No Spain, No Gain

My Last Post...

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SarahSpain

Sports reporter, sarcastic smartass, music lover, funny gal.

I'm both happy to announce that I have a new gig and sad to announce that No Spain, No Gain is coming to an end.

I've taken a job with ESPN 1000 as a Sportscenter Anchor and reporter, and will also being doing some work for ESPNChicago.com. It was an offer too good to pass up and I'm extremely excited to get started on the air Monday! Proud to be repping the ladies--there aren't many of us in Chicago radio!

The good news is, I won't have to say goodbye to ChicagoNow altogether. I'll still be sharing my thoughts on food, people, places, parties and events in this great city of ours on the Chicago's Best blog. (The show launches THIS SUNDAY at 10pm on WGN, so be sure to watch!!!)

I've had a blast writing No Spain, No Gain and I truly appreciate all the awesome folks who chimed in with their opinions or gave me cool stories and events to share. It's been great getting to know everybody at ChicagoNow through the tweet-ups and the ChicagoNow Radio show, so I'm happy that I'll get to continue to call all the writers here "co-workers" of sorts. Special thanks to Jimmy Greenfield, Dan Zampillo, Kristin Decker and Matt Mattucci for being all-around awesome.

No Spain, No Gain may be closing for business, but you'll see and hear plenty of me on ESPN 1000, ESPNChicago.com and Chicago's Best on WGN. (I know, I know, I think I'M already sick of me.)

For now, I will leave you with this--to get you through the many Hump Days to come...

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Next Year Is Here! "Next Year Day" Sets the Stage for the Cubs' Home Opener

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SarahSpain

Sports reporter, sarcastic smartass, music lover, funny gal.

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Saturday night Sun-Times columnist Rick Telander and The Heckler teamed up to get the city of Chicago pumped up and ready for the 2010 Chicago Cubs home opener. Their Next Year Day party at Harry Caray's Wrigleyville had everything Cubs fans love: beer, babes, bands and a healthy dose of humor at the expense of the White Sox.

Monday afternoon a new year of Wrigley baseball will begin. Fans will get to see the changes to the ballpark, have a brew at the new bar on the block and welcome their 2010 Cubs at home for the first time. If you don't have your Cubs Day-O-Fun mapped out yet, here are a few of the events going on in Wrigleyville!

Check out some pics from Next Year Day to get pumped for Monday's home opener against the Milwaukee Brewers!!


Gallery sneak peek (36 images):

View the gallery...
Continue reading...

The Tip-Off: Weekend Tips

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SarahSpain

Sports reporter, sarcastic smartass, music lover, funny gal.

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Chug-Chug The Clown & Bill Murray at a past Next Year Day

T.G.I.F. and all that crap. Here are some tips & links for this weekend.

FRISKY FRIDAY:

BLACKHAWKS @ AVALANCHE -
Friday 8pm - The regular season is winding down. Watch the Hawks tune up for the postseason. [Blackhawks]

WORLD BEER CUP PARTY - Friday 'til 2am - Head over to Moonshine in Wicker Park for this party, in honor of the Craft Brewers Conference in Chicago,  [Metromix]


SUPER SATURDAY:

CHICAGONOW RADIO - Saturday 9am - Yours truly will be back behind the mic at WGN to guest-host ChicagoNow Radio. My spectacular guests will be the authors of the following blogs...  American Princess, Chicago Political Commentary, Chicago Food Snob, Always a Bridesmaid, Beer Travelers, Staying on Course, Golf Chicago.  

NEXT YEAR DAY
- Saturday 8pm - The 102nd Annual Next Year Day, presented by The Heckler & Sun-Times Columnist Rick Telander, celebrates another year of hopin' and wishin' and dreamin' about a Cubs World Series Win. Celebs, pin-the-mullet on the South Sider, a champagne toast, bucket boys, JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound. What more could you ask for??? [Next Year Day]

Continue reading...

Saints RB & Super Bowl Champion Pierre Thomas Comes Home To Chicago

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SarahSpain

Sports reporter, sarcastic smartass, music lover, funny gal.

