Daily Noontime: Wednesday, March 11th, 2020

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By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

Welcome to Wednesday, everyone – hope you are doing OK this morning (or whenever you are reading this post!).

I’ll do the best to brighten your mood and take your mind off the coronavirus (COVID-19) – I know there is a lot of news and announcements being shared, so allow me to do my very best to change the subject to sports.

Did you watch last night’s Boston Celtics game? If not, I am happy to report that the Green and White defeated the Indiana Pacers, 114-111, and secured a spot in the upcoming NBA playoffs.

Jayson Tatum netted 30 points in the win while Gordon Hayward finished Tuesday’s game with a double-double of 27 points and 10 rebounds.

Boston will compete against the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday before returning home Friday to play against the Washington Wizards.

Patrice Bergeron and Matt Grzelcyk each netted one goal last night as the Boston Bruins topped the Philadelphia Flyers, 2-0.

With the win, the Black and Gold improve to 44-14-12 overall while the Flyers slip to 41-21-7.

Boston has now won three of their last four outings and will head to New York on Friday to skate against the Buffalo Sabres at 7 p.m.

Last night’s win over the Flyers marked the 50th time Tuukka Rask has recorded a shutout. He stopped 36 shots in his team’s 44th victory of the 2019-20 season.

“It’s a great milestone,” Rask said, via Lauren Campbell of NESN.com.

The 2020 Boston Red Sox season is quickly approaching, which means its time for a prediction. Sports Illustrated believes the Sox will finish third in the American League East Division with a marvelous record of 81-81.

As you (and others) know by now, this weekend’s Ivy League basketball conference tournament has been canceled, which was not the news many student-athletes (and fans) wanted to hear.

“This whole situation is unprecedented,” said Ivy League executive director, Robin Harris, via Bob Hohler of the Boston Globe.

It is unfortunate, but you have to give the Ivy League some credit for not just protecting its student-athletes, coaches, and team representatives, but also its fans, too.

Other leagues, organizations, and teams have begun announcing changes to its upcoming sports schedules, including the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Association (CIAA), which canceled its remaining winter tournaments.

The New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) announced an update on its website this morning that “the NESCAC Presidents met and concluded unanimously that conference competition, including conference championships, will be canceled for the 2020 spring season.”

We should expect more cancelations and changes to upcoming games over the next few weeks, including the possibility of no fans at future professional games, too.

We’ll be back tomorrow, but in the meantime remember to smile and know we will all get through this together!

Daily Noontime: Tuesday, March 10th, 2020

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By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation

Welcome to Tuesday, everyone. I hope you are ALL doing well and ready for another great day – I know I am!

It may not totally feel like spring (or summer) like it did yesterday, but I am confident the weather this morning and early afternoon will put a smile on your face. And you know what will also make you smile (and feel happy) is a brand new Daily Noontime, so let’s get started.

The TD Garden will be the go-to site for some great local high school basketball this afternoon and evening – here is today’s Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) schedule:

  • MIAA D4 State Semifinals: Matignon vs. Cathedral, 2 p.m. 
  • MIAA D4 State Semifinals: Snowden vs. Abington, 3:45 p.m. 
  • MIAA D1 State Semifinals: Andover vs. Bridgewater-Raynham, 5:30 p.m. 
  • MIAA D1 State Semifinals: Lynn English vs. Mansfield, 7:15 p.m. 

As of this morning, it appears as if fans will be allowed to attend these four games, but if anything changes due to COVID-19, we will let you know! Fans can also stream all four contests through NFHSNetwork.com.

The Boston Bruins will return to the ice this evening when they visit the Philadelphia Flyers for a 7 p.m. face-off. Boston is looking to return to the win column after losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning this past weekend.

Following their trip to Philadelphia, Boston will head to upstate New York for a Friday evening affair with the Buffalo Sabres before returning home on Saturday, March 14th for a 7 p.m. face-off against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for three wins this week!

The Boston Celtics return to the hardwood this evening, kicking off a three-game set in four days with a visit to the Indiana Pacers with tipoff scheduled for 7 p.m.

Boston is looking to return to the win column after being edged by the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday.

Following their visit to Indiana, the Celtics will take on the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday followed by a home date Friday, March 13th against the Washington Wizards.

