From the idle mind of Fred

Random Sports Thoughts for you to Ponder!

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Fred Huebner

Much more than a sports guy, a big fan of tv, movies and music, (classic rock). TV play-by-play man for the Chicago Fire. Between Sports Phone and The Score, I have covered and talked sports for 32 years in this town.

My head is pounding with far too many things rolling through it, I had to dump them out somewhere!

  • The Chicago Bears have started 3-0 just 4 times now in the last 21 seasons.  They went to the post season in '90, '91 & '06, and hope to do it again this year.
  • It DEFINITELY is better to be lucky than good!
  • Bears fans will say they played better than the Packers and deserved the win.  Keep believing that.
  • The only stats the Bears led in Monday night were most takeaways, third down efficiency, and, believe it or not, rushing yards!
  • I usually use the phrase, "He outkicked his coverage", when discussing a guy with an extremely hot wife or girlfriend, but last night, that is exactly what the Green Bay punter did on Devin Hester's 62 yard return for a touchdown.

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Random Sports Thoughts for you to Ponder!

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Fred Huebner

Much more than a sports guy, a big fan of tv, movies and music, (classic rock). TV play-by-play man for the Chicago Fire. Between Sports Phone and The Score, I have covered and talked sports for 32 years in this town.

My head is pounding with far too many things rolling through it, I had to dump them out somewhere!

  • The Chicago Bears have started 3-0 just 4 times now in the last 21 seasons.  They went to the post season in '90, '91 & '06, and hope to do it again this year.
  • It DEFINITELY is better to be lucky than good!
  • Bears fans will say they played better than the Packers and deserved the win.  Keep believing that.
  • The only stats the Bears led in Monday night were most takeaways, third down efficiency, and, believe it or not, rushing yards!
  • I usually use the phrase, "He outkicked his coverage", when discussing a guy with an extremely hot wife or girlfriend, but last night, that is exactly what the Green Bay punter did on Devin Hester's 62 yard return for a touchdown.

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Chicago Fire-Mania...Catch It!

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Fred Huebner

Much more than a sports guy, a big fan of tv, movies and music, (classic rock). TV play-by-play man for the Chicago Fire. Between Sports Phone and The Score, I have covered and talked sports for 32 years in this town.

If you have been waiting to get into Chicago Fire soccer, now is the time!

The squad, under new coach Carlos de los Cobos, got off to a slow start this season and stand 5-5-5 half way through the season.

Technical Director, Frank Klopas has been busy, (technical director is soccer speak for general manager).


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Brouwer Got Second Chance, USA & Ricardo Clark Didn't

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Fred Huebner

Much more than a sports guy, a big fan of tv, movies and music, (classic rock). TV play-by-play man for the Chicago Fire. Between Sports Phone and The Score, I have covered and talked sports for 32 years in this town.

In Game One of the First Round of the NHL playoffs, the Blackhawks Troy Brouwer, at the end of a long shift, tried to skate the puck out of the Hawks zone.  The puck was stolen and that led to the Nashville Predators scoring the go-ahead goal, leading to a 4-1 victory at the United Center.

Saturday in South Africa, Ricardo Clark tried to make a move around a Ghanain player at midfield.  He lost the ball and Ghana charged up field with Kevin Prince Boateng scoring the first goal of the game, just five minutes into the Round of 16 match-up with the USA.  Clark compounded his problems by making a sloppy tackle soon afterwards meaning that he would miss the next game, if the US were able to come back.  That didn't happen.

Coach Bob Bradley pulled Clark in the 30th minute, ending his evening!  With the US losing, 2-1 in extra time, that will stay with Clark for the foreseeable future, possibly for the rest of his career. 

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That's Why We Love The Game!!!

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Fred Huebner

Much more than a sports guy, a big fan of tv, movies and music, (classic rock). TV play-by-play man for the Chicago Fire. Between Sports Phone and The Score, I have covered and talked sports for 32 years in this town.

For years, I have heard people talk about how dull and boring soccer is.

I hope those people had a chance to see the USA-Algeria this morning!  Bob Bradley's guys swarmed the attacking zone throughout the match, and FINALLY were able to put one into the rather large net to advance to the Round of 16 in the 2010 World Cup.

Landon Donovan has gone through the ringer as a member of the US National squad.  People have known for years that he has had the talent, but it rarely showed itself on the biggest stage.