Chicago's own Pierre Thomas, running back for the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, is back in his hometown this week. The Thornton Fractional South and University of Illinois alum hosted a charity event on Tuesday, then lived out a life-long dream, throwing out the first pitch before the White Sox/Indians game last night.


The White Sox lost the game in extra innings, but there was still reason to celebrate, as Thomas hosted his first Chicago-based bash since winning the Super Bowl at Wicker Park hot spot Fifty/50.

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Fifty/50 general manager Eddie Mahoney with Saints RB Pierre Thomas.

Thomas wasn't the only big-name athlete partying it up in the Windy City last night; LeBron James had a star-studded bash at Cuvee nightclub after his team's 109-108 loss to the Bulls. The Cavs already have the league's best record locked up, so James sat out the game to heal up some bumps and bruises before the start of the postseason.

I'm sure all of Chicago would be happy to see James party more and play less, 'cause if the Bulls manage to sneak into the playoffs they'll face King James and the Cavs in the opening round.
 

White Sox Fans Get Their Rocks Off on "Rock The Sox" Day

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SarahSpain

Sports reporter, sarcastic smartass, music lover, funny gal.

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We've all heard stories about fans gettin' busy at public sporting events. Heck, we've even seen video of it. But few of us have actually witnessed it firsthand.

Well on Opening Day, labeled "Rock The Sox" Day on the team's promotional calendar, two White Sox fans took the whole socks-rocking promo a bit too literally. As a result, a dad and his young son were treated to a live showing of America's Second-Favorite Pastime: boning at a baseball game.

Writes John Kass of the Tribune:

This was an Opening Day that [Dr. Paul] Nemeth and his son will never forget. Ever.

On Monday, Nemeth's son had to go, and his father took him to the nearest restroom. They stood in line for the first urinal next to a row of stalls.

As they waited, Nemeth said, he noticed noises coming from the last stall. A man's legs -- clad in blue jeans and sneakers -- were sticking out from under the stall door.

"The toes were pointing up," said Nemeth. "The legs were shaking and quivering. From a visual standpoint, all you had to see was the legs quivering to know something was going on."
Continue reading...

Bears LB Lance Briggs Presents "A Reason To Dream" Charity Event

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SarahSpain

Sports reporter, sarcastic smartass, music lover, funny gal.

If you're not too tuckered out from the excitement of the Cubs' Home Opener Monday afternoon, head over to Lumen for "A Reason To Dream," a charity event put on by Bears linebacker Lance Briggs.

Mingle with local celebrities and Chicago Bears of the past and present, enjoy an open bar and food from 6-9pm and bid on great live and silent auction items. Some of the prizes include gift cards to Chicago bars and restaurants, signed jerseys, Lollapalooza tickets and a vacation donated by Briggs himself.

General admission tickets are $55 and all the proceeds go to Briggs4Kidz. Click here for more information.

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The Cubs/White Sox Rivalry Is Heating Up! (Or, How to Use Stereotypes to Pull Chicks)

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SarahSpain

Sports reporter, sarcastic smartass, music lover, funny gal.

Ladies, it looks like just sporting your team's ballcap isn't enough anymore. If you really wanna make a statement, you gotta be willing to put your heart--and your lips--on the line for your club.

The Cubs/White Sox rivalry isn't just about baseball anymore, it's about love, too. If you're a REAL fan, you don't just root for your team, you limit your romantic interests to those who cheer for the MLB franchise of your choosing.

If you love the Sox SO much that you're willing to turn down that tall, blue-eyed, six-pack sportin' North Sider at your local watering hole, then you need one of these:

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And the best part about Victoria's Secret's new line of shirts is that it makes it easy for guys to know what a girl's "type" is.  If you know what team she loves, you know what kind of man she loves!

So guys, when you spot one of these gals, just follow this handy slideshow guide and you'll be in like Flynn.

WARNING: If you actually spot a girl wearing one of these tees, she's probably 12. Proceed with caution. And if she's in her twenties/thirties and wearing one of these tees, proceed with caution for a whole different set of reasons.
 

Gallery sneak peek (11 images):

View the gallery...
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Tiger Woods & Nike Team Up With Earl Woods for Controversial New Ad

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SarahSpain

Sports reporter, sarcastic smartass, music lover, funny gal.

