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Mike's Sports Blog - March Madness Begins!
Last I wrote the Gopher hoopsters had just lost several games in a row and seemed destined to tumble out of relevancy, but lo and behold they turned it up big time! What a great finish to the best season in a long time. They ended up losing in the Big Ten Tournament, but no shame as Michigan was red hot also, and is one of those Cinderella picks for the Big Dance. Unfortunately for the Gophers, they drew into a tough seed in a dreaded 5-12 match-up with Middle Tennessee State. Thatís the team that upset Michigan State in last yearís NCAA Tourney. Then this season the Blue Raiders (go figure?) went 30-4 to become a trendy upset pick against the much higher seeded Gophers. Iím doing 4 boards in our pool, and Iíll pick the Gophers to win in two of them, and lose in two of them. While we had a good run this season, I believe this will be a battle. And the oddsmakers have it currently a pick-em game in Vegas, and even -1 for MTSU. Hey, itís still fun to have them in the tourney, and see the program on the upswing again! And if they win game 1, I believe theyíll advance to the Sweet 16. Overall I like the Number 1 seeds, especially Kansas and North Carolina. My Final 4 has Duke beating Gonzaga and North Carolina beating Kansas. Then Duke wins it all to defend itís title. And the Twins will end up in the World SeriesÖ.or some other far fetched tales. This Tournament is so tough to call. Enjoy the fun, cheer for upsets and Cinderella stories, and I hope I cash some tickets at the window! I think you can tell who I cheer for no matter what happens or the odds.
On another note in the hoops world, turning to the NBA the Timberwolves are also (slightly) relevant this year. Currently they sit just 4 games out of the 8th spot in the Western Conference. They lost a tough game tonight to the Celtics. However they end up this season itís great to see them also improving and I do believe next year could be the best in a long time. The playoffs are in reach!
The Wild continue their strong season, although it seems the momentum has cooled a bit. A week ago we were with a point or two of the top team in the entire NHL, the Capitals, and now all of a sudden 4 teams are ahead of us. If the playoffs started today theyíd be the #2 seed in the West, conceding home ice advantage to the Blackhawks if it came down to that final match-up for the Western Conference. And we know how our recent history has gone for us against Chicago. At this point Iím going to go with the Pittsburg Penguins to repeat as Champions. They are really coming on strong. But of course Iíd love to see the Wild win it or at least make it to the finals. Itís only 7 months before we get to see the puck drop in Las Vegas for our Golden Knights and that will be exciting as well.