What 2 Watch (March 23-25)

The sports continue to roll out in the spring as this weekend will see a host of great events that will be sure to keep you busy if you decide to stay in. Basketball continues to roll this year as March Madness will move to the Final Four and the NBA will continue their march to the playoff race. Meanwhile hockey begins to end as the CIS Championship will be held this weekend and the CHL playoffs begin. The NHL looks to the end of their season with a key game to determine playoff seeding as the season comes to a close. Curling continues on as the Women’s World Championship comes to an end this weekend with the Canadians looking to take advantage of the home ice. Other sports are just beginning as the PGA Tour makes another stop only a few weeks away from the first major of the year. Racing also starting as NASCAR continues the beginning of the season, F1 hosts their second race, and the IndyCar series opens their season. Soccer will also see the beginning as Toronto FC will open their MLS season at home this weekend. Baseball is close to starting for real as Spring Training winds down and teams look to find their final rosters. With all of this going on there is sure to be something for everyone and The Sport Addiction sorts it all out for you.

 

NCAA March Madness

 

 

 

 

The Madness has begun as the NCAA Championship Tournament has finished the first rounds of play. The first official round were play in games where teams on the bubble got their opportunity to make the tournament. The next round was the round of 64 where 32 games were played in the span of two days as teams looked for their first win. After some predictable wins, see Kentucky over Western Kentucky or North Carolina over Vermont, but the best part of any tournament made an appearance as well. The upsets were plentiful this year as two #2 seed, Missouri and Duke, were eliminated y #15 ranked teams in the same day. With these two powers out much of the world brackets were busted but it did not end there as the third round saw #11 N.C. State beat #3 Georgetown and #6 Cincinnati beat #3 Florida State. With these rounds finished the teams will travel to new arenas as they move into the Sweet 16 phase of the tournament. This weekend the tournament will continue on as teams progress to the Final Four but first will need to get past the Sweet 16. Every #1 team is still in the hunt with Kentucky, Syracuse, North Carolina, and Michigan State all were able to get past every team so far with only a few scares. All four are still favorites in the tournament but there will be some teams looking to become that Cinderella story for this year’s tournament. The Midwest has the two biggest attempts at being Cinderella with #11 N.C. State and #13 Ohio in the thick of the fight but needing to beat Kansas and North Carolina respectively to get into the Elite Eight. It will be a fun round to watch as teams begin to show just how good they are as the tournament begins to march towards the end. Also this weekend will be the elite eight where the final eight teams will look to join the prestigious final four that can change a program completely. If one of the Cinderella teams can make it into the final four they will change their program forever as a member of the last four teams looking for the national championship. As the tournament begins to wind down with two more rounds this weekend teams will begin to play better and better and the upsets will become even bigger as everyone looks for their spot in the Final Four.

 

When: Friday March 23rd – Sunday March 25th

Time: Various Times

Channel: CBS/TSN

 

Ford Women’s Curling World Championship

 

 

 

 

 

The Ford Women’s World Championship of Curling continues on this weekend as the final rounds will be featured this weekend. With Lethbridge as the host of the tournament the new Team Canada is under some pressure. The rink led by Heather Nedohin has some added pressure in the tournament as well with not only their country cheering them on but their home province. Nedohin and her rink won the Scotties Tournament of Hearts giving her the chance to play as Team Canada in her home province as the Nedohin rink represented Alberta in the Tournament of Hearts. Now Nedohin and her rink will be looking to achieve another goal of winning the World Championship in front of their hometown crowd. They are coming close as well with a good record that has put them at the top of the standings. They will look to continue their great play as they hope to avenge Team Canada’s loss to Sweden in last year’s championships. It may be a perfect chance for Nedohin this year as the Swedes are once again a very strong team. Led by new skip Margaretha Sigfridsson the Swedes have again risen to the top of the standings as they are the only team above the Canadians. They will be looking for a repeat of last year when they won after beating the Canadians in extra ends. Meanwhile Korea has snuck in to the top as well keeping pace with the two traditional powers of the curling world. The rink led by Ji-Sun Kim has been able to distance themselves from the pack and at one point had full possession of the 1st place spot. The two powers came back though and overtook the Koreans but could not extend their lead against them as they kept pace. Korea will look to continue to play strong and put their country on the curling map. The Women’s Championship of Curling will wrap up this weekend as Sweden and Canada look to be on a collision course once again but could see some challenge from the Koreans in what could be some great final draws.

