March 2013 Sports Calendar
by Jonathan Zeller, 02/19/2013
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March is when the mainstream sports fan's attention shifts to college basketball, and New York City has plenty of NCAA action in store. The Big East tournament, for one, has what may be a last hurrah in mostly recognizable form at Madison Square Garden—where local favorite St. John's hopes to run off a few wins and strengthen its case for an NCAA bid. Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, the Atlantic 10 Championships bring the indomitable Butler Bulldogs (and, lest we forget, the VCU Rams) to the Barclays Center hardwood. And in the Northeast Conference, plucky local squads from LIU, Wagner and St. Francis vie for a trip to the dance. Of course, there's also ample madness in sports besides college hoops as the Rangers aim to climb in the standings; the Nets continue their charge toward the playoffs; the Knicks face both 2012 NBA finalists in a single week; boldface names Rafael Nadal, Juan Martín del Potro, Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka play tennis at MSG; Bernard Hopkins tries to win an IBF title just seven years short of AARP eligibility; and a fixed-gear bike race rolls through Brooklyn. For more on these and the rest of March's sports events, read on.
New York Rangers Hockey
All month long; Madison Square Garden
After an uneven start to the campaign, Henrik Lundqvist (the most stylish man in hockey), Marian Gaborik and company have climbed their way into playoff position as of press time. Still, it would be nice if they'd score a power-play goal once in a while. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com or stubhub.com.
Brooklyn Nets Basketball
All month long; Barclays Center
The Nets trail the Knicks for first place in the Atlantic Division, but we've really got our eyes on the Eastern Conference standings; at press time, there are only two-and-a-half games between Brooklyn's team, currently in fourth, and the Celtics, who sit in seventh. If the Nets drop just a bit and the Knicks hold on to the second seed, we could experience the pandemonium of the new intracity rivals facing each other in the playoffs. Jay-Z vs. Spike Lee. Prokhorov vs. Dolan. 'Melo vs. Deron. What fun! For tickets to this month's games, visit ticketmaster.com and stubhub.com.
New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder
March 3, 1pm; March 7, 8pm; Madison Square Garden
The Knicks lost some of their momentum heading into the All-Star break, but beating both of last year's NBA Finals opponents in a single week could help fans forget those troubles pretty quickly. The 'Bockers have already taken down LeBron James and the Heat twice this season, but it's fair to say that the glee of doing so will never get old for the Garden crowd. A victory could also draw Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler—an All-Star for the first time—closer to the top seed in the East. As of press time, they're four games behind Miami. The Thunder's visit, meanwhile, is their only trip to Manhattan and the first time the teams will meet this season. For tickets to these and other Knicks games, visit ticketmaster.com. For the big games, assume that you'll have to use stubhub.com.
BNP Paribas Tennis Showdown
March 4, 7pm; Madison Square Garden
The US Open is still months away, but those who must see tennis immediately will find some of the sport's biggest names competing in this nifty little exhibition. On the men's side, Rafael Nadal is slated to face Juan Martín del Potro. Women's stars Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka—two of the world's top-ranked players—will duke it out in the night's other match. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
Northeast Conference Tournament
Potential games March 6, 9 and 12; Wellness, Recreation and Athletic Center and Wagner College Gymnasium
Hey! It's time again for March Madness in New York City. And no NCAA league is more New York City–centric than the Northeast Conference, which boasts three members from the boroughs and holds its tournament games in on-campus gyms. This means that, if they're the higher seeds, Wagner and Long Island University could play quarterfinal, semifinal and title game matchups on their home courts with an NCAA tournament bid on the line. (Sorry, St. Francis fans—unfortunately, the Terriers have fallen too far behind to host games, but could still win their way into the NCAAs on the road). For more info, visit northeastconference.org.
Long Island University is set to host the Northeast Conference championship game on Tuesday, March 12 at 7pm. The winner of the tilt between the Blackbirds and Mount St. Mary's gets a trip to the Big Dance. Tickets will be available at the box office only, starting at 5:30pm. For more information, visit liuathletics.com.
