Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Kendrick Perkins gets Mozgov'd

You've probably seen the highlight by now, but if you haven't, check out what Blake Griffin did to Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins last night:



One commentator last night actually stated that Griffin just got "Mozgov'd" referring to Griffin's dunk on the Knicks Russian center last year.



Which one do you think was better? If it helps your decision, Perkins is 6'10" 270 lbs and Mozgov is 7'1" 250 lbs.

Tuesday Trivia


Last week's question:

Eli Manning and Tom Brady will face off against one another in a Super Bowl for the second time next weekend making it just the 3rd time in NFL history that there has been a rematch between starting quarterbacks in the Super Bowl. What two other sets of quarterbacks started against one another in multiple Super Bowls?

Answer:
Photo Credit: sportsillustrated.cnn.com
As Frank correctly guessed, Troy Aikman and Jim Kelly, and Terry Bradshaw and Roger Staubach also both faced off against one another in multiple Super Bowls. Aikman and Bradshaw both won both matches. Will Eli be able to do the same?

This week's question:
Photo Credit: sportsnickel.com
Tom Brady is about to appear in his 5th Super Bowl. What other current teammates of his were on the Patriots team that beat the Rams in his first Super Bowl appearance back in 2002?

Top Tens - 1/31/12

NHL POINTS LEADERS

1. Evgeni Malkin - Pittsburgh - 58
2. Claude Giroux - Philadelphia - 55
3. Marian Hossa - Chicago - 53
3. Pavel Datsyuk - Detroit - 53
5. Joffrey Lupul - Toronto - 52
5. Henrik Sedin - Vancouver - 52
5. Steven Stamkos - Tampa Bay - 52
8. Phil Kessel - Toronto - 51
8. Daniel Sedin - Vancouver - 51
10. Jonathan Toews - Chicago - 50
10. Jason Spezza - Ottawa - 50



NHL TOP GOAL SCORERS

1. Steven Stamkos - Tampa Bay - 32
2. Jonathan Toews - Chicago - 27
2. James Neal - Pittsburgh - 27
4. Evgeni Malkin - Pittsburgh - 26
4. Phil Kessel - Toronto - 26
6. Scott Hartnell - Philadelphia - 25
6. Marion Gaborik - Rangers - 25
8. Milan Michalek - Ottawa - 23
8. Radim Vrbata - Phoenix - 23
10. Matt Moulson - Islanders - 22
10. Corey Perry - Anaheim - 22



FIFA MEN'S RANKINGS (1/18/12)

1. SPAIN
2. NETHERLANDS
3. GERMANY
4. URUGUAY
5. ENGLAND
6. BRAZIL
7. PORTUGAL
8. CROATIA
9. ITALY
10. ARGENTINA



FIFA WOMEN'S RANKINGS (12/23/11)

1. USA
2. GERMANY
3. JAPAN
4. BRAZIL
5. SWEDEN
6. FRANCE
7. CANADA
8. ENGLAND
9. KOREA DPR
10. AUSTRALIA



NCAA MEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL RANKINGS - AP Top 25
(Records through Sunday Night's Games)
*ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll in Parentheses

1. Kentucky 21-1 (1)
2. Syracuse 22-1 (2)
3. Ohio State 19-3 (3)
4. Missouri 19-2 (4)
5. North Carolina 18-3 (6)
6. Baylor 19-2 (6)
7. Duke 18-3 (5)
8. Kansas 17-4 (8)
9. Michigan State 17-4 (10)
10. Murray State 21-0 (9)



NCAA WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL RANKINGS - AP Top 25
(Records through Sunday Night's Games)

1. Baylor 21-0
2. Notre Dame 21-1 
3. Connecticut 19-2
4. Stanford 18-1
5. Duke 17-2
6. Kentucky 20-2
7. Miami (FL) 19-3
8. Tennessee 16-5
9. Maryland 18-3
10. Green Bay 19-0



MEN'S TENNIS RANKINGS (1/30/12)

1. Novak Djokovic (Serbia) - 13630 points
2. Rafael Nadal (Spain) - 10435 points
3. Roger Federer (Switzerland) - 8010 points
4. Andy Murray (Great Britain) - 6900 points
5. David Ferrer (Spain) - 4565 points
6. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (France) - 4425 points
7. Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic) - 3700 points
8. Mardy Fish (USA) - 2965 points
9. Janko Tipsarevic (Serbia) - 2700 points
10. Juan Martin del Potro (Argentina) - 2630 points

Out: Nicolas Almagro (11)



WOMEN'S TENNIS RANKINGS (1/30/12)

1. Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) - 8585 points
2. Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic) - 7690 points
3. Maria Sharapova (Russia) - 7560 points
4. Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark) - 7085 points
5. Samantha Stosur (Australia) - 5430 points
6. Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland) - 5330 points
7. Marion Bartoli (France) - 4770 points
8. Vera Zvonareva (Russia) - 4695 points
9. Li Na (China) - 4450 points
10. Andrea Petkovic (Germany) - 4000 points



ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE LEADING SCORERS

1. Robin Van Persie (Netherlands) - Arsenal - 19
2. Demba Ba (Senegal) - Newcastle United - 15
3. Sergio Agüero (Argentina) - Manchester City - 14
4. Wayne Rooney (England) - Manchester United - 13
5. Yakubu Aiyegbeni (Nigeria) - Blackburn Rovers - 12
6. Edin Dzeko (Bosnia-Herzegovina) - Manchester City - 11
7. Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo) - Tottenham Hotspur - 9
7. Daniel Sturridge (England) - Chelsea - 9
7. Frank Lampard (England) - Chelsea - 9
7. Steven Fletcher (Scotland) - Wolverhampton - 9
7. Clint Dempsey (USA) - Fulham - 9
7. Mario Balotelli (Italy) - Manchester City - 9



LA LIGA (SPAIN) LEADING SCORERS

1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) - Real Madrid - 24
2. Lionel Messi (Argentina) - Barcelona - 22
3. Gonzalo Higuaín (Argentina) - Real Madrid - 14
3. Radamel Falco Garcia (Col.) - Valencia - 14
5. Roberto Soldado (Spain) - Valencia - 12
6. Fernando Llorente (Spain) - Athletico Bilbao - 11
7. Karim Benzema (France) - Real Madrid - 10
8. Cesc Fábregas (Spain) - Barcelona - 9
8. Miguel Pérez Cuesta (Spain) - R. Vallecano - 9
10. David Barral (Spain) - Sporting Gijon - 7
10. Alexis Sánchez (Chile) - Barcelona - 7



