I look at the Final Four from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas and it will be an interesting Saturday evening. The first game will have Loyola of Chicago taking on Michigan. The Ramblers have been an amazing story being the fourth 11th seed to make it to the Final Four. However, for this Cinderella story, the clock will strike midnight. Michigan has the better team and they will win a close game.
In the second game, Kansas will take on Villanova. The Wildcats have two outstanding players in Mikal Bridges and Jalen Brunson. Brunson, who is a finalist for the Naismith Trophy as college player of the year? They also have the experience of winning the National Title in 2016 over North Carolina in a game for the ages. Kansas has an outstanding team led by Devonte’ Graham who is an All-American and a finalist for the Naismith Trophy as well. Villanova will win in a close game. This game could push both teams to the limit.
The Pirates open up against the Detroit Tigers on Thursday afternoon. There are a lot of questions about this team. With the trades of Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen in the off-season, the fan-base is very frustrated. The line up without McCutchen will have a tough time scoring runs. They will struggle even with a healthy Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco. The pitching staff without Cole will have a tough time. Ivan Nova and Jameson Taillon will need to have great season to get this team into contention. The Pirates could be either a 65 win team or a team that could contented for a wild card spot. Thursday afternoon will start answering some of these question.
Sometimes post game interviews aren’t always bland questions or being cordial. Florida State University lost to Michigan 58 to 54 in the West Regional Final. FSU Head Coach Leonard Hamilton was asked by CBS Dana Jacobson a legitimate question. Why didn’t he fouled trailing by four late in the game? Hamilton looked at her dismissively, and I could understand that he was upset about the loss. Hamilton released a statement saying that he should have done better on handling the loss. I give her credit for asking the tough questions and not being frustrated about his behavior. I have received tweets and advice from her, and hope I could that be that poise in an interview situation.
The Loyola of Chicago Ramblers are making the Final Four. This is probably one of the amazing story in sports in a while. They are the fourth 11th seed to reach the Final Four since 1986. They don’t have a superstar but they play together as a team. The biggest star on the team doesn’t play on the court. It is the team chaplain 98-year old Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt. It will be a tough game against Michigan in the National Semi-Final this Saturday evening at the Alamo Dome in San Antonio, Texas. Regardless of the outcome against the Wolverines they have given Chicago and the nation an incredible story.
Since Kevin Stallings is no longer the Head Basketball Coach at Pitt , there have been some candidates for the job. Dan Hurley turned down the job to become the Connecticut job for a lot less money. Sean Miller who is currently the Arizona Head Coach, but could be dealing with an NCAA investigation about allegations of paying a recruit. Now they have to talk to Eric Musselman of Nevada, Nate Oates of Buffalo, and St. Bonaventure Mark Schmidt. Schmidt use to coach at Robert Morris so he has experience recruiting in Western Pennsylvania. Pitt needs a Head Coach that can recruit and win to get Pederson Event Center back to what it was when the Panthers were in Tournament almost every year.
The Sweet 16 will start tomorrow night and the first four days were some craziest games I have seen. The craziest game was that a 16th seeded team defeated a number one seed. University of Maryland of Baltimore County defeated Virginia 74 to 54 last Friday in Charlotte, and in some people’s mind the greatest upset in NCAA basketball tournament history. When I saw the game it was a complete shock. 16th seeds were 0-135 since the tournament expanded in 1985. The second big surprise of the tournament was Loyola of Chicago who was a 11th seed out of the South Region, and who had two buzzer beaters to get to their first sweet sixteen since 1985. Nevada was 7th seed and now is in the sweet sixteen after coming back from a 22 point deficit on Saturday against The University of Cincinnati. The sweet sixteen is either going to have some more craziness or all of the favorites get to the Final Four.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back, Le’veon Bell is not signing his franchise tag for the second straight year. Bell turned down a big contract last season and didn’t report to the team until week one. Bell is doing the same thing like he did last year. This is the same guy who no showed for the walk through the Saturday before the AFC Divisional Playoff game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Bell was also late arriving to the locker room before the playoff game. Bell has also said that he will retire if his contract demands are not made. Bell is trying to become a rapper and said that he could do it full-time. The Steelers could try to either sign him to cap friendly contract or try to trade him. It bothers me that Bell is doing the same thing like he did last year. The Steelers are getting tired of Bell and his immature antics.
The U.S Women’s National Soccer team had to defeat England to win the She Believes Cup. An England win or tie would give them the title. The match was played in front of 12,351 at Orlando City Stadium. The early parts of the match was tight defensively but the U.S had some chances. Megan Rapinoe had a great chance in the 43rd minute, but England cleared it out. One minute later, Mallory Pugh almost got one in but the match was scoreless at halftime. The U.S continued to the put the pressure and there was a breakthrough in the 58th minute. Rapinoe drove in on the left and fired a shot that deflected off England defender Millie Bright. That deflection fooled goalkeeper Karen Bardsley and it went off her leg for an own goal. That own goal gave the U.S a 1-0 win and the She Believes Cup. Alyssa Naeher had two shutout in the 3 games and Caril Lloyd who was wearing the captain’s armband played in her 250th cap. Lloyd became the 6th U.S Women player to do so. The U.S will have two friendlies against Mexico. The first one on April 5th at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida with kickoff at 7:00 P.M. The second one will be on April 8th at BBVA Stadium in Houston, Texas with kickoff at 1:30 P.M.
The U.S Women National Soccer Team had a tough match against France this past Sunday. In front of 25,706 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey both teams played a 4-3-3. Both teams were sluggish early on but the action picked up after 35th minute. Mallory Pugh scored to give the U.S a 1-0 exactly at the 35th minute. France was smarting after losing to England and got ripped by their head coach Corinne Diacre in the media. In the 38th minute, Eugenie Le Sommer tied the game at 1 on a beautiful goal that was set up by Mbock Bathy. Alyssa Naeher made some great saves in the second half to keep the game at 1. The match ended with a 1-1 tie. U.S must defeated England to win the SheBelieves Cup. The match will be on Wednesday night at Orlando City Stadium with kickoff at 7:00 P.M.
Ryan Shazier is not going to play for the Steelers in 2018. Despite his amazing recovery he has to deal with reality. The reality is that a return to the NFL is a long shot at best. General Manager Kevin Colbert said that Shazier will have a role with the team. Shazier is in meetings with the coaches and the scouting department. Shazier should not only concentrate on a full recovery but start thinking about his life’s work. Shazier has the tools to become an NFL Defensive Coordinator and maybe a Head Coach. Does Shazier want to put in the hours it takes to become a successful coordinator or a head coach. Well Ryan Shazier is putting in the hours to walk again and will put in the hours to become a coordinator or a head coach in the NFL.