The just-released new Nike ad featuring Tiger Woods and the voice of his deceased father, Earl Woods.

THOUGHTS??!!!


UPDATE:

Coming Soon: Part II, in which Tiger Responds...

"I'm Tiger Woods, and I'm so eager to get back in the public's good graces/earn back sponsorship money/be forgiven for being a cad that I'm willing to drag my beloved, deceased father into this mess.

Whether it's cheating on your wife or disgracing your father's memory, I say, JUST DO IT.  "

[HT to Michael Eaves]

Getting Over The Hump: The Wednesday Link Dump

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SarahSpain

Sports reporter, sarcastic smartass, music lover, funny gal.

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Moist tidbits from the interwebs to get you through the tail end of your Wednesday afternoon.

• This Saturday, the 102nd Annual Next Year Day. [The Heckler]

• Tell us what to eat Monday & get a shoutout during the Cubs' Home Opener! [Chicago's Best]

• Nike reportedly set to air new Tiger Woods ad. [Chicago Breaking Sports]

• Former Chicago Bears DE Alex Brown signs with the Saints. [ESPN Chicago]

• Brett Favre is a grandfather. No, literally. [Sun-Times]

Continue reading...

Commence Dramatic Lead-Up to Epic World Cup

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SarahSpain

Sports reporter, sarcastic smartass, music lover, funny gal.

As if the start of baseball and the impending NHL and NBA playoffs weren't enough, now sports fans can add in the hype and excitement leading up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Whether or not you're a fan of soccer, you've gotta admit that there's a special appeal to the Cup being held in post-apartheid South Africa, a country literally held together by "the beautiful game."

ESPN's World Cup ad campaign debuts on the airwaves and the interwebs today with this spot, set in the prison where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in captivity.



[HT to old friend Alex]

Tonight: The Heckler & Finley Dunne's Present A Blackhawks Road Watch!

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SarahSpain

Sports reporter, sarcastic smartass, music lover, funny gal.

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Tonight, head out to Finley Dunne's Tavern to watch the Blackhawks take on the Dallas Stars. Chicago's No. 1 satirical sports paper, The Heckler, is pairing up with Finley Dunne's Tavern, one of Chicago's official Blackhawks bars, for this special Blackhawks Road Watch!

Come for the hockey, stay for the drink specials, giveaways and more!

Where: Finley Dunne's Tavern, 3458 N. Lincoln
When: Puck drops at 7:30pm
Why: 'Cause you're a fan of a good time
Who: You, me, Hawks fans, locals, lushes, boozers



Blackhawks Help the White Sox Kick Off Opening Day

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SarahSpain

Sports reporter, sarcastic smartass, music lover, funny gal.

Blackhawks Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Patrick Kane's mullet helped the White Sox ring in the 2010 season at US Cellular Field Monday afternoon. The guys paired their Olympic medals with Sox hats and jerseys and threw out ceremonial first pitches.


Seabrook may have thrown the ugliest ball, but he made up for it with one last dig at silver medalist Kane. Something tells me Patrick is never gonna live down that big Canadian win. 

It's Opening Day & Mark Buehrle is Already a "Play Of The Year" Nominee

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SarahSpain

Sports reporter, sarcastic smartass, music lover, funny gal.

Just one game into the 2010 season and White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle has already got himself a "Web Gem." You can expect to see this play show up on highlight reels all year long...

How was Obama's Pitch? Juuuuuuuust A Bit Outside.

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SarahSpain

Sports reporter, sarcastic smartass, music lover, funny gal.

President Barack Obama, repping Chicago with a White Sox hat, threw out the first pitch at today's Washington Nationals/Philadelphia Phillies game.


Last time I saw a ball that far outside, Carlos Marmol was trying to close out a 9th inning.

Hawks Clinch, Pippen FTW & Opening Day Is Here!

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SarahSpain

Sports reporter, sarcastic smartass, music lover, funny gal.

For those of you who are still a little slow-moving after a monstrous Easter brunch yesterday, let me get you up to speed...


The Blackhawks are the Central Division Champs for the
first time in 17 Years!


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It's Opening Day for the Cubs & the Sox!

