This Week’s Sports Illustrated: SI’s Luke Winn has Florida over Wichita State, with Michigan State and Arizona Rounding out the Final Four

12COVv24_FLO_PromoFlorida will defeat Wichita State in the national title game. That’s the prediction from Sports Illustrated @SI_Now (with Michigan State and Arizona rounding out the Final Four) in the March 24, 2014 issue of the magazine on newsstands tomorrow. The SI NCAA Tournament Preview features six regional covers with the following cover subjects:  Michigan State’s Gary Harris, Syracuse’s Tyler Ennis, Florida’s Casey Prather, Arizona’s Nick Johnson, Wichita State’s Tekele Cotton and Connecticut’s Breanna Stewart. This marks the twelfth SI cover for Michigan State men’s basketball, ninth for Syracuse basketball, fifth for Florida basketball, fourth for Arizona basketball, third for Wichita State basketball, and eighth for UConn women’s basketball. Users can become part of March Madness by tagging their social profiles on our interactive covers on SI.com. 

The 30-plus-page section of the NCAA Tournament Preview features: SI’s bracket picks from the play-in game through the Final Four in Dallas; “The Breakout Players” or ones to watch in the tournament; “The Zone”, a breakdown of the best zone defense; the 2-3 of Syracuse; a women’s tournament preview; a profile 12COVv24_Uconn_Promoof Connecticut’s  Breanna Stewart and the “Five Minute Guide,” the everything-else-you-need-to-know about the tournament.

Among the features:

*Emma Carmichael profiles UConn women’s basketball star Breanna Stewart, the 6’4” sophomore who can score from every place on the floor and draws similarities to the NBA’s Kevin Durant.” Writes Carmichael: “What makes Stewart special isn’t difficult to qualify – she has averaged 19.7 points this season and scored 1,000 in just 63 games, the second fastest to reach that mark in school history. But there’s something else: Stewart is a new prototype for women’s hoops.” (Page 56) Her skill set includes much more than the average post player which is why Stewart is considered a new prototype in women’s college basketball. Says Stewart, “The fact that they expect me to do so many different things means [coach Geno Auriemma] can get on me for not doing so many different things if I don’t do them,” Stewart says with a laugh.  “I wouldn’t want it any other way.” (Page 60)

12COVv24_SYR_PromoThe truth is Stewart still has a postseason run and two full years with the Huskies to hone her skills on both sides of the court. Thus far, the Huskies have outscored opponents by 35.7 points, the highest average margin of victory in NCAA history for both men and women, largely in part to Stewart’s prowess. When asked about her future, Stewart said, “I envision leaving Connecticut with four national championships. I couldn’t expect anything else.” (Page 61)

 

 

 

 

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The McBucket List

11COVv10_PromoThe newly minted top scorer of the ‘00s Creighton senior Doug McDermott, appears on this week’s national cover of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (3/17/14)—on newsstands NOW. This cover is a recreation of the classic Larry Bird cover from 1977 and is McDermott’s first SPORTS ILLUSTRATED cover. As the greatest college scorer of this millennium, McDermott has scored more than 3,000 points, started in 140 consecutive games; 23 of which he’s scored 10 or more points. He’s had 10 straight games with 25 or more points and a total of 3 game-winning shots. Senior writer Luke Winn highlights McDermott’s versatility on the court and what McDermott has had to do to remain determined and focused throughout the season. Writes Winn, “More than 3,000 points now, and in how many ways? McBuckets’ bucket list is long and diversified. They’ve come on threes and post moves, on banked-in leaners and one-legged fadeaways, on hard curls and slipped screens.” They’ve been 85.5% right-handed, 12.8% lefty, and just 1.7% of them have been dunks. They’ve come in Peoria, Springfield and Wichita for three seasons and in Philly, Indy and New York City during this profile-boosting year in the Big East.” (Page 32)

To reach these impressive goals on the court, McDermott has had a number of inspirations in his life.  He recalls a trip he took when he was in seventh grade with his grandfather Earl and his father’s [Greg McDermott] Northern Iowa team to Indiana State to see Larry Bird’s number 33 retired. Now, years later, a large part of McDermott’s pregame routine includes watching the same YouTube montage of Bird HD highlights. “I love watching Bird” says McDermott. “He just plays a different way.” (Page 33) When senior guard Grant Gibbs learned of McDermott’s 3,000 point accomplishment he leaned over and whispered, “When they announced you passed Bird, a small part of me died inside.” (Page 34)

