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Sommers: Who needs to step up in the Sweet 16

first_imgAt this point most of us, probably all of us, can admit that the next Nostradamus does not walk among us. Of course in reference to everyone’s brackets that have been busted by now, if somebody has picked an entirely correct bracket to this point, a line is probably filing outside his or her front door waiting to ask whether the world will truly end in 2012. And ain’t it grand?As much as we all check our brackets game by game, especially through those first two manic days of the tournament – hoping for the mythological perfect bracket – it would be pretty boring if pick-by-pick went according to plan.If someone “knew” that Norfolk State and Lehigh were going to pull upsets over number two seeds Missouri and Duke, respectively, that would really ruin the moment of 2012 being the first tournament year with two 15 seeds advancing. The unpredictability, the fickle games that lower seeds win every year is what keeps us all coming back for more.Nobody saw Kyle O’Quinn of Norfolk State or C.J. McCollum of Lehigh causing the fits they did. In fact, commentators couldn’t stop gushing over O’Quinn’s 26 points and 14 rebounds, incredulous of the fact that no one outside the Spartans offered him a scholarship.McCollum’s 30-point, 6-rebound, 6-assist outburst nearly left Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski speechless, saying, “[Lehigh] had the best player on the court tonight in McCollum. He’s been their player of the year, and he’s really one of the outstanding players in the country. You could see why tonight.”The first four-day stretch of the tournament – six, if you count the round one play-in games – all led to this, the elimination of 52 teams and an essentially new bracket. Cue the Sweet 16.And now with the field of 16 preparing for another hotly-contested four days, more than ever, teams will look to rely on the players who have gotten their respective teams this far and try to squeeze a few more ounces of talent out of their quieter players to help push them over the top, just like O’Quinn and McCollum did in their opening round.Here’s a look at half of the field.Kentucky: POY candidate Anthony Davis is the easy choice for who the Wildcats relied on most, but his biggest contributions come on the defensive end, where all of Coach Calipari’s players play well. If Kentucky wins the national championship, it will most likely come from the contributions of Marquis Teague. The freshman guard has averaged 18 points and 5.5 assists per game for Kentucky in the tournament after averaging just 9.4 points and 4.8 assists prior to the Big Dance. If he can keep up those numbers, Kentucky will be almost as impossible to stop.Wisconsin: Everybody knows the Badgers wouldn’t be anywhere near the Sweet 16 without Jordan Taylor. Then again, opponents know that too. Expect double-teams galore on the Wisconsin star from now on, after he torched Montana and Vanderbilt. With that, someone will need to execute when Taylor kicks to the open man. After the win against Vanderbilt, Wisconsin will continue to rely on steady contributions between Mike Bruesewitz and Ben Brust. In the two games prior to the tournament, neither scored a single point but after two games in the tournament have registered 32 points. This production from the role players must continue if Wisconsin hopes to continue dancing in Boston.Indiana: Interestingly enough, the Hoosiers will be forced to navigate the waters of the tournament without a senior leader a la Kentucky, having lost Verdell Jones III to an ACL tear in the Big Ten tournament. Likely, the responsibility will fall on the shoulders of freshman forward Cody Zeller, who led Indiana in points (15.5) and rebounds (6.5) this season. The Hoosiers really need sophomore guard Victor Oladipo to step up, especially to get past Kentucky. Oladipo has been relatively invisible his last five games (7.2 ppg) after averaging 15.6 points per game in seven previous contests.Syracuse: Not often is a reserve relied on to win games, but Syracuse’s Dion Waiters is the Orange’s best player. In his last five games, Waiters is averaging 17.8 points per game off the bench. Kris Joseph and Scoop Jardine get a lot of the fanfare as seniors, but forward C.J. Fair will need to contribute inside, especially with the loss of Fab Melo.Michigan State: Is there any need to say more than Draymond Green? The guy has breathed life into MSU all season, working in wondrous ways. Need proof? Check out his triple-double against LIU-Brooklyn. As far as finding a Robin to Green’s Batman, the Spartans have an array of talent waiting to be utilized, and junior forward Derrick Nix is the beast to get it done. Listed at 6-foot-9, 270 pounds, Nix is a load on the block that many teams can’t match up against. Averaging 14 points per game in the tournament, Nix allows Green to play the perimeter when needed to stretch the defense.North Carolina: Harrison Barnes just became the de-facto man for the Heels with Kendall Marshall breaking his wrist, as sophomore guard Reggie Bullock must step up in the absence of the injured UNC point guard. He’s only scoring 8.7 per game, but with Marshall’s absence, Bullock must score in double digits if UNC hopes to reach the Final Four.Marquette: Jae Crowder, Big East Player of the Year, somehow still manages to fly under the radar and is killing teams every game. Averaging a ridiculous 21 points and 14.5 boards in the tourney, if someone doesn’t find a way to slow him down, Marquette could win it all. Darius Johnson-Odom is already a star, so some offense from Madison-product Vander Blue would be nice. Blue has only scored 12 points in the tourney, and any significant contributions from him would really hinder opposing defenses’ ability to focus on Crowder or DJO.Ohio State: The casual fan would expect Jared Sullinger or William Buford to be the names of the man who has taken the Buckeyes to this point, but it’s not. Sophomore forward Deshaun Thomas is in beast mode right now and shows no signs of stopping. The perfect complement to Thomas has been all-world defensive point guard Aaron Craft, but lately Craft has found his offensive rhthym. Against Gonzaga, Craft scored 17 points, doubled his average and dished out 10 dimes. When Kraft is on his offensive grind, it’s hard to imagine OSU losing.Brett is a senior majoring in journalism. If you had a clean slate on your bracket, who out of the Sweet 16 would you pick to reach the Final Four, or win the NCAA Championship? Let Brett know by tweeting him at @BAsportswriter or email him at bsommers@badgerherald.com.last_img read more

