"The Stack" is back on this Monday and we have a few big items to talk about. Just seems as though there isn't as much to talk about when there are no football games going on. That's a real testament to the game and its popularity. But we found a few things over the weekend to discuss so let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Monday, February 13:
1. Phil Mickelson wins at Pebble Beach.
What an intriguing day of golf Sunday, mainly because the pairing golf fans wish for the most came true. Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods were paired in the final round of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and the player who stepped up and had the clutch round is not the one most people would think. Mickelson shot an impressive final round eight under (-8) 64 in route to catching Charlie Wi and winning the Pebble Beach National Pro Am with a total score of seventeen under (-17). Woods meanwhile was left in the dust, finishing eight under (-8) and tied for fifteenth. In my mind it is not a terrible tournament for Tiger. He came back in his first tournament on the PGA tour this season and competed right until the very end, but the story is clearly about Mickelson.
Mickeson was trailing Wi by six shots entering Sunday's final round and came out aggressive, putting the pressure on Wi. He took the lead for good with an eagle putt on the par five sixth. He is now the ninth player in PGA history with forty career wins. He was in control of his game all day Sunday and the crowd rallied around him. That's not a surprise since "lefty" is a crowd favorite. But Mickelson has had his failures in the past with rising up to the challenge and coming back from such a big deficit. Sure Wi fell apart a little bit, but this is more about Mickelson gearing up for a Sunday and not being intimidated by playing in a group with his biggest rival, Woods. Woods was wearing his red shirt on Sunday, something that intimidates most players. Not Mickelson, not this day.
It's easy to get carried away and be a POTM (prisoner of the moment) and say that this is Mickelson sending a statement, but I believe that Mickelson could have a big year this year. He has had some health problems in the past and his age is a factor, but Mickelson wanted to send a strong message not to write him off and that he will be around this year and should be among the top candidates to win a major. And he made this message loud and clear. Expect the rest of the tour to take notice.
2. Red Wings tie record for consecutive home victories.
The Detroit Red Wings never lose at home, at least not lately. And now, they've made the history books. The Red Wings beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 Sunday night, making it twenty staight home victories, which ties NHL history for most consecutive home wins with the Boston Bruins in the 1929-30 season (I remember where I was when that happened, not really) and the Philadelphia Flyers in 1976. This is a remarkable achievement and as you can clearly see by the number of the teams that have achieved this and when it has happened, it's all that more amazing. In this day and age with free agency and injuries and the competitive nature of the league, it is difficult to put a string of five or six straight wins at home, but twenty?! That is something that even the non-hockey fan has to look at and be impressed. The Red Wings go for the record Tuesday against Dallas. All eyes will be on Joe Louis Arena for that one.
3. Upsets galore over the weekend in college basketball.
At this point, we shouldn't expect anything different. March Madness (the greatest sporting event in my opinion) is a month away and teams are trying to improve their resumes. Upsets will do that. #3 Ohio State fell victim to #12 Michigan State at home 58-48. Whoa! The Spartans cranked up the defense forced the Buckeyes to shoot under 27 percent from the floor. That's a big road win for Sparty.
Meanwhile, Tennessee, yes Tennessee beat Florida for the second time this season, this time on Florida's home floor 75-70. This is a real head-scratcher. Florida the number seven team in the country, but they appear to be overrated. You don't lose to a team like Tennessee once, even twice. I would stay away from Florida now. They've scared me away.
Creighton has fallen apart. The Bluejays lost their third straight game, this time a 89-68 beatdown to Wichita State (a good team in their own right) on Creighton's court. Creighton has a player of the year candidate in Doug McDermott, but they are struggling right now. This was a scary looking mid-major a week ago, a team that very well could have made an elite eight, even a final four run. They need to figure out what's going on and how to fix it and fast.
Finally, #21 Harvard was upset by Princeton 70-62. It is the first loss in Ivy League play for the Crimson. I still believe Harvard is a team capable of making a run in March. Princeton is no slouch. They're a good team. This is Princeton's first win over a ranked team since November of 1997. These two played a playoff game to see who would make it to the dance last year. Remember this shot that sent Princeton dancing? Pretty nice. Harvard will still win the Ivy.
A couple of other things to note from the court this weekend...UNC rebounded nicely off their bad loss to Duke by crushing Virginia 70-52 Saturday. Good to see that UNC was able to come back and get focused for this game. And the last unbeaten that last this week, #7 Murray State, came back and beat Austin Peay 82-63. That's a good sign for the Racers, whose seeding will be hurt by their loss this last week. They'll be just fine.
Coming up Tuesday: Linsanity talk and the rest of the days top stories.
Comments and suggestions are always welcomed and appreciated.