 Another pregame routine of McDermott includes a session with Jack Stark, the Omaha-based psychologist who has previously worked with NASCAR’s Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. During the session, Stark leads McDermott to a place in his mind where he can remove the clutter and visualize the day’s game. This process, the escape before he hits the court has been a pregame routine of McDermott’s since December 22nd, 2010. Stark is only a phone call away when McDermott isn’t playing at his home court although, it is McDermott’s responsibility to find a quiet place for these calls; even a bathroom. McDermott recalls, “I turned the light off and lay against the door to make sure no one would come in, because I wanted to stay focused…And it got really awkward. I could hear people saying, ‘What is going on in there?’ ‘I can’t get the door open!’ and I think someone tried to get security while I was lying there in the dark, listening to [Stark].” (Page 35)  That quick session was enough; McDermott finished the game against Missouri State with a total of 39 points.

 In just four seasons, McDermott has added so many dimensions to his offense that it’s nearly impossible for other teams to guess his next move. From his past inspirations of Larry Bird and his pre game rituals, he’s become a player who believes in the power of preparation and hard work.| SI Senior Writer Luke Winn

 

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The Pete Problem

10COVv17_PromoTwenty five years after this banishment from baseball, Pete Rose former Major League Baseball player and manager, appears on this week’s national cover of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (3/10/14)—on newsstands NOW. Rose has been on the cover of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED 15 times since ’68; the last time he appeared on the cover was in ’04. The current issue features an exclusive excerpt from the new book, PETE ROSE: AN AMERICAN DILEMMA by Assistant Managing Editor Kostya Kennedy. The book, published by SI Books comes out Tuesday, March 11.  

The all-time Major League leader in hits (2,456), games played, at-bats, and outs is no stranger to the spotlight of fans and critics. Rose has more base hits than anyone in history, yet he is not in the Hall of Fame. At a time when steroid users appear on the Hall of Fame ballot, now more than ever, the question “Does Pete Rose belong in the Hall of the Fame?” has developed into one of the most provoking in sports. “Of all the ways one might characterize the differences and similarities between Rose and those players known to have used performance enhancing drugs—the Hall of Shamers, as it were—it comes to this: Rose has been banished for the incalculable damage he might have done to the foundation of the game. Steroid users are reviled for the damage they actually did.” (Page 50)

The excerpt in this week’s issue looks at Rose today, three decades after he became the alltime hit king. Rose is still beloved by baseball fans and has no problem drawing crowds for his strict schedule of appearances and autograph sessions. Sparky Anderson, the Cincinnati manager through most of the 70’s who had issues with Roses’ lying about gambling said, “He played his heart out for me.” Years later, Anderson and Rose managed to mend the tear in their relationship before Anderson passed away in 2010. Rose still has plenty of detractors who will never be able to forgive him, but he has his supporters too. Barry Larkin, who went into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in July 2012 said in his induction speech, “I just want to thank Pete for the opportunity…His words of wisdom and his support and him talking to me all the time. Thank you, Pete Rose. I love you, man.” (Page 53)|SI Assistant Managing Editor, Kostya Kennedy 

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The Best for Last?

09COVv13CAN_PromoJohnathan Toews of the Canadian Olympic hockey team appears on the Canadian cover of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (3/3/14)—on newsstands NOW. This is Toews’ second SI cover, as he was featured last on the June 2, 2010 issue after winning the Stanley Cup with his NHL team, the Chicago Blackhawks.  Now, the Canadian Olympic gold medal team that defeated team USA 1-0 in the semi finals and Sweden 3-0 in the Olympic final on Sunday is the new world powerhouse for men’s hockey.  

As Canada’s prowess on the ice owned the tournament (the team never trailed in any of its six games and outscored opponents 17-3), there were other teams who were not performing at the level initially predicted. Russia epically failed while the U.S. was derailed by the Finns who went on to win the bronze medal. SI’s Michael Farber writes, “There was an extraordinary sight last Wednesday. Even though the Olympic cauldron was still roaring, the de facto closing ceremony had occurred hours earlier with Russia’s 3-1 quarterfinal loss to Finland. But it would have been rude for the hosts to start emptying ashtrays and doing the dishes in hopes that the guest would take the hint and leave. Russia tried. Television monitors in the media lounge at the figure skating arena had been wall- to- wall hockey, but with Russia out, journalists were treated to a replay of that morning’s biathlon.” (Page 36)

 The defeated Russian men’s hockey team watched as the clock ticked down, some of them wildly trying to skate up and down the ice, others watching from the bench. In the postgame interviews captain Pavel Datsyuk said, “We have tried to be a team. We discussed this in training, in the rocker room….But when out on the ice, emotions gush, every player is trying to take over the game, holding on to the puck. We all tried, but…” (Page 36)|SI Senior Writer, Michael Farber

