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Archive for the ‘Best of the Decade’


North Carolina and Duke Take Center Stage at ACC Tournament in Brooklyn Behind Decades of Storied History 0

Posted on March 10, 2017 by Chris Kent

It is college basketball royalty when North Carolina (27-6) and Duke (25-8) meet in the semifinals of the 2017 Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament. The two will battle at 7 pm EST tonight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY with a trip to the ACC Tournament Championship game on the line. It is round three for the duo this year as the two posted home victories over each

The ACC Tournament is one of the richest traditions in all of college sports.

other in their two regular season meetings this season. The two met less than a week ago with the Tarheels winning 90-83 at home on March 4 in the regular-season finale for both.

North Carolina is the top seed in the tournament for the second straight year and has played in the last two championship games. A fifth seed in 2015, the Tarheels lost 90-82 to third-seeded Notre Dame in the title game before beating second-seeded Virginia 61-57 in the 2016 championship game as the top seed. The Blue Devils have not reached the championship game since 2014 when they were the third seed and lost to top-seeded Virginia 72-63.

Duke and North Carolina have not met in the ACC Tournament since 2011 when the second-seeded Blue Devils won 75-58 over the top-seeded Tarheels in the title game. The long and storied history of these two ACC and national powers is well documented. Since 1997, one or the other has reached the tournament semifinals for a now 21 straight seasons during which both have been in the round 12 times. During that same time period, the two have met in two tournament semifinals and played in four title games.

Besides the 2011 title meeting, the other three championship game battles came in a four-year span between 1998 and 2001 when one or the other was the tournament’s top seed. Duke won two of the three title games, winning 96-73 as the top seed in 1999 and posting a 79-53 win in 2001 as the second seed. The other title game came in 1998 when North Carolina, the second seed, won 83-68 over the top-seeded Blue Devils.

This four-year stretch of ‘98-‘01 was a marquee time period for both schools as they boasted some of their great all-time players. Both schools were at the top of the ACC and competed – as they always have and continue to do – at such a high level. Recalling each school’s history during this time is like reading a hall-of-fame biography. When you combine the personnel of the teams, their coaches, and their achievements, one can see why the two have had such a perennial strong conference and national presence. Read the rest of this entry →

Pillars of Roger’s Career: mixing it up with Andre Agassi, Miami 2002 3

Posted on March 26, 2010 by Claudia Celestial Girl

This is part of a series of articles that outline the stand-out matches of Roger Federer’s career.  The impetus of this series was a discussion of the Greatest Matches of the Decade – in which Roger was not mentioned very often.  We thought that perhaps it was time to review some of the stand-outs.

Andre Agassi and Roger Federer met on the court several times as Federer rose to the top and Agassi headed toward retirement.

Andre Agassi and Roger Federer met on the court several times as Federer rose to the top and Agassi headed toward retirement.

So much has been made of Andre Agassi and his remarks during the recent ‘Hit for Haiti’ in the 2010 Indian Wells benefit.

I found the Hit for Haiti fascinating, bringing together living legends of the sport of differing generations. To offset our memory of the raucous Hit for Haiti, I thought it was time to study a match intended for our review of Roger’s career, the Miami final from 2002.

After losing to Roger in Miami in the semi-finals, Lleyton Hewitt predicted that 2002 might be a break-out year for Roger, just as 2001 was a break-out year for Lleyton. Roger Federer was 20 years old.

Coming into 2002, Andre Agassi was the defending champion of the Australian Open (he didn’t successfully defend in 2002, but got to the semis). He’d beaten rival Pete Sampras in the previous year’s IW final (one of their classic matches, in which Andre clearly put his retrieving skills to great advantage and over-matched Pete on serve). At 32, Andre was near the top of his game (He would win his final major in 2003 at the AO.) In 2002, Andre was well into his second career, ranked in the top 5 consistently for 3 straight years going into this match. He moved well, fast enough on the court to easily retrieve drop shots.

