The Reds, fresh off of taking 2 of 3 from the defending NL Central Champion Milwaukee Brewers, the Cincinnati Reds return home to start a 3 game series with the Nats. The Reds won Wednesday even though Brewers pitcher Zach Greinke was simply dominant. As I said yesterday on Dayton Sports Scene, that was a game this team would have lost in 2011...maybe not in 2012?
The Reds play a ton of close games, always seem to every season. Its whether they can win those close games...that's what will determine whether this team makes the playoffs, or could even maybe advance. Johnny Cueto kept the club in it, and the offense took advantage when the opportunity came around.
This team needs to get the Big 3 bats going if they are going to win the division. Jay Bruce is killing it now, Joey Votto is hitting well, and Brandon Phillips, well, isnt. The Reds will win when they all contribute like they should. If Mat Latos gets in line behind Cueto as the #2, things will start to fall into place. Im not sure 2012 will result in a playoff appearance, but its in the cards for the Reds in the very near future.
Two of the things I love about sports, Top 10 lists and the NCAA Tournament. Now, I get to do both! Here are my Top 10 College Basketball programs, as of right now...and why
1. Kentucky: The hottest of recuiting hotbeds, and a loaded roster to boot. Could be cutting down Calipari's 1st Championship nets on Monday
2. North Carolina: Roy Williams brings in the talent in truckloads, and has the Heels as a perennial #1...a healthy squad this
year might have won it all
3. Kansas: Another blue blood of college basketball that is an NBA waiting room. 8 straight Big XII titles shows Bill Self abilities
4. Duke: Coach K is still there, so they are a team to recognize. Austin Rivers makes the programs 4th one-and-done in the K era
5. Michigan State: Again, Tom Izzo is still there, so they are a contender. They dont bring in the Zach Randolphs and Jason Richardsons as much anymore, but they still bring in the talent...and win a lot of games...in March!
6. Ohio State: Thad Matta has talent coming to Columbus this program has never seem before. Oden and Sullinger were HS players of the Year. It has helped that Ohio and Indiana have pumped out so much HS talent lately
7. Syracuse: Boeheim is a magician on the recruiting trail. His team had a 31-2 regular season in 2012, and have a stacked, young roster. Early entry has hit Syracuse as hard as any other school over the years
8. Florida: Still living off back to back titles in the late 2000's, but Billy D has the Gators chomping again. Bradley Beal was a monster recruit, and more seem to keep coming to a school that once bragged about Vernon Maxwell...things are better now!
9. UConn: I know, they are a bit low for being the defending Natl. Champions, but tough times have hit Storrs in recent months. A tough 2012 gives way to a 2013 season w/o a possibility of the NCAA Tournament. Did I mention tough times in Storrs?
10. Baylor: The new kids on this block, the Bears have skyrocketed into a top program. Scott Drew can recruit, including many people's top player in the class of 2012 Isaiah Austin. Elite 8 runs in 2 of the last 3 seasons have earned Baylor my respect.
Tonight, the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Cincinnati Bearcats play in Sweet 16 action in the 2012 Men's NCAA Tournament. These are 2 of the 4 Ohio schools remaining the Tournamnet, a first for a single state. Dispite the success, these schools rarely play...but they arent the only ones.
A question was posed to Buckeye Head Coach Thad Matta, on his Call-In Show last Monday, about why these Ohio schools dont play more often. His response was simply that these schools are all in different conferences...though we all know there is more to the story. As a note, he did mention OU and OSU played in a scrimmage earlier on in the season.
The reason is recruiting and in state bragging rights. Its seen as a bigger loss for the largeer school if they were to be beaten, tahn anything they could gain by winning. The same reason the UNiv of Dayton gives Wright State the cold shoulder in scheduling, Ohio State does the same to UC, and many others. Ohio State played just two games against schools in Ohio...Wright State and Miami (OH).
Nothing will change it...not public pressure or public officials...its called the order of things. To get those games annually, you have to earn them...and that is only determined by the larger school
Kasey Kahne wins the Spring Cup race at Phoenix: #4 Kasey Kahne won the “Kolbat Tooks 500k” Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway for his 12th career win, 1st of the season and first in 81 races, since Atlanta in Sept. 2009. It is Kasey Kahne's first win in a Toyota after 11 wins in a Dodge. Kahne becomes the 18th different race winner in 2011. It is the first win for a car #4 since the late Bobby Hamliton won in the #4 Chevy at Martinsville on April 20, 1998.
#99 Carl Edwards finished 2nd followed by #14 Tony Stewart, #31 Jeff
Burton, #39 Ryan Newman, #43 A.J. Allmendinger, #00 David Reutimann, #9 Marcos Ambrose, #27 Paul Menard and #33 Clint Bowyer.
#99 Carl Edwards still leads the Chase by 3 points over #14 Tony Stewart with one race to go, all other drivers are out of Chase contention.
There were 14 lead changes among 7 drivers and 8 cautions for 30 yellow flag laps.
The Battle between the "Duck & Smoke"...Who with be The 2011 Sprint Cup Champ?
2011 Sprint Cup Driver Championship Chase Points Standings:
[after Phoenix, race 35 of 36 and Chase race 9 of 10]
1) #99-Carl Edwards [1 win], 2359
2) #14-Tony Stewart [4 wins], 2356, -3 These drivers below are officially eliminated from the Csase:
3) #29-Kevin Harvick [4 wins], 2308, -51
4) #2-Brad Keselowski [3 wins], 2294, -65
5) #48-Jimmie Johnson [2 wins], 2291, -68
6) #17-Matt Kenseth [3 wins], 2289, -70
7) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. [0 wins], 2257, -102
8) #22-Kurt Busch [2 wins], 2252, -107
9) #39-Ryan Newman [1 win], 2252, -107
10) #11-Denny Hamlin [1 win], 2249, -110 top 10 go to the banquet in Vegas
11) #24-Jeff Gordon [3 wins], 2247, -112
12) #18-Kyle Busch [4 wins], 2224, -135
Sam Hornish wins the Nationwide Series race at Phoenix: #12 Sam Hornish, Jr. won the “WYPALL 200” at Phoenix International Raceway for his first NASCAR win. #22 Brad Keselowski finished second followed by #60 Carl Edwards, #18 Joey Logano, #6 Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., #16 Trevor Bayne, #33 Clint Bowyer, #20 Ryan Truex, #31 Justin Allgaier, #62 Michael Annett. #2 Elliott Sadler, second in the points, was wrecked late in the race and finished 27th. #6-Ricky Stenhouse will enter the final race of the season with a 41 point lead. There were 7 cautions for 44 laps and 2 lead changes among 3 leaders.