It has in South Africa!

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Hey, Soccer Haters...Just Leave Us Alone!

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Fred Huebner

Much more than a sports guy, a big fan of tv, movies and music, (classic rock). TV play-by-play man for the Chicago Fire. Between Sports Phone and The Score, I have covered and talked sports for 32 years in this town.

If you see some sleepy eyes and weary souls at work in the next few weeks, there is a good chance you are looking at a fan of the "Beautiful Game"!

The 2010 World Cup got underway last Friday and for the next two weeks, there are three games each day, beginning at 6:30 Chicago Time. 

I am writing this after watching the Netherlands beat Denmark, 2-0.  Now I don't work until this evening, so could have slept in, but the soccer gods were calling as the alarm went off just before the opening kick.

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What if...Would it be a Bigger Choke Than the '69 Cubs?

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Fred Huebner

Much more than a sports guy, a big fan of tv, movies and music, (classic rock). TV play-by-play man for the Chicago Fire. Between Sports Phone and The Score, I have covered and talked sports for 32 years in this town.

It is hours away from Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals with the Chicago Blackhawks, the #2 seed from the Western Conference, up two games to one against the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Flyers needed a shootout win on the last day of the regular season to get into the playoffs as a #7 seed.  Philly went on to beat New Jersey, come back from 3-0 down to knock off the Bruins, and then beat the Canadiens in the Eastern Finals.

What if...what if the Flyers knock off the Hawks tonight and eventually shock the world, Chicago most of all, and capture the Stanley Cup?

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Catching My First Fire Game of the Season!

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Fred Huebner

Much more than a sports guy, a big fan of tv, movies and music, (classic rock). TV play-by-play man for the Chicago Fire. Between Sports Phone and The Score, I have covered and talked sports for 32 years in this town.

For the past two plus years, I was fortunate enough to broadcast the Chicago Fire soccer games over My50 Chicago.  In doing so, I had my run of Toyota Park.  That press pass, and of course, the suit I was wearing, make me look important.  I could get just about anywhere I wanted, except, "STAY OFF THE GRASS!!!".

After being replaced this season, I am attending my first Fire home game of the season this evening against F.C. Dallas

Both teams are struggling, with the Fire having gone winless in their last three matches.  The Brimstone Cup, a trophy the two teams supporters groups came up with, is up for grabs again this season.  The award goes to the team who beats the other in the season series.  If it is tied for the year, it stays with the current Cup holder.  The Fire haven't had control of the trophy for quite some time. 


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Give the 2010 Soccer World Cup a Chance!

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Fred Huebner

Much more than a sports guy, a big fan of tv, movies and music, (classic rock). TV play-by-play man for the Chicago Fire. Between Sports Phone and The Score, I have covered and talked sports for 32 years in this town.

I was one of you.  I thought soccer was just a game for the foreigners to play.  Boy, was I mistaken!

When you don't understand a sport, really understand the intricacies or get to know the rules and the people of a sport, you don't know what you are missing.

I was one of those people.  Hated the game of soccer.  Wouldn't watch it.  Wouldn't give it the time of day.  Then, in 1990, I gave it a chance.  I watched the 1990 World Cup, learned the sport, read about some of the stars of the games and the stories of the event.  I was hooked.

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Ozzie...let's get some wins!

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Fred Huebner

Much more than a sports guy, a big fan of tv, movies and music, (classic rock). TV play-by-play man for the Chicago Fire. Between Sports Phone and The Score, I have covered and talked sports for 32 years in this town.

I have always been, and will continue to be, a fan of Sox manager, Ozzie Guillen.

BUT, (you knew there was a big but coming), this week, in my opinion, Oz cost the Sox one win and possibly another, by sticking with his starters an inning too long.

Those who know me, or have heard me over the years, know that I feel managers are given way too much credit, and definately too much blame, when their teams either do well, or play miserably.  The one thing managers DO have power over is how they handle the pitching, and that is where I feel Ozzie screwed up a few times this week.
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Why is everyone so negative towards Vinny?

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Fred Huebner

Much more than a sports guy, a big fan of tv, movies and music, (classic rock). TV play-by-play man for the Chicago Fire. Between Sports Phone and The Score, I have covered and talked sports for 32 years in this town.

