Tag Archive | "TNT"

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 28 May 2012 by WNST Staff

Honorable Mention: Boxing-Antonio Tarver vs. Lateef Kayode (Saturday 9pm from Carson, CA live on Showtime), Gabriel Rosado vs. Joel Julio (Friday 9pm from Bethlehem, PA live on NBC Sports Network); WNBA: Minnesota Lynx @ Washington Mystics (Wednesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet); Pro Lacrosse: MLL Chesapeake Bayhawks @ Denver Outlaws (Saturday 9pm from Denver live on ESPN3.com)

10. Zac Brown Band (Thursday 5:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); Capital Jazz Fest feat. Indie.Arie, Bill Cosby (Friday-Sunday Merriweather Post Pavilion); Radiohead (Sunday 7:30pm Verizon Center); Miranda Lambert/Jerrod Niemann (Sunday 4pm Jiffy Lube Live);  City and Colour (Wednesday 7pm Rams Head Live); Smile Empty Soul (Saturday 5pm Recher Theatre); Crossfade (Monday 7pm Baltimore Soundstage); Dandy Warhols (Tuesday 7pm 9:30 Club); The Used (Wednesday 7:30pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Victor Wooten (Thursday 8pm Howard Theatre); Dr. John (Friday 7:30pm Birchmere); Rhett Miller (Monday 8pm Jammin Java)

I’d watch ZBB do just about anything, but this was as good as anything I’ve seen them do…

My favorite tune from Thom Yorke and the boys?

For more traditional country folk, I sorta dig this Jerrod Niemann tune…

I wish I didn’t have to admit to digging this tune…

9. Great Grapes Wine & Food Festival (Saturday & Sunday 12pm Oregon Ridge); Guy Torry (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Corey Holcomb (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); “Man on a Ledge” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday); Glenn Clark’s first ever “Hogfest” (Saturday)

That’s right. For the first time in my (still?) young life, I will be roasting a pig Saturday. It’s all thanks in part to ABC Rental Store in Rosedale. A talented young man I listen to on the radio is always talking to me about them. I think his show is called “The Reality Check.” I PRAY my results make me as happy as George W. Bush…

Also, I will be hosting a qualifier for the Olympic KanJam team Saturday (more on Twitter @OlympicKanJam). I expect the day to look much like this…

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TNT analyst Kerr expects best basketball possible from Western Conference Finals

Posted on 23 May 2012 by WNST Staff

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Loyola Battles Ohio State in NCAA Tournament Thursday Night

Posted on 14 March 2012 by WNST Staff

Opponent NCAA Second Round – Ohio State Buckeyes
Date Thursday, March 15, 2012
Time 9:50 p.m.
Location Pittsburgh, Pa. | CONSOL Energy Center
TV  TNT
Series Record First Meeting
Last Meeting First Meeting

Game Data

Loyola University Maryland will make its second appearance in the NCAA Tournament when it takes on The Ohio State University Buckeyes on Thursday, March 15, 2012. The teams are slated for a 9:50 p.m. tip-off in Pittsburgh, Pa., at the CONSOL Energy Center.

The Greyhounds were tabbed as a No. 15 seed in the tournament, while Ohio State, the Big 10 runners-up, are a No. 2.

Watch Or Listen

The game will be broadcast on TNT with Kevin Harlan calling the play-by-play. For the second-straight game, Len Elmore will provide the analysis. He will be joined by fellow analyst and NBA great Reggie Miller. Marty Snider will report from the sideline for TNT.

Fans in the Baltimore are can tune in to LoyolaGreyhounds.com where Gary Lambrecht will handle play-by-play duties, and Jim Chivers will provide analysis.

The national radio broadcast will be distributed by Dial Global Media. Scott Graham will call the game with analysis from Kevin Grevey.

Second NCAA Trip

Loyola is making its first trip to the NCAA Tournament in 18 seasons, a span of 17 years, 11 months and 23 days. In all, it will have been 6,569 days between NCAA Tournament Games for the Greyhounds.

This year’s freshmen – Tyler Hubbard and R.J. Williams – were less than one year old the last time Loyola played in an NCAA match.

The last time the Greyhounds played in the NCAA Tournament, they were also No. 15 seed. They took on No. 2 Arizona on March 18, 1994, and were defeated by the Wildcats, 81-55, en route to Arizona’s second Final Four.

