PCI: The Las Vegas Golden Knights Will Win the Stanley Cup
By Ethan Ticehurst ’18
In their first season in the league, the Golden Knights will complete what is already one of the most shocking and historic seasons in the history of sports by kissing the Stanley Cup and become this year’s Stanley Cup Champions.
Expansion teams have historically begun their season on a weak note throughout the history of professional sports, across every sport. For maybe the first time ever, the world is experiencing an expansion team that has a chance to win a championship and it is exciting. This season is exactly what sports fans and the NHL dreamed about when the team was first announced.
After a strong regular season, which finished with a number one seed in the playoffs, it is not too hot of a take to pick the Golden Knights to win the Cup. Their only real competition in the Western Conference is the Nashville Predators, who went to the finals last year and finished with the most points in the West.
However, the Predators have seemed to be weaker so far in the playoffs, having lost a game to the Avalanche while the Golden Knights have completed the sweep against the Kings in the first round. The momentum is on the side of the Golden Knights and the skill level of these teams is close to even.
There is a side to sports that is often overlooked, and a strong emotional aspect to sports that is sometimes forgotten. Some of the best seasons in recent sports history have happened after an influential and, unfortunately, usually tragic event.
The Red Sox won the World Series in 2013 after the Boston Marathon bombing, the Yankees went to the World Series after 9/11, and the Houston Astros were champions after the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey.
Last year was a tragic year in Las Vegas, after the Mandalay Bay shooting caused the death of over 50 people. But, as it has commonly done in the past, tragedy tends to bring people together more than divide them, and the Golden Knights have been spurred on by the togetherness that the tragedy created.
Awful things have happened, but the Golden Knights have done their best to go out and represent the people of their city in the best that they can and by winning the Cup, they can bring something worth celebrating to Vegas.
PCI: The Philadelphia 76ers Will Win the NBA Finals
By Ethan Ticehurst ’18
This is the year that “the process” is finally going to pay off.
With the third seed in the East nearly locked up, it is easy to see that the 76ers have definitely had a successful regular season. Their season has become all the more impressive when looking at the standings from last season, when Philadelphia finished second to last in the Eastern Conference. Improving from their 28-54 season last year, to winning more than 50 games this year for the first time in nearly 20 years should be enough to convince anyone that the rebuild seems to be complete in Philly.
The path to the NBA Finals for the 76ers is far from daunting. The Raptors and the Celtics, the top two teams in the conference, have had pretty good regular seasons but will not present much of a challenge. The Raptors have had a tough time in the playoffs in recent years, losing some series that they probably should have won. The Celtics, who have had a good season and looked strong for most the year, have been riddled with injuries in the last month of the season and are now without their star player, Kyrie Irving.
The only real challenge that seems to remain in the East is the Cavaliers, who simply continue to remain a threat thanks to LeBron James. However, the 76ers have managed to split the season series with the Cavaliers, showing that they are evenly matched. If they can match up with LeBron well, they can manage to win. This is all assuming that the Cavaliers do not get knocked out in an earlier round.
Once the finals come around, the 76ers would have to face their toughest challenge yet. Whichever team comes out of the West, they will be challenging and fresh off winning what is shaping up to be a dogfight in the earlier rounds. The assumption is that the West’s representative in the finals will most likely be the Houston Rockets, given their strong regular season, the assumed MVP James Harden, and the injury problems that currently face the Golden State Warriors. A matchup between the 76ers and the Rockets would be very entertaining finals, as they split the season series in two very close games. Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and the Phildelphia 76ers will be hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy in the end.
PCI: Which Spring Sports Team Will Finish with the Best Record?
Softball Will Finish With Best Record
by Ethan Ticehurst ’18
The Providence College Softball Team is on track to have the best record out of all the spring sports this season. They are on the rise after an average 2017 season. They have steadily improved over the past few years, with a two game improvement in 2017 in their win total from the 2016 season. Building a strong team has taken time, but this team has done the work to be as strong as they can be.
The work that they have done from previous seasons, coupled with the added familiarity that they now have with their relatively new field, is expected to bring them even more wins this year.
The Friars kicked off the season last week down in Florida, where they proved through their win against the University of North Carolina that they are on track to having a successful season. Though they currently sit at a record of 1-4, they have already shown some flashes of good things to come while playing some pretty difficult teams. When the Friars kicked off their Big East season, the games will be more evenly matched between PC and their opponents. The first home game takes place on March 17 at 12 p.m.
The team will have the advantage of a strong senior class this year, consisting of Paige Mulry ’18, Julianne Rurka ’18, Christina Ramirez ’18, and Brittney Veler ’18. All four of these players were a big part of last year’s squad, and played a majority of games for the Friars. It is likely that the team will look to these seniors for their experience and their leadership as they go further into the season. In a sport where it is common to play over 40 games in a season, it comes down to having the endurance and energy to keep on going, qualities that these seniors have shown that they have.
