By Sayo Jolayemi
For the third time in the past five years, the Western Conference walked away with the Larry O’Brien championship trophy. The new era Golden State Warriors have established themselves as one of the greatest teams of all time, so it is likely their winning traditions will carry on into next season as they look to repeat. It won’t come easily however, this season other teams have bolstered up their lineups in order to compete with this ‘super team’. Last years Warriors were able to steamroll their way into the finals without losing a single game throughout the first three rounds. Offseason moves made by western conference teams look to disrupt this ‘cake walk’ of a finals trip.
Los Angeles made some noise this offseason, both the Lakers and the Clippers. First off comes the Rookie of the Year favorite; second overall pick, Lonzo Ball. Ball offers the playmaking and leadership skills needed for a young but talented Lakers organization. He and the later drafted Kyle Kuzma lit up the scoreboard throughout the summer league, securing first place in the tournament for the Lakers. Whilst they likely won’t be going too far this year (given that a playoff push is unlikely) core pieces like Jordan Clarkson, and the newly acquired veteran Brook Lopez will prove to be a formidable force in upcoming years. Not to be outdone, Minnesota and Houston also improved their team composition, Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves, and Chris Paul being sent to the Rockets puts an interesting spin on playoff storylines.
Another story arc occurring in the Western Conference is the arrival of top three small forward, Paul George on the Oklahoma City Thunder. He and most recent Kia MVP Russell Westbrook are sure to provide a dynamic and eventful season for diehard Thunder fans, along with connoisseurs of the game. Golden State could not stand to be outdone however, adding veteran three point shooter Omri Casspi, and spark plug Nick Young adds to their strong, and deep team lineup. They will for sure look to “Run the Town” as the team to beat this year. Regarding recent league adjustments, Glenelg freshman Ben Heigh doesn’t think much will change however, “...at the end of it all, the Warriors are still gunna play the Cavs, and they’ll dominate.”
The NBA season is almost upon us, but until then all we can do is wait speculate about what we think (or hope!) will transpire this NBA season. Is your team ready to make the necessary push to elevate themselves? Make sure you tune in to the opening game on October 17th, featuring the Cleveland Cavaliers versus the Boston Celtics, and checkout our article on the Eastern Conference by clicking here,
By Liam Day
After 108 years of baseball without a single banner to hang at Wrigley field, the Chicago Cubs won 103 games and the 2016 World Series, coming back from losing three out of the first four games of the series. With the drought finally over, the loyal fans of Chicago only want one more thing, another championship. At first, this may make Cubs fans look greedy. With four all-stars returning this season, the Cubs should not be looking to back down after one season of success.
The Cubs are off to a very rough start to the 2017 season. They have already been swepped twice at Wrigley Field by the rivaled Pirates and the Yankees. What could be to blame for this? How has such a stacked roster gone from top of the league to a mediocre team with an inconsistent bullpen? This bullpen just one year ago was feared by the league with three “Cy Young Award” candidates. There are many explanations for the Cubs dry start, but none of which reflect the team's “lack of talent.”
The Chicago Cubs team has likely had the most eventful offseason of any other baseball team in history. Breaking a 108 year streak without a title will obviously result in recognition from the public. This is known as the “World Series hangover.” History shows that most all teams experience a rough start following a championship season. However not many have been like this. Another explanation is that the Cubs feel they have done their duty.
They were given massive year-by-year contracts in hopes of winning another World Series soon. Two players released during the offseason were closing pitcher, Aroldis Chapman, and All-Star center fielder Dexter Fowler. This has affected the team's play with an increased amount of errors in the outfield along with many runs being scored by their opponents late in the game. This is where Chapman’s presence is missed. Both Chapman and Fowler did what they were payed for, right? Chicago Cubs backup catcher, Miguel Montero stated that, “The reality is we can't take anything for granted and right now, I feel like we do.” They are now just playing for fun knowing that they have given the fans what they wanted.
With odds against the Cubs, there is even more reason why the Cubs should be able to repeat as World Series champions. The most important being that nearly the entire Cubs roster is returning. Lots of World Series champions fail to keep a roster together for the following season. Only eight of the 28 teams in the MLB who have reached the World Series have been able to repeat as champions. Most of these teams experienced the thinning process of many talented players to save money for the organization. The Cubs have lost center fielder, Dexter Fowler, who made his first all-star appearance in 2016. In place of him is the returning Kyle Schwarber who put on a showcase in the Cubs World Series run a year ago. Glenelg’s starting catcher, Matt Thompson said that, “The cubs need one more player, a lead off hitter, if they want to get back into the running this year.”
There are too many factors that can make or break a team's chances in repeating a World Series, but if a team can manage to go 108 years without a World Series, than they can manage to win back-to-back titles. Sport Illustrated writer and baseball fanatic, Larry Anderson, once wrote, “Anything can happen in a ballpark.”
