March 18th, 2019

#thegist of it is…

Canadian teenager, Bianca Andreescu, made tennis her-storySurprisingly, Roger Federer didn’t win Indian WellsThe madness is startingAnd you’re invited to complete your March Madness bracket(s) with The GISTWith less than three weeks remaining in the NHL season, get #thegist on what you need to knowAn Irishman won a golf tournament on St. Patty’s day, how ironicMikaela Shiffrin set yet another skiing recordSome Canadian Paralympians are bringing home the goldThe NFL’s suspension of Kareem Hunt will have you shaking your headAnd, see what’s up this week.

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A Canadian Tennis Queen Makes Her-Story  

The GIST: Eighteen-year-old Bianca Andreescu made her-story on Sunday defeating No. 8 seed Angelique Kerber 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in dramatic AF fashion to win the BNP Paribas Open (also known as Indian Wells)! #BiancaRising? Nah. More like #BiancasRisen.
This is a BFD! Why?: Indian Wells is arguably the biggest tournament outside of the four grand slams. Andreescu is only 18 years old. 18!!! She’s the second youngest woman to ever win this tournament (the youngest was 17-year-old Serena Williams back in 1999… not bad company to be in, eh?). She is the first wild card on the WTA tour to win at Indian Wells. She only started playing in the WTA in August 2017. And, she’s the first Canadian to ever win a premier WTA tournament, let alone the first Canadian (male or female) to win the Indian Wells title.
But wait, there’s more: At the beginning of the year, Andreescu was ranked No. 152 in the world. At the beginning of Indian Wells, she was ranked No. 60. Now? She’s ranked No. 24. We are tired just writing about all of this improvement. She’s simply extraordinary. Keep slaying the game, Bibi!
Over on the men’s side: TBH it was far less exciting. Austrian Dominic Thiem defeated Swiss legend Roger Federer 3-6, 6-3 7-5. It’s important to note that we were v close to having a Canadian in both the men’s and women’s final, but unfortunately Milos Raonic (pronounced MEE-LOSH RAU-NITCH) lost in the semis. Still, if this tournament has shown us anything, it’s an absolutely wonderful time to be a Canadian tennis fan.


Mad as a Hatter

The GIST: It’s March, which means it’s time to bring on the madness. March Madness, that is.
Remind me. What’s March Madness?: It’s an annual NCAA men’s and women’s college basketball tournament where the top 68 teams in the U.S. (64 teams for women) compete to be named the best college team in the country. Like tennis, this tournament is a bracket-style format meaning the winner moves on and the loser goes home. Bring on the pressure.
Why should I care?: There are so many reasons. But, March Madness is amazing because you never really know what’s going to happen. These players are kids. Most haven’t fully developed as players. So, unlike the NBA and WNBA, there are a lot more mistakes, a lot more upsets, and even some Cinderella stories (no, unfortunately not the Hilary Duff kind).
As a result…: It’s SO MUCH FUN to get your competitive juices flowing by completing your own bracket (choosing who you think is going to win each game) and competing against your friends, fam, colleagues or fellow GISTers. There’s literally a one in 9 trillion chance of having a perfect bracket so you have nothing to lose.
Okay, this sounds sweet. When does it start?: The men’s madness starts March 19th and ends April 8th. The women’s starts March 22nd and ends April 7th. You can catch most games on TSN.
Teams to watch: On the men’s side, keep a close eye on Duke, Gonzaga, Villanova (last year’s winner) and our “Cinderella pick”, Syracuse. On the women’s side, you have to watch Baylor, UConn, Notre Dame (the 2018 champion) and our dark horse pick, UNC.  
Players to watch: Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett (Canadian shout out!), Admiral Schofield (is it just us or does this name remind you of the game Clue?), Arike Ogunbowale (she’s probably our favourite player to watch), Asia Durr and Aislinn Konig (our Canadian girl!).
Want more?: Of course you do. Read The GIST’s Guide to March Madness here. It’s a must read before you fill out your bracket. We’ve got your back.
Speaking of...: We’re hosting our own FREE March Madness bracket competition for our GISTers (yes, that means you)! And we’re hosting for both the men’s AND women’s tournament. To join our men’s bracket click here. To join the women’s click here. Your bracket(s) must be completed by Thursday March 21st. What’s on the line? Bragging rights, Amazon gift cards, and a GIST prize pack (including our coveted crew neck). Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favour.


