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Sports Brief: October 30-November 3

NCAA Basketball Exhibition Matchups

Over the past weekend, several high profile teams took advantage of charity exhibition games. 

Number 25 Illinois defeated the number one ranked Jayhawks 82-75 in Champaign, Illinois. 

Number nine Tennessee and number four Michigan State battled it out on Saturday in a close top ten matchup. Even without its two starting guards, Tennessee lit up the scoring with 89 points, defeating the top five Michigan State. 

Number 14 Arkansas played number three Purdue in an overtime thriller in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Purdue struggled with turnovers, with sophomore point guard Braden Smith contributing to seven out of the 20 in the game. The team also performed subpar from beyond the arc, making just eight of their 27 three-point attempts. However, the Boilermakers held their own against the top-15 team despite standout player Zach Edey being limited due to foul trouble. 

In spite of the loss, Arkansas showcased an impressive balance. Trevon Brazile returned and appears to have recovered well from his ACL tear. Tramon Mark, a transfer from Houston, made significant contributions in various statistical categories. And El Ellis, a transfer from Louisville, provided valuable scoring as well. While it might take time for Coach Eric Musselman to solidify his rotation, the team has the potential to make a fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament’s second weekend.

Texas Rangers Claim World Series Title

For the first time in franchise history, the Texas Rangers are World Series Champions. 

The Rangers’ win marks the first team ever to go 11-0 on the road in the playoffs. Nathan Eovaldi also became the first pitcher to start and win five games during the postseason. 

Bruce Bochy became one of six managers ever to win four World Series titles, while also winning with his third different club. He is the only manager to ever beat a team he previously managed in the World Series. 

For the second time in his career, Corey Seager earned the World Series MVP title. The standout shortstop for the Texas Rangers was named the 2023 World Series MVP after playing a pivotal role in his team’s 5-0 victory in Game 5 of the Fall Classic. 

Notably, Seager previously won the World Series MVP award in 2020 during his tenure with the Los Angeles Dodgers. At 29 years old, he now stands as the fourth player in Major League Baseball history to claim multiple World Series MVP awards, a prestigious accolade dating back to 1955. 

Seager performed in this year’s Fall Classic with a batting average of .286, an on-base percentage of .375 and a slugging percentage of .762. He contributed three home runs, six RBIs, and amassed 16 total bases over five games, with six hits to his name. 

In the seventh inning of Game 5, he delivered the Rangers’ first hit of the game, ending Zac Gallen’s no-hitter bid. This hit marked the beginning of a sequence of three consecutive hits by the Rangers, ultimately resulting in the team’s 1-0 lead.

James Harden Traded to the Clippers

On October 31, ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski announced that James Harden, the third-highest leading scorer among active NBA players, has been traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. 

James Harden previously exercised his player option with the Philadelphia 76ers, which was valued at $35.6 million, back in June. However, the 34-year-old player expressed dissatisfaction with the 76ers’ front office, leading to his trade request. Subsequently, he missed both the media day and the opening day of training camp. The former MVP was conspicuously absent from the 76ers’ first three games of the season as well. 

New teammates Russell Westbrook and Kawhi Leonard both gave interesting answers when asked about Harden. 

“There are going to be some ups and downs,” Westbrook said.

“I guess I’m excited,” Leonard said.

The Clippers currently stand 3-2 and are doing well. Will Harden prove to be a good addition, or will too much star power on one team be an issue for chemistry?

Michigan Wolverines Football Under Fire While in the Running for Playoffs

The NCAA is conducting an investigation into alleged misconduct by the Michigan Wolverines, which includes unauthorized scouting and illicit recording of opposing sidelines. 

NCAA Bylaw 11.6.1 prohibits in-person advanced scouting of opponents, especially off-campus, and in-season scouting. 

Reports indicate Connor Stallions has purchased tickets to games at 12 different Big 10 schools under his name since 2021. Evidence also suggests Stallions acquired tickets to potential College Football Playoff opponents’ games, as reported by Yahoo Sports. 

Images resembling Stallions wearing Chippewas gear on the sidelines of a September 1 game against Michigan State began circulating the internet on Monday, further fueling the controversy.

The allegations surfaced at a time when the No. 2 Wolverines have dominated every team they have faced, boasting an 8-0 (5-0 Big Ten) record, and recently trouncing in-state rivals Michigan State 49-0. With the Wolverines on a bye week in Week 9, discussions surrounding the allegations are likely to persist until their game against Purdue on Nov. 4. 

Substantial evidence found on Michigan computers and stadium surveillance has raised concerns about the extent of the football team’s involvement in the alleged operation. 

Amy Folan, the athletic director at Central Michigan University, confirmed the existence of these images and stated that they are in the process of investigating the matter further. The university has refrained from making further comments at this time.

Stallions has been suspended by the university.

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