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Jay Osika

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I'm a soon-to-be-graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Currently, I'm student teaching and hoping to become a full-time high school English teacher come next year. Sports have run my life since I was a kid and I wouldn't have it any other way. I played club baseball at U of I, but I have knowledge in the NBA, NFL, and most interest in NCAA Basketball. A die-hard Bears, Bulls, and White Sox fan, Chicago sports have the greatest influence on my life.

Author's Articles:

March is officially here and arguably the best month of sports is about to begin. We've entered a time of college basketball where teams are gearing up for the post season and making their runs for their conference tournaments. When things get going, "madness" can barely describe how exciting games can get. Teams are hoping to earn quality wins to get a bid for the NCAA Tournament, so games are going down to the wire and players are laying it all on the line. While the Big Dance gets all the press for the excitement and upsets, the conference tournaments have chances to give fans better games on any given day. The NCAA does mean that...

Going into the 2013-14 season, the NCAA Basketball Rules Committee made it a point to look closer at hand-check fouls during the game. In order to increase scoring, the idea has seen its fair share of debates throughout the season. While I'll wait to see if this rule is really making an impact on scoring after more time, the NCAA may have missed its mark to increase the excitement of the game. As in most sports, the level of excitement for the average college basketball fan is usually predicated on the amount of points that go up on the board. Aside from sport purists, defensive battles tend to generate less of a buzz than games that...

Tonight is the rematch fans have been waiting for since the overtime thriller between Syracuse and Duke at the Carrier Dome. At 7:00 pm EST, the teams face off in what could be a preview of the national championship this season. In their last meeting, Duke and Syracuse provided us with one of the best games in recent memory. It featured lead changes, a clutch three in the closing seconds of regulation, and the largest crowd the Carrier Dome has seen during a regular season game. You can bet that tonight's game will likely feature a similar environment. Cameron Indoor Stadium, Duke's home arena, is one of the loudest and most raucous...

With this week's upset of previously undefeated Syracuse, the Wichita State Shockers are officially the last unbeaten team in the nation. We're heading into the closing stretch of the regular season, and Wichita State has a legitimate chance to run the table. Two of their last three games are at home, and their opponents are not exactly the most dominant college programs. The knock on this team this year - and in past seasons for that matter - has been equivalent to the Boise State debate in college football. Who have they played? The Shockers play in the Missouri Valley Conference and it is in no way the grind that is the Big Ten or ACC....

The 2014 NBA Draft has been heralded as one of the best classes in recent history. This year could produce a large number of All-Star caliber players, several of whom have program changing talent. Now when I say program changing, I mean a player that can be the piece to take the teams we see in the bottom of the standings into championship conversations almost immediately. The NBA, unlike any other sport, is a superstar driven league. This draft class boasts several players at that level, two of which have rumors surrounding them indicating they may return for another season at their respective schools. Jabari Parker of Duke and Joel...

A week removed from Marcus Smart’s recent outburst against a Texas Tech fan, there have been talks about how this incident will affect his draft stock for this year’s draft. Last year, Smart was a top NBA prospect who was slated to go anywhere in the first three picks. At the time, he showed number one overall talent, but with the Cleveland Cavaliers owning the number one pick, Smart would have likely fallen to the Orlando Magic with Kyrie Irving holding the point guard position for the Cavs. Smart was one of the few bright-spots in a much diluted draft, yet he decided to return for his sophomore season. This season has been a...

Coming into the 2013-14 season, the Big Ten looked to be at the top of the conference power rankings. They were coming off a successful NCAA Tournament having seven teams receiving bids. This season looked just as promising with schools like Michigan State, Michigan, and Ohio State earning preseason top-15 rankings. Michigan St. looked particularly impressive with their roster boasting both talent and experience. Now that the conference season has had a chance to develop, the difficulty of playing a full Big Ten schedule is rearing its head. Certain teams have emerged as the dominating forces in the conference, while others have begun to...

  The ACC is loaded with talent this year. They have one of the few unbeatens left in the country, a projected lottery pick, and depth that college basketball needs to succeed. With Syracuse and Duke being two of the biggest contenders, there is a chance that the final four sees two teams coming out of this conference (depending on how the regions pan out). Jabari Parker leads the possible NBA draft class from the ACC, but we could see another four players come off the board in the first round alone. What team looks to go deep in the tournament this year? Who are the biggest surprises and disappointments?   Biggest...