Noontime Sports is excited to relaunch (and welcome back) @NoontimeHockeyto our social media family.
@NoontimeHockey, which fans can follow on Twitter, will be your new source for New England hockey coverage, ranging from the Boston Bruins to college, high school and prep. Additionally, we also hope to provide some junior hockey coverage, as well, so stay tuned.
Similar to our other sports-related accounts – basketball, football, and lacrosse – this will be your go-to for scores, in-game updates, and stories, as well as some videos, too.
Adding hockey coverage is something we have been pondering here in the Noontime Sports office as we know how much this sport means to our region. As many New Englanders know, hockey is woven into the six New England states, and we certainly look forward to telling stories from numerous rinks soon.
So, make sure to toss @NoontimeHockey a follow today and let us know why you love hockey!
Well, it’s time to get the 2019 NCAA basketball tournament underway after Sunday’s selection committee announced the top seeds and brackets for the 68 team field.
There were no surprises at the top with Duke receiving the top seed along with Virginia, North Carolina and Gonzaga.
Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans made a very impressive last-second push for consideration but it was too little – too late. Izzo is a master at preparing his team for March and the Spartans enter the tournament playing some of the best basketball in the country.
Realistically, Michigan State is one of seven or eight teams with a shot to claim the 2019 crown in Minneapolis.
Tennessee and Kentucky were in the conversation but their season-long body of work fell a tad short when compared to Duke, Virginia, Carolina and the Zags.
John Beilein’s Michigan Wolverines, who were the runner up to Villanova in 2018, would be the other squad with a legitimate chance at advancing to the championship game.
The tournament gets started this evening in Dayton, Ohio with ‘first four’ action featuring Farleigh Dickinson (20-13) versus Prairie View A&M (22-12) followed by Belmont (26-5) and Temple (23-9).
The other ‘first four’ concludes on Wednesday with NC Central (18-15) versus ND State (18-15) followed by Arizona State (22-10) against St. John’s (21-12).
The Belmont/Temple matchup is perhaps the most interesting of all the ‘first four’ games. Belmont could be this year’s Cinderella team in the tournament. Temple enters with plenty of emotion on its side as coach Fran Dunphy prepares to write the final chapter on what is likely to be a Hall of Fame coaching career.
Here is an early look at some of the key matchups in each region, exciting players to watch, potential Cinderella teams, and much more.
East Region Preview: Duke, with a healthy Zion Williamson, is the odds-on favorite to win the region, however, Michigan State and Virginia Tech (the Hokies outstanding point guard Justin Robinson is expected back for the tournament) just might get in the way of the Blue Devils bid for Coach K’s sixth national title.
If Duke has an Achilles heel it would be outside shooting.
Two first-round games to watch would be Mississippi State/ Liberty and LSU/Yale.
Liberty under coach Richie Mackay (and a former assistant under Tony Bennett at UVA) sport a stingy defense that could pose problems for Mississippi State. Controversy surrounds a very athletic and talented LSU squad with coach Will Wade embroiled in a recruiting scandal.
Ivy League tournament champ Yale is the real deal so this game is on the upset watch list.
If Belmont gets by Temple they could be a team to watch along with Louisville who has surprised most in the ACC under first-year Coach Chris Mack.
Whitney’s Prediction:Duke and Michigan State will meet in the east final.
West Region Preview: Gonzaga is the top seed with Michigan close behind in a region where most teams enter the tournament with more questions than answers.
Florida State has the talent to advance to the regional final, particularly after they raised a few eyebrows by easily defeating Virginia in the ACC tournament semifinals. But the ‘Noles have been inconsistent and will be challenged to raise their level of play, especially shooting from beyond the arc. The Buffalo Bulls, with an experienced senior-laden lineup, could be the surprise team in the region.
A first-round matchup to keep your eye on would be Marquette/Murray State. The contest pits two of the most explosive players in the country in Marquette’s Markus Howard and Murray State’s Ja Morant. Both are capable of going for 40 points on any given night. Morant has been tabbed a mini Zion Williamson so get ready to hold your breath as these two go head-to-head on Thursday in Hartford.
Whitney’s Prediction:Florida State and Michigan will advance to the west final.
South Region Preview: Top-seeded Virginia is front and center as the Hoos seek to erase the stain from last’s first-round flameout to UMBC.
On paper, this region appears to be stacked in Virginia’s favor as most of the contenders play a slower, defensive-oriented style which is right up Virginia’s alley.
Kansas State may pose a mild challenge to the Hoos but the road to the regional final is wide open for Virginia’s redemption tour bus. If you haven’t seen him catch a peek at Virginia’s All American guard Kyle Guy, who can drain three’s with his eyes closed.
Tennessee and Purdue should battle it out for the chance to face Virginia in the final with a possible challenge from Mitch Cronin’s Cincinnati Bearcats.
Whitney’s Prediction:It will be Virginia and Purdue in the south final.
Midwest Region Preview: This region could have the most drama and surprises of all the four regions.
I like Carolina and I also believe that this is one of Roy Williams best coaching jobs in his Hall of Fame career. The Tar Heels have the horsepower to get to Minneapolis provided they continue to defend at a high level and eliminate costly turnovers. Many are looking ahead to a Carolina/Kansas battle of blue blood programs, but the Jayhawks have been playing poorly and may not get past a first-round date against Billy Coen’s Northeastern Huskies.