Series History

Loyola and Ohio State will meet for the first time when they take the court Thursday.

The Greyhounds are 2-8 all-time against Big 10 schools. The last time Loyola met a team from the conference, it defeated Indiana University, 72-67, on December 22, 2012, in Bloomington.

MAAC Title

Loyola won its second MAAC Championship in 23 years in the conference on Monday, March 5, defeating Fairfield University, 48-44, in the lowest scoring championship game in league history.

The Greyhounds held Fairfield to just six second-half field goals and 28.8-percent shooting in the game.

Loyola, which finished second in the conference during the regular season and earned the No. 2 seed in the league tournament, defeated Niagara University and Siena College in the MAAC Quarterfinals and Semifinals, respectively.

Defense Wins Championships

The Greyhounds played outstanding defense in the MAAC title game, holding Fairfield to 44 points and 28.8-percent shooting for the game. The 44 points were the fewest Loyola had allowed in a game this season. It was the fewest points a Loyola opponent had scored since the Greyhounds held Dartmouth to 41 in a 58-41 decision on November 24, 2009.

Loyola allowed the Stags to shoot just 6-for-31 (.194) in the second half, scoring only 22 points, the fewest points against the Greyhounds in any half this season.

After trailing by four points (30-26) at halftime, Loyola held Fairfield without a point for the first 7:48 of the second half, and without a field goal for the first 8:48. In that period, the Greyhounds outscored the Stags 11-1 to take a 37-31 lead.

Turnaround…Check

Loyola has completed the turnaround from finishing the 2003-2004 season with the lowest RPI in NCAA Division I basketball. The Greyhounds finished that season with a 1-27 record the season before Jimmy Patsos took over as head coach.

Since then, Loyola has gone 122-122 and culminated the turnaround by winning a school Division I record 24 games thus far in 2011-2012.

Patsos is one of only three coaches at the Division I level in the last 20 years to take over a program that had won zero or one game the year prior to then win 100 games at the school. He joins Steve Cleveland (BYU) and Pat Douglass (UC-Irvine) as the others.

Outstanding Performance By Etherly

Erik Etherly was named the MAAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player after averaging a team-best 17.3 points and 5.7 rebounds over the three games.

Etherly was in double figures in each of the three games, including back-to-back 20-point games for the first time in his career in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds.

He followed that with 10 points, seven rebounds and a career-high five blocks in the MAAC title game vs. Fairfield.

He shot 20-for-38 (.526) from the floor and 11-for-14 (.786) from the foul line, while finishing with nine blocks.

Drummond, Olson Earn All-Tournament Honors

Along with Etherly, Justin Drummond and Robert Olson were both named to the MAAC All-Tournament team.

Olson averaged 9.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and a team-best 4.3 assists, while shooting 10-for-23 from the floor and 5-for-11 (.435) from 3-point range.  He had a career-high six assists in the MAAC Semifinal win over Siena.

Drummond, the MAAC Sixth Player of the Year, averaged 8.0 points and 2.7 rebounds in 22.0 minutes of action. He was a perfect 9-for-9 from the free-throw line.

Hot Shooting

Loyola recorded its best shooting performance of the season on in the MAAC Quarterfinal on March 3 against Niagara, going 29-of-46 from the floor, good for 63-percent.

The outing was 10 percentage points better than the Greyhounds’ previous best this season when they shot 52.9-percent from the field (27-of-51) at Bucknell on December 28, 2011.

Loyola’s 29 field goals made were its second-most of the year, behind the 32 it made on February 10 against Iona.

The Greyhounds continued their good shooting in the MAAC Semifinal against Siena, making 50.9-percent of their shots (27-of-53). Loyola also converted on 7-of-13 3-pointers, for its second-best 3-point percentage of the season, 53.8-percent.

Sharing The Rock

Loyola matched its season-high with 18 assists against Siena in the MAAC Semifinal, tying the mark it posted in two games against Canisius and in a non-conference game versus Florida Gulf Coast, all Greyhound wins.

Three Loyola players – Robert Olson (6), R.J. Williams (5) and Anthony Winbush (3) – combined for 14 of the assists.

The Greyhounds improved to 8-0 this season when Williams has four or more assists.

