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Friday, March 7, 2014

Must See Sports - Second Weekend of March 2014

Last week's advantage/disadvantage record, excluding series: 3-3
2014 Advantage/Disadvantage Record, excluding series: 14-15
2014 Advantage/Disadvantage Record (series only): 0-0

March Madness is right around the corner. The NBA is heating up. And America's pastime returns at the end of the month. March is roaring in like a lion!

Friday, March 7


Indiana Pacers at Houston Rockets

It is not far-fetched to say that this could be a preview of the NBA Finals. The Pacers, with the best record in the NBA, became the first team to officially clinch a playoff berth. The Rockets are just three games back of the San Antonio Spurs in the Southwest Division and four games back of the Oklahoma city Thunder for first place in the Western Conference.

Both teams have key players with a stiff back: center Dwight Howard (19 PG, 13 RPG, 2 BlkPG) of the Rockets and forward Paul George (22 PPG, 7 RPG) of the Pacers. George, however, appears to really be off of his game, going 0-9 from the field against the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday. He may not play tonight. Howard scored 19 points against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.

Injury to a key player in a road game tips the scale in favor of the red hot Rockets, who are also perfect at home this season against Eastern Conference teams.

Advantage: Rockets

The Houston Rockets are hot. So are their Power Dancers. 1

Saturday, March 8

NCAA Men's Basketball

#25 Kentucky Wildcats at #1 Florida Gators

I drank the Kentucky Kool Aid when they hosted Florida last month. My eyes have been open. I won't make that mistake twice. Since then, Kentucky looks overrated (properly rated at #25) and Florida looks bulletproof.

Advantage: Florida

#14 North Carolina Tar Heels at #4 Duke Blue Devils

Last month ago, I did not think that UNC vs Duke would be appointment television for anyone out side of the state of North Carolina. Big props to Carolina's one-two punch of point guard Marcus Paige (17 PPG, 5 APG) and forward James Michael McAdoo (14 PPG, 7 RPG) for stepping up and rallying the Tar Heels.

UNC took the first matchup at Chapel Hill last month. However, I expect Duke's front court combo of Jabari Parker (19 PPG, 9 RPG) and Rodney Hood (16 PPG, 4 RPG) to be extra-focused in the return match, especially after being sucker punched by Wake Forest on Wednesday night.

Advantage: Duke

 #19 Connecticut Huskies at #11 Louisville Cardinals

UConn deserves some credit for scratching and clawing their way into the top 25. Their win over Cincinnati last Saturday didn't hurt that effort. The Huskies go as senior point guard Shabazz Napier (18 PPG, 6 RPG, 5 APG) goes. Senior point guard Russ Smith (18 PPG, 5 APG) of the Cardinals will have his hands full with Napier.

Both teams are excellent on defense. However, Connecticut makes its living, so to speak, by attacking the ball. Louisville is great at both moving and protecting the ball. I'll take Coach Rick Pitino and Louisville in this contest.

Advantage: Louisville

Hey, Mr. Parker! 2
Sunday, March 9


Miami Heat at Chicago Bulls

Even the Miami Heat can ill-afford to sleep on the Bulls, with or without Derrick Rose. The Bulls are the best coached team in the NBA with the most hustle. Still, coaching and hustle yields to a wide talent gap. LeBron James (27 PPG, 7 RPG, 6 APG) appears to be so focused right now that I doubt he, Dwyane Wade (19 PPG, 5 APG, 5 RPG), Chris Bosh (17 PPG, 7 RPG) or any member of the Heat will be anything less than at the top of their games on national television.

Advantage: Heat

LeBron James had cold, freezing, ice-chilled blood in his veins when he dropped 61 on Charlotte on Monday. 3

Wednesday, March 12


Portland Trailblazers at San Antonio Spurs

Some have argued that Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge (24 PPG, 11 RPG) is the best power forward in the NBA. While I would argue for Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans or Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers first, it is a sounds argument.

The problem is that against the Spurs, especially in San Antonio, defense is a must if there is a change at neutralizing Spurs point guard Tony Parker (18 PPG, 6 APG) and his seasoned crew, especially in San Antonio. Beyond Aldridge, I just don't see the D needed to stop Parker and forward Tim Duncan (15 PPG, 10 RPG, 2 BlkPG) and sixth man Manu Ginobli (12 PPG, 5 APG).

Advantage: Spurs

Damian Lilliard (21 PPG, 6 APG) is among a bevy of rising stars in Portland.
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