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Friday, January 17, 2014

Must See Sports - Third Weekend of January 2014



Last week's advantage/disadvantage record, excluding series: 3-3
2014 Advantage/Disadvantage Record, excluding series: 3-3
2014 Advantage/Disadvantage Record (series only): 0-0


I finished 2013 hot. Starting 2014? Not so much.... There is a whole lotta basketball on the horizon!

Friday, January 17

NBA

Golden State Warriors at Oklahoma City Thunder

The Warriors and Thunder are in second place, nipping on the heels of the division leading Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trailblazers in the Pacific and Northwest divisions, respectively. The Warriors are on fire right now. And while the Thunder are nearly invincible at home this year (like the last two years), they are not as bulletproof without point guard Russell Westbrook (21 PPG, 7 APG, 6 RPG, 2 StlPG), out for the next couple of weeks with a knee injury.

Advantage: Warriors

Without Russell Westbrook, the Thunder will have a tough time matching Stephen Curry. 1
Saturday, January 18

NBA

Los Angeles Clippers at Indiana Pacers

The Clippers may have the best record in the Pacific Division, but the Pacers have the best record in the NBA, with good reason. The Clippers’ weaknesses: rebounding, defense, and post play – all play right into the strengths of the Pacers, who are home. Toss in the fact that the Clippers are without Chris Paul (20 PPG, 11 APG, 5 RPG, 2 StlPG) due to a shoulder injury, and I think the crowd in Indianapolis will go home happy. 

Advantage: Pacers

Tough break for CP3 and the Clippers. 2
NCAA Men’s Basketball

#22 Pittsburgh Panthers at #2 Syracuse Orange

Familiarity breeds contempt. These former Big East rivals are now duking it out in the ACC. Pittsburgh is off to a 16-1 start, but none of the wins are against ranked competition. Pittsburgh senior forward Lamar Patterson (18 PPG, 5 RPG, 5 APG) has played like a man among boys on both ends of the floor during the Panthers’ run. However, this game is at undefeated Syracuse and Orange forward C.J. Fair (17 PPG, 6 RPG) is at the top of his game. I can’t pick Syracuse to lose in the Carrier Dome until I see it.

Advantage: Syracuse

There's always a reason to cheer in upstate New York this time of year. 3
#9 Oklahoma State Cowboys at #15 Kansas Jayhawks

This is the game of the week between a traditional Big 12 power in Kansas and an up-and-coming Oklahoma State team. The day Cowboys point guard Marcus Smart (18 PPG, 6 RPG, 4 APG) announced he would return for his sophomore season was the day that Okie State became a front-runner in the Big 12 for 2014. 

The Jayhawks had been up-and-down against tougher competition until last week, with wins over #25 Kansas State and at #8 Iowa State. Jayhawks freshman sensation Andrew Wiggins (16 PPG, 6 RPG) cannot have a repeat of Monday’s six turnover performance against ISU. Two of the Jayhawks four losses came when Wiggins coughed the ball up four or more times in a game.  Still, Wiggins and the Jayhawks are at home and on the upswing.

Advantage: Kansas

Which Andrew Wiggins will face the Cowboys on Saturday?. The outcome of the game may depend on it. 4
#25 Oklahoma Sooners at #12 Baylor Bears

An upset win over Iowa State last weekend was enough to push the Sooners into the top 25. Their midweek loss to Kansas State and their upcoming matchup at physically imposing Baylor will probably bump them right back out. Their best player, senior Cameron Clark (17 PPG, 6 RPG), was invisible against K-State. That cannot happen again against the Bears.

Oklahoma jacks up too many three point shots to compete with a physical Baylor team, anchored by senior forward Cory Jefferson (13 PPG, 8 RPG, 2 BlkPG). Baylor beats its opponents by dominating in the paint, rebounding, and taking high percentage shots. The game is being played in Waco. I’d be surprised if the Sooners pulled off a second consecutive Saturday upset.

Advantage: Baylor

You can try to get past Cory Jefferson (left). I could try to get a date with Hayden Panettiere. 5
Sunday, January 19

NFL

2013 NFC Championship Game

San Francisco 49ers (14-4) at Seattle Seahawks (14-3)

More detailed discussion to come in a special Saturday edition of the Hat Trick!

Advantage: 49ers


2013 AFC Championship Game

New England Patriots (13-4) at Denver Broncos (14-3)

More to come in tomorrow’s Daily Hat Trick!

Advantage: Patriots

Don't forget to vote in the fan polls! 

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1) Image from www.thesource.com
2) Image from www.xnsports.com
3) Image from www.ctpost.com
4) Image from www.kansas.com
5) Image from http://espn.go.com

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