Top Games of the Cavs 2014-15 Season

It looks like the Cavaliers are the new force in the Eastern Conference this season after LeBron James returned to Cleveland last week. It looks like the Cavs aren’t done this off-season, with rumors swirling that they are going after Minnesota’s want-away power forward Kevin Love. The big man would be a great fit in Cleveland and they’d likely be heavy favorites to win it all this season with his help. The storylines will be plentiful for many reasons, including a few opponents that stick out as ones to circle on the calendar when the NBA schedule comes out next month.

LeBron has raised the stakes in Ohio once again. (GETTY)

Miami Heat

The Heat are going to have to move on with LeBron James this season, but they’ve brought back the rest of the big names on the team and added one more. Luol Deng will take LeBron’s spot in the lineup after signing as a free agent, and he’s a solid player — albeit one with impossibly-sized shoes to fill. His 16 points and 5.7 rebounds per game are small in comparison to Lebron’s 27 points and 6.4 rebounds. LeBron will gain the support of the Cleveland fans back pretty quickly, but how will be greeted in Miami? The Heat and Cavs could be the two best teams in the weak Eastern Conference.

San Antonio Spurs

The reigning champions have returned every player from a team that demolished the Heat in the NBA finals, and will be a force once again. You keep thinking they’ll be too old, they’ll keep on winning championships. If the Cavs pull off the trade for Love, this could be a very even match up — outside of coaching. Gregg Popovich has proven himself the best in the business, and he’ll have his Spurs ready for LeBron on the Cavs, like he did in the 2007 NBA Finals when San Antonio swept Cleveland.

Indiana Pacers

This is another possible Eastern Conference Finals match up, and the Pacers might feel this is finally their time to shine. Roy Hibbert played at his worst at a critical time and Indiana allowed the Heat into a fourth straight finals appearance, but the Pacers are a much younger team and will stay at a top level. The Cavs will be a young team outside of LeBron, and this Indiana vs. Cleveland matchup might be the one to watch for in the upcoming 3-4 years. Other teams like the Thunder, Lakers and Rockets could prove to have some great games against the retooled Cavs, but grabbing a ticket to any of the three matchups listed above would guarantee you some top-level, competitive basketball.

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Ash and Swoopes Both in the Hunt at Texas?

Tyrone Swoopes might pry the job from Ash (Eric May)

The Texas Longhorns have been longing for that next great Texas quarterback since Colt McCoy was hurt in the first quarter of the 2010 National Championship game, and they still haven’t found him. Garrett Gilbert was supposed to take the torch from McCoy (to whom it was passed after Vince Young), but he fizzled out in Austin and transferred to SMU. David Ash was then the heir apparent, but he’s had mixed results and has had some recent health issues. Case McCoy had his moments, but no one on the 40 acres really saw him as a national-title contending QB before he graduated in May. The fans have grown restless, as heard by the boos that have been known to come out of the stands at DKR from time to time. The options have opened back up again before the 2014 season, so let’s take a look at who might energize the crowd in Austin this season.

David Ash will likely go into camp as the front runner for the QB job, but will Charlie Strong hold him in the same high regard that Mack Brown did? Brown gave Ash every opportunity he could, even when it was obvious Ash needed to be taken out of the game. The leash might be a lot shorter, especially with Strong trying to get the Longhorn faithful on his side early on. You don’t do that by leaving a bad quarterback in the game for too long. Ash will need to prove himself to the ex-Louisville staff and offensive coordinator Joe Wickline as well.

The other main option will be dual-threat QB Tyrone Swoopes. The sophomore got in at the tail end of five games in 2013, all with the game already in hand for either Texas, Oklahoma State, or Oregon. Swoopes had a tremendous second half at the Texas Spring game, making lots of fans wonder whether Strong is seriously considering giving him the job out of the gate. For his sake, Strong has said a decision won’t be made until right before the season.

The last, long shot option is Jerrod Heard. The freshman out of Denton is not expected to get much playing time this season, but if Ash and Swoopes don’t produce, why not? Heard is also a dual-threat guy, but he’s a very polished passer that likes to use his legs to give himself time to throw instead of just taking off down the field.