In terms of his (up to that point spare) head-to-head match-ups with Roger, Andre had won both of their previous meetings in straight sets.

Ironically in this match, it was Roger’s retrieving skills, and Andre’s serving skills that characterized the play in the first set. Roger was not able to break Andre, seemed to be in a ‘tuck’ position. So much so that Andre was able to break early, and with a lovely passing shot, Andre would win the first set. Read the rest of this entry →

Best of the Decade: NFL Rules The Roost in Professional Sports 2

Posted on December 31, 2009 by Dean Hybl
Tennessee Titans v Indianapolis Colts

Peyton Manning passed for more more than 42,000 yards in the decade while leading the Colts to double digit victories nine times.

It was a banner decade for the NFL with many franchises building new stadiums and posting record attendance. The caliber of the play on the field was arguably the greatest of all time with many superstars putting their stamp on the decade.

Unlike previous decades where a Super Bowl blowout was a common occurrence, the 2000′s saw six Super Bowls decided by a touchdown or less, including dramatic endings to the final two Super Bowls played in the decade.

Offenses generally ruled the roost with high-powered attacks lighting up scoreboards across the league. However, defense was still an important component of most championship teams.

Because NFL careers are often short, selecting the top 10 players of the decade is a challenge because many of the best players at the end of the decade were not even in the league when the decade started.

Most of the players on this list were key performers on teams that achieved playoff and often Super Bowl greatness. Please feel free to share your thoughts on who else you think is deserving of being considered among the best of the decade.

Who Was the NFL's Best Player of the Decade?

  • Peyton Manning (45%, 134 Votes)
  • Tom Brady (28%, 82 Votes)
  • Ladainian Tomlinson (6%, 17 Votes)
  • Ray Lewis (6%, 17 Votes)
  • Troy Polamalu (4%, 13 Votes)
  • Champ Bailey (3%, 9 Votes)
  • Derrick Brooks (2%, 6 Votes)
  • Randy Moss (2%, 6 Votes)
  • Tony Gonzalez (2%, 5 Votes)
  • Ed Reed (1%, 4 Votes)
  • Marvin Harrison (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Jonathan Ogden (0%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 296

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Below is our list of the top players of the decade:
Read the rest of this entry →

Best of the Decade: Looking At Hockey’s Best 3

Posted on December 30, 2009 by Scott Weldon
Detroit Red Wings v Colorado Avalanche

Nicklas Lidstrom was the best defenseman of the decade and helped the Red Wings to a pair of Stanley Cup titles.

The first ten years of the 21st century have flashed by. Great NHL careers like those of Joe Sakic, Jaromir Jagr, Steve Yzerman, Peter Forsberg and Mario Lemieux have come to an end and others like those of Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeny Malkin have just gotten started.

Who has had the best decade though? Taking a look from Jan 1, 2000 until December 31, 2009 I’ve come up with this list. These are my best ten players of the 2000’s in the NHL.

Who Was The Best Hockey Player Of The Decade?

  • Nicklas Lidstrom (32%, 7 Votes)
  • Martin Brodeur (32%, 7 Votes)
  • Joe Thornton (14%, 3 Votes)
  • Jaromir Jagr (9%, 2 Votes)
  • Jarome Iginla (5%, 1 Votes)
  • Scott Niedermayer (5%, 1 Votes)
  • Joe Sakic (5%, 1 Votes)
  • Chris Pringer (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Daniel Alfredsson (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Patrik Elias (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 22

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10. Patrik Elias LW- New Jersey Devils- Regular season (GP-652 G-267 A-359) Playoffs (GP-114 G-38 A-64) 1 First All-star team.

