Sports

Friday, January 10, 2020

Picks of the Dragon: Playoff Predictions

Posted By on Fri, Jan 10, 2020 at 12:23 PM

Tyler Vondrak a.k.a. The Dragon - KELLY RASHKA
  • Kelly Rashka
  • Tyler Vondrak a.k.a. The Dragon
It was a weekend of voodoo curses and dynasties dying but somehow I managed to get ahead, going 3 out of 4 on the picks. It would appear I forgot that the Saints are cursed in the post-season and Kirk Cousins was really liking it. Otherwise we are on pace for a great post-season sitting at $133 in the bank to work with. Let's see if we can’t wrangle up some winners for the second round and build this bankroll going into championship weekend.

Game 1: Vikings at 49ers (49ers -7)

After an excellent performance in the Wild Card weekend for the Vikings, they are flying out west on a short week to face the fearsome 49ers. 49ers looked unbeatable in the first half of this season, but after some injuries they returned to their expected mean of an 8-win team for the second half, dropping a game against the abysmal Falcons.

The Vikings are looking like a playoff team after last week, with Dalvin Cook at full health and defense playing to their ability. The 49ers could run away with this one but I think that there are some jitters here with it being Shanahan and Garoppolo’s first playoff game. Zimmer is a phenomenal coach and will have his guys ready. This is also right in Cousin’s wheelhouse of a nice daytime game. I’m more than happy to take a touchdown and see how this one plays out.

Bet: Vikings +7 for $25 to win $22.50

Game 2: Titans at Ravens (Ravens -10)

The legend of Tannehill and the phoenix rising from the ashes continued last weekend as the Titans snuffed out any Patriots hopes of a repeat. The real story of the game here is Derrick Henry, who is the 2019 NFL rushing champion. He is a force to reckon with and has really come into his own. Luckily for the Ravens' defense, they have some practice going against elite rushing offenses as they practice against their own. Lamar Jackson is simply the most fun player in the NFL I’ve seen in my lifetime. While I enjoyed the Titans story, I can’t see myself laying money against the Ravens this year. Too explosive, too hard-headed, too much smash-mouth football for a Titans team who’ve had a great story so far but it ends early. I’m not a fan of the 10 points but I see an opportunity teasing this one with the Chiefs game for 7 points to get the spread down to 3.

Bet: See below Chiefs game

Game 3: Texans at Chiefs (Chiefs -9.5)



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Friday, January 3, 2020

Picks of the Dragon: NFL Playoffs Predictions!

Posted By on Fri, Jan 3, 2020 at 3:21 PM

Tyler Vondrak a.k.a. The Dragon - KELLY RASHKA
  • Kelly Rashka
  • Tyler Vondrak a.k.a. The Dragon
With a hypothetical $100 and a dream, join Weekly betting guru Tyler Vondrak (aka The Dragon) as he takes his fictional dough and places bets on the big games of the week. This time around, The Dragon places his bets on the NFL playoff picture.

Game 1: Buffalo Bills and Houston Texans (Texans -2.5)

The whole season, bettors have jumped on and off the Buffalo Bill bandwagon. Josh Allen is a stellar sophomore season, and the supporting cast of John Brown and Devin Singletary catered a 10-win season and a slot in the opening weekend of the playoffs. The real star of this team however has been its defense, keeping teams to an average of 16.2 points per game.

Unfortunately for the Bills, they are running into one of the next generation of the NFL’s two greatest players: Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins. Playoffs are often decided by experience and Josh Allen just doesn’t have any yet. While the whole country seems to be on Bills bandwagon I’ll fade and go with the short home favorite to pull this one out by more than a field goal.

Pick Texans -2.5 for $20 to win $18

Game 2: Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots (Patriots -5)


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Thursday, December 12, 2019

Laughing Stock: Punch Lines

Posted By on Thu, Dec 12, 2019 at 1:00 AM

Giving a whole new meaning to punch line

“I feel like, as opposed to LA, everyone in Arizona can actually defend me in a fight,” says comedian Jamie Kilstein. He likes it here. That’s a lucky thing because five months ago he moved here on a whim. “I have actually grown more (here) artistically than in my life in L.A. and New York,” he says.

Not that those great comedy cities treated him badly. He debuted on Conan. He’s been on MSNBC's Up with Chris Hayes, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Showtime, The Joe Rogan Experience and BBC America. He launched two podcasts, and he earned a national reputation for smart, edgy political comedy, joking about arcana that actually matters. He’s lately joking about other facts of life, but all the high-speed punches arise from the same energy.

