Points by Ben Simmons during Game 3 victory over Nets

Several local teams, including sixth-ranked Villanova, are hoping for major contributions from players returning from injuries last season. Eric Fisher examines each of the team from the City Six as they begin the 2017-18 season.

The Greek God of Wrestling chronicles Braun Strowman’s meteoric rise to main event status. Achilles Heel also bemoans JBL leaving Smackdown, rips Sexy Star and for her conduct during and after a recent incident with Rosemary, and provides a link for Ric Flair’s first video after his nearly fatal medical issues.

Carson Wentz throws a career-high four touchdown passes, including three during the first quarter, as the Eagles take advantage of a quick start to decimate the visiting Cardinals, 34-7, improving their NFC East-leading record to 4-1.

Archive for the ‘Basketball’ Category

Galfand picks a winner

Posted by Eric Fisher On April - 10 - 2019 ADD COMMENTS

Congratulations to C/haim Galfand, the only participant in PhillyPhanatics.com’s Bracket Madness to correctly pick Virginia to win the national championship.

The Cavaliers’ overtime victory over Texas Tech completed Chaim’s meteoric rise up the standings. Unfortunately for Chaim, he needed the tournament to last another few rounds in order to make his way to the top. Chaim finished in fourth place with with 241 points.

Eric Fisher became the first two-time winner of Bracket Madness. Fisher’s victory followed a similar pattern to his first Bracket Madness title. In both cases, Fisher jumped out to an early lead by correctly selecting first-round upsets — he picked all three victorious 12 seeds and 13th-seeded Cal-Irvine in the first round this year — and then went wire-to-wire for the title.

Rounding out the top 5 behind Fisher (277 points) were Mike Goldberg (245 points), Charlie Fischer (243), Chaim (241) and Ron Opher (240).

The good part about the NCAA Tournament being over is we don’t have to watch the awful announcer “Just OK is not OK” commercials any longer. Illike the “Just OK is not OK” commercials with the doctor and the auto mechanic, but the announcer versions were bad. On the other hand, I prefer these intentionally bad broadcasters to the “players only” NBA broadcasts on TNT. Those are the broadcasts on which former players talk over the game, and you hear a lot of players referred to as “young fella,” which certainly beats the hell out of preparing for the game by learning the players’ names.

Thank you for playing Bracket Madness. Hope it was a fun experience. Look forward to having you back next year!

(Meanwhile, don’t forget to check out all of the excellent columns and articles on PhillyPhanatics.com.)


What: PhillyPhanatics.com Bracket Madness!

Cost: $0

Deadline: Thursday, 11 a.m. (Those who submit their brackets earlier may make changes in their brackets until Thursday at 11 a.m. And nobody else can see your bracket until the tournament begins!)

Rules: Please submit only one entry per person (multiple entries from the same person will result in all of that person’s entries being disqualified)

Scoring: See below or click on the site link

Tie-breaker: Total points in championship game

Web site to enter: http://phillyphanatics.mayhem.cbssports.com/brackets (you will need a CBS Sports log in.)

***Upper Moreland High School students should use a personal email, NOT your school email.***



As stated earlier, we’re going to skip the play-in games on Tuesday and Wednesday. Once the field is whittled down to 64 teams, the scoring will be as follows:

1 point for each correct team in the round of 32;
2 points for each correct team in the Sweet 16;
4 points for each correct team in the Elite 8;
8 points for each correct team in the Final Four;
12 points for each correct team in the championship game;
15 points for correctly picking the champion.

Furthermore, there are bonus points based on seeding for teams you correctly pick to advance.

For example, if a No. 16 seed upsets a No. 1 seed in the first round, as UMBC did last year against Virginia, you’ll earn 1 point for the win and 16 bonus points! If a No. 11 seed upsets a No. 6 seed in the first round, you’ll earn 1 point for the win and 11 bonus points!

Upsets pay off, but you risk losing points from higher-seeded teams down the road.

Good luck!

(Please check back in this space every day of the tournament for scoring updates.)

Good men leave huge void

Posted by Eric Fisher On March - 25 - 2019 ADD COMMENTS

It’s the end of an era in the Big 5. When next season begins, it will be the first time in 35 years that Phil Martelli and Fran Dunphy won’t be part of a Big 5 program. Their absence will leave a void in the Big 5 and the Philadelphia sports scene.

Dunphy finished his 13-year tenure as Temple’s head coach on Tuesday with an 81-70 loss to Belmont in a “first four” game of the NCAA Tournament. Earlier that day, Saint Joseph’s announced a “leadership change” in its men’s basketball program. Basically, it meant that Martelli, who spent 24 years as head coach on Hawk Hill after 10 years as an assistant coach, was fired.

Dunphy wasn’t fired, but he was certainly given a nudge out the door. Nearly one year ago, Temple announced that Dunphy would coach one final season before stepping aside so that assistant coach Aaron McKie, a former Temple star and 76ers starter, could take over.

Universities have the right to hire and fire coaches. The Owls were 16-16 and 17-16 in the two seasons before the announcement was made that Dunphy would coach one more season. The Hawks haven’t had a winning season the past three years, going 11-20, 16-16 and 14-19.

Dunphy and Martelli know that college basketball is a business. Losing records and empty seats make the coach’s seat extremely hot.

If you doubt that college basketball is a business, look at all the revenue raked in by the NCAA Tournament. Or, you could look at the three-paragraph statement Saint Joseph’s released when it dismissed Martelli. Basketball is described as “an important strategic asset for Saint Joseph’s.” And, no, that wasn’t written by Sixers owner Joshua Harris or former Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie – at least not as far as I know.

But college basketball isn’t simply about business from a dollar and cents perspective. College basketball, at its best, is the business of molding young men.

Martelli and Dunphy both cared about their players as people. Their players weren’t disposable parts, to be discarded when their basketball careers were done. Martelli and Dunphy both saw value in their players beyond on-court statistics.

There are other similarities between Martelli and Dunphy. Both have well-deserved images as good men. They are active leaders, both locally and nationally, in raising money for Coaches vs. Cancer. Dunphy has always been a class act during his 13 years at Temple and 17 seasons as Penn’s head coach. Martelli, with his quick wit, is a media favorite.

Both, however, have another side to them. Contrary to his fatherly public image, Dunphy was a tough coach. In an excellent article by philly.com’s Mike Jensen, former Penn player Brian Grandieri recalls a practice during Selection Sunday. According to Grandieri, Dunphy pointed toward the cameras and said, “See all those (expletives). They think I’m a good guy. I’m a (expletive) bad guy. I don’t care about those guys. I care about you guys, and giving your best.”

Similarly, Martelli wasn’t always a smiling bundle of joy. At one news conference during the Hawks’ undefeated 2003-04 regular season, Martelli responded to an opinionated “inside basketball” question that annoyed him with an intentionally nonsensical answer – delivered with a straight face and even tone – while the reporter nodded his head and furiously scribbled down the answer.

One year later, while standing in the gym a few moments after interviewing Martelli in his office a day or two prior to the Atlantic 10 Tournament, I heard Martelli express his wrath upon learning that there was a conflict between the time the media was told to arrive and the time he wanted to begin practice.

None of the behind-the-scenes revelations, however, changes the fact that Dunphy and Martelli are terrific college basketball coaches. Although both are certainly proficient at X’s and O’s, that’s not what college coaching is all about. At least that’s not all it should be about. College coaching should be about developing young men, both as players and as people.

And there are few, if any, who do that better than Phil Martelli and Fran Dunphy.

Harper hits 1st home run as Phillie