This year should be a good year for Friars softball as they play against a rather evenly matched Big East conference. Friar fans can look forward to an exciting season for the softball team as they look to improve upon last season.
Why the Winter Olympics are the Best
By Ethan Ticehurst ’18
The Winter Olympics are the best kind of games simply because of the sports that are offered. The most significant example is hockey, a sport in which some sort of competitive balance still exists. As compared to basketball or gymnastics in the summer, both of which have been dominated by Americans in recent years, hockey is the most well-known and most competitive sport in the Olympics. Teams from all across the Northern Hemisphere have a chance to win at hockey, including powerhouses Canada, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States.
In addition to a better competitive balance, the Winter Olympics are also more viewer-friendly because they last for about a month just like the Summer Games, but they have much fewer events, which means that events can be scheduled at times that are best for the most viewers. Being a dedicated fan of the Summer Olympics requires watching almost 20 hours of footage a day, due to the non-stop nature of the schedule. The Winter Olympics have a much more relaxed pace, giving viewers the ability to spend less time watching the television.
Finally, the Winter Olympics are also better because they are usually held in lesser-known cities around the world. The Summer Olympics are held in large, congested, and well-known cities in very industrialized nations. The Winter Olympics are more often held in smaller cities, which are given the opportunity to grow and rise to the occasion.
For those of us who enjoy seeing smaller cities around the world, and for the avid hockey fans, the Winter Olympics are the best games to watch.
PCI: The Philadelphia Eagles Will Win Super Bowl LII
by Ethan Ticehurst ’18
The end of the New England Patriots’ dynasty is coming and the Eagles will start it off with a big win at the Super Bowl this year. After an extremely impressive NFC Championship game win, they have the momentum and the talent to finish their championship run.
Nick Foles is shining in his substitute role after starter Carson Wentz was injured in the last few weeks of the regular season, and he shows no signs of slowing down. Bolstered by a strong offense surrounding him and backed up by a stout defense, Foles has the opportunity to become a giant-slayer on Feb. 4.
The Eagles will do something that only their NFC East rivals, the New York Giants, have done in the last 18 years of the Tom Brady and Bill Belichick era: beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl. With the city of Philadelphia behind them, the Eagles will travel to Minnesota with enough confidence to slay the NFL’s Goliath.
All dynasties must end at some point. Nothing lasts forever. The end is nigh for the Patriots, whether or not they lose on Feb. 4. Brady is getting older and Belichick is closer to retirement than some may think.
All of the factors seem to be lining up and we may see the walls of Gillette Stadium come tumbling down this year at the hands of the upstart Philadelphia Eagles. Lead by their (currently injured) and future-elite quarterback, Wentz, and his replacement, Foles, the Eagles’ chances are looking good.
PCI: Best Sports Moment of 2017
Astros Win First Title
By Ethan Ticehurst ’18
The best sports moment of this past year occurred when the Houston Astros won the 2017 World Series in Game 7 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was a triumph of David over Goliath, a true underdog storybook moment. The team that had never found sustained success in franchise history finally overcame the odds and took down one of the most storied teams in Major League Baseball history.
Part of the excitement over this victory is due to the nature of the playoffs that took place before the World Series was even played. In order to have a shot at being world champions, both the Astros and the Dodgers encountered difficult opponents in their respective League Championship Series.
It took the Astros seven games to take out the resurgent and youthful New York Yankees, while the Dodgers had to finish off the previous year’s champion, the Chicago Cubs. Both series helped to raise the stakes and the excitement for the final showdown.
After seven hard-fought games, the Astros emerged from the dust as the champions of the 2017 MLB season. After many years of less- than-stellar play and a transfer from the National League to the American League, many baseball fans were happy to see the Astros finally win their first championship in team history, and do it in a very entertaining way. It ranks as the best sports moment of 2017 not just for all of the above reasons, but also because it was nice to see the Astros win their first championship only a year after the Cub’s ended their 108-year World Series drought. Here’s hoping that next year brings the rise of another underdog.
PCI: College Athletes Should Not be Paid
By Ethan Ticehurst ’18
College athletes should not get paid. There is no acceptable reason why athletes should be paid. The payment for their services is the education that they receive at their institution.
The main argument for paying college athletes is that the NCAA is making a lot of money off the sale of merchandise and the players should be allowed to partake in the fruits of their efforts. It seems that proponents of this argument have forgotten about the true purpose of college. They have forgotten that the main point of college is to educate, not to play sports. There are athletes all across the nation that get athletic scholarships to come and play a sport for a few years and get an entirely free education. Their payment for their athleticism is the education that they receive for free and no monetary compensation should be added on top. Even athletes that are not on scholarship are getting the benefit of an education and do not need to be paid for anything that they are accomplishing.
The real problem in this whole argument are the actions of the NCAA. It is true that the NCAA is making money unfairly off of the accomplishments of their athletes. But, instead of trying to stop the unfair activity, proponents of athlete pay want to keep the unfairness going, just as long as the athletes get a share of it. This is a classic example of one of those situations where everyone is offended by something until they benefit from it themselves.