Elias started the decade helping Brodeur and company dump the Dallas Stars in the Stanley cup finals in 2000.  He was in the finals again the next year barely losing to the power house Colorado Avalanche four games to three. New Jersey won the cup again in 2003 defeating the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Elias provided offense on a team that played a tight defensive system to win their cups. He played through a decade of injury and sickness on a trap team and still managed to be the decades 9th leading scorer in the regular season. When you throw in his playoff numbers he’s the seventh leading scorer of the decade and he’s tied with Vincent Lecavalier for the sixth most total goals in the decade. This skilled playoff performer was the tenth best player of the 2000’s. Read the rest of this entry →

Best of the Decade: Steroids Rule The Baseball World 3

Posted on December 29, 2009 by Dean Hybl
St. Louis Cardinals Albert Pujols breaks record

Albert Pujols was the toast of the league during the last decade.

The most prevalent storyline in Major League Baseball during the decade wasn’t a player or even a team. Instead, the subject of steroids dominated the decade. There were so many of the best players of the era linked to performance enhancing drugs that no player was above scrutiny.

For that reason, selecting the best players of the decade is a very difficult challenge. Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds posted statistical seasons that rank among the best of all time, yet Rodriguez has admitted to using a PED and Bonds is under federal indictment for supposedly lying about his use of drugs.

Because I have no true idea which players actually have used PEDs, I chose not to make potential use a major factor in selecting this list. Instead, it was a secondary factor in where a couple of the players on this list were ultimately placed.

Who Was The Best Major League Baseball Player Of The Decade?

  • Albert Pujols (47%, 14 Votes)
  • Ichiro Suzuki (13%, 4 Votes)
  • Derek Jeter (10%, 3 Votes)
  • Randy Johnson (7%, 2 Votes)
  • Barry Bonds (7%, 2 Votes)
  • Chipper Jones (7%, 2 Votes)
  • Roy Halladay (7%, 2 Votes)
  • Ryan Howard (3%, 1 Votes)
  • Manny Ramirez (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Mariano Rivera (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Alex Rodriguez (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 30

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Below is my top 10 list of the best Major League Baseball players of the decade:
Read the rest of this entry →

Best of the Decade: Best NBA Players 8

Posted on December 27, 2009 by Dean Hybl
Lakers Bryant drives past Bulls Hinrich in Chicago

Kobe Bryant was a first team All-NBA selection seven times in the decade and led the Lakers to NBA titles to start and end the decade.

As we near the end of 2009 and thus the end of the first decade of the 21st Century, Sports Then and Now is looking at some of the athletes and moments that shaped the decade.

When the decade started many were wondering how the NBA could overcome the retirement of Michael Jordan. Of course Jordan did come back for two seasons during the decade as a member of the Washington Wizards, but he really was more of a footnote in the decade rather than a main player.

The decade belonged to two powerhouse teams, the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs. There were other teams with good runs, but those two squads were consistently contending for NBA titles.

Some are still looking for the next Michael Jordan, but while it is doubtful there will never be another MJ, as the NBA heads into the new decade it has a plethora of talented young stars poised to lead the league into the future.

Who is the Best NBA Player of the Decade?

  • Kobe Bryant (46%, 32 Votes)
  • Tim Duncan (20%, 14 Votes)
  • LeBron James (11%, 8 Votes)
  • Shaquille O'Neal (9%, 6 Votes)
  • Dwyane Wade (4%, 3 Votes)
  • Kevin Garnett (4%, 3 Votes)
  • Steve Nash (3%, 2 Votes)
  • Allen Iverson (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Jason Kidd (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Tony Parker (1%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 70

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Below is a look at our picks for the top 10 NBA players over the past decade:

Read the rest of this entry →

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      July 4, 2017 | 8:48 pm
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      Sudden Sam McDowell

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was a hard-throwing lefthander who often led Major League Baseball in both strikeouts and walks. His off-the-field story also made him the prototype for a famed television character.

      Sudden Sam McDowell made his Major League debut for the Cleveland Indians a week before his 19th birthday and pitched in the majors for 15 seasons.

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