As the chilly season comes into play so do many of the winter sports. There are many games and events happening around this season, (indoors of course) so let’s dive into what is happening in the world of athletics.
During the two months off between fall and spring semester, the UNCG Men’s Basketball team will be here on campus, defending the home court of Greensboro Coliseum. Between the day after Thanksgiving, November 25th until December 14th, the Spartans will play host to six straight homes games. One of those games, December 3rd against Liberty University, will be played here on campus at Fleming Gymnasium instead at the Coliseum. The team also will be ending the calendar year opening up their home conference schedule against Samford on New Year’s Day.
Also competing throughout the winter vacation are the women’s basketball team, now headed by first year coach Trina Patterson. Five out of the eight games they play through the month of December will be here at Fleming, including a game on the final day of classes on December 5th against the Barton Bulldogs. The team will also host games on the 15th, 21st, and 28th against Presbyterian, Norfolk State, and Eastern Kentucky.
In the world of Carolina football, the Panthers, now healthy and seemingly out of their Super Bowl slump early this season, need to be like a Spartan center and rebound for the postseason. December, the final month of the NFL regular season and last chance for teams to make a final push, will see Carolina travel to Seattle and Washington while playing host to the Chargers and, what will be their biggest game, the first place Atlanta Falcons on Christmas Eve. After starting the season 1-5, with a four game losing streak early in the season and key injuries to MVP Quarterback Cam Newton and pro bowl running back Jonathan Stewart, the reigning NFC Champions rebounded with back to back victories against the Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams, while looking like their old, 15-1 selves. It will be interesting to see if Carolina can make up the ground they lost or if the early struggles will be the death of the team’s hopes for a second appearance in the NFL’s lone February game.
Christmas basketball has become as traditional in households as watching football on Thanksgiving. And while in past seasons, the games would all generate an equal interest in viewing them in between opening gifts and bothering your mother about when it would be time to eat sweet potatoes and mac and cheese, there is one game that everyone wants to see: The Finals rematch (and probably this year’s Finals favorites) between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. On the side of Golden State, they will be facing off the team that ended their record setting season last year with their new favorite toy, former MVP and scoring title holder Kevin Durant. In the case of Cleveland, they have looked close to unstoppable in this early season, with the entire team firing on all cylinders and the Big Three of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love looking like they now know how to play with each other without stepping on each other’s talented feet.
Finally, in the world of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, we have the return of one of the top fighters and one of the most well-known athletes in the world. Ronda Rousey, once believed to be unbeatable before a second round knockout against Holly Holm more than a year ago ended her three year reign on top of her division, will make her return to the ring on December 30 against the new champion of UFC Women’s Bantamweight Division, Amanda Nunes.
It will be quite intriguing to see if all these teams are able to either rebound or build on their momentum heading into the playoffs are starting their season. All these games are a must watch because they all provide interesting situations for their season. It will fun to see what team achieves their goal!