I have to start this week's blog entry on a sombre note. I'd like to remember Eve Carson, UNC's student body president, who was senselessly murdered last week in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I wish ALL of her family, friends, and UNC students my condolences, thoughts, and prayers at this time. I will never be able to understand how someone can take someone else's life like that.
In fact, I'd like to remember all those students and faculty members who have died @ Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois, Duke, and Auburn over the past several months in these heinous acts of crime...R.I.P...
Tyler Hansbrough...what more can said about 'Psycho T' that hasn't already been said? He's my pick (yes, I'm biased!), as well as MANY others', for the NCAA men's basketball collegiate player of the year. So far The Sporting News agrees, and has named him 'Sporting News Player Of The Year'. Because of that award, he's eligible to have his jersey retired by the school ALREADY! I'd like to note that he's a junior, with another year of eligibility left - if he so chooses, and he still has some of the biggest games in his college career ahead of him over the next month. Tyler is definitely the most intense, driven, and relentless COLLEGE basketball player I have ever watched. I can't wait for all the college games ahead, especially UNC's. There will be no shortage of drama unfolded before our eyes!
After reading an e-mail titled 'We Are Carolina' that my friend Amy, who is a UNC alum, sent me - it just re-inforced ALL the reasons why I carry an internal disdain for Duke University basketball - and basically anything else related to the school :) Feel free to search for 'Peter Rosenberg Duke' on YouTube to get a humourous, if not better, understanding if you need it.
The ACC tournament, and all the other conference tournaments, should be amazing basketball to watch this weekend. This of course is the pre-cursor to 'Selection Sunday' to see where all the chips will fall and how 'the Dance' will shape up. The Madness begins Thursday March 20th, and I hope you all have access to a TV during the work day...I'm sure that's likely not the case, so go check out 'NCAA March Madness on Demand' and sign up ASAP! :)
My alma-mater, Saint Mary's University Huskies, went into this past weekend's Atlantic University Sport (AUS) 'Final 6' tournament as the 3rd seed in the AUS conference. My friend Steve and I caught the Friday night games, that included Saint Mary's first game vs. the UPEI Panthers. The Huskies pulled off a nail biting 65-63 victory that had me up and down out of my seat countless times in the 4th quarter. They went on to face the Saint Francis Xavier X-Men on Saturday in a match up that ended with a hard fought 76-64 win for the Huskies, which gave them the ability to advance to the AUS Championship game vs. the #1 seeded Acadia Axemen, who also advanced with a win against the upset seeking Dalhousie Tigers.
On Sunday, for all the marbles, Saint Mary's gutted out a 75-72 victory over the Axemen to win the AUS Championship and guaranteed themselves one of the top 4 spots in the 8 team National Championship tournament this weekend in Ottawa, Ontario.
The 5 time (consecutive) defending champions (an amazing feat!), Carleton Ravens are the #1 seed in the Canadian Inter-University Sport (CIS) 'Final 8' tournament. With the Saint Mary's Huskies' AUS Championship win and regular season record, they earned the 3rd seed, and the Acadia Axemen, despite losing the AUS championship, are entering the tournament as the 5th seed by way of the wildcard and their success during the regular season and playoffs.
'SMU' hasn't won it all since the 1998-'99 season with the squad led by Jonah Taussig and Cory Janes. Let's bring the championship back to Halifax baby!
CIS 'Final 8' Tournament schedule & Canadian TV coverage (all times EST):
Friday, March 14
11:30 Quarterfinal #1: No. 3 Saint Mary's vs. No. 6 Western Ontario
14:00 Quarterfinal #2: No. 2 UBC vs. No. 7 Brock
18:00 Quarterfinal #3: No. 4 Laval vs. No. 5 Acadia (The Score)
20:00 Quarterfinal #4: No. 1 Carleton vs. No. 8 Alberta (The Score / tape delay: 22:00)
Saturday, March 15
11:30 Consolation #1
14:00 Consolation #2
18:00 Semifinal #1 (The Score)
20:00 Semifinal #2 (The Score)
Sunday, March 16
12:30 5th Place
15:30 Final (The Score)
Speaking of my beloved hometown of Halifax, I feel it has been a solid inaugural season for the Halifax Rainmen. It's been a quality level of professional basketball and provides a great entertainment value for the spectators. They have averaged just over 2000 fans per home game, based on 12 of the 16 home games (so far) that listed the official attendance on the team's website. They have their 2 final regular season games this week, Thursday and Friday night, before heading to Quebec City for the ABA playoffs beginning March 27th. If you haven't had the chance to see them play yet - make sure you get out to either the game on Thursday or Friday night - both games are a 7:15pm AST start. They're doing a lot of promotions & giveaways this week, so be sure to check it out.
Also - big shout out to the Halifax Rainmen's Eric Crookshank! He was named to the ABA East All-Star team that will be a part of the ABA All Star weekend festivities in Barre, VT on March 21st and 22nd. Eric's had an excellent season and always provides highlight reel dunks and blocks to entertain the crowd - whether at home or on the road! Keep doin' your thing my man, I'm definitely a fan.
Martin Taylor tackle on Eduardo da Silva:
My friend Sanjay and I spoke about this briefly last week and thought this would be a good topic of discussion. Arsenal striker Eduardo da Silva suffered a career threatnening injury by Birmingham City defender Martin Taylor in recent Barclay's Premier League (also known as 'EPL' - English Premier League) soccer action.
Be forewarned that it isn't pretty...If you haven't seen the tackle - watch here. To me, it didn't appear to be a dirty play, as much as it was a mis-timed tackle...which makes the whole thing unfortunate. But as we all know, injuries are 'part and parcel' with sports, especially at the highest levels of competition.
Unfortunately, there have been a lot of rumours and stories that have swirled around after the fact - making Martin Taylor look even worse. The media, especially the tabloid/gossip media outlets, published conflicting reports. Essentially, there were reports that Taylor visited da Silva in the hospital after the horrific injury. Da Silva claims the hospital visit by Taylor didn't occur and that the interview and visit was an invention and fabrication by the British paper "The Independent".
FIFA (international soccer's governing body) is also discussing possible additional action against Taylor for causing the injury. Taylor received a 3 game suspension for the tackle.
Arsenal expects Da Silva to be back in action in 9 months time, but with an injury like that - only time and rehab can tell...
I've decided that I would like to take my writing to a larger audience, and short of trying to get a paid freelance/contribution position with a print or online publication, I was looking for an additional outlet outside of my blog. Since the new year, I got that itch to put my thoughts and opinions 'down on paper', so to speak.
I came across a website called BleacherReport.com which I found a few months ago just surfing the web looking for outlets to write and contribute sports related articles. It is exactly what I was looking for, and more. It provides people like myself, who like to write and feel they have a good knowledge of sports, an audience of readers and fellow writers who are looking to consume those very stories and articles that I enjoy writitng.
Feel free to watch for my latest articles on BleacherReport.com. I also added a link labeled 'My Dream Job' over on the right side of my blog, under 'Off others' domes' that'll take you to the same webpage as the link above.
Going forward, I'm going to keep my blog here more like this entry you're reading now - with my opinions and links to interesting articles, stories, etc., whereas what I contribute on BleacherReport.com will be more in the vain of the Tiger Woods write up I posted. That way I'll have two separate venues to share information I like to write about, but I'll try to keep each one unique for my readers.
Who knows, maybe ONE day this could all lead to a paid opportunity...but as they say, don't quit your day job! :)
Sunday, March 9, 2008