The current nature of the NCAA, its athletes, and its coaches is one of greed and scandal. Basketball and football are the two biggest culprits of greed and scandal. Look no further than the State of New Jersey and the State of Connecticut. The highest paid state employee in Connecticut is UConn men's head basketball coach Jim Calhoun. This might surprise some people but the highest paid state employee in New Jersey is Rutgers head football coach Greg Schiano. These schools are huge cash cows and, especially in the case of UConn, generate millions of dollars for the school and state.
Outside of the greed, the NCAA has seen too many scandals in recent years. In 2011 alone, the NCAA saw Ohio State football violate numerous rules about players receiving improper benefits, former and current Penn State coaches and administrators caught in a web of child molestation charges, and Syracuse basketball caught in a child molestation case that occurred on a Syracuse road trip. In light of all of these incidents, it is no surprise that many people have lost faith in the NCAA- administrators, coaches, and athletes. Then along comes a story like that of Mark Richt, head football coach at the University of Georgia, that restores one’s faith in the people involved in the NCAA but, at the same time, shakes your trust in the NCAA and its regulations.
Good morning! Hump day Steak and Eggs!
The Flyers travel to Dallas tonight to take on the Stars at 7:30 on Versus. The Flyers might get their star center, Claude Giroux, back in the lineup for tonight’s game. More here.
The Sixers wrapped up their home and home preseason series with the Wizards last night with a 101-94 victory at the Wells Fargo Center. They are slated to open their season Monday in Portland against the Trail Blazers. More here.
Ohio State football is back in the news again for off the field issues. The NCAA, surprisingly, issued a one year bowl ban in response to the violations of improper player benefits last spring. More here.
LSU head coach Les Miles has won the AP National Coach of the Year award for coach the LSU Tigers to the Number 1 overall seed, a 13-0 record, and a spot in the BCS National Championship Game on January 9th. More here.
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The Flyers, on the heels of good news from Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux, came into tonight’s game against the Avalanche with a lot of energy. Claude Giroux skated with the team at practice yesterday but is still out indefinitely. The Flyers received news that Sean Couturier does not have a concussion but is sore from taking a puck to the head Saturday. Despite the 6-0 loss to the Bruins on Saturday, the Flyers had spunk at the beginning of the game. It was a relatively fluid period with only two total penalties, one a piece, getting called before Gabriel Landeskog, the second overall pick in last June’s draft, took a high sticking double minor with 2:44 remaining. The Flyers capitalized. Jaromir Jagr found Jakub Voracek on the opposite side of the ice who, when the defense over pursued him, found Scott Hartnell standing in front of the net, uncovered. Hartnell did not miss and put the Flyers up 1-0 with his sixteenth of the year. Hartnell’s sixteen goals ties him with Claude Giroux for the team lead in goals. Hartnell only had 24 goals last year and only 14 in 2009-2010.
The second period was a little different. The momentum the Flyers had built in the first period had tilted in favor of the Avalanche. With the exception of a Marc-Andre Bourdon penalty in the first five minutes, the Flyers and Aves played a back and forth second period until the Aves got on the board. With seven and a half minutes remaining, Shane O’Brien found Landeskog who made a nice move on Ilya Bryzgalov in the crease to tie the game. The goal was concerning because it involved a lackluster back checking performance by Flyers center Danny Briere. With forty three seconds remaining in the second period, Brad Malone sent a pass that went off Flyers rookie Tom Sestito’s skate then off of Avalanche forward T..J. Galiardi’s skate and beat Bryzgalov five hole. A fluky goal that was surprising the pass even made it on net. The Flyers trailed 2-1 heading into the third.
