B’s Five Games to Watch #7


“White hashmark lines down the sideline of a green football field.” Photo provided by Unsplash.

Brendan Kapfer

Before I get into this week’s sports, I must address three subjects. Then, I will get into the fun sporting events we have lined up for the weekend.

First, I want to send my prayers and condolences to those affected by the tragic earthquake that hit Syria and Turkey this week. I feel hope that the areas affected can recover, although it will take time, and that those affected and those who survived can find the peace they need.

Now for the sports. I will start with comments made by UCONN women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma. He said when referring to how a player of his had bruises on her body after a game against South Carolina, “It’s not basketball anymore. I don’t know what it is, but it’s not basketball.” The response from South Carolina coach Dawn Staley on Tuesday was stark and she defended her players. In referring to her players she said, “They are always uplifting the game of women’s basketball, and when we were getting our heads beat in by UConn for all those years, I said nothing.”

Dawn Staley as she said has helped build the game into what it is today by supporting the sport as a whole and all teams relating to the women’s side of college basketball. She wore a sweatshirt during last year’s tournament that said “WBB vs. Everybody”, wbb meaning women’s college basketball. Her and Pat Summit are two of the biggest uplifters of the game and have both taken it to new heights. UCONN has been known to be one of the most physical teams in women’s basketball which has led to their success so it is pretty rich coming from Geno to say what he did. He also has taken the game to new heights, but that being siad, he has to be more mindful and more respectful of other teams’ success. This is no way to build the women’s game so I hope the sport can grow from this.

Last of all, amazingly, Lebron (King) James broke the scoring record for most points scored by an NBA player on Tuesday night and cemented his status as one of the best and most dominant athletes in a sport. From the time I started watching sports, I loved Lebron, and despite hating the Heat and the Lakers, I can’t help but celebrate the greatness that we have witnessed for the past twenty years.

Instead of debating who is the greatest of all time right now, let’s celebrate the greatness that we can witness while Lebron still plays. He named himself the king twenty years ago, and depending on who you ask, the crown has fit ever since he came into the league. Now, not only does a crown of a king suit him, but so does throne that he has chased. Lebron has been an icon for his play on the court as well as his good deeds off the court. He has been the depiction of what the face of the sport should be for the last twenty years.

Now for this weekend. From the field to the court to the ice we have nothing, but fun and exciting sporting events lined up for this weekend. The Super Bowl is always monumental but the other four games I have listed this week should not be lost in the crowd. College basketball (men’s and women’s) steps one week closer to the NCAA Tournament, just as the NHL (National Hockey League) and NBA step closer to the playoffs of their season. What a time to be a sports fan.

1. Kansas City Chiefs vs. Philadelphia Eagles on FOX at 6:30 on Sunday – You know the teams. You know the quarterbacks. You know the records. Or, maybe you don’t – it’s okay if you don’t, because I am here to break down what to watch in the Super Bowl (not the halftime shows or the commercials which also will surely excite.

The Kansas City Chiefs play the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday and both teams have records of sixteen wins and three losses. Patrick Mahomes plays as a quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs, has already been to two Super Bowls, and has led a comeback of double digits in the fourth quarter in one of them. Jalen Hurts plays quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles and although he has not made it to super bowl, he led his college, Alabama, to a national championship.

The Eagles’ defense has had solid defense, but got overshadowed with the impressive a weak link on that side of the ball yet to be seen. Kansas City plays the same way, although they seem a bit more balanced and have had trouble with health at the wide receiver position. Both teams’ offenses have put up the same offensive numbers during the playoffs which makes this match up so intriguing.

With both offenses so talented, this match up comes down to one key: defense. A defensive stop in this game will certainly buckle down to a touchdown in other games. Both defenses have been suspect at times this season, although they have stepped up when needed.

The Chiefs have given up forty points in the postseason  twenty points to each team  going up against two offenses with firepower in the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Cincinnati Bengals. They held the Jaguars speedy and young offense at bay with their quarterback out of the game and stopped a very dangerous Bengals team to just twenty points, despite them having every threat available and quarterback Joe Burrow getting really hot in the third quarter. Their defense needs to be more consistent Sunday because a lack of consistency will be very costly against the Eagles’ flammable offense.

The three games I am going to judge the Eagles defense are the New York Giants games (their regular season finale and their playoff matchup in the second round) and their late regular season game against the Dallas Cowboys. I am not judging their game against San Francisco because the 49ers played without three quarterbacks on the depth chart for almost the entire duration of the game. Against the Cowboys they gave up almost three hundred fifty passing yards to a quarterback who threw the most interceptions in the league despite not playing in five games. That defense came back two weeks later and beat a Giants team without their quarterback by six points at home with the division on the line. The next time they played the Giants in Philly (two weeks later) the Giants were not able to do a thing on offense. The Eagles defense redeemed and proved themselves against the Giants, and showed they are legit.

