Need some quick odds on the week’s biggest storylines? (“Need” might be an overstatement; kind of want?) You’ve come to the right place. Let’s run through the newsworthiest happenings and transpirings from the world of sports, entertainment, and politics from the last seven days.
Gonzaga (West): 7/4
Villanova (East): 7/4
North Carolina (South): 2/1
Kansas (Midwest): 7/3
As we know, just because you’re ranked number one, doesn’t mean you’ll have an easy route to the Final Four. No. 1 overall Villanova has a hard road in the East region, with Duke looming in the Elite Eight. The big-game experience of the defending champs keeps them at the top, though.
Some think Kansas got it good in the Midwest. But their potential meeting with Iowa State in the Sweet 16 is dangerous. The Cyclones won at Allen Fieldhouse earlier in the year. If they get past that, a regional final against second-seed Louisville or third-seed Oregon could bring matchup problems for the smaller Jayhawks.
Meantime, the top half of the South is pretty easy for North Carolina. The first big test likely won’t come until the Heels meet Kentucky or UCLA in the regional final. Either one of those teams would be hugely dangerous to UNC, though. The Wildcats already beat them on a neutral floor this year.
And that brings to the team with the easiest path: Gonzaga. The Zags were off in their opener, but their toughest potential matchups are against an Arizona team they already handled (albeit without Allonzo Trier) and a Florida State squad that travels terribly.
June 10th: 2/3
Fall/winter 2017: 5/2
Earlier this week, Floyd Mayweather announced he was coming out of retirement (again) and wants to fight UFC superstar Conor McGregor. This is something that has been in the works for a while, but neither camp has seemed to be able to make it work. We know McGregor has his boxing license, and June 10th has been reserved at the new T-Mobile Arena right here in Vegas, but the whole money thing is still up in the air. That’s kinda an important detail to both guys. (It’s literally Floyd’s nickname.) It’s no secret Mayweather will be demanding top dollar, and McGregor is no pushover, himself. Both have pulled in top PPV numbers, and their super-fight would be no different.
As for who will win this bout, give that to Mayweather. While McGregor has a boxing background, he hasn’t competed in the ring for years. Even though Money has “been in retirement,” there is no doubt he’s still been working on his lightning fast reflexes and quick feet.
United States: 4/1
Dominican Republic: 6/1
Puerto Rico: 6/1
Japan ended Israel’s Cinderella run with a quarter-final win and now finds itself in the tournament semi-finals along with the Netherlands. They’ll be joined by two teams from Pool F (US, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Puerto Rico). The fact that Japan is moving on is not surprising: the team is unbeaten at this year’s event and has not missed a semi-finals in the tournament’s history. They’re the only team that can say that.
Japan won it all in 2006 and 2009, but came up short in the last go around. Would they like redemption? Probably. Is their team stacked enough to get it? Yes. But they’ll have to watch out for defending champs the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and the US.
This week, the USA women’s hockey team announced it was going to boycott the IIHF World Women’s Championship unless progress is made in their negotiations for higher wages. It wouldn’t be a huge deal, except for the fact that the U.S. is hosting the tournament at the end of the month, and the home country not being there would impact attendance and viewership in a big way. There is no way USA Hockey will ignore this power-play (pun intended), but in the end, it does come down to politics. The team has the upper hand here. Expect them to use it to their advantage.
Trump has held the whole “I’m not releasing my tax returns” stance for so long that most people probably forgot his taxes were even an issue. That is until MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow announced to the world via twitter she had his 2005 return and was going to release it. She did, but was beaten to the punch by Trump, himself, who had the White House release his return a half hour earlier. The part of the paperwork the public saw showed Trump did pay some taxes, and didn’t reveal any suspicious activity.
So the first one is out of the way. Will we see more? Since his 2005 taxes lacked juiciness, Trump’s detractors will want to see more, while his supporters will argue the uncontroversial 2005 return proves the President’s bona fides. I think we all know how Trump will play this.
Photo credit: Andrius Petrucenia [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
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