SERIE A (ITALY) LEADING SCORERS

1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden) - AC Milan - 15
1. Antonio Di Natale (Italy) - Udinese - 14
3. Germán Denis (Argentina) - Atalanta - 12
3. Edinson Cavani (Uruguay) - Napoli - 12
5. Miroslav Klose (Germany) - Lazio -11
5. Rodrigo Palacio (Argentina) - Genoa - 11
7. Stevan Jovetic (Montenegro) - Fiorentina - 10
8. Alessandro Matri (Italy) - Juventus - 9
8. Emanuele Calaiò (Italy) - Siena - 9
10. Diego Milito (Argentina) - Internazionale - 8
10. Sebastian Giovinco (Italy) - Parma - 8
8. Emanuele Calaiò (Italy) - Siena - 8



GERMANY BUNDESLIGA LEADING SCORERS

1. Mario Gomez (Germany) - Bayern Munich - 17
2. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Neth.) - Schalke 04 - 16
3. Lukas Podolski (Germany) - FC Cologne - 15
4. Robert Lewandowski (Pol.) - B. Dortmund - 14
5. Claudio Pizarro (Peru) - Werder Bremen - 13
6. Marco Reus (Germany) - B. Monchengladbach - 12
7. Raúl (Spain) - Schalke 04 - 10
7. Mohammed Abdellaoue (Norway) - Hannover 96 - 10
9. Papiss Demba Cisse (Senegal) - SC Freiburg - 9
10. Franck Ribéry (France) - Bayern Munich - 8
10. Mario Mandzukic (Croatia) - VfL Wolfsburg - 8



NBA LEADING SCORERS (points per game)

1. Kobe Bryant - Lakers - 30.2
2. LeBron James - Miami - 29.2
3. Kevin Durant - OKC - 26.8
4. Kevin Love - Minnesota - 25.5
5. Carmelo Anthony - New York - 23.6
6. Derrick Rose - Chicago - 23.3
7. LaMarcus Aldridge - Portland - 22.6
8. Monta Ellis - Golden State - 21.4
9. Russell Westbrook - OKC - 21.3
10. Blake Griffin - Clippers - 21.1



NBA LEADING REBOUNDERS (per game)

1. Dwight Howard - Orlando - 15.3
2. Kevin Love - Minnesota - 13.5
3. Andrew Bynum - Lakers - 12.2
4. Blake Griffin - Clippers - 11.1
5. Anderson Varejao - Cleveland - 11.0
6. DeMarcus Cousins - Sacramento - 10.9
7. Kris Humphries - New Jersey - 10.6
8. Marc Gasol - Memphis - 10.5
9. David Lee - Golden State - 10.2
10. Tyson Chandler - New York - 10.2



2012 FEDEX CUP STANDINGS

1. Johnson Wagner (USA) - 783
2. Brandt Snedeker (USA) - 578
3. Mark Wilson (USA) - 553
4. Steve Stricker (USA) - 530
5. Martin Laird (Scotland) - 355
6. Kyle Stanley (USA) - 346
7. Harrison Frazar (USA) - 289
8. John Rollins (USA) - 263
9. Sean O'Hair (USA) - 238
10. Charles Howell III (USA) - 229

Out: Carl Pettersson (12), John Mallinger (13), Robert Garrigus (14)




Photo Credits (in order of appearance):


zimbio.com
zimbio.com
justsoccerjerseys.com 
palmbeachpost.com 
sports.desktopnexus.com
bleacherreport.com 
tennisnow.com
zimbio.com
zimbio.com
zimbio.com
zimbio.com
zimbio.com
zimbio.com
zimbio.com
golf.com


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Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Mailbag, Vol. 3

Back with another issue of the Monday Mailbag where you guys, the readers, get to ask the questions. So without further ado:

With Clint Dempsey’s outstanding form as of late and the emergence of Brek Shea as a possible playmaker on the wing, do you see Jurgen Klinsmann maybe utilizing Dempsey in a striker role when World Cup Qualifying rolls around? Assuming of course that everything remains as it is. - Cory L., Raceland, LA
Photo Credit: dallastexans.com
A lot of Dempsey's role will be determined by what formation Klinsmann ends up using. So far we've seen him use a hybrid 4-3-3/4-5-1 setup with a lone central striker and the wing midfielders pushed heavily into the attack, as well as a more traditional 4-4-2. Dempsey's high work rate and ability to wreak havoc all over the field would seem to make him an ideal fit for one of the wings in a 4-3-3 opposite Landon Donovan while one of the more traditional strikers we have - Buddle, Altidore, Agudelo, Bunbury, Wondolowski, etc. - would be able to fill that high striker role. In a 4-4-2 however, I think Dempsey's a good fit for that second striker playing slightly behind whoever he's paired up with, almost as an attacking midfielder. Either way, we'll have him in an attacking position.

As for Brek Shea, there's no questioning his talent, but his biggest contribution to the National Team so far came as a substitute when he picked up an assist against Mexico. He's still only 21 with just 11 career appearances so he's got a lot of room to grow, but for right now his versatility and high energy would seem to make him a more ideal bench player for World Cup Qualifying in my opinion. A lot can change between now and then though so it's certainly something to keep an eye on. 


How important is it that Tim Ream get himself as much time as possible at Bolton to help shore up the problems the USMNT have on defense? - Cory L., Raceland, LA
Photo Credit: empireofsoccer.com
Any time a player goes to Europe, it's always a gamble. We've seen guys go over there are really break out and make a name for themselves like Clint Dempsey and Ream's Bolton teammate Stuart Holden, and we've seen guys go over there and kind of disappear like Freddy Adu. So obviously, as a U.S. fan, you want to see Ream get playing time. But to impact the National Team, he's going to have to do more than just see the field, he's going to have to get a lot better. Ream did not play well against Spain during the lead-in match to last summer's Gold Cup, and his ensuing performance in that tournament got him benched after two games. While it's true the back line is probably one of our most glaring weakness (although you could also make a pretty good case that it's our front line that's the problem), Ream right now is probably behind guys like Geoff Cameron, Michael Parkhurst, Zak Whitbread, Clarence Goodson, Eric Lichaj... So before we start worrying about Ream solving the USA's defensive problems, what we should really be more concerned about is Ream getting his confidence back and getting better. And playing in the English Premier League is certainly a great opportunity for him to improve his game.


To say that the USWNT are on a roll in Olympic Qualifying would kinda be an understatement. Are they really that good? Or have the teams we’ve been playing that bad? - Cory L., Raceland, LA
Photo Credit: washingtonpost.com
I think you can make a strong case that it's been a combination of both our women playing in top form, and their opponents not being very good. The Dominican Republic was outscored 27-0 in the Olympic Qualifying tournament including a 6-0 loss to Guatemala, a team that lost to Mexico 5-0. Guatemala and the Dominican Republic are ranked 85th and 88th in the world respectively which is not good at all. Then you have Costa Rica who, while ranked 41st in the world, has never qualified for a World Cup. And finally Mexico and Canada both failed to win a match at the last World Cup combining for a record of 0-4-2 with neither side advancing out of the first round. So it's not like we're mopping up the Swedens and the Japans and the Germanys and the Brazils... Those are the real tests. While it's good to see the U.S. Women take care of business like they were supposed to, and a +38 goal differential over 5 games is ridiculously good, I don't think you can read into this performance too much. Other than being able to determine that the Dominican Republic is not very good right now. 