ONLY SOLD IN CANADA

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The Race of His Life

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American Nascar driver and winner of the 2014 Daytona 500 Dale Earnhardt Jr. appears on this week’s regional cover of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (3/3/14)—on newsstands NOW. Earnhardt has appeared on 9 covers; his last appearance was February 18th, 2008 in a NASCAR Preview Issue of the Daytona 500. Now, at 39 years-old, NASCAR’s most popular driver is gunning for a career-defining title with his newfound confidence on the track. The most recent win at Daytona marks an incredible accomplishment for Earnhardt, and serves as a warning sign for all future competitors. This is only the start of something big.

As all drivers were summoned back to their cars after a rain delay, Earnhardt returned to his number 88 Chevy with clear eyes and focus. The race restarted at Lap 39 where he quickly took the lead around the 2.5-mile tri-oval. Of Earnhardt’s storied performance SI’s Senior Writer Lars Anderson writes, “While four multicar wrecks left two dozen cars damaged, most of the sport’s big names ran up front throughout. Earnhardt teammates Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon challenged late, as did Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski. Earnhardt covered every move, nailing his restarts to lead 54 of the last 70 laps, holding off Hamlin over the final two turns. It was by far the most spectacular single-race performance of Junior’s 15-year Cup career. On this long, wet night, he indeed drove like the Intimidator, and drew a roar like thunder from the grandstands as he reached out to snatch the checkered flag from the flagman.” (Page 42)

 With memories of watching his father, the late Dale Earnhardt the seven-time NASCAR champion, Earnhardt win brings an extra sense of triumph. “I think of my dad when I’m here, but not the way people might imagine,” Dale Jr. said. “I feel good here now. I have good feelings about him. I think he’d be proud now.” Now after winning the Daytona 500 for a second time, he is ready to keep the momentum going in his upcoming races this season saying, “My confidence level has never been higher, and that’s critical for me,” he says. “We’re going to run our guts out every week.” (Page 44)|SI Senior Writer, Lars Anderson

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Queen of the Mountain

09COVv23OLY_PromoU.S. gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin appears on this week’s national cover of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (3/3/14)—on newsstands NOW. A prodigy who earned the U.S’s first gold medal in the women’s slalom since 1972, Shiffrin offered a glimpse of the golden days to come. As the youngest-ever winner— male or female—of any Olympic slalom Shiffrin’s victory completed a strong second half of the Games for the U.S. Alpine racers.

 Competing in her first World Championship last February, Shiffrin became the youngest woman in 39 years to win an Alpine gold. A month later she won the slalom at the World Cup finals, before going on to secure the 2013 slalom season title. In five World Cup slalom races this season Shiffrin has won three times and finished second once. She traveled to Sochi as one of the favorites to win the gold in slalom and did just that. Of Shiffrin’s performance, SI’s Tim Layden writes, “When she pushed out as the last contending racer on the second run, she led Schild, whose videos she had studied while a high school student at Burke Mountain Academy in Vermont, by 1.34 seconds. Less than half a minute into the run she nearly went off course; her left ski lost its edge and flew into the air, forcing her to turn on her inside ski, a daunting move. But also one that she learned while doing the so-called Norwegian Drill at Burke. ‘She did that drill innumerable times,’ said Kirk Dwyer, her coach and headmaster at Burke, in a text message. ‘She also trained to see mistakes as opportunities.’” (Page 33)

 After winning a gold medal at age 18, Shiffrin has set her heights bigger and better for her future. In fact, just a day after competing Shiffrin laid down a hefty goal for the next Olympics and the way women’s ski racing is viewed saying, “Right now I’m dreaming of the next Olympics and winning five gold medals, she said. When I’m done, I hope that I can look back and say that I changed the sport, that I pushed women’s ski racing to be faster and more athletic.” (Page 34) |SI Senior Writer, Tim Layden

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Introducing 120 Sports

THE FIRST MULTISPORT, LEAGUE-BUILT LIVE STREAMING VIDEO NETWORK 

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 7.33.40 PMNEW YORK, NY (Feb. 20, 2014) – Today a first-of-its-kind network partnership involving multiple leagues and media properties was announced as 120 Sports, a live-streaming network created for the digital generation and the devices it uses most. In 120 Sports, today’s fans will have access to unauthenticated video programming through a new technology platform built to intuitively integrate video and data in ways fans haven’t experienced before. At launch, content partners will include 120 Sports equity investor Time Inc. (owner of Sports Illustrated), as well as the NHL, NBA, MLB.com, NASCAR and leading collegiate conferences via Campus Insiders (a joint venture between IMG College

and Chicago-based digital sports-media company Silver Chalice).

