By: Lucas Kochevar
The NBA stole headlines on Thursday night with the news that Houston had a new sheriff in town. The Rockets traded for star PG Russell Westbrook. The Rockets sent away Chris Paul, two future first round picks, and two pick swaps for the future. The news comes about a week after the Thunder traded Paul George to the Clippers. Once that move was made it was clear that the Thunder and Westbrook were heading towards a divorce. This trade adds to an already crazy off-season where we have seen multiple superstars changing teams.
The analysis on this is that the Rockets offense will depend on if Russ and Harden can share the ball. Westbrook over the last three seasons has averaged a triple-double which is incredible, but that means he controls the ball an enormous amount of time. The problem with that is Harden controls the ball even more as he easily lead the NBA in isolation plays last year. It will be interesting to see what happens in their offense that depends on fast pace plays and shooting.
Westbrook has been plagued with the reputation as a ball hog and shot-chucker. He has often taken a number of jump shots at a high volume and low percentage. He has to realize that this is James Harden's team and he has to fit in there. He has to carve his role as a number two to Harden. Some might think this would be a hard concept, but I believe this transition will be easier than most as they are still good friends from their days together on the Thunder. It will be interesting to see how this duo will play together.
As for the Thunder, its simple. They are in rebuilding mode. They have officially left their glory days in the past and look forward to building their future. They have Chris Paul now, but do NOT get comfortable with him there. I would bet money that he does not start the season off with a Thunder uniform on. Different analysts have reported that Miami would most likely be the front runner for him.
By: Lucas Kochevar
That's right folks, I am back. I think so at least. On a real note, I am back to deliver analysis on certain players and their impact. I wish to highlight players as if I am a scout. The reason for this is because once I leave college or even intern, I want to be a professional scout for any sport. I believe that this site can help me acheive that goal. I hope to keep consistent post. I will be gone for the next week, however. Lets have a strong year!
By - Lucas Kochevar
1. New Orleans Saints
The Saints remain to be the team to beat even after and ugly win on the road at Carolina. They come even closer to clinching home field with the Rams losing to Philadelphia. If the Saints are in that dome come January, I expect them to have the easiest path to the Super Bowl. The Saints will have an interesting game coming up against Pittsburgh.
2. Los Angeles Chargers
The best team in LA is the Los Angeles Chargers led by Phillip Rivers. It is even more incredible that they are the least talked about team in LA. Even the Kings are getting more attention. Okay maybe not, but they are still flying under the radar as the postseason comes up. They even have a chance to steal that one seed if Kansas City slips up. The biggest concern for the Chargers should be getting Keenan Allen, Melvin Gordon, and Austin Eckler healthy. Luckily they are all expected to play against a rising Baltimore team this Saturday.
3. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs still hold the top spot in the AFC and the MVP favorite, but the Chiefs will remain questionable with a poor run game, a very average defense, and a shaky playoff history. I am a firm believer in the Chiefs and Pat Mahomes as I think he adds a new element to that team. He makes at least one incredible throw every week and I tend to look back at that game against the Ravens where it seemed they were destined to lose that similar to how the old Chiefs would, however, they overcame the adversity and made big plays when they needed it. The Chiefs face off against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks this Sunday night.
4. Chicago Bears
This Bears defense is full of playmakers and Trubisky is getting his shoulder back. The Bears may not pass the Rams, but they are surging right now and they are a fun team to watch. The Bears were not considered a threat at all in the NFC North, but Khalil Mack added an identity to this team and has lead them back to relevance. The funny part is that Mack has totaled around 12 sacks this season and the Raiders whole team has 11. He is showing that he was well worth those draft picks. On the offense, Tarik Cohen has been their explosive player and I believe that he is going to be crucial for that offense when they make it to the postseason.
5. Los Angeles Rams
The Rams were one of the most productive teams on offense through many weeks, but their defense floundered. Now, Jared Goff is struggling and he can't lean on his defense. Goff has thrown several picks dating back to their win against the Lions. They are still an elite team with elite talent. Todd Gurley has to have more runs though. It seems as if he isn't getting the ball nearly as much as he did early on. They need to find a way to control elite defensive lineman like Fletcher Cox and Khalol
By: Lucas Kochevar
The football season is in full swing as we have just finished up the 14th week in the NFL and College Bowl season is right around the corner. I am returning to the scene of sports writing as a hobby and something to focus my time as I need to speak on the crazy year that we have had. I want to cover both the NFL and college, even with the main photos being NFL players only. I plan to start back writing soon.
