pau Gasol to the Lakers for an unproven rookie and a bag of peanuts? Our occasional inaccuracy isn’t going to keep us from rolling out another set of predictions – some serious and some farcical – for 2009 and beyond, including President Obama’s plan for a college football playoff, Donovan McNabb’s new home and the baseball club most likely to be 2009’s version of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Read on, and in a year, we guarantee* you’ll be amazed.

*This is not an actual guarantee, mind you.

Don’t miss the other two parts of our 2008 Year-End Sports Review: “What We Learned” and “What We Already Knew.”

Michael Vick will play for the Oakland Raiders next season.

Once NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell allows suspended quarterback Michael Vick to re-enter the league, let’s be honest, there’s really only one team that will take a shot on the convict: the Oakland Raiders. Sure, the Raiders would have to possibly give up a draft pick because Vick will still technically be property of the Falcons, but with Matt Ryan on board, Atlanta would probably be willing to give Mikey up for a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos…snack size. With Vick on board, JaMarcus Russell could shift to tight end or full back or offensive tackle or something. Or, Vick could play wide receiver! Or running back! Think of the possibilities! The Oakland Raiders will be the most unstoppable team in the league! That is, of course, until Vick gets the itch for his old hobby. – Anthony Stalter

The Nationals and Pirates become the official AAAA teams of their respective divisions.

After finishing at or near the bottom of the division since the franchise’s move from Montreal, Major League Baseball executives analyze the entire Washington Nationals player system and conclude that they have no chance of fielding a competitive team in the near future. In the boldest decision of his tenure, Commissioner Bud Selig demotes the team’s Major League roster to AAAA status, a phrase long used by baseball personnel to describe players that are too good for the minors but not good enough for the majors. In an added twist, Selig designates that the team’s assets are fair game for all four remaining teams in the National League East, as a means of creating parity. In order to keep the number of teams even in each league, Selig also downgrades the Pittsburgh Pirates, losers of 94 or more games since 2005, to AAAA status as well. It will be six weeks into the regular season before an NL East team claims any of these former Pirates or Nationals. – David Medsker

Barack Obama will have a plan in place for a college football playoff by 2016.

He has already spoken out twice in favor of an eight-team playoff format for college football. Granted, there are more pressing concerns for the President-elect – the economy, the war in Iraq and a forward-thinking energy policy, just to name a few – but there’s no reason that Obama can’t appoint a “Playoff Czar” to get the conference presidents and the bowl organizers together to hash out a system that works for everyone. Are the bowls worried about losing money? Rotate the semifinals and the final amongst the four bowl cities. Are the conferences worried about losing money? They shouldn’t be – the ratings for an eight-team playoff would dwarf the ratings the current system is getting. And better ratings means more money. This is something that 85%-90% of the population can agree on, and that doesn’t happen often. Mark our words – President Obama will make it happen, especially if he gets a second term. – John Paulsen


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Couch Potato Alert: 12/5

All times ET…

College Basketball

Saturday, 3:30 PM: No. 4 Duke vs. Michigan, ESPN
Saturday, 1:30 PM: No. 5 Gonzaga vs. Indiana
Saturday, 4 PM: Ohio State vs. No. 7 Notre Dame, ESPNU
Sunday, 6 PM: No. 21 Florida vs. Florida State, ESPN Full Court

College Football

Saturday, 12 PM: Navy vs. Army, CBS
Saturday, 1 PM: No. 17 Boston College vs. No. 25 Virginia Tech-ACC Championship Game, ABC
Saturday, 4 PM: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Florida-SEC Championship Game, CBS
Saturday, 4:30 PM: No. 5 USC vs. UCLA, ABC
Saturday, 8 PM: No. 20 Missouri vs. No. 2 Oklahoma-Big 12 Championship Game, ABC

NBA

Friday, 8 PM: Portland Trail Blazers vs. Boston Celtics, ESPN
Friday, 10:30 PM: Toronto Raptors vs. Utah Jazz, ESPN
Saturday, 9 PM: Utah Jazz vs. Phoenix Suns
Sunday, 1 PM: Portland Trail Blazers vs. Toronto Raptors, NBA-TV

NFL

Sunday, 1 PM: Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants, Fox
Sunday, 4:15 PM: Dallas Cowboys vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, Fox
Sunday, 8:15 PM: Washington Redskins vs. Baltimore Ravens, NBC

NHL

Friday, 8:30 PM: Colorado Avalanche vs. Dallas Stars
Saturday, 2 PM: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Ottawa Senators
Saturday, 10 PM: Edmonton Oilers vs. San Jose Sharks

Boxing

Saturday, 9 PM: Oscar De La Hoya vs. Manny Pacquiano, HBO PPV

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