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Sports Brief: October 23-27

2023 MLB World Series 

After three rounds of postseason, the stage is now set for the Texas Rangers to compete against the Arizona Diamondbacks for the 2023 World Series title. 

The two teams were seeded fifth and  sixth respectively at the beginning of the postseason. The Rangers triumphed in the American League thanks to their rapid and well-funded roster reconstruction, while the Diamondbacks’ emphasis on speed and defense clinched them a National League championship.

Texas Rangers’ Nathan Eovaldi (4-0, 2.42 ERA) is aiming to become the first pitcher to win five starts in the playoffs. Randy Johnson (2001), Francisco Rodriguez (2002) and Stephen Strasburg (2019) have recorded five wins in a single postseason, but each of the three pocketed a victory in relief. Zach Gallen will get the start for the Diamondbacks.

The first game of the series is tonight, with George Bush throwing the first pitch at 7 p.m. EST. 

NBA Season Begins

As Nikola Jokic and his team gear up to defend their championship, other players and teams in the league prove this will be no easy feat. 

Stephen Curry is determined to lead the Golden State Warriors back to prominence, while LeBron James faces the perennial challenge of defying the relentless march of time. 

Out in the fiercely competitive Western Conference, the Phoenix Suns appear loaded and ready to make their mark, with young sensation Victor Wembanyama poised to captivate fans with his skills. 

In the Eastern Conference, the landscape has shifted significantly, with Damian Lillard now wearing a Milwaukee Bucks jersey alongside the newly-extended Giannis Antetokounmpo. Jrue Holiday has found a new home in Boston, and James Harden’s situation in Philadelphia adds a unique twist to the mix. 

The Denver Nuggets have already started hot, beating the Lakers. And the Bucks have shown their new addition of Damian Lillard to be a scary sight. Can either team make a run for the crown?

Kansas Ranks First in Preseason AP Poll 

After a disappointing second-round exit to the Arkansas Razorbacks last year, Kansas has claimed the top spot in the AP preseason poll

This marks the fourth occasion the Jayhawks have secured the preseason No. 1 ranking, putting them on par with Kentucky for the fourth-most appearances at the summit of the preseason poll. 

Kansas made a significant addition during the offseason by acquiring former Michigan center Hunter Dickson through a transfer. They also added freshman Johnny Furphy to their roster. 

With the combined talent of these newcomers and key returnees such as Dajuan Harris, Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, expectations are soaring in Lawrence. 

While no team seeded higher than No. 4 managed to reach the Final Four last year, this season’s preseason poll still features many of those teams. 

Defending national champions UConn are leading the way at No. 6, with high hopes that center Donovan Clingan will step in and fill the void left by Final Four Most Outstanding Player Adama Sanogo. 

Kansas, Duke, Purdue, Michigan St., Marquette, Uconn, Houston, Creighton, Tennessee and FAU are the top 10 to start this season out. 

Shai Gildeous Alexander Leads Thunder to Season Opening Win

With 31 points and 10 assists, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander guided the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 124-104 win against the Chicago Bulls during the opening game of the season on Wednesday night. 

Supporting Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey contributed with 16 points, six rebounds, and six assists for the Thunder, as they dominated the final 15-plus minutes by outscoring the Bulls 45-26. Jalen Williams and Isaiah Joe also made significant contributions, scoring 16 and 14 points respectively. 

In his NBA debut, Chet Holmgren, the second overall pick in the 2022 draft, scored 11 points during his 25 minutes on the court. 

This game marked Holmgren’s return to professional basketball following a 14-month hiatus caused by a Lisfranc injury to his right foot. The injury unfortunately sidelined him for the entirety of the previous season. 

Cason Wallace, another NBA debutant, converted all five of his field-goal attempts, which included three successful 3-pointers. His performance resulted in a total of 13 points for the team.

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