Kilstein performs with fellow cult favorite Ian Harris and Albuquerque up and comer Ron Swallow at 8 p.m. Sunday, December 15 at 191 Toole.

Kilstein and Harris became friends in Los Angeles. “We kind of clicked because we both have political material. Oddly enough, we also train and coach Mixed Martial Arts.

“I think people who fight oftentimes don’t have much of an ego because we get our ass kicked a lot,” he says. “So, the idea of splitting a bill was more exciting to us. I just want to make art with people I like.”

Ian Harris started both fighting and doing impressions at age 6, inspired by the movie, Rocky. “As a kid I’d watch all the boxing matches,” Harris says, “and I would do all the play by plays and the interviews after the fight for my parents. I would be Muhammed Ali being interviewed by Howard Cosell.”
He says his whole family were really funny, so it’s not surprising that he would find jokes everywhere, even in taboo subjects. “I can’t avoid it. Even on accident I talk about religion or politics. Those are the things that interest me. Bur I personally steer away from (drug humor). I don’t do a lot of alcohol or relationships.” Nor do either he or Kilstein do jokes about martial arts.

“I think a lot of my stuff comes from a very nerdy kind of scientific background,” Harris says. “Like ‘Look at these weird beliefs. Conspiracy theories, religion, and why do we believe in these things when the evidence so clearly is the other way.”

Of the show, he says, “It’s going to be nerdy and edgy. I think it’s going to be really fun.” Tickets are $12 and $15 via Rialtotheatre.com. Doors open at 7.

Mega Lineup at Casa Marana

Dave Margolis presents a blockbuster lineup at the December 12 edition of his free semi-monthly Casa de Comedy Show at Casa Marana. Featured are Andrea Salazar, Nick Chant, Dominic DiTolla, Ashley Anna Tappan, Stephanie Lyonga, Monte Benjamin Roxy Merrari and Charles Ludwig. Most have headlined bigger shows in Tucson. Hear Margolis co-hosting the weekly Is This On comedy radio show at 9 p.m. Wednesdays at xerocraft.org/listen.php .

Applause for the Paws!

Sarah Kennedy headlines at The O to benefit the Humane Society of Southern Arizona at 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 13. A 6:30 cocktail hour features an adoption event to make the day a lucky one for some shelter pets.

Kennedy started performing comedy in 2009 a few blocks from her Albuquerque home. After producing many shows, and sweeping her hometown papers’ Best Comedian awards, she left for the bright lights of NYC.

There, she appeared on the Today Show and MTV, wrote for The Advocate and Reductress and was a finalist in a national, NBC Stand-Up for Diversity competition.

Now back in Albuquerque she’s been a welcome guest on Tucson stages. Also performing are a hometown favorite drag queen, Miss Nature, and Autumn Horvat, creator and host of Comedians Who Aren’t Men. Eli Turner hosts. Tickets are $10 via support.hssaz.org/event/applause-for-paws/e255190.

Free Centenary Retro Game Show!

The longest-running live show in Tucson just keeps growing as its lascivious send-ups of mid-century TV game shows pack trendy Club Congress month after month.

The ensemble’s 100th show, and 8th-year anniversary, at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14, welcomes back six popular “celebrity guests” from shows gone by to play an anniversary round of The Mismatch Game. The towering and authoritative host Chatty Kathee presides with her sassy executive assistant Swish Marley.

To celebrate, the show is free with a donation to Toys for Tots. Seating is first come, first served, and there will be no splash zone.

The Pirates Who (almost) Stole Christmas

Kids from the audience help improvise the storyline of Elves Gone Bad: A Pirate’s Christmas at 1 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays, through December 22. Reservations are $5 at unscrewedtheater.org/events/

The story is that Santa and the missus have retired to Tucson, leaving the North Pole elves unemployed. What with the melting Polar Ice Cap, apparently, an evil pirate captain sails to Santa’s workshop to recruit the elves as pirates. Pirates, of course, steal presents instead of giving them. Mayhem ensues, and only audience members can put things back right, somehow.

We think all the elves and reindeer should move to Tucson, form a union and put Jeff Bezos out of business. How about you?

