Bucks in six? All eyes toward playoffs in Milwaukee

first_imgThe Milwaukee Bucks currently sit as the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference just one game ahead of the No. 7 Heat. With two games remaining in the NBA season, the Bucks are locked into a playoff spot. The only question is — where?The Bucks, Heat and Wizards are all within 1.5 games of each other, jockeying for position in the six through eight seeds of the Eastern Conference. Despite such a close race, Milwaukee is locked into a six or seven seed because of tiebreakers with the Wizards.Milwaukee’s path to the playoffs has been filled with twists and turns, from star guard Giannis Antetokounmpo being in the early MVP conversation to head coach Jason Kidd being fired midseason.At the time, Kidd’s January firing seemed to ignite a spark with the team as the Bucks went 7–1 in the first eight games under interim head Coach Joe Prunty. This was short lived — the team has gone 15–14 since their eight-game hot stretch.March Madness: Villanova, DiVincenzo dismiss Michigan for national titleSitting atop the College Basketball world for the second time in three seasons, Villanova University defeated the University of Michigan Read…If the Bucks remain at No. 6, they will face off against the Philadelphia 76ers in a first round matchup versus a fellow up and coming team. The Sixers are the hottest team in the NBA right now and are currently on a 14-game win streak despite the loss of star center Joel Embiid to a facial fracture and concussion last week. If Embiid is back for round one the combination of him and projected Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons make Milwaukee’s chances look grim in this potential matchup.The Boston Celtics have the No. 2 seed locked up in the playoffs. But after an injury to Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving there is a race for the seven seed at the bottom of the playoff standings. The Bucks would be fortunate to fall one spot in the standings and secure a matchup against an inexperienced team without their best player.The final team the Bucks might play are the Cleveland Cavaliers who are currently at the No. 4 seed but can move up to No. 3. This could be a nightmare matchup for any team in the first round as they will have to go through LeBron James.  Despite the Cavs well-documented struggles this year, James will still be vying for his eighth straight NBA Finals appearance and has proven he can escalate his team to another level come playoff time.Men’s basketball: Badgers look ahead after frustrating yearUniversity of Wisconsin’s men’s basketball team’s streak of 19 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances ended last Friday with their elimination from Read…Though Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe have been reliable options this year, the Bucks have taken steps back in other areas of the roster. Thon Maker, who looked like a future All-Star last year, now sits third in the depth chart behind John Henson and Tyler Zeller. Though he’s been impressive when healthy, last season’s Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon has been out the past two months with a quad injury before returning last night against Orlando.But an interesting move the Bucks made recently was to giving Brandon Jennings a multiyear contract last week. Jennings is probably most famous for making the declaration “Bucks in six” in the 2013 NBA playoffs before facing — and ultimately getting swept by — the Miami Heat super team of James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.Jennings was impressive to begin his second stint with the Bucks, notching a near triple-double with a 16-point, 12-assist and eight-rebound game versus the Grizzlies. But after this hot start, Jennings cooled down, scoring double digits in points only once in the 14 games following his debut.Ohio State ends win streak for Badger men’s tennis, focus now shifts to Big Ten TournamentAfter an up-and-down start to the year, the University of Wisconsin men’s tennis team is starting to find its feet Read…While some may remember the “Brandon Jennings and Bucks in Six” era as one of disappointment, there was also hope. And in a sports year where backup quarterbacks can become Superbowl MVPs, why can’t Brandon Jennings hit a big shot to help the Bucks win a playoff game or series? Maybe even in game six.The Bucks last regular season game will be Wednesday, April 11 against the 76ers from Philadelphia at 7 p.m. CT.last_img read more

Ghana hails exciting new talent

first_imgThe emergence of exciting young players is not a new phenomenon in Ghana.Over the years, many youngsters have burst onto the stage amid shouts of, “he’s the next legend!”Sadly, many of them have flattered to deceive while others have sunk without trace.But in Christian Atsu the Black Stars have a player of undoubted ability, an excellent prospect, whose movement with the ball at his feet is exceptional.If the 19-year-old goes on to become a football great, many will remember 8 September 2012 as the day he officially announced his arrival.That is the day Atsu – who plays for FC Porto in Portugal – made only his third appearance for Ghana against Malawi in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Accra. Although he impressed in two previous matches against Lesotho and China, it was against the Flames that Atsu made people sit up and take more notice of him.His first touch was a thing of beauty – gliding past opposition defenders with remarkable ease – and his overall use of the ball was so mature for someone so young.Continue reading the main story“For anyone to dribble, the first touch has to be perfect”Christian Atsu Ghana international playerAt some point we thought we were watching a reincarnation of the legendary Abedi Pele, especially when Atsu had the ball glued to his left foot while running at and scaring Malawian defenders. Flare, movement and technical skill all intertwined into a Ghanaian football machine?Naturally, many Black Stars fans, thrilled by his goal against Malawi, went on social media to hail the arrival of the ‘Ghanaian Messi’.Not that being compared with the Barcelona magician unsettles Atsu.“Messi is my idol. There’s no Ghanaian Messi, there is no other Messi in this world,” he told BBC Sport.“I can never play even one percent of what Messi is doing. It’s impossible.” Two goals in his first four games for Ghana suggest an eye for goal but Atsu believes his biggest quality lies elsewhere.“For anyone to dribble, the first touch has to be perfect. I think that is my biggest quality.”Not many who have seen him in action would disagree with that self-assessment.Having begun his football education at the Feyernood Academy in Ghana, Atsu earned a contract with FC Porto in 2010 and was immediately loaned out to Rio Ave.Twenty-seven appearances and six goals later, national team officials came knocking on his door. Ghanaian football connoisseurs, fans and fellow-players are unanimous in their belief that Atsu has a bright future ahead of him.“Ghanaians shouldn’t put too much pressure on him,” cautions Black Stars striker Dede Ayew.The 2011 BBC African Footballer of the year added: “I believe that he’s going to be a great player.”Asamoah Gyan has also seen enough to be excited about: “I’ve seen all three games that he has played for Ghana and he’s been incredible.“If he continues this way he’s going to be a star.”last_img read more