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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Must see Sports – First Weekend of April 2013

Last week's advantage/disadvantage record, excluding series: 5-8
Last week's advantage/disadvantage record in series: 0-2
2013 Advantage/Disadvantage Record, excluding series: 18-19 
2013 Advantage/Disadvantage Record (series only): 0-2

Spring is in the air but my projection record in running into the ground. This week, college basketball draws to a close. Major League Baseball ramps up to full speed. The NBA playoff push kicks up. It’s a great time to be a sports fan!

Thursday, April 4


San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder

The two best teams in the West square off in a game that might decide home court advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs.  The Spurs have remained on top of the conference in spite of point guard Tony Parker missing games and minutes due to an ankle injury. He was held out in last night’s “gimme” against the hapless Orlando Magic, but I expect him to play in this critical game.

This is a tough call. I think San Antonio is inches better than OKC, not feet. However, the Thunder are at home and Parker is not 100%. Don’t bet the farm on this one, but I think the Thunder take this one.

Advantage: Thunder

Saturday, April 6
NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament – FINAL FOUR from Atlanta, Georgia

National Semifinals

(1) Louisville Cardinals vs (9) Wichita State Shockers

Advantage: Louisville

(4) Syracuse Orange vs (4) Michigan Wolverines

Advantage: Syracuse

The Daily Hat Trick will discuss the Final Four in more detail tomorrow.

I was already a fan of Louisville Coach Rick Pitino. Watching the way the team came together and rallied following the gruesome injury to Kevin Ware has me actively rooting for them in the Final Four. 1

Sunday, April 7


Los Angeles Lakers at Los Angeles Clippers

The Pacific Division leading Clippers are trying to improve their seeding in the Western Conference playoffs. The Lakers are battling for their playoff lives. Making matters worse, Lakers point guard Steve Nash (13 PPG, 7 APG) is injured AGAIN, listed as day-to-day with a hamstring injury. He has not played any significant minutes in a week. Power forward Blake Griffin (18 PPG, 8 RPG, 4 APG) of the Clippers is experiencing a sore calf and is also day-to-day, but should still play.

The Lakers have no home court advantage and have the disadvantage of playing a team with a winning record. I’d like to see them in the playoffs, but I expect them to be swept, even if they make it. Making matters tougher for The Lake Show, Metta World Peace is out for the rest of the regular season (knee) and Kobe Bryant (27 PPG, 6 APG, 6 RPG) can’t clone himself four times before Sunday.

Advantage: Clippers

Pau Gasol (16) is back in the Lakers' lineup. That's good news. Or is it? 2

Major League Baseball

New York Yankees at Detroit Tigers
C.C. Sabathia, Yankees vs Justin Verlander, Tigers

This is a clash of former Cy Young winners and should be a fast, fun-to-watch pitchers duel. Still, unless C.C. pitches a shutout I don’t see the Yanks winning. The Yankees are just punchless at the plate and Verlander can mow down the best of them.

Advantages – Game: Tigers, Series: Tigers

C.C. has the weight of the world on his shoulders, now, as opposed to his abdomen. 3

Los Angeles Angels at Texas Rangers
Jered Weaver, Angels (0-0, 1.50 ERA) vs Yu Darvish, Rangers (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 14 Ks)

The Angels are mean, lean and hungry and the Rangers are not disappearing from the top of the American League without a fight. Yu Darvish retired 26 consecutive Houston Astros batters on Tuesday night and the Rangers have been hitting the ball well so far in this very new 2013 season.

Still, Jered Weaver is the man. I think the Angles have a very slight advantage in the pitching matchup (Darvish reportedly had a blister on his finger after Tuesday’s performance), but the game is being played in Arlington. Batting last plus jet lag might give the Rangers a leg up in this nationally televised game.

Advantages – Game: Rangers, Series: Angels

Monday, April 8

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament – FINAL FOUR from Atlanta, Georgia

National Championship Game

Wednesday, April 8


Brooklyn Nets at Boston Celtics

Brooklyn is in a tight battle with the Atlanta Hawks for home court in the first round. The Celtics are trying to stave off the Milwaukee Bucks to hang on to the seventh seed and get a more favorable first round playoff matchup, likely against the New York Knicks, as opposed to the booby prize of the Miami Heat.

Kevin Garnett (15 PPG, 8 RPG) is banged up (ankle), but The Big Ticket should play by next Wednesday. The Celtics play well at home and play “up” for important games. I think their experience will show against the Nets in spite of the Nets being younger and having a better record. Keep an eye out for the matchup in the paint between Big Ticket and Nets center Brook Lopez (19 PPG, 7 RPG, 2 BlkPG).

Advantage: Celtics

K.G. (right) blocking Brook Lopez (left): "Not so fast, young brother!"

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1) Image from
2) Image from
3, 5) Images from
4) The Final Four logo is a trademark of the NCAA and was cited in a prior Hat Trick posting.

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