Reggae Sumfest Night 2: Beres Hammond, Protoje, and the Return of…

first_imgMONTEGO BAY, Jamaica – Night 2 of Reggae Sumfest on July 20 saw many popular reggae acts gracing the stage, including the return of the legendary Buju Banton.The promoters of the annual festival ensured that night 2 got off to an early start, following a delay in performances on night 1 that caused Jamaican authorities to bring the show to an abrupt end at 8:00 am on Sunday morning, leaving many patrons disgruntled.On Sunday night, the 21-year-old reggae musician Tessellated opened the show at 8:30 pm, performing a slew of songs which included his hit “Pine and Ginger”.Tessellated was followed by new-school reggae acts Warrior love band, Jovexx and Kemar Highcon.2010 Digicel Rising Star winner and winner of the 2018 season of X-factor made his Sumfest debut, soothing the crowd with his smooth vocals and recalling his difficult journey to international fame.Reggae acts Jah9 and Etana, the only two women billed for the night, also kept the crowd rocking with their individual, soul-filled reggae performances.Popular reggae act Protoje chose to be somewhat political during his set. While performing his politically-charged hit song “Blood Money”, which speaks out against criminal and political corruption in Jamaica, the grammy-nominated artist freestyled a new verse, making mention of the recent Petrojam scandal and the marches against abortion laws by local churches. Coincidentally, he performed “Blood Money” just as Prime Minister Andrew Holness was seen making his way to the crowd.Protoje also brought out his famous friends, songstress Sevana, Lika Ike, Jesse Royal, Agent Sasco and headliner Chronixx to perform their many collaborations.The first “B” of the three headliners, Beres Hammond delivered a stellar performance, even sharing his stage with Beenie Man.Hammond was followed by other Digicel Rising Star Winners, Romaine Virgo, who again called Agent Sasco to perform their collaboration, “Fade Away” and later, Christopher Martin.Walking to the stage like a champion, was the final headliner of the festival and the man of the year, Buju Banton, who made his return to the Sumfest stage after more than 10 years since his last performance.He stormed the stage, performing an energetic rendition of his 2006 hit “Me and Oonu” as the crowd roared. As he got comfortable on stage, the Gargamel took his shoes to be better able to dance and move around.Later during his performance, Banton performed a light-hearted freestyle, calling on the Jamaican government to legalize marijuana. “Mr. Holness, remember mi give you a spliff. And me ask you inna your office fi legalize it”, the artist joked.Buju Banton was the last performer of the night, delivering a brilliant 90-minute set to bring the 2019 Reggae Sumfest to a close at 6:00 am this morning.last_img read more

NASCAR starting lineup at Michigan: Brad Keselowski claims pole, eyes win at home-state track

first_img Jimmie Johnson still wants apology from Ryan Blaney, who says ‘I have nothing to apologize about’ Consumers Energy 400 starting lineupStarting   Driver Car  No. 1Brad Keselowski2No. 2Kevin Harvick4No. 3William Byron24No. 4Alex Bowman88No. 5Clint Bowyer14No. 6Chase Elliott9No. 7Austin Dillon3No. 8Ryan Blaney12No. 9Joey Logano22No. 10Paul Menard21No. 11Daniel Hemric8No. 12Jimmie Johnson48No. 13Daniel Suarez41No. 14Aric Almirola10No. 15Kurt Busch1No. 16 Denny Hamlin11No. 17Martin Truex Jr.19No. 18Erik Jones20No. 19 Kyle Larson42No. 20Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  17No. 21Matt Tifft36No. 22Ryan Newman6No. 23Ty Dillon13No. 24Kyle Busch18No. 25Michael McDowell34No. 26 David Ragan38No. 27Chris Buescher37No. 28 Bubba Wallace43No. 29 Matt DiBenedetto95No. 30Landon Cassill00No. 31Ryan Preece47No. 32Ross Chastain15No. 33 Corey LaJoie32No. 34Quin Houff27No. 35Austin Theriault52No. 36Cody Ware51No. 37Reed Sorenson77No. 38Spencer Boyd53What time does the Consumers Energy 400 start?The Consumers Energy 400 will take place Sunday, August 11. Live coverage begins at 3 p.m. ET.What channel is the GoBowling at The Glen on?The Consumers Energy 400 will be broadcast nationally on NBCSN. The race also can be live-streamed on the NBC Sports App or by subscribing to fuboTV, which offers a seven-day free trial. Brad Keselowski saved the best for last Friday — literally.Keselowski, who was the final driver to go out in qualifying at Michigan International Speedway, turned the fastest lap of the afternoon to claim the pole for Sunday’s Consumers Energy 400. The Team Penske driver, who hails from Rochester Hills, Michigan, about 100 miles away, is still seeking his first career win at his home-state track. He has six top-five finishes in 20 career races at the speedway.”We were really fast in practice … we picked up just enough to get our second pole here,” Keselowski told NBCSN. “Hopefully we can convert it into a win.”Kevin Harvick will start alongside Keselowski on the front row, with William Byron, Alex Bowman and Clint Bowyer rounding out the top five.The Consumers Energy 400 begins Sunday at 3 p.m. ET and will broadcast live on NBCSN. He posted a speed of 190.471 mph.Retweet to congratulate Brad @Keselowski on his NASCAR Cup Series POLE at Michigan.Full qualifying results» https://t.co/hAuffxCypz pic.twitter.com/0yRaDTXuPC— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) August 9, 2019It’s Keselowski’s second pole of the season and 16th of his career. Related Newslast_img read more