The NCAA tournament ended with a lot of heart-warming storylines and Cinderella stories, as well as heartache and shock. The Wichita State Shockers literally shocked the basketball world, making it to the Final Four before bowing out to eventual champion Louisville. The Cardinals had some inspiration along the way when they lost a key member of their team, Kevin Ware, to a grotesque season-ending knee injury. Andy Enfield put Florida Gulf Coast on the map, which later led to USC luring Enfield away for a larger paycheck and a much more competitive conference. As the 2013 season has winded down, it's never too early to start predicting who will be cutting down the nets in 2014.
Tonight’s showdown between Duke and North Carolina won’t be for the out right ACC regular season title, but it’ll still have a lot of implications for the NCAA tournament as well as the ACC tourney. Duke is looking for a regular season sweep of North Carolina after winning February 13th 73-68. Duke is 4-2 since their last meeting while UNC is riding a six-game winning streak.
Roy Williams has his UNC squad peaking at just the right time, as they have assured themselves a spot in March Madness, racking up six straight wins after losing to Duke earlier this year. They have only beaten one top 25 ranked team (UNLV) this year, but have been competitive in all of their eight losses except for a lopsided blowout in Bloomington back in November. The team has slowly learned to play together as the season has dragged on, and they currently are ranked 2nd in the country in assists per game with 17.6.
LeBron James and the rest of the Heat took one of their days off last week to record a Harlem Shake video, which immediately went viral. One would think that with so much goofing around on their off days can't always translate to on-court success, but the Heat just keep on rolling. After getting past the Orlando Magic on Wednesday evening they now have extended their win streak to sixteen games. They are by far the best team in the NBA right now with everyone contributing behind MVP-candidate James. They look for win number seventeen tonight against a 76ers team looking to find its identity and also get back into the playoff mix.
The Phillies raced out to a 4-0 lead in the 2nd inning and never looked back. They scored one more in the fourth inning in route to a 5-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Phillies starting pitcher John Lannan and the other four relievers combined for a one-hitter on the afternoon. Reliever Mike Adams followed Lannan and pitched one perfect inning with one strikeout. Charlie Manuel said he was pleased with the Phillies bullpen as of late, and it seems like everyone is getting their rhythm together in time for opening day.
Michael Young continued his consistent hitting streak through the spring, with two hits and two RBIs. Ben Revere and Yuniesky Betancourt chipped in as well, each with two hits. The Phillies frustrated Pirates opening day starter A.J. Burnett, who lasted just 1 1/3 innings before being pulled. The Phillies are now 5-5 through their spring exhibition schedule while the Pirates have lost seven of eight and are now 3- 7.
The Phillies this year are another year older, and another year removed from their 2008 World Series Championship. Many of the 2008 squad's roster are still intact, but the window is closing fast on making it back with the same core group of players. Charlie Manuel is back at the helm of the club once again this year, and thinks that this group has what it takes to compete for another NL East title this year.