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user: Urban Adventures / flickr

It's cloudy, chilly, and there's a chance of snow. Must be the Tigers' opening day in Detroit.

The Tigers play their home opener at Comerica Park this Friday afternoon against the New York Yankees. 

Manager Brad Ausmus' club is coming off a disappointing 2015 season, missing the playoffs and finishing last in the American League Central Division. It was out of character for a team that made the playoffs four years in a row previously, and reached the World Series in 2012.

FLICKR USER MGOBLOG / FLICKR

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’?!”

  

The NCAA's headquarters in Indianapolis, IN.
Intiaz Rahim / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

This Saturday’s Final Four should be college basketball’s showcase. It features North Carolina and Syracuse, two of the game’s greatest programs.

The North Carolina Tar Heels have won five national titles, and rank near the top of just about every measure that matters. The legendary Dean Smith, one of the most respected coaches in the sport’s history, coached the Tar Heels for 36 years, including a guy named Michael Jordan.

Coach Smith created what they call "The Carolina Way," a shorthand for playing the game right, on and off the court.

John U. Bacon
John U. Bacon

March Madness is upon us, and it’s a little madder than usual. In the first week, eight teams hit buzzer-beaters. But the real shocker, the one that sent brackets to office trashcans across the country, wasn’t even close.

Michigan State had been a top ten team most of the season, and number one for six weeks. They won the Big Ten tournament with fantastic passing and shooting, arguably the most unselfish team Tom Izzo has ever coached.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

NEW YORK (AP) - V.J. Beacham scored 18 points, including the 3-pointer that gave Notre Dame the lead for good, and the sixth-seeded Fighting Irish beat 11th-seeded Michigan 70-63 on Friday night in the first round of the East Regional at Barclays Center.

  The Fighting Irish (22-11) didn't take a lead in the game until Beacham's 3 with 9:26 left to make it 51-48. From there on there were five lead changes and three ties.

  Notre Dame will face 14th-seeded Stephen F. Austin in the second round on Sunday. The Lumberjacks upset third-seeded West Virginia 70-56.

John Beilein (left) and Tom Izzo (right).
MGoBlog / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

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.

John Beilein (left) and Tom Izzo (right).
MGoBlog / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The madness of March is here, and Michigan and Michigan State both have big games today in the Big Ten tournament. Michigan needs to beat Big Ten champion Indiana just to get into the NCAA tournament, while Michigan State is playing for a Big Ten title, and a national title after that. 

Last year, the Wolverines looked promising -- until key players went down with injuries. The Wolverines finished ninth in the league, missing the big dance altogether, and didn’t even get an invitation to the junior high prom (also known as the National Invitational Tournament).

via Detroit Lions

The rumors have been circulating for months, but now it’s official: Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin “Megatron” Johnson is retiring from the NFL at age 30.

“After much prayer, thought and discussion with loved ones, I have made the difficult decision to retire from the Lions and pro football. I have played my last game of football,” Johnson said, in a statement released Tuesday by the Lions.

Playing tackle football.
Patrick Briggs / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Political writer George Will, a famously avid baseball fan, once said football combines the worst elements of American culture: violence, and committee meetings.

Football isn’t getting rid of the committee meetings, also known as huddles, but this week the Ivy League decided to reduce the violence.

The seats in the gym at Muskegon Heights High School were packed for a "unity" game Wednesday night.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A high school basketball game in Muskegon Heights Wednesday night united two West Michigan communities dealing with violence.

Shelby High School was supposed to play Muskegon Heights, but Shelby pulled out, citing a shooting after a game in the Heights last month.

Muskegon Heights High School (file photo)
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The scene was set for the varsity basketball team from Muskegon Heights Public School Academy to host their final game of the season. They were scheduled to play Shelby High School in their home finale but the echoes of a Feb. 9 shooting at the school caused their opponents to cancel.