In "Playoff Contenders" I am gonna cover the teams that are legit in their respective sport. Examples include one of my favorite players, Pat Mahomes and the Chiefs, and then Alabama facing off against Oklahoma, etc. In "Middle of the Pack", I cover the alright teams that need a couple more pieces like the Titans and Panthers. In "Up and Coming" I talk about the teams are on their way their way to being playoff teams, like Baker and the Browns. In "Need a Change" is the spot where the teams need to change something. You could say this is where the Falcons belong. In "Spotlight Players" I pick out a player or two that particularly shined. Last but not least, the Overtime: The Fifth Quarter Podcast where I go over the five biggest stories in football for each week. I can't wait to get back to producing quality content.
By: Lucas Kochevar
The NBA has come and go and we see ourselves on the doorstep of the NBA Finals. The same Finals that some consider as good for the sport while others hate it. The Cavs battled their way through the East on the shoulders of LeBron. They went to game seven two times in their run against the Celtics and Pacers. They took care of the Raptors, however, in four games. The run by James has been appalling as his inconsistent play from his teammates caused him to carry the load on offense and defense. This is the greatest performance I have ever seen from a single player. The Warriors are returning to the Finals after a tough series with Houston where Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson carried the load. The Finals Game one took place on Thursday with GS taking the win in OT after a crucial mistake by J.R. Smith costs them the game. Their next game occurs tomorrow.
By: Lucas Kochevar
The NBA is full of excitement and joy as we get TWO game sevens. The Cavaliers and Celtics have had a lackluster series as most of these games have been blowouts. The Cavs travel to Boston in this crucial game with the King, LeBron James. James has carried the Cavaliers here as he has dropped 40+ in several games. The Celtics have been characterized by their young core of Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown. The other game seven that is going down is on the West side of the NBA between the reigning champs, Warriors and Rockets. This game is a showdown between titans as they have both been very competitive.
By: Lucas Kochevar
The coaches openings have been very frequent as several spots have opened and been filled. The following spots are the jobs available:
- New York Knicks
- Phoenix Suns
- Atlanta Hawks
- Charlotte Hornets
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Orlando Magic
- Memphis Grizzlies
- Toronto Raptors
This is a drastic increase in the number of openings compared to recent years. The most coveted job has to be the Bucks as they have the best player out of all these teams in the "Greek Freak" other wise known as Giannis Antetekoumpo. This Bucks job is a very intriguing one as they have all the pieces to be great, however, they were very underachieving. The Raptors are also a very interesting job as they were just the first seed in the East. The Raptors and Bucks are both rumored to have former Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer as the top candidate.
The spots that have been filled include New York, who hired David Fizdale. The Hawks found their coach in Lloyd Pierce, Sixers assistant. The Grizzlies kept their interim coach, J.B. Bickersteiff. The Charlotte Hornets hired James Borrengo from the Spurs. The other openings are still the Suns and Magic. These jobs have interesting aspects, but they are just not very attractive with limited pieces.
By: Lucas Kochevar
The NBA Playoffs are on pace to start on Saturday with all the match-ups set up. The playoff schedule is all below in the photo and the anticipation is certainly there. Make sure that you tune in to ESPN, ABC, or TNT for the action!
A couple of big sporting events happened over the past couple of weeks. March Madness concluded for both the Men's and Women's tournaments. The Masters also went down is Augusta.
The women's tournament started as UCONN being the dominant team and likely favorite as they always are. The Uconn women did, in fact, dominate everyone. Including a beatdown of over 50 against SMU. Uconn did make it to the Final Four, where they faced off against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The game ended up going into overtime, where they won 91-89 because of a buzzer beater by Arike Ogunbowale. Ogunbowale scored 27, while her teammate Jackie Young poured in 32 points. Notre Dame went on to face Mississippi State, who beat Louisville in overtime. Once again Arike worked her magic and drained a buzzer beater cementing her legacy in Women's tournament history.
