Cubs

Bulls NBA Playoffs action returns to CSN (Game 1 coverage begins Saturday at 11:30 a.m.)

Bulls NBA Playoffs action returns to CSN (Game 1 coverage begins Saturday at 11:30 a.m.)

CHICAGO BULLS NBA PLAYOFFS ACTION RETURNS TO COMCAST SPORTSNET
First Round Coverage Begins this Saturday, April 28 at 11:30 AM
Network to carry exclusive local TV coverage of Bulls vs. Sixers Game 1-3 (5-7 if nec.)

CSNChicago.com to provide LIVE video stream of EVERY Bulls post-game press conference, plus exclusive behind-the-scenes video and post-game reports from Bulls Insider Aggrey Sam

Chicago, IL (April 27, 2012) Comcast SportsNet, the television home for the most games and most comprehensive coverage of the NBA Eastern Conference champion Chicago Bulls (who, for the second-straight season, finished the regular season with the NBAs best overall record; tied with San Antonio at 50-16), is ready to deliver electrifying 2012 NBA Playoffs action as the Bulls look to continue their amazing season run in first round action against the Philadelphia 76ers. Comcast SportsNet will be the exclusive local television home in the Chicago market to see live coverage of Games 1-3, along with Games 5-7 (if necessary), plus every Comcast SportsNet Bulls playoff game telecast will also be presented in a high-definition (HD) format.

Comcast SportsNets Chicago BullsNBA Playoffs coverage gets underway this Saturday, April 28 beginning at 11:30 AM with exclusive local home team call coverage of Game 1 between the Bulls and Sixers live from the United Center. The always-entertaining Comcast SportsNet Bulls announcing tandem of Neil Funk and Stacey King will have the call for every first round telecast, plus Comcast SportsNets Gail Fischer will provide in-stadium reports throughout the first round. Coverage for Game 1 gets underway with McDonalds Bulls Pre-Game Live at 11:30 AM live from the United Center featuring Mark Schanowski and Kendall Gill; opening tip-off is set for 12 NOON. Plus, immediately following all playoff games Kia Bulls Post Game Live will feature live locker room interviews, detailed analysis, along with head coach Tom Thibodeaus post-game press conferences and numerous player interviews. (Comcast SportsNets complete Bulls first round coverage schedule is included in this release.)

Throughout the playoffs, viewers can also look forward to SportsNet Central: Playoff Central (scheduled nightly at 10:30 PM, times may vary due to airing of live events) for the most in-depth BullsNBA Playoffs coverage, including game recaps, previews, up-to-the-minute teamplayer updates, interviews and numerous playoff highlights from around the league.

Also, throughout the playoffs, Comcast SportsNets comprehensive website, CSNChicago.com, will provide fans with even more exclusive BullsNBA Playoffs content including the following:
CSNChicago.com will stream EVERY Bulls postgame press conference LIVE providing insider access to coach Tom Thibodeau addressing the media as it happens.
CSNChicago.com Bulls Insider Aggrey Sam will be on-site -- for EVERY Bulls playoff game -- filing stories and video for each game and team practices, plus Sam will provide up-to-the-second Tweets via @CSNBullsInsider throughout the series.
New-look Bulls team page offers latest news, player interviews, highlights, video and more 247
Game highlights available on CSNChicago.com following every game along with Game Story, a web-exclusive recap of each game.
Bulls Talk (@BullsTalkCSN) offers news, views and analysis from Sam, blogger Tony Andracki, Bulls PrePostgame hosts Mark Schanowski (@MarkSchanowski) and Kendall Gill as well as other CSNChicago.com contributors.
Additional NBA Playoffs coverage content sharingcross-promotion via NBCSports.com & ProBasketballTalk.com.
CSNChicago.coms Bulls news is presented by Suzuki; Bulls Talk sponsored by Illinois Back Institute

Note the following first round schedule of games and additional coverage information on Comcast SportsNet:

CHICAGO BULLS vs. PHILADELPHIA 76ers on COMCAST SPORTSNET

Game 1: Sat, April 28, NOON Bulls vs. Sixers (United Center) in HD

(NOTES: Bulls Pre-Game Live at 11:30 amBulls Post Game Live after the game, plus SportsNet Central at 9:30 pm, 10:00 pm, 10:30 pm and midnight to provide even more comprehensive BullsNBA Playoffs coverage; game replay at 11:00 pm)

Game 2: Tue, May 1, 7:00 pm Bulls vs. Sixers (United Center) in HD
(NOTES: Bulls Pre-Game Live at 6:30 pmBulls Post Game Live after the game; GMC SportsNet Central to follow; game replay at 11:00 pm)

-- IMPORTANT CUBS NOTE: The Cubs at Cincinnati game (originally scheduled on Comcast SportsNet at 6:00 pm) will now move to CSN (or CLTV in the Chicago market).

Game 3: Fri, May 4, 7:00 pm Bulls at Sixers (Wells Fargo Center) in HD

(NOTES: Bulls Pre-Game Live at 6:30 pmBulls Post Game Live after the game; GMC SportsNet Central airs at 10:00 pm; game replay at 11:00 pm)

-- IMPORTANT WHITE SOX NOTE: The White Sox at Detroit game (originally scheduled on Comcast SportsNet at 6:00 pm) will now move to CSN (or CLTV in the Chicago market).

Game 4: Sun, May 6 at approx. 3:30 pm Kia Bulls Post Game Live on Comcast SportsNet

Game 5: Tue, May 8 (Time TBD) Bulls vs. Sixers (United Center) (if necessary) in HD

Game 6: Thu, May 10 (Time TBD) Bulls at Sixers (Wells Fargo Center) (if necessary) in HD

Game 7: Sat, May 12 (Time TBD) Bulls vs. Sixers (United Center) (if necessary) in HD

Predicting NLCS Game 3: Cubs are due for a win...right?

Predicting NLCS Game 3: Cubs are due for a win...right?

The Cubs are "due."

That's a funny thought in general. For anybody or any team to be "due," that's saying that everything will even out eventually.

That's often true in baseball. But that's over the course of a 162-game season, far and away the longest sample size in professional sports. 

In an abbreviated postseason series, there really is no such thing as "due" because the season's over before you get a chance to see things even out.

The baseball gods don't ensure that everybody gets the same amount of luck at the same time. The sample size is absolutely too small for that. Plus, the Cubs have had plenty of luck and caught their fair share of breaks already this postseason.

So while it's easy to point to some of the Cubs numbers and say things like "they're not going to hit .162 as a team forever," that's not necessarily true because there are only two guaranteed games left in the 2017 for Joe Maddon and Co. It is absolutely possible the Cubs' season is over before they get a chance to correct their offensive woes.

Though, it would be pretty stunning to see the Cubs offense finish a 9-game October stint with Jon Lester and Jose Quintana as the team's leading hitters (both are 1-for-4, .250 average). 

Like a deliriously-happy, champagne-soaked Theo Epstein said early Friday morning in our nation's capital, "we always hit eventually."

So if I'm a betting man (which I'm not, unless you count fantasy sports), I'm betting on the Cubs offense finally waking from their fall slumber. 

They're simply too good to continue these numbers. This team has combined for a .513 OPS, which is essentially a team of Andres Blancos, a 33-year-old backup infielder who defined "light-hitting" with a .192 average and .549 OPS in 144 plate appearances this season.

The urgency is now a very real thing with the Cubs, and that's something — maybe the ONLY thing — that has really motivated this 2017 squad. They've really only played well when they've had a sense of urgency and they did not have that the first two games in Los Angeles.

Which is understandable. After such a physically, emotionally and mentally draining Game 5 that didn't end until early Friday morning, the team had to travel all the way across the entire continental U.S. only to wind up getting diverted to New Mexico where they sat on the tarmac for five hours.