Without an opponent, the Tigers had to find a team to play and found Kalamazoo Lakeside Academy, a school that recently dealt with a mass shooting within their own city less than two weeks ago.

Muskegon Heights Public Schools

Muskegon Heights will play its last scheduled basketball game of the season at home this week, with one big change.

Shelby High School was originally set to play the Tigers, but canceled amid safety concerns from parents.

In February, a Grand Rapids man shot several people in the Muskegon Heights parking lot following a home basketball game.

Shelby Superintendent Dan Bauer said parents were threatening to keep their kids home from school if the game went forward as planned.

Jill Miller, Lighthouse Graphics Photography

Save for this last week, Michigan has not seen very much snow this season. And while many Michiganders have enjoyed a somewhat milder winter, it's been bad news for people who race sled dogs.

Chris Mahar serves as the director of publicity for Mid-Union Sled Haulers and has been racing dogs for about 16 years. He says MUSH has had to cancel some races this year due to temperature and snowfall complications.

Grand Ledge native Calum Ramm at the first leg of the World Marathon Challenge in Antarctica.
Calum Ramm

If someone told you that a man completed seven marathons in seven days, you would probably be impressed. Likely amazed.

If somehow that wasn’t enough to drop your jaw, how about if those seven marathons were run on seven different continents?

That’s what Marine Capt. Calum Ramm, a Lansing native, did as one of the 15 runners who took part in the World Marathon Challenge.

Before you break out the calculator, here are the numbers:

Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions
Mike Morbeck / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

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.

Keyworth Stadium, the future home of Detroit City FC
Jon DeBoer/DCFC

Eighty years ago, Franklin Delano Roosevelt paid a visit to the city of Hamtramck, an enclave within the city of Detroit. There, the 32nd president cut the ribbon on a new sports stadium, one of the many construction projects being carried out across the country to help the United States dig out of the Great Depression.

Eight decades later, the Detroit City Football Club (DCFC), a minor league soccer team with one of the biggest followings in the country, is looking to turn Keyworth Stadium into its new home.

The Wolverines taking the field in 2009. They enter this season with 90-to-1 odds at the championship, but fans hope Harbaugh can turn them around.
flickr use Anthony Gattine / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

  ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The University of Michigan hired UConn's Warde Manuel as its new athletic director on Friday, bringing back a well-regarded alumnus who once played football for the Wolverines — just like its coach, Jim Harbaugh.

The 47-year-old Manuel, who had been Connecticut's athletic director since 2012, was given a five-year deal by Michigan. The salary was not immediately disclosed.

Jim Harbaugh pleads his case. Michigan's head coach first arrived in Ann Arbor as a kid in 1973.
MGoBlog / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Former Michigan quarterback Tom Brady’s team, the New England Patriots, were knocked out of the playoffs last week. But his unlikely friendship with a 43-year old Ann Arbor dishwasher is still going strong. Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon heard this story a year ago, and it’s only gotten better since.

University of Michigan football game
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The University of Michigan may have a new athletic director.

According to reports from The Detroit Free Press, ESPN, and a former Boston Globe sportswriter, UM plans to hire University of Connecticut Athletic Director Warde Manuel to serve as the athletic department’s next leader.

nfl football on field
Flickr user Parker Anderson / Flickr

This week, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced that the Rams would be allowed to move from St. Louis back to Los Angeles. I realize you might not care, but you should, because we’re the ones paying for it – again. 

Stack of newspapers.
user Jon S / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Last week, MLive.com laid off 29 more employees.

On Monday, Alabama beat Clemson for college football’s national title.

These might seem unrelated to you, but not to me. I see a pattern here – and a warning for college football, if it’s smart enough to listen.

Stunned Michigan fans, the "Windmilling Kicker" from MSU, and the Green Bay Hail Mary. It was quite a year in football for Michigan.
Screen shots from ABC, ESPN, and the NFL Network.

2015 was a pretty good year for college football fans in the state – especially for fans of its two Big Ten schools.

