NBA, NHL Playoffs Underway

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Nick McAdam, Assistant Sports Editor

Summer is approaching, which means many of our favorite sports are in full swing.

Major League Baseball kicked off less than a month ago with teams already over the 20-game mark in the regular season. However, two new seasons within the NBA and the NHL have kicked off their postseasons as well.

Both playoff seasons for the leagues garner their respective audiences. According to Statista, the NBA had an audience of 18.1 million viewers in the Finals, while the NHL hovered around 5.1 million, which was a five percent increase from the prior season.

One of those viewers, especially for the NBA, is communications major Adam Ziobrowski. He said he is tuning into the NBA playoffs this year with a close eye on the Milwaukee Bucks, who could be the most exciting team, according to him.

“They haven’t won a title since the 70s and this could be their year to get back with the MVP performance of Giannis Antetokounmpo,” Ziobrowski said.

The Bucks already have a 3-0 series lead over the Detroit Pistons in this year’s cycle. Bucks player Giannis Antetokounmpo has averaged 27.7 points and 12.5 rebounds in the early portions of the series.

With the stats showing early for Milwaukee, Ziobrowski stated that he firmly believes that the Bucks and two other teams have the best shot at winning it all.

“The clear favorites are the Warriors, Bucks and the Raptors,” Ziobrowski said. “Those three teams have the quality starters and bench depth to make deep runs.”

Ziobrowski said he still thinks there could be some upsets on the horizon early on, especially in favor of the San Antonio Spurs.

“The Nuggets had a great season, but the Spurs are always dangerous during playoff time and much of that has to do with the coaching of Gregg Popovich,” he said.

Despite all of this, Ziobrowski explained that the Stanley Cup Playoffs have an edge over the NBA in terms of entertainment because there are more chances given to low-seeded teams to win it all.

“There’s more opportunity for low-seeded teams to upset, such as what just happened with Columbus sweeping Tampa Bay,” Ziobrowski said. “The NBA is so top-heavy that it’s the same old each year.”

The Columbus Blue Jackets recently pulled off an upset against the Tampa Bay Lightning, who won 62 games in the regular season. The Jackets swept the Lightning, scoring over 15 goals in the entire series.

This is also the first time in NHL history that both top-seeded teams in the Eastern and Western Conference have been knocked out in the first round after the Colorado Avalanche beat the Calgary Flames.

UC sophomore and Boston Bruin fan Wyatt Cayer agreed with Ziobrowski that the NHL is more entertaining. Cayer said he is excited to see what the Bruins can do this year after getting knocked out by Tampa last season.

“The most exciting part of the postseason so far is that the Boston Bruins made the playoffs,” Cayer said. “They are my favorite team and I’m thrilled. Hopefully, they can make it all the way.”

According to Cayer, either the Bruins or the New York Islanders are the favorites to win the Stanley Cup this season. The Islanders recently swept the Pittsburgh Penguins in the opening round.

Both sets of playoffs will continue into the early parts of June. Second-round action for both the NBA and the NHL starts this week after a few Game 7 contests take place.


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