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Points by Suns’ Devin Booker during 130-120 loss to Celtics

The Greek god of wrestling tells us how WWE is loading up November to attract new subscribers to WWE Network. Achilles Heel also focuses on movies and England, informing us why Randy Orton will be off TV for a few weeks, how the former Drew McIntyre is making a name for himself around the world and why wrestling fans should enjoy “As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride.”

Eric Fisher’s weekly column on a variety of topics. This week Eric serves up opinions on honoring the Taney Dragons, the Eagles’ kicker situation and the difficult road ahead for the Union.

The Greek god of wrestling previews Ring of Honor’s Saturday night card in Philadelphia. Achilles Heel also tells you when to get tickets for Smackdown in Philly, what the big rivalry will be from this week’s TNA tapings in New York and which talented WWE wrestlers aren’t getting much of push these days.

Archive for the ‘Top 10’ Category

Tournament runs

Posted by Ron Opher On March - 11 - 2017 3 COMMENTS

Villanova’s championship earns it a spot on the PhillyPhanatics.com top 10 list of men’s college basketball postseason runs by local teams. Where do the Wildcats rank? Check out the list (below).

10.(tie) 1988, 1991, 1993, 1999, 2001 Temple (NCAA Elite Eight) – John Chaney’s teams often knocked at the door, but never made it to the Final Fou; 2013 La Salle (NCAA Sweet Sixteen) – La Salle was a bubble team that had to win a “play-in” game to claim the #13 seed, but ended up being a Sweet 16 team before losing to Wichita State in the tournament’s second week.

9.(tie) 1981, 2004 St. Joseph’s (NCAA Elite Eight) – The 1981 Hawks team, coached by Jimmy Lynam, shocked the nation by how far it went.  Phil Martelli’s 2004 St. Joe’s team shocked the nation by going undefeated in the regular season, but fell one win short of the Final Four at the hands of Eddie Sutton’s Oklahoma State Cowboys.

8.(tie) 1956, 1958 Temple; 1961 St. Joseph’s (NCAA Final Four) – we’ll admit we were not born yet at that time, and the tournament field was smaller back then, but to make it to the “National Semifinal” (as that round was called) was a significant achievement.

7. 2009 Villanova (NCAA Final Four) – Jay Wright set the bar high for the Wildcats in 2009, and they delivered Villanova’s first-ever 30-win season, falling to North Carolina on the tournament’s final Saturday.

6. 1979 Penn (NCAA Final Four) – the furthest an Ivy League team has gone in the NCAA tournament, Bob Weinhauer’s Quakers were seeded #9 out of 10 teams in the East Regional, beat Iona in a play-in game, stunned top seed North Carolina at the Greensboro Coliseum 72-71, beat Syracuse and then improbably wore white when defeating St. John’s (the #10 seed) to get to Salt Lake City before being dismantled by Magic Johnson’s Michigan State team.

5. 1971 Villanova (NCAA runner-up) – This memorable run (which ended as did most teams’ runs of that era – with a loss to UCLA in the final game) was tainted by later revelations that star forward Howard Porter had signed a pro contract with the ABA during his senior season at Villanova.  Not only was Porter stripped of his tournament Most Outstanding Player award, Villanova had to forfeit wins going back to December of 1970 when Porter signed the contract, and return $72,000 of NCAA tournament proceeds.

4. 1938 Temple (NIT champs) – The NIT was the pre-eminent tournament in its early days, and predated the NCAA tournament, which began in 1939.

3. (tie) 1954 La Salle (NCAA champs), 1952 La Salle (NIT champs) – One of each for the Explorers, in the day when the NCAA and NIT competed for teams with postseason invitations.  Yes, Tom Gola was that great a player – they did later name La Salle’s arena after him, after all.

2. 2016 Villanova (NCAA champs) – Villanova won four games by double digits, including a record-setting 95-51 win over Oklahoma in the Final Four, beat top-ranked Kansas in the Elite 8, and capped off magnificent run with Kris Jenkins’ buzzer-beating 3-pointer in dramatic 77-74 triumph over North Carolina in championship game.