By Ryan Hack
Horse racing is not the most popular sport in the world, but the Triple Crown races in the Spring are competitions most people tune into. The first of these races is the Kentucky Derby, followed by the Preakness, and then lastly, the Belmont Stakes. Each race gets progressively longer, and if one horse wins all three, they are awarded the Triple Crown. This is very rare, as it has only happened twelve times since 1919, the last being American Pharoah in 2015.
Before the races, all the horses have very different childhoods. Some of the horses in these races are not necessarily brought up by the owner. Many of the horses are bought for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and given to a jockey and trainer, where they are brought up and prepared for the race. According to Senior, Anna Turvin, “all the horses learn to accept a rider, [even when they do not know them]”. These riders end up taking these horses to big events, and some walk away with millions of dollars.
On May 6, 2017, the annual Kentucky Derby race occurred at the Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The favorite in the race was Always Dreaming, led by jockey, John Velazquez, who is not a newcomer to horse racing. Now in his career, he has had four Triple Crown race wins, including two Kentucky Derby wins and two Belmont wins, and has collected over three million dollars in winnings. Even through the muddy tracks in Kentucky, Velazquez and Always Dreaming started off strong, and ended strong. In the most exciting two minutes in sports, Always Dreaming won the race with a final time of two minutes, and 3.59 seconds. The race resulted in a 1.2 million dollar prize for jockey Velazquez, trainer Todd Pletcher, and owner Maryellen Bonomo.
Following the exciting Kentucky Derby, the Preakness took place on May 20, 2016 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. As Always Dreaming was trying to be the next Triple Crown winner, his dreams were crushed by Cloud Computing. Always Dreaming got off to a good start, but soon fell out of the race around the final turn, finishing in eighth place. At that time, Classic Empire took the lead, but was chased down on the final straightaway by Cloud Computing, who ended up beating Classic Empire by less than a horse’s length. By winning the Preakness, owners, Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence, jockey, Javier Castellano, and trainer, Chad Brown, will take home 1.5 million dollars.
As seen by the way Always Dreaming and Cloud Computing won their races, it is impressive the amount of training and upkeep that is put into these horses. One student said that the racing of the horses “takes years of practice and there are many strategies that could work best for certain horses, which must be figured out for a successful race”. Make sure to tune in to the Belmont Stakes on June 10, 2017, in the third and final race of the Triple Crown competitions.
By Garrett Athey
The 2017 NBA season ended with a lot of unexpected twists and excitement as the final 16 teams were decided. The Boston Celtics outplayed the Cleveland Cavaliers to get the number one spot in the east, defying most people’s expectations that Cleveland was the Beast of the East. Other teams from the east that made the playoffs were the Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Pacers, and Chicago Bulls. The Golden State Warriors did hold true to their expectations and gained the number one seed in the Western Conference. The other Western Conference teams that made the playoffs this year were the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, Memphis Grizzlies, and Portland Trail Blazers. These sixteen teams were the best of this season and deserved to be in the playoffs.
The first round of the playoffs in the east included the Boston Celtics beating the Chicago Bulls in six games after trailing early on in the series. The Cleveland Cavaliers dominated the Indiana Pacers as they completed the sweep of the series. The Washington Wizards were winners too as they beat the Atlanta Hawks in six games, and the Toronto Raptors saw success as well after beating the Milwaukee Bucks in six games. In the west, the Golden State Warriors swept the Portland Trailblazers with ease. The San Antonio Spurs beat the Memphis Grizzlies in six games, and the Houston Rockets beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games. The Utah Jazz surprised many as they beat the favored Los Angeles Clippers in seven games.
The second round featured a couple sweeps including the Warriors over the Jazz and the Cavaliers over the Raptors. The Spurs also moved on to face the Warriors as they finished off the Rockets in six games. The Celtics and Wizards had the closest series as they played all seven games. The Celtics were eventually victorious as they moved on to play the Cavaliers. With the Celtics win, the conference finals will feature the number one and number two seeds from each conference. Almost everyone expected the Cavaliers and the Warriors to be in this spot as they were in the finals last year. These two teams are the powerhouses of the NBA as they are stacked with the league’s best players.
As for champion predictions, the Warriors and the Cavaliers are heavily favored to win it all. The Warriors are a dangerous team with all their talent and flashiness. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green are a deadly group with all-star talent. Junior, Dalton Marshall likes the Warriors’ chances because, “Their three point shooting ability is unmatched in the league.” Curry and Thompson are easily the two best shooters in the league and cannot be left open.
The Cavaliers are another outstanding team and could easily take the championship home with their dominance. With stars like Kyrie Irving, Lebron James, and Kevin Love, Cleveland is a team to be reckoned with. Junior, Connor Hughes, likes Cleveland’s chances because “Lebron is the greatest player of all time and they have yet to be beaten in the playoffs.” If this matchup were to happen, the world would definitely be in for a great show.