The USMNT are set to play Italy in a friendly here very soon. What would a good showing, and by good showing I mean at the least a tie, if not a win, say to the rest of the world about this team and its coach? - Cory L., Raceland, LA
Photo Credit: mlssoccer.com
Generally speaking when the international game is concerned, you want to draw on the road, and win when you're at home. But more important than the result in these friendly matches is how the team plays. If we go into Italy, get outshot 100-0 and win 1-0 thanks to an own goal, while it's a win, it doesn't really show progress, and it certainly doesn't show that we can hang with the top clubs in the world. The other factor that we'll have to consider when evaluating is who plays in the match. Beating Italy's 'B' side with our 'A' side isn't going to carry as much weight as if we were to go toe-to-toe with their first team. Ultimately, you can't ever put too much weight on a friendly match, but a strong showing should help our momentum as we get ready for World Cup Qualifying this summer.


Alex Smith... I think he proved that he can play and win and not turn the ball over and be pretty consistent (all good qualities of a QB), but when it comes down to it, if you had one chance to make an 80-yard drive at the end of the game to win, I wouldn't pick him if given the choice. Do you agree and if so, do you cut your losses or do you become a clone of the Ravens with a great defense and just enough offense to get stopped short in the conference championship? - Garrett M., Boston, MA
Photo Credit: washingtonpost.com
I can only think of one scenario where Alex Smith isn't the starting quarterback in San Francisco next season, and that's if a HEALTHY (strong emphasis on healthy) Peyton Manning was available. Otherwise, let's look at the facts:

*During the regular season, only 8 quarterbacks posted a higher QB Rating than Alex Smith's 90.7.

*36 quarterbacks threw more interceptions than he did during the regular season.

*Smith threw 5 touchdowns and 0 interceptions in the 49ers two postseason games.

*If not for two fumbled punt returns, the 49ers would probably be 15-3 and in the Super Bowl right now.

So I think to answer your question, you continue to do what's working for you. Smith is serviceable and he's cheap compared to what some quarterbacks are going for these days. The 49er defense is sensational, they can run the ball well, and they have a Pro Bowl caliber tight end in Vernon Davis. If they can get upgrades over Delanie Walker, Ted Ginn Jr., and Josh Morgan at wide receiver that can only help. If you consider that Smith made it farther in the postseason than Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees, I don't think you have a need to change directions.


Can you weigh in on the breaking up of the big 3 here in Boston? Ray Allen would be an awesome 6th man and could definitely pull some trade value closer to the trade deadline. Garnett and Pierce are tougher pieces though... do you keep one or both? Does a young team like the pacers or trailblazers or T-wolves make sense? - Garrett M., Boston, MA
Photo Credit: boston.sportsthenandnow.com
Watching the Celtics this year, it seems pretty evident that their championship window is pretty much closed with the group of players they have now. And while trading them makes sense, it's not going to be easy to move those contracts. Garnett is owed $21.2M this season, Allen $10M and Pierce $15.3M. Pierce is under contract for another two years so I think he's the least likely to get moved. And barring some crazy ridiculous 9-team deal with all sorts of bad contracts involved, I think Garnett's stuck, so that leaves Allen as the only one who it seems might get moved, and even that's not going to be easy. You said it yourself, Allen would be an awesome 6th man. How much does an awesome sixth man fetch on the open market these days? Lamar Odom, for example, got traded for a non-lottery first round pick and a trade exception... We'll see what happens. There's already been a lot of injuries this season, and that could force a team to be a lot more willing to make a deal that Boston would be willing to pull the trigger on.


What happened to Phil Mickelson on Thursday?? - The Dude, Chesapeake, VA
Photo Credit:dogschasingcars.com
I suppose it's a little strange when Mickelson shoots 15 shots worse than Kyle Stanley in a round of golf. The 77 was his worst round since shooting a 77 in the third round at last year's U.S. Open. I'd chalk it up to just having a bad day. Golf can be pretty unforgiving sometimes. He bounced back the second day on the tourney and shot a 4 under 68 so it doesn't seem like it's a permanent problem. 


What events belong on "sports" networks? I suppose everyone deserves their 15 minutes, but sometimes I find myself asking what is ESPN thinking? So...what is ESPN thinking? Here's my list:

Bowling
American Kennel Club Dog Show
Cross-Fit
A marathon
Poker
Fishing
Hunting
Body building
Monster truck rallies
World's Strongest Man (awesome, but not a sport; give it to Spike or FX; it can precede UFC fights)
Spelling Bee
Cup stacking
Billiards
Scrabble tournaments
Checkers
Chess
Sailing
Cheerleading
Dominos
Dancing
Competitive eating, specifically hot dog contests (and how do I sign up?)
Car shows
Darts

To be fair, I considered the difference between a sport and activity, defining the above as activities. This sports fan considers a real sport to be a competition that takes both skill and athleticism, such as football, baseball, anything in the olympics, tennis, and golf. It's only a matter of time before they start broadcasting text message competitions,  bird watching, and fashion shows. - Ben K., Slidell, LA

That's quite a list. Ok, let's take them one at a time.

Bowling - Are there people that actually watch this instead of football on Sunday afternoons?

American Kennel Club Dog Show - I choose to not comment on this one for fear of what my wife might do to me.


Cross-Fit - Kind of like World's Strongest Man. Amazing athletes, but not primetime television.


A marathon - Watching a marathon is like watching the Tour de France. It works in the Olympics because they can keep cutting away to other sports and then every 15 minutes or so, yep the fast guy from Kenya is still winning. But to sit and watch a whole marathon? Pass.


Poker - Not a sport. I don't care what you say.


Fishing - Outdoor Channel. 


Hunting - See Fishing.


Body building - Until these competitions culminate with one of these guys having to catch or throw or kick a ball of some sort, I'm not interested. Get as jacked as you want, but if you aren't coordinated, it's pretty much worthless.


Monster truck rallies - Is Grave Digger still around? Does anyone know?


World's Strongest Man (awesome, but not a sport; give it to Spike or FX; it can precede UFC fights) - See Cross-Fit. Do they have new episodes of this any more?


Spelling Bee - Maybe PBS. It is educational. Kind of.


Cup stacking - Is this related to plate spinning?


Billiards - I think if you can play it in a bar, it doesn't count as a sport. I wouldn't watch a beer pong tournament on ESPN either.


Scrabble tournaments - I saw a scrabble tournament on ESPN2 once. Those guys are all kinds of intense. Trash talking and everything.


Checkers - Really?


Chess - No.


Sailing - It's not really a spectator sport, is it?


Cheerleading - Gymnastics is a sport. Cheerleading is not a sport.


Dominos - See Checkers.


