-Written By Alec Baicher
Happy Friday Gang! Every Friday I'm going to give you a "Friday Five", which is essentially a W2W4 (What to Watch for) for the weekend upcoming. 5 events in the world of sports that interest me and I believe you all should watch. Without further ado, here is my first Friday Five.
1. Golden State Warriors @ Oklahoma City Thunder: NBA - 8:15 PM ET on ABC
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh baby. Here. We. Go. Make sure you do't make plans Saturday night because the Warriors and Thunder are about to put on a show. Durant returns to OKC for the first time. Russ/ZaZa meet for the first time since the stairdown, Russ continuing his streak of triple doubles. This is going to be a FANTASTIC game. The OKC crowd will reign down boos on KD all game long and fuel Russ to go in full beast mode. I wouldn't be surprised to see Russ put up a stat line along the lines of: 50. 15, and 12. It will definitely be an emotional night for KD, and Thunder fans are thankful to what he brought to the franchise. However, the way he left the team, the way Russ stayed and proved his commitment to OKC and the way he is playing this season will turn Durant into public enemy #1 in OKC Saturdaynight. Getcha' pop-corn ready.
2. Gonzaga @ St. Marys: Men's College Basketball - 8:15 PM ET 02/11 on ESPN2
Are the Zags for real? The answer right now is yes, but I believe a win at St. Mary's will solidify them as a number one seed in the NCAA tournament as long as they run the table after. The West Coast Conference is weak, but the Zags boast wins over Arizona, Floirda, Iowa St, and Tennesee all away from their home court. They also took on the second best team in the West, St. Mary's a little less than a month ago at home and beats the Gaels by 23. The Gaels are 22-2 but have nowhere near the resume that Gonzaga have. A win for St. Mary's could vault them into a 5 seed for the NCAA tournament. NBA talent is also on display here with Przemek Karnowski and Nigel Williams-Gross leading Gonzaga.
3. Cincinnati @ SMU: Men's College Basketball - 4:00 PM ET 02/12 on ESPN
Another great college basketball game on the slate. Cincinnati may be the 2nd best team outside the Power 5 (6 if you include the Big East) conferences for college basketball. However, the American Athletic Conference has been so down this year, and Cincinnati doesn't have a very impressive resume, but should still get in as an at-large bid team. SMU was expected to falter this year after losing top scorer Nic Moore and head coach Larry Brown, but new coach Tim Jankovich has shown the Mustangs are no slouch and Semi Ojeleye is showing Coach K why he should have played more at Duke before transferring out.
4. Denver Nuggets @ New York Knicks: 7:30 PM ET 02/10 on MSG Network
Meet the mess! Meet the mess! Step right up and meet the Knicks! Well, as I stated in my first blog and podcast, the Knicks are a dumpster fire plain and simple. Whether its the Phil and Melo saga, the Dolan/Oakley situation, or the team just flat out not winning games with talent on the roster, this has been one of the Knicks worst seasons in recent memory. At this point, we are all tuning in to see the circus unfold and just see the Knicks tank. Too much talented college basketball players coming out not to tank. Dump Phil, fire Dolan, blow the whole damn thing up. But seriously, whatcan go wrong next?
5. Chicago Blackhawks @ Edmonton Oilers - 10:00 PM ET - NHL Home Ice Package (just illegally stream it)
We are slowly but surely creeping into the home stretch for the NHL season. The best game on the slate is easily the Blackhawks at the Oilers. We all know the Blackhawks have been a dyamic NHL franchise the past 8 season. The Oilers have finally returned to glory this season thanks to young STUDS Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, along with veterans like Adam Larsson, Milan Lucic, and Cam Talbot. The Blackhawks are coming into shape and Jonathan Toews has played out of his mind lately. The Blackhawks are young, but with guys like Corey Crawford in goal, Patty "Showtime" Kane, Duncan Kieth and Toews, you must always look out for a team like Chicago in the West.
Well, there it is. the first of many Friday Five's coming your way by me on the Hot Salad World Podcast Network.