Sports: Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Huskies Repeat As NCAA Champs, Nats Shut Down Giants, Caps In A Must-Win Game Tonight

Lane Thomas smacks a 2-run homer as part of a 3-hit in Nats’ 8-1 win over the Giants. Courtesy Nationals Radio Network…

Tidbits

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Greetings from The Booth!

With so many things happening out there in the sports (and “sports entertainment”) world, I thought I would do one of my occasional “tidbits” VFBs this time, with some random thoughts…

As I’ve written many times, the cream usually rises to the top in the NCAA Basketball Tournament, and sure enough, two nunber-one seeds will do battle in tomorrow night’s Championship Game. It’ll be Purdue versus UConn out in the desert for all the marbles, and a contrast in styles, with the Boilermakers’ 7-foot-4 Zach Eady against a high-scoring Huskies’ offense. Should be fun, but you can tell me about it Tuesday, because for some reason, tip-off isn’t until 9:20 pm. Why not something more reasonable, like 8pm?

This weekend marks the annual extravaganza known as Wrestlemania, this time it’s number XL. I was a big fan of pro wrestling in it’s 80′ and 90’s heyday, but I couldn’t name you five current wrestlers if you threatened to suplex me off the top rope. I do know that The Rock has returned to the WWE for Wrestlemania XL, which should create plenty of buzz.

Maybe The Rock needed a paycheck. You might think that if you saw the opening weekend of the UFL, of which The Rock is a part-owner. The UFL is the latest attempt at Spring football, and is a merger of the XFL and USFL. The Rock made an appearance on the mic at one of the opening games last weekend and thanked all the fans who made the UFL possible–all 128 of them. In all seriousness, I’m not sure the stands were half-full, and the challenge for the camera crews was avoiding shots of empty seats. I love the DC Defenders, but it may be time to give up on the idea of post-NFL football, although I think the league will make money because of it’s TV deal.

Finally, the Washington Capitals are picking the absolute wrong time to spiral downward. After basically going into “sell” mode and dumping longtime players like Evgeny Kuznetzov, a funny thing happened. The Caps clawed their way into playoff contention, even grabbing the eighth and final Wild Card spot for about a week. Since then, the Capitals have, at the time of this blog, lost five in a row and are now on the outside-looking-in. Alex Ovechkin, who continues to close in on Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goal mark, has tried to saddle up the team on his back, but he needs some help. In arguably the Caps’ biggest game of the year earlier this week against rival Pittsburgh, Washington wilted like a daffodil caught in an early spring snowfall. To have the playoff spot and lose it is disappointing, especially when the team showed no sense of urgency.

As for the Nationals, you can revisit my VFB from last week. Bells, clocks, and whistles for the stadium are nice, but “Curly W’s” ultimately put fannies in the seats. Unless you’re the UFL…

Can you smell what the Booth is cooking? Until next time…

RW

Stump The Duke: The Final Four Quiz

As we head into the final weekend of the college basketball season, will The Duke have his “One Shining Moment,” or will he clang some bricks off the back iron. Step up to the foul line and play along, as we try to Stump The Duke, brought to you by Play Favorites, Front Royal’s Favorite Toy Store!

Bracket Bustin’

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Greetings from The Booth!

This is arguably the most exciting weekend in sports, even if you are not a fan of college basketball. All of our cynicism about NIL, the transfer portal, and our feelings about the changing of college athletics gets put on the back burner for a while as the NCAA Basketball Tournament takes center stage. As I’ve said before, the cream usually rises to the top in the later rounds, but the real surprises happen in the first weekend of play.

How’s your bracket looking so far? As we enter Sunday’s second round play. I’m a respectable 32-8 overall, including a 7-1 day yesterday. I’m not sure where that puts me in the ol’ office pool, but as they say, even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then. So, as we wrap up this first weekend of the Big Dance, here are some randon thoughts and observations…

If you’re looking for upsets, always start with the 12 versus 5 natchups. Of the four 12-seed versus 5-seed games this year, there were 2 upsets (both of which I called correctly). Grand Canyon took down St. Mary’s 75-66. The 30-4 Antelopes from the Western Athletic Conference will now face 4-seed Alabama in the second round and if the Tide is looking ahead to the Sweet Sixteen, we could have another upset today. The other 12-5 “upset” was the area’s own JMU Dukes’ decisive 72-61 win over Wisconsin. JMU raced to an early 18-5 lead and never looked back. I don’t have the Dukes taking out Duke today, but watch out. JMU has a number of scoring options in their lineup, and plays pretty good defense.

UVA is an embarrasment. The Cavaliers, one of the last teams to sneak into the NCAA Tourney, were shown the door by Colorado State in one of the so-called “First Four” games. In that 67-42 blowout loss, Virginia scored only 14 points in the first half. I said a few weeks ago that UVA had done enough to get into the tournament, but in retrospect, the teams that felt they were snubbed at the expense of Virginia were justified in feeling that way.

I felt going into the NCAA Tournament that Kansas was vastly overrated, especially with some late-season injuries. But who saw the 4-seed Jayhawks being ousted by 13-seed Samford (and Son)? Apparently, Kansas overlooked the talents of Fred, Lamont, Grady, and company and got sent to the junkyard of upset victims. In the words of Redd Foxx’ character in the 70’s sitcom, “Elizabeth…this is the big one, I’m comin’ to greet you!”

Finally, my Final Four? I have UConn, Baylor, Houston, and Gonzaga , with the Cougars winning the whole thing in the Championship against the Bears in an all-Texas Final. As I said earlier, the cream usually rises to the top in the later rounds, and all of the above four teams are solid, top-notch programs who so far have avoided any early upsets. But, the weekend ain’t over yet, so watch out for some bracket-bustin’ upsets today!

Until the next visit from The Booth…enjoy the March Madness!

RW

 

 

Sports: Friday, March 15, 2024

UVA Advances To ACC Semis, Big Win For Caps, Howell To Seattle

Connor McMichael gets the breakaway goal in the Caps’ 2-1 win over Seattle. Courtesy Capitals Radio Network

Sports Dogs Podcast: Are The Dukes Dancin’?

The Sports Dogs are barkin’! Ryan is a bit nervous about his JMU basketball team, despite their 28-3 record. Will they get a bid to the NCAA Tournament? The picture will be a little clearer after the Sun Belt Tournament (I think they’re in). I’ll try to talk him off the ledge, plus some exciting news about the Dogs goin’ to DC, and a big snag for the Commanders!

RW