Starting out slowly, the third period was one of many shifts in momentum. The Flyers controlled the zone for the first few shifts, followed by the Avs getting the puck deep in the Flyers zone and grinding a little with their lead. In the second half of the third, the Avs took a 2 minute minor, when Jakub Voracek turned his back to the ice and backed into an Avs player, drawing a interference penalty. However, the Flyers looked very unorganized on the power play and were having a difficult time even pushing the puck into the offensive zone, They were able to set up and run their offense twice, but both possessions ended with no shots. Still down one goal, Bryzgalov left the ice with around 50 seconds left. The Flyers offense was pushing and finally go the puck in deep behind Jean-Sebastian Giguere. The puck came around to the left side of the net, where Giggy thought he had it in his sights and was trying to cover it up to get a faceoff. However, the puck was poked behind the net where it was scooped up by Danny Briere. Briere brought the puck around to the right side of the net, the referee jumping over his stick, and stuffed the puck into the net on a wrap around goal to tie the game at 2 with 18.1 seconds left. (The goal was credited to Wayne Simmonds, however, replay showed that Briere scored the goal.) After the goal, both teams received roughing penalties, which made the start of OT three on three hockey.
The OT period started with the Flyers 3 man line dominating possession. The Flyers were able to put a few shots on Giggy, but to no avail. The remaining 3 minutes of the overtime period was a back and forth with both teams getting a few good chances, but nothing came of them.
Going into the shootout, the Avs had won 16 of their last 17. Jean-Sebastian Giguere owned a save percentage of 75% in shootouts, while Bryz was in his 1st shootout of the year, and as a Flyer. Milan Hejduk was first for the Avs, he took the puck right in on Bryz. Hejduk went glove side, Bryz read it but just missed, and the puck trickled into the net. 1-0 Colorado. First for the Flyers, Danny Briere. Danny stick handled in close on Gigggy, used patience and went backhand low, squeezing the 3 inch diameter puck into about 4 inches of space. 1-1. Twenty year old Matt Duchene was next for Colorado. Duchene faked a shot, got Bryz to bite, then went five-hole. 2-1 Colorado. Flyers then sent in James van Riemsdyk, who had never been in a shoot out in his short NHL career. JVR went straight on Giggy, faked forehand and went top shelf with a backhand to knot up the shootout. 2-2. Colorado sent in Ryan O'Reilly, who went at Bryzgalov with speed and buried a wrister top shelf. 3-2. Flyers again sent in a player who had never been in a shootout, rookie Matt Read. Read skated in went top shelf, beat Giggy, but hit the cross bar, no goal. Colorado wins the shootout 3-2.
Althought the Flyers walk out of Colorado with a loss, the fight they showed att he end was good enough to get them a point. Also, their five game road win streak comes to an End. Next game for the orange and black is Wednesday, 7:30 at Dallas Stars. Also, don't forget to tune into HBO Wednesday at 10pm to see "24/7 Flyers Ranger" Episode 2.
The 6-8 Eagles are not out of the playoff hunt! When the Eagles fell to 4-8 with a 31-14 loss in Seattle on December 1st, the Eagles were all but dead and buried. With two wins, one sloppy 26-10 win over the Miami Dolphins and another strong 45-19 performance against the New York Jets, the Eagles have moved their way back into the playoff talk.
Entering yesterday, the Dallas Cowboys had already won over the Tampa Bay Bucs. If the Lions lost all of their remaining games and the Eagles won their remaining games, they could take over the Wild Card spot. But Matthew Stafford lead a 99 yard game winning drive against the Raiders with two minutes to go in the game to beat the Silver and Black 28-27 to move to 9-5 on the year. So the thought of the Eagles potentially grabbing a Wild Card spot ended at about 7:30 pm last night.
So here is the scenario for the Eagles to make the playoffs:
1. Saturday (12/24): Jets beat Giants at MetLife Stadium (1:00 pm on Fox)
2. Saturday (12/24): Eagles beat Cowboys in Dallas (4:15 pm on Fox)
If the Jets and Eagles win Saturday, then….
1. Sunday (1/1): Eagles beat Redskins in Philadelphia (1:00 pm on Fox)
2. Sunday (1/1): Giants beat Cowboys in New Jersey (1:00 pm on Fox)
If all of this plays out, the Eagles would win the NFC East and make the playoffs. There is a lot that needs to happen but to summarize. The Eagles need to win their remaining two games. The Cowboys need to lose their remaining two games. The Giants need to lose to the Jets on Saturday and beat the Cowboys on New Years Day.
