MURPH'S 'MOTE: Busting brackets; Danica at Daytona

Northwest Herald sports copy editor Kevin Murphy picks his top sports events to watch this weekend:


Men’s college basketball: Eastern Kentucky at Valparaiso, noon today, ESPNU

BracketBusters: This is the annual weekend in college basketball when mid-majors in men’s college basketball step out of conference play and take on nonconference opponents with similar records. This is a great chance to scout some of the teams that might ruin your March Madness bracket.

Remember when Northern Illinois scored five points in a half? Well, one of the Huskies’ transfers – Mike DiNunno – leads the Eastern Kentucky Colonels this season. DiNunno had seven points, nine assists, seven rebounds and six steals Wednesday. The Colonels (22-6) will take on the Horizon League’s top team Valparaiso (21-7).

NASCAR Sprint Cup, Daytona 500, 11 a.m. Sunday Fox

Boogity, boogity, boogity, let’s go racing boys!

Actually, Darrell Waltrip, it will be Danica Patrick in the spotlight as she became the first woman to win the pole for the Daytona 500. While Patrick, a former Roscoe resident, will garner most of the attention, it’s also the opening weekend for NASCAR. Still, it might be hard to top last year’s event when it was pushed back a day because of rain and Juan Pablo Montoya’s car crashed into a jet dryer that was drying the track. The explosion left the truck beyond recognition.

Blackhawks vs. Columbus, 6 p.m. Sunday, CSN

The Hawks keep rolling. After Friday’s win, the Hawks lead the league with 31 points, and they’re already a third of their way through the shortened schedule. Even ESPN’s Barry Melrose is praising the work of the Hawks.


Bulls at Oklahoma City, 8:30 p.m. Sunday, WGN/ESPN

I think the Oscars are a better show at this point. The Bulls, however, could be up for an Oscar themselves. As an ensemble cast, they will make the playoffs, but they are struggling. Derrick Rose and his brother, Reggie, are causing the most drama. If you’re a Bulls fan, hopefully there is a good ending and Rose returns just in time for the playoffs,


PGA-WGC, Accenture Match Play Championships, finals, 1 p.m. Sunday, NBC

Not in the golf mood yet since McHenry County is covered in snow? I don’t blame ya. But with Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods out of the competition, this unique format should set up for a decent finish at the end.


Women’s college basketball: Iowa at Nebraska, 2 p.m., Sunday, BTN

Watch Johnsburg graduate Melissa Dixon come off the bench for the Hawkeyes (17-10, 6-7 Big Ten) as they try to make a late-season run in the conference and a potential NCAA Tournament bid. Dixon finished with 10 points in 26 minutes off the bench Sunday at Purdue.

NFL: Combine 8 a.m.-6 p.m. today and Sunday, NFL Network

Ready to fill up your fantasy football team with rookies? Check out their 40 time, vertical leap and more at the NFL combine.

Agree? Disagree? Is someone from the Northwest Herald coverage area going to be on TV? Let Kevin Murphy know at

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