Marcus Browne. Courtesy, USA Boxing
Bernard Hopkins vs. Tavoris Cloud (Boxing), Plus Marcus "Not a Sucka" Browne, nycgo.com's Favorite Boxer
March 9, 5pm; Barclays Center
Bernard Hopkins, at 48 years old, tries to wrest the IBF light heavyweight title from Tavoris Cloud. Hopkins is already the oldest fighter to have won a world championship—he was 46 when he won a decision against Jean Pascal for the WBA light heavyweight crown. Cloud, undefeated as a pro, will do his best to prevent Hopkins from making history again. Most important, though, there's an undercard featuring nycgo.com's favorite boxer—Staten Island's own Marcus Browne. The Olympian is 2-0 with two knockouts as a pro. Browne was supposed to fight in the Barclays Center ring last month, but when Danny Garcia got hurt the whole slate of bouts was canceled. We pity the fool who thinks Marcus would be sidetracked by such a delay, which only gave him more time to train—we have a distinct hunch that he won't be "going out like a sucka." For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
Courtesy, Big East Conference
Big East Basketball Championships
March 12–16; Madison Square Garden
Syracuse, St. John's, Georgetown and the classic Big East membership—who will, regrettably, be gone soon—never fail to put on a good show in one of college basketball's most storied conference tournaments. St. John's looks strong this year—they took down then–no. 14 Cincinnati and then–no. 20 Notre Dame earlier in the season—and a few wins here could help them reach the big dance. Houston, Memphis, Southern Methodist and their ilk may soon make the Big East bigger and less Eastern, but 2013 offers one last hurrah for the league as it once was. For tickets, visit bigeast.org or stubhub.com.
Since this article's publication, there's been complicated (but good!) news on the conference realignment front. The long and short of it is, there will still be a league called the Big East with many classic members, and they'll still play their tournament at Madison Square Garden for the foreseeable future.
Atlantic 10 Basketball Championships
March 13–17; Barclays Center
The first conference tournament held at Brooklyn's new arena ought to be a good one. Recent Final Four squads Butler (currently ranked no. 11, and with a win over no. 1 Indiana to their credit) and VCU are among the teams set to compete. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com or stubhub.com.
New York Red Bulls fan. Courtesy, Getty Images
New York Red Bulls vs. DC United (Home Opener)
March 16, 12:30pm; Red Bull Arena
After suffering another early playoff exit in 2012, striker Thierry Henry, midfielder Tim Cahill and the rest of the Red Bulls hope that this is the year the club finally captures the MLS Cup. They're led by new coach Mike Petke, who spent some time as a defender with the Red Bulls (née MetroStars) during his playing days. Their first opponent: bitter rivals DC United, who bumped them from the postseason last year. The fan pictured above is ready. For tickets, visit newyorkredbulls.com.
Metropolitan Lacrosse Classic
March 17, 1:05pm; Citi Field
The Mets' home hosts its first-ever lacrosse games. The college doubleheader features Michigan vs. Colgate, followed by Holy Cross vs. Navy. The Midshipmen are led by a player named Pat Kiernan who, as much as we'd like for him to be, is not the beloved NY1 news anchor. For tickets, visit mets.com.
NYC Half Marathon
March 17, 7:30am; starting at Central Park
Legend has it that the half-marathon was invented in the mid-1980s by elite distance runner Alberto Salazar, who—exhausted just past the 13-mile mark of yet another New York City Marathon—needed some way to save face as he bowed out of the race.* Regardless of its origins, there's no doubt that the contest is a considerable test of speed and endurance. For more info, including details on how to race, visit nyrr.com. General registration is closed, so aspiring runners must sign up through a charity. The NYRR website is also promoting some dining, shopping and entertainment discounts for competitors and spectators who are in town for the events.
*We made this up.
Four Leaf 15s Rugby Tournament
March 23; Randalls Island
Sixty-four teams of ruggers—men and women of all ages—battle it out for titles in six divisions in the latest installment of this annual tournament. For more info, including registration details, visit villagelions.org.
Rivals for Relief (NYPD vs. FDNY Hockey)
March 24, noon; Madison Square Garden
A team of New York City Police Department officers takes on a squad of former NHL players (the roster of ex-pros has yet to be announced). Proceeds will benefit the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, the Red Cross and the Stan Lee Foundation. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
Red Hook Criterium. Photo: Tak Sakamoto
Red Hook Criterium
March 30; check-in at 1pm, main race at 9pm; Brooklyn Cruise Terminal
This fixed-gear bike race is the first installment of a four-part series including another competition in Brooklyn and two more events in Barcelona and Milan. For more info, and to register for the race, visit redhookcrit.com.