The press conference has been called for Tuesday at the Berto Center.

Vinny Del Negro will likely be let go as the head coach of the Chicago Bulls.  The coach wanted to have a chance to talk with Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf before any announcement was to be made.

I heard about the press conference while watching Chicago Tribune Live, an afternoon staple for sports fans in Chicago.

During the show, several of the shows panelists, who will remain nameless, wouldn't give Del Negro any credit for much of anything.
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Does the Coach Matter in the NBA?

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Fred Huebner

Much more than a sports guy, a big fan of tv, movies and music, (classic rock). TV play-by-play man for the Chicago Fire. Between Sports Phone and The Score, I have covered and talked sports for 32 years in this town.

All the experts have their Vinny Del Negro exit story written and ready to go.

After Tuesday night's loss to the Cavaliers, the Bulls cleared out of the Berto Center today, before what should be a very interesting and exciting off-season.  The players were asked their thoughts on their coach, who likely will be let go some time next week.  They spoke with respect, and with some regret about the way that they played in the series with Cleveland.

The perspective names of the "next" coach are swirling around.  Maurice Cheeks, Avery Johnson, Lawrence Frank,...the list is a long one.

My question is, does it really matter?


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White Sox are Back...to the Sox we Remember!

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Fred Huebner

Much more than a sports guy, a big fan of tv, movies and music, (classic rock). TV play-by-play man for the Chicago Fire. Between Sports Phone and The Score, I have covered and talked sports for 32 years in this town.

Thank goodness the cockeyed idea of "Ozzie Ball" hasn't lasted long!

The White Sox have won two games in a row for the first time this season.  How?  By doing what they do best...Going DEEP!!!

All off season, we heard about the Sox being a team that would be able to steal a base or hit and run.  All of the so-called experts were asking how the Sox would compete after losing their big home run hitters in Thome and Dye.

Going into today's series finale with the Mariners, Ozzie's guys are second in all of baseball with 25 home runs, just one behind Toronto.

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LeBron Great, but a real Pain!

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Fred Huebner

Much more than a sports guy, a big fan of tv, movies and music, (classic rock). TV play-by-play man for the Chicago Fire. Between Sports Phone and The Score, I have covered and talked sports for 32 years in this town.

Is it just me, the crotchety, old man who doesn't like what the current athlete has turned into?  Or am I right, that all professionalism has left the NBA?

Watching the Cleveland Cavaliers get ready for Game Two of their series with the Bulls was disgusting!  A bunch of hoopsters, jumping around, dancing and making fools of themselves, while the Cavs PA announcer tried to get the fans revved up to a fever pitch.

Professionals...real pros, act like they have been there before. 
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LeBron Great, but a real Pain!

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Fred Huebner

Much more than a sports guy, a big fan of tv, movies and music, (classic rock). TV play-by-play man for the Chicago Fire. Between Sports Phone and The Score, I have covered and talked sports for 32 years in this town.

Is it just me, the crotchety, old man who doesn't like what the current athlete has turned into?  Or am I right, that all professionalism has left the NBA?

Watching the Cleveland Cavaliers get ready for Game Two of their series with the Bulls was disgusting!  A bunch of hoopsters, jumping around, dancing and making fools of themselves, while the Cavs PA announcer tried to get the fans revved up to a fever pitch.

Professionals...real pros, act like they have been there before. 
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LeBron Great, but a real Pain!

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Fred Huebner

Much more than a sports guy, a big fan of tv, movies and music, (classic rock). TV play-by-play man for the Chicago Fire. Between Sports Phone and The Score, I have covered and talked sports for 32 years in this town.

Is it just me, the crotchety, old man who doesn't like what the current athlete has turned into?  Or am I right, that all professionalism has left the NBA?

Watching the Cleveland Cavaliers get ready for Game Two of their series with the Bulls was disgusting!  A bunch of hoopsters, jumping around, dancing and making fools of themselves, while the Cavs PA announcer tried to get the fans revved up to a fever pitch.

Professionals...real pros, act like they have been there before. 
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Something for Everyone!!!

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Fred Huebner

Much more than a sports guy, a big fan of tv, movies and music, (classic rock). TV play-by-play man for the Chicago Fire. Between Sports Phone and The Score, I have covered and talked sports for 32 years in this town.

