Word on the Street: Bulls set CSN ratings record

Word on the Street: Bulls set CSN ratings record

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Bulls win over Hornets sets CSN ratings record

After big wins against the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls fans are apparently more excited than ever about their team. On Monday, Comcast SportsNet recorded it's best-ever numbers for a Bulls game as the Bulls topped the New Orleans Hornets 85-77. The game recorded a 7.21 household rating. The previous record for a bulls game was 6.35 on April 30, 2009; a triple-overtime victory over the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs. (ChicagoBreakingSports)

Hawks talking trash?

According to a story in the Toronto Sun, the Chicago Blackhawks had some unkind words for Brendan Morrison. Morrison was injured in last Wednesday's game against the Blackhawks and, according to him, some Blackhawk players were talking trash while he was on his way to the bench.

I dont know if they understand exactly what was going on, Morrison said. Some young guys were standing and yelling. I dont think it was very professional. They will learn." (Toronto Sun)

Greinke likely to start year on DL

The new Milwaukee Brewer ace Zack Greinke will likely begin his first season with the team on the disabled list due to a fractured right rib. Greinke suffered the injury while playing basketball over the offseason. The initial X-rays came back negative, but an MRI conducted on Monday showed a hairline fracture on one rib and a bruise on a second.

"I've been doing this playing basketball for a couple years now, and people are always saying, 'You're going to get hurt,'" Greinke said. "It finally caught up to me."
(MLB.com)

Northwestern's Bryant to visit with Bears

Northwestern defensive tackle Corbin Bryant is scheduled to meet with the Chicago Bears following his Pro Day workout session today. Bryant is reported to have ran the 40-yard dash in 5.02 seconds and bench pressed 225 pounds 31 times. Bryant, who is considered a rising draft prospect, is also scheduled to meet with the Jacksonville Jaguars. (National Football Post)

Tiki Barber to come out of retirement?

Sports Illustrated is reporting that Tiki Barber has told the NFL of his plans to come out of retirement and play in the 2011 season. Barber, 36, retired in 2007 after 10 seasons with the New York Giants. The Giants have confirmed that Barber has contacted them, asking to be removed from the reserve-retirement list and that they plan to release him once the league allows it - after a new CBA is in place.

Since retiring, Barber has been surrounded by controversy in both his personal and professional life. During his time as a correspondent with The Today Show and Football Night in America, he made headlines for being critical of his former coach, Tom Coughlin, and his former quarterback, Eli Manning. In his personal life, he left his wife of 11 years in April 2010 for a 23-year-old former-NBC intern. (Sports Illustrated)

Gayle admits to relationship Yang

Former-Bear Shaun Gayle admitted from the witness stand on Tuesday that he had sex with Marni Yang the night before she allegedly killed another woman, who was carrying Gayle's baby. Gayle also described how he was questioned for 10 hours by Deerfield police on the day in October 2007 that his pregnant girlfriend, Rhondi Reuter, was found shot to death in her condo. (ChicagoBreakingNews)

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Fire Talk Podcast Episode 1: Recapping the Fire's offseason and looking ahead to 2017

After getting another signature win at Maryland, does any Big Ten team have two better conference wins than Minnesota?

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USA TODAY

After getting another signature win at Maryland, does any Big Ten team have two better conference wins than Minnesota?

Does any Big Ten team have two better conference wins than Minnesota?

The Golden Gophers went on the road and defeated a ranked group of Maryland Terrapins on Wednesday night, and they did so in impressive fashion, scoring an 89-75 victory in College Park.

Team this win with the win at Purdue back on New Year's Day, and there's no better pair of league victories to be found.

More importantly though, the Gophers, at 9-6, are now the No. 4 team in the Big Ten standings.

It's all a part of a quality NCAA tournament resume for the Gophers, who are closer to lock status after Wednesday's win than they are to being on any sort of bubble. With mediocrity running rampant through the Big Ten this season, Richard Pitino's 21-win squad should be well on its way to an appearance in next month's Madness, which would be the program's first since he took over as head coach.

The resume looks pretty strong at this point, especially after Wednesday. Minnesota can now claim wins over Purdue, Maryland and Northwestern — all three of those conference victories coming on the road. In the non-conference portion of the schedule, the Gophers beat Arkansas, the Razorbacks seemingly heading to the tournament themselves. The only loss from the non-conference portion came on the road at Florida State, one of the highest-ranked teams in the country.

So it's safe to say Minnesota will go dancing.

Wednesday's 14-point beatdown of the Terps saw the Gophers shoot 50 percent from the field on the night and 54.5 percent from the field in the second half. Five players scored in double figures: Dupree McBrayer with 18, Nate Mason with 17, Akeem Springs with 16, Jordan Murphy with 15 and Amir Coffey with 13. Minnesota didn't win the rebounding battle but scored 15 points off 10 Maryland turnovers and marched to the free-throw line, going 17-for-20 from the charity stripe while Maryland was just 8-for-13 there.

The second half was a rout, the Gophers outscoring the Terps 55-40 over the final 20 minutes and rattling off two separate 9-0 runs to burst away from the No. 24 team in the country.

The overtime win at Purdue on the first day of 2017 might go down as a bigger win considering the Boilermakers are closing in on the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament. That win, too, came by an impressive-enough margin, 91-82. But Minnesota dominated Maryland over the final nine minutes or so and turned in a double-digit victory on the road against a team that lost to that same Purdue team on that same court by just a point two and a half weeks ago.

The Gophers are now on a six-game winning streak and are piling up wins in a fashion that's making them look like one of the Big Ten's finest. A 3-1 start to conference play that extended its overall record to 15-2 was dampened by Minnesota's five-game losing streak that featured losses to higher-echelon teams like Michigan State, Wisconsin and Maryland, plus road losses at Penn State and Ohio State. But since have come six straight wins. While the caliber of opponent hadn't been terribly impressive until Wednesday, the Gophers can now boast nine conference wins. Only three teams have more.

It's now worth watching how high Minnesota can climb in the Big Ten standings before the conference tournament just two weeks from now. If the season ended today, the Gophers would already be in possession of one of those highly coveted two-day byes. But Minnesota is just a game back of Maryland and just two games back of Wisconsin, who the Gophers play in the regular-season finale.

Like Pitino told his team after Wednesday's win: "No more talk about (just making) the NCAA tournament. We're talking about seeds in the NCAA tournament."