Lots More Comedy

Friday, Dec. 13: Standup with Keith Carey featuring Matt Holt at 8 and 10:30 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe ($12.50 and $17.50). Improv with Beefeaters and Improv 501 Showcase at 7:30 p.m. and The Soapbox at 9 p.m. at TIM Comedy Theatre (TIM)($5). Improv Blox student showcase at 6 p.m., Family-friendly improv with Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed (NBOJU) at 7:30 p.m. and Freeform Friday at 9 p.m., Unscrewed Theater ($5 and $8). Burlesque with The Manly Manlesque Show: Silent Night, Deadly Night at 10 p.m., Surly Wench Pub ($10 to $20)

Saturday, Dec. 14: Kids improv, F.O.M.P. (Friends of Make Pretends) at 2 p.m. at TIM Comedy Theatre ($5) Standup with Keith Carey featuring Matt Holt at 7 and 9:30 p.m., at Laffs Comedy Caffe ($12.50 and $17.50). Improv with the Ugly Sweater Show and Harold Omega at 7:30 p.m., and The Family of Things and The Dating Scene at 9 p.m. at TIM ($5). Family-friendly Elves Gone Bad: A Pirate’s Christmas at 1 p.m., Unscrewed Family Hour at 6 p.m., and NBOJU: Uncensored at 9 p.m., Unscrewed Theater ($5 and $8).

Free Open Mics

Sunday, Dec. 15, 6:30 p.m., The O, and 8 p.m., Chuckleheads in Bisbee.
Monday, Dec. 16, 7 p.m., Comedy at the Wench, The Surly Wench Pub.
Tuesday, Dec. 17, 6:45 p.m., Neighborhood Comedy, The Music Box Lounge.
Wednesday, Dec. 18, 7 p.m., The Screening Room and 8:30 p.m., The Mint.
Thursday, Dec.19, 8 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe and 8:30 p.m., Rockabilly Grill.

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Thursday, December 5, 2019

An Axe to Grind: Axe Throwing World Championship comes to town

Posted By on Thu, Dec 5, 2019 at 9:58 AM

A shot from last year's championship. - COURTESY WORLD AXE THROWING LEAGUE
  • Courtesy World Axe Throwing League
  • A shot from last year's championship.
The sport of axe throwing is nothing new, but over the last 10 years the sport has spread across North America, growing in popularity and becoming more accessible than ever before.

Just last year, Tucson saw two ranges come to town, including Splitting Timber Axe Range on 6401 W. Marana Center Blvd., which will play host to the world’s best throwers this weekend during the 2019 World Axe Throwing League (WATL) Championship.

The championship takes place on Dec. 8 and will pit 64 of the world’s best against each other for the title of world champion.

Evan Walters, commissioner of the World Axe Throwing League, said that Splitting Timber has applied to host competitions in the past as an affiliate member, and proved to be the perfect location for their biggest event.

He’s looking forward to seeing who the competition will bring out.

“There are so many awesome things about our tournaments such as seeing familiar faces, meeting new axe throwers, and just having fun with everyone in the axe throwing community, but for this competition it's much more high stakes,” he said. “All of the best axe throwers from around the world are competing for the title of world champion and it's going to be such a close competition. I'm very excited to see who takes it.”

Walters himself started out as an axe throwing coach just as a way to get out of the office before meeting the founder of the league and getting offered the role of commissioner. He’s involved in all aspects of the league, which has been around since 2017.

“Our vision is to prove that indoor axe throwing isn't just a unique experience; it can be a competitive sport,” he said. “We want to unite indoor urban axe throwing facilities from around the world under one professional axe throwing association.”

Walters said the sport is exploding fairly quickly.

“From just three years ago to being on ESPN, it's taking the world,” he said. “When we first started we had about six affiliated companies in four countries join, and now we have over 150 companies in 19 countries. We very well expect that to continue growing for some time.”

The championship will be a double-elimination tournament with the top 64 players from all of the league's seasons and tournaments over the past year. They'll face off in three-match rounds, with the best of the three matches moving on to the next round. If they lose they go into a B-bracket, and the winner of the B bracket and A bracket will compete at the end for the title of 2019 World Axe Throwing Champion. Along with the title, the winner will receive a cash prize.

Splitting Timber co-owner AJ Hughes loves to see people having fun and looks forward to introducing new people in Tucson to the sport this weekend.

“Axe throwing is all about the community and the people are the best part,” she said. “They’re all so welcoming, encouraging and supportive of one another.”

She’s especially excited to see some local axe throwers from the range have qualified to compete in the championship.

Tom Lickliter starting throwing about five years ago in his backyard for fun before joining leagues in January. He won his last three local regional championships, competed in two national events and qualified to compete in the World Championships a few weeks ago.

