Noontime’s Sunday Thoughts (Jan. 24, 2021)

By Matt Noonan

Happy Sunday, everyone!

It’s hard to believe this is the final Sunday of January where football will be played – yes, you will be missed – but since we have a few minutes before kickoff, allow me to share a few thoughts for the upcoming week.

As usual, thank you to everyone that has and continues to stop by, both on Sundays for this column and other content we’re producing throughout the week.

And just a friendly reminder, make sure to subscribe to our podcast on Apple Podcast and Spotify – you can also support our show through Anchor!

Have a great week, everyone, and enjoy today’s football games!


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Since this column is being posted a bit later than anticipated, I am going to dish out just six thoughts, but plan to share my usual 10 next week.

Thought No. 1: Is it just me or is it getting harder to not root for Tom Brady? Yes, I know he is a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which have won just one Super Bowl, but I am having a hard time not rooting for the former New England Patriots signal-caller. And that is why I believe the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will find a way to beat the Green Bay Packers this afternoon.

Thought No. 2: I really like Josh Allen. And like I have said on previous ‘Football Friday’ podcasts, I believe he is the best quarterback that was selected in the 2018 National Football League (NFL) Draft. But today, I just don’t think he will be able to beat Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. I could see Allen and the Buffalo Bills back in this same spot next January, but today, the Chiefs will prevail. But these Bills are not going away anytime soon. They will get even better this offseason.

Thought No. 3: Friday’s news of NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) going off the air later this year was startling, but I think this plan from the three-letter network will workout just fine. Yes, this is probably a sign that NBC will put more of its sports content like hockey and car racing behind its paywall (Peacock), but it will also mean more people will tune into games and events on USA Network. NBC will be fine – don’t worry, they’re not going anywhere – but the streaming war will certainly continue if National Hockey League (NHL) or NASCAC fans have to subscribe to Peacock to watch their favorite teams and competitors.

Thought No. 4: I have throughly enjoyed Mike Florio‘s thoughts on the NFL this season, especially with how the league has ignored the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Thought No. 5: It was nice to see three New England D-III basketball games take place yesterday – fans were treated to a pair of exciting contests between Keene State and Rhode Island College (both men’s and women’s basketball). I am rooting for these teams, along with the rest of the Little East Conference (LEC) to succeed, but I am sure everyone knows it will take an entire league effort to keep everyone safe, both this week and next month, so games can be played.

Thought No. 6: The National Women’s Hockey League‘s (NWHL) began its two-week sprint to the Isobel Cup yesterday with fans being able to watch contests on their Twitch channel. I watched some of the first game – I enjoyed it, and give the league credit with not just offering a streaming service to watch every game, but also finding other creative ways to stay connected with its fans as games are taking place in a bubble environment. Additionally, I loved the tweets from yesterday’s Boston Pride contest. Kudos to the Pride’s social media team – keep up the great work with keeping myself and others in the loop with all the action as I love what you’re tweeting!

Noontime’s NFL Conference Predictions

By Matt Noonan

We’re down to the final four – yay!

The National Football League‘s (NFL) Conference Championships are set to kickoff tomorrow with the Green Bay Packers hosting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers followed by the Kansas City Chiefs entertaining the Buffalo Bills.

Last week, we attempted to go four-for-four – sadly, we picked only three of four games correct, which is not bad, but I guess I should not overlook the Bills this week, right?

Any who, let’s dish out some picks for tomorrow’s games – let the countdown for the conference finals begin!


Listen to this week’s Football Friday Podcast featuring Andrew Pezzelli and Zach Weiss on Apple Podcast and Spotify!


Noontime’s Postseason Record: 7-3

Divisional Round Picks |Wild Card Picks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Green Bay Packers (Sunday, January 24 at 3:05 p.m.): Sunday will mark the first time Tom Brady will be competing in the NFC Championship after appearing in the AFC title game 13 times as a member of the New England Patriots. Brady and the Buccaneers have enjoyed a magical ride this postseason and will arrive in Green Bay with a great deal of momentum. But can the Buccaneers defense slow down Aaron Rodgers and the offense, which has won 10 of their last 12 contests? I would presume they can – it is not a given, of course, but they did earlier this season. Additionally, can the Green Bay defense slow down Brady and the Buccaneers offense? Maybe? Either way, this has the making of an exciting match-up, but in the end, the Buccaneers – yes, the Buccaneers! – will prevail. PREDICTION: Tampa Bay 28, Green Bay 27

Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs (Sunday, January 24 at 6:40 p.m.): The Chiefs are making their third-straight appearance in the AFC Championship game after scoring a hard-fought 22-17 win last week against the Cleveland Browns. Patrick Mahomes is supposed to be under center for the Chiefs tomorrow after sustaining a concussion on Sunday. And as long as Mahomes is on the field then I think it is hard to pick against Kansas City. Buffalo has been a great story this season – I really like Josh Allen – but sadly, their exciting run toward the franchise’s first Super Bowl appearance since 1993 will conclude at Arrowhead Stadium with a heartbreaking defeat. Sorry, Bills Mafia! PREDICTION: Kansas City 31, Buffalo 21

RIC Tops Keene State In Season-Opener, 51-47

By Matt Noonan

RIC women’s basketball won its season-opener against Keene State. (PHOTO COURTESY: RIC Athletics)

The first New England D-III women’s basketball game of the 2020-21 school year is in the books as Rhode Island College topped Keene State, 51-47.

