Category Archives: Basketball

A Retrospective of the 2016 NCAAB Championship