Dancing - We already have Dancing with the Stars on network television. We don't need it on ESPN.


Competitive eating, specifically hot dog contests (and how do I sign up?) - I'm ok with this being on once a year.


Car shows - I have trouble watching cars racing.


Darts
- Mountain top!
Photo Credit: engadget.com
The simple answer is we really need ESPN 8 - The Ocho to be a real thing. That way you have a network that handles all of the non-sport "sports". Look, I'm not saying that the stuff listed above doesn't take skill, but I don't want to watch the spelling bee or checkers or poker on ESPN. Anyhow, in summary:

This is why darts is not a sport:



This is how chess could become acceptable on ESPN:



This is taking the Spelling Bee way too seriously:


And this is a link to the website for the International Federation of Competitive Eating. Yeah, it's real.



What's up with boxing? Is it still around, or have the WWE and UFC round-house kicked it into a figure-four-leg-lock? I vaguely remember something about Pac-Man and Meriweather, but that didn't happen because one of them wants a blood test and the other has to chase a bunch of ghosts around a maze, right? - Ben K., Slidell, LA
Photo Credit: cnn.com
Didn't you watch Real Steel? The fight game has changed! It's all about robots fighting other robots now. Or will be soon. At least that's what Wolverine said... I don't really know what happened with boxing. It's probably a bad thing when I can name more fictional boxers from the Rocky series than I can name actual active real boxers. It's funny because they keep coming out with boxing movies, and they always seem to do pretty well - The Fighter, Cinderella Man, Million Dollar Baby etc. And maybe that's the problem. You watch Rocky and then you watch a real boxing match, and they just don't compare. You don't see guys take 200 punches to the head in a round and keep fighting back. But Hollywood has convinced us that you could. For boxing to truly make a comeback, they're either going to need someone that fans can really get behind, or they're going to need someone the fans can really root against. Kind of like the Miami Heat captivated the interest of casual basketball fans in the NBA (the Heat are the villain, not the team you get behind just so we're clear). Otherwise, people are just going to continue to not pay attention. 


Drew Brees was recently selected as the most powerful athlete in the world by a collection of marketing agencies. What year do you think he'll become President? - Ben K., Slidell, LA
Photo Credit: http://pigskinlovinglady.com
The guy's already been King of Bacchus. Why would he want to demean himself by taking a lower position like "President of the United States".


Special thanks to all those who wrote in this week. Got a question for the mailbag? Email us at smittysports.blogspot@hotmail.com.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

USA Concludes Dominant Run Through Qualifying Tournament

Photo Credit: greenwichtime.com
Five games, five wins, 38 goals scored, zero goals allowed and a spot in the London Olympics. The U.S. Women concluded their historic run through the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament with a 4-0 rout of rival Canada today behind a pair of goals from Abby Wambach and two more from Alex Morgan. With 131 career goals, Wambach passes former U.S. National Team Star Kristine Lilly and moves into second place all time trailing only Mia Hamm's record of 158. Wambach finished tied for the team lead in goals in the tournament with six, and was one of eleven different Americans to score, six of whom tallied at least four goals. Of the 18 field players on the U.S. roster, only defenders Becky Sauerbrunn, Christie Rampone and Amy LePeilbet failed to tally either a goal or an assist. Canada's Christine Sinclair led all scorers in the tournament with 9 goals.

GOOOOOOOOOOCH!

Photo Credit: goal.com
An impressive month for American soccer continued today. Already in 2012 we'd seen a pair of hat tricks by Clint Dempsey, two victories for the Men's National Team, and 14 and 13 goal outbursts by the Women's National Team en route to a berth in the 2012 Olympics. Today was another banner day as American defender Oguchi Onyewu headed in a pair of first half goals for Sporting Lisbon in their 2-0 win over Beira Mar in league play in Portugal. The 6'4" center back who signed with Sporting after 3 frustrating years with AC Milan has now scored 4 goals in league play this year, good for second most on the team.



Saturday, January 28, 2012

Is the Pro Bowl the Worst All Star Game in all of Pro Sports?

Photo Credit: http://thefootbawlblog.com
Maybe it's the fact that nobody playing in the Super Bowl is able to participate. Or maybe it's because that it's much more noticeable when football players of this caliber don't play at full speed. Whatever the reason, I just have a really tough time getting excited about the Pro Bowl every year.

More than any of the other major team sports, football is not a finesse game. It's literally a battlefield. Lineman slug it out in the trenches, players get concussed and knocked out in vicious collisions; rarely do you ever go more than a series or two without seeing someone get helped off the field due to one ailment or another. It's a physical game. And it's really hard for the game not to lose its luster when you take that away.

Plus, look at a sampling of the players who though selected won't be participating: Tom Brady, Eli Manning, Ray Rice, Arian Foster, Frank Gore, Wes Welker, Calvin Johnson, Terrell Suggs, Lance Briggs, Brian Urlacher, Ed Reed, Troy Polamalu... It's an all star game that lacks its all stars. All told, 16 players from the AFC and 8 more from the NFC will not be on the field in Hawaii for various reasons. But it's ok. You can watch Andy Dalton, the NFL's 20th rated passer, throw passes to Jermaine Gresham, who ranked 5th among AFC tight ends in receptions. Excited?

The Pro Bowl just doesn't compare to the other All Star Games right now. The NHL All Star Game selects two captains and literally picks teams, pond hockey style. The weekend also features a number of skills competitions showcasing the talents of the players. Major League Baseball has the Home Run Derby followed by an All Star Game that actually decides homefield advantage in the World Series. Major League Soccer has recently started pitting its all stars in an exhibition match against some of the world's top club teams, most recently Manchester United. And the NBA probably does the All Star Game better than anyone. The weekend kicks off with the Rookie-Sophomore game on Friday, a dunk contest and 3-point shootout on Saturday and a highlight filled all star game on that Sunday.

But with the Pro Bowl? Tackle football just isn't suited to be played as an exhibition. Especially with millions of dollars in contracts on the line. Just look at the rule changes they need to put in to play the game:
  • No motion or shifting by the offense
  • Offense must have a tight end in all formations
  • Offense can’t have 3 receivers on a side
  • Intentional grounding is legal
  • Defense must run a 4-3 at all times
  • No press coverage except inside the 5 yard line
  • No blitz
  • Not allowed to rush a Punt, PAT or FG attempt
As a result you get tentative play from both sides resulting in sloppy football (last year's Pro Bowl featured 8 turnovers), and even when you get good offense, oftentimes it's because the defense is offering minimal resistance.

Is there a way to fix the Pro Bowl? I don't think you can without thinking outside the box. How about an 8-team, 7 v 7 flag football tournament. Each division gets a team. 15 man rosters, let the divisions pick their own teams with the stipulation that you need 7 offensive players, 7 defensive players and 1 kicker/punter. Single elimination. At least that way it'd be entertaining. Put the AFC and NFC on different halves of the bracket, and let them go at it. I'd watch that. You still get the football, but you limit the injury risk. In essence, it's more of a finesse style game. Anyhow, it's just one idea, but I think the NFL has to do something different if they want people to actually tune in. Time to get creative, Mr. Goodell. Otherwise just scrap the game all together and send the players who make the team to an awards banquet in Hawaii.