The NHL’s best road team skates in Denver tonight when the Philadelphia Flyers take on the Colorado Avalanche. The Eastern Conference leading Flyers (20-8-3, 43 points) face off against the Avalanche (15-17-1, 31 points), who are in 13th place in the West, tonight at the Pepsi Center. The Flyers had their six game with streak snapped Saturday at the hands of the Boston Bruins. The Flyers are winners of eight of their last ten. The Avalanche have won five of ten but boast a mere 9-9-0 record at home this season.
The loss of Chris Pronger and Claude Giroux due to concussions has been well documented over the past week for the Flyers. A bit of good news came out of Denver yesterday when Claude Giroux skated and practiced lightly with the team. Giroux is still out indefinitely and is not expected back until after the Christmas holiday.
Giroux’s replacement, rookie Sean Couturier, took a puck to the head in Saturday’s loss at Boston and was taken to Pennsylvania hospital. Couturier was released on Sunday and is not expected to join the team in Denver. With Giroux and Couturier out, the Flyers have recalled Colorado native Ben Holmstrom, who has played in one game this year for the Flyers.
Despite giving up five goals in Saturday’s 6-0, Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov will get the start between the pipes tonight in Denver.
As for the Avalanche, they are coming off of a 2-1 win over the struggling Washington Capitals Saturday. They have won two of their last three and their last five games at home. The Avalanche have primarily played Semyon Varlamov (10-13-1, 3.14 GAA) in net but backup J.S. Giguere (5-4-0, 1.86 GAA) played well in the win over the Capitals. Varlamov is expected to get the start tonight.
Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson, former top overall pick, has a three game point streak entering tonight’s game, including his first goal of the year against the Capitals on Staurday.
The puck drops at 9 pm at the Pepsi Center in Denver. The game can be seen on television on Comcast Sportsnet and on the radio on 94.1 WIP.
Yesterday was an incredibly big day for Philly's Big 5 there was some news out of La Salle, Temple traveled down to Texas in a nationally televised game, and of course the Holy War took place for the first time ever at St. Joe's Hagan Arena.
St Joe's beat down the visiting Wildcats 74-58, exploding after holding only a three point lead at the half. The Hawks were led by their backcourt (and their leading scorers), in Langston Galloway and Carl Jones. Galloway dropped 20 points while dishing out 6 assists, while Jones chipped in 15 points and 4 assists. The game was marked by highlight reel plays made by sophomore big man, and Plymouth Whitemarsh product, C.J. Aiken. Aiken showed his shot blocking prowess by knocking away 4 Wildcat shots, and helped blow the game open with a thunderous second half slam. As good as St. Joe's looked, Nova looked terrible. They shot only 33% from the field, while going 5 for 27 from outside the arc (18%). Guard Maalik Wayns was the only Wildcat in double figures with 19 points; however, he shot a total of 8 for 25 from the field. St Joe's improves to 8-3, while Vilanova falls to 6-5. The St. Joe's win eliminates Nova from a chance at the Big 5 title. The winner will by St Joe's, La Salle, or Temple--most likely which ever one wins out in the remaining city rivalry games. Villanova is back in action on Thursday night as they host American at the Pavilion, while St. Joe's hosts Coppin State on Wednesday.
Temple was on the road yesterday playing a young, but very talented Texas squad. Texas was able to wear down the injury plagued Owls, defeating them 77-65 despite a 3 point Temple lead at half time. Temple was led by Norristown high school graduate Khalif Wyatt who shot better than 50% from the field, contributing 24 points. The Owls generally superior defense wore down against the bigger more physical Longhorns in the second half. Role player Clint Chapman had 7 points while grabbing 13 rebounds against the undersized Owls. Also, C.J. Aiken's former high school teammate Jaylen Bond had 12 points for Texas. The Owls fall to 6-3 on the year and travel to Rice on Monday night.
News came out of 20th and Olney on Friday that redshirt freshman center Matt Lopez would be leaving the team for personal reasons. His decision to transfer frees up a scholarship spot on the Explorers that according to sources has already been filled by sophomore guard Tyrone Garland who is transferring from Virginia Tech. Garland was averaging 4.6 points in less than 10 minutes per game with his season high of 18 coming against Monmouth. The Explorers are back in action on Monday when they travel to play Delaware.