“I have been practicing four to five days a week since then,” he said. “My best advice is learn how to throw from an axepert at Splitting Timber then practice, join the leagues and most of all have fun.”

Shaun Thrush works at Splitting Timber and has been competing for about nine months. He will be competing in the Wildcard and Duals tournaments taking place Dec. 6 and 7.

“I had seen my friend’s video on Facebook last December, wanted to go, we went the following week and I was hooked,” he said.

To prepare for the championship, he has focused on “Lots and lots of practice and clearing his mind.”

Hughes, who runs Splitting Timber with daughter Bethany Buckmaster, is excited to share the fun of this sport with the community.

“I’m looking forward to see the axe throwers coming from around the world,” she said. “The people are what makes axe throwing so fun.”

For more information on the championship, including a full schedule, visit https://worldaxethrowingleague.com/espn-watl-world-championship-2019/.

The event is free to spectators and there will be a beer garden and several food trucks.

For those who can’t make the championship in person, it will be broadcast on ESPN.

How to get started with axe throwing
Some of Tucson’s local axe throwers from Splitting Timber shared their best tips for getting started with axe throwing.

“The best advice I can give for a new thrower is be patient at first and just figure out where to stand each time so the axe naturally hits the wood edge first.” - Jules Mondeau

“Best tip... find an axe, find a throw and stick with it. Consistency is key.” - Josh Brill

“It’s not about strength, it’s about finesse. If you throw too hard, the axe will over rotate.” - Bethany Buckmaster

“I always tell people that come in (to Splitting Timber) randomly to just do it. They come in and say they want to try it sometime. I tell them let’s do it now. Don’t be afraid and come as much as you can afford the money and time wise.” - Shaun Thrush

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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

All Bets Are On, Volume 42: On Arizona's Clash With Baylor in Waco, the Pac-12 Title Game and Our College Football Playoff Picks

Posted By on Wed, Dec 4, 2019 at 1:16 PM

All Bets Are On is back, with an action-packed show that covers the gamut of college sports information.

Wednesday's show begins with a discussion of Arizona basketball's showdown in Waco against 19th ranked Baylor University, with co-hosts Christopher Boan and Tyler Vondrak handing out their picks for the contest.

The duo then hand out their Pac-12 superlatives for the weekend's basketball action, with Boan and Vondrak picking Colorado to upset Kansas.

The third segment handles Friday night's Pac-12 Football Championship game, between Utah and Oregon, with both hosts handing out their picks for the contest in Santa Clara.

They also discuss the weekend's other conference championship games, including picks for the SEC, Big 12, Big 10 and ACC title games.

Wednesday's podcast concludes with the pair's picks for the upcoming College Football Playoff, with each giving their guesstimations as to who the four teams in the dance will be.

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Friday, November 22, 2019

All Bets Are On, Volume 40: Why Arizona Should Fire Kevin Sumlin, Is Arizona Basketball in Trouble and Pac-12 Superlatives

Posted By on Fri, Nov 22, 2019 at 2:32 PM

Co-hosts Christopher Boan and Tyler Vondrak return to break down the future of Arizona football, as well as analyzing the future for Arizona's mens basketball team.

Boan and Vondrak hand out their verdict on football coach Kevin Sumlin, who has won nine out of 22 games as the team's coach.

The duo hand out their picks to replace Sumlin, given his failure to revitalize the Arizona football program.

They then assess the way Arizona performed in their 71-64 win over South Dakota State on Thursday and hand out their pick for the team's first loss of the year.

The second segment handles this weekend's Pac-12 football games, with picks for game of the weekend, as well as blowout watch and upsets to watch for.

The final segment of Friday's podcast handles the pair's picks for the weekend's college football games outside the Conference of Champions.

Tune in each Friday for a new episode of the Tucson Weekly's sports podcast.

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Devonaire Doutrive Kicked Off Arizona Basketball Team

Posted By on Fri, Nov 22, 2019 at 2:25 PM

Arizona freshman Devonaire Doutrive gets some help up from his teammates during Arizona's 90-69 loss to UCLA in 2019. - CONNOR BUSS, FOREWORD FILMS
  • Connor Buss, Foreword Films
  • Arizona freshman Devonaire Doutrive gets some help up from his teammates during Arizona's 90-69 loss to UCLA in 2019.
Sophomore guard Devonaire Doutrive has been dismissed from the University of Arizona's mens basketball program, according to a University release.

The reason for the school's dismissal was not given in the release, which included a quote from 11th year coach Sean Miller.