With the season ending, the MVP race is also something to watch for as this year's race will definitely be a close one. The two favorites to win are Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder and James Harden of the Houston Rockets. Both players had outstanding seasons and both deserve to win. Junior, Kyle Rumsey, believes Harden will win because, “His team made it farther in the playoffs, and that will be a big factor.” The Rockets did in fact knock the Thunder out of the Playoffs this season. However, Hughes feels Westbrook has the edge because “He averaged a triple double this season which has only been done by one other player.” Westbrook had a historic season and proved he was the most dominant player in the league. The final decision will be left to league officials to decide who win the most valuable player award.
In conclusion, this year’s playoffs were packed full of entertainment for everyone as the best players in the league showed off their talent. Lebron will always be a joy to watch because of is his display of aggressiveness and greatness. Curry offers mind boggling shots for fans as it appears that every shot he takes goes in. Westbrook is so explosive that everyone around him seems to be moving in slow motion. Durant and Harden are incredible all around players that dominate in every aspect of the game. The 2017 NBA season was unlike one ever seen in the history of the game and left fans in awe.
By: Tyler Curtiss
The MLB season is now about a quarter of the way through and contenders are starting to separate themselves from the pack. The Astros are currently the best team in baseball and have have already won 31 games. Their recent tare has brought them back to the top of the rankings. Baseball fan Vincent Gurfolino, said that, “No one could have seen the Astros coming this year.” Pitchers Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers have been better than expected, as those two have combined for a 2.51 earned run average and the Astros are 13-3 when one of them starts. Although Keuchel has been placed on the 10-day DL, he hopes to return to his CY Young caliber season.
The Nationals are a close second, but their schedule for the next 18 games is against the Pirates, Braves, Mariners, Padres, Giants and Athletics. All those teams have losing records as of now, and should be all wins. The Nats next game against a team that currently has a winning record is June 5 against the Dodgers. Young star, Bryce Harper will look to continue his dominance for the Nats and stay on pace for the NL MVP award.
The Yankees hadn't lost more than two games in a row since they lost three straight in April, but they lost three in a row last week. The emergence of rookie Aaron Judge and his league leading 15 home runs has jumpstarted the yankees offense. The Yanks pitching isn't where they want it to be but it has been steadily improving
The Dodgers have basically relied on pitching and Cody Bellinger’s home runs. The Dodgers are still doing good and young stud shortstop Corey Seager hasn’t gotten hot yet. Although the rotation should be changed with Hill coming back from the DL, Alex Wood might be tough to move after he has struck out 29 batters so far this season and looks to have earned himself a permanent spot in the rotation.
The Orioles have slipped up a little bit this week after being swept by the Royals who look to have gotten out of a season long slump. Beau Parker explained that “The O’s have pretty stiff competition in the American League East, so they will need to step it up if they want to succeed.” Dylan Bundy has a 2.26 ERA, which puts him among the American Leagues top 10 and best on the Orioles. Surprisingly the orioles starting rotation has not been their weakness, it's been their bullpen which is normally top three in the majors.
All of these teams hope to continue their hot starts and build on the early success that they have made.
By Sayo Jolayemi
The stage is set for the biggest soccer match of the year, Real Madrid and Juventus will face off June 3rd at the Principality Stadium in the United Kingdom. The road for these two teams started back in September and as they fought through the round-robin (a style of tournament play when a competitor plays all other competitors) they proved their worth as the top two clubs in the world, and have earned the right to establish their dominance.
Juventus who clinched the spot first has been lead by their fearless strikers Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala, an ever-confident keeper in Gianluigi Buffon, and their defensive anchor Dani Alves. When they defeated Monaco by an aggregate score of 4-1 they displayed their willingness to attack and confirmed their impeccable defense presence, a much-needed necessity if they hope to finish off Real Madrid in the final. Having gone a whopping 693 minutes without conceding a goal, these defenders have mastered their corner and header barricade and with a veteran in Alves who has already won three titles a win, this June looks promising. Seiba Rizik an enormous soccer fan relented to me, “If Alves can find his strikers like he’s done in the semi-finals, they [Juventus] will be tough to stop.”
However, Real Madrid will not roll over easily. With arguably the best athlete in the soccer world right now in Cristiano Ronaldo, and with two other exceptionally composed strikers in Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale, this team has no difficulty finding the back of the net. Coupled with a strong middle line captained by Luka Modric and Sergio Ramos this talented roster cruised to the finals on the back of a Ronald game one hat trick with an aggregate win of 4-2 against Atletico Madrid. AJ Banas recognizes the talent of Ronaldo, stating “... unless Juventus can shut down Ronaldo completely, it’s their [Real Madrid] game to lose, they fought too hard to give it up now.”
Even though only time will tell, this June we seem to be receiving an instant classic as these two team square off for the last time this year. Will Alves lead the veteran Juventus in order to walk away with a fourth Champions League trophy, or will Ballon D'Or winner Ronaldo squander their dreams and lift the award for his squad? Tune in June 3rd, at 2:45 Eastern to find out.