In this week’s edition of Around the Dorm, “Ref” Alexander Reich asked our panel of three experts — Malcolm Luck, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Miguel Gonzalez — three questions: 1. Will Tiger Woods win the Masters this year? 2. Can the Boston Celtics make a deep run in the playoffs without Kyrie Irving? 3. Will the Houston Astros continue their momentum from their 6-1 start?
1. Will Tiger Woods win the Masters this year?
Malcolm: I don’t think Tiger Woods will win the Masters this year. He’s been performing pretty well lately, but definitely not well enough to outperform some of the guys like Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth, who have all maintained better success more recently. I think Tiger Woods has been getting so much hype lately because of the drastic improvement he has stumbled upon. It seems like a few years ago I would turn on SportsCenter to see Woods injured or performing uncharacteristically poorly in tournaments. Seemingly out of nowhere, he’ll flash signs of his old self with a long putt for a birdie and a classic fist pump but it’s nothing like his old self. Unfortunately, we have seen the best of Tiger, and I don’t think he’ll win another major event ever again.
Matthew: Tiger Woods will not win the Masters this year. Tiger has been very competitive these past few tournaments, but the Augusta National is a much more difficult golf course than the ones he has played on since his return. With young players like Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas and seasoned veterans like Matt Kuchar and Henrik Stenson, Tiger will not be the one putting on the green jacket.
Miguel: It’s good to see the red Nike polo shirt at the Masters. While I admire Tiger Woods’ effort to come back on top, the competition is simply too much for him at the Masters. With perennial contenders like Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed and Rickie Fowler, Woods can’t be considered the best golfer in America. Tiger Woods at the Masters in 2018 is like seeing Vince Carter in the NBA dunk contest. Regardless of the result, Woods is definitely showing potential after placing in fifth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and second at the Valspar Championship. If he keeps persisting and placing high in future tournaments, I can see Woods winning the Masters in two years.
Miguel gets 3 points for adding that Woods does have the potential of winning. Matthew gets 2 points for pointing out that Woods is still competitive. Malcolm gets 1 point for his negativity about Woods’ future.
2. Can the Boston Celtics make a deep run in the playoffs without Kyrie Irving?
Malcolm: The Celtics still have potential, but I don’t think they have a deep run left in them without Kyrie Irving. The Celtics win and lose games on their defensive output, and I don’t think that’ll be any different without Kyrie. He wasn’t necessarily a defensive liability, but he definitely isn’t good enough on defense to cause the Celtics to truly miss his presence. On offense, however, clutch playoff Kyrie will undoubtedly be missed. I’m a huge fan of his replacement Terry Rozier. I think Rozier has triple-double potential every time he steps on the court, but we have yet to see him in a playoff atmosphere. I’m not convinced that he can lead this team in a do-or-die type of game, and he definitely isn’t a good enough shooter to take clutch shots like Kyrie. Considering that they’re now losing games against the (really, really, really bad) Atlanta Hawks at home, I can see any team in the East knocking off the Celtics after the first round.
Matthew: The Boston Celtics cannot make a deep run without star point guard Kyrie Irving. Kyrie had been the difference this year that would have propelled the Celtics over the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Toronto Raptors. However, without star small forward Gordon Hayward and star point guard Kyrie Irving, the Celtics are not advancing to the Finals this year.
Miguel: The Boston Celtics should be more worried about its foes this year. In an Eastern Conference filled with strong teams like the Toronto Raptors, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Indiana Pacers, the Celtics don’t have much room for error. Not to mention the Celtics will have to deal with the red-hot Philadelphia 76ers, who are currently on a 14-game winning-streak. Sure, while the Celtics do have excellent players like 20-year-old forward Jayson Tatum, guard Marcus Smart and guard/forward Jaylen Brown, it won’t be enough to win the Eastern Conference. The Celtics should be thankful they are not in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.
Malcolm gets 3 points because he added that any team in the East can beat the Celtics. Matthew gets 2 points for mentioning Hayward. Miguel gets 1 point because he said that he does not think the Celtics can advance.
3. Will the Houston Astros continue their momentum from their 6-1 start?
Malcolm: The Astros cannot and will not be stopped. Right now, they’re my front-runners for the World Series title. Every aspect of their team has so much depth. Their starting rotation, lineup and bullpen are all probably in the top five of the American League. They’ve added Gerrit Cole, who has looked phenomenal through his first two outings of the year. What really convinces me, however, is their lineup. With Springer, Altuve and Correa all at the top of their lineup, they’re easily one of the most consistent offensive teams in the league. Josh Reddick and Brian McCann have also been adding to the offensive powerhouse early on in the year which is promising as well because the top of their lineup can’t carry the entire team. The Astros are something special, and the rest of the baseball world should definitely take notice.
Matthew: The Houston Astros will continue their hot streak after their 6-1 start. With the new addition of Gerrit Cole, the World Series champs only got better this offseason and are primed for a great season. As long as star shortstop Carlos Correa and reigning MVP Jose Altuve stay healthy, they will be a force to be reckoned with.
Miguel: Man, I have to admit, the Houston Astros are great. Throughout Major League Baseball history, championship teams usually can’t replicate their success from the previous year. It’s difficult because of free agency signings, retirements, trades and coaching changes. Unlike past championship teams, the Astros haven’t skipped a beat. During the offseason, the Astros revamped their pitching lineup by signing pitcher Gerrit Cole from the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Astros also extended the contracts of core players like Jose Altuve and George Springer. It’s almost as if the 2017 Astros transitioned to the 2018 season within a week. I expect the Astros to continue their great start and take over the American League soon. The only team that can stop them are the New York Yankees, only if Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton can’t stop striking out so much.
Malcolm gets 3 points for saying that the Astros are the real deal. Miguel gets a 2 points for mentioning pitcher Gerrit Cole. Matthew gets 1 point for lack of detail.
Malcolm wins ATD 7-6-5
“Let’s go Mets!”