Why Soccer is the Hardest Sport to Officiate
By Ethan Ticehurst ’18
The hardest sport to officiate is soccer and there are several reasons why this is true. Soccer is a fast-paced game where many fouls are left up to the referees’ judgement which inevitably leads to some disagreement.
In soccer, the game moves quickly.There are no stoppages of play like in football where players can take a quick breather between plays. It is a constant state of free-for-all where the ball is up for grabs and whoever gets there first controls the entire game. There is no allotted time to change between offense and defense; it has to be done on the fly with no warning. There is an attempt by the players to bring order to the game, by running plays and executing passes at the right time, but nothing can change the chaos that exists within soccer.
Imagine being an official in the middle of all of this. There are certain rules that cannot be broken, such as when the ball goes out of bounds. Everything else that happens on that field is at the discretion of the officials, who have to decide in a short amount of time whether or not a breach of the rules occurred, such as tripping the opponents or when slide-tackling, making contact with the player before making contact with the ball.
Soccer is a physical game, with players diving all around the field in pursuit of the ball. Contact with one’s fellow players happens frequently. The officials cannot see everything that happens on a soccer field, for it is too big for that to be possible. There will obviously be plays that should have been called fouls that go unseen. There will be handballs that will not be noticed. The life of a soccer official can be a tough one, with the expectations of the fans and players coming into conflict with what is humanly possible to see.
Why the Los Angeles Rams Will Win Super Bowl LII
By Ethan Ticehurst ’18
After being one of the worst teams in the league for more than a decade, the Los Angeles Rams have emerged as a major threat to the rest of the league this season. With a record of 6-2, they have shown that they are capable of winning. A league-leading average of 32.9 points per game proves that they are capable of winning big too.
The biggest advantage that they have this year is the fact that they were so awful last year. It may seem a bit counter-intuitive, but going from worst to first is actually easier to do in the NFL than in any other professional sports league. Due to the shorter season, NFL teams do not have to play every team in the league every season. The NFL crafts the schedule so that all teams in the same conference that all finished in the same position in their divisions will play each other the next year. Thanks to a bad season last year, the Rams not only have an improved team, they also get to play against some of the worst teams in the league. They will only improve upon their already solid record, picking up a top playoff spot.
Once they are in the playoffs, the Rams have just as of much of a chance as anyone else to make the Super Bowl and to win it. They have a strong offense that puts up over 30 points a game consistently which can carry them through to the end. The Lombardi Trophy will be coming back to the city of Los Angeles this year.
Women’s Basketball Preview
Team Looks to Previous Season Highlights as Guides for Upcoming Season
By Ethan Ticehurst ’18
Basketball season is right around the corner in Friartown. Crowds will be pouring into the Dunkin Donuts Center to see the Providence College Men’s Basketball Team play this season, but fans will also head to Mullaney Gymnasium to see the Women’s Team try to improve upon last season.
Last year, the Friar Family saw a rebound in women’s basketball, as the team put together their first season with more than 10 wins in five years. The team came roaring back from a tough time with a winning record in their non-conference games, which helped them reach a 12-18 record overall.
Last season, the Friars were lucky enough to play under first year coach Jim Crowley, who previously spent 20 years as the head coach of women’s basketball at St. Bonaventure, where he led the team to the NCAA tournament five times. His first year at the helm of the Friars, and the subsequent improvement of the team, continued to show his strong abilities as a coach. If last year was any indication, Coach Crowley will hopefully continue to improve the team and lead them to a NCAA tournament in the future.
A successful coach is not the only thing that the Friars have going for them going in to the season. Topping the list of advantages is the play of Jovana “YoYo” Nogic ’19. After averaging 14.5 points per game last year, she only looks to get better this year. Nogic has already been named to the Preseason All-Big East Team, an honor that puts her in the upper echelon of Big East players. She started all 30 games for the Friars last year and looks to do the same again this year.
Other bright spots for the Friars include the play of both Clara Che ’19 and Allegra Botteghi ’18, the only other returning players to have played in all 30 games last season. Both of them add over five points per game each, numbers which should improve this season as both of them have gained more experience playing college basketball and everyone tends to become a better player when they have more experience.
Fans should look to be in Mullaney Gym on Nov.10, when the Friars kick off their season against Columbia University. Given their successes against non-conference teams last year, the Friars are likely to have another strong start to the season this year. One big date to be excited for is Dec. 2, when the Ocean State Tip-Off Tournament gets started right here on campus, with teams from Brown University, Bryant University, and the University of Rhode Island visiting Friartown for two days. The biggest date of the year for the Friars, however, will be three days after Christmas, on Dec. 28, when they kick off conference play against Georgetown at home. After hopefully having a strong start to the season in non-conference games, the game against Georgetown is when the going gets tough for the Friars and they will have to put their hearts fully into the game.