With COVID-19 continuing to spread throughout the New England region, as well as the country, the NBANHL, and MLB are preparing for the possibility of playing games without fans.

Speaking of games without fans, according to D3Hoops.com, Amherst College, which will be the host site of this week’s NCAA D-III Women’s Basketball Sectional semifinals and finals, will not allow supporters of the four teams in their gym after denying access last weekend for three games, including the Mammoths’ initial postseason contest against Framingham State University.

According to the Burlington Free Press, the Norwich University women’s ice hockey team will play its first NCAA Tournament game against Amherst on Wednesday, March 11th without any fans due to concerns of the coronavirus. And this may not be the first postseason college hockey game to not include fans.

Finally, we’re inching closer to learning where Tom Brady will play this season – will it be with the New England Patriots or somewhere else? Amy Trask of The Athletic thinks there are plenty of teams that would love to sign the six-time Super Bowl champion.

Noontime’s Boston Sports Notebook: Will Tom Brady Return?

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By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

It’s been just four days since the New England Patriots season concluded, but the setback to the Tennesse Titans doesn’t seem to be on the mind of many these days.

Instead, the biggest issue surrounding our beloved football team is the future of quarterback Tom Brady – will he really leave Boston as a free agent and sign with the Dallas CowboysLas Vegas Raiders or Los Angeles Chargers? Or will he stay in New England for one or two more seasons?

The speculation began quickly after the final whistle sounded last Saturday evening at Gillette Stadium as various reporters pressed the long-time signal-caller on his future with the team. Brady didn’t seem interested in discussing future plans. Instead, it appeared as if he wanted to go home and fall asleep. He also didn’t seem interested in reflecting on the entire 2019 season, too, which saw New England win eight-straight contests.

Will or will not, Tom Brady, return to New England will remain at the forefront of social media, blogs, websites, and media outlets going forward. But I have a hunch that Brady returns next season and concludes his career with the Patriots, not another team.

Watching Brady play for the Cowboys or Raiders would just seem strange in my opinion – I, along with other New England fans, would have a hard time seeing the six-time Super Bowl champion donning a different uniform.

I don’t know Brady – I have never covered any of his games, but have enjoyed watching him as both a fan and season ticket holder, and believe he will stick around the area and finish his impressive career as a Patriot, not a Cowboy or Charger. But for Brady to remain with the organization, New England is going to need to acquire some additional pieces on the offensive end so they can compete for a seventh championship next fall.

Brady, who just didn’t seem to have fun this season, needs help. And he certainly knows he can’t win games going forward with just Julian Edelman and James White. He needs receivers and tight ends that are accustomed to winning, but also those that are willing to commit to the process (also known as the ‘Patriot Way.’).

We’re still weeks (and months) away from finding out where Brady is headed, but again, I just have a feeling – yes, a feeling – that he returns for one or two more seasons and leads New England to their seventh (and maybe eighth) Super Bowl.

If Brady wins seven or eight Super Bowls then it will be really hard to say he is not the greatest ever to play football, right?

Noontime’s Quick Thoughts on some Boston sports news (and notes): 

  • The Boston Celtics have been really impressive and fun to watch this season – I think this team is destined for a deep postseason run.

    But after observing some of their previous starts against the Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards, all I can say is the following: they need to play good basketball wire-to-wire, but also not allow mediocre teams dictate the pace of play following the opening tip.

    The Green and White host San Antonio this evening – the Spurs are currently eighth in the Western Conference – and should certainly provide the Celtics with a good test. But a win over the Spurs this evening followed by a victory tomorrow against the Philadelphia 76ers is a must for a team that didn’t play their best basketball against the Hawks and Wizards. Sure, they beat Atlanta (and the Chicago Bulls one night later), but if I am Brad Stevens, my message would be the following: we dictate the pace of play, not our opponent.

  • Could Alex Cora get suspended for 81 games or the entire 2020 season due to the latest report of the Boston Red Sox stealing signs during their 2018 World Series run?

    I think it is possible – do others?

    This is a bad look for the local nine that did not qualify for the postseason last year and has seemed to take a backseat to bolstering their roster this offseason, so they can compete with some of the best in the American League this season, including the New York Yankees.

