Daily Noontime: Monday, May 1st

NBA: Boston Celtics at Detroit Pistons

Isaiah Thomas appeared unstoppable on Sunday, even without a tooth, as the Boston Celtics captured game one of the Eastern Conference semifinals. (PHOTO CREDIT: CSNNE.com)

By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports)

It’s Monday – Monday, May 1st to be exact. And this is the first ‘Daily Noontime’ in say six-years … that is a LONG time, so let’s get you ready for a tremendous day with news, stories and links, along with our video of the day, too.

In case you couldn’t stay awake for the end of last night’s Boston Red Sox-Chicago Cubs game, the local nine – that would be Boston – managed to win its second of three by a score of 6-2, thanks to Hanley Ramirez and Mookie Betts

Isaiah Thomas is truly amazing, right? Even when he gets a tooth knocked-out! Yes … that happened yesterday during his team’s Eastern Conference semifinal game one victory over Washington. Via Yahoo Sports!, learn how amazing his effort has been over the past few weeks

After being drafted in the opening round by the Houston Texans on Thursday, Deshaun Watson celebrated the exciting news by buying his mother a car for her birthday on Saturday

If you’re a volleyball fan, then you probably know – by now – that Springfield College men’s volleyball captured the NCAA Division III on Sunday by defeating SUNY New Paltz, 3-1. Congrats to the Pride – way to go! 

Harvard baseball celebrated its ‘Senior Day’ on Sunday afternoon – late Sunday afternoon to be exact – with a dramatic walk-off win to send the Crimson seniors off with an exciting final victory at O’Donnell Field! 

Extra, Extra: This is a CRAZY cool story, as Canadian country music star Brett Kissel received some help from the Edmonton (and maybe Anaheim fans, too) with the singing of the American and Canadian National Anthems. I guess the mic didn’t work? 

Today’s National Day: Apparently, (and this is according to a Google search), but Monday, May 1st is International Workers’ Day. How will you celebrate it? 

Best movies from the weekend (Apr. 28-30th): According to the Weekend Box Office, The Fate of the Furious finished the weekend number one, while How To Be A Latin Lover finished second. 

Video of the Day: Paul Pierce competed in his final N.B.A. game yesterday, so let’s honor ‘The Truth’ with a special tribute to him via the Players Tribune!

Have a GREAT day, everyone! And remember to follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter! 

Merrimack’s Coach Perry On Loiseau, NE-10 Players Attempting NFL Dream

Merrimack’s Shawn Loiseau is attempting to earn a spot with the Houston Texans for the upcoming 2012 NFL season! (Photo Credit: Boston Herald)

By Matt Noonan 

NORTH ANDOVER, MA – For the past few weeks and months, Merrimack College’s football program has received a lot of publicity, mainly because of their former linebacker Shawn Loiseau, who was an undrafted rookie free agent that was claimed by the Houston Texans.

Loiseau, who has played in two preseason contests this summer, has been an inspiration for many Warriors players that hope to continue their playing careers after graduation.

This past Friday, I had the chance to chat with head coach John Perry about the Pro Day workout for NFL scouts, which he spearheaded, as well as his thoughts about Northeast-10 players and Division II players that attempt to earn a spot on a professional roster.

Last season, you organized Merrimack’s first Pro Day workout for NFL scouts, and I was wondering if you could talk about how it was assembled? How do you think it helped the various players from the school or nearby? 

“One of the things that’s great  [is our coaching staff] has been preaching to these kids — whether it’s President [Christopher] Hopey right through the athletic department — taking this thing to another level, and the kids have responded to that and obviously Shawn brought a lot of attention to the school, but James Suozzo, as well as Tony Johnson did, and we’re looking for the next guy, so as we’re coming into that  — we had all 32 teams, who came in and scouted those guys during the season and there was a strong demand to have scouts comeback and work our guys, and I thought it took on a life of its own. We had some players from some other schools, so it was really exciting and every day we just want to take steps forward to making this a premier program and I think those seniors have done that and all the seniors in the past have done that, and we’re on their backs and these guys are carrying on that tradition.”     

From a coaching perspective, what does it mean to you to have not only a player from your program, but also NE-10 players competing for a job in the NFL?

“I think it’s a lot for the Northeast-10 Conference. This is a great conference, and people come out and watch us play notice that we’ve got great caliber football. There’s been a lot of things at the Division I level, [and] there’s less Division I schools in this New England area than there ever has, which has built up the Division II level of football. There are guys like Shawn Loiseau, Tony Johnson and there are guys littered throughout our league that is Division I players that are now playing Division II football. We’ve got great caliber football, it’s a work-horse league where the team who shows up and plays the hardest has the best chance to win and it’s a great level of football, great talent, great coaching, [and] I think it’s a great tribute to the Northeast-10.”

