Ray Jr on Sports

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  1. College Basketball’s Final Four will take place for the right for 2 teams to play in the National Championship. I have to admit, it’s pretty intriguing.
  2. #1 seed North Carolina will face #10 Syracuse-in their 4th ACC matchup of the season-which will also guarantee at least one ACC team in the championship.
  3. Meanwhile the other 2 teams are a pair of #2 seeds in Oklahoma & Villanova. The Sooners, probably the 3rd best team in the Big 12, will face a Wildcat team who was ranked #1 a few times this season. This Big East favorite evokes memories of the team who won the 1985 National Title when they upset John Thompson and Patrick Ewing-led Georgetown.
  4. I mentioned this before, but I believe that North Carolina and Villanova will win this round and play Monday night for the title. If it happens, that will be an epic game.
  5. As for the Pitt Panthers as they’re adjusting to their new HC in Kevin Stallings, they were able to retain at least one of their 2016 recruits as F Corey Manigault, will honor his commitment with the Panthers, but Pitt recruit Crisshawn Clark asked to be released from his scholarship as well as Virginia Episcopal point guard Justice Kithcart. Unfortunately, that’s part of the business. These players were recruited by former HC Jaime Dixon.
  6. Stallings also made some key moves: Adding longtime Vanderbilt aide Tom Richardson and offering a job to Pitt assistant coach (and former player) Brandin Knight. Stallings said that he would like Knight to remain, but the decision is up to him. Knight was also interviewed for the Pitt head coaching position.
  7. As for the recruitment plans, Stallings said that he will search in New York and New Jersey for talent. I hope he’s checking for JUCO and Graduate-Transfers as well because this team will truly be in need of them.

8.Also: Congrats to former Pitt G James Robinson who was selected to play in an all-star game Friday in Houston as part of the Final Four festivities as well as Grad-transfer C Rafael Maia who was selected to play for the Latin American selected team for the same festivities.

  1. As for Pitt football, RB James Conner was given a special honor: He was chosen to throw out the first pitch at the Pittsburgh Pirates Home Opener Sunday afternoon. I admire this young man’s fight and spirit as he overcomes Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
  2. Just imagine the 1-2 punch that Conner and 2016 ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year Quadree Ollison. That’s going to be a pretty good one, and certainly a nice ‘problem’ for HC Pat Narduzzi to have.
  3. As for the NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers made some news as they reportedly signed DE Ricardo Mathews to a 1-year deal. is entering his seventh NFL season in 2016. Mathews was selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the seventh round (238th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft and remained with the Colts through 2013. Most recently, he spent the 2014 and 2015 seasons with the San Diego Chargers.
  4. I honestly don’t see much impact with this deal. If Mathews can make an impression in training camp and the preseason, then he’ll be good for depth. Other than that, I’m sure special teams might work for him.
  5. As for the Steelers draft picks, they will get 7 draft picks, which will include a compensatory 6th Round pick and two 7th round picks, which will replace the 5th Round pick that they don’t have after giving that up in a trade for CB Brandon Boykin.
  6. Speaking of Boykin, he’s no longer a Steeler after he agreed to a 1-year deal with the NFC Champion Carolina Panthers. I don’t understand why the Steelers traded for Boykin since as he hardly played in 2015, but when he did, he made plays. Now he’s gone. Makes no sense to me.
  7. Wherever San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick goes, he’ll certainly be getting paid as the deadline passed for the team to decline his $11.9 million salary. I guess you can say it was a nice gesture on the 49ers part, but I can’t see Kaepernick wanting to stay there and playing for new HC Chip Kelly. I still think the SB Champion Denver Broncos will be a good fit for him.
  8. As for the NBA, pretty much nothing’s changed as the regular season makes way for the postseason. Golden State (68-7) has the league’s best record and with 7 games to go, they could still at least tie the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls 72-10 record. 63-12 San Antonio is #2 and could still also finish the season with 70 wins.
  9. In the Eastern Conference, Cleveland (52-22) is tops followed by 50-24 Toronto. As for the NBA’s worst, you’ll find 9-66 Philadelphia there as they could tie their own 1972-73 record of 9-73 (unless they get their 10th win) and in the Western Conference, it’s the LA Lakers at 19-59.
  10. As for the playoffs, so far, the Cavs, Raptors and Atlanta Hawks have clinched in the East and the Warriors, Spurs, OKC Thunder and the LA Clippers in the West. There are a combined 8 playoff spots left.
  11. If I was a betting man, the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Charlotte Hornets Detroit Pistons and the Indiana Pacers will lock up the remaining 5 spots, simply because the remaining teams are eliminated. They’re just fighting for higher seeds.
  12. And in the West, the Memphis Grizzlies, Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets and Utah Jazz have the inside track at those spots, but the Rockets and Jazz need to watch out as the Dallas Mavericks are breathing down their necks.

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