Auburn is coming off a spectacular run in the SEC tournament. The knock on the Tigers is that they often play with far less energy than their coach exudes on the sidelines. Kentucky and Houston should compete for the chance to face Carolina in the final.
Wofford and Seton Hall should be an intriguing first round battle. Both teams are capable of beating anyone in the country and the winner could derail Kentucky’ shot in the region.
Whitney’s Prediction:It will be a Carolina and Houston final.
Stay connected with Bob Whitney throughout the NCAA Tournament by following @WhitneyBob on Twitter!
Tom Brady has now won six Super Bowl championships. (PHOTO COURTESY: Patriotswire.USAToday.com)
By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11
Tom Brady will be adding an additional ring to his championship collection, thanks to a hard-fought 13-3 win this evening by the New England Patriots over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII.
Brady, who became the first-ever NFL quarterback to win six Super Bowls, engineered a key five-play, 69-yard drive midway through the fourth quarter, which was capped by a two-yard plunge by Sony Michel to provide the Patriots with a 10-3 advantage.
The Rams attempted to answer on the ensuing possession but saw quarterback Jared Goff‘s pass down intercepted by Stephon Gilmore. Nine plays later, the Patriots sealed the win with a 41-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski, who concluded the contest with a pair of field goals (his second attempt in the second quarter provided the Patriots with a 3-0 lead).
Los Angles did have a chance to slice the deficit on the game’s final drive, but Greg Zuerlein‘s second field goal sailed wide left.
The win – New England’s sixth Super Bowl since winning its initial crown 17 years earlier – ties the Pittsburgh Steelers with the most championships won in the Super Bowl era. The Patriots captured their first championship 17 years ago on this exact date when they defeated the Rams, 20-17, thanks to a game-winning field goal by Adam Vinatieri.
Neither team was able to produce points until New England’s fourth drive when Gostkowski capped a seven-play, 39-yard drive with a 42-yard field goal.
Los Angeles had a chance to even the score before halftime, but all three of its final series ended with a punt.
In the Brady-Bill Belichick era, the Patriots are now 3-2 in Super Bowls when leading at the break. The Patriots are 2-0 when tied at the break (won in 2004 and 2014), and 1-1 when trailing (won in 2016, lost in 2017).
Los Angeles is now 0-2 in Super Bowl era with their initial loss coming in 1980 against the Steelers.
Los Angles hasn’t won a championship in football since defeating the Cleveland Browns in the 1951 NFL Championship.
As an organization, the Rams are 1-2 in the Super Bowl with their lone win coming in 1999 when they defeated the Tennesse Titans, 23-16. The win over the Titans occurred in Atlanta, Georgia.
As an organization, the Rams are 1-1 when competing in Super Bowls in Atlanta, Georgia.
LA was held to a season-low three points – they scored just six points two months ago when they lost to the Chicago Bears, 15-6.
The last team to hold the Rams to just three points in a game was the Seattle Seahawks on December 15, 2016.
Sony Michel led all rushers with 94 yards on 18 carries and one touchdown, while Todd Gurley was held to just 35 yards on 10 carries (3.5 yards per carry).
Julian Edelman hauled in a game-high 10 receptions for 141 yards, while Brandin Cooks led the Rams with eight catches for 120 yards.
New England’s defense recorded four sacks, while the Rams recorded just one sack.
Stay connected with our Noontime Sports Football coverage by following @Noontime_FB on Twitter today!
Harvard will entertain Brown University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Howard University and University of Pennsylvaniaat historic Harvard Stadium, while visiting Columbia University, Holy Cross, Princeton University, San Diego and Yale this fall.
The Crimson will commence their 2019 season in San Diego on Saturday, September 21st before hosting Brown one week later on Saturday, September 28th. The Crimson’s home-opener against the Bears will be aired on ESPN+.
Following their home date with Brown, the Crimson will entertain Howard and Cornell in early October before visiting Holy Cross and Princeton.
The Crimson will cap their final month of play with two home games and two road contests, including the 136th playing of The Game against Yale in New Haven, Connecticut on Saturday, November 23.
Harvard concluded its 2018 season with a three-game winning streak, while finishing third in the Ivy League. Princeton, which defeated Harvard in October by eight points (29-21), captured the Ancient Eight crown with a perfect 10-0 record, while Dartmouth finished second at 9-1 overall.
The 2019 season will be coach Tim Murphy‘s 26th with the program – the tenured coach currently owns a 174-75 overall record with Harvard, but needs five wins to match Yale’s Carmen Cozza (179) for the most win in conference history.
Stay connected with our New England football coverage by following @Noontime_FB on Twitter today!
The Noontime Sports social media family expanded earlier today with @NoontimeSB (Noontime Softball) joining our Twitter family.
Noontime Softball becomes the newest handle under our Noontime brand, which joins other accounts, including Noontime Baseball, Noontime Football and Noontime Hoops (Basketball).
Our goal is to use this handle to promote news, notes and scores from the New England softball world, specifically college and high school. Additionally, we will use the channel to share softball content we aim to create here on NoontimeSports.com.
Finally, be on the lookout for our first-ever Noontime Softball New England D3 Top 10 Poll next spring – for those interested in helping us with our weekly poll, please reach out to NoontimeSports@gmail.com.
Thanks again and we hope you will toss a follow to @NoontimeSB today so you can join our softball conversation!