The men's tournament was a roller coaster ride with the usual upsets and Cinderella stories. Loyola Chicago and Michigan were two teams that no one realistically believed would make the Final Four, but they both clinched the trip. Michigan came out on top over the Ramblers. Loyola came out strong, but their luck ran out and Michigan turned it on to advance to the championship. On the other side of the bracket Villanova obliterated Kansas as they manged to break the record for most three-pointers in a Final Four game. The Wildcats advanced. Villanova faced off against the Wolverines and managed to control the game thanks to Donte Dimencizo. Donte came off the bench and immediately gave them a spark. He finished with 31 points, which is the most points by a bench player in championship game history.
Patrick Reed. A name that no one would have picked to win the Masters. However, he defied the odds and managed to win his first major. Reed managed to do fantastic on his first couple of rounds and he managed to fight off very good runs by Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth, who got 2nd and 3rd respectively. Reed finished at -15. Other notable gofers include Tiger Woods, who finished +3, and Rory Mcllroy, who finished -9.
By: Lucas Kochevar
The Final Four is among us!
The March Madness is almost coming to an end and the field of 64 has been narrowed down to just four teams. This year has been everything the common sports fan could ask for with exhilarating games and breathtaking moments. The four teams are all very different and they each have their own story. The Final Four teams are the Michigan Wolverines, Kansas Jayhawks, Villanova Wildcats, and Loyola-Chicago Ramblers. First things first, let's take a dive into how each of these teams got into this position.
Michigan started off this tournament by facing Montana and they handled them accordingly, 61-47. The next round turned out to be the toughest game on their journey to the Final Four. The Wolverines played Houston and Houston was winning a majority of the game, but a freshman shooting guard named Jordan Poole heaved almost a half court buzzer-beater for the win. The next round was against Texas A&M. Michigan dismantled the Aggies, 99-72, and moved on to play Florida State, who was fresh off of a win over one-seeded Xavier. Michigan handled their business once again by beating Florida State and punching their ticket to San Antonio.
Michigan is going to be facing off against the Cinderella story of the year. Loyola-Chicago Ramblers and Sister Jean. Sister Jean has been the symbol of this March Madness as its hard to read something about the tournament without her turning up once. The basketball, however, should be recognized for their fantastic games. The Ramblers overcame the odds as they have had to win their first two games off of buzzer-beaters. The first win was against Miami (FL) and the second win was against Tennessee. The third round was against Nevada. Loyola was winning the game for the most part, but a late Nevada push made it seem inevitable that they would fall, but they held on to win by one point. In their Final Four clinching game they played Kansas State and shot lights out and won their trip to San Antonio as well.
Villanova making the Final Four is not a huge surprise as they were ranked as a one seed for a reason. They were the best team coming into this year and they maintained that status throughout the year. Nova dominated their path to the championship by taking teams out like Radford, Alabama, and Texas Tech. The biggest challenge, however, came in the third round against West Virginia because of West Virginia’s nonstop defensive pressure. The WIldcats did overcome this and won the game easily in the second half.
Kansas making the Final Four is not a major surprise either as they are ranked as a one seed in their region. Kansas started their journey by taking out Penn with ease. In the next round they were pushed by Seton Hall, but they came out with a four point victory. The next round came down to some key plays also with Clemson pushing Kansas. The Jayhawks did end up winning by four again. The biggest, perhaps best game, in the tournament came when Kansas played Duke. The game was very back and forth with momentum swings for both teams, but it came down to Mississippi State transfer Malik Newman, who scored 32, to make the difference. Newman single handedly carried the Jayhawks to the Final Four by scoring almost all of the points in overtime.
The Final Four is going down in San Antonio this Sunday with Loyola facing Michigan first. That game is going to be followed by Villanova and Kansas. This Final is shaping up to be one of the most exciting college basketball games off all-time as we have many stories and exciting players that will be on the big stage this weekend. Good luck to all the teams involved!
Michigan 75, Loyola-Chicago 69
Kansas 68, Villanova 63
Kansas 78, Michigan 66