A Wonderful Week For Sports Fans Everywhere, But Especially in New England

It has been the sports highlight week of the year for a lot of reasons

As Simon and Garfunkel once told us, ""April come she will'' when the second week in April brought a trove of treasures for sports fans across the country, including here in New England, where spring arrives late, if at all.

Where to begin with the Week that Was, which will culminate on Monday (more about that in a bit).

Saturday

College basketball's Men's Final Four gave us two gems with Virginia's dramatic 63-62 victory over Auburn and Texas Tech's gritty 61--51 win over Michigan State. A pair of games which were not decided until the final minute and even seconds, as was the case in Virginia's victory.

Sunday

Not to be outdone, the women's NCAA title gave us Baylor's pulsating, 82-81, win over defending champions Notre Dame.

Monday

Another NCAA classic, with Virginia winning its first national championship in men's basketball, an 85-77 overtime win over Texas Tech. It completed one of the most riveting NCAA tournaments in years, especially the final two weekends.

Tuesday

Home opener for the Boston Red Sox, who won their fourth World Series in 14 years last fall, but stumbled out of the box (during an 11- game opening season West Coast road trip) to a 3-8 start.

On a cold blustery "spring''' day (temp in the low 40s), the Sox lost again, which brought the predictable "are the Sox finished'' chatter on talk radios. Ah, the joys of baseball.

Wednesday

The National Hockey League and National Basketball regular season are finally over, so it is now time to pay attention to those sports. In Boston that means Bruins and Celtics, with both being regarded as legitimate (if not favorites) to win another championship in a town which has two reigning champions in the NFL (Patriots) and MLB (Red Sox).

Naturally, the Bruins lost their Stanley Cup opener to Toronto, which also brought talk of doom from Bruins' pessimists.

Thursday

One of the areas where college sports is a big deal in New England is hockey. For evidence, we give you Providence and the University of Massachusetts filling half of the Frozen Four NCAA title field in Buffalo.

Providence is not a surprise. The Friars have a national championship trophy in men's hockey and have been contenders for years.

But UMass?

The Minutemen were a hockey non-entity until three years ago when UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford hired Greg Carvel from St. Lawrence University.

The Minuetmen suffered through a five win season two years ago, bounced up to 17 wins last season, but have emerged this season with a 30-9 record, including a 4-3 overtime win over Denver (there is nothing more dramatic in sports than overtime playoff hockey) on Thursday night.

Just an aside, the winning goal was scored by freshman defenseman Marc Del Gaizo, who scored the game winner 15:18 into overtime. Del Gaizo is a Jersey Guy from Basking Ridge, N.J.

UMass will play Minnesota-Duluth (a 4-1 winner over Providence) in Saturday's national championship game.

And, oh, yes, 2019 Master tournament began with a highly entertaining first round, which featured a battle of generations, with Phil Mickelson (-5) and Tiger Woods (-3) showing some past skills. matching cards with rising stars such as Bryson DeChambeau (-6) and Brooks Koepka (-6) in a tournament which projects a solid weekend of entertainment.

Friday

More Masters magic is on tap, but an intriguing event will be held Friday night at Fenway Park, where the Red Sox begin a weekend series with the once (and perhaps still) hapless Baltimore Orioles.

But here's the key. The Orioles presumably will start Chris Davis at first base, which is noteworthy because?

Well Davis ended the 2018 regular season with an 0-24 plate appearance streak and thus far this season is 0-32 and is now working on a streak which now totals 53 consecutive at-bats without a hit and 61 straight p[ate appearances without a hit, both major league records of futility for position players.

Davis is not some unknown. He is a 33-year old veteran with a 92 million dollar contract through the 2022 season, with a career batting average of .236 and 283 home runs, who has twice (2013, 2015) led MLB in home runs and led the AL (2015)in Rbi.

"It is what it,'' said Davis, whose MLB career began with the Texas Rangers in 2008.

Saturday

UMass goes after history in the Frozen Four, moving day in the Masters and a full slate of NBA playoff games.

Sunday

Celtics begin their playoff run at home as a No. 4 seed in the East vs. Indiana.

Masters final round.

Monday

A New England event called Patriots Day, which means the Boston Marathon and the Red Sox playing a morning (11:05) Fenway game vs. the Orioles.

All in all, quite a week for sports fans and particularly those in New England to savor

Enjoy.

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