Azarenka Wins Australian Open

Photo Credit: sfexaminer.com
There's a new number one in women's tennis. Victoria Azarenka, the Belle from Belarus, defeated Maria Sharapova in straight sets today 6-3, 6-0 to win her first Grand Slam title. Azarenka won 12 of the final 13 games after falling behind 2-0 in the first set and has now won 12 straight matches to start the year. Azarenka becomes the first Belarusian, male or female, to win a Grand Slam singles title. Here's a look at her run through the tournament:

1st - Heather Watson (Great Britain) - 6-1, 6-0
2nd - Casey Dellacqua (Australia) - 6-1, 6-0
3rd - Mona Barthel (Germany) - 6-2, 6-4
4th - Iveta Benesova (Czech Rep.) - 6-2, 6-2
QF - (8) Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland) - 6-7, 6-0, 6-2
SF - (11) Kim Clijsters (Belgium) - 6-4, 1-6, 6-3
F - (4) Maria Sharapova (Russia) - 6-3, 6-0

With Azarenka's victory, the last 8 Grand Slam singles titles have been won by 7 different women with only Kim Clijsters winning more than once. Francesca Schiavone, Serena Williams, Li Na, Petra Kvitová and Sam Stosur have also won at least one Grand Slam over the past two years.

London Calling - USA Women's Soccer Team Qualifies for the Olympics

After cruising through their first three games of the Olympic Qualifying tournament, the U.S. was probably due for a speed bump. Costa Rica, a team that the U.S. had never lost to, offered a surprising amount of resistance and if not for some stellar goalkeeping from Hope Solo and a fortunate deflection off the post, the U.S. could have themselves tied, or even behind late in the match. As it was, Tobin Heath's early goal stood up and the U.S. would add two more late goals from Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan giving them the 3-0 victory and guaranteeing them a spot in London this summer.
Photo Credit: espn.go.com


The U.S. will now advance to the finals on Sunday where they'll face rival Canada in a match that outside of pride will count for very little. This will be a good opportunity for the U.S. to rest some of its nicked up starters, but we'll see how Coach Pia Sundhage plays it. The U.S. faced Canada three times in 2011 winning twice and drawing once. Canada defeated Mexico 3-1 in the other semifinal. Canada's all-time leading scorer Christine Sinclair led the way with a pair of goals and has scored 9 times so far in the tournament.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Donovan Stars in Head-to-Head with Dempsey

Over the past year or so people have been beginning to question whether or not Clint Dempsey has supplanted Landon Donovan as the face of the U.S. National Team. While their was no doubt that during the World Cup it was Donovan's team, 2011 told a different story. Donovan scored just once for the U.S. while Clint Dempsey notched a team high 5 goals, including 3 during the Gold Cup. Dempsey also saw his game at the club level reach new heights when he set an American record with 12 goals in an English Premier League season. Dempsey's scoring prowess continued into this season with 15 more goals for Fulham across all competitions including a pair of hat tricks this month. While Donovan has still been productive - he scored 12 regular season goals for the Galaxy last year and added the winning goal in the MLS Cup Final - his accomplishments in Major League Soccer aren't viewed in the same light as what Dempsey's achieved in England. And suddenly there it was. Had Dempsey caught up to or even passed Donovan?
Photo Credit: pe.com
Based on what we saw today, and today alone, I think you'd have to say that the answer is no. Landon Donovan led Everton to a 2-1 win this afternoon over Clint Dempsey and Fulham in the 4th round of England's FA Cup.While Dempsey struggled to involve himself in the match, Donovan assisted on both Everton goals allowing them to overcome their early 1-0 deficit and advance in the tournament. He has now tallied 4 assists in 6 his matches with Everton since coming over on loan from the Galaxy. While the question about Dempsey vs Donovan isn't likely to go away any time soon, American soccer fans should be excited about the fact that their two biggest playmakers are playing at such a high level at the same time. With World Cup Qualifying just months away, this is exactly what the U.S. will need to earn themselves a ticket to Brazil in 2014.
Photo Credit: espn.go.com
What do you guys think? If you could only have one of them right now, which one would you take? Donovan? Or Dempsey?

Australian Open Finals Match-Ups

WOMEN'S

(3) Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) vs (4) Maria Sharapova (Russia)
Photo Credit: chadanielle.wordpress.com
There's more at stake than just the Australian Open title in this matchup as the winner will also take over the WTA #1 ranking. While Sharapova has been there before, Azarenka has never been ranked higher than third. This will be the Belarusian's first Grand Slam singles final, although she has played in three Slam doubles finals. Sharapova, on the other hand, is playing in her 6th Grand Slam Final, but is looking for her first win since the 2008 Australian Open. The two women have faced each other 6 times in their careers with each one winning 3.


How they got here:

Azarenka

1st - Heather Watson (Great Britain) - 6-1, 6-0
2nd - Casey Dellacqua (Australia) - 6-1, 6-0
3rd - Mona Barthel (Germany) - 6-2, 6-4
4th - Iveta Benesova (Czech Rep.) - 6-2, 6-2
QF - (8) Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland) - 6-7, 6-0, 6-2
SF - (11) Kim Clijsters (Belgium) - 6-4, 1-6, 6-3

Sharapova

1st - Gisela Dulko (Argentina) - 6-0, 6-1
2nd - Jamie Hampton (USA) - 6-0, 6-1
3rd - (30) Angelique Kerber (Germany) - 6-1, 6-2
4th - (14) Sabine Lisicki (Germany) - 3-6, 6-2, 6-3
QF - Ekaterina Makarova (Russia) - 6-2, 6-3
SF - (2) Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic) - 6-2, 3-6, 6-4


MEN'S

(1) Novak Djokovic (Serbia) vs (2) Rafael Nadal (Spain)
Photo Credit: tennis.fm
The two top men's players in the world will face off for the 30th time in the Australian Open Final. While Nadal owns a 16-13 edge in the series, Djokovic was unbeaten in their 6 matches in 2011 including the Wimbledon and U.S. Open Finals. Nadal has won 10 Grand Slam singles titles in his career, but has only won the Australian Open once, back in 2009. An 11th title will tie Nadal with Björn Borg and Rod Laver for the 4th most all time trailing only Roger Federer (16), Pete Sampras (14) and Roy Emerson (12). Djokovic, meanwhile, will be looking to be the first male to successfully defend his Australian Open title since Roger Federer won in back to back years in 2006 and 2007. Djokovic won 3 of the 4 slams last year and is looking to start 2012 in a similar fashion.