 

The Michigan Wolverines finished their 2014 season in horrible shape, on and off the field.

After the students held a campus rally, hoping to get athletic director Dave Brandon fired, a popular website, MGoBlog, did the job for them. When MGoBlog published Brandon’s insulting emails to fans, including, “Quit drinking and go to bed,” Brandon had to resign.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Warmer than usual temperatures are taking a toll on Michigan’s ski slopes.

Most resorts have less than half their runs operating with only thin layers of man-made snow. With temperatures expected to rise as Christmas approaches, many resorts may struggle to make more snow. 

Mickey MacWilliams is with the Michigan Snow Sports Industry Association. She admits it’s hard to motivate people to think about hitting the slopes when it doesn’t feel like winter.

Kempf

Eighteen-year-old Ellis Kempf is captain of his wrestling team, the Royal Oak Ravens.

He wrestles in the 152-pound weight class.

Kempf is also completely deaf without his cochlear implants, which he can't wear during matches. 

Most of the time, it's not an issue. Kempf has a sign language interpreter who signs his coach's instructions during matches.

But during state matches sanctioned by the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA), Kempf's  interpreter was prohibited from moving around the wrestling circle to maintain eye contact with him.

Don Harrison/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The largest ski jump structure in the world is located, not in Bavaria, not in Switzerland, not even Scandinavia.

It's Ironwood's Copper Peak in the Upper Peninsula. At 469 feet, ski jumpers soar through the air at 65 miles per hour.

Copper Peak was built in 1970. The last ski flying competition happened there in 1994.

But, plans are afoot to renovate the ski jump for a September 2017 contest.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s a push to make hunting in Michigan quieter.

Michigan is one of four states where it’s legal for a gun owner to own a silencer, but illegal to hunt with one. 

Knox Williams is with the American Suppressor Association, an industry trade group. Williams is one of several industry reps who spoke to the Michigan Natural Resources Commission last week. He says Michigan hunters would suffer less hearing loss if they were allowed to use silencers.

John U. Bacon
John U. Bacon

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon joins us to talk about the Spartans' ninth Big Ten Championship and the upcoming bowl season.

Spartans take Big Ten 

The Spartans emerged victorious on Saturday, winning their ninth Big Ten Championship and giving Iowa its first loss of the season.

The Hawkeyes stayed on top until MSU pulled out a nine-minute, 22-play, 82-yard scoring drive to secure the winning touchdown.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

INDIANAPOLIS - L.J. Scott kept lunging forward, stretching the ball over the goal line for a touchdown with 27 seconds and No. 5 Michigan State all but locked up a spot in the College Football Playoff, edging No. 4 Iowa 16-13 Saturday in the Big Ten championship game.

Connor Cook led the Spartans (12-1) on a 22-play drive that set up Scott's 1-yard run. A half-dozen Iowa defenders tried to stop Scott, but he wouldn't be denied.

Iowa (12-1) lost for the first time this season - and just barely.

rock478 / morgueFile

A deaf high school wrestler is suing the Michigan High School Athletic Association for the right to have a sign language interpreter alongside the mat during tournaments.

Ellis Kempf, 18, is the wrestling squad captain at Royal Oak High School. He’s been deaf since the age of two due to meningitis, and can’t wear his hearing aids during matches. Kempf used a sign language interpreter alongside the mat until the Michigan High School Athletic Association said that’s not allowed.

Michigan State football
User: spartanjoe / Flickr

Michigan Radio’s sports commentator  John U. Bacon and Stateside Host Cynthia Canty break down last weekend's Big Ten Football action.

Ann Arbor and East Lansing were the scenes of some BIG butt-kickings over the weekend: Michigan State served up a 55-16 shellacking to the Nittany Lions—setting up the Spartans to face the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Championship in Indianapolis next weekend, and Ohio State came to the Big House and embarrassed Michigan, 42-13.

Plus, Bacon gives predictions on the Big Ten Championship and the college football playoffs. 

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