As the calendar moves toward late February, winter sports are in the spotlight. However, for some sports fans, thoughts are starting to turn to baseball. Pitchers and catchers have begun reporting to spring training camps: a sure sign that baseball, and spring, are not far off.
For now, though, the playoff matchups for the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League are beginning to take shape. College basketball’s regular season is drawing to a close, with conference tournaments on the horizon and the NCAA Tournament soon to follow. The winter’s biggest event, the 23rd Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, concludes on Friday.
The dramatic trade by the Cleveland Cavaliers on Feb. 8 has energized LeBron James, and Cleveland is once again a formidable force in the Eastern Conference. Cleveland has important games against Washington and San Antonio. The defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors have had their crown knocked around a bit, and they will be tested by the Los Angeles Clippers and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Old-school hockey aficionados can look forward to a matchup between two of the National Hockey League’s original six teams, when the defensive-minded Boston Bruins face off against the high-scoring Toronto Maple Leafs.
A developing college basketball rivalry will be renewed on Tobacco Road when the Syracuse Orange take on the Duke Blue Devils in Durham, North Carolina, in a key Atlantic Coast Conference battle.
If European soccer is your sport of choice, Chelsea FC will face Barcelona FC in the UEFA Champions league round of 16. Chelsea will also look to secure a crucial win against Manchester United to secure a top four spot in England and a return trip to the Champions League next year.
And before we say goodbye to the Winter Olympics, the last full week of February will be packed with events. On tap are the men’s ice hockey final and the Winter Olympics debut of events such as Olympic Snowboard – Ladies’ Big Air; Speed Skating – Men’s Mass Start; and Alpine Skiing – Alpine Team.
So pull on a parka, grab a hot chocolate, and hunker down for a winter wonderland of sports.