Saturday, November 8, 2014

Big Deal in the Desert

Perhaps the marquee attraction in college football today is at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz., where the No. 9 Arizona State Sun Devils (7-1) host the No. 10 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-1). Each school is hoping a victory will help boost them to a spot in the College Football Playoff.

Some thoughts and musings about today's matchup at 12:30 PT:

- Notre Dame leads the all-time series 3-0, and comes off a 37-34 victory over ASU in Arlington, Tex., last season.
- The first meeting between the two schools was on Oct. 10, 1998. The Irish, led by 193 combined rushing yards by Joey Goodspeed (109) and Autry Denson (84), prevailed 28-9.
- Which leads to a trivia question: Name the Notre Dame quarterback at the time (pictured below). The answer is at the bottom of this post.

- All told, Notre Dame has an all-time record of 2-3 in games played at Sun Devil Stadium. They are 1-3 in Fiesta Bowls played at the site.
- Notre Dame won the 1988 National Championship on Sun Devil Stadium turf, beating West Virginia, 34-21, on Jan. 2, 1989.
- Arizona State's passing attack ranks 22nd in the nation, with 291.1 yards per game.
- Notre Dame's pass offense is positioned just a few slots lower (26th), with 288.9 yards per game.
- In a 49-39 win over Navy on Nov. 1, Notre Dame senior quarterback Everett Golson became the first player in Irish history to rush for three touchdowns and pass for three touchdowns in the same game.

Trivia question answer: Jarious Jackson.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Quiz Time: Brady vs. Manning XVI

It's been a while since the last Sports Trivia Buff blog post, but we're back and turning up the volume real quick. Today marks the 16th head-to-head matchup between quarterbacking greats Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. How well do you know this rivalry? (Mouse over each Answer area to reveal the answers.)

1. Which QB has the most wins in this series?

Answer: Brady leads the series with 10 wins, while Manning owns five triumphs.

2. Of their 15 head-to-head match-ups, which QB is the only one to throw for 400 yards in a game?

Answer: Manning's 400-yard effort in the 2013 AFC Championship game (Jan. 19, 2014) stands as the only 400-yard performance in the series.

3. Which player has thrown more touchdown passes in the three weeks prior to today's game?

Answer: Brady has accounted for 12 touchdown tosses, while Manning has posted 10 for Denver.

4. Among active players, Manning and Brady rank first and second, respectively, in most wins by a starting quarterback during the regular season. Which current quarterback ranks third?

Answer: Drew Brees, with 113 wins, is third behind Manning (173) and Brady (154).

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sports History Test: 1985 NBA Finals

Los Angeles Lakers Magic Johnson with Kareem A...Image via Wikipedia
Steve Lipofsky
Twenty-six years ago today, on June 9, 1985, the Los Angeles Lakers claimed their first-ever NBA Finals conquest of the Boston Celtics. It also marked the first time the Celtics lost a Finals series on their home parquet floor.

Led by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's 29 points and Magic Johnson's triple-double (14 points, 14 assists, 10 rebounds), L.A. wrapped up the title with a 111-100 Game 6 win in Boston Garden.

So, on with the sports history test, a special Lakers-Celtics 1985 NBA Finals Edition . . .

1. Who was Boston's head coach that season?
A: K.C. Jones

2. Who was named the MVP of the 1985 NBA Finals?
A: Abdul-Jabbar, who set a record for being the oldest player (38 years old) to win the award.

3. How many times had the Lakers lost to Boston prior to their first championship series win over the Celtics in 1985?
A: 8 times (1959, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1984).

4. In 1984-85, which marksman became the first Lakers player to lead the NBA in three-point field-goal percentage?
a.) Byron Scott
b.) Michael Cooper
A: Byron Scott, with a .433 three-point field-goal shooting percentage.

5. After topping Boston in 1985, how many NBA championships had the Lakers won while in Los Angeles?
a.) 1
b.) 2
c.) 3
d.) 4
A: 4 (1972, 1980, 1982, 1985)

The Link:'s recap of the 1985 NBA Finals.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Shaq: The Big Trivia

Shaquille O'Neal at the Buckley Air Force Base...Image via Wikipedia
It seemed like yesterday when a young Louisiana State University player named Shaquille O'Neal was making waves in the basketball world with spectacular performances that matched his huge physical presence.

He dominated both ends of the court with fearless and aggressive play and was the most hyped prospect since Michael Jordan left North Carolina for the pros in 1984.

In June 1992, I was in attendance at the NBA Draft, held that year in Portland, when the Orlando Magic made the 7'1'' center out of Newark, New Jersey, the top selection.

