As college basketball winds down and the NBA and NHL are closer to the postseason, the shocks of the weekend will soon lose some of its options. But never fear, because baseball season is here and it looks to be a tremendous season after only one day of limited action and Opening Day taking place on Monday.
10. Villanova sets Final Four record
The beginning of the Final Four matchup between No. 2 Villanova and No. 2 Oklahoma went as expected, with Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield striking early. By the time the final buzzer sounded, Villanova had earned itself an easy 95-51 victory that set a record for the largest margin of victory in Final Four history.
9. North Carolina ends Syracuse’s run
The Tar Heels flexed their muscle on Saturday against No. 10 seed Syracuse, putting an end to the deep Orange run in the NCAA Tournament that not many expected. North Carolina now faces a strong Villanova squad in the National Championship game on Monday evening. Expect the scoreboard to light up when these two meet, but remember the championship game is on TBS this year.
8. Royals begin their World Series defense
In what was supposed to be one of the best games on Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN, the Kansas City Royals faced Matt Harvey and the New York Mets. Some suspect defense by Mets’ outfielder Yoenis Cespedes led to an early Royals’ run, and Kansas City never looked back. Harvey was out pitched by Edinson Volquez, and the Royals hung on for a 4-3 win.
7. Liriano dazzles vs. Cardinals
Francisco Liriano got the Opening Day nod for the Pittsburgh Pirates and he did not disappoint. He picked up the win after pitching six innings, only allowing three hits to go with five walks and 10 strikeouts. If he can continue to pitch like he did in his first start of 2016, the Pirates could give the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals some stiff competition for the NL Central title.
6. Blue Jays and Rays don’t disappoint in opener
Chris Archer had 12 strikeouts in five innings, but the Rays’ starting pitcher was in the shadow of the Blue Jays’ Marcus Stroman. The Blue Jays starter went eight innings and looked dominant until late in the game when the Rays started a comeback that fell short in a 5-3 loss to Toronto. Archer became only the second MLB pitcher to have multiple Opening Day starts with at least 10 strikeouts, joining Seattle’s Felix Hernandez.
5. Leicester City shocking the Premier League
Last season, the Foxes were only seven points from the relegation zone at this point of the season, but 2016 has brought a change of fortune for the club. Leicester City find themselves at the top of the Premier League table and have a seven point lead for the title. If Jamie Vardy and Co. can continue their impressive play, they will have made the most dramatic turnaround in league history.
4. Patrick Kane leading the Blackhawks
Kane had somewhat of a rocky preseason with rape allegations being tossed around with his name, but he has put in an exceptional 2015-16 season so far. Kane scored a hat trick and added an assist in the Blackhawks 6-4 win over the Boston Bruins on Sunday, and became the first American-born player to tally 100 points in a season since Doug Weight did it in 1995-95. The right winger has 43 goals, 57 assists and a plus/minus of 16 this season.
3. Warriors’ home streak snapped
As the Golden State Warriors continue their run at a season-record 73 wins, another historical run came to an end. The Boston Celtics ended the Warriors’ 53-game home winning streak on Friday, but are still on track to at least tie the ’95-96 NBA-record 72 wins in a season. The Warriors also made some more NBA history this weekend: Becoming the first NBA team to make 1,000 3-pointers in a season.
2. Nevada wins CBI Championship
Nevada overcame Morehead State in overtime on Friday night (85-82) and won the CBI Championship. It is the first-ever postseason championship for the Wolf Pack and the first for the Mountain West Conference. While it isn’t an NCAA Championship, it is a postseason championship for Nevada in Eric Musselman’s first year as head coach, and primes Nevada for a big 2016-17 season with several new names on the roster. An NCAA Tournament run is not out of the question for this team in the near future, and the rest of the Mountain West should be worried.
1. Diamondbacks’ A.J. Pollock fractures elbow
In one of the last games of spring training for Arizona, they lost their starting center fielder to a fractured elbow after he slid headfirst into home plate. With the injury to Pollock, the Diamondbacks lose one of the best outfielders in all of baseball as they look to fight for the NL West crown. There is no timetable for his return, but both Pollock and the Diamondbacks hope that it is this season.