 

When: Friday March 23rd – Sunday March 25th

Time: Various Times

Channel: TSN

 

CHL Playoffs: Cape Breton Screaming Eagles vs. Saint John Seadogs

 

 

 

The CHL Playoffs are underway and Friday Night Hockey will be there to showcase some great matchups. This week Sportsnet will feature the QJMHL playoffs as the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles take on the Saint John Seadogs. The CHL playoffs are in the first round with games beginning on Thursday this week. The OHL, QMJHL, and WHL will all be starting their playoff runs as the first goal is to win the league and the next goal is to win the Memorial Cup. The QMJHL is in a unique position this year as they will act as the hosts to the Memorial Cup with Shawinigan taking the hosting duties. This means that two teams from the QMJHL will make the Memorial Cup as Shawinigan will get a bye into the tournament for being hosts and the champion of the league will also get a berth. If Shawinigan can win the QMJHL then the team they play in the finals will get the berth from the QMJHL. Of course Shawinigan may not win in which case they will still get a berth and whoever wins the finals will make the Memorial Cup tournament. This is what is at stake in the league playoffs and the first round starts this week as teams begin the long journey to the biggest prize in major junior hockey. The first round of the QMJHL playoffs will feature a total of 8 series with the top team taking focus this Friday. The Saint John Seadogs won the QMJHL last year and moved on to raise the Memorial Cup in Mississauga. This year they are back as the top team in the QMJHL and looking for a repeat performance from last year. The defending champions are led by forward Danick Gauthier, who was recently signed by the Tampa Bay Lightning, and top goalie and Columbus Blue Jackets draft pick Mathieu Corbeil. Meanwhile the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles squeaked into the playoffs this year finishing in 16th spot and drawing the top team. The Eagles are led by forwards Jonathan Brunelle, a Montreal Canadiens draft pick, and William Carrier. The Eagles are a tough team that likes to go into the corners and scrap for the puck as they are loaded with grinders. They will be in tough against the defending champions though as the series opens up on Friday Night and the road to the memorial Cup begins.

 

When: Friday March 23rd

Time: 7:00 pm

Channel: Sportsnet

 

PGA Tour: Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard

 

 

 

 

With only two weeks until the biggest tournament of the year the stars will all be back to warm up at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. As they last leg of the Florida swing in the tour the Arnold Palmer invitational has become a traditional stop before the Masters. After a week off where few stars showed up for the Transitions Championship many will be back for some final tuning before the first major of the year. This includes Tiger Woods who after seemingly staying under the radar for the past few weeks has again walked into the line of fire. After a book was released y Woods’ former swing coach Woods has been under attack as the book outlines his selfishness and a willingness to give up golf and become a navy seal. Woods will try to put this all behind him and hope that he can recover from another personal distraction to become a top-tier golfer again. He will have some extra incentive to get his #1 ranking back from Rory McIlroy, who will not attend the invitational, as well. Woods may be able to get back in the fight this weekend as he will play a course that he has won at before in Bay Hill. He will also be playing in a tournament that he has won before after winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational more times than anyone in the field as he took the 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2008, and 2009 tournaments, Vijay Singh os the only golfer in the field to win more than once. Meanwhile former rival of Woods Phil Mickelson will look to begin to make an impact on the Tour by winning the invitational. He has not had the best performances at Bay Hill though causing many people to take a wait and see attitude towards him this weekend. One golfer that could make an impact though is Sergio Garcia who is riding a terrible streak that has seen him go 4-years without winning a tournament. This year he seems to be close to breaking that drought and could do it at a course that he has performed well at. Garcia has finished in the top 10 in the last six events at Bay Hill and will hope to make this tournament a winning one. There will be plenty more golfers also aiming for the win this year as everyone continues to look ahead to the first major of the year.

