John U. Bacon

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It has been a difficult couple weeks for sports fans in Michigan. On the day of Muhammad Ali's funeral (Ali spent nearly two decades of his life in Berrien Springs, Mich.), it was announced that hockey legend Gordie Howe passed away at the age of 88. And on Monday, June 13, while the hockey world was still grieving the loss of "Mr. Hockey," Michigan State coaching legend Ron Mason died at age 76

Muhammad Ali lived with Parkinson's Disease longer than his career as a boxer
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With the passing of Muhammad Ali, there has been no shortage of praise that has been heaped upon the boxing legend, who to many, was more than just a fighter. Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon says while his list of accomplishments in and out of the ring was worthy of admiration, it was how he lived his life in his later years that deserves the most credit. 

Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland
Detroit Tigers

The Detroit Tigers have the fourth-highest payroll in major league baseball, behind the Los Angeles Dodgers, the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. Despite this, the Tigers have lost 11 out of their last 13 games.

 

The NFL's Lombardi Trophy on display
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Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon breaks down how the Detroit Lions did at the NFL Draft, which included the selection of two Michigan Wolverines. Bacon also talks about the NCAA reversing its decision to ban satellite football camps.

Listen to the full interview below.

EMU's mascot, "Swoop."
Eastern Michigan University

HBO’s “Real Sports” ran a feature last week on the arms race in college sports. It questioned why Eastern Michigan University still spends so much money to compete in Division I football.  Michigan Radio sports commentator John U Bacon has been asking the same question for a decade.

Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy
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It has been a rough week for Detroit sports over the last week. The Pistons and the Red Wings both had their seasons come to an end in the first round of their respective playoffs. The Tigers were swept at home by their division rival, the Cleveland Indians. But on the horizon later this week, the Detroit Lions are getting ready for the 2016 NFL Draft.

The Red Wings will host Game 4 at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday.
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It’s playoff time for a pair of Michigan sports teams as the Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Pistons have kicked off their respective post seasons.

The Wings emerged from the weekend trailing the Tampa Bay Lightning two games to one, with the all-important Game 4 at the Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday.

The Pistons are in what many are calling a “David vs. Goliath” matchup with the top-seeded Cavaliers, and dropped the first game of the series 106-101 in Cleveland.

Both teams have challenges in front of them. But can they advance?

Jim Harbaugh watches closely during Michigan's Spring Game.
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Last week, the NCAA finally ruled on Jim Harbaugh's satellite football camps for the University of Michigan.

They said that teams are no longer allowed to hold camps outside of their own facilities.

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After Tom Izzo graduated from Northern Michigan in 1977, he became the head coach of the Ishpeming High School Hematites, named for one of the minerals they mine in the Upper Peninsula. 

Once the Hematites were driving to play an arch rival, when suddenly the players started yelling, “Coach! You gotta stop the bus! It’s Suds!” Izzo replied, “What’s a ‘suds’?!”

  

John Beilein (left) and Tom Izzo (right).
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If you’re a fan of college basketball, there’s nothing better than March Madness, the massive 68-team single-elimination tournament that determines the national champion. It begins on Wednesday and captivates the sports world for the next three weeks. And thanks to millions of dollars being poured into office pools each year, it captivates a lot more than just sports fans who are filling out their brackets in an attempt to predict the winners.

However, if you’re a fan of daytime TV or productivity in an office environment, then this might not be your favorite time of year.

Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions
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As spring approaches here in Michigan, we near one of the most exciting times of year for a sports fan in the Great Lakes state.

Right now, the Red Wings and Pistons are heading down the stretch of the regular season, fighting for playoff spots, while the Lions are making big offseason moves. On the hardwood, the NCAA tournament is just around the corner as Michigan State and Michigan are hoping to be a part of “March Madness” next month. Not to mention pitchers and catchers have reported for spring training as the Tigers get ready for another season.

The Wolverine football program, with its famed winged helmet, has taken some lumps over the years.
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Even before Jim Harbaugh accepted Michigan’s offer to become the Wolverine’s 19th head coach last December, the buzz was deafening.

It was the Saturday after Christmas, and I spent the afternoon on the phone with insiders about the search for a coach. Once I heard the Harbaughs had a flight scheduled for Monday, and a hotel reservation, I was done wondering if the deal was for real.

But it was 10:30 at night, so I thought there was no point in tweeting the news at that hour. My wife told me I might as well, so she could stop hearing me talk about it.

So – fine, I tweeted it.

The Wolverine football program, with its famed winged helmet, has taken some lumps over the years.
MGoBlog / Flickr - HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

This time a year ago, there was no scarcity of news coverage of the troubled University of Michigan football program, leading to the firing of athletic director Dave Brandon and coach Brady Hoke, and the eventual hiring of Jim Harbaugh as the new Wolverine coach.

John U. Bacon
John U. Bacon

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon joins us for this week’s sports roundup.

Tigers returning to form

After a 15-8 win over the Cubs on Wednesday, it looks like the Tigers might be returning to form.

But Bacon tells us it’s too little, too late.

John U. Bacon
John U. Bacon

  The Big Ten held its media days last week. Fourteen coaches told a few hundred reporters that their team chemistry has never been better, their senior leadership is outstanding, and they can’t wait to get back on the field – but one man stole the show.

