The Sports World is Heating Up

posted by Steve Bortstein - 

If you've been feeling a little down and out lately, there's good news on the horizon.

Brackets are coming soon for your NCAA tournament action, the ethereal tone of the Masters theme song will soon be permeating the television airwaves, and the sweet smell of hope will come alive at ballparks around the Major League Baseball season.

For NBA and NHL fans, another long postseason is right around the corner, and NFL fans can start mocking drafts left and right.

It's another one of those "favorite times of the year" for sports fans, so never fear. 

The real fun and games is coming soon. 

Curry goes down to injury, Warriors win again

NBA action last night, and the Golden State Warriors aren’t going anywhere. Winning for the 7th straight time, the Warriors remain just a half-game back of the Houston Rockets with a 110-107 win at home over the San Antonio Spurs. Golden State was led by Kevin Durant, who scored 37 points in the win. Golden State played much of the game without all-star Steph Curry, who left the game in the first quarter with an ankle injury. Other NBA action saw the Boston Celtics clinch a postseason berth after a 117-109 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Duke v North Carolina

Another Tobacco Road Showdown

NCAA conference tournaments are in full swing, and it’ll be another rematch of Duke vs. North Carolina tonight after both teams advanced in the ACC Tournament. The Blue Devils knocked off Notre Dame 88-70 while the Tarheels blew out Miami 82-65. The winner of the ACC Tournament could find themselves as a potential 1-seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. 

This will be the third meeting this season between Duke and North Carolina, with the teams splitting the season series.  

Talib goes to the Rams

NFL news, and another busy day for the Los Angeles Rams, who reportedly are trading with the Denver Broncos for defensive back Aqib Talib. The Rams are sending a fifth-round pick in this spring’s draft for Talib, according to sources. The trade won't become official until the new league year begins Wednesday. 

The Rams last week acquired All-Pro cornerback Marcus Peters from the Kansas City Chiefs.

For what it's worth, the Broncos got more than they bargained for from Talib. He was signed to a six-year, $57 million deal in 2014 and was named to the Pro Bowl in each of his four seasons with the team. Talib had 11 interceptions combined over the past four seasons and he was at least tied for the team lead in three of those seasons.

On the flipside, Talib was also suspended for a game on two separate occasions in his time with the Broncos, for poking then-Indianapolis Colts tight end Dwayne Allen in the eye during a 2015 game and for a fight with Raiders receiver Michael Crabtree during the Broncos' loss in Oakland this past season.

Talib also missed the Broncos' visit to the White House in the summer of 2016 because he had suffered a gunshot wound to his lower right leg in Dallas. No charges were filed in the incident -- the bullet entered Talib's leg near his thigh and exited his right calf.

For the Rams, this latest series of moves shows a willingness to address the defensive side of the ball. The acquisition of Peters and Talib, while risky from a personal/professional standpoint, should make them a dangerous commodity in the NFC West next season.  

ESPN.com contributed to this story.

One More Thing....

Many of you already know this, but allow me a moment to explain to the rest of you out there about my fascination with the sport of horse racing.

Tomorrow is the Santa Anita Handicap, a race rich with history and tradition.

And now, it's sadly become a bit of an afterthought.

With the recent introduction of the Pegasus World Championship, held in late January at Gulfstream Park in Florida, as well as the global appeal of the Dubai World Cup, annually held at the end of March in the Middle East, the "Big Cap" has sadly been lost in the shuffle.

There are, of course, a number of other reasons the race has struggled to maintain its place in history that it once maintained. 

And while tomorrow's edition of the race, check out the list of entries here, may lack some of the great star power of year's past, it remains one of the most important races on my personal calendar of must-see events.

For complete coverage of the Santa Anita Handicap, as well as best bets from around the country, make sure to tune in to The Fast Track, presented by SunRay Park and Casino, airing weekends at 10am ET on this I Heart Radio station and on the app at foxsports1340.com.

And if you're interested, take a moment and revel in the very first Big Cap which I ever saw live. It was the 1982 edition, featuring a dramatic stretch drive between champions John Henry and Perrault. 

You'll understand why the race has such dramatic and long-standing appeal. 

I normally don't condone becoming a fan or getting personally invested into a racehorse. People who don't have the stomach for racing's dramatic and sudden turn of events are often troubled by the heartbreak of the sport, but John Henry was a legend. He was easily one of my most favorite horses growing up, and the chance to see him live -- in a mass of humanity of more than 70,000 people at "The Great Race Place" was one of the truly greatest moments in my early years. 

title

Content Goes Here