Monday, February 18, 2019

Sportsyball: Back In The Saddle

Adopt-A-Team: Last time we checked in with Trabzonspor was the end of October and happily, they're still doing pretty well- currently sitting at sixth in the table- probably on the outside of Champions League qualification and not really in it for the League title, but there's still some football left to be played. So here's what they've done since October:

W vs BAK (Turkish Cup)
D vs Bursasport
L to Yeni Malatyaspor
W vs Fenerbahce
W vs Kayserispor
D vs Sivas Belediyespor (Turkish Cup)
W vs Konyaspor
D vs Besiktas
W vs Sivas Belediyespor (Turkish Cup)
W vs Rizespor
W vs Balikesirspor (Turkish Cup)
L to Istanbul Basaksehir
W vs Balikesirspor (Turkish Cup)
D vs Sivasspor
W vs Ankaragucu
D vs Umraniye (Turkish Cup)
L to Galatasaray
L to Alanyaspor

Okay, the good news: they're doing pretty well in the Turkish Cup-- they're through to the Quarter-Finals, which is decent enough. The bad news: they can't seem to beat any teams ahead of them. They've lost to league leaders Basaksehir as well as Galatasaray and Yeni Malatyaspor. Their loss to Alanyaspor isn't great, but it's not awful either given the length of the season and how far they've been going in the Turkish Cup. They've got plenty to play for down the stretch and with matches against Fenerbahce, Yeni Malatyaspor and Besiktas, they have some opportunities they could potentially take advantage of as well.

At the end of the day, I'm just happy that they're not relegation bait. (Defensa y Justicia is actually sitting in second place in the Argentine Superliga and NEC Nijmegen is hanging out in 15th Place in the Eerste Divise table, so my prior teams are doing well, sort of.)

Arsenal: let's just look at the results, shall we- since October 30th of 2018:

W vs Blackpool (League Cup)
D vs Liverpool
D vs Sporting
D vs Wolves
W vs Bournemouth
W vs Vorskla (Europa League)
W vs Tottenham
D vs Man United
W vs Huddersfield
W vs Qarabag (Europa League)
L to Southampton
L to Tottenham
W v Burnley
D v Brighton
L to Liverpool
W vs Fulham
W vs Blackpool (League Cup)
L to West Ham
W vs Chelsea
L to Man U (League Cup)
W vs Cardiff City
L to Man City
W vs Huddersfield
L to Bate (Europa League)

Ugh, this team, I swear. Hector Bellerin being injured doesn't help us, I know that. The great Mesut Ozil Drama continues. Aaron Ramsey is gone baby gone and we're stuck with The. Worst. Possible. Owner. you could ask for. It all looks a bit grim, to be totally frank and if I was any kind of a bandwagoneer I would have found another team to cheer for. But alas, I'm stuck with them and I suppose like Iowa football, when the moments of glory come (because they're going to come, right. Even the Rams made the Super Bowl, even if they didn't do anything much once they got there) they're going to be that much sweeter because I stuck with this team. So Arsenal forever damn it!

I would like this team to finish in the Top 4. The good news is that Chelsea seems to be playing about as well as Arsenal is at the moment, so it's possible. The bad news is that Man U has ditched Mourinho and are playing like mid-30s divorcee ready to let their hair down and live life again and go to Jamaica and meet Taye Diggs and-- oh wait, that's How Stella Got Her Groove Back. My bad. So who knows if that's possible. The hiccup against Bate Freakin' Borisov in the first leg was hardly inspiring either. No margin for error there in the second leg.

I don't, however, want to ask for the moon and be disappointed so just do what you need to do against BATE and beat Southampton and Bournemouth- or at the very least don't lose to either of them. Something, anything to get back on better form would be nice.

Iowa Hawkeyes: Well, we're in the depths of the Winter Sports Season and things are actually going pretty well across the board. Men's basketball is sitting at 20-5 overall, 9-5 in the conference ranked 21 in the AP poll. They've got Maryland, Indiana, Ohio State, Rutgers, Wisconsin and Nebraska left before the end of the regular season and the B1G Tournament. Despite needing two buzzer beaters to get past Northwestern and Rutgers, I can't see them losing all their remaining games and I think for sure they'll win more than two of them unless the wheels really come off the wagon, and I don't think they will. I think they're playing way too well at the moment for that.

While the men are having a hell of a bounceback year, the women's team is even better: they're into the Top 10 in the latest polls, sitting at 21-5, undefeated at home, they just secured first place in the conference by beating Maryland for the first time since 1992 and they've got games at Indiana, at Nebraska and one last home stand against Northwestern to wrap up their season. They look to be on track to host first and second round games in the NCAA and finally attendance seems to be matching the product they're putting out on the court. Their game against Maryland snuck them over the 10,000 mark for the first time this season and a sell out for Senior Day on March 3rd would be incredible.

Wrestling I still don't understand, but they're good. (Not really at that much of a surprise, though they're getting some stick for not having wrestled Penn State or Ohio State-- but they're rounding out the season by going down to Oklahoma State, so there's that, I guess?)

In 2019, football is undefeated and it's way too early to talk about their prospects for the fall yet. Though we have to go to Michigan, Wisconsin and Nebraska, so that's kind of... ugly.

Should this interminable month ever end, it'll be March. And that means Bracketology is coming... assuming we're not on vacation when the Tournament really gets going that is. I'll have to check the dates...

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