What to Watch This Week in Sports

By Jason Bryden
Elm Staff Writer

NFL Draft
Last night, the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft occurred and the rest of the draft takes place today and Saturday. The second and third rounds will be on Friday, while the rest of the draft, rounds four to seven will be on Saturday.
The top picks get the notoriety right away, but many tremendous players have been drafted after the first round. Two of these were New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, a sixth round pick in 2000, and recently retired Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward, a third round pick in 1998. Both have won the Super Bowl MVP and multiple Super Bowls. The draft is on the ESPN Family of Networks and NFL Network.

Stanley Cup Playoffs
As of Wednesday morning, there were still six teams fighting for the remaining three spots in the Eastern Conference Semifinals as just the Philadelphia Flyers have advanced as they dispatched the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games. The other three series went to Game Seven, the Washington Captials-Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators-New York Rangers, and New Jersey Devils-Florida Panthers as Boston, New York and Florida hosted the decisive game sevens.
Out West, the Western Conference Semifinals are all set as the Los Angeles Kings will play the St. Louis Blues with the Blues having home ice throughout the next two rounds and the Nashville Predators playing the Phoenix Coyotes with the Coyotes earning home ice for their matchup with the Predators. The Coyotes won their first playoff series in 1987 when they were the Winnipeg Jets on Monday night with a 4-0 win in game six over the Chicago Blackhawks. NBC Sports Network, CNBC, NBC and NHL Network will have the games.

NBA Playoffs
The 16 teams are all set for the 2012 NBA Playoffs, but the matchups are not all set. The NBA Playoffs will begin on Saturday as all the teams are hoping to win 16 games to win the NBA Finals, but just one team will get to 16 victories. In the East, the Chicago Bulls have the top seed, while the Miami Heat will be the two seed. In the East, the only matchup set is the Atlanta Hawks against the Boston Celtics, but home court is still in the air as Atlanta is one game ahead of Boston (39-26 to 38-27), but the Celtics own the breaker. The other teams in the East are the third seeded Indiana Pacers, Orlando Magic, New York Knicks, and Philadelphia 76ers. The six, seven, and eight seeds are still up for grabs.
Out West, the San Antonio Spurs are the top seed, while the Oklahoma City Thunder are the two seed. They are the only two seeds locked up out West. The Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers are fighting for the Pacific Division crown, while the Memphis Grizzlies are looking for home court in round one. The Lakers are 41-24, while the Clippers and Grizzlies are 40-25. The six through eight seeds are between the Denver Nuggets (36-28), Dallas Mavericks (36-29), and the Utah Jazz (36-30). he Mavericks own the breaker on both the Nuggets and Jazz, while the Jazz own the breaker on the Nuggets. The NBA Playoffs will be on ABC, ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV.

Manchester United at Manchester City
The Premier League’s two top sides will meet on Monday at Ethiad Stadium, the home of Man City on Monday. This is a rematch of the shocking 6-1 Man City win over Man U at Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United. With three matches left for both sides, this is an absolute must win for Manchester City as they trail Manchester United by three points for the top spot in the Premier League, 83-80. A win by Manchester United will all but lockup the championship. The match will be on ESPN 2 at 3 p.m. on Monday.

MLB Baseball
The Major League Baseball season is underway and this week will have some interesting series. Friday through Sunday, the Tampa Bay Rays will play the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers have ended the Rays season the past two years in the American League Division Series.
Also Friday through Sunday is the Detroit Tigers-New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx in a rematch of last year’s other ALDS series which the Tigers won in five games. In the National League, a rematch of the National League Championship series takes play in St. Louis as the Cardinals host the Milwaukee Brewers. Also, the Philadelphia Phillies travel to Atlanta to play the Braves Tuesday-Thursday. Last year, the Phillies swept the Braves in the final week of the season to keep the Braves out of the playoffs. As of the games on Tuesday night, the Rangers have the best record in baseball at 14-4, while the Washington Nationals have the top record in the NL at 13-4, just a half-game ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are 13-5.

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