How they got here:

Nadal

1st - Alex Kuznetsov (USA) - 6-4, 6-1, 6-1
2nd - Tommy Haas (Germany) - 6-4, 6-3, 6-4
3rd - Lukas Lacko (Slovakia) - 6-2, 6-4, 6-2
4th - (18) Feliciano Lopez (Spain) - 6-4, 6-4, 6-2
QF - (7) Tomas Berdych (Czech Rep.) - 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 6-3
SF - (3) Roger Federer (Switzerland) - 6-7, 6-2, 7-6, 6-4

Djokovic

1st - Paolo Lorenzi (Italy) - 6-2, 6-0, 6-0
2nd - Santiago Giraldo (Colombia) - 6-3, 6-2, 6-1
3rd - Nicolas Mahut (France) - 6-0, 6-1, 6-1
4th - Lleyton Hewitt (Australia) - 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3
QF - (5) David Ferrer (Spain) - 6-4, 7-6, 6-1
SF - (4) Andy Murray (Great Britain) - 6-3, 3-6, 6-7, 6-1, 7-5

Thursday, January 26, 2012

U.S. Men Defeat Panama 1-0 for 3rd Straight Victory

Photo Credit: spanishsearch.org
The United States got their third win in a row under new coach Jurgen Klinsmann last night defeating Panama on the road by a score of 1-0. Graham Zusi scored his first international goal less than ten minutes into the match and the U.S. survived a second half red card to defender Geoff Cameron and held on for the win. Still, while it would seem that there would be a lot of positives from this match -

*Won on the road
*Scored a goal before the 97th minute
*Successfully defended with 10 men for the better part of a half
*Posted a second consecutive shutout

- the overall level of play was disappointing. The defense was shaky, the U.S. failed to create a lot of good scoring opportunities, and the U.S. lacked the strong possession that they had against Venezuela. I mean just watch the highlights. Most of them are missed opportunities for Panama.



That said, considering the inexperienced roster that Klinsmann was working with, to come away with a pair of victories and expose a number of new players to the international scene is a huge positive. Five different Americans earned their first cap in this two game stretch: A.J. DeLaGarza, Bill Hamid, Jeff Parke, C.J. Sapong and Graham Zusi. And nobody on the roster has appeared in more than 40 international games with only 3 players (Ricardo Clark, Benny Feilhaber and Heath Pearce) appearing in more than 20. With the U.S. core group of players (Donovan, Bocanegra, Dempsey, Cherundolo, Onyewu, etc.) all getting up there in years, it's important to be looking to the future. Overall, I think you have to be happy with the direction that we're headed. Three wins in a row is three wins in a row, something we haven't done since the Gold Cup last summer. Next month's match against Italy will be a real test though and should give us a better feel for how the team is shaping up as we prepare for World Cup Qualifying this summer.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Olympic Berth on the Line for U.S. Women's Team

The U.S. Women's Soccer Team has put on quite a show during Olympic qualifying thus far. In matches against the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Mexico, the U.S. has tallied 31 goals without conceding one, but it will all be for naught if the U.S. loses on Friday to Costa Rica. Only the top two teams in the qualifying tournament will earn bids to London so losing in the semifinals would cost the U.S. a spot at the 2012 games.
Photo Credit: soccerchris.com
While the Costa Ricans don't pose a significant threat - they've never beaten the U.S. in seven tries while being outscored 34-0 - the U.S. learned in 2011 World Cup Qualifying that they can't take anyone lightly. It was then that they found themselves in a similar must-win situation, but lost in the semifinal match to Mexico, a team that they'd previously never lost to. That loss almost caused the U.S. to miss the 2011 World Cup as they needed to win a 2-game playoff against Italy to get in. There is no such playoff for the Olympics so a loss here and they're out. With all that riding on this match, the last thing the U.S. needs is more injury problems. Already without starting defender Ali Krieger, the U.S. may now be forced to play on without goalkeeper Hope Solo. Solo aggravated a quad injury and her status for the semifinal is uncertain. If she is unable to go, backup Nicole Barnhart will get the call. Hardly short on experience, the 30 year old Barnhart has 39 career national team appearances, including a pair of shutout wins against Costa Rica in November of 2010 during World Cup Qualifying.
Photo Credit: phillysoccernews.com
With the way the offense is playing though, it may not matter who is in goal. Five different U.S. players have scored at least 4 goals in the tournament - Amy Rodriguez 6, Sydney Leroux 5, Carli Lloyd 5, Heather O'Reilly 4 and Abby Wambach 4 - and they've combined for an absurd 5 hat tricks, including at least one in every game. Costa Rica will enter the match with a record of 2-1 in the tournament. Currently ranked 41st in the world they defeated Cuba and Haiti by identical 2-0 scores before getting hammered by Canada 5-1. Canada will play Mexico in the other semifinal.

Aussie Open - Semifinal Match-Ups

MEN'S

(2) Rafael Nadal (Spain) vs (3) Roger Federer (Switzerland)
Photo Credit: news.sveyo.com
Nadal and Federer will face off for the 27th time when they meet in the Australian Open semifinals. Nadal owns a 17-9 edge in the series including a 5 set win in the 2009 Australian Open Final. 2009 was the only time that Nadal has reached the finals of the Australian Open. It is the only Grand Slam Final in which he hasn't appeared multiple times. Federer is a 4 time winner at the Australian Open (2004, 2006, 2007, 2010) and is in the semifinals of the tournament for the 9th straight year. Federer has not won a Grand Slam event since the 2010 Australian Open. The two players have combined to lose just one set through the first five rounds of the tournament.

How they got here:

Nadal

1st - Alex Kuznetsov (USA) - 6-4, 6-1, 6-1
2nd - Tommy Haas (Germany) - 6-4, 6-3, 6-4
3rd - Lukas Lacko (Slovakia) - 6-2, 6-4, 6-2
4th - (18) Feliciano Lopez (Spain) - 6-4, 6-4, 6-2
QF - (7) Tomas Berdych (Czech Rep.) - 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 6-3

Federer

1st - Alexander Kudryavtsev (Russia) - 7-5, 6-2, 6-2
2nd - Andreas Beck (Germany) - Walkover
3rd - Ivo Karlovic (Croatia) - 7-6, 7-5, 6-3
4th - Bernard Tomic (Australia) - 6-4, 6-2, 6-2
QF - (11) Juan Martin del Potro (Argentina) - 6-4, 6-3, 6-2


(1) Novak Djokovic (Serbia) vs (4) Andy Murray (Great Britain)
Photo Credit: tennisgrandstand.com
Djokovic and Murray will meet for the 11th time in a rematch of last year's Australian Open Final. Djokovic won 3 of the 4 Grand Slams last year including the Australian Open and owns a 6-4 advantage in the series although Murray did win the last time out when Djokovic was forced to retire in the second set during the ATP World Tour. Murray, despite being ranked 4th in the world has never won a Grand Slam. He has lost in the Finals 3 times including the last two Australian Opens.


