March is always an interesting month because winter is coming to a close and spring is just starting. That means some sports seasons are coming to a close, while others are just getting started. Here are the sports events I will be watching this weekend.
NCAA March Madness—Elite Eight—College Basketball—West Final—(1) Gonzaga vs. (11) Xavier—TSN5—3 p.m. PT–The University of Gonzaga Bulldogs have made it to the elite eight twice before 2017, (in 1999 and 2015), but never to the final four. Things could change on Saturday from San Jose. The Bulldogs have had an outstanding season and only lost once—79-71 to Brigham Young University on February 25. Xavier meanwhile will have a familiar face cheering for them in the stands. Actor Bill Murray is the father of Xavier assistant coach Luke Murray.
NHL—Calgary Flames @ St. Louis Blues—CITY TV—4 p.m. PT—The Calgary Flames and St. Louis Blues seem to be comfortably in playoff spots at the moment. The Flames are nine points up on the Los Angeles Kings and the Blues are 12 points up on the Winnipeg Jets. However the Flames and Blues are trying to improve their position in their respective divisions. The Blues are tied for third place in the Central Division with the Nashville Predators, while the Flames are fourth in the Pacific Division, but only five points back of the first place San Jose Sharks.
NBA—Toronto Raptors @ Dallas Mavericks—TSN4—5:30 p.m. PT—The up and down Toronto Raptors are up at the moment after winning four straight games. This past week they came away with two victories against teams that have given them problems as of late—the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat. In the Raptors’ 101-84 win over Miami on Thursday, DeMar DeRozan scored an impressive 40 points. It is a big game for the Mavericks meanwhile as they are only three games back of the Denver Nuggets for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
NCAA March Madness—Elite Eight—College Basketball—Midwest Final—(1) Kansas vs. (3) Oregon—TSN5—5:50 p.m. PT—The NCAA basketball team many Canadian basketball fans are cheering for this weekend will be in tough in Kansas City. That is because the third ranked Oregon Ducks, which are led by Canadians Dillon Brooks of Mississauga, Ontario and Dylan Ennis of Brampton, Ontario, will need to face a Jayhawks squad that destroyed Purdue 98-66 in the sweet sixteen. There will also be two more elite eight matches on Sunday. The East Final will take place at Madison Square Garden in New York and the South Final will take place at the FedEx Forum in Memphis.
NHL—Colorado Avalanche @ Edmonton Oilers—CBC—7 p.m. PT—Hockey fans need to clean their glasses several times because there is a real possibility for the first time in 11 years the Edmonton Oilers might just make the Stanley Cup playoffs—this season. The Oilers are 12 points up on the Los Angeles Kings after their come from behind 7-4 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday. In the Oilers win, Jordan Eberle led the Oilers attack with two goals and one assist for three points. The Avalanche meanwhile remain the worst team in the NHL by a long shot. Their 43 points is 20 points worse than the Arizona Coyotes, who are 29th in the NHL with 63 points.
Curling—Women’s World Curling Championship Gold Medal Game—TSN—12 a.m. PT—We know that Ottawa’s Rachel Homan will be in the gold medal game of the 2017 Women’s World Curling Championship in Beijing. We just don’t know who her opponent will be. On Friday evening at 11 p.m. PT, Sweden will play Scotland in the 3-4 contest, with the winner playing Russia in the semi-final. The winner of the semi-final will play Canada. Never before has a team gone through the entire Women’s World Curling Championship undefeated. Nova Scotia’s Colleen Jones went 10-0 in 2003 in Winnipeg before losing to Debbie McCormick of the United States 5-3 in the final. Then in 2005, Sweden’s Anette Norberg went unbeaten in the round robin before losing 6-5 to the United States in the 1-2 game. Norberg then beat Norway 10-4 in the semi-finals and the United States 10-4 in the gold medal game in Paisley, Scotland.
NHL—Minnesota Wild @ Detroit Red Wings—NBC—9 a.m. PT—One of the biggest stories of the 2016-17 National Hockey League season is the fact it appears the Detroit Red Wings will miss the playoffs. The Red Wings have been in every Stanley Cup playoff since 1990, but it appears that streak will come to an end. Detroit is currently 13 points back of the Boston Bruins for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. The Wild meanwhile have 94 points but are struggling a little bit as of late. They have only won one of their last five games.
World Golf Match Play Championship—NBC—12 p.m. PT—In one of the most unique weekends on the golf calendar, the World Golf Match Play Championships take place this weekend in Austin, Texas. Among the golfers who have already qualified for the round of 16 on Saturday include Americans Phil Mickelson, William McGirt and Kevin Na, Sweden’s Alex Noren, England’s Paul Casey, Spain’s Jon Rahm and Denmark’s Soren Kjeldsen. Casey qualified for the final in back-to-back World Golf Match Play Championships in 2009 and 2010 but lost out to Australian Geoff Ogilvy in 2009 and England’s Ian Poulter in 2010.