What a weekend!  No rain expected.  Temps in the upper 50's.  And sports galore. 

All the excitement and anticipation of the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs...and we get that from the Blackhawks!  A Troy Brouwer miscue in his own zone allowing Nashville to take a 2-1 lead was the one point that fans will harp on after the Predators 4-1 win in Game One on Friday night, but there was more than just that to be concerned about.

The Hawks were trying too hard to make something happen instead of waiting for their game to develop.  Coach Joel Quenneville said aftr the loss that the team has to remain patient against the Predators, and that they would in Game Two on Saturday afternoon.
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Chicago Fire & Tiger looking for first win of the year!

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Fred Huebner

Much more than a sports guy, a big fan of tv, movies and music, (classic rock). TV play-by-play man for the Chicago Fire. Between Sports Phone and The Score, I have covered and talked sports for 32 years in this town.

Opening night at Toyota Park was everything the Chicago Fire had hoped for, except a victory!

A gorgeous evening, weather-wise, a near full house...a "W" would have capped off a great evening.

A couple of mistakes on the back line lead to a 2-1 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes.  Marco Pappa scored the Fire's lone goal, but this Fire team is still a work in progress. 

Now, I understand that it is a long season.  Thirty games with a break in the middle of the season for the first round of World Cup 2010.  It apparently is going to take new head coach, Carlos de los Cobos to figure out how to put all the pieces in the right places.

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Where's the Hitting? Don't blame the coaches!

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Fred Huebner

Much more than a sports guy, a big fan of tv, movies and music, (classic rock). TV play-by-play man for the Chicago Fire. Between Sports Phone and The Score, I have covered and talked sports for 32 years in this town.

I swear, I already heard it!

Thursday, driving around the Western Suburbs, I actually heard a caller ask a couple of sports talk hosts about Cubs hitting coach, Rudy Jaramillo.  Jaramillo came over from Texas as the latest hitting "guru", and after just two games, the Cubs bats had been silent.  It is only a matter of time before Sox fans begin their annual beatdown of Sox hitting coach, Greg Walker.

People, blame the hitters, not the coach!

Both Jaramillo and Walker work tirelessly trying to get their hitters to relax, repeat what they have done in the past, and get into a comfort zone at the plate.  Coaches can only coach, they can't take the bat out of the hitters hand and do the job themselves.
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Sox, Duke win, Cubs, Zambrano Rocked!

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Fred Huebner

Much more than a sports guy, a big fan of tv, movies and music, (classic rock). TV play-by-play man for the Chicago Fire. Between Sports Phone and The Score, I have covered and talked sports for 32 years in this town.

Monday has to go down as one of the "Greatest Single Days in Sport"!

Not just yesterday, but every Monday that features the opening day of baseball for BOTH Chicago teams, plus the NCAA Championship game.  It has been this way for a while now, and it never fails to be a wonderfully, jammed pack sports day.

Now, I can understand how Cubs fans would like to forget about yesterday, a 16-5 loser to the Braves in Atlanta.

Carlos Zambrano said all the right things during spring training.  He came into camp in shape, ready to go.  He promised that this would be a different, "Big Z". It was.  The old "Big Z", would have flown off the handle after giving up eight runs in just an inning and a third, but the new Zambrano handled it like a man.

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96, Why Not 128?, How about EVERYONE!!!

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Fred Huebner

Much more than a sports guy, a big fan of tv, movies and music, (classic rock). TV play-by-play man for the Chicago Fire. Between Sports Phone and The Score, I have covered and talked sports for 32 years in this town.

Saturday and Monday in Indianapolis, the Final Four will be played out.  Duke, West Virginia, Michigan State and Butler have made it through the first four rounds of the tournament and play at Lucas Oil Field.

Yesterday, the NCAA met, and chatted, and now it looks like one of the greatest sporting event going, will expand to 96 teams, possibly as early as next season.

WHY!!!

64 schools was perfect.  They wanted to add a play-in game.  Why?  Do more people watch it on television?  Is it necessary?  It comes every Tuesday of the first round, and goes with little fanfare.


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Butler, W. VA. win, Fire lose!

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Fred Huebner

Much more than a sports guy, a big fan of tv, movies and music, (classic rock). TV play-by-play man for the Chicago Fire. Between Sports Phone and The Score, I have covered and talked sports for 32 years in this town.