Texas fans having been aching for a quarterback to lead them back into the national title hunt, and 2014 could produce that guy if Strong is willing to take a chance on a young guy should Ash not pan out.

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6 Tips to getting the most out of your US Open experience

us-open-logoWhile some tennis fans plan their year around attending the US Open, for many, it’s a bucket-list event they’ll only attend once. Like any big event, the Open can be stressful and overwhelming if you go in without a plan and without having done your research. In order to help you enjoy your US Open experience as much as possible, we put together a list of tips on how to get the most out of your time in Flushing Meadows without losing your mind to stress.

1. Plan your travel plans far ahead of time.

Traffic, subway backup, over-priced taxis, and long lines can all add unnecessary stress to your trip to the Open. If you want to have your own car there, make sure to buy a parking pass in advance. If you plan on taking the subway, have a backup plan – Uber, Lyft or other taxi alternatives may be good. You’ll want to have this backup in case a night match runs late and you miss your last train.

2. Wear Sunscreen.

This one may be a little obvious, but in the excitement of getting out the door to watch your favorite players, you may forget. New York can get hot in the summertime and that sun can be very unforgiving. In case you don’t have shady seats, make sure to apply and reapply.

3. Go to two back-to-back days early on in the tournament.

A big worry when buying tickets to the US Open is that you’ll miss your favorite player due to unlucky scheduling or an early loss. If you can, get tickets to two back-to-back days early on in the tournament. This increases your chances to see the players you want since players play every other day and are less likely to lose in the early rounds.

4. Don’t confine yourself to Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Like all grand-slam events, the US Open bring some of the finest tennis talent from all over the world. True, it’s usually the most popular players playing in Arthur Ashe Stadium, but many former slam champions, up-and-comers and entertaining players will be playing on outside courts. Venture out and you’re likely to see some of the more entertaining matches of the whole event.

5. Watch the girls’ and boys’ events.

Yes, you’re there to see the pros, but the pros started somewhere too. Roger Federer and Eugenie Bouchard both won junior titles at grand-slam events. If you watch some of the younger players, you may be watching the beginnings of some world-class tennis careers.

6. Go see some doubles matches.

If you’ve never watched a doubles match, you’re missing out! And I’m not just talking about the Bryan brothers or the Williams sisters. Doubles tennis is a very different game than singles tennis, but just as exciting. The bonus: a lot of singles players will form unique doubles teams for grand-slam events. This is a great opportunity to see some of your favorite players on court while experiencing something a little different.

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UFC looks to retain public interest after cancellation of UFC 176

The UFC suffered a rare setback this week when it announced the cancellation of UFC 176, only the second cancelled pay-per-view event in the organization’s history. Featherweight titleholder Jose Aldo, whose championship defense against Chad Mendes was set to headline the event, was forced to withdraw from the fight last week with shoulder and neck injuries. With the August 2 date less than a month away, UFC elected to cancel the event rather than rush to find a replacement main card, partly thanks to the lack of recognizable names on the undercard. They simply couldn’t justify hosting the event when the biggest draw in a night of relatively low-key fights was no longer in play.

Aldo-Mendes II will have to wait

Aldo-Mendes II will have to wait

The Aldo-Mendes title fight looks like it may be rescheduled for the already-planned PPV event at the end of October in Rio de Janeiro, the site of the grapplers’ first meeting in 2012 in which Aldo KO’d Mendes in the first round. The Ronaldo Souza-Gegard Mousasi bout – a matchup of former Strikeforce champions which was reportedly nearly promoted to the main card of UFC 176 before the event was officially canceled – will become the headliner for UFC Fight Night Connecticut on September 5. Bobby Green will now fight Josh Thomson on the undercard of UFC Fight Night San Jose in two weeks, while Green’s scheduled opponent Abel Trujillo will square up with Ross Pearson at UFC Fight Night Bangor on August 16. The remaining fights on the card will be distributed among several upcoming events, in addition to those fights already scheduled:

UFC Fight Night Bangor – August 16
Gray Maynard vs. Fabricio Camoes
Jussier Formiga vs. Zach Makovsky
James Vick vs. Walmir Lazaro

UFC Fight Night Tulsa – August 23
Tony Martin vs. Beneil Dariush

UFC 177 – August 30
Danny Castillo vs. Tony Ferguson
Derek Brunson vs. Lorenz Larkin
Shayna Baszler vs. Bethe Correia

The news comes at a tough time for the UFC, which has lost huge draws like Georges St-Pierre, Anderson Silva, Cain Velazquez, and Rashad Evans to injuries this year. Jon Jones, Chris Weidman, and Ronda Rousey can only fight so often, after all. Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole has a great analysis of why these fighters haven’t yet discovered how to command the attention and the dollars of the injured superstars, and what they can do to change that.

Rousey in particular is an interesting case. The women’s bantamweight champ has only one drawback: she’s TOO dominant. She’s head, shoulders, and torso above every other woman in her class, as evidenced by the 16 seconds it took her to knock out Alexa Davis in her fourth straight title defense at UFC 175 last week. Rarely do her fights last much longer than one minute. Simply put, she’s boring to watch because nobody can compete with her.

Which is why UFC head honcho Dana White is now focusing on throwing some real competition at his new money maker. After signing boxer and undefeated MMA fighter Holly Holm, who many people think will be the first real challenge of Rousey’s career, White claims to be close to inking a contract with the legendary Gina Carano as well. Carano, of course, is the women’s MMA pioneer and idol of Rousey who hasn’t fought professionally since 2009. A Carano-Rousey matchup playing up the storyline of Carano’s return to the octagon would predictably launch PPV buys and ticket sales through the roof. While we impatiently await the returns of GSP and Silva, and the appearance of a real competitor for Jon Jones, the women’s division may soon put a rear naked chokehold on public interest.

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Best Buy of the Dallas Cowboys 2014 Season

It’s almost time for Cowboys football, and if you’re a Cowboys fan you know that going to a game at AT&T Stadium isn’t the cheapest thing in the world. In fact, when you include the atrocious parking fee that the stadium charges, it can empty your wallet. However, by shopping for games that don’t carry as big of a demand, you can see the Boys play at half the price you might have paid otherwise. Let’s take a look at the best and worst buys of the 2014 Dallas Cowboys season.

Dez Bryant is the showstopper in Dallas

Cheapest ticket: vs. Arizona Cardinals, November 2, 12:00 PM

You can get a seat in the upper level of this one for $35 at the moment, and getting down near the field won’t cost you an arm and a leg either. Currently a pair in section 144 runs about $129 a ticket, which is pretty close to face value. The Cardinals don’t have the biggest fan base in the NFL which contributes to the low prices, but let’s not forget this team went 10-6 last season. Arizona was the only team to beat the Super Bowl champion Seahawks on their home turf, and in the second half of the season they only lost two games by a combined six points. It’s the cheapest ticket of the season against what could be a very good Cardinals team. Get to this game and save some money while seeing a good game.

Most expensive ticket: vs. San Francisco 49ers, September 7, 3:25 PM

A pair of tickets in the upper level will run you $157 each for this game, which is about $50 more than any other game on the schedule. The cheapest field level seats are currently in section 148 at $311 each. Lots of reasons for this. It’s the first game of the season, the 49ers have a huge fan base, and they’re predicted to be one of the best teams in the NFL once again in 2014. The Cowboys might actually match up with San Francisco better than people think, and the Cowboys have a three-game winning streak over the Niners. Could be a good game, but it’s definitely the most expensive of the season.

Other notable game ticket prices:

vs. New Orleans Saints, September 28, 7:30 PM

$91 cheapest seat — $219 field level

 

vs. Houston Texans, October 5, 12:00 PM

$107 cheapest seat — $226 field level

 

vs. New York Giants, October 19, 3:25 PM

$61 cheapest seat — $187 field level

 

vs. Washington Redskins, October 27, 7:30 PM

$63 cheapest seat — $186 field level

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