Saturday, February 27, 2010

In a battle of two disappointing Big 12 men's teams, Texas Tech and Nebraska, the Red Raiders went on a 17-0 spurt (from down 16-19 to ahead 33-19; see play-by-play sheet), only to be one-upped by the Cornhuskers. Nebraska later went on an 18-0 run of its own, from down 47-37 to up 55-47. Neither team could handle prosperity, which perhaps tells us why they have six conference wins between them, but ultimately, the Huskers prevailed in double-overtime.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Brian Rafalski, a Michigan-born, University of Wisconsin-Madison educated, longtime NHL hockey player is known specifically for not having a hard shot. Yet, in recent Winter Olympic action, he scored four straight of the U.S. team's goals. Last Thursday, Rafalski scored the Americans' final two goals in a 6-1 rout of Norway. Then, in Sunday night's U.S. win over Canada, Rafalski scored the first two goals for the Red, White, and Blue. Not bad for someone who, at this interrupted point in the NHL season, has a total of four goals in 57 games!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Here are some recent runs of one team badly outscoring its opponent in basketball:

The Orlando Magic outscored the Boston Celtics 19-0 en route to a 96-89 win (Sunday).

The University of Texas women's basketball team went on two separate 19-2 runs against Texas Tech (from 14-17 down to 33-19 up; and in expanding a 60-45 lead to 79-47) in defeating the Lady Raiders, 81-51 (Sunday).

The Texas men were on the other end of a scoring burst, allowing Kansas to go on a 22-0 spurt, as part of an 80-68 Jayhawk win (Monday).

Monday, February 08, 2010

Some Hockey Items from the Weekend

I spent the weekend in Madison, Wisconsin, attending the Michigan-Wisconsin outdoor hockey game at Camp Randall football stadium. Given the temperature -- 16 degrees Fahrenheit by game's end -- it's safe to assume that cold hands (and other body parts) were the rule. I have ties to both schools, having received my Ph.D. at Michigan and twice served as a summer visiting professor at Wisconsin, so as soon as this special game was announced many months ago, I decided I had to be there! And, I took some photos as well, which you can click on to enlarge.

If I had to identify a hot-hand performance in the game, it would be the Badgers' Brendan Smith scoring two power-play goals in the game's final minutes, first to tie the game 2-2 with 5:32 remaining and then give Wisconsin the game-winner with 1:22 left. Truth be told, the Wolverines' penalty-killing seemed very poor; even on Badger power plays where they didn't score, Michigan rarely could clear the zone.

At the pro level, two NHL teams have major winning streaks. Thanks to a dramatic comeback win yesterday over Pittsburgh, the Washington Capitals have now been victorious in 14 straight games (game-by-game log), which is just three short of the league record of 17.

Also, the Los Angeles Kings have won nine straight, which is a franchise record. The Kings' history includes such all-time greats as Wayne Gretzky, Luc Robitaille, and Marcel Dionne; hence, it surprises me that today's lower-profile squad is the one setting the record.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

In Saturday NBA action, LeBron James scored 24 straight of his team's points in leading Cleveland to a win over New York. James's feat was reminiscent of something he did in a big 2007 playoff game.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

When the Michigan State and Wisconsin men's basketball teams take the court tonight at the Kohl Center in Madison (and in UW's following games), we'll get a chance to see if Badgers forward Keaton Nankivil can continue his recent hot stretch of three-point shooting.

Last Thursday at Purdue, Nankivil made an astonishing 7-of-8 from behind the arc. What makes this accomplishment so amazing is that in no previous game this season had Nankivil made more than two treys; further, in the 20 Badger games before the Purdue contest, he had attempted more than three three-pointers only four times (see page 15 of tonight's game notes).

Last year, Nankivil did have a game in which he shot 5-for-5 on threes (also against Purdue), which is all the more noteworthy because he made only nine shots from behind the arc in the 2008-09 season.

In part, Nankivil's increased shooting of late may be a response to teammate Jon Leuer's being out due to injury. Whether Nankivil can become a steady three-point threat, or is just showing signs of becoming college basketball's version of Hee-Seop Choi (a baseball player whose brief major-league career included one three-game series in which he hit six home runs) remains to be seen.