 

When: Saturday March 24th/Sunday March 25th

Time: 12:00 pm

Channel: NBC

 

MLS Soccer: San Jose Earthquakes vs. Toronto FC

 

 

 

 

The Toronto FC have already been through some battles this year and seen their biggest attendance yet but they have yet to play a regular season game. That will all change this weekend as the first professional Canadian soccer team will open their 6th season as a part of MLS. Coming off of a very successful CONCACAF Champions League leg the Toronto FC will return to Toronto and open their season at home. The Reds will be fresh off of a CCL Quarter-Final win over defending MLS Champion LA Galaxy that made them the first Canadian team to make it to the Semi-Finals of the CCL. They will also be fresh off a record crowd of 50,000 people two weeks ago in the Rogers Centre. Although they will not pack the same number in to BMO Field they will hope that the crowd will be just as loud as they open their season late. Having yet to play the FC are a bit of an unknown but have had some time together in the CCL. Judging by their performance in those two games this year the Reds look to be close to the playoffs for the first time in their history. They will hope to start the season off well as they will welcome the San Jose Earthquakes for the home opener. San Jose is both a young and old team as they were first established in 1995 but have left and come back repeatedly. The most recent form of the team came back to San Jose for the 2008 season and have been at the bottom of the league ever since making the semi-finals once in 2010. Last year they finished in 7th place in the West and missed the playoffs again. They will hope to change the pattern and begin to climb up the standings as they currently sit in 8th place with a 1-1 record after beating New England in their first game and losing to the rival Houston Dynamo. They will try to put another game in the win column but will be hard pressed to do so against a hot team in a very loud field. TFC will be looking to take advantage of a rowdy home crowd in the opener and get their first regular season win to add to an already successful season.

 

When: Saturday March 24th

Time: 1:00 pm

Channel: TSN

 

CIS Hockey Championship

 

 

 

 

 

The CIS hockey season is winding down and will be finishing this weekend as the Cavendish University Cup come up for grabs. Sportsnet will be featuring all the action as they will show the last pool game and the gold Medal Game. This year the University Cup will be that much more meaningful as it will be given out for the 50th time in CIS history. This year will feature the defending champions playing at home and a host of other teams looking to unseat them and spoil the homecoming. This year the tournament will be held in New Brunswick as the UNB Varsity Reds will look to win back to back championships for the first time in school history. In their way will be another 5 teams all looking to end the V-Reds reign at the top of the CIS hockey world. Ranked #1 coming into the tournament the V-Reds look to be on track to repeat and win their 4th title in 6 years. Their biggest competition will be the McGill Redmen who come in to the tournament ranked #2 and can still remember the loss in the finals last year against the V-Reds. If McGill can pull off the win this year they will be able to claim their first championship in school history after coming so close last year. Meanwhile the Western Mustangs will be looking for their second title this year as they had dominated the Western division in the OUA sweeping three series and going behind once in the finals. They won the Queen’s Cup though and will make their appearance in the championship tournament with the 4th ranked offence that averages just over 4 goals a game. The Saskatchewan Huskies did not have as easy a time with their conference play as they came out of the CanWest conference. Starting the playoffs was easy enough for the Huskies as they swept their first round the Huskies came back from one game down in the next two series. Then in the finals the Huskies finished the longest game in CanWest playoff history sinning in Triple OT after 46 minutes of overtime. The Moncton Aigles-Bleus had a difficult route as well coming back from a terrible season to get into the finals. They could not complete the comeback against the UNB Varsity Reds but will still make an appearance in the tournament. Finally there is the UQTR Patriotes who squeaked out a bronze medal finish in the OUA Championships to earn their spot. In the short tournament that features round robin and a final anything could happen as any of these teams could take the win in what will be an exciting tournament.

