The Viral Roundup – Semisweet Sixteen Edition
Howdy! Welcome to this morning’s edition of The Viral Roundup. We’re the easy to swallow capsule featuring all of the big news, big buzz and big transactions headlining the world of sports you waking up to on March 23, 2015. In today’s edition: The NCAA’s massive college basketball tourney dance card slims down to a Sweet Sixteen, the Heat get Thunderstruck in OKC and MSG plays host to a potential Stanley Cup preview.
Did You Hear?
Put a chalk outline around the Jayhawks. They’re finished. #2 Kansas were toppled on Sunday courtesy of the one and a half point underdogs from Wichita State. The #7 Shockers got bucket after bucket after bucket crushing the Jayhawks 78-65. Wichita State rained 10 treys down on their better known state sibling and earned a Thursday night date with #3 Notre Dame for their trouble. A balanced scoring attack was on full display with the Shockers boasting five players notching double digits on the scoresheet.
Did You See?
#1 Villanova’s early exit on Friday courtesy of NC State has given this year’s NCAA tournament its leading candidate for most memorable image: Crying Villanova Piccolo Player.
Tears + woodwind + national television = Ultimate March Sadness. Naturally, this tiny chunklet of heartbreak has achieved instant meme status and someone at your office is probably roaming around asking if anyone’s seen Whiplash so they can trot out their JK Simmons impression over this.
Did You Know?
- The East is missing its beasts. #1 Villanova’s hit the bricks and #2 Virginia was sent packing early Sunday afternoon. The Cavaliers got bounced 60-54 by a #7 Michigan State squad powered by 23 points from senior Travis Trice. You’d have to go back over a decade plus (read: 2004) for the last time a region had its top two seeds dispatched before the Sweet Sixteen. By the way, this was the second year in a row that Virginia was ushered out of the tournament by Michigan State.
- The Spurs didn’t just escape Atlanta with a win, they were able to amble up to the Phillips Arena and take it without much trouble.Tiago Splitter contributed 23 points in San Antonio’s thorough 114-95 thrashing of the host Hawks. Atlanta were a 1½ point home favourite going in and were undone by things like losing the rebound battle by a wide margin. The L was the third straight for Atlanta, while San Antonio have won three in a row. The Spurs were without Manu Ginobili for the fourth consecutive contest.
- OKC is still sorting out what to make of the injury woes that have Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka out of the lineup, but the Thunder looked formidable at home versus the Miami Heat. Russell Westbrook racked up his 10th triple-double of the season (can he redeem that for a free sub?) and Enes Kanter put 27 on the board to wallop Miami to the tune of 93-75. The Thunder improve to an impressive 26-9 record at home.
- New Orleans failed to keep pace with Oklahoma City yesterday and their playoff picture’s looking less promising as a result. The Pelicans now sit three games back of the Thunder following a 107-100 loss in L.A. against the Clippers. Chris Paul had the sexiest stat line of the game, knocking down 23 points and offering up 11 assists for the winning side.
- Cleveland’s 108-90 pummeling of Milwaukee went well beyond the margin oddsmakers gave when the Cavs entered the Bradley Center as an 8 point road favourite. King James went off on the Bucks for 28 points in this Central Division showdown and J.R. Smith added 23. Things are looking rosy for Cleveland, but Milwaukee’s March tailspin continues on. The Bucks have lost their last six games and the misery could swell to seven straight on Tuesday versus the visiting Heat.
-D-d-d-danger! Watch behind you! Last night’s edition DuckTales was one that Orange County hockey fans would like to forget. The New York Rangers pulverized Anaheim 7-2 and found themselves tied with the Ducks and Canadiens in the Presidents’ Trophy race. NYR defenseman Keith Yandle had three helpers in the victory at MSG and Cam Talbot collected 36 saves on 38 shots. Getting turned into Duck Sauce busted up Anaheim’s tidy lil’ four game win streak.
- They may play in different conferences now, but you can still count on St. Louis and Detroit to bring the rivalry magic to their contests. The Red Wings needed extra time to do it, but the matinee clash at the Joe did provide a happy ending for the home fans. Justin Abdelkader’s 20th marker of the season, a power play tally, had the Wings downing the Blues 2-1. St. Louis has been sliding of late, losing three consecutive games on the road.
- Steven Stamkos didn’t add to his 40 goals on the season, but he did make the Tampa crowd go wild in the first period by getting into a tussle with Brad Marchand. The unlikely bout came to be when Stamkos reacted to a questionable by Marchand on Valtteri Filppula. The Bruins were left black and blue by the close of the third period. The Lightning lit up Beantown 5-3 and put four in on Tukka Rask before he got the hook. Ben Bishop backstopped Tampa’s victory with 25 saves. The B’s are reeling at the moment, losing five straight with a precarious single point lead separating themselves from Ottawa in the battle for the final playoff spot.
- Mike Smith’s 41 saves couldn’t stop Arizona from dropping their eighth straight contest. Vancouver followed up their Saturday statement win over Los Angeles with a 3-1 dispatching of the Coyotes in Glendale. Yannick Weber had a goal and an assist in the victory and Jacob Markstrom got his first W of 2014-2015 stopping 26 shots.
- James Harrison will continue to be a fixture in the Steel City. The 36-year-old linebacker has sorted out a deal with Pittsburgh that will keep him in the black and yellow in 2015 and 2016. Harrison had 5.5 sacks in 11 games for the Steelers in 2014 and was part of a defense that was the 6th best overall at stopping the run. There was some speculation that #92 might join longtime Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau in Tennessee, but that never came to be.
Category : ArchivesMore articles...