Basketball, Basketball, Basketball…. and Hockey

It’s time for the NBA to shine, now that the Super Bowl has come, gone, and disappointed most of us. Bring on another 7-game NBA Finals to get us out of this funk, basketball. This week has a slew of good match ups, but not ones you would have been excited about before this year. With the emergence of the Pacers as the NBA’s best team (by record, at least) and the Trail Blazers, Rockets and Suns heading for the playoffs, we’re getting some exciting non-traditionally contests.

Oh, and there’s quite a bit of good hockey this week as well.

Boston Bruins vs. Vancouver Canucks
Tuesday, 7PM @ TD Garden, Boston, MA

These two teams still don’t like each other

It’s been a couple years since the fantastic Canucks/Bruins Stanley Cup Finals, eventually won by Boston, but the there’s still no love lost here. While Vancouver is fighting for one of the last playoff spots in the West, the Bruins are cruising with the second best point total in their conference. A loss at home for Boston would be a bit embarrassing, while the Canucks need something to get them going.

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Indiana Pacers
Friday, 7PM @ Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

Two of the new titans of basketball

The Trail Blazers and Pacers have become two of the best teams in the NBA, led by some young stars that could be the faces of the league sooner rather than later. Paul George (pictured above) burst onto the national scene during last year’s playoffs, when he went basket-for-basket with Lebron James. Damian Lillard was named NBA Rookie of the Year in 2013 after putting up 19 ppg while never missing a game. Lamarcus Aldridge, Roy Hibbert, Nick Batum… you’ve got to believe these two teams could be taking the torch from the Heat and Spurs very soon, if they haven’t already.

Michigan Wolverines vs. Iowa Hawkeyes
Saturday, 2 PM @ Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City, IA

Can Michigan rebound from a loss to Indiana?

It’s the best college basketball matchup of the weekend, as #10 Michigan takes on #17 Iowa in Iowa City. The Wolverines took a beating from Indiana recently, but were about to best the Hawkeyes a few weeks ago in Ann Arbor. Iowa lost an overtime thriller to Michigan State, but have gotten back on track with a 81-74 win over the Illini. This game could have Big Ten title implications, and a win for the Wolverines will set the stage for a huge contest with the Spartans on March 6.

Don’t Miss a Thing

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Portland Trail Blazers
Tuesday, 7 PM @ Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK 

KD is a favorite for NBA MVP this season.

Current 2nd and 3rd in the Western Conference, this is an intriguing match up. A win could move someone into 1st place, and the way Kevin Durant has been playing, most bets might be on the Thunder. KD threw up 54 points last week, but LaMarcus Aldridge and Damain Lillard might be even better than the Durant-Westbrook combo.

Montreal Canadiens vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Wednesday, 7 PM @ Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA

Crosby leads the league in points, and it’s not even close

The Penguins sit in 1st place in the Eastern Conference, while the Habs are in fourth. A big win in Pittsburgh could give the Canadiens the confidence they need to start climbing that ladder to secure home ice advantage in the playoffs. Montreal is strong defensively and kill 85.6% of power plays, so Crosby and Malkin will have their hands full.

Australian Open Men’s Single Semifinals
Friday, 2:30 AM @ Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

Oh, the possibilities.

The Australian Open. While we aren’t quite sure who will be playing in the semifinals quite yet, you can bet it will be at least one of these two legends. All but one of the top eight seeds have made the quarterfinals, and with a Rafa-Roger semifinal possibly looming, it’s worth making up early for (or going to, if you’re lucky enough to live in Australia).

Michigan vs. Michigan State
Saturday, 7 PM @ Breslin Center, East Lansing, MI

No love lost in this matchup

In the only game of the weekend featuring two ranked teams, the #21 Wolverines are looking to knock off #3 Michigan State on their home court. Last year the Spartans demolished their rivals 75-52 at the Breslin Center, but then lost a nail-biter in Ann Arbor 58-57.

San Antonio Spurs vs. Miami Heat
Sunday, 1 PM @ American Airlines Arena, Miami FL

The shot that cost the Spurs their 5th title

The Spurs lost a heartbreaking 2013 NBA Finals to the Heat, and this will be the first time the two meet since Game 7.  San Antonio is in first place once again, while the Heat trail only the Pacers in the East. You can bet the American Airlines Arena will be packed to capacity, and the Spurs would love nothing more than to silence the Miami fans.