Michigan’s new head coach Jim Harbaugh charmed the reporters with stories about everything from his daily commute to the office to his lifelong respect for Woody Hayes – yes, Ohio State’s Woody Hayes, Michigan’s sworn enemy.

When Harbaugh left the podium for the next coach, some guy named Kyle Flood of Rutgers – whom you’ve never heard of and probably won’t again -- half the assembled media got up and left the room to follow Harbaugh into the hallway, to ask him still more questions. He happily obliged.

  Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio had to field plenty of questions, too – but his were about Michigan, and Harbaugh himself. He’s still getting them this week. What’s a fella have to do to get out of the shadow of a man who just arrived, and hasn’t even coached a Big Ten game yet?

John U. Bacon
John U. Bacon

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon joins us for this week’s sports roundup.

John U. Bacon
John U. Bacon

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon brings us this week's sports roundup:

Tigers approaching the trade deadline

The Tigers came out of this past weekend 11.5 games behind AL Central Division leaders the Kansas City Royals.

After the Red Sox, “beat the crap out of us,” as described by Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, there’s some question as to how things are going to play out approaching Friday’s trade deadline.

This was a big week for the Detroit Red Wings. The team signed defenseman Mike Green and veteran center Brad Richards.

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon says that while the Red Wings have a top line of players, people often don't realize that in hockey third- and fourth-string players can be just as important. And the Wings need more than a few key players.

But securing top talent says a lot about how the Wings are perceived by NHL fans and players.

Bacon says it shows how strong the organization is when it can recruit top players even when Detroit doesn't have the best reputation in the country. 

John U. Bacon brings us the week’s sports roundup:

Michigan women’s softball team

The Michigan women’s softball team reached the Women’s College World Series only to lose the series 2-3 against the Florida Gators. Bacon believes what head coach Carol Hutchins and her team have achieved is nothing short of a miracle.

Michigan had to play half its schedule on the road before playing their first home game. “Imagine, if you will, the University of Alabama hockey team taking down the Michigan Wolverines in the NCAA championship”.

Hockey

With the Detroit Red Wings' season over, Bacon claims that with trade deadlines and summer camps in August, the Red Wings need to get a new coach by June. Jeff Blashill, head coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins, is said to be the man to succeed Mike Babcock.

red wings warming up before a game
Flickr user Ellen / Flickr

The Detroit Red Wings face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight in Game One of the Eastern Conference First Round series. This is the 24th straight season the Wings have made it to the playoffs.

user: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class David Danals / Wikimedia Commons

Tomorrow night, March Madness resumes – even though it’s April.

Why?  There is too much madness for March alone.

And it’s going to get madder.  Of the teams who made it to the Final Four, three of them were the top seeds in their regions.   

There’s Wisconsin, which won the Big Ten regular season title and conference tournament en route to a sterling 35-3 record. 

MGoBlog on Flickr / Flickr

There hasn't been a whole lot for Wolverine fans to cheer about lately.

But, amidst all the buzz about Michigan State University and the Final Four, Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon says there's something for the Maize and Blue to be excited for.

"The spring game this year for the first time since 2000 is going to be an actual game," says Bacon.

Tom Izzo talking to a referee
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On Friday night Michigan State faces Oklahoma in the Sweet 16 portion of the NCAA March Madness. It's Michigan State's seventh Sweet 16 in eight seasons.

user: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class David Danals / Wikimedia Commons

The NCAA Men's Division One Basketball Championship or "March Madness" is officially underway.

Tomorrow, 7th seed Michigan State will face 10th seed Georgia for the chance to continue in the tournament.

On Sunday Michigan State lost in overtime to Wisconsin in the final game of the Big Ten Tournament.

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon says that their loss stems from a larger problem.

Bentley Historical Library / University of Michigan

With so much buzz around Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh, Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon thought he'd recount the coach's beginnings at the university.

Harbaugh's father was a defensive backs coach under the leadership of Michigan's legendary Bo Schembechler, and during this time Harbaugh was a ball boy for the team.

John Beilein (left) and Tom Izzo (right).
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We're a little more than a week away from Selection Sunday, when we find out which NCAA teams will be competing in the March Madness tournament.

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon says Michigan State will almost certainly make it to the tournament, with a relatively low seed.

Tom Izzo talking to a referee
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Michigan State won against Michigan for the first time at Crisler Center since 2010. And with about three weeks until the NCAA unveils its tournament field of 68 for March Madness, the game had even more riding on it.

nfl football on field
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Superbowl 49 has passed and much of the resulting conversation has revolved around not the game itself but instead its breakout star: Left Shark.

Michigan Radio sport commentator John U. Bacon says he's relieved that at least this new topic has allowed the discussion of “deflategate” to dissipate.

"Deflategate was the most overblown issue of all time," says Bacon, "It amounts to almost nothing. It is truly hot air."

Flickr user Keith Allison / Flickr

After it was discovered that 11 of the 12 game balls used by the New England Patriots during their victory against the Indianapolis Colts were deflated, the media created a new-found obsession over the PSI of a football, in a scandal  dubbed "deflategate."

Urban Meyer
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Ohio State University beat Oregon 42-20 in the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship.

Michigan Radio commentator John U. Bacon joined us to discuss the game.

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