Both teams arevery similar so this will be a very entertaining game. If normally you do not find yourself interested in the football aspect of the game, give the Super Bowl the benefit of the doubt. The best teams, on the biggest stage, for the best American trophy we are in for a treat Sunday night.

2. #14 Baylor Bears vs #17 TCU Horned Frogs on Saturday at 4:00 on ESPN2 – My love for the Baylor Bears is no secret to any friend of mine that watches college basketball. They just play such good defense and such disciplined basketball. They almost made it last year to the sweet sixteen of the NCAA Tournament despite having three starters out for the tournament. This year they have not been as good as they have been in recent years but that is because they were in the top five in both of those years, including winning a championship. This season they went on a three-game losing streak at the very beginning of the year, but they have bounced back strongly, losing just one game since January 7th. The loss came against the now number five ranked team in the country on the road, the Texas Longhorns.

This game will be Baylor’s first road game since that loss and coming against a superb, yet desperate TCU squad will be no easy task. TCU is looking to respond after a bad road loss against Kansas State where they lost by twenty and were never really in the game. The Horned Frogs have lost three out of their last five games and if they want to stay in the hunt for the Big 12 title which they are two games back of. They need this win to stay in the conversation as a national title contender, as does Baylor. Humongous Big 12 matchup this weekend, this must see tv. If you want more college basketball content you should check out my column, the Madness Before March in the Globe.

3. Warriors vs Lakers on Saturday at 8:30 on ABC – The Golden State Warriors have been up and down all season. Far from consistent in their health, meaning they were far from consistent in their play on the court. The Lakers have also been far from consistent but have been in a slump for quite some time. I have already discussed King James breaking the scoring title this week, but the Lakers made a lot of noise this week off the court as well, making a big splash before the trade deadline. The Lakers traded a struggling Russell Westbrook to the Utah Jazz and acquired a hot DeAngelo Russell along with a succeeding Malik Beasley who has helped the Jazz stay relevant, who traded away all of their stars before the season.

Both teams have been underperforming for this entire season, with the Golden State Warriors being the defending champs yet finding themselves fighting to stay in the play-in tournament whereas the Lakers are fighting to get into the play-in tournament. Both teams coming into the season were among the favorites to win the western conference so this game will be crucial to either team to build a team that can become a real playoff team. The Warriors are one and a half games away from an automatic playoff spot and the Lakers are two games away from a play-in tournament spot and four and a half games away from an automatic playoff spot. Both teams need this game, so this is a must-watch game for all of the basketball fans out there.

4. #1 South Carolina vs. #3 LSU on Sunday at 2:00 on ESPN – Two undefeated teams remain, in all of college basketball, men’s or women. There is no reason why LSU should be #3 considering they have won every game in front of them and have the runaway favorite for the MVP in Angel Reese. This game should be between the top two teams in the nation, but I digress. Both teams have chips on their shoulders because teams like Stanford and UCONN normally get all the attention that these teams deserve. Despite this being the first time these teams see each other this season, I highly doubt it will be the last.

South Carolina is coming off two hard fought wins in the past week including one on the road against the fifth ranked team in the country in UCONN. LSU In their last two games have really battled to keep their undefeated record alive but because of these two games they have earned the respect of women’s college basketball fans. Angel Reese in her last game against Texas A&M had twenty-two rebounds and twenty-six points. The only player in the country putting up numbers anywhere close to what Angel has is Aliyah Boston and she plays for South Carolina and will be matched up against Reese. Game of the year for the women’s game, will hopefully introduce people who don’t watch women’s college to the wonderful game it is.

5. Caps Vs Bruins at 3:30 on Saturday on ESPN– The Bruins have been hot. Not just this week, this month or during the new year. They have been hot for the entire season, losing just twelve games out of fifty-one on the season and just seven without going to overtime. Last year, the Florida Panthers set a record for most points in a single NHL season, and fifty-one games in they had eight less points than the Boston Bruins do now (eighty-three). They have been so good, and have shown themselves to be the contenders, the favorites, the runaway favorites at that to win the Eastern Conference of the NHL.

The Capitals have not been so hot and have held on to their wild card spot for quite a while. They are now being chased by the Pittsburgh Penguins who have won four out of the last five games and in their loss, they still managed to gain a point because the game went to overtime. The Islanders are also hot on their tail, being two points behind the Caps with the new addition of Bo Horvat are going to be a threat to the Caps playoff hopes. They have been off since the all-star break, and hopefully they can go on a run with some consistent success because they have had four wins and six losses in their last ten games. The pressure is on and a win on Saturday will show they can manage it and more.

Not one game this weekend does not have the sports nerd in me totally geeked out. This time of year, always excites me and it doesn’t just end with the Super Bowl. It only gets better from here on out and I will continue to make sure you know what the exciting sports games are each week. Have a great and safe weekend and I will see you next week.