MLB and the Player's Union have announced that they have increased the penalties for players who are caught using Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) during the season. A player who is caught during a season will not be eligible to for the playoffs during that season. The length of the penalties have increased, from 50 games to 80 games for the first offence, from 100 to 162 for the second (essentially an entire season). A third offence remains a life time ban. Players suspended for a season will lose their pay for that season.
I've written in the past about how I think the penalties for being caught with PEDs are not significant enough, particularly to the teams and their owners. The problems of PEDs is a problem that ought to be shared amongst all parts of baseball, and I think ownership has to be held accountable too.
Detroit is a great sports town, and therefore a great place to live if you are a sports fan. Right now we have both nearby mens college basketball teams, the University of Michigan and Michigan State, playing in the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA mens tournament tonight, the Detroit Red Wings are fighting to keep their playoff hopes alive, and while the Detroit Pistons are a mess, we are eagerly waiting for Monday and the home opener for the Detroit Tigers.
Yesterday the rumors begin flying that the Tigers has signed an extension with the best player in baseball, Miguel Cabrera and this morning the 10 year, $292 million deal was announced, keeping Cabrera in Detroit for the remainder of his career. Most of the core of the Tigers, which includes Cabrera, Justin Verlander, is set to be in Detroit for a while, all that remains is to sign Max Scherzer.
Tonight Michigan plays 11th seed Tennessee for the right to move on and play the winner of Kentucky and Louisville, and Michigan State plays the top seed in the east, the University of Virginia. If the two schools win, they will join Wisconsin as the big ten teams in the Elite Eight.
The possibility exists for Michigan and Michigan State to play each other for the NCAA championship,while Michigan could play Wisconsin in the final four, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.
The Red Wings might be the most intriguing story in Detroit sports at the moment. Because of the rash of injuries, they are barely staying in the playoff hunt thanks to the majority of minor league players they have called up from the Grand Rapids Griffons. The Griffons won the Calder Cup last year, and it is obvious why given how many of those players are not only surviving, but thriving in the NHL at the moment.
Last night's loss to the Canadiens doesn't help, but right now the Wings are still in it. The Red Wings are the underdog right now, and we all love to root for the underdog.
The second day of the NCAA men's basketball tournament was much less friendly to me than the first. The most significant loss for me was Duke losing to Mercer, and almost as bad was VCU losing to SF Austin, both were upset losses. The East has been my best bracket, for which I picked each winner for the first two days. I took loses in the West, but all of my sweet sixteen picks are alive.
At least I don't feel bad not entering the "Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge" as there are no longer any perfect brackets available, proving it was a pretty safe bet for Warren Buffet.
That crashing sound you just heard? It was the sound of a good chunk of my brackets because Duke lost. Ouch! It also looks like Nebraska is going to lose to Baylor, so that will mean I am 0-2 today on my picks, which is not good after such a great start yesterday.
I had a great time yesterday watching the opening games of the NCAA men's basketball national championship tournament. Of the 16 games that were played yesterday, I correctly predicted 13. While I did not predict Dayton to beat Ohio State, I immensely enjoyed watching that game.
I predicted that Harvard would beat Cincinnati, but that was my only "upset" to pan out. My other upset prediction was BYU over Oregon and that didn't happen, and like most, I didn't expect North Dakota State to eat Oklahoma.
I am looking for no upsets today, the only non-top seed I expect to win is Oklahoma State over Gonzaga, but a 9 seed beating an 8 seed is not really an upset.
I've completed my first brackets for the NCAA men's basketball tournament. In it my final four is Florida vs. Michigan State; Arizona vs. Louisville. I've got Arizona beating Florida in the finals.
I am counting on Michigan State living up to the pre-season predictions that had them #1 before the injuries came and they started losing games. MSU pretty much dominated throughout the Big Ten tournament, and I don't know who matches up well against Payne and Dawson. Factor in Izzo's experience come tournament time, and there is every reason to expect them to go deep in the tournament.
If my brackets work out, MSU will beat both the #1 and the #2 seeds in the East region.
I've got Michigan making it to the sweet 16 where they will lose to Duke. I have Wisconsin in the elite eight, where they lose to Arizona. I have Nebraska upsetting Baylor in the first round, then losing to Creighton. Ohio State is going to lose in the second game this coming weekend to Syracuse.
