Watercooler Sports is designed for those of you who only want to know *just* enough to understand what happened

When you start seriously seeing someone, it is imperative that you learn about what matters most to them. Unfortunately for me, that meant sports. I had never cared that much about sports and to be frank, I thought professional players made too much money for playing what looked to me like a dumb game. Over the span of the last year, this has started to slightly change. Drew showed me that there is this whole community of people who are excited and truly care about sports. There are relationships that solely exist on the cheering on the Cats or discussing the Anthony Davis trade. While that is fine and dandy, I still did not actually care about sports until it did something that mattered: help me communicate with my boss. After months of trying to connect, I learned that all it actually took was betting on the NBA finals, discussions of LeBron’s new team, and a Rick Pitino scandal (of which there are many). Sports helped me, so now I want it to help you.

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Watercooler Sports is designed for those of you who only want to know *just* enough to understand what happened over the past week. This will enable you to communicate with your boyfriend, your brother, or your boss and sound like you know some things. This can be your source of topical sports news given to you in fun nuggets. I’ll try to omit the boring parts, leaving you with just the big takeaways.

Right now, it is basketball season (#ballislife). Here in Lexington, we always discuss the Kentucky Wildcats. Tyler Herro oddly proclaimed that he was a “bucket” during Tuesday’s game against LSU. Surprisingly, he also does not know what that means. Herro shot a great game, despite Kentucky being substantially down at the half. This Saturday, Kentucky played (and lost to) Tennessee at Tennessee on Saturday by a regrettable nineteen points.

If anyone asks you about college basketball: claim you are a Kentucky fan* and say you are not concerned about the Tennessee loss because Reid Travis didn’t play. The Cats will definitely bounce back from the Tennessee game. This loss is like the loss to Duke early in the season; just the kick they needed before March Madness (the NCAA tournament) begins.

*This is a good idea because Kentucky blue is beautiful on everyone—plus it’s guaranteed that anyone who knows about basketball knows about Kentucky and has an opinion. Just let them say their piece and say “Cats by 90”. Then (immediately) walk away. This is how the majority of Big Blue Nation handles basketball controversy. Welcome.

The SEC tournament begins in two weeks in Nashville. The Southeastern Conference is a conference of southern schools that pool all of their money into their sports and extensive construction with no finished buildings. This tournament, along with other conference tournaments, serve as a precursor to the chaos that is March Madness. You can backburner this for now, but know that this upcoming week’s games will determine the “seeding” for this tournament. Being seeded higher is a good look for a team, but it is also better for scheduling purposes.

Scheduling Note: You will want to schedule your game-watching and naps accordingly if you’re forced to watch these games. Make sure you suggest places to go to watch the game as this allows you to control snack quality and crowd quality.

Zion Williamson, a big ol’ hoss of a Duke player, is anticipated to return from his injury for the Duke vs. UNC game this coming Saturday. This is a good rivalry game to close the season. His shoe blowout last week was the hot joke on Twitter and a cause for panic for Nike executives.

Conversation Starter: Certain current and former NBA players are releasing statements telling Zion to get out of college basketball as soon as possible. High school players risk their financial futures by playing college ball because if they are severely injured, they will be unable to maximize their earning potential in the NBA. Currently, the NCAA prohibits any player from getting monetary benefits from playing, even if money made is from third parties utilizing a player’s likeness. Due to this, there is a movement for players to no longer be forced to play college basketball for a year. The NCAA is a heavily contested topic, if you decide to discuss this, watch this clip first.

We’re approaching the NBA Finals, and people are focused in on the Los Angeles Lakers — more specifically LeBron James. After 8 straight finals appearances, the odds aren’t looking good for a Lakers appearance in the playoffs at all, much less the finals. Last Saturday, the Lakers lost to the Phoenix Suns by nine points. This is appalling as the Suns are intentionally tanking this season to increase their draft odds. If you lose to a team that is actively trying to lose games, it’s not a good sign. To make matters worse, LeBron embarrassed himself during this game and tossed the ball off the back of the backboard when attempting to inbound it – elementary school basketball players know not to do this as it causes an automatic turnover of the ball to the other team. The Lakers will play the Clippers tomorrow night; it is likely that this comedy continues.

Actual fun fact: Space Jam 2 (starring LeBron) is coming!

Tidbits to Take Away:

  • Tristan Thompson of the Cleveland Cavaliers is still tangled up in drama after cheating on the mother of his child, Khloe Kardashian, with a close family friend Jordyn Woods. Thompson has remained relatively quiet, but the drama remains highly publicized. This is not the first time Tristan has cheated. TL;DR – He sucks.
  • The Denver Nuggets are a team to watch during NBA Playoffs. If you haven’t picked a team, consider this one as their jerseys are rad—just ask The Blow-By’s Ben Brown.
  • Luka Doncic is likely to be the NBA Rookie of the year. He’s the starting point guard for the Dallas Mavericks. He is also a right regular cutie pie.
  • The likely MVP of the NBA for this season is either Giannis Antetokounmpo (the Greek Feak) of the Milwaukee Bucks. The (not so small) small forward is nearly seven feet tall and had the dunk of the week as he destroyed Mike Muscala (Lakers—told you they had issues) by pushing him entirely out of the way as he drives his extra grown body to the bucket. Watch the clip here.
  • It’s spring training in the baseball world. The most noteworthy thing that happened in the MLB this week involves Bryce Harper’s contract. Harper was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies for a staggering $330 million over thirteen years. Let me do the math for you; this is over $25 million per year.
  • Professional sports and domestic abuse tell yet another sordid tale. On Friday, San Francisco Giants CEO, Larry Bear, was caught knocking his wife out of her chair and onto the ground in a public plaza. The altercation occurred after a “very emotional conversation” that lasted approximately twenty minutes.

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