The groundbreaking enterprise, named 120 Sports for its concept of offering original sports programming in two-minute segments, will produce and distribute a 24-hour live linear network driven by a videocentric, 360-degree look across all sports. Set to debut later this spring, 120 Sports will feature original and hosted programming that will deliver timely, interactive narratives of the stories around sports, including game footage, analysis, conversation and social commentary from the players, newsmakers as well as voices of the fans.

“120 Sports is an innovative, addictive product that will give sports fans an amazing amount of always-on sports content and great technology so they can engage with news and highlights wherever they are,” said Todd Larsen, Time Inc. Executive Vice President. “The product will offer Sports Illustrated fans a terrific complement to our editorial coverage, and as a business partner Time Inc. will have a stake in an enterprise with tremendous promise.”

“We are always looking for new ways to serve our fans and provide them with the compelling digital content they crave,” said John Collins, Chief Operating Officer of the NHL, also an equity partner. “This partnership with 120 Sports will be a nice addition to our current programming lineup and a win for all sports fans.”

“This is the right time to collaborate across the infrastructure of sports properties as we take the collective assets of each partner directly to fans on their favorite devices,” said Bob Bowman, President & CEO, MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM). “Building a venture of this magnitude could only succeed with the right group of sports and news organizations and in the 120 Sports launch partners we have a product that will deliver on its promise to fans.”

The 120 Sports offering will originate through a state-of-the-art video and data product designed and optimized across all interactive media platforms, including: mobile, tablet, web, and connected devices. Created and powered by equity investor MLBAM’s technology infrastructure and mobile app development, the product will debut as free native applications for mobile and tablet devices as well as a web experience at 120Sports.com and other distribution outlets. A premium content offering will be introduced next year.

Silver Chalice, also an equity investor in 120 Sports, will oversee production and business operations. Production headquarters for 120 Sports and its talent will be based in Chicago at a custom-designed and built digital production facility on the campus of Harpo Studios. Silver Chalice and Sports Illustrated’s national sales organizations will lead all sales and marketing, while Sports Illustrated and Time Inc. will also provide operational and business development support.

To learn more about 120 Sports, visit http://www.120sports.com or follow us on Facebook

Additional partners, programming and talent for 120 Sports will be announced at a later date.

For more information please contact:
Scott Novak at scott_novak@timeinc.com, 212-522-2687 Matthew Gould at Matthew.Gould@mlb.com, 212-485-8959 Nirva Milord at nmilord@nhl.com, 212-789-2123
Emigdio Gamboa at egamboa@120sports.com, 312-999-6789

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From Time Inc. Executive VP Todd Larsen

I am pleased to share the news that Time Inc. has entered into a partnership to create 120 Sports, a groundbreaking digital-only sports-video programming network. Time Inc. will own a significant equity stake in the company, along with our partners at MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM), the National Hockey League (NHL) and Silver Chalice (SC), a Chicago-based digital-video production company.

This is an exciting opportunity for us. Not only are we building a new stand-alone business that complements one of our brands, we are also expanding our video and mobile offerings across Time Inc. Further, we will be able to offer our clients significantly more video programming inventory, as SI will drive ad-sales for the entire 120 Sports network as co-exclusive ad-sales agents with SC. The deal will also give SI editors access to the 120 Sports player and content—including game highlights of professional and collegiate sports—to enhance our coverage across all platforms 24/7.
120 Sports is named for its concept of offering original sports programming in two-minute segments, a pace the digital audience wants, and is set to premiere this spring with many hours of daily live and on-demand sports news reports and features. SI will contribute original programming to the network, along with content partners, which include MLB.com, the NBA, the NHL, NASCAR and several collegiate conferences.
This programming will be housed and distributed through a new state-of-the-art video and data player created by MLBAM specifically for 120 Sports and designed for all interactive media platforms, including mobile, tablet, Web, OTT and connected televisions. At launch, the 120 Sports product will debut as free native applications for mobile and tablet devices, a Web experience for SI.com, MLB.com, NHL.com and 120Sports.com.
This is a very ambitious enterprise for Time Inc. and one of many we hope to invest in as part of our plan to turn our brands into cross-platform powerhouses. I’d like to thank the entireSports Illustrated team for its hard work bringing this deal to fruition, especially Jim DeLorenzo, who quarterbacked the project from beginning to end.

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