Now, almost 19 years later to the day, I'm watching Shaq announce his retirement on my desktop. How things have changed. And yet how things haven't changed–Shaq is still the gregarious guy with a magnetic personality. He's like a big brother clowning on you with his goofy sense of humor. Life of the party, then and now.

But what a professional hoops career Shaq built. Here are just some of the facts and numbers:

• 4-time NBA champion (3x with the Lakers, once with the Heat)
• 6 teams (Magic, Lakers, Heat, Suns, Cavaliers, Celtics)
• 4 different jersey numbers (32, 33, 34, 36)
• Nicknames galore (including The Man of Steel, Shaq Diesel, The Big Aristotle, The Big Cactus)
• 28,596 career points (7th on the all-time list)
• 15 NBA All-Star games
• 1992-93 NBA Rookie of the Year
• 1999-2000 NBA MVP
• 3-time NBA Finals MVP
• 3-time NBA All-Star Game MVP
• A sweep of MVP awards in 1999-2000 (Regular Season, All-Star Game and Finals)

Well done, Big Fella. Happy Retirement.

The Big Link:
Shaq Sports Illustrated Covers Through The Years

The Big Trivia:
Who was Shaq's first coach in the NBA?
Answer (highlight area below):
Matt Guokas

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

2011 NBA Finals Countdown

MIAMI, FL - MAY 30:  LeBron James #6 of the Mi...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
All eyes will be on AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami tonight for Game 1 of the 2011 NBA Finals, as the Dallas Mavericks look to avenge their loss to the Miami Heat in the 2006 NBA Finals.

The players that will be under the microscope the most of course are Miami's Big Three—LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh—along with Dallas's über forward from Wurzburg, Germany, Dirk Nowitzki. All of the above have been dominant in the postseason and it will be interesting to see how this duel plays out over a best-of-seven series.

With that said, let's examine the trivial-yet-oh-so-important things you need to know going in to this championship bout.

1. The Miami Heat, which began play in the 1988-89 season, selected a Dallas Maverick (Arvid Kramer) as their first choice in the 1988 NBA Expansion Draft. Oh, you knew that already?
2. Miami has a four-game winning streak over Dallas in NBA Finals play. In the 2006 NBA Finals, Dallas carried a 2-0 lead into Game 3 but lost four in a row to a white-hot Heat squad led by Wade and Shaquille O'Neal.
3. A third trip to the NBA Finals might be the charm for Mavs guard Jason Kidd, who played for two championship runners-up (New Jersey Nets in 2002 and 2003).
4. After playing for seven NBA clubs over 16 seasons, Juwan Howard took his talents to South Beach for Year 17 and has finally made it to the NBA Finals. Give it up for the last standing Fab Fiver in the league!
5. The Miami Heat's tradition of giving fans white t-shirts to wear for a mass show of support at games goes all the way back to the first-ever home game in 1988-89. On Nov. 5, 1988, fans were actually given white tuxedo t-shirts. Check it out in the early part of this video clip. For the record, the Heat lost to the Los Angeles Clippers, 111-91.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Opening Day Quick Quiz

NEW YORK - APRIL 16:  Derek Jeter #2 of the Ne...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
With Opening Day of the 2011 baseball season upon us, it's time for a pair of Opening Day Trivia questions to get things warmed up.

- . . . For the Yankees, No. 2, Derek Jeter, Jeter, Jeter . . . will be making his 15th Opening Day start at shortstop on Thursday, further distancing himself from the franchise's previous record for the position (11, by Phil Rizzuto). Who was the last shortstop to play as many or more games at SS for his team?

Answer: Barry Larkin, 17 seasons with Cincinnati.

- The San Francisco Giants-Los Angeles Dodgers rivalry gets an early start as the defending World Series champion Giants visit Dodger Stadium on Thursday night. Interestingly, this is how the teams kicked things off 53 years ago after each franchise moved from New York. At what stadium was that first L.A.-S.F. regular-season game played (April 15, 1958)?

Answer: Seals Stadium in San Francisco

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lakers Über All NBA Teams? Not So Fast

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 10:  Kobe Bryant #24 of ...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

There are currently only two NBA teams that have an all-time winning series record against the mighty Los Angeles Lakers. One of those teams is their longtime nemesis, the Boston Celtics. Can you name the other club? Hint: The Lakers lost to this team again on Monday night.

Answer: The Charlotte Bobcats, who ran their all-time record against the Lakers to 8-5 following a 109-89 pasting in Charlotte on Monday night. It should be noted that the San Antonio Spurs can claim the lead in their series with L.A. if they win their final two 2010-11 regular-season meetings (Los Angeles currently has a 71-70 edge).
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