I know that you’re focus is on preparing your squad for the upcoming season, but have you been able to track Shawn’s progress this summer?

“Well, he gives me updates and things like that, and coach [Dan] Curran has been staying in touch with him, and he’s just really excited to be there. He’s just a great example for our kids because there’s no wasted moments for him now. Every moment is everything he’s got, and these kids see that and they were all texting me during [the Texans first preseason] game, but it was exciting to see his stat line and all the texts he sent me and telling me how it was and how it felt to be on the field, and he belongs there. He deserves to be there, he doesn’t look out of place and we wish him all the luck in the world.”

Noonan: NFL Divisional Playoff Predictions

Can Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos keep their playoff magic going on Saturday against New England? (Photo Credit: Zimbio.com)

By Matt Noonan 

Here are my predictions for the NFC Divisional Round.

New Orleans 30, San Francisco 21: The Saints cashed in on five offensive series in the second half against the Detroit Lions last weekend, and are expected to keep their high-flying offensive attack going against the 49ers on Saturday. Drew Brees clearly is on a mission, which is why I believe they’ll defeat San Francisco, and advance to the NFC Championship game for the second time in three seasons.

New England 28 – Denver 16: The story of Tim Tebow has been fascinating, but against the Patriots at Gillette Stadium, I’m expecting him to struggle, and possibly throw two or three interceptions.

Baltimore 28 – Houston 21: Earlier this season, the Ravens defeated the Texans, 29-14. Joe Flacco completed 20-of-33 passes for 305 yards and one touchdown, while Billy Cundiff kicked five field goals. Can Baltimore duplicate their week five performance against Houston on Sunday? My answer… YES!

New York 24 – Green Bay 21: This is a total shot in the dark, but the Giants have gained a great deal of momentum over the past few weeks, and might have what it takes to knock out the defending NFC and Super Bowl champions. I like New York’s front seven on defense, especially since they could provide a great deal of chaos toward quarterback Aaron Rodgers. If the Giants pressure the Packers, and force a few turnovers, then expect Big Blue to walk away winners on Sunday.

NFL Postseason Schedule Announced

By NoontimeSports.com 

The NFL announced the 2011 playoff schedule on Sunday, and here are the potential match-ups.

Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012 – Wild Card Round 

* (No. 6) Cincinnati at (No. 3) Houston Texans — 4:30pm eastern 

* (No. 6) Detroit at (No. 3)  New Orleans — 8:00pm eastern 

Sunday, January 8, 2012 — Wild Card Round 

* (No. 5) Atlanta at (No. 4) New York — 1:00pm easter 

* (No. 5) Pittsburgh at (No. 4)  Denver — 4:30PM eastern 

Saturday, January 14, 2012 — Divisional Round 

* Atlanta/New York/New Orleans at (No. 2) San Francisco (Afternoon) 

* Cincinnati/Denver/Pittsburgh at (No. 1) New England (Evening)

Sunday, January 15, 2012 — Divisional Round 

* Denver/Houston/Pittsburgh at  (No. 2) Baltimore (Afternoon)

* Atlanta/Detroit/New York at (No. 1) Green Bay (Afternoon) 

Sunday, January 22, 2012 — AFC/NFC Championship Games

* AFC Championship — 3:30pm eastern 

* NFC Championship — 6:30pm eastern 

Sunday, January 29, 2012 — NFL Pro Bowl

* AFC vs. NFC — Time TBA 

Sunday, February  5, 2012

* AFC Champion vs. NFC Champion — Time TBA 

Breaking Down the AFC Playoff Picture

Photo Credit: Logo Inspirations

By Brian Willwerth 

With one week left in the regular season, here’s the way the AFC is shaping up…

The New England Patriots have clinched the East and a first-round bye. If they beat the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, they’ll wrap up home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

In the North, the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers have both clinched playoff spots.  One of them will win the division; the other will be a wild card. Baltimore owns the tiebreaker by virtue of beating Pittsburgh twice. The Ravens will travel to Cincinnati, while the Steelers play at Cleveland.

The Houston Texans have won the South, and are locked into the No. 3 seed.

The Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders are tied atop of the West. If they’re still tied after next week, Denver owns the tiebreaker. Those two teams face the Chiefs and Chargers, respectively. Whoever doesn’t win the division will be out.

That leaves one card spot open. The “win and you’re in” team is Cincinnati. All the Bengals have to do is beat the Ravens at home, in one of the marquee games of the final weekend. If Cincy stumbles, the Raiders, Titans and Jets can all sneak in, but they’ll also need help from the respective squads.