1.  1985 Villanova (NCAA champs) – Only 6 years after Penn’s improbable run, Villanova, which did have more firepower but also was a low seed (#8), rode their Cinderella story all the way to the championship.  Villanova went on a run which included victories over Dayton on Dayton’s home court, Michigan, Maryland, North Carolina, Memphis State and finally over Patrick Ewing’s Georgetown Hoyas, 66-64, in last NCAA game played without a shot clock.

Honorable Mention – NIT appearances of note:

1969 Temple (NIT champs)
1994 Villanova (NIT champs)
1965 Villanova (NIT runner-up)
1967 La Salle (NIT runner-up)
1996 St. Joseph’s (NIT runner-up)
2005 St. Joseph’s (NIT runner-up)


 

“Enter the Dragons’ lair” – shop for Drexel gear here

“Fight with all your Might!” – shop for Temple gear here

“The Hawk will Never Die!” – shop for St. Joe’s gear here

“Hurrah for the Red and the Blue!” – shop for Penn gear here

“Virtue, Knowledge…and Hoops!” – shop for La Salle gear here

Eagles’ Top 10 needs

Posted by Eric Fisher On January - 1 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Following their 7-9 campaign, the Eagles have numerous areas in which they need to upgrade in order to close the gap with the rest of the NFC East and become a top contender.

10. Defensive tackle If the Eagles can’t agree to contract terms with Bennie Logan, they will need another defensive tackle, and it will be difficult to find one as good as Logan.

9. Center The Eagles reversed Chip Kelly’s habit of not drafting offensive linemen last year, but, unless they’re able to re-sign veteran Stefen Wisniewski, they don’t have a suitable replacement if Kelce suffers a long-term injury.

8. Play-caller At times, Doug Pederson seems to be a master at creating game plans. But teams seemed to adjust to the Pederson’s schemes as the year progressed, resulting in particularly poor first halves. He is overaggressive on fourth down, which is compounded by poor play calls on fourth down. Either Pederson needs to amend his approach or he needs to turn over the play-calling to offensive coordinator Frank Reich.

7. Defensive end The versatile Connor Barwin excelled at linebacker in a 3-4 alignment, but he struggled as a defensive end in defensive coordinator Jim Schwart’s Wide-9. Barwin says he’s willing to take a pay cut to remain an Eagle, but will the team want to keep him? Vinny Curry was a huge disappointment after signing a lucrative contract.

6. Defensive coordinator? If you can’t find a way for the versatile Connor Barwin to be effective in your defense, and your defense gives up more big plays than any team in the NFL, perhaps all of the blame shouldn’t be put on the players. Jim Schwartz’s attacking style feasts on teams with offensive line problems, but struggles against teams with better offensive lines and veteran quarterbacks. He probably deserves another chance next season, but some may disagree.

5. Running back Ryan Matthews’ career-threatening injury, his injury history and his salary make it unlikely he will return to the Eagles next season. Unless they’re prepared to move forward with Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, Kenjon Barner and Byron Marshall, the Eagles need to acquire or draft a reliable No. 1 running back.

4. Linebacker Despite Doug Pederson’s positive comments about Mychal Kendricks after the Cowboys game, it’s difficult to believe that the Eagles would bring back Kendricks at anywhere close to his current salary. And there isn’t an obvious young backup, so they need at least two linebackers.

3. A good first-round draft pick Regardless of the position, it’s imperative that the Eagles draft a player who can contribute right away and become a solid starter with their first-round selection.

2. Cornerbacks One reason the Eagles give up more big plays than any team in the NFL is their starting cornerbacks aren’t very good. How many consecutive years can we accurately say “the Eagles cornerbacks aren’t very good?”

1. Receivers Jordan Matthews is the only member of the receiving corps who should be guaranteed a spot on the roster next season.

Jenkins' 3-pointer wins national title