Early last week, I heard some sports talkers say that upsets were fine in the first two days of the NCAA Tournament, but those teams should then go away and let the big boys play.

BULL!

I could not be happier that Butler knocked off Kansas State, and who doesn't love the fact that Calipari and Kentucky won't be at the Final Four...except maybe Ashley Judd!

Saturday, The Bulldogs and Mountaineers may not have showed that defense wins championships, but it sure helps you get there.  Butler shut down the K. State guards until they woke up in the second half.  West Virginia threw out a 1-3-1 defense and told Kentucky to put up their threes.  They did...missing their first 20 before going just 4 for 32 for the game.  Kentucky will just have to cheat to get more "one and done" recruits for next season.

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What's Going On With The Fire?

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Fred Huebner

Much more than a sports guy, a big fan of tv, movies and music, (classic rock). TV play-by-play man for the Chicago Fire. Between Sports Phone and The Score, I have covered and talked sports for 32 years in this town.

For the past two plus seasons, I have been fortunate enough to broadcast Chicago Fire Soccer games on My50, along with one of the more knowledgeable soccer guys I know, Chris Doran.  I was recently told the team was going in a "different direction", and my services would not be needed, but that doesn't mean I won't be following the "Men In Red".

I fell in love with the sport of soccer in 1990.  Like so many others in the Midwest, and around the country, I thought it was just a sport for the foreigners to play, not a sport that would catch on in this country.  My high school, Morton East, had gone to the state finals, but for me, it was just a time to hop on a bus, and party, while then having to sit in the cold and watch a sport I didn't understand.

In 1990, I gave it a chance.  I sat in front of the television and watched the World Cup, being played in Italy.  The broadcasters on TBS, Bob Neal and Mick Luckhurst, (former placekicker for the Atlanta Falcons), explained the game.  The offside trap.  The tactics.  They explained what I should be looking for.
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How Can We Fix The IHSA Tourney?

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Fred Huebner

Much more than a sports guy, a big fan of tv, movies and music, (classic rock). TV play-by-play man for the Chicago Fire. Between Sports Phone and The Score, I have covered and talked sports for 32 years in this town.

I just got back Sunday afternoon from another weekend in Peoria.  My buddies and I do this every year to catch the Boys State Basketball Finals at Carver Arena. 

Something needs to change!  Every year there are fewer and fewer fans making the trip to the tournament, and it is sad. As they announce over the P.A., Illinois is the home of the America's Original March Madness.  The phrase March Madness was first used in 1939 by Henry V. Porter to describe the fan enthusiasm surrounding the annual Illinois Boys High School tournamentBrent Musberger brought the phrase to the nation when he used it in 1980 while doing the NCAA Tournament.

This weekend, three Chicago Public League schools made the trip downstate.  Marshall competed for the 3A title, while Simeon and Whitney Young battled it out for the 4A crown.  The CPS had complained for years that they were only allowed to have one representative downstate for years, that being the Public League Champ.  That changed a few years back and now the Public League schools participate in the regionals around the Chicagoland area, allowing more schools to make the trip if they advance through the regionals, sectionals and super sectional. 

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Weekend Starts Early for Hoop Fans...Will There Be Soccer?

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Fred Huebner

Much more than a sports guy, a big fan of tv, movies and music, (classic rock). TV play-by-play man for the Chicago Fire. Between Sports Phone and The Score, I have covered and talked sports for 32 years in this town.

What a wonderful time of year...if you are a sports fan!

The NCAA Tournament starts this afternoon. The IHSA State Tournament crowns two more basketball Champions in Peoria Saturday night.  The Blackhawks are playing the role of "crash test dummies" for the rest of the league and continue their struggles on the West Coast.  The Bulls still have a chance for the post season, despite losing nine in a row.  The opening day of baseball is less than a month away.  And Major League Soccer...ah...oh ...we will talk about that in a bit.

I got online this morning and put together a few brackets for the NCAA Tournament.  Will I win?  Doubtful, but you MUST be in a tournament to get the full enjoyment of the tourney.