Big Buckets By Bush

Anthony Winbush scored just 16 points in the Greyhounds’ MAAC Championships run, but five of his field goals have come at critical junctures in the victories.

Winbush hit two 3-pointers midway through the first half of the MAAC title game that were part of a 10-3 Loyola run, giving the Greyhounds a 16-9 lead with 10:12 left in the half. Prior to the two 3-pointers, Winbush was 3-for-15 (.167) from downtown on the season.

In the Semifinal game vs. Siena, he tallied Loyola’s fifth and sixth points of the game, scoring in the paint at 12:13 to stop an 11-0 Siena run that had the Saints ahead 11-4. He then made a jumper at 6:31 that put the Greyhounds ahead 17-16 in the first half.

In the Quarterfinal victory over Niagara, Winbush’s first half basket with 2:32 on the clock broke a 31-31 tie.

Stretch Of Threes

When Kyle Downey cut through the lane and laid in a basket with 16:42 to go in regulation, it pulled Siena within three, 32-29. Robert Olson responded for the Greyhounds, however, knocking down a three at 16:25 that started a 12-4 Greyhounds run that saw the Greyhounds go 4-of-4 from 3-point range.

Dylon Cormier and Shane Walker each hit threes during the span, and Olson capped it with a three off the dribble at 14:12, making Loyola’s lead 44-33.

Against The Nation’s Leading Rebounder

Loyola held Siena’s O.D. Anosike, the leading rebounder in NCAA Division I, to a season-low five boards. It was just the fourth time this season Anosike, who entered the game averaging 12.8 rebounds per game, was held to single-digits on the glass. His previous low this season was eight.

Cormier & Etherly Over 20

For the third time this season, Dylon Cormier and Erik Etherly both eclipsed the 20-point mark in the same game against Niagara. Cormier finished with a game-high 23, and Etherly had 21.

The duo previously topped 20 together at UMBC and at home against Iona, both Greyhounds’ wins. Etherly now has four 20-point games this season after tallying 21 against Siena. Cormier has hit the plateau eight times this year.

Walker’s Double-Double

Shane Walker notched his third double-double of the season in the MAAC Quarterfinal vs. Niagara, going for 13 points and 12 rebounds. He scored nine of his points in the first half, scoring seven of Loyola’s first nine points of the game. He also had four assists and blocked two shots in 37 minutes of action.

Best MAAC Finish

Loyola defeated Manhattan last Sunday afternoon to earn its 13th Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference victory of the season, setting a program record in the process.

The Greyhounds twice finished their MAAC schedule 12-6 (2006-2007 and 2007-2008), a game shy of this year’s record.

Loyola also finished alone in second place in the conference standings, improving on its previous best finish when it tied for second with a 10-4 league mark in 1996-1997.

20-Win Season

The Greyhounds’ victory over Boston University on February 19 was their 20th of the season, setting a school Division I record.

Loyola, which moved to NCAA Division I in 1981-1982, had won 19 games in 2007-2008 and 18 in 2006-2007.

The overall school record for victories, 25, game in 1948-1949.

Patsos Named Coach Of The Year

On Thursday night, Jimmy Patsos became the first Loyola coach to earn The Rock/Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Coach of the Year honors by a vote of his peers in the league.

Patsos has guided the Greyhounds to a school Division I high 23 wins and a program MAAC record 13 victories. He earned his 100th career coaching victory in November and led the Greyhounds to the No. 2 seed in the MAAC Championships.

Drummond Picks Up 6th Man Award

Justin Drummond became the fifth Loyola player to earn MAAC 6th Man Of the Year honors in the last eight seasons when he picked up the award on Thursday night. He led all bench players in the league with 11.1 points, fourth on the team, and he was third on the squad with 4.2 rebounds per game.

Drummond joins Charlie Bell (2005), Michael Tuck (2007), Marquis Sullivan (2008) and J’hared Hall (2011) as Jimmy Patsos-coached players to win the award.

All-MAAC Honors

For the first time since the league expanded to three All-MAAC teams in 1998, four Greyhounds received all-league honors, topping all teams in the conference. Erik Etherly was named to the All-MAAC First Team, Dylon Cormier to the Second, and Justin Drummond and Robert Olson to the Third.

Loyola led all teams in the MAAC with its four selections, just in front of Iona’s three.