Every single starting pitcher on the team was exhausted and working on short rest, and that's not to say anything about Wade Davis, who gave everything he had just to get the Cubs to the NLCS.

The Cubs have now had a full day off to clear their heads, get back to center and find their mojo again.

I'm betting that's exactly what they've done, because this team has proved over and over again how resilient they are. I mean, really, a 2-0 deficit is nothing for a team that stared down a 3-1 deficit in the World Series a year ago.

Prediction

Cubs 5, Dodgers 2

The Cubs started out the two-game set in LA by having a few good at-bats against the game's best pitcher (Clayton Kershaw) before things got awful against the Dodgers bullpen.

But if we're talking about being "due," that Dodgers bullpen is due for a regression on some level. They've been absolutely incredible this postseason, allowing only one baserunner to the Cubs in eight innings thus far.

Breaking things down individually, there are positive signs for several guys:

—Kris Bryant struck out only three times in 8 at-bats in LA, which is actually an improvement considering he struck out 10 times in 20 at-bats in the NLDS.

—Addison Russell lined a homer to left off Rich Hill for the Cubs' only run in Game 2. He had some really good at-bats in Game 5 and the game's biggest hit when he doubled home two runs off Max Scherzer.

—Javy Baez walked in Game 2. I mean, if that's not enough of a reason for positivity, what is??

Either way, the Cubs offense has their hands full against Yu Darvish (10-12, 3.86 ERA) and Alex Wood (16-3, 2.72 ERA) the next two games and if they win one of those two, Kershaw awaits in Game 5 Thursday.

Five teams you can't overlook come IHSA playoff time

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Five teams you can't overlook come IHSA playoff time

With the IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show just days away, here are five teams that you need to keep in mind when the brackets are announced. They could cause big matchup problems once the postseason begins. You can catch show live this Saturday night starting at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago+ with live streaming at nbcsportschicago.com/IHSAPairingShow and via the NBC Sports app.

Class 8A

Edwardsville: The Tigers (5-3) got off to a rough start and lost their first three games, including an opening week stunner, 53-49, to Naperville North. It was a game that the Tigers led 42-0 in the second quarter. However, coach Matt Martin and company are riding high with a five-game winning streak. They feature an explosive offense led by junior QB Kendall Abdur-Rahman and a deep group of backs. Keep an eye on freshman RB Justin Johnson. 

Naperville North: The afforementioned Huskies (5-3) have lost two of their last three games but don't be fooled. Naperville North can trade offensive punches with everyone in the 8A field behind QB Drake Davis, WR Nick Calcagno and a deep group of receivers. Senior LB Ryan Marrano leads the Huskie defense. The team has marquee wins over Edwardsville, Wheaton North, Lake Park and Naperville Central.

Class 7A

Mount Carmel: The Caravan (5-3) will wind up starting the state playoffs on the road.  And trust me: every opponent will not be excited to see this tradition-heavy program come to town. Mount Carmel will look towards its running game with QB Alek Thomas (a TCU baseball and football commit) along with a big offensive line led by senior Jeremy Cooper (Cincinnati). 

[MORE: Edgy Tim's Week 9 Power Rankings]

Class 6A

Providence Catholic: The Celtics (5-3) are coming off a tough Week 8 loss to Loyola. Don't let the three losses fool you. The combined record of the three teams Providence lost to is 22-3. Keep an eye on senior RB Deshon Gavin (WIU commit), a big and physical offensive line and a strong group on defense. Providence has won five of its last six games.

Class 5A

Rochelle: It is the last season for Hubs' veteran head coach Kevin Crandall. Rochelle (5-3) will look to run the football early and often. They also have a fast, physical defensive unit. Rochelle's three losses this season come to the likes of Sterling (8-0), Morris (7-1) and Johnsburg (8-0) and this team will be a tough out for every opponent in 5A. Rochelle is 157-95 under Crandall, including three 12-win seasons.