Next weekend will, of course, feature the Super Bowl. But until then, many sports fans will need something to hold them over. Fortunately, there are plenty of exciting sporting events this weekend for fans to check out. Here are some of the most intriguing options:
College Basketball: Maryland at #1 Duke – Saturday, January 26th at 1 PM – CBS
It hasn’t been easy at the top this year in college basketball. Three #1 ranked teams have been beaten already this season, and Duke has been bitten by the upset bug twice, most recently on Wednesday in a blowout loss to Miami (FL). Maryland hasn’t beaten the Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium since 2007, and has lost three of their last five. They are very different teams; Duke’s leading scorers are Seth Curry and Mason Plumlee, both seniors, while Maryland’s offense runs through two sophomores, Alex Len and Dezmine Wells. The ACC race is still wide open, with upstart programs like North Carolina State and Miami (FL) setting the pace, and the powerhouses like Duke and North Carolina in the middle of the pack. Whichever team wins this game can make a big statement to the rest of the conference.
NBA: Atlanta Hawks at New York Knicks – Sunday, January 27th at 6:30 PM – ESPN
In a potential playoff series preview, the Hawks travel to Madison Square Garden to try and prolong the Knicks’ recent home woes. New York is 2-4 at MSG so far in January, and this will be the first of a five-game home stand. Raymond Felton may return from his broken finger tomorrow against the 76ers, which may provide a boost for the Knicks’ struggling offense. The Hawks are reeling in the new year as well, going 5-8 overall in January and losing Louis Williams for the season to a torn ACL. The Knicks have turned the ball over less than anybody in the NBA, while the Hawks have forced the eighth-most turnovers. Something’s got to give, and if the game is close, it could come down to who makes fewer mistakes down the stretch.
NFL: Pro Bowl – Sunday, January 27th at 7 PM – NBC
Though there may not be any truly meaningful football until the Super Bowl next week, the NFL’s all-star game will take place from Honolulu, Hawaii. Some of the best players in the league will be in attendance, though many have dropped out due to injury or having to play in the Super Bowl the following week. It promises to be a high-scoring matchup between the AFC and NFC, as neither team has scored fewer than 17 points in the last ten Pro Bowls. It may not have the prestige or competitive streak that the NBA or MLB all-star games do, but for those viewers who want to see MVP candidates like Adrian Peterson and Peyton Manning running roughshod over defenses, this may just be the event for you.