The Greyhounds’ previous high was at the end of the 1997-1998 season when Mike Powell (1st), Jason Rowe (2nd) and Roderick Platt (3rd) earned All-MAAC honors.

Etherly led Loyola in scoring (13.3) and rebounding (7.4) during conference play, and he is second overall on the team with 13.4 points per game. He also is tied for fourth in the league with teammate Shane Walker with 39 blocked shots, and he is fourth in field-goal percentage (.540).

Cormier has led the team throughout the season in scoring with a 13.9 points, and he has shot 46.5-percent from the field. Cormier is third in the conference with 1.7 steals per game, and he has topped the 20-point mark eight times this year.

Drummond has come off the bench in 26 of the Greyhounds’ 30 games this year and is fourth on the team with 11.1 points per game. The guard is also third in rebounding (4.2). He has scored in double figures 15 times this year.

Olson has been one of the top 3-point shooters in the conference this year. He has shot .440 from behind the arc, second-best in the MAAC, and has averaged 11.3 points per game. The junior guard entered the month of January averaging less than nine points per game, but since then he has been the team’s second-leading scorer at nearly 13 a contest.

More Than 60 Years

The last time the Loyola men’s basketball program won 20 games in a season, 1948-1949, the following things were going on in the world, 63 years ago:

Harry Truman began his first full term as President of the United States.

Arthur Miller’s Death Of A Salesman premiered on Broadway.

NATO was formed.

The Basketball Association of America and the National Basketball League merged to form the NBA.

The first jet-powered airliner, the de Havilland Comet, took flight.

Billy Joel, Joe Theismann, Bruce Springsteen & Meryl Streep were born.

Milestones And Firsts

Loyola has accomplished several milestones and firsts throughout the 2011-2012 season. Here is a sample of a few:

First 20-win season in Division I history.

Second MAAC title in school history and first since 1994.

Program MAAC record with 13 league wins and best conference finish (2nd).

Tied school Division I record with eight non-conference wins (1993-1994).

Longest winning streak in school Division I history (8, Nov. 14-Dec. 10). Also, second longest winning streak in D-I history (7, Jan. 19-Feb. 10).

First back-to-back sellouts of Reitz Arena since the venue opened in 1984 (Feb. 3 and 10).

Winning Without A Three

Loyola completed a rare accomplishment at Manhattan, defeating the Jaspers despite not making a 3-pointer in the game. The Greyhounds attempted just eight from behind the arc.

The last time the Greyhounds won a game without making a 3-pointer was February 27, 1996, when they defeated Siena, 67-53, in Reitz Arena, a span of 438 games. Loyola was 0-of-9 in that win over the Saints.

No Starters In Double-Figures

Loyola also won the Manhattan game without a starter in double-figures. Dylon Cormier and Erik Etherly each scored nine from the starting line, but Justin Drummond (13) and Anthony Winbush (12) scored 25 of the Greyhounds’ 29 bench points in the win.

The last time no starters scored in double figures was on November 24, 2010, when the Greyhounds lost 51-48 at Vermont.

It was the first time Loyola had won a MAAC game without having a starter score 10 or more, going back to the 1989-1990 season when the Greyhounds joined the conference.

Rally Caps

The February 26 win at Manhattan was the third time this season that the Greyhounds came back from a 10-plus goal deficit to win. Manhattan led by 11 four times, including with 11:36 in the second half. The Greyhounds also rallied form 15-point deficits to defeat Boston University at home and Fairfield on the road.

Balanced Offense

Loyola overcame a low scoring afternoon in the Manhattan win when just two players, Justin Drummond (13) and Anthony Winbush (12) topped 10 points.

Loyola is 11-2 this season when four or more players score in double figures, and prior to the defeat at Rider, it had not lost since the season-opener on November 11 at Wake Forest. The Greyhounds are also 21-3 when three or more players top 10.

Transversely, the Greyhounds are just 2-5 when two or fewer players tally 10 or more with their only wins coming on December 7 at George Washington and at Manhattan.

45-Percent Or Better

Loyola improved to 13-1 this season when shooting 45.0-percent or better from the field with its win over Siena. The only loss the Greyhounds have suffered when shooting that mark or better was on February 24 when they went 25-of-55 (.455) from the field at Rider and lost by four.

