InternetFM presents sports content from our partner site YourSportsFan.com including podcasts of “The Weekend Sports Report” with Les Grobstein, Steve Leventhal and Alison Moran, along with “Dorf on Sports” with Fred Wallin and Andy Dorf. YSF also features original sports articles.
…Dave has updates on free agency involving the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears. Greg Echlin from KCUR-FM in Kansas City has a Chiefs update, and discusses the Villanova – Oklahoma game in the Final Four. SRN Assistant Sports Director Phil Meyers gives us a preview of the other half of the bracket – Syracuse versus North Carolina.
Lastly, our Chicago colleague, Rory Spears, tells us why he picked Villanova to be in the championship game, and offers his thoughts on the upcoming Masters golf tournament.
Don’t miss a cameo from Dick Vitale.
by Richard Lyman
…When Brice Johnson arrived in Chapel Hill, he was supposed to the second coming of John Henson, now with the Milwaukee Bucks. From a distance, they physically resembled each other, but Henson had a big head start in his skill set. During pre-season conditioning drills, one assistant coach confided in Roy Williams that he did not think Brice was going to make it. “Through the season?” “No, coach, through the workouts.” Brice had a lot to learn about the physicality of the college game.
Brice played every game his freshmen year, but often put up [Duke center] Marshall Plumlee-like line scores: more fouls than points. At times he looked lost, completely unsure as to where he should be on the court, often fouling on hedges twenty-five feet from the basket and earning himself a quick seat on the bench. His free-throw shooting was an adventure, leather often did not find rim.
But Brice persevered, he worked hard, he improved every year. Dean Smith was legendary for turning projects into NBA pros after four year of tutelage. Now, self-centered kids whose egos far exceed their abilities leave too soon for the elusive riches of the pro game. They find themselves riding buses in the D-league when another year of practice and work might have gotten them onto an NBA bench.
Either Brice figured it out himself, or his father/high school coach set him straight. You need more time under the wheel. You need to get stronger, shoot better and play smarter.
Now in his senior year, Johnson has demonstrated what hard work will do. From Mr. Basketball in sleepy South Carolina to consensus all-American, the journey is almost complete. No Carolina player had ever blocked eight shots in a game before this year. Now the kid who high jumped his height in high school is using his freakish leaping ability to send balls ten rows deep into the stands. The same kid who often shot airballs at the free throw line is now the guy the opposing coach would never foul with the game on the line. I think Hubert Davis should take some credit for his free throw percentage increasing every year.
On a team that often does not show emotion and is led by a cerebral, charming academic all-American, Johnson’s emotions burn like lighter fluid on the charcoal grill. Before this year, he would fist pump and shout after a dunk while his man sprinted down court unguarded and Roy screamed to get back on defense. Those antics got him a seat on the bench next to Coach Robinson. Now, he controls his emotions and waits for the whistle and the clock to stop to voice a primal howl to the student body so visceral it can frighten those who have not witnessed it before. In the second round tournament game against a gritty Providence team, Brice spun baseline to dunk while his helpless defender pulled on his arm. The whistle sounded and Brice dangled from the rim and reached down in his soul for a primordial scream that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Maybe it was the culmination of four years of frustration on the court, maybe it was the agony of a teenage boy who lost his mother too soon, but it was a defining moment. His team heard him and they never looked back and quickly put the game out of reach. The man-child has become the man.
on the Weekend Sports Report for March with Packer Dave and Steve Leventhal
….Our NHL expert John Poulter joins us to with his 2016 NHL Deadline Deal analysis. How did the Toronto Maple Leafs, Chicago Blackhawks, and other hockey clubs do?
Plus, he also gives us his take on the English Premier League soccer season, as we head into the final two months of the season. Will Chelsea be playing in Europe next year? Can Leicester City go from rags to riches in one season?
The Northwestern Wildcats were back in Evanston after a 2-game road losing streak on Saturday afternoon and they took out their frustrations on a poor Rutgers squad who left their intensity on the bus. The Wildcats improved to 18 – 11 on the season and 6 – 10 in conference play with their 98-59 win over the Scarlet Knights.
