Welcome to Monday. Anything big happen over the weekend? Any long droughts end? "The Stack" is here with all of the top stories over the weekend so let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Monday, March 26:
1. Tiger Woods ends 30 month winless drought.
It had been a long time. To long if you ask Tiger Woods. But finally, Woods won a PGA Tour event for the first time since 2009, winning the Arnold Plamer Invitational at Bay Hill with a final tournament score of thirteen under (-13). What a big-time win for Tiger. He had gone 26 tour events without winning. You have to think that this will give him the confidence he needs to into Augusta in two weeks that he will win another green jacket. Of course, there is a ton of over-reaction to this. On the telecast, one of the NBC analysts said that Tiger's putting stroke is back, that he had never seen Tiger putt as good as he had since back when Tiger was dominating the game. Tiger missed the very next putt, a short ten foot putt, after that comment. Everyone is going to make a big deal and say "Tiger's back. Watch out PGA." While he very well could be, let's wait and see how he plays at the Masters and subsequent tournaments before declaring that Woods is back. Woods could very well be in prime position now to resume catching Jack Nicklaus' majors record of eighteen. But it's too early to tell.
Again though, the confidence that Woods will take away from winning this tournament can't be understated. And to win at Bay Hill where he had won six times before Sunday is big. Graeme McDowell finished in second at eight under (-8), five shots behind. He never could really make it close with Woods and make him sweat. Had he been able to do that, it probably would have been a little more benficial to Woods, seeing how he would react to a more pressure-packed situation. Still, Woods has won and with the Masters in two weeks, his confidence is swelling and he most likely will be among the favorites to win the Masters.
2. NBA headlines
Sunday saw plenty of big-time performances in the NBA. A few of the more notable ones include:
- The Oklahoma City Thunder defeating the Miami Heat 103-87 in OKC. Kevin Durant picked up the slack for the Thunder with Russell Westbrook on the bench in foul trouble. He scored 28 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out eight assists, a season high. The Heat did not get much contribution from the team outsidde of the big three, scoring just 30 points. The Heat will have a chance for revenge April 4 in Miami. This looks like a Finals Preview and what a Final this would be. Hope we see it.
- Kevin Love socred 30 points and grabbed 21 rebounds in the Minnesota Timberwolves 117-100 win over the Denver Nuggets. It is the seventh time Love has recorded a 30-20 game, most among active players. He is a beast and will lead Minnesota to the playoffs next year if not this year. He can beat you in so many ways. He can knock down a three when he needs to like he did Friday night in the Timberwolves 149-140 double overtime loss to the Thunder. Durant and Westbrook each scored over 40 points. That was a wild game. The Wolves had a chance to win it in overtime, but failed to preserve a lead. Still the Timberwolves have been very impressive this year and Love should get some consideration for MVP.
- Finally, the Atlanta Hawks outlasted the Utah Jazz 139-133 in four overtimes yesterday. It was the first quadruple overtime game in the NBA since 1997. This was the Hawks third game in three days, making their win all that more impressive. They were dawg tired I'm guessing. Good win for the Hawks.
3. Final Four is set
Finally today, no Tim Tebow, no Jets talk, no Saints bounty talk, it's about the Final Four in New Orleans. The four teams have been chosen each winning their respective region.
- Louisville rallied back to beat Florida 72-68 to win the West Region. The Cardinals ended the game on an 18-3 win. It looked like Florida had this game in the bag. Rick Pitino now improves to 7-0 against Billy Donovan.
- Ohio State proved to be too much for Syracuse, defeating the Orange 77-70 to win the East Region. The Orange and their fans are left wondering what if Fab Melo would have played. Ohio State is awfully good and will be a tough out in the semi-finals.
- Kentucky blew by Baylor 82-70 to win the South Region. The final score shows a closer game than it actually was. Kentucky was up by 20 points at halftime and outside of Quincy Acy, no one from Baylor really played great or even showed up. Kentucky is the class of the field and has been since the start of the tournament.
- Tar Heels are left wondering "what if." What if John Henson had been fully healthy? What if Kendall Marshall hadn't fractured his wrist and been able to play against Kansas? Chances are the Tar Heels would be in the Final Four. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Kansas closed the game on a 12-0 run to go onto win 80-67 and win the Midwest Region. The Tar Heels without their floor general looked lost at times and were not able to effectively run their offense. The Jayhawks continue to over-achieve. They don't seem to be a team that could win the championship, yet here they are in the Final Four. Great coaching job by Bill Self and his entire staff.
The Final Four matchups are: Louisville vs. Kentucky and Ohio State vs. Kansas. Early thoughts are that the Louisville-Kentucky matchup is going to be epic. This is a huge rivalry, one of the biggest in college basketball. Perhaps only second to Duke-UNC. They played a close game earlier this season with Kentucky coming out on top. A win over the their rival, particularly for Louisville, would almost be bigger than winning the national championship based on the stage that it is on. Oh what a game this will be. We'll talk more about this matchup later in the week.
As for Ohio State-Kansas, this is also a rematch of a game earlier this season. Kansas won 78-67, but Ohio State was without big man Jared Sullinger. Ohio State has him back for this game and my early inclination is that he will be the difference. Then again, Kansas continues to win when very few people expect them to. They can do it again Saturday. More Final Four talk later in the week.
Coming up Tuesday: Reaction and recap of Monday's top sports stories
Comments and suggestions on what to write about are always welcomed and appreciated.