Telling Stats

Loyola’s three most recent losses underscored the importance for the Greyhounds of capitalizing on a few areas of the box score. Seven of Loyola’s eight losses have come when scoring fewer transition points – and the eighth loss was in a game that the teams tied in the category – than its opponents.

The Greyhounds also dropped to 2-6 this year in the eight games they have shot fewer free throws than their opponents, compared to 19-2 when shooting more.

Loyola is also 4-8 when its opponents have a better field-goal percentage, compared to 18-0 when the Greyhounds shoot at a better clip.

Olson’s Last 17

Robert Olson entered the month of January averaging 8.9 points per game through Loyola’s first 11, and he stayed right on that track in the first two games of 2012, scoring a combined 17.

Since then, however, he has averaged 13.0 points per game, starting with a 16-point game on January 7 against Canisius. The game against the Golden Griffins started a stretch of 11-straight in which Olson scored 11 or more points and had 15 or more seven times. During the last 15 games, Olson has shot 75-of-150, 50.0-percent, from the field and 45-of-94 (.478) from behind the 3-point line.

Against Niagara, he hit two threes and moved into sole possession of 10th on the single-season threes list at Loyola. His 136 career threes are sixth in school history.

Six Under Sixty

For the first time in its NCAA Division I history (since 1981-1982), Loyola held six consecutive opponents to fewer than 60 points.

During the span, all Loyola victories, the Greyhounds have held Siena, Saint Peter’s (twice), Niagara, Canisius and Rider to an average of 53.2 points per game.

The Greyhounds previously had held three teams to sub-60 performances just once since joining Division I, and that came during 1981-1982, their first season at this level.

The last time a Loyola team held six-straight teams under 60, regardless of division, came in January-February 1977 when it held six teams in a row – Southampton, Saint Peter’s, Randolph-Macon, Mount St. Mary’s, Baltimore and Philadelphia Textile – to 59 or fewer. The Greyhounds, however, were just 3-3 in that stretch.

Walker Moves Into Second

Shane Walker blocked two Fairfield shots in the first three minutes of the game, and he then swatted a Maurice Barrow layup with 13:58 on the clock, tying him for second all-time at Loyola in blocked shots. He now has 130 in his career, second all-time.

Running Away

Runs have been a big part of the Greyhounds’ success this year. Here is a look at some runs of note:

Opponent Run Start Finish
at UMBC 16-4, 8:08 35-31, 19:16 (2) 51-34, 11:08 (2)
Marist 15-3, 5:47 61-57, 6:03 (2) 76-60, :16 (2)
at Siena 13-0; 4:27 0-2, 19:28 (1) 13-2; 15:35 (1)
Canisius 18-4, 10:14 57-53, 10:14 (2) 75-57, 2:11 (2)
at Fairfield 36-21, 16:42 30-45, 16:42 (2) 66-63, Final
Siena 22-2, 7:36 40-47, 10:35 (2) 62-49, 2:49 (2)
Saint Peter’s 20-5, 8:13 15-20, 8:55 (1) 35-25, :48 (1)
at Niagara 15-2, 5:42 44-46, 7:48 (2) 59-48, 1:58 (2)
at Canisius 24-2, 12:04 16-22, 8:02 (1) 40-24, 15:58 (2)
Rider 18-0, 8:06 6-5, 16:50 (1) 24-5, 8:55 (2)
Iona 36-17, 12:50 11-10, 13:40 (1) 47-28, 00:50 (1)
Boston U. 16-3, 4:37 34-34, 16:05 (2) 50-37, 11:28 (2)
Siena 16-2, 5:17 9-16, 10:49 (1) 22-18, 5:32 (1)
Fairfield 11-1, 8:48 26-30, 20:00 (2) 37-31, 11:12 (2) 

Century Mark

Head Coach Jimmy Patsos became the third coach in Loyola history to win 100 games when the Greyhounds defeated UMBC, 73-63, on the road. Patsos, who is in his eighth season, took over a team that finished 1-27 during the 2002-2003 season. He won his 100th game in his 215th career game.

Last season, Patsos moved into third-place all time at Loyola in victories, trailing only Lefty Reitz (349 wins, 1937-44, 1945-61) and Nap Doherty (165, 1961-74).