 

When: Saturday March 24th/Sunday March 25th

Time: 3:30 pm/7:00 pm

Channel: Sportsnet

 

NHL Hockey: Vancouver Canucks vs. Colorado Avalanche

 

 

 

The NHL season is in the midst of a heated playoff race and as more teams begin to clinch their playoff spots other teams will be fighting until the end to get their own spot. This is the situation on Saturday night as the Vancouver Canucks will take on the Colorado Avalanche in the late game of Hockey Night in Canada. These teams are at opposite ends of the spectrum in the Western Conference as the Canucks sit at the top and the Avalanche sit at the bottom of the playoff race. The Vancouver Canucks followed up an appearance in the Stanley Cup finals last year with another strong year in 2012 as they are sitting in 2nd place in the West and dominating the Northwestern Conference. The Canucks are very close to clinching another berth in the playoffs and a win on Saturday could go a long way to ensuring that they follow-up a great 2011 with another chance to play for the Stanley Cup. Meanwhile the Colorado Avalanche are currently sitting at the bottom of the playoff race but still in a playoff spot. They have done this by coming on big in the last few months and could be the hottest team in the playoff race. They will travel to Vancouver as they continue to try to put space between them and the rest of the teams in the playoff race. They will need every point they can get as they are a few games ahead of the rest of the teams and will be taking a week off at the end of the season where they will wait and see if the other teams can catch up. As the Canucks march towards the playoffs they will be looking for a repeat and a better end to their season than last year. The Avalanche are hoping that they can make the playoffs with the youngest team in the NHL and then continue to play well and give some playoff teams a problem. This game could also be a preview of the first round of the playoffs if the Avalanche can take 7th place and the Canucks can stay in 2nd in the West. With so much on the line for both teams and a potential meeting for much more on the line both teams will be looking to take the 2 points and maybe even give their opponents a look into the future.

 

When: Saturday March 24th

Time: 10:00 pm

Channel: CBC

 

F1 Racing: Malaysian Grand Prix

 

 

 

 

The Formula One race season started last weekend as the Australian Grand Prix kicked off what could be a good season. For the first time in almost a year Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull were not on the top step of the podium. Instead they finished on the second step as Vettel could not get out front after not qualifying on the poll. Instead it was Jenson Button and the McLaren Mercedes who took the top spot as Button looks to start challenging Vettel’s grip on F1. Button qualified in second place and passed teammate Lewis Hamilton, who qualified in the poll position and finished 3rd, to take first place in the first corner. From then on Button did not look back as he held the lead for the entire race even with Vettel racing faster at the start of the race. The win in Australia could also be a good omen for Button as the winner at Australia has gone on to win the driver’s title in 5 of the last 6 seasons. Overall Australia showed that this season could be an interesting one where McLaren Mercedes, Button and Hamilton, and Red Bull Racing, Vettel and Mark Webber, could fight it out. This weekend the battle will enter the second chapter as the open wheel racers travel to Malaysia to see if the tide is finally turning or if Australia was just a one-off. Vettel and Red Bull Racing will look to show that it was just the one race that the McLaren team got the best of him. The focus will be on the top racers of course as Button and Vettel will likely compete for the top spot again with Hamilton and Webber not far behind. The biggest question in Malaysia will be whether or not McLaren is actually better than Red Bull this year or was Australia just a lucky race where the conditions and the track helped them to win. With all of the focus on the top of the race the middle of the pack is also interesting as Ferrari looks to start moving back up the rankings where they sat on top for years with Michael Schumacher at the helm. Since Schumacher retired Ferrari has dropped off even with former champion Fernando Alonso at the top driver and this after a 5th place by Alonso and a DNF by Felipe Massa in Australia a lot is still unknown. There will be plenty to watch in Malaysia this weekend as everyone watches to see what kind of patterns will arise in the second race of the season.

