This weekend is probably one of the busiest of the year in sports. There is plenty going on, so here is a quick rundown by sport.
Formula One… The first race of the season, the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, is early Sunday morning/late Saturday night at 1:55am ET/10:55pm Pacific. Formula One will race a 19-race calendar this season after the New Jersey race was postponed until 2014 and wasn’t replaced. Otherwise, the 2013 calendar is more of the same. In fact it’s the exact same aside from the dropping of the European Grand Prix in Valencia (the Spanish Grand Prix will now alternate between Valencia and Barcelona). Driver changes this year include Sergio Perez moving to McLaren replacing Lewis Hamilton, who is now at Mercedes. For more on TSN and NBC’s Formula One broadcast plans, see my article from earlier in the week.
World Women’s Curling… The 2013 event begins Saturday in Riga, Latvia. The field is stacked, perhaps even deeper than the Scotties field, I’d argue. Canada’s Rachel Homan opens against Scotland’s Eve Muirhead (Saturday 1pm ET, TSN). The top contenders for playoff sports include (World Curling Tour rankings): Homan (5th), Muirhead (6th), European Champions Anna Siderova of Russia (7th), Sweden’s Margaretha Sigfridsson (9th), Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni (11th), Erika Brown of the US (21st), China’s Bingyu Wang (23rd) and Denmark’s Lene Nielsen (24th). That’s 8 of the 12 teams in the field ranked inside the top 25 in the world. The Scotties, by comparison, had half that number. The host Latvian team is in tough; their last appearance at the Worlds was 2010, where they went 1-10.
CIS Hockey… The CIS Men’s Hockey University Cup is in Saskatoon this weekend. Sportsnet will have live coverage of two round robin games on Saturday, as well as the final on Sunday. In the first game St. Mary’s [0-1] is in desperate need of a win against Waterloo [1-0] (Saturday 3:30pm ET, Sportsnet). The second semifinal pits UNB and UQTR in a game where the winner automatically goes to Sunday’s final (Saturday 10pm ET, Sportsnet). The final is Sunday at 7:30pm ET on Sportsnet ONE. Of note, in +/- rating, UNB has 8 of the top 9 players in Atlantic Canada. Impressive.
College Hoops… March Madness officially kicks-off next Thursday; however, its easy to argue the madness has already begun with conference championships this weekend. Just ask anyone who say Illinois beat Minnesota on a buzzer beater Thursday afternoon (a game called by Gus Johnson, no less). TSN is showing the final Big East Tournament final from MSG as (19) Syracuse takes on (4) Louisville Saturday night at 8:30pm ET. Also tomorrow (8) Michigan State plays (10) Ohio State in a Big Ten semifinal (4pm ET, CBS). The winner will possibly face (3) Indiana in the Big Ten final Sunday afternoon (3:30pm ET, CBS). Other conference finals include Conference-USA (Saturday 11:30am ET, CBS), the Mountain West (Saturday 6pm ET, CBS), Atlantic-10 (Sunday 1pm ET, CBS), ACC (Sunday 1pm ET, TV38), and SEC (Sunday 1pm ET, ABC). I’ll have more on CBS and TSN’s coverage of March Madness next week.
World Baseball Classic… Now that the U.S. is out, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico will play each other for the third time in a week Saturday afternoon in a
pointless seeding game (1pm ET, SN1). Despite that the DR has already beat PR twice in a week, they will play again. The winner gets a day off and will play Holland Monday night. The loser has a quick turnaround and will play Japan Sunday night. Japan outscored their opponents 30-11 in three games in the second round. And any of their pitchers can pitch on regular rest.