Loyola All-Time Coaching Wins List
1. 349 Lefty Reitz 1937-1944, 1945-1961
2. 165 Nap Doherty 1961-1974
3. 121 Jimmy Patsos 2004-present
4. 85 Mark Amatucci 1982-1989
5. 72 Gary Dicovitsky 1976-1981

Baltimore Bred And More From Nearby

Since taking over as head coach in 2004, Jimmy Patsos has put an emphasis on recruiting locally, and it has never shown as much as on this year’s roster. Three players – sophomore guard Dylon Cormier (Cardinal Gibbons), sophomore forward Jordan Latham (City) and freshman guard R.J. Williams (St. Frances) are products of schools within the city limits.

Six more players played in high school within 50 miles of Loyola, as the crow flies (thanks daftlogic.com): Shane Walker & Tyler Hubbard, Montrose Christian, 32.6 miles; Robert Olson, Georgetown Prep, 33.9; Justin Drummond, Riverdale Baptist, 33.9; Anthony Winbush, T.C. Williams, 43.7; and Erik Etherly, Annandale, 47.9.

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Loyola F Etherly Honored By NABC

Posted on 14 March 2012 by WNST Staff

Etherly Earns NABC All-Region Honors

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – On the eve of its first NCAA Tournament game in 18 years, Loyola University Maryland junior Erik Etherly (Alexandria, Va./Annandale H.S.) was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-District II Second Team.

Etherly, who earned All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference First Team honors, was one of seven MAAC players to earn first or second team honors from the NABC.

He is just the second player in Loyola history to earn NABC All-District honors at the Division I level, joining Mike Powell who was tabbed to the First Team in 1998. The Greyhounds joined Division I in 1981-1982. Overall, just three Greyhounds have earned Division I or Division II honors from the NABC, as Tim Koch picked up Second Team laurels in 1979.

Iona College’s Scott Machado and Mike Glover, Fairfield University’s Rakim Sanders and Siena College’s O.D. Anosike were named to the First Team, while Etherly, Manhattan College’s George Beamon and Fairfield’s Derek Needham earned Second Team nods.

Etherly enters the NCAA Tournament as the Greyhounds’ leading scorer (13.5 points per game) and rebounder (7.5 rpg). He also topsLoyola (24-8) in field-goal percentage (.531) and blocked shots (46).

The junior, who transferred from Northeastern University and first played for the Greyhounds as a sophomore in 2010-2011, has scored 756points in his two years at Loyola, and he has 467 rebounds as a Greyhound. Etherly also is now fourth on the school’s all-time blocked shots list with 80.

He posted eight double-doubles this season and had a team-high 25 games with 10 or more points. Etherly led the Greyhounds in rebounding in 22 or 32 games and scoring 12 times.

Etherly was named the MAAC Championships Most Outstanding Player after helping the Greyhounds win their first title since 1994. He scored 21 points against both Niagara University and Siena in the MAAC Quarterfinals and Semifinals.

He then was the team’s leading scorer with 10 in a 48-44 win over Fairfield in the MAAC Championship Game on March 5.

Etherly and the Greyhounds are in Pittsburgh for tomorrow’s NCAA Second Round game against Ohio State University. Loyola and the Buckeyes will take the CONSOL Energy Center court at approximately 9:50 p.m. for a game that will be televised on TNT.

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Soccer ??? Nobody Cares …..

Posted on 26 June 2009 by Rex Snider

So, leave it to me to downplay the hype of the U.S. soccer team’s upset victory over Spain, yesterday. And, the same can be said for this whole “Confederations Cup” thing. The masses of American sports fans really couldn’t care less.

While we’re told this big win was equivalent to the upset over the Soviet Union, in the 1980 Winter Olympics, I’m simply asking how many of us knew there was a crucial soccer game being played nearly 8000 miles away?

I knew it.

But, only due to Nestor’s non-stop coverage, during his Wednesday edition of “Limited Access” …..

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say the game of soccer, above youth leagues, is irrelevant on the American sportscape. Sure, it has a core crowd. And, so do bullriding, track and field, lacrosse and martial arts.

I’m not suggesting soccer is anything less than an extremely exhilarating sport. The competitors have my unconditional respect, as pure athletes. I don’t know of a sport that takes more physical endurance or ultimate conditioning.

Case closed.

But, the American audience, as a whole, will not embrace the sport of soccer. I think the mystery of “WHY” is every bit as interesting as what goes on between the lines. And, I’m sure everyone has a theory.