I am making my yearly pilgrimage to Peoria to catch the 3A and 4A semifinals and championship games this weekend.  Last year, I missed my first tourney in more than 25 years and I hope this weekend begins another 25 year stretch.
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Despite NIT, Future Bright for Illinois, Northwestern

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Fred Huebner

Much more than a sports guy, a big fan of tv, movies and music, (classic rock). TV play-by-play man for the Chicago Fire. Between Sports Phone and The Score, I have covered and talked sports for 32 years in this town.

One institution is upset, the other, seemingly very happy.

Illinois and Northwestern basketball will continue, not in the "Big Dance", the field of 65, the tournament everyone will be watching.  They will be participating in the NIT.  Illinois gets Stoney Brook, while the Wildcats will play Richmond, both games on Wednesday.

Bruce Weber and the Illini, would have been going to the NCAA tournament, had they not lost six of their last eight games to end the season.  As the head coach said Sunday, they have no one to blame but themselves.  Many Illinois supporters and college hoop fans blame Weber for some poor clock management in their double overtime loss to Ohio State on Saturday.  I am not one of those.

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What A Sports Weekend Ahead of Us!

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Fred Huebner

Much more than a sports guy, a big fan of tv, movies and music, (classic rock). TV play-by-play man for the Chicago Fire. Between Sports Phone and The Score, I have covered and talked sports for 32 years in this town.

Moments ago, I watched Michigan decide not to pressure the in bounds pass and allow Evan Turner to take the ball, uncovered, and hit a 40 footer at the buzzer for the Buckeyes to advance to the Big Ten Tournament Semifinals.

Unbelievable!  I am not sure what surprised me more.  The shot by the St. Joe's product and possible college player of the year, or Michigan, figuring that Ohio State couldn't get it done with 2.2 seconds remaining.

This is just the start of an AWESOME weekend of sports viewing ahead of us.

The Big Ten Tourney continues with Illinois and Northwestern both playing today, looking to stay alive in the Tourney.  The Cats looked good knocking off Indiana last night.  Illinois needs to perform well if they want to get into the field of 65.

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Savard Heritage Night Before Game Tonight

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Fred Huebner

Much more than a sports guy, a big fan of tv, movies and music, (classic rock). TV play-by-play man for the Chicago Fire. Between Sports Phone and The Score, I have covered and talked sports for 32 years in this town.

How weird is what has happened on West Madison St.?

The Blackhawks "organization" decided it was time to fire head coach, Denis Savard after just four games of the '08-'09 season.  They asked Savard to stick with the team as an "Ambassador".  He did, and tonight, another full house will honor Denis at his Heritage Night at the United Center.

How strange has this entire situation been for the hockey Hall of Famer?


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Hawks, Huet, Illini & Oscars

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Fred Huebner

Much more than a sports guy, a big fan of tv, movies and music, (classic rock). TV play-by-play man for the Chicago Fire. Between Sports Phone and The Score, I have covered and talked sports for 32 years in this town.

NBC decided to make the United Center their home for back-to-back Sundays coming out of the Olympics, and Sunday's game looked like a great one.  The hated Detroit Red Wings versus the high-flying Chicago Blackhawks

Things were looking good with the Hawks holding a 2-0 lead, and then, in the second period, Patrick Kane scored to make it 3-0, but wait a minute.  Dustin Byfuglien was called for interference around the creae, no goal.  Okay, they were still leading comfortably. 

But then, the flood gates burst.  The Hawks defense was getting beat, their third attacker was getting stuck deep in the attacking zone, and Cristobal Huet didn't help.

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USA has work to do before World Cup begins

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Fred Huebner

Much more than a sports guy, a big fan of tv, movies and music, (classic rock). TV play-by-play man for the Chicago Fire. Between Sports Phone and The Score, I have covered and talked sports for 32 years in this town.

Wednesday, the USA men's National team wrapped up it's play on foreign soil before the start of the 2010 World Cup, to be played in South Africa.  The one month long tournament begins Friday, June 11, with the USA playing their first match against England on day two of the tournament.

The USA knew facing the Netherlands would not be easy, but it proved to be a good test for the Red, White and Blue.  The Netherlands, also known as Holland, are currently third ranked in the world, and came away with a 2-1 win.

Watching the broadcast on ESPN2, the one thing that stood out was the crawl on the bottom of the screen with all of the injured players that the US has on the mend.  Onyewu, Davies, Dempsey, Feilhaber, the list seemed to go on forever.
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