The only Big 5 team not to make any news this week was the Penn Quakers. Penn was dormant during this weekend, and hosts Marist on Friday at the Palestra after a 13 day break.
When a team has won seven straight games, it is difficult to say they have had a “rough” time of late. Well, in the Flyers case, that is exactly what has happened. One week ago, the Claude Giroux took a knee from Wayne Simmonds in the Flyers 5-2 victory over the Lightning. It was announced Tuesday during their 5-1 win over the Capitals that Giroux will be out indefinitely with a concussion. During Thursday night’s 4-3 victory over the Canadiens, the team announced that captain Chris Pronger will be out the remainder of the regular season and playoffs. Today, the Boston Bruins came into the Flyers last game at the Wells Fargo Center in 2011 and absolutely handled them. In addition to the 6-0 loss, the team also lost Claude Giroux’s replacement, Sean Couturier, to a head injury when he was hit with a shot from the point off the stick of Kimmo Timonen.
Sources are confirming that the Phillies have resigned shortstop Jimmy Rollins to a three year deal with a fourth year vesting option. CSNPhilly’s Jim Sailsbury is reporting that the deal is worth $33 million. Rollins was reportedly asking for a five year deal and thought he could get it on the open market. With Alex Gonzalez signing in Milwaukee, Rafael Furcal in St. Louis, Jose Reyes in Miami and the San Francisco Giants never showing an real interest, Rollins was virtually out of options and lost most of his leverage as Jerry Crasnick confirmed a week ago today.
Rollins stays with the same organization that drafted him in 1996 and, once again, Ruben Amaro, Jr. gets his way.
Today is the day in which the biggest rivalry in one of the most sacred college basketball cities takes place. Today is the day. Today is the Holy War. The Saint Joseph’s University Hawks (7-3) take on the Villanova University Wildcats (6-4). These teams have met sixty eight times since their first matchup on January 15, 1921. But tonight’s game is unlike any of the other sixty eight meetings between the two teams. Tonight marks the first time that Villanova will play St. Joe’s on campus. The game, which starts at 8pm at Hagan Arena and can be seen on CBS Sports and heard on 610 WIP, is the biggest game played at the newly renovated Hagan Arena since its reopening in fall 2009.
Villanova is 44-24 all time in the rivalry and have won the last three meetings including last year’s 11 point victory at the Pavillion. The last time that SJU beat Villanova was on February 4, 2008 when SJU lead by as many as 31 and defeated the Wildcats 77-55. Villanova enters the game coming off a 25 point victory over the Boston University Terriers. Nova is off a rocky start with losses to #10 Missouri, Big 5 rival Temple, A10 member St. Louis, and Santa Clara. Villanova is lead by junior Philadelphia guard (Roman Catholic) Maalik Wayns (17.8 PPG) and junior center Mouphtaou Yarou (15.0 PPG).
Saint Joseph’s enters the game coming off two straight wins including a nine point victory over #17 Creighton last Saturday at Hagan Arena. After the victory, SJU received five votes in the ESPN/USA Today Poll for the first time since 2007-2008. SJU enters as one of the youngest teams in the country with no seniors and only two juniors. The team is lead by junior guard Carl “Tay” Jones (19.4 PPG) and sophomore guard Langston Galloway (15.6 PPG) along with C.J. Aiken, who leads the nation in blocks with 4.8 per game.
As for the game, I think the two teams matchup well. Both teams always bring their best when it comes to the Holy War which makes it so hard to predict. With the strong defense of Saint Joseph’s and a strong post presence for the first time since Ahmad Nivins in Halil Kanacevic, I think Saint Joseph’s is able to compete for a full forty minutes. Villanova is not at the top of their game coming into the game and the rowdy fans of Hagan Arena are certainly going to play a factor in the outcome. If SJU ca
Prediction: Saint Joseph’s- 63 Villanova- 57
Quote of the Day:
"You don't get to the moon by climbing a tree."