My immediate guess would include two distinct elements …..

(1) American sports fans gravitate toward athletes, as personalities. To a degree, many American athletes are “worshipped” by fans. I personally find this pretty weak, but it’s what drives our society. That said, it seems like many soccer players are of foreign descent and language/cultural barriers prevent them from optimizing marketing potential.

(2) We like SCORING and tangible excitement. You surely know what I mean by scoring – touchdowns, homeruns, slam dunks !!!! But, the “excitement” factor is key, too. We love the knockout punch …. blood on the ice …. and a car flipping over a few times on the frontstretch at Daytona.

I’m not saying Americans don’t like soccer. We all know people who are CRAZY about it. But, soccer has never caught on as a mainstream sport, in the United States. And, its failures are not resulted from a lack of attempted marketing.

A couple years ago, David Beckham was hailed as the guy who was going to reinvent the game, from California to New York. Yet, we stand here today and realize he’s just fodder for another tabloid story or a moving target for paparazzi.

How do we know our culture is materialistic? Victoria Beckham’s wardrobe choices sell more magazines than any soccer periodical. The Beckhams have become a sideshow to soccer in this country. They’re merely cult-celebrities.

Look, I’m not disparaging soccer. And, I don’t mean any offense to the hardcore, devoted fans.

But, the truth is we live in a country where more people are interested in turning on their television and watching 43 cars run around an oval track, than watching a couple soccer teams run up and down the field.

If you disagree, ask yourself why FOX, ESPN and TNT spend hundreds of millions for the rights to broadcast races. It is what it is …..

I’ll concede Jozy Altidore is a far more superior athlete than Jeff Gordon or Dale Earnhardt Jr. The two racers can’t carry Altidore’s lunch, when it comes to athletic ability. But, they’re marketable and they resonate with the typical American sports fan.

Once again, it is what it is.

With the bevy of hype now surrounding the championship game in the Confederations Cup, I’m willing to bet anyone the next NASCAR race will garner a greater TV share. It probably won’t even be close.

Uh-huh, a few readers are sitting back and saying “so what …. TV viewership doesn’t solidify the status of a sport.” And, if you’re really thinking this, reconsider your position. In fact, it’s exactly why soccer isn’t succeeding in this country.

People aren’t watching it …..

Sponsors won’t buy prime air time …..

Networks won’t consistently televise it …..

It’s a culmination of factors. But, the dominating theme, for me, is people just don’t care about soccer. And, until you change this, it’s a futile debate.

A large percentage of the “consumers” in the American sports market didn’t even know the United States was playing Spain, on Wednesday. Indeed, they didn’t know about the big win until it was in the books.

And, this is a problem …..

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NBA AND NHL PLAYOFFS ARE DELIVERING QUALITY PERFORMANCES

Posted on 02 May 2009 by Vince Fiduccia

“Where Amazing Happens” is the NBA’s marketing slogan; the series between Bulls and Celtics has more than lived up to this moniker.

 

Overtimes, buzzer beaters, and incredible individual performances have added up to one of the greatest series in the history of sports.  Seeing players step up has made it so much fun to watch.  Whether it’s Ben Gordon of the Bulls or Paul Pierce or Ray Allen of the Celtics, players are making great plays when it counts most.  It’s been fun to watch, and having Doug Collins and Kevin Harlan call the action for TNT has made it perfect.  Somehow, I wish the series would be best of 11 or 13, because it’s been that good.

 

When played at maximum intensity there are few things as good the NBA.  Too bad the long regular season doesn’t allow us to see quality that often during the season.

 

Speaking of quality performances, where would the Capitals be without the play of rookie goalie Simeon Varlamov?  How good has this kid been?  The phrase “standing on his head” is used way too much by analysts when they talk about NHL goalies.  But in this case, it is more than justified.

 

If the Capitals do finish this ride and win the Stanley Cup, Head Coach Bruce Boudreau benching of Jose Theodore after game one of the playoffs series vs. the Rangers may go down as one of the boldest and best moves in coaching.  He put a rookie in the high pressure situation of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the kid has come through; if you asked Boudreau, he probably would tell you it was a hunch or a gut instinct.  Whatever you call it has been great.

 

Here is the best news of all: we still have a month of playoffs left in both sports.  Enjoy the wild ride; I have a feeling it’s just starting to get good.

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