How they got here:

Djokovic

1st - Paolo Lorenzi (Italy) - 6-2, 6-0, 6-0
2nd - Santiago Giraldo (Colombia) - 6-3, 6-2, 6-1
3rd - Nicolas Mahut (France) - 6-0, 6-1, 6-1
4th - Lleyton Hewitt (Australia) - 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3
QF - (5) David Ferrer (Spain) - 6-4, 7-6, 6-1

Murray

1st - Ryan Harrison (USA) - 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2
2nd - Edouard Roger-Vasselin (France) - 6-1, 6-4, 6-4
3rd - Michael Llodra (France) - 6-4, 6-2, 6-0
4th - Mikhail Kukushkin (Russia) - 6-1, 6-1, 1-0, Retired
QF - (24) Kei Nishikori (Japan) - 6-3, 6-3, 6-1



WOMEN'S

(11) Kim Clijsters (Belgium) vs (3) Victoria Azarenka (Belarus)
Photo Credit: blogs.bettor.com
Clijsters, last year's Australian Open winner, is back in the semifinals after suffering through an injury plagued 2011 that caused her to miss Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. She'll take on the younger Azarenka for the 6th time in her career. Clijsters owns a 4-2 advantage in the series, but Azarenka won in straight sets last time the two played at the WTA Sony Ericsson Open in Miami last March. Azarenka, ranked 3rd in the world, has never advanced to a Grand Slam Final before. This will be her second career Grand Slam semifinal appearance having also played in the 2011 Wimbledon semis. Clijsters is in pursuit of her 8th career Grand Slam title.


How they got here:

Clijsters

1st - Maria Joao Koehler (Portugal) - 7-5, 6-1
2nd - Stephanie Foretz Gacon (France) - 6-0, 6-1
3rd - (20) Daniela Hantuchova (Slovakia) - 6-3, 6-2
4th - (15) Li Na (China) - 4-6, 7-6, 6-4
QF - (1) Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark) - 6-3, 7-6

Azarenka

1st - Heather Watson (Great Britain) - 6-1, 6-0
2nd - Casey Dellacqua (Australia) - 6-1, 6-0
3rd - Mona Barthel (Germany) - 6-2, 6-4
4th - Iveta Benesova (Czech Rep.) - 6-2, 6-2
QF - (8) Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland) - 6-7, 6-0, 6-2


(2) Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic) vs (4) Maria Sharapova (Russia)
Photo Credit: craighickmanontennis.blogspot.com
This is just the third time that these two players have met including last year's Wimbledon final that Kvitova won in straight sets 6-3, 6-4. Overall Kvitova has won 2 of the 3 meetings. Winner of the 2011 WTA Player of the Year Award, the Most Improved Player and the Czech Athlete of the Year Award, this is the farthest Kvitova has ever advanced at the Australian Open. Sharapova meanwhile won the Australian Open back in 2008, but the 2011 Wimbledon Final is the only Grand Slam Final she's been in since. Sharapova has 3 career Slam titles.



How they got here:

Kvitova

1st - Vera Dushevina (Russia) - 6-2, 6-0
2nd - Carla Suarez-Navarro (Spain) - 6-2, 2-6, 6-0
3rd - (27) Maria Kirilenko (Russia) - 6-0, 1-0, Retired
4th - (21) Ana Ivanovic (Serbia) - 6-2, 7-6
QF - Sara Errani (Italy) - 6-4, 6-4

Sharapova

1st - Gisela Dulko (Argentina) - 6-0, 6-1
2nd - Jamie Hampton (USA) - 6-0, 6-1
3rd - (30) Angelique Kerber (Germany) - 6-1, 6-2
4th - (14) Sabine Lisicki (Germany) - 3-6, 6-2, 6-3
QF - Ekaterina Makarova (Russia) - 6-2, 6-3

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Like Father Like Son

Photo Credit: rumorsandrants.com
Just like his father before him, Prince Fielder is going to be a Detroit Tiger. After seven seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers, Fielder has reportedly signed with the reigning AL Central Champs for nine years and $214 million. This is a great pickup for the Tigers who just lost their DH, Victor Martinez, for the season to an ACL tear and now are immediately able to fill the void he left and then some. Fielder, 27, will now be teamed up with Miguel Cabrera, 28, in the middle of the Tigers order for at least the next four seasons (Cabrera is signed through 2015) immediately giving Detroit's offensive capabilities a substantial boost. No disrespect to Martinez who hit .330 last year, but he can't do the things that Prince Fielder can do. Cecil's first year in Detroit he hit 51 home runs. Think Prince can top that?
Photo Credit: baseballhistorypodcast.com

Tuesday Trivia


Last week's question:

For all of Tom Brady's postseason accolades, the Divisional Round marked just the 4th time in 20 (now 21) career playoffs games that he's thrown for over 300 yards. The last two occurrences both came against the Denver Broncos. What two other teams has Brady thrown for 300 yards against during the postseason?

Answer:
Photo Credit: gabepress.wordpress.com
Brady eclipsed 300 yards in his playoff debut in the 'Tuck Rule Game' against the Raiders and then again in Super Bowl XXXVIII against the Carolina Panthers. Hard to believe that those two games plus the two Broncos games are it for Brady though as far as 300 yard performances go. I always thought he was a much more prolific postseason passer. I guess it just goes to show that when you win, no one really cares about your numbers. Here's a look at all of Brady's postseason performances thus far:

That works out to an average Brady playoff performance being 22 for 36 for 239 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception.

This week's question:
Photo Credit: whatsgoodington.com
Eli Manning and Tom Brady will face off against one another in a Super Bowl for the second time next weekend making it just the 3rd time in NFL history that there has been a rematch between starting quarterbacks in the Super Bowl. What two other sets of quarterbacks started against one another in multiple Super Bowls?

Weekly Top Tens - 1/24/12

NHL POINTS LEADERS

1. Evgeni Malkin - Pittsburgh - 58
2. Claude Giroux - Philadelphia - 55
3. Pavel Datsyuk - Detroit - 53
4. Steven Stamkos - Tampa Bay - 52
4. Marian Hossa - Chicago - 52
4. Joffrey Lupul - Toronto - 52
4. Henrik Sedin - Vancouver - 52
8. Phil Kessel - Toronto - 51
9. Jonathan Toews - Chicago - 50
9. Daniel Sedin - Vancouver - 50
9. Jason Spezza - Ottawa - 50



NHL TOP GOAL SCORERS

1. Steven Stamkos - Tampa Bay - 32
2. Jonathan Toews - Chicago - 27
3. Evgeni Malkin - Pittsburgh - 26
3. Phil Kessel - Toronto - 26
3. James Neal - Pittsburgh - 26
6. Scott Hartnell - Philadelphia - 25
6. Marion Gaborik - Rangers - 25
8. Milan Michalek - Ottawa - 23
9. Matt Moulson - Islanders - 22
9. Corey Perry - Anaheim - 22
9. Radim Vrbata - Phoenix - 22