  • In case you missed it, the Boston College men’s basketball team scored an impressive (and exciting) win last night over 18th ranked Virginia – hope Bob Whitney enjoyed watching this particular game.

    The win bumps the Eagles record to 9-6 overall and should provide the Maroon and Gold with momentum heading into upcoming contests against Georgia Tech and Syracuse University.

    Duke University remains the top team in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) while the Eagles sit two spots below the Blue Devils with a 3-1 league record.


Stay connected with our Noontime Nation Boston Sports coverage on Twitter by following @NS_Boston

Noontime’s NBA Playoff Predictions

Indiana Pacers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers will certainly be a team to watch in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. (PHOTO CREDIT: Sports Illustrated)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11) 

The 2018 N.B.A. Playoffs officially begin tomorrow – yes, welcome to the postseason, basketball fans!

This is one of my favorite postseasons to follow – I do also enjoy playoff hockey as well, but playoff basketball is something I could watch all the time. So, without further ado, here are my predictions for the upcoming N.B.A. playoffs, enjoy!

Care to agree or disagree? Send me a tweet @MattNoonan11 and make sure to stay connected with Noontime Sports’ basketball Twitter (@Noontime_Hoops) 


First Round (Eastern Conference) 

No. 1 Toronto vs. No. 8 Washington

Prediction: Toronto (Six Games)

No. 2 Boston vs. No. 7 Milwaukee 

Prediction: Boston (Seven Games)

No. 3 Philadelphia vs. No. 6 Mami 

Prediction: Philadelphia (Six Games)

No. 4 Cleveland vs. No. 5 Indiana 

Prediction: Cleveland (Six Games)


First Round (Western Conference)

No. 1 Houston vs. No. 8 Minnesota 

Prediction: Houston (Five Games)

No. 2 Golden State vs. No. 7 San Antonio 

Prediction: Golden State (Six Games)

No. 3 Portland vs. No. 6 New Orleans 

Prediction: Portland (Six Games)

No. 4 Oklahoma City vs. No. 5 Utah 

Prediction: Oklahoma City (Six Games)


Semifinals (Eastern Conference)

No. 1 Toronto vs. No. 4 Cleveland 

Prediction: No. 4 Cleveland (Six Games)

No. 2 Boston vs. No. 3 Philadelphia

Prediction: No. 3 Philadelphia (Six Games)


Semifinals (Western Conference

No. 1 Houston vs. No. 4 Oklahoma City

Prediction: No. 1 Houston (Six Games)

No. 2 Golden State vs. No. 3 Portland 

Prediction: No. 3 Portland (Seven Games)


Eastern Conference Finals 

No. 3 Philadelphia vs. No. 4 Cleveland 

Prediction: No. 4 Cleveland (Seven Games)


Western Conference Finals

No. 1 Houston vs. No. 3 Portland

Prediction: No. 1 Houston (Six Games)


N.B.A. Finals

No. 1 Houston vs. No. 4 Cleveland

No. 4 Cleveland (Seven Games)

Report: Kyrie Irving To Miss Remainder Of 2018 Regular Season & Postseason

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The Boston Celtics learned today (Weds., Apr. 5th) that Kyrie Irving won’t be returning for the remainder of the 2018 season. (PHOTO CREDIT: USA Today)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11) 

According to multiple reports, including ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving‘s season has officially concluded – he will miss the remainder of the team’s regular season, as well as the postseason, too.

Irving recently had surgery on his left knee and won’t be returning to the hardwood until next season.

The news is not great for the Celtics, who currently occupy the second position in the Eastern Conference. The Toronto Raptors lead all teams in the East and recently defeated Boston by a score of 96-78.

Boston is scheduled to compete in four more games before the postseason begins, but without Irving, the Celtics will need their younger players to step-up, including Jaylen Brown and Jayson TatumAl Horford will also be expected to lead the Green and White in the postseason, as well.

As of this afternoon, the Raptors appear to be a lock for the top seed in the Eastern Conference, while the Cleveland Cavaliers will most likely finish in third place.

If the postseason was to commence this afternoon or evening, the Celtics would face the seventh-seed Washington Wizards in the opening round.