Will Hawks fans cheer for the Kings?

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Will Hawks fans cheer for the Kings?

After the Blackhawks were eliminated in Game 5 of the first round of the playoffs against the Phoenix Coyotes, I couldn't help but notice the increasing number of Chicago fans cheering for the Los Angeles Kings.

Now, as the Kings head into the Western Conference finals, it looks like that number will continue to grow throughout the next series.

Here are a few reasons why many Chicago fans are on-board with Los Angeles:
Darryl Sutter: Sutter was brought into the Kings' organization on December 17, 2011 to replace former coach Terry Murray after the Kings were named the worst offensive team in the league. He coached the Kings to a 25-13-11 record, and they finished third in the Western Conference going into the playoffs.

Sutter has attracted plenty of Hawks fans on his own since he played his entire NHL career in Chicago from 1979-1987. He earned 279 points for the Blackhawks in his eight seasons in the Windy City.

Phoenix Coyotes: The Kings are now about to face the Phoenix Coyotes in the Western Conference finals, the same team that knocked the Blackhawks out of the playoffs.

Physicality: The Kings have had a dominant physical presence against both the Canucks and Blues, and they will continue that style of play throughout the postseason since it has earned them an 8-1 record against the first and third overall teams in the league.

After Raffi Torres' vicious hit on Marian Hossa, Blackhawks fans have even more reason to want Phoenix to lose. Although Torres is serving his 25-game suspension, the Kings, led by Dustin Brown, will not let up on the Phoenix roster, continuing to unleash continuous forechecking. Chicago should get plenty of pleasure out of that.

Colin Fraser: Fraser played in Chicago from 2006-2010, helping the Blackhawks to their Stanley Cup victory. This is Fraser's first season in Los Angeles.

For a team that seemed to have been forgotten during much of the regular season, they have quite a bit in common with Chicago, and hopefully, will make the Windy City proud.

Marist 2018 DT Elijah Teague pledges to Minnesota

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Marist 2018 DT Elijah Teague pledges to Minnesota

Chicago Marist three star ranked defensive tackle Elijah Teague (6-foot-3, 292 pounds) made his first visit to the University of Minnesota this weekend and earlier this evening gave head coach PJ Fleck and the Gophers his early verbal commitment.

"I'm excited, or as Coach Fleck would say, I'm elite," he told Rivals.com's The Gopher Report. "(The coaches) were excited themselves. They really wanted me, so they were excited -- more excited than me I believe."

Teague has seen his recruiting stock soar over the past few months. Teague, who is the first known State of Illinois verbal pledge to Fleck and the Gophers in the Class of 2018 and the fourth Minnesota pledge overall chose Minnesota over 30 plus verbal offers from Power 5 schools from across the country.

"Everything made it the right place," he said. "Just looking at (Fleck's) background and what he did at Western Michigan, I think he can do the same thing (at Minnesota). I'm excited to be a part of it."

Blown out by Iowa, Maryland stumbles to third straight loss

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USA TODAY

Blown out by Iowa, Maryland stumbles to third straight loss

It's been a tough week for the teams at the top of the Big Ten standings.

Maryland and Wisconsin both lost earlier this week, and Purdue lost on Saturday afternoon. Saturday night, the horrors continued for the Terps, who suffered their third straight defeat in a blowout 83-69 loss to the visiting Iowa Hawkeyes in College Park.

Maryland's last lead came near the midway point of the first half before Iowa sprinted away on a 22-10 run to build a double-digit lead, an advantage that grew as big as 22 in the final minutes. All in all, the Hawkeyes knocked down 16 3-pointers. The Terps weren't too far behind with 11 deep balls of their own, but they shot just 40.7 percent in the second half, unable to keep up.

The high-scoring Hawkeyes were powered by freshman Jordan Bohannon, who scored 24 points on a whopping eight made 3-pointers. Fellow freshman Tyler Cook joined him with a 20-point night, finishing with 21 points, while Peter Jok and Nicholas Baer each ended with 11.

Iowa, not completely out of the NCAA tournament realm of possibility, helped its shaky case greatly with this victory.

Maryland, meanwhile, is a lock to make the field of 68 teams, but much like the other presumed conference powers, its struggles are hitting at the most inopportune time.

The Terps have lost five of their last seven and three of their last four at home. Back-to-back home losses this week against Minnesota and Iowa have featured big days for opposing offenses. Prior to the Hawkeyes' performance Saturday, the Golden Gophers dropped 89 points on 50-percent shooting.

The woes of Maryland — plus those of Purdue and Wisconsin — set up not just an interesting final week of the regular season but an interesting Big Ten Tournament that could feature a dark horse like Minnesota entering as the favorite. A surging team like Michigan might be more capable of making a deep run than the top three seeds given their recent struggles.

The Terps will have as good a chance as any to make noise in that tournament and the one that follows throughout the month of March. Winnable games against Rutgers and Michigan State remain, but they're on a bad stretch right now, one that should only elevate the panic after Saturday's defeat.