New York Mets vs. San Diego Padres
April 1, 1:10pm; Citi Field
This offseason, Mets fans lost R.A. Dickey—the reigning National League Cy Young winner and one of the nicest guys in baseball. But there are reasons to hope. David Wright signed a long-term deal and will anchor the lineup, and Ike Davis—who managed to slug 32 home runs in 2012 despite not hitting for average—is unlikely to start as slowly as he did last year. Travis d'Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard, who came over from Toronto for Dickey, could contribute for years to come (though even d'Arnaud, who's farther along, probably won't play in Queens until at least May). With Matt Harvey, Johan Santana, Shaun Marcum and—eventually—Zack Wheeler, the team may have a competitive pitching staff on its hands. Sure, virtually every baseball pundit will tell you the team's outfield leaves much to be desired—but that's why they play the games. And on April 1, the Mets—like everyone else—will be tied for first place. If they beat the Padres, they'll stay there for at least one more day. For tickets, visit mets.com or stubhub.com.
New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox
April 1, 1:05pm Yankee Stadium
It was, for the most part, a quiet offseason in Yankeeland—no big, splashy acquisitions, at least—and the most controversial member of the team won't be suiting up for their opener against Boston. New PED accusations or no, A-Rod's injured and didn't even join Derek Jeter, C.C. Sabathia and the rest of the team at spring training. So, minus any off-field drama, that leaves a beautiful spring day and two baseball teams that don't like each other opening the season in the Bronx. (OK, maybe we will mention a little off-field drama in the form of the hilarious revelation that Red Sox marketing folk wanted to draw a greater share of female fans with more attractive players like Dustin Pedroia.) Today, the Bronx Bombers—who, we needn't remind you, have missed the playoffs only once since 1995—start playing games that count in the drive to win yet another World Series title. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com or stubhub.com.
NIT Championship. Courtesy, NIT LLC/S.R. Smith Sports Photography
National Invitation Tournament
April 2, 7pm; April 4, 9pm; Madison Square Garden
Some naysayers dismiss the nation's second-oldest postseason college basketball tournament—created just a year after the NAIA tournament and a year before the NCAA tournament—but savvy fans know that's a mistake. There are around 350 Division I college basketball teams, and only 100, not even a third of them, compete in either the NCAA tournament (68) or the NIT (32). This means that the NIT field, which generally includes a few regular-season conference champions, is bound to be strong. Plus, well-known MSG heroes (Walt Frazier) and villains (Reggie Miller) actually starred in the NIT long before making their marks on Knicks history.
NYC Mayor's Cup Basketball All-Star Game
April 5, 5pm; Baruch College
For the first time in recent memory, all-star teams of seniors from New York City's public and Catholic high schools square off in boys' and girls' contests. The event, part of NYC & Company's series of scholastic sporting events, is a noteworthy occasion for the City's high school hoops junkies. Also worth checking out: the PSAL Championships at Madison Square Garden on March 16. For more info, and to watch streaming video of the all-star games, visit the official NYC Mayor's Cup Facebook page.
April 7; MetLife Stadium
World Wrestling Entertainment's fans really, really like it, and you can expect a full house when TV-wrestling's biggest event comes to East Rutherford, New Jersey. To go along with the pay-per-view bash, there is a full week of New York–area events—officially known as WrestleMania Week. In New York City proper, there's the WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Madison Square Garden, taking place on April 6. Inductees include Mick Foley, Bob Backlund and Trish Status. For tickets to the ceremony, visit ticketmaster.com. And for way more info on all things WrestleMania-related, visit nycgo.com/wrestlemania.
Tony Hawk: Rad Science
Through April 22; New York Hall of Science
The way air resistance makes a curveball break; the geometry of the cuts that make the Princeton offense work; distance runners' battles against lactic-acid buildup in their own bodies: science is part of all the sports we love. This exhibition at the New York Hall of Science examines the role of physics in extreme sports like skateboarding and cycling. One of the minds behind the show is none other than Tony Hawk, one of the best-known skaters ever. Visitors can practice tricks on a stationary skateboard, roll through a simulated skate park in a video game and, on March 23, even build their own skateboards. For more info, visit nysci.org.
April 13: Jordan Brand Classic, Barclays Center
June 17: Staten Island Yankees home opener, Richmond County Bank Ballpark
June 18: Brooklyn Cyclones home opener, MCU Park
July 16: Major League Baseball All-Star Game, Citi Field
February 2, 2014: Super Bowl XLVIII, MetLife Stadium
March 2014: NCAA Tournament, Madison Square Garden