A Conference Tournament Spotlight On: The Big 10

[Looking to see the Big 10 Tourney live? TicketCity has you covered.]

Few conferences have as much history as the Big 10. With iconic names such as Bobby Knight, Magic Johnson and Chris Webber in the annals of conference history, it’s no surprise that there are many ferocious rivalries.

The Big 10 tournament is set to kick of March 10 at the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, so let’s take a look at some of the best rivalries in the conference.

The Indiana-Purdue Rivalry:
These two are more than just in-state schools that don’t like each other. Both programs have been among the elite programs in the Big 10, having won an astounding 42 conference titles between the two of them. The rivalry has grown more even more recently, as Purdue has had a run of strong seasons.

Regular season history:  Although Indiana has won five national championships, Purdue holds the overall series lead with an 110-84 edge.

Post season history: The one time the two teams met in the post-season, it was a big one-Indiana downed Purdue 53-52 to capture the 1979 NIT crown.

Best games:  One of the most memorable games in recent memory was an epic, double-overtime battle on Purdue’s home court that saw Indiana come away with a 75-73 win. 

Best players:  Indiana has a long list of famous players, including 1993 National Player of the Year Calbert Cheaney and 2006 Conference Player of the Year D.J. White. As for Purdue, many of their best players are currently still active, including Robbie Hummel and JuJuan Johnson.

The Michigan State – Wisconsin Rivalry
This matchup has grown over the last decade or so thanks to the success of Spartans coach Tom Izzo and Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan.

Regular season history:  Michigan State leads the all-time series 68-59, but it has shifted in the Badgers’ favor as of late. Under Ryan, Wisconsin is 12-5 against the Spartans.

Post season history: It’s difficult to meet on a bigger stage than the one these two met on in 2000. Michigan State beat Wisconsin in the Final Four en route to winning the National Championship over Florida.

Best games: One of the most memorable contests between the two came in 2007 when then No.2 Wisconsin was upset 64-55 by an unranked Spartans team. Drew Neitzel had 28 points for Michigan State.

Best players: For the Spartans, the best player nod has to go to Magic Johnson, who led Michigan State to its first championship in 1979. As for Wisconsin, Alando Tucker is the school’s all-time leading scorer, while Devin Harris is the only alum currently in the NBA.

TicketCity Bowl Memories: Rafael Rivas

To get everyone in the Bowl Season mood (which begins on December 18th, 2011), TicketCity will be running stories from our team members whose bowl memories live on. Today, Rafael Rivas, TicketCity’s Chief Strategy Officer, talks about when he realized Vince Young was going to bring a title to the University of Texas.

As proud UT alums, our Chief Energizing Officer Randy Cohen and I decided to go with a couple of co-workers to the 2005 Rose Bowl. It was such a great time, even before the opening kickoff. The night before, we all went to a huge New Year’s Eve block party in Downtown Los Angeles that was catered by Wolfgang Puck. But that couldn’t prepare me for the Hollywood ending the game the next day would have.

 Pasadena had great football weather that day–mid-50’s and slightly overcast. Randy, being the super Longhorn fan he is, was able to get us seats together on the 50 yard line and 15 rows up. It was the perfect setting for the show Vince Young was about to put on. His amazing runs—especially the 60-yard romp that kicked off the third quarter—just blew us away. The game was a nail-biter through-out, and then came the kicks. Garrett Rivas hit one for Michigan that put them up by two, but it gave Vince enough time to come down the field. It took him 10 plays to collect 47 yards, but with time running out, Dusty Mangum kicked a partially blocked field goal through the uprights as time expired.

At the Rose Bowl, they have confetti bombs and fireworks that go off when the game ends. So when the clock ticked down to zero, the ball wobbly ball landed as the explosions went off. It was perfect. After the game, we all predicted a return for Texas and made a vow to come back the next year to watch them play for all the marbles—which, of course they did and won.

If you’d like to create your own college football bowl memories, check out our great selection of seats for games all across the country. Alternately, you can call 1-800-521-8788 and speak to one of our helpful sales representatives.