"Effective immediately, Devonaire Doutrive has been dismissed from our men’s basketball program for violation of team rules," Miller's statement read. "He will continue to receive academic aid and support through the remainder of the current semester. We wish him well in the next steps of his academic and athletic career."

Doutrive has appeared in three games this season, averaging 3.3 points per game. He played 19 minutes in the team's 71-64 win over South Dakota State on Thursday night, after missing the team's first two regular season contests against Northern Arizona and Illinois.

The sophomore was suspended indefinitely prior to the team's preseason game against Chico State on Nov. 1, citing a violation of unspecified team rules.

It is unknown whether Doutrive's dismissal is related to his earlier suspension. 

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Arizona Survives Scare Against South Dakota State, 71-64

Posted By on Fri, Nov 22, 2019 at 9:24 AM

Arizona freshman guard Josh Green finished Thursday's game against South Dakota State with 15 points, 2 rebounds and an assist. The Wildcats won the contest, 71-64. - MIKE CHRISTY | ARIZONA ATHLETICS
  • Mike Christy | Arizona Athletics
  • Arizona freshman guard Josh Green finished Thursday's game against South Dakota State with 15 points, 2 rebounds and an assist. The Wildcats won the contest, 71-64.
The Arizona Wildcats fought through their first real adversity of the young college basketball season on Thursday night, holding off the South Dakota State Jackrabbits, 71-64.

The Wildcats (5-0), trailed for much of Thursday's contest, before scoring seven unanswered points midway through the second half to take control of the game.

The team's victory didn't satiate 11th year coach Sean Miller's quest for success, however, as the veteran coach lambasted his team for its poor play in his postgame comments.

"First things first, I want to give South Dakota State a lot of credit. Those kids and their coach had a really good game plan, they executed, they’re a well-disciplined team. We knew that before we played them," Miller said. "They’re used to winning and you can sense and feel that, and they have a very solid point guard. And (Douglas) Wilson we knew coming into the game was an outstanding player.

"And they’re disciplined on both sides of the ball. They played against the team tonight that wasn’t very smart, and that’s our team."

Miller's postgame soliloquy rambled on for another three or so minutes before moving on to other topics, but told the tale of a coach not satisfied with a single-digit victory against a team from the Summit Conference.

“Everybody gets kicks out of quick shots and it’s fun, it’s like we’re at a carnival. It doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t work," Miller continued. "The analogy is no different in college football. When the weather gets cold, you gotta be able to both run and pass. You gotta be smart. You know, that sounds good, but usually when the game gets going fast, that means that you’re flying around on defense, you’re getting defensive stops, you’re making good plays.

"And of course we have talent in the open court and that’s when the quick shots are going to go up and they’re going to be good shots. But to take quick, crazy shots, 3-point shots the way we did tonight, we’re very fortunate to win."

The Wildcats' path to victory against a zealous Jackrabbits squad began in earnest when freshman guard Josh Green hit a midrange jumper to give the home side a 40-39 lead with 11:51 left in the game.

Green, who finished the night with a team-high 15 points on 4-of-13 shooting, was one of three Wildcats to finish in double figures, along with Nico Mannion (14) and Zeke Nnaji (14).

Miller spotlighted the former in his postgame remarks, citing the lack of shots that Nnaji, who has entered the contest having hit 17 consecutive field goals, took.

The freshman forward finished the night with four made field goals on five attempts, with six rebounds in 21 minutes of game action.

Miller said the Wildcats need to do a better job of getting the ball inside the paint to Nnaji, instead of hoisting ill-time three-pointers, after Arizona shot 3-of-17 from beyond the arc.

“We have a player on our team who leads the nation. If you lead the nation in anything, you are outstanding. Zeke Nnaji has proven that when he gets the ball, especially around the rim, great things happen," Miller said. "We play 20 minutes, and he was in foul trouble, but it really started in the second half of the last game.

He didn’t take one shot. He didn’t take one shot. You have the nation’s leading field-goal shooter on your team and he doesn’t take one jump hook? Not one? That’s a problem."

The Wildcats will look to improve upon those facets come Sunday's 6:30 p.m. game, when they host Long Beach State.

The Beach enter Sunday's contest with a 1-3 record, having lost their last two contests to Stanford (86-58) and St. Mary's (81-63).

The two teams have met seven times, dating back to 1987, with the Wildcats winning each of those contests by double digits.

Sunday's contest will be carried on television by the Pac-12 Network. Tickets for the contest can be found on the University of Arizona's website.

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