 

When: Sunday March 25th

Time: 3:55 am/8:00 am

Channel: TSN/TSN2

 

IZOD Indycar Series: Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

 

 

 

This weekend another racing season begins as the IndyCar season will kick off at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The IndyCar series is a unique series in racing as they are open wheel cars on a variety of different tracks. For years open wheel racing was split into two factions as the IndyCar series featured open wheel cars on oval racetracks with a few street races in the schedule. Meanwhile the CART series featured open wheel cars on purely street tracks, much like Formula One except with smaller cars. These two series came to be as a result of a split in the open wheel racing North America between the Indy Racing League (IRL) and the CART series. The split between the two leagues cause some major problems for open wheel racing as both leagues suffered from only having half of the audience and losing the other half to the other league. In 2008 both leagues looked to solve this problem and save open wheel racing in North America when the CART series, known as Champ Car at the time, merged with IRL to form IndyCar. That season the Champ Car series was cancelled as only the Long Beach Grand Prix was held while the IRL races remained. Since then the IndyCar series has returned to many of the former Champ Car races including St. Petersburg. The merger was a successful one as drivers from both series have been able to adjust and form the top-tier of North American open wheel racing both on ovals and street courses. Last year one of these racers rose to the top as the Scot, Dario Franchitti took home the driver’s championship finishing 18 points ahead of Will Power. Franchitti will start his title defence on the streets of St. Petersburg, the site of one of his four wins last year. Trying to unseat the champion will be a host of other drivers including last year’s second place finisher Will Power. Power will look to return to the winner’s circle this year after winning the St. Petersburg Grand Prix in 2010 but coming up short in 2011. Meanwhile for Canadian content in the race all Canadian race fans will be watching James Hinchcliffe who will enter his second season in the series and will be sitting in a very famous car as he will sit in the GoDaddy car formerly occupied by Danica Patrick. The IndyCar season kicks off this weekend as there is a possibility of any racer winning in what promises to be a very entertaining race.

 

When: Sunday March 25th

Time: 12:30 pm

Time: TSN

 

MLB Spring Training: Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees

 

 

 

 

 

With just over two weeks left in Spring Training the MLB is beginning to get going as teams begin to cut players and get down to their real rosters. The position players are beginning to play more innings in more games as other bubble players begin to be sent down to the minor leagues. The pitchers also begin to pitch more innings as rotations are starting to set and the for sure rotation pitchers start to warm up to get to regular innings. With all of this going on bubble players that received their invite to the training camp begin to show if they can provide something to the team or if they will be better served spending time in the Minor Leagues. There is still some things on the line this Spring and with a little more than two weeks left teams will be finding the balance between looking at new players and letting their starters get ready for the new season. This weekend Sportsnet will feature another live game from the Grapefruit League as the Detroit Tigers take on the New York Yankees. This year the Detroit Tigers are one of the more interesting teams in the MLB as they have been able to lead the Grapefruit league this spring training. More so than that though is the fact that the Tigers made one of the biggest signings in the 2012 offseason. The Tigers added one of the biggest bats in the MLB as they signed first baseman Prince Fielder to a long-term contract. Fielder helped guide the Brewers to the postseason last year, alongside Ryan Braun, as he made sure that his big bat provided a lot of offence. All of Detroit will be looking to Fielder this year as he represents the hopes for a resurgence of the Tigers. Meanwhile the Yankees are still looking strong as they do every year but after a less than great postseason run last year they will be looking to get better. A lot of this is because the Yankees are not good with losing they expect to win every year and so a season without a championship is a season lost. The Yankees’ biggest signing this year was just this month as they brought back Andy Pettite who retired last year amidst a PED scandal where Pettite admitted to using HGH. The Yankees and Tigers will face off as they both look to get ready in what promises to be a good season for both and with only just over a week left both teams may be looking closer at their starting lineups.