With the win, the Anchorwomen improve to 1-0 overall and 1-0 against Little East Conference (LEC) foes while the Owls dip to 0-1 (0-1).

RIC’s Maci Dorantes led all scorers with 15 points – she converted 6 of 14 field goals while tallying two rebounds and two steals. Brooke Young and Sophia Guerrier combined for 21 points while Arianna Hebert led Keene State with 10 points on 3 of 6 shoot.

Rhode Island raced out to a 12-8 lead, which would increase to 24-17 at the break. Keene State would keep things close throughout the second half – the Red and White netted 30 points during the final 20 minutes – but could not snatch the lead from the Anchorwomen, who led the entire contest.

Saturday’s matchup between RIC and Keene State marked the beginning of a short and abbreviated LEC season – it was also the first time a member of the conference competed on the hardwood since March 7, 2020 when Eastern Connecticut lost to Messiah in the second round of the NCAA D-III Tournament.

Rhode Island will seek its second-straight win next Wednesday, January 27 when they host UMass Dartmouth for a 6 p.m. match-up. Keene State will also compete against the Corsairs next week – they will visit UMass Dartmouth on Saturday, January 30 for a 12 p.m. tip-off.

Noontime’s Tech Tuesday (Jan. 19, 2020)

By Matt Noonan

Happy Tuesday, everyone.

And welcome to our second ‘Tech Tuesday’ post of 2021!

Today, we’re highlighting some sports startups that we’re excited to follow (and watch from afar this year) – we also did our best to list a few New England places, too.

As noted last week, ‘Tech Tuesday‘ is a new piece of content we’ll be producing every week, but our goal for this post is to highlight the exciting changes that are occurring in both sports and athletics, as well as health and fitness.


Let’s get to know some new (or recently launched) startups that you should definitely learn more about this month:

  • Voltout, which is based in Los Angeles, California, is a mobile app that connects sports trainers and coaches with individuals that are eager to explore new cool activities for themselves. The app is available on the App Store – you can also learn more about this exciting company by visiting their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter channels while finding them on LinkedIn, too.
  • Bout It Boxing is a boutique management firm based in Chicago, Illinois that is for boxers by boxers.
  • Sideline Swap is a Massachusetts based start-up – well, more a growing company – that both buys and sells athletic gear. Stay connected with them on social media, especially Instagram – they’re posting some great content on numerous sports, including lacrosse.
  • Notemeal is another Massachusetts start-up with connections to Tufts University – Go Jumbos! – and is focused on combining sports dietitians and kitchens to “optimize athlete nutrition through a new fueling experience.”
  • Chalkboard, which is based in San Francisco, California, has created an app that allows sports bettors to connect through a messaging and scoring platform. Interested in learning more about Chalkboard? Then visit the App Store now so you can download their product – you know I will once this post is published!
  • Podium is another California company – they also have an office (it appears in Oxford, UK) – that is bringing together mountain-bikers, surfers, snowboarders, skiers, and skaters.
  • ZoneIn, which is based in New York City, is on a mission to creating a healthier and higher performing athlete with the goal – and yes, motto, too – of “one user at a time.”

LEC Set To Tip-Off Its 2020-21 Basketball Season This Weekend

The LEC is set to tip-off its 2020-21 college basketball season this week. (PHOTO COURTESY: bobert1980 on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC)

By NoontimeSports.com

The Little East Conference (LEC) basketball season is set to begin this weekend. And this is certainly good news for New England small college basketball fans.

As of this evening, three men’s basketball games are scheduled to tip-off this Saturday, January 23, along with one women’s contests between Keene State and Rhode Island College. More games will occur both later this month and next month, along with a four-team playoff in early March. And pending a national postseason does occur, the winner of their respective conference tournament would represent the league in the NCAA D-III playoffs.

Both Keene State squads have competed previously this school year in their Red vs. White contest while the men’s team squared-off last November against New Hampshire. The Rhode Island men’s basketball team competed last December against Bryant.

While the opening weekend will feature just six of the league’s nine members, Southern Maine is expected to play some games next month, according to a recent post from Al Bean, who is the school’s athletic director.

UMass Boston and Western Connecticut are the only two LEC members that won’t be competing this winter.

The Western Connecticut men’s basketball team captured the LEC crown last winter to secure a date with Tufts University in the opening round of the 2020 NCAA D-III Tournament.

The Eastern Connecticut women’s basketball team, which won its second-straight LEC title last February, announced earlier this month that they would not play an abbreviated season due to “health risks surrounding COVID-19.”

Here is this weekend’s LEC men’s and women’s basketball schedule:

  • Keene State at Rhode Island College (WBB) | 12 p.m.
  • Eastern Connecticut at Plymouth State (MBB) | 1 p.m.
  • Castleton at UMass Dartmouth (MBB) | 2 p.m.
  • Keene State at Rhode Island College (MBB) | 3 p.m.