Championship Sunday Up Ahead
The AFC and NFC title games highlight the upcoming sports schedule. Here are the best events to watch this weekend:
Friday, January 17
Golden State Warriors at Oklahoma City Thunder
Chesapeake Arena, Oklahoma City; 9:30 p.m. (ET) on ESPN
Two of the Western Conference’s best teams meet when Golden State (25-15) visits Oklahoma City (28-10) on Friday night. Guard Stephen Curry averages 23 points per game to lead the Warriors in scoring, and forward Kevin Durant paces the Thunder—and the entire NBA—with a 29.8 points per game average.
Saturday, January 18
(25) Oklahoma at (12) Baylor
Ferrell Center, Waco, Texas; 2 p.m. (ET) on ESPN2
Twelfth-ranked Baylor (13-3, 1-2 Big 12) hosts No. 25 Oklahoma (13-4, 2-2 Big 12) in a key Big 12 game between ranked teams. The Bears are coming off an upset loss to unranked Texas Tech on Wednesday night. The Sooners have lost two of three, including a 72-66 decision to Kansas State on Tuesday.
(9) Oklahoma State at (15) Kansas
Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, Kan.; 4 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Two of the country’s best teams—and players—battle when ninth-ranked Oklahoma State (15-2, 3-1 Big 12) travels to No. 15 Kansas (12-4, 3-0 Big 12). Guard Marcus Smart leads the Cowboys’ attack with a 17.8 points per game scoring average. Freshman sensation Andrew Wiggins has led the Jayhawks by scoring 15.8 points per game.
(22) Pittsburgh at (2) Syracuse
Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.; 4 p.m. (ET) on ESPN
What used to be a Big East showdown between No. 22 Pittsburgh (16-1, 4-0 ACC) and second-ranked Syracuse (17-0, 4-0 ACC) is now an Atlantic Coast Conference battle. Senior forward C.J. Fair leads the undefeated Orange with a 17.1 points per game scoring average. Lamar Patterson is tossing in 17.6 points per game for the Panthers.
Jean Pascal vs. Lucian Bute
Bell Centre, Montreal; 10:15 p.m. on HBO
Canadian light heavyweights Jean Pascal and Lucian Bute square off in Montreal for a scheduled 12-round fight for the vacant WBC Diamond title. The match was originally scheduled for last May, but postponed after Bute had surgery to remove bone chips in his left hand. Bouts on the undercard include Mike Perez vs. Carlos Takam and Eleider Alvarez vs. Andrew Gardiner.
Sunday, January 19
Boston Bruins at Chicago Blackhawks
United Center, Chicago; 12:30 p.m. (ET) on NBC
The teams who dueled in last season’s Stanley Cup Finals meet in Chicago when the Central Division-leading Blackhawks (30-8-11) face the Atlantic Division-leading Boston Bruins (29-15-2) on Sunday. Chicago’s Patrick Kane is second in the NHL in scoring with 56 points. Boston goalie Tuukka Rask is fifth in save percentage at .928.
AFC Championship: New England Patriots at Denver Broncos
Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver; 3 p.m. (ET) on CBS
The New England Patriots travel to Denver to play in their third consecutive AFC title game. The Broncos are led by record-setting quarterback Peyton Manning. Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady helped his team to a 34-31 comeback win in overtime when these teams met in the regular season. The winning team will advance to Super Bowl XLVIII in New Jersey on February 2.
NFC Championship: San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
CenturyLink Field, Seattle; 6:30 p.m. (ET) on Fox
After splitting two regular season games, San Francisco and Seattle meet for a third time this season with a Super Bowl berth at stake. Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch will look to go “Beast Mode” on a fierce 49ers defense. The victorious team will meet the AFC champ in the Super Bowl.