How you feel when your significant other asks you to move in...

The GIST: 
Things are getting serious. Just like the NHL and NBA seasons. With just under three weeks left in the regular season, teams are battling to make the playoffs, and are vying for home-ice or court advantage.  
Losin’ Leafs: It hasn’t been looking good for the Toronto Maple Leafs as of late. They’ve lost three of their last four games and in those games allowed 23 goals (!!!). And, on Saturday night, they lost in embarrassing fashion to the last place Ottawa Senators 6-2. Despite these losses and their horrendous defence, the Leafs have a 97% chance of making the playoffs. Still, this is not the time to be slumping. 
Speaking of Ottawa: Although the 2019 playoffs are not in the Sens' future, we have a cool story for you anyway. Ottawa-born and Princeton University student Max Veronneau made his debut for the Sens last week and earned his first NHL point against the Leafs on Saturday. Thatta boy! Learn more about your hometown jock and brainiac here.
What else you need to know: The Canadian teams that are most likely to make the NHL playoffs are the Leafs, the Calgary Flames and the Winnipeg Jets. The Montreal Canadiens might make it as an Eastern Conference wild card (the top three teams in each division make it plus two conference wild cards). Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Lightning are the best team in the league and are the only team to have clinched a playoff spot and home-ice advantage so far.  
Over on the hard courts: Our Toronto Raptors have already clinched a playoff spot and will likely have home-court advantage. But, they’re still sitting in second place in the Eastern Conference, just three games behind the Milwaukee Bucks. If the playoffs started today, our Raps would be playing the Brooklyn Nets. The biggest change for this year’s NBA playoffs? No LeBron James and no Cleveland Cavaliers. Tell them boys bye.

GIST Some Other Sh!t You Should Know

- Irishman Rory McIlroy won the Players Championship golf tournament on Sunday in stunning style. Talk about the luck o’ the Irish and on St. Patty’s day no less!
- American skier Mikaela Shiffrin just keeps breaking records and taking names. Shiffrin won the giant slalom gold medal on Sunday to take the season-long standings title. With this win, she lifted her record-tying fourth World Cup Crystal Globe (awarded to the skier with the most points at the end of the season...basically the Stanley Cup of skiing) of the same season. That’s right, she already won Crystal Globes in the overall, slalom and Super-G this season. What, like it’s hard?
- Speaking of gold medals, our Canadian Paralympians have been killing it on the world stage. Tristen Chernove won gold in the indoor track race world championships, Brian McKeever won the cross-country short race and Katarina Roxon won the 100m in swimming on Sunday. Yep, this all happened in one day!
- Remember Kareem Hunt? That NFL running back who was caught on camera last February kicking and shoving a woman outside of his home? The guy who was let go by the Kansas City Chiefs, put on the NFL’s exempt player list and subsequently picked up by the Cleveland Browns? Good memory. (New to the story? Get the deets here.) Well, on Friday, the NFL took Hunt off their exempt list, instead just suspending him for the first eight regular-season games without pay… yet again setting an example for young men everywhere that you’ll only kind of sort of be punished for assaulting women. FIO, NFL!   

What’s Up This Week

All Week: The Special Olympics hosted in Abu Dhabi, UAE kicked off on March 14th and end on March 21st. You can catch most of the coverage on TSN and stay up-to-date on all of Canada’s athletes here. Our fave moment so far? This.

Tuesday: The Leafs are still on the road. On Tuesday they’re facing off (literally) against the Nashville Predators at 8 p.m. ET and then take on the Sabres in Buffalo on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET.

Wednesday: This week, the Sens are visiting the west coast of Canada. On Wednesday they face the lowly Vancouver Canucks at 10 p.m. ET and on Thursday they’re in Calgary playing the Flames (who, ironically, are on fire lately) at 9 p.m. ET.

Sunday: It’s the CWHL (Canadian Women’s Hockey League) Clarkson Cup! Puck drops at 12 p.m. ET at the Coca-Cola Coliseum in downtown Toronto. Get your tickets here (they’re v reasonably priced) and if you can’t make it, be sure to watch on Sportsnet.


Sign me up!