College Basketball Recap, Clemson Tigers, Connor Beats Cowboys, Super Bowl LIV

Louisville bested their top ACC rival, Clemson got some good news regarding a key football player, and Barcelona notched a win for their new manager. Also, the NFL found out who will play in the 2020 Super Bowl. Check out what happened this past week in sports!

Weekly Sports Update – January 20th Edition

Weekly Sports Update – January 20th Edition

College Basketball: Duke Falls to Louisville at Cameron

Louisville entered Saturday’s game versus Duke a +8 ½ underdog. They left Cameron Indoor Stadium straight up road winner’s over Coach K’s squad. The win is even more important than many believe.

The Cardinals struggled down the stretch versus Texas Tech, Kentucky, and Florida State. Louisville lost all 3 of those games. The Red Raiders handled the Cards 76-57. The Wildcats and Seminoles beat Louisville 78-70 and 78-65 in back-to-back losses.

The team that put a beating on the Dookies this past Saturday no way resembled the squad that lost three times from Dec. 10 to Jan. 4. Saturday’s Louisville team grabbed a late 7-point lead and then squashed Duke’s comeback attempt. The Cardinals have all the makings of a 2020 Final Four unit. They hold teams to 62.2 points per and average 74.9 points. The lone knock was their mental toughness.

Not anymore. Louisville already beat Duke. If they take the rematch with Florida State on Feb. 24, they should grab the top seed in the South Region.

College Football: Travis Etienne Stays at Clemson

National Championship runner-up Clemson got some great news when starting RB Travis Etienne said he’s returning next season. Most thought Etienne would declare for the NFL Draft for sure. But Travis wants to pursue another title.

Because quarterback Trevor Lawrence will also return, the Clemson Tigers are a solid second choice to win the 2021 title. An issue remains, though. Dabo Sweeney must rebuild the offensive line. If Lawrence and Etienne don’t get help up front, it won’t matter how good they are. Unless Clemson proves the offensive line is legit, they’re an underlay at +165.

Soccer: Barcelona Replaces Valverde, Messi Goal Gives Setien Victory

Lot’s happened for one of the top soccer clubs in the world last week. Atletico beat Barcelona 3-2 in the Supercopa. The way Barca lost, giving up two Atleti goals in the final 9 minutes, forced Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu to make a major decision.

Bartomeu fired manager Ernesto Valverde and hired former Real Betis manager Quique Setien. Bartomeu had declared to his closest advisors that Valverde’s days were numbered before the loss to Atletico. He believed Barca relied too much on Messi.

Barcelona’s President wanted a manager with new ideas. Setien, so far, has shown he’s got some great ideas. Setien’s team played with patience in the 1-0 win over Granada on Sunday. The win was important. In September, Granada upset Barca 2-0.

Granada plays excellent defense. They hold back and hope to get counter runs on their opponents. In September, it worked. On Jan. 19, Setien told his players to control possession and wait for the right opportunities. Barcelona had 82% possession. The opportunity for Messi came in minute 76.

Setien’s enthusiasm should lead to a more focused, fun, Barcelona squad. Expect Setien to mix it up depending on Barca’s opponent. The true test is on Feb. 25 when Barcelona battles tough Serie A squad Napoli. Then on March 1, Barca takes on Real Madrid.

If Setien’s game plan for both matches leads to wins, we’d have to rank Barcelona first in the world along with EPL power Liverpool.

MMA: Conor KOs Cerrone at UFC 246

Forget what McGregor did to Donald Cerrone. McGregor entered the fight an over -300 favorite. He was supposed to dominate Cerrone. Sure, Conor wasn’t supposed to knock Cerrone out in 40 second. But, he was supposed to handle Cowboy with no problem.

It’s what McGregor did after the fight that makes him one of Dana White’s favorites. McGregor not only hugged Cerrone, he also hugged Cowboy’s grandma. That’s a side of Conor that he’s starting to let loose. 

More of that sort of McGregor can go a long way to reestablishing him as the most popular fighter at UFC. The whole Khabib incident, where he talked trash about Khabib’s religion, left a bad impression. Many dislike McGregor just for that.

But on Saturday night we got see a softer Conor. Yes, he promoted Proper 12 Irish whiskey, but he didn’t mouth off as much as he had in the past. A kinder, gentler, Conor McGregor is a good thing for UFC and MMA. 3 possibilities exist for Conor’s next fight. He could battle Jorge Masvidal. He could go against Khabib in a rematch. Or, he could fight Floyd Mayweather in the boxing ring in a rematch.

Khabib is undefeated. It’s hard to see McGregor taking him down. But Conor could compete against both Masvidal and Mayweather. McGregor showed boxing skills in the first fight against Floyd. Those skills should have improved while Mayweather will be 3 to 4 years older. Also, let’s be honest.

McGregor – Floyd II would be must watch television. The two put on a show in the first fight. Not only that, but in a sport, boxing, where the very best dominate, a battle between two name warriors on the same level is ultra-intriguing. 

NFL: Chiefs Get By Titans, Packers Upset 49ers

Both favorites in the NFL Conference Championships dominated. The Kansas City Chiefs held Derrick Henry to 69 rushing yards on their way to a 35-24 win. The 49ers built a 27-0 halftime lead over the Green Bay Packers. At the final whistle, San Francisco was up 37-20.

On Feb. 2, the best in the AFC takes on the best in the NFC for the Vince Lombardi Trophy. The Chiefs are -1 ½ favorites. It’s early, though. Many handicappers will look to how the 49ers rushed for 285 yards against Green Bay and give them the nod.

Then again, the Chiefs have Patrick Mahomes. Last year’s MVP threw 8 touchdowns and no interceptions in playoff wins over the Houston Texans and Titans. Mahomes can carve up any defense on the planet.

What it means is that the odds makers have it right. KC should be slight favorites because they’ve got the better quarterback. But San Francisco’s defense is as good as it gets. We’ve go a full two weeks before we must decide on who we like to win the 2020 Super Bowl. Because of how both teams performed in the playoffs, we must take our time before pulling the trigger on either side.

Have a great week!


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