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Scottie Pippen was elected into the Basketball Hall of Fame!

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Hey Kris Versteeg, Where's My Cut?

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SarahSpain

Sports reporter, sarcastic smartass, music lover, funny gal.

As soon as I saw the latest Chicago Blackhawks scoreboard video...


 ...I could think of just one thing: Where's my cut?
                                                                  (Oh and also...Kris Versteeg isn't American!)

Back to the point...

This isn't the first time Versteeg has busted out his rapping "talents" on camera. In fact, I'd like to believe that I started it all...


Steeger, as your sort of unofficial music manager, I think I should be getting a lil' somethin' somethin' for jumpstarting your rapping career.

I'll take my cut in playoff tickets. Thanks. 

The Tip-Off: Weekend Tips

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SarahSpain

Sports reporter, sarcastic smartass, music lover, funny gal.

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HAPPY EASTER!!


T.G.I.F. and all that crap. Here are some tips & links for this weekend.

TOP TIP:
Tune in to Sunday's Blackhawks game on WGN to catch cameos by me and my Chicago's Best co-host Brittney Payton! She'll be shooting the puck, I'll be chatting about the show during the 2nd intermission! 


FRIDAY FUN:

Drinks, apps, live music, art & flirting = First Fridays. [Museum of Contemporary Art]

Head over to the Red Ivy in Wrigleyville for tonight's Hawks Road Watch. [Red Ivy]


Continue reading...

Calling All Cubs Fan--Celebrate Before It's Too Late!!

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SarahSpain

Sports reporter, sarcastic smartass, music lover, funny gal.

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T.S. Eliot was wrong; for Cubs fans, April will never be the cruelest month. April is a time for optimism and hope.  A time to appreciate the joy of being a North Sider before Soriano has dropped a fly ball, before Marmol has blown a save, and before you're forced to utter those four terrible words: "There's always next year."

Cubs fans know all too well how quickly hope for a new season can be replaced by frustration. Just last year bleacher seats that sold for 80 bucks in July couldn't be traded for a bag of peanuts come September. That's why it's important to celebrate before it's too late.

In honor of the clean slate that each new season brings...

The 102nd Annual Next Year Day
Because this year could be "next year"

Saturday, April 10th @ Harry Caray's Tavern Wrigleyville

Continue reading...

Nike Develops Grunt-Removal Technology for Maria Sharapova

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SarahSpain

Sports reporter, sarcastic smartass, music lover, funny gal.

Ted Lilly To Put His Money Where His Arm Is

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SarahSpain

Sports reporter, sarcastic smartass, music lover, funny gal.

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Awhile back I wrote about the launch of the Ryan & Jenny Dempster Family Foundation. The Cubs pitcher and his wife started the charity to raise awareness of the 22q11.2 deletion (DiGeorge Syndrome), a genetic disorder their 10-month-old daughter Riley suffers from.

Dempster has always been a favorite of mine for the way he combines hard work and passion for the game with a fantastic sense of humor. (He definitely stole the show in my piece on the Cubs' Gatorade cooler...)


He's truly one of the most genuine and kind athletes I've worked with and someone any Cubs fan should be proud to have on their team.

Teammate Ted Lilly seems to feel the same way about Dempster and his charitable efforts. Lilly has offered to give the Dempster Foundation $10 for each of his strikeouts this season and $1,000 for each of his wins. Last year Lilly had 151 strikeouts and 12 wins, so if he can match that effort, that means over $13,000 for the Foundation.  

Find out how you can join Lilly in his efforts and check the events page of the Foundation's website to hear about other ways to help.


[HT to the Grandaddy of all Cubs blogs, Bleed Cubbie Blue


Get To Know Your 2010 Chicago Cubs

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SarahSpain

Sports reporter, sarcastic smartass, music lover, funny gal.

Tuesday the Chicago Cubs finalized their 25-man roster. Left-handers Tyler Colvin and Chad Tracy earned the final spots, beating out Micah Hoffpauir, Sam Fuld, Chris Robinson (neither the Black Crowes singer nor the back-up catcher had a chance at making the final roster) and veteran Kevin Millar, who was released by the team.

Get to know a little bit more about the 25 men who will wear the Cubs "C" on Opening Day 2010...

Gallery sneak peek (29 images):

View the gallery...

It's Official: The Blackhawks Aren't Going to Win the Stanley Cup

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SarahSpain

Sports reporter, sarcastic smartass, music lover, funny gal.

It's official: The Blackhawks aren't going to win the Stanley Cup this season.

It won't be because of goalie play. It won't be because their defense is banged up or their power play is inconsistent. It won't even be because they're limping into the postseason with absolutely no momentum or confidence.

The Blackhawks aren't going to win the Cup because of this:

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Continue reading...

Hoops Fans--Don't Miss "The Street Stops Here" Wednesday Night on PBS

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SarahSpain

Sports reporter, sarcastic smartass, music lover, funny gal.

Last Wednesday I attended a screening of "The Street Stops Here" at the Chicago History Museum. The film will premiere on PBS stations nationwide Wednesday, March 31 at 10pm (ET) and if you're a hoops fan--or just a fan of incredible stories--I highly recommend you watch.

The documentary, produced by Chicago-based TeamWorks Media, chronicles a season in the life of legendary high school hoops coach Bob Hurley Sr., who has coached at St. Anthony High School in Jersey City for over 36 years. While Hurley's team is fighting to win the school's 25th state championship, the poor, inner-city Catholic school is fighting just to keep its doors open.


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In Case You Missed It: This Week's ChicagoNow Radio Hosted By ME!

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SarahSpain

Sports reporter, sarcastic smartass, music lover, funny gal.

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I took over the Showcase Studio at WGN to guest-host ChicagoNow radio again this past weekend. My guests included sports guys, political experts, neighbor-haters and Chicago's nightlife king. (Find out how he was duped into eating breast milk cheese on national television!)

Check out the podcasts here!

 I Hate My Developer - Lyletta Robinson
 Chicago Girl on Film - Christine Carr
  Publius' Forum / The Voting Booth - Warner Todd Huston / Blake Dvorak
 It's a Small Business World - Barry Moltz
 Chicago Blackhawks One Goal / Bulls Confidential - John Talarico / Doug Thonus
  A Chicago Thing - Billy Dec

Hawks Fall to Jackets, Drop to A Game Under .500 In Post-Olympic Play

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SarahSpain

Sports reporter, sarcastic smartass, music lover, funny gal.

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Sunday night the Chicago Blackhawks fell 4-2 to one of the worst teams in the conference, the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Hawks' back-to-back losses to the Jackets drop their record to 5-6-2 since the Olympic break and 2-4-2 in their last eight contests.

For much of the game, the Hawks were lacking spark and energy. The team seemed half-asleep down 3-1 until a short-handed goal by Patrick Sharp late in the third period cut the Jackets' lead to one. A late flurry nearly resulted in the tying goal, but it was too little, too late for the slumping Blackhawks.

With just eight games remaining before the playoffs, Chicago has lost the confidence and swagger they had before the Olympic break. After their two most recent losses the players have acknowledged that something is wrong, but haven't been able to stop their skid.

For most of the season many considered the Hawks a Stanley Cup caliber team with shaky goaltending, but now it's clear that the once-invincible Blackhawks have plenty of holes. Joel Quenneville needs to get his guys back on track--and now--so they don't head into the postseason stripped of all confidence and momentum.

Teams like Detroit and Nashville are just hitting their stride and won't think twice about ruining the Hawks' golden year.

The Tip-Off: Weekend Tips

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SarahSpain

Sports reporter, sarcastic smartass, music lover, funny gal.

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T.G.I.F. and all that crap. Here are some tips & links for this weekend.

I AM AN F...B...I... AGENT! - Catch Johhny Utah & co. live on stage Friday and Saturday nights at the La Costa Theatre!! [Point Break Live]

I AM A... RADIO... HOST! - I'm guest-hosting ChicagoNow Radio again this weekend. Tune in to Chicago's WGN Radio 720 or listen online HERE as I chat it up with these totally rad blogger folks: Chicago Girl on Film, Publius Forum/Voting Booth, It's A Small Business World, Chicago Bulls Confidential/One Goal, A Chicago Thing


Continue reading...

No Shame In That Game: Cornell Challenges, But Can't Top Kentucky

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SarahSpain

Sports reporter, sarcastic smartass, music lover, funny gal.

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Kentucky 62, Cornell 45

The final score doesn't reflect the challenge Cornell gave No. 1 Kentucky Thursday night, but anyone who watched the game saw a team full of non-scholarship players give a bunch of future NBA first-round picks all they could handle. Kentucky's athleticism, speed and length were ultimately too much for the Big Red, who were never able to get into a good rhythm offensively.

After jumping out to a 10-2 lead, Cornell let DeMarcus Cousins and UK capitalize on high-percentage shots in the paint to go on a 30-6 run. A 16-point halftime deficit was simply too much for the Ivy Leaguers to overcome, despite much improved play in the second half. Had adjustments been made earlier, the Big Red might have had a chance.

Kentucky's defense shut down Cornell's number one weapon, their three-point shooting, and the Big Red didn't take advantage of what was given to them. Kentucky was double-teaming the ballhandler on screens, leaving the man rolling to the hoop wide open, but it was obvious to the Wildcats--and everyone watching--that the Big Red weren't looking for that second option. Stymied beyond the arc, the Cornell players were taken out of their rhythm and weren't able to create off the dribble or get aggressive in the paint.
Continue reading...

Will Cornell Get Its Hollywood Ending?

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SarahSpain

Sports reporter, sarcastic smartass, music lover, funny gal.

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Watch tonight's game with fellow Cornell alums at
Harry Caray's Wrigleyville!

Tip-off is at 8:57pm Central--see you there!


I wrote a guest spot on tonight's Cornell/Kentucky game for the site One Great Season. Check out a snippet...

Any Given Thursday: Cornell Aims For Hollywood Ending

Thursday night when Cornell takes on Kentucky in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament, Hollywood better be watching.

Forget "Hoosiers," the tale of the Big Red taking on Big Blue has enough intrigue to make Oliver Stone commission the screenplay for "Any Given Thursday." Just look at the way the villain and underdog roles are already fleshed out.

A team that's won seven NCAA Championships and a team that's only appeared in seven NCAA Tournament games. A bunch of "one-and-done" freshmen taking on a group of "one last run" seniors. A coach who's worked his way around the rules against a coach who's worked his way up the ranks. Kids playing for the scholarship money and a chance at the NBA and kids playing for the love of the game and a chance to take a break from studying.

The screenwriter won't need to create new characters, either; these Cornell heroes already boast dramatic Hollywood story lines...

Keep reading...

Getting Over The Hump: The Wednesday Link Dump

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SarahSpain

Sports reporter, sarcastic smartass, music lover, funny gal.

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Moist tidbits from the interwebs to get you through the tail end
of your Wednesday afternoon.

• Cornell & Kentucky: Compare & Contrast. [USA Today]

• White Whiskey Cocktails, Pork Belly BLTs & Bacon Tattoos. [Chicago's Best]

• The Funniest Newspaper Corrections EVER! [Huffington Post]

Continue reading...

Hawks Get The Win, Niemi Gets The Belt

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SarahSpain

Sports reporter, sarcastic smartass, music lover, funny gal.

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Tuesday night Antti Niemi earned his sixth shutout of the year, leading the Blackhawks to a 2-0 victory over the Coyotes. The win gives the Hawks sole possession of the top spot in the Western Conference, with 99 points.

Perhaps even more exciting than Niemi's solid performance between the pipes? The championship boxing belt "The Finnish Fortress" received after the game.

Chris Kuc of the Tribune writes:

The belt was courtesy of defenseman Brent Seabrook, who purchased it while the Hawks were in Glendale, Ariz., over the weekend.

"It's a team prize," said Niemi, who made 28 saves to help the Hawks take a two-point lead over the Coyotes and one over the Sharks in the conference. "The team chooses every winning game the hardest working (player). It's a little bit new. It feels good."

The goal may be to pass the belt around to a different player every game, but I, for one, would be happy to see Niemi take it home every night if his play warrants it. The Hawks have a few things to work on, their defensive consistency and power play efficiency being two big ones, but nothing is more important to this team than solid goalie play.  
Continue reading...

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