 

When: Sunday March 25th

Time: 1:00 pm

Channel: Sportsnet

 

NASCAR Sprint Cup: Auto Club 400

 

 

 

 

The NASCAR season will continue to roll on as they will make their first and only trip to the Auto Club Speedway for the Auto Club 400. The Chase is still in its beginning phases for 2012 as Greg Biffle remains on top and Kevin Harvick remains right behind in second place. That is even after neither of these racers finished in the top 5 last weekend at the Food City 500. Last weekend it was Brad Keselowski who took the checkered flag. He could not move in to the top of the chase though but two of the top 5 finishers last weekend were able to make some gains in the Sprint Cup standings. Matt Kenseth was able to move into third place behind Kevin Harvick with his second place finish at the Food City 500. Martin Truex Jr. also took advantage of last weekend’s race finishing 3rd in the race and moving up 12 spots in the Chase to 4th place. Biffle and Harvick still sit on top and will be hoping to make the early chase a two-man race as they both hope they can take the win at the Auto Club 400. While the battle continues to heat up at the top of the standings one of the biggest battles will be at the bottom. Although the race season is barely getting started there are still a number of racers that will be looking to start winning soon or they could create a hole that they cannot get back from. Included in these drivers are Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch, AJ Allmendinger, and Jeff Gordon. These drivers are sitting way back from the top of the pack and if they do not start winning soon their hopes at the Sprint Cup could be done before they even start.  Unfortunately for all of these drivers that may just happen as they will not be favorites for the race this weekend. Instead Matt Kenseth takes that seat as he looks to continue a strong season and also continue to move up the standings in the Chase. Kenseth has had some success at the Auto Club Speedway winning in 2006, 2007, and 2009. Last year’s winner will be looking to keep Kenseth at bay as Kevin Harvick will defend his crown and look to either stay put in 2nd place or move up and pass Gregg Biffle in the chase. There will be plenty to watch for this year at the Auto Club 400 as drivers look to throw their hats in the ring early for the Chase or simply look to stay in the Chase at the Auto Club 400 this weekend.

 

When: Sunday March 25th

Time: 3:00 pm

Channel: TSN

 

NBA Basketball: Miami Heat vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

 

 

 

 

 

The NBA season continues their march towards the playoff race with just over a month left in the season. This weekend a potential playoff matchup will be on display as the Miami Heat take on the Oklahoma City Thunder. The matchup this weekend could be more than just a playoff matchup as both teams look good again this year in their respective conferences. If they can both keep up their play throughout the upcoming playoff push and throughout the playoffs this could be a Championship matchup. Both teams are at or near the top of their conferences right now as they continue to roll in a season after two successful playoff runs. The Oklahoma City Thunder made the playoffs last year and were not expected to do extremely well as they had finished in 4th place in the conference. Then they made a run making it all the way to the western conference finals where they lost to eventual champions the Dallas Mavericks. The Heat did much of the same but were in a bit of a better situation as they finished in 2nd place in the eastern conference and did exactly what was expected of them by their ranking as the moved on the eastern conference finals. The Heat won the eastern conference finals beating the Chicago Bulls but could not get past the Dallas Mavericks as they lost in the finals. This year both teams look ready to improve on their performances from last year as they both hope they can move on to the finals and win the NBA championship. The OKC Thunder are looking much better than last year as they have made their way to 1st place in the West. They have done this behind superstar Kevin Durant who leads the team in Points per game (27.6) and rebounds per game (7.9). Meanwhile in the East the Miami Heat are #2 again and again are sitting behind the Chicago Bulls. The Big three will be leading the Heat as they look to get the top spot from the Bulls before the playoffs. None of the big three is bigger than Lebron James who leads the team in points per game, rebounds per game, and almost every other category. These two top teams will meet on Sunday as they both look to begin a role before the last month of the season and before the playoffs.

 

When: Sunday March 25th

Time: 8:00 pm

Channel: Sportsnet One

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