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Mitch's Sports Report: Bad Night In Miami Has Patriots At Risk Of Losing Home Field For Playoffs

On a night when Patrick Gymnasium held a ceremony to rename its court after a revered ex-coach, the UVM men's basketball team kept the feel-good vibe going once the game started, never trailing in an 81-57 rout of Siena.

The Catamounts now play their games on Tom Brennan Court, an honor bestowed on the coach who guided the team in a 19-year career that culminated with the shocking upset of Syracuse in the 2005 NCAA tournament. Brennan was on hand for the 20 minute ceremony prior to the game and was beaming throughout the presentation, and stuck around for the dominating performance that broke a UVM two-game losing skid. The Catamounts led wire to wire and six players in double figures, led by Drew Urqhart, who finished with 13 points and six rebounds as the Catamounts improve to 7-4 on the year and are undefeated on Tom Brennan Court.

To the NFL, and you could kind of sense this one coming. The New England Patriots went down to Miami for a nationally televised Monday night game, and were without the services of tight end Rob Gronkowski, whose late hit on a defenseless Tre-Davious White near the end of the Pats win against Buffalo last week earned him a one-game suspension. The Dolphins have traditionally given the Patriots fits, especially in Miami, and on a night when the Dolphins were wearing their throwback 1972 uniforms, perhaps to remind the Patriots that they are still the only franchise in NFL history to record a perfect season and go on to win the Superbowl they did turn back the clock, avenging a loss to New England just a few weeks ago in Foxboro, and tagged Tom Brady and company with a 27-20 loss.

Miami quarterback Jay Cutler isn't one tenth the signal caller that Tom Brady is, but he did outplay him last night, throwing for 263 yards and three touchdowns, two of them to Jarvis Landry, while Brady was intercepted twice by Xavien Howard, and perhaps even more shocking, did not complete a single third down conversion on the night.

The Pats couldn't get anything going on the ground, either, with a paltry 25 yards rushing, while Kenyan Drake of the Dolphins ripped through the Patriots defense for 114 yards on the ground. All of this could be dismissed as a bump in the road except for the fact that the Patriots now trail the Pittsburgh Steelers by one full game for best record in the AFC and home field advantage throughout the playoffs, and the Patriots will need to beat Pittsburgh next week to regain an even footing with them.

If the Pats were looking past this game with Miami to that showdown, shame on them, because they've made that mistake before, most notably a few years back when they sleep-walked through an end of the season loss to Miami that resulted in loss of home field in the playoffs and a subsequent loss in the post-season to Denver. They'll have Gronkowski back for next week's game against Pittsburgh but the team's confidence may be shaken by the poor showing last night and the Steelers may be licking their chops when the Pats come calling on Pittsburgh's home turf in Steel City next weekend.

In the NHL the Dallas Stars had been on a three-game losing slide but went into Madison Square Garden last night and snapped it with a 2-1 overtime shootout win over the NY Rangers. The Rangers can thank their back-up goalie for getting at least one point for the regulation tie in this one. Andrej Pavelec was outstanding filling in for Henrik Lundqvist, stopping 44 of the 45 shots put on net to get the game to overtime, but he couldn't turn away Jason Spezza in the shootout round to get the win. Rick Nash scored for the Rangers late in the third to get the game to extra time.

The Boston Celtics don't want to be known as the team that can't win without one player, so they might need to find out if last night's blow-out loss to the Chicago Bulls was just an anomaly. It isn't the first game they've played with superstar Kyrie Irving in the line-up this season, and they did win in the previous contest without his services back when he suffered a minor facial fracture from an inadvertent elbow thrown by his own teammate, but Irving was out again last night with a bruised quadriceps, and the Bulls just ran roughshod over the Celtics in Chicago without him in a 108-85 win.  

This was a big game for a Bulls player who had missed games with his own facial fractures, but not from an inadvertent teammate's elbow, but rather intentional blows with a teammate. Nikola Mirotic got into a fight at practice with Bobby Portis and had to miss more than 20 games as a result. But it's all kumbaya now, and last night he poured in 24 points to lead the last place Bulls to a big upset win over the team with the league's best record.


A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
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