Ok, the Big Ten championship has started. Will Sparty prevail?
18:24 Big sequence here, MSU has picked up three fouls on the Wolverines early in the first half. Payne makes two free throws, 2-3 Michigan very early.
Michigan has really good transition defense. MSU got many points on run outs against Wisconsin, so far Michigan is getting back well. And once MSU gets in their offense, Michigan is playing good D too.
11:51 MSU is picking up the defense to take a 16-9 lead. They have been on a 12-0 run. I expected the Wolverines to have difficulty handing the pressure of the moment, and so far it's showing.
6:59 MSU is dominating on the glass, and currently +9 on rebounds. Lots of one and done for Michigan.
4:39 So far State's defense and rebounding has been the real difference in this game. Shooting seems to be pretty much even. At one point yesterday State was shooting 71% from the floor, they aren't shooting that well right now, but are still making a good percentage of their shots.
3:36 Horford has just picked up his third foul. Foul trouble could be a problem for Michigan in the second half. I imagine Horford will be sitting for the rest of the first half.
Half time, 38-29 Michigan State. A few unproductive possessions by Michigan State allowed Michigan to creep closer at the end of the half, however State finished with a emphatic dunk by Garry Harris.
The second half has started.
Michigan States starts the second half with a 6-0 run, forcing Beilein to call a time out at the 17 minute mark of the second half. It looks to me like MSU's size is a real factor in this game. It also looks like Michigan is not handling the pressure of the moment very well. Stauskas seems to be the only person provide offense, the Wolverines need scoring from other sources and they need to get more rebounds.
Michigan is on verge of losing a #1 seed in the tournament.
Greg Anthony is trying to keep viewers watching, telling us that Michigan can still get back in this game. Not going to happen unless State let's them back in. State has to keep the intensity.. remember this game is about revenge!
10:30 52-40 Michigan State. Sparty's game unless they stop playing defense and start taking poor shots.
Stauskas has no points in the second half, even with Harris sitting out most of the half.
2:40, 62-50 MSU. Michigan is pressing, but it's not affecting State.
Indianapolis has been very nice to Michigan State this year, with the football team winning the Big Ten championship there in the fall to go to the Rose Bowl.
Michigan State is the 2014 Big Ten Men's Basketball tournament champions with a 69-55 victory over Michigan. I don't know whether this victory makes up for losing the two games during the regular season.
Nobody is going to want Michigan State in their bracket for the tournament. They could have the best front line in college basketball. If they stay healthy, they easily can be in the final four.
Michigan State looked great yesterday in beating Wisconsin, while Michigan had more difficulty against Ohio State. Michigan has won both of the regular season games with Michigan State, but in both instances State was playing without some key players.
State really doesn't have any pressure in this game, I don't think they are going to significantly help or hurt their NCAA tournament seeding; this game is pure revenge for Sparty. Michigan could be playing for a top seed and has the pressure of expectation as the regular season Big Ten champ. For all these reasons, I expect Sparty to be victorious at the end of the day.
Michigan was lucky to get past Illinois 64-63 in their Big Ten tournament game. Illinois' Tracy Abrams missed a shot in the paint with 2 seconds left that would have given the Illini the win over the Wolverines.
The Wolverines seemed to take charge of the game early in the second half, but Illinois began fighting back and took the lead with 4:40 left to play in the game. Michigan took possession after an Illinois score with about 14 seconds left and worked the ball to Jordan Morgan, who scored from deep within the paint with 7.9 seconds left.
Michigan plays the winner of this afternoon's game between Nebraska and Ohio State in the next round of the Big Ten tournament tomorrow.
Am I the only one to think the scheduling of the Big Ten men's basketball championship is odd? Why would you schedule the top team in your conference to play at noon on a Friday, instead of scheduling them to play in prime time?
I would completely reverse the schedule for today's games. While I know that Michigan State has received most of the national attention over the years, I think that because of the injuries, they are not likely to go far in the NCAA tournament. If it were me, I would want the #4 vs #5 seed match up to be in the evening as that would appear to be a good game, followed by the top seed Michigan in prime time.