sports blog by andy shenk

Updates: Week of April 9-15

In Anzhi, Carleton, Cincinnati Reds, Lokomotiv-Kuban, Russian Basketball, Russian Football, San Antonio Spurs, Tottenham Hotspur on April 9, 2012 at 7:22 AM

This blog revolves around sports, especially those teams in which I have a rooting interest. In order to fill in the statistical gaps, therefore, which result from my haphazard manner of commenting on upcoming games and outcomes, I plan to provide an update on each team’s fortunes at the beginning of the week. This will also prove helpful to me in structuring my blogging for each week.

In addition to each team’s play on the field, I am greatly intrigued by attendance figures, radio and TV audiences, and other methods of calculating fan interest in a team. Much of the fun of being a sports fan comes from interacting with fellow supporters of the team. Especially when one lives at a distance from the team’s hometown, it is enjoyable to interact with others who share a similar passion. The greater interest there is in a team, the easier it is for far-flung fans to connect, whether on the internet or through fan clubs in various cities.

Of course, there is also the matter of bragging rights. As much fun as it is to hang out with like-minded fans, it is of equal pleasure to criticize, insult, and demean the other side. Proving that your team is more popular than another fan’s team is one excellent way to do that.

Finally, team popularity, and, more broadly, a league or sport’s popularity, are helpful in determining the future financial health of that product. Which teams across baseball are surging in popularity? How the NBA and NFL stack up statistically when comparing TV and radio audiences? What are the trends from year to year?

I hope to begin gathering these statistics and periodically sharing them on the blog. I will begin small, by looking at attendance figures for Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) baseball and basketball teams.

Now for some results!

Basketball

San Antonio Spurs, 40-14, tied for 1st place in Western Conference

Last week the Spurs went 4-0, defeating Cleveland and Boston on the road and New Orleans and Utah at home. The Spurs winning streak is now 11 and they hold the top seed for the Western Conference playoffs over Oklahoma City.

Next week the Spurs play four times: 1) Monday, at Utah, 8:0o PM CDT; 2) Wednesday, vs. Lakers, 7:30 PM CDT; 3) Thursday, vs. Memphis, 7:30 PM CDT; 4) Saturday, vs. Phoenix, 8:00 PM CDT, ESPN

Lokomotiv Kuban, 9-7, 3rd place in Russian Professional Basketball League (PBL); up 1-0 in best-of-three series with Zalgiris to determine who advances to the Final Six of the VTB League play-offs.

Last week Lokomotiv began with a dud, losing by 9 on the road to Yenisey Krasnoyarskii Krai, the worst team in the PBL. That loss hurt their chances of qualifying for one of the four available PBL play-off spots. The team bounced back, however, with a 72-44 demolition of Zalgiris in the VTB League play-offs. Lokomotiv now must win one game on the road against Zalgiris in order to advance to play Spartak St. Petersburg in the quarterfinals.

1) Tuesday, at Zalgiris, VTB League play-offs, 11:15 AM CDT; 2) Wednesday, at Zalgiris, VTB League play-offs, 11:15 AM CDT, if necessary; 3) Sunday, vs. Triumph Lyubertsi, PBL, 8:00 AM CDT

Baseball

Cincinnati Reds, 2-1, tied for second place in National League Central Division

Last week the Reds began the season by taking 2 of 3 at home from the Miami Marlins. Cincinnati won 4-0 on Thursday, lost 8-3 on Saturday, and won 6-5 Sunday thanks to a 2-run rally in the bottom of the 9th. Along with the winning record, the Reds did very well at the box office, selling about 107,000 tickets, for an average of 35,700 each game.

Next week for the Reds: 1) Monday, vs. St. Louis, 6:10 PM CDT; 2) Tuesday, vs. St. Louis, 6:10 PM CDT, MLB Network; 3) Wednesday, vs. St. Louis, 11:35 PM CDT, MLB Network; 4) Thursday, at Washington, 12:05 PM CDT; 5) Friday, at Washington, 6:05 PM CDT; 6) Saturday, at Washington, 3:05 PM CDT; 7) Sunday, at Nationals, 12:35 PM CDT

Carleton College Knights, 6-11 (1-3 MIAC), tied for 8th in MIAC

Last week Carleton dropped both ends of a double-header with St. John’s University, 7-5 and 3-2. The team looks to rebound with a full slate of games this week.

1, 2) Monday, at Gustavus Adolphus College, MIAC, 2:30 PM CDT (double-header); 3, 4) Tuesday, vs. Hamline University, MIAC, 2:30 PM CDT (double-header); 5, 6) Saturday, at Wartburg College, non-conference, 1:00 PM CDT (double-header)

Soccer

Tottenham Hotspur, 59 points, 4th in English Premier League; through to semifinals of the FA Cup

Spurs won at White Hart Lane on Sunday, 3-1 over Swansea. Saturday they were held to a disappointing, scoreless draw with Sunderland.

1) Monday, vs. Norwich, Premier League, 9:00 AM CDT; 2) Sunday, at Wembley vs. Chelsea, FA Cup semifinals, 12:00 PM CDT

FC Anzhi, 60 points, 7th in Russian Premier League

Anzhi played to a 0-0 draw in Luzhniki Stadium with CSKA Moscow on Saturday. The team is still only six points from 2nd-place CSKA and Champions League qualification. This week’s home match with Dinamo Moscow is a must-win for Anzhi if they hope to close that gap.

1) Sunday, vs. Dinamo Moscow, 9:30 AM CDT

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  1. what did you think of pop benching his starters during an 11 game winning streak? BIll Belichek of NBA or other way around?

  2. Intellectually, I understand that it’s unrealistic to view Gregg Popovich as the greatest coach in basketball history; emotionally, I believe it to be true. I love the fact that he occasionally rests the big 3 during the regular season. Not only does it help them stay healthy, it also helps to develop the rest of the team and demonstrates Popovich’s faith in unproven role players. This is essential to the Spurs, given their habit of filling out the roster with cast-offs, Euros, and head-cases.
    This compressed NBA season is also much different – Pop doesn’t rest his guys as frequently during a normal season.
    I think there are a lot of similarities with Belichick. Both coaches are ruthless in exploiting the gray areas of the game (e.g. Spygate, Bruce Bowen, Hack-a-Shaq). They’re both irascible interviewees. And, of course, they’ve both won a lot of championships.
    Popovich is a complicated guy, and I do question some of his methods. At the same time, he’s an incredibly funny and intelligent person and I think his coaching ability is unrivaled in professional sports.

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