FIFA MEN'S RANKINGS (1/18/12)

1. SPAIN
2. NETHERLANDS
3. GERMANY
4. URUGUAY
5. ENGLAND
6. BRAZIL
7. PORTUGAL
8. CROATIA
9. ITALY
10. ARGENTINA



FIFA WOMEN'S RANKINGS (12/23/11)

1. USA
2. GERMANY
3. JAPAN
4. BRAZIL
5. SWEDEN
6. FRANCE
7. CANADA
8. ENGLAND
9. KOREA DPR
10. AUSTRALIA



NCAA MEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL RANKINGS - AP Top 25
(Records through Sunday Night's Games)
*ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll in Parentheses

1. Kentucky 19-1 (1)
2. Missouri 18-1 (2)
3. Syracuse 20-1 (4)
4. Ohio State 17-3 (3)
5. Kansas 16-3 (5)
6. Baylor 17-2 (7)
7. North Carolina 16-3 (8)
8. Duke 16-3 (6)
9. Georgetown 16-3 (10)
10. Michigan State 16-4 (11)



NCAA WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL RANKINGS - AP Top 25
(Records through Sunday Night's Games)

1. Baylor 19-0
2. Notre Dame 19-1 
3. Connecticut 17-2
4. Stanford 17-1
5. Duke 16-2
6. Kentucky 18-2
7. Tennessee 14-4
8. Maryland 18-2
9. Ohio State 19-1
10. Miami (FL) 16-3



MEN'S TENNIS RANKINGS (1/16/12)

1. Novak Djokovic (Serbia) - 13630 points
2. Rafael Nadal (Spain) - 9595 points
3. Roger Federer (Switzerland) - 8010 points
4. Andy Murray (Great Britain) - 7380 points
5. David Ferrer (Spain) - 4925 points
6. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (France) - 4335 points
7. Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic) - 3700 points
8. Mardy Fish (USA) - 2965 points
9. Janko Tipsarevic (Serbia) - 2655 points
10. Nicolas Almagro (Spain) - 2380 points



WOMEN'S TENNIS RANKINGS (1/16/12)

1. Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark) - 7485 points
2. Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic) - 7290 points
3. Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) - 6865 points
4. Maria Sharapova (Russia) - 6440 points
5. Samantha Stosur (Australia) - 5585 points
6. Li Na (China) - 5570 points
7. Vera Zvonareva (Russia) - 5435 points
8. Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland) - 5330 points
9. Marion Bartoli (France) - 4710 points
10. Andrea Petkovic (Germany) - 4500 points



ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE LEADING SCORERS

1. Robin Van Persie (Netherlands) - Arsenal - 19
2. Demba Ba (Senegal) - Newcastle United - 15
3. Sergio Agüero (Argentina) - Manchester City - 14
4. Wayne Rooney (England) - Manchester United - 13
5. Yakubu Aiyegbeni (Nigeria) - Blackburn Rovers - 12
6. Edin Dzeko (Bosnia-Herzegovina) - Manchester City - 11
7. Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo) - Tottenham Hotspur - 9
7. Daniel Sturridge (England) - Chelsea - 9
7. Frank Lampard (England) - Chelsea - 9
7. Steven Fletcher (Scotland) - Wolverhampton - 9
7. Clint Dempsey (USA) - Fulham - 9
7. Mario Balotelli (Italy) - Manchester City - 9



LA LIGA (SPAIN) LEADING SCORERS

1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) - Real Madrid - 23
2. Lionel Messi (Argentina) - Barcelona - 22
3. Gonzalo Higuaín (Argentina) - Real Madrid - 14
3. Radamel Falco Garcia (Col.) - Valencia - 14
5. Roberto Soldado (Spain) - Valencia - 12
6. Karim Benzema (France) - Real Madrid - 10
7. Cesc Fábregas (Spain) - Barcelona - 9
8. Miguel Pérez Cuesta (Spain) - R. Vallecano - 8
8. Fernando Llorente (Spain) - Athletico Bilbao - 8
10. David Barral (Spain) - Sporting Gijon - 7
10. Alexis Sánchez (Chile) - Barcelona - 7



SERIE A (ITALY) LEADING SCORERS

1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden) - AC Milan - 14
1. Antonio Di Natale (Italy) - Udinese - 14
3. Germán Denis (Argentina) - Atalanta - 12
4. Edinson Cavani (Uruguay) - Napoli - 11
5. Miroslav Klose (Germany) - Lazio - 9
5. Stevan Jovetic (Montenegro) - Fiorentina - 9
5. Rodrigo Palacio (Argentina) - Genoa - 9
8. Diego Milito (Argentina) - Internazionale - 8
8. Sebastian Giovinco (Italy) - Parma - 8
8. Emanuele Calaiò (Italy) - Siena - 8



NBA LEADING SCORERS (points per game)

1. Kobe Bryant - Lakers - 30.5
2. LeBron James - Miami - 29.7
3. Kevin Durant - OKC - 25.7
4. Carmelo Anthony - New York - 25.7
5. Kevin Love - Minnesota - 24.9
6. Monta Ellis - Golden State - 23.1
7. LaMarcus Aldridge - Portland - 22.7
8. Blake Griffin - Clippers - 21.0
9. Russell Westbrook - OKC - 20.8
10. Chris Bosh - Miami - 20.5



NBA LEADING REBOUNDERS (per game)

1. Dwight Howard - Orlando - 16.0
2. Kevin Love - Minnesota - 13.9
3. Andrew Bynum - Lakers - 13.2
4. Blake Griffin - Clippers - 11.5
5. Anderson Varejao - Cleveland - 10.9
6. DeMarcus Cousins - Sacramento - 10.8
7. David Lee - New York - 10.7
8. Marc Gasol - Memphis - 10.6
9. Kris Humphries - New Jersey - 10.3
10. Roy Hibbert - Indiana - 9.9



2012 FEDEX CUP STANDINGS

1. Johnson Wagner (USA) - 783
2. Mark Wilson (USA) - 553
3. Steve Stricker (USA) - 530
4. Martin Laird (Scotland) - 355
5. Harrison Frazar (USA) - 289
6. Sean O'Hair (USA) - 238
7. Carl Pettersson (Sweden) - 210
8. John Mallinger (USA) - 208
8. Robert Garrigus (USA) - 208
10. Charles Howell III (USA) - 204

Out:Webb Simpson (11), Jonathan Byrd (14), D.A. Points (16)




Photo Credits (in order of appearance):


zimbio.com
zimbio.com
justsoccerjerseys.com 
palmbeachpost.com 
sports.desktopnexus.com
bleacherreport.com 
tennisnow.com
bbs.chinadaily.com.cn
zimbio.com
zimbio.com
zimbio.com
zimbio.com
zimbio.com
golf.com


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