It is Tre Demp’s world and we are just living in it as he dropped 24 points on 8-13 shooting while adding 8 rebounds and 4 assist. Demps was 6 for 8 from behind the arc and was left open for open threes all game long. It is not too often that Demps getting to roam free for the entire game but Rutgers were unable to put a body on him to slow the offensive onslaught by the senior.
Sophomore point guard Bryan McIntosh only scored 6 points but was able to dish out 13 assist during Demps hot shooting. Alex Olah had his third triple-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds in limited playing time. The Wildcats didn’t need much from their big three because they had balanced scoring from everyone on the roster.
The Wildcats were up 30 at halftime and it gave fans time to think about the future of this team under head coach Chris Collins. The Wildcats will not make the NCAA Tournament unless they are able to win the conference tournament in March, which is very unlikely.
Northwestern has not had a signature win all year and they have been blown out by some of the top tier Big Ten teams so they do not have a resume that warrants review when it comes to selection Sunday. The Wildcats had a promising start to the season, going 13 – 1 in their first 14 games but were unable to keep up the pace once the Big Ten conference play started.
The absence of second-year wing-man Vic Law hurt the Wildcats perimeter defense and stunted the team’s offensive abilities for the entire season. Olah also missed a handful of game during the middle of the season which completely decimated the interior defense and gave Northwestern no chance against Maryland and Ohio State.
The Wildcats still have two more games before the conference tournament against Penn State and Nebraska next week. Even if Northwestern is able to beat both of those teams and get to 20 wins for the season, their terrible strength of schedule and low RPI will be keep them out of the tournament again.
Hopefully Northwestern 2015-16 season will be a learning experience for some of the younger players on the team and they can provide a spark next season as they will be looking to do something no team has done in school history.
Follow Wes on Twitter @WesEvans24
on the Weekend Sports Report with Packer Dave and Steve Leventhal
….Jeff Rich joins us to preview the 2016 AFC and NFC Championship games. We also have as a guest a current NFL player who has authored a tell-all book about life in the National Football League. Unlike a typical memoir, loaded with whitewashed anecdotes and cute stories, this is a no holds barred, real world look inside the daily life of an offensive lineman playing right now. It’s so explosive, he uses the pen name “Johnny Anonymous” and disguises his voice for interviews. No topic is off the table in this wide ranging interview.
Lastly, John Poulter brings us up to date on what’s going on in the NHL and the English Premier League.
Hear interviews from Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Greg Olsen, and Larry Fitzgerald.
Don’t miss a cameo from Bob Costas of NBC.
…Jeff Rich joins us to preview the Green Bay Packers – Arizona Cardinals playoff game, the three other NFL games this weekend, and the head coaching changes in the league. Also, we’ll discuss the new teams coming to the Los Angeles market, and Alabama’s win over Clemson in the College Football Playoff championship.
Next, John Poulter brings us up to date on what’s happening in the NHL.
Hear interviews from Aaron Rogers, Eddie Lacy, Julius Peppers, Bruce Arians, Ron Rivera, Russell Wilson, and Peyton Manning. Plus, don’t miss a cameo from ESPN’s Chris Berman.
The Northwestern Wildcats welcomed in the Wisconsin Badgers to Welsh-Ryan Arena on Tuesday night for the first time in 15 years without being led by head coach Bo Ryan. Ryan retired midseason after his team was runner up in the NCAA tournament last year. In his 15 seasons as the Badgers head coach, Wisconsin made the NCAA tournament every year and never finished lower then 4th in Big Ten Conference regular season standings.
Ryan left his team in the hands of his longtime assistant Greg Gard, who inherited a young team that is in transition from being one of the best teams in the country to a below average Big Ten team. The Badgers came into the game at 9 – 8 overall and 1 – 3 in conference action.
The Wildcats jumped out an early 14 – 5 lead on the Badgers, thanks to some nice shooting by sophomore sensation Bryan McIntosh and some aggressive team defense. The Badgers were able to climb their way back into the game as they were only down 26 – 28 at halftime.
From start to finish this was McIntosh’s game, as his was dazzling on the offensive end of the floor. Every time down the court it was a “what is he going to do next,” type of feeling. McIntosh was hitting 3’s over centers and beating his man off the dribble at will leaving Coach Gard searching for answers. McIntosh finished with a game high 28 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds.
The over laying theme of this year for the Wildcats is whether or not they make the NCAA tournament but a close second is the maturation of McIntosh. The NU point guard is leading the team in points and assist while running Coach Collins offense and becoming the leader of this team.
The Wildcats have had to change their identity the past 4 games due to a foot injury to senior center Alex Olah. The lack of a low post presence has made the Wildcats play outside-in, compared to feeding Olah when healthy to open up the outside shooters. The Badgers ran the Wildcats off the 3-point line all night and contested every long distance shot causing Northwestern to shoot 4 – 12 (.3333) from beyond the arc.
The Badgers Nigel Hayes did his best to keep his team in the game by scoring 17 points but it was not enough to beat the Wildcats. Hayes came in the game as 1 of 2 players in the Big Ten averaging over 15 ppg, 6 rpg and 3.5 apg. The junior showed his aggressiveness by getting to the line 7 times, an area he is familiar to as he leads the Big Ten in FT and FTA.
Even without Alex Olah, the Wildcats were able to break Wisconsin’s 5 game winning streak in Evanston and move to 3 – 2 in the Big Ten. Northwestern will look to extend their winning streak to 3, when they host Penn State this Saturday night at 7:30 pm.
….Jeff Rich joins us to preview the Packers’ playoff game versus the Redskins, as well as the rest of the NFL playoff slate. They also talk about the coaching vacancies, and which are the more sought after jobs. John Poulter discusses the NHL with us, and lastly, Paul Banks from TheSportsBank will preview the College Football Championship game, and give his thoughts on the just concluded season.
Hear audio from Mike McCarthy, Randall Cobb, Clay Matthews, Jay Gruden, DeSean Jackson, John Fox, Bears GM Ryan Pace, Russell Wilson, Adrian Peterson, Ben Roethlisberger, JJ Watt, and AJ McCarron.
Don’t miss a cameo from comedian Jeff Foxworthy.
….Dionne Miller of ABC7Chicago joins us for a look at the Chicago Bears. We preview their final home game against Detroit, and reflect on their turbulent 2015 season. Jeff Rich and Dave discuss the crucial Vikings – Packers game for the NFC North title, as well as other key NFL games this weekend.
Hear interviews from Aaron Rogers, Mike McCarthy, John Fox, Bears CB Tracy Porter, Mike Zimmer, Teddy Bridgewater, and Carson Palmer.
Don’t miss a cameo from Dick Vitale.
along with a Bears – Bucs preview….on the Weekend Sports Report with Packer Dave and Steve Leventhal
Les Grobstein of the Score 670 Sports Radio in Chicago joins us to looks at the 2015 Bears season and discuss the weekend slate of NFL games. Steve and Dave debate who the NFL MVP should be. Fred Wallin of SportsByline checks in from Los Angeles with his thoughts on the NFL likely coming to the LA area, and Kobe Bryant’s final season of his storied career.
Hear audio from Aaron Rogers, Mike McCarthy, John Fox, Jay Cutler, rookie RB David Johnson of the Arizona Cardinals, Chip Kelly, and Jay Gruden.
Don’t miss a cameo from Packer broadcaster Wayne Laravee.
Dave reviews the Green Bay win over Dallas with Marty. Jeff Rich from SportsByline.com looks at the weekend slate of NFL games. John Poulter from Toronto comments on the NHL and latest baseball offseason moves.
The weather wasn’t the only thing that was sloppy Sunday night in Evanston as Northwestern hosted Chicago State in a very low scoring game. In the end, it was the Wildcats size and speed that separated them from the Cougars which helped get the Wildcats to 8 – 1 on the season.
Northwestern didn’t score until the 3:49 mark as poor outside shooting and some ill-advised turnovers kept them from finding their offensive rhythm. The Cougars full court press was able to pressure the Wildcats into a turnover and a couple rushes possessions which gave them a 5 – 0 lead over the home team.
The Wildcats were finally able to settle down and break they Cougars press with relative ease but ended up shooting 5 – 18 from three for the first half. Northwestern was much better inside the arc as they were 6 for 8 and Chicago State had no one to match up with Alex Olah.
Olah imposed his will on the Cougars defense in the paint and was able to put together a nice game line of 9 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists. The Wildcats did not need a big game out of Olah but his presences on the defensive side of the floor was felt after he was able to block 3 shots. Head coach Chris Collins will look towards Olah’s direction later this month once Big Ten conference play starts against Nebraska on December 30th.
The heart of the Wildcats, Tre Demps, had a nice game while leading his team in points and rebounds. Demps scored 23 points, while pulling down 9 rebounds and adding 3 assist. Demps was able to break the Cougars press with his unique ability to push the ball which helped alleviate some of pressure.
The game was over by early in the 2nd half as the Wildcats were able to pull away from the Cougars, outscoring them 46 to 20. The Cougars ran out of gas on both ends of the court and it was obvious on why they are a 3 – 8 team.
Coach Collins knows that these games against lesser opponents are just window dressing for the rest of the season and the wins are fun but none of it matters if the Wildcats don’t make the dance. Coach Collins was brought in for one reason, have Northwestern make the NCAA tournament for the first time in the programs history.
on the Weekend Sports Report with Packer Dave and Steve Leventhal.
Cubs broadcaster Pat Hughes joins us to discuss the newest disc in his Baseball Voices series of Hall of Fame tributes. The fourteenth edition chronicles Denny Matthews, the voice of the Kansas City Royals. Pat also gives us his thoughts on the Cubs’ 2015 season.
Jeff Rich checks in to talk Bears-Skins and Packers-Cowboys. John Poilter updates us on the latest news in baseball and hockey.
Hear interviews with Mike McCarthy, Aaron Rogers, Clay Matthews, John Fox, Robbie Gould, Vic Fangio, and Redskins coach Jay Gruden.
For 59 minutes and 58 seconds that Bears game hurt every football fans sensibilities and was even more painful to watch. With all that said, Robbie Gould had an opportunity to win the game as time expired with a 36 yard FG. Gould promptly hooked the kick wide left (like his other miss earlier in the game) and the Bears would end up losing in overtime to BLAINE GABBERT!
The worst part about the Bears loss is that it dashed all hope for making the playoffs and now we can watch a team go through the motions as the offseason approaches. For the sole fact of keeping this team entertaining and having articles like the one you are reading relevant, the Bears loss totally ruined the next 4 weeks of football.
It is good to see the Bears are not the only dumpster fire of a franchise in 2015 as they welcome in the Washington Football Team to Soldier Field this Sunday. The only difference between the two teams is that Washington is in the NC East and still has a shot at winning their division.Washington is led by QB Kirk Cousins who has started every game this year in place of potential bust Robert Griffin III. Cousins has a solid QB rating of 92.4 (Higher than Jay Cutlers at 90.1) and is coming off of back-to-back games of a +100 rating. Cousins will turn the ball over if he is pressured and has 4 games with 2 interceptions.
Washington’s running game is atrocious as they have been using both Alfred Morris and Matt Jones to tote the rock. Washington ranks 26th in yards per game by averaging 94.3 yards but go up against a Bears team that just gave up 121 yards to the lowly 49ers.
Cousins has the services of a legitimate tight end (when healthy) in Jordan Reed who is a beast in the red zone. Reed comes in with 58 receptions on 74 targets for 574 yards and 6 touchdowns. Reed leads his team in receptions, yards and touchdowns… he will look to exploit the Bears weak linebackers and should have a big game on Sunday.
The Bears have placed TE Martellus Bennett on season ending IR with a rib injury and it is believed that Bennett has played his last game as a Bear. Bennett had been complaining of targets in the red zone which rubbed some of the front office personnel the wrong way and it is believed that the two parties will split up during the offseason.
WR Eddie Royal was back at practice this week and might be cleared to play verses Washington, the last time Royal saw the field was against the Vikings in week 7. Royal’s presence would be much appreciated by Cutler due to the injuries to TE Zach Miller and WR Marquess Wilson.
The Bears are out of the playoffs and are looking towards 2016… the only thing left this season of any interest, is the Bears 1st round draft pick Kevin White and if he will play or not.
Washington Chicago Notes & Predictions
Key Matchup: Bears Linebackers vs. TE Jordan Reed
Key Injuries: WR Marquess Wilson (Questionable), WR Eddie Royal (Questionable), TE Zach Miller (Questionable)
Fact: The Bears are 1 – 5 at Home in 2015
Fantasy Spotlight: TE Jordan Reed
Spread: Bears -3
Prediction: Washington 22, Chicago 23