The Gators are National Champions yet again. The No. 1 Florida women’s tennis team took on the No. 2 North Carolina Tarheels in yesterday’s ITA National Indoor Championship, and what a match it was. It all came down to a battle of the underclassmen as Florida freshman Ingrid Neel took down UNC sophomore Jessie Aney to give the Gators a 4-2 win.
The Gators Road to the Title
In the ITA’s 30th year of existence, 15 teams squared off in hopes of becoming national champions. This was Florida’s 17th appearance in the event, but just their second time in the last six years. The Gators all-time record at the ITA’s is 52-13, with five of those losses coming in the NTIC Final matches. It wouldn’t be an easy road to the title, but the Gators pulled it off.
First Round: defeated No. 13 Michigan, 4-1
Quarterfinals: defeated No. 12 Texas Tech, 4-1
Semifinals: defeated No. 6 Georgia, 4-0
Finals: defeated No. 2 North Carolina, 4-2
The Final Match
With Neel and Aney facing off on court three of Yale University’s Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center, the two would split the first two sets. With all the marbles on the line in the third and final set.
Keep in mind, Neel isn’t just a freshman. She’s a freshman who enrolled at the University of Florida in January, so her collegiate experience was minimal. However, the lights weren’t bright enough to keep this freshman from her ultimate goal, becoming a champion.
Neel took a 4-1 lead, but Aney would hold and break. She won the next two points before Neel was able to steal another one away, taking a 5-3 match lead. Aney would be the one to strike first in the ninth and final game, winning the first two points. But in the end, it was too much of the freshman phenom, as Neel would go on to win the next four points, clinching the title for the Gators.
The Gators can’t celebrate for too long, with their season continuing this Saturday. Florida will put the longest active home win streak by any NCAA Division I team in any sport on the line this weekend as the No. 5 Oklahoma Sooners and the No. 4 Standford Cardinals come to town.
The Sacramento Kings have been one of the most disappointing teams in recent memory. For those who are not aware, the Kings haven’t made the playoffs since the 2005-2006 season. You thought a 10-year postseason drought was bad, the Kings haven’t won a playoff series since 03-04 season.
However, the Kings have arguably the best Center in the NBA, Demarcus Cousins, and young talent around him which bodes well for the future. Well not anymore. News broke Sunday night after the All-Star game that Cousins was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans. Might I add that Cousins was in New Orleans when he found out about the trade.
On paper that looks like the Kings got a good amount in return, but if the rumors of the Kings buying out Evans’ contract are true then the Kings are essentially getting Hield and a first rounder for the best Center in basketball.
Sure, Cousins has been one of, if not the best big men in basketball since entering the league. He has also been one of the most criticized players in the league for his issues on and off the court. For those reasons, it made sense for Sacramento to part ways with Boogie Cousins.
What’s Wrong with Cousins?
What could possibly be wrong about a guy who can give you 30 and ten every night? Well there’s nothing wrong with that, but what if that player gets suspended multiple times each season? Demarcus Cousins has a history of getting frustrated mid-game and letting his emotions get the best of him. Here’s just one example of a classic Demarcus Cousins temper-tantrum.
This was just one of the most recent outbursts from Cousins. He has a league high 19 technical fouls this year. To put that in perspective, the NBA suspends players for a game after receiving their 17th technical foul. The second half of the season hasn’t even started and Cousins has already been suspended due to techs. However this behavior has been pretty consistent throughout Cousins’ NBA career.
2010-2011 Season: 14 technical fouls, three ejection(s)
2011-2012 Season: 12 technical fouls, zero ejection(s)
2012-2013 Season: 17 technical fouls, four ejection(s)
2013-2014 Season: 16 technical fouls, one ejection(s)
2014-2015 Season: 14 technical fouls, one ejection(s)
2015-2016 Season: 17 technical fouls, one ejection(s)
2016-2017 Season: 19 technical fouls, one ejection(s)
However the Kings are sitting just a game and a half behind for eighth place in the Western Conference. Does trading your best player for close-to-nothing really help a teams playoff chances?
As mentioned before, the Kings received a better offer for Cousins late last week, but decided it wasn’t the right time to part ways. Sacramento didn’t have a first-round pick in the 2017 draft, so adding picks was a necessity for the Kings. Adding young talent is important for any franchise, but this years draft class is being classified as one of the best classes of this decade.
The Kings managed to get a little younger in the trade, acquiring Buddy Hield who at this time last year was the talk of collegiate basketball. Hield has had a solid rookie year, averaging just under nine points and three rebounds per game. The question still remains: why trade Cousins now?
The Future of Sacramento
Well, part of the reason why Sacramento made the trade with New Orleans might have to do with the Kings owner Vivek Ranadive. According to him, Buddy has “Steph Curry” potential. If Heild can turn into half the player Curry is, then the Kings made a good decision bringing him to Sacramento.
Cousins has been surrounded by trade rumors for the last two seasons, but he has only gotten better since the start of last season. Cousins continues to improve in all assets of the game, except the fact he can’t seem to keep his cool. Ultimately, that was enough for the Kings to part ways with Cousins.
Time will tell if the Kings made the right or wrong move, but for now, Cousins says goodbye to Sacramento as he heads to his new home in New Orleans alongside Anthony Davis.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are on the road on Valentine’s day to take on the Minnesota Timberwolves. The was a rough first month of 2017 for Cleveland, but they have gotten back on track in February. Cleveland has started out the month winning five of their first six games, with the only loss coming at Oklahoma City.
Cleveland had no trouble handling Minnesota earlier this month, winning that one at home 125-97. LeBron James led the way for the Cavs with 27 points, while grabbing eight boards and dishing out 12 assists. Kyrie Irving also managed a new career high in assists with 14.
The Wolves had trouble on the defensive end of the floor that night in Cleveland. Not only did they allow Cleveland to score 125 points, but they allowed them to shoot nearly 54 percent of their field goals while shooting 40 percent from behind the arc.
Points Per Game- Cavaliers: 111.2, Timberwolves: 104.6
Field Goal Percentage- Cavaliers: 46.4, Timberwolves: 46.4
Rebounds Per Game- Cavaliers: 44.1, Timberwolves: 42.4
Assists Per Game- Cavaliers: 22.3, Timberwolves: 23.3
Current Streak- Cavaliers: W1, Timberwolves: W1
Last Ten Games- Cavaliers: 7-3, Timberwolves: 4-6
What to Watch For
Anytime Cleveland is in town, fans flock to watch their team go up against LeBron, Kyrie, and Kevin Love. However Timberwolves fans will only see two of the three in action tonight.
Former Timberwolves and current Cavaliers All-Star forward Kevin Love will miss the next six weeks after undergoing a successful, yet minor knee surgery. The last time these two teams met Love was unavailable to go due to back spasms.
Cleveland will also be without Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith who are both dealing with their own injuries. Meanwhile the Timberwolves will be without two-time slam dunk champion Zach Lavine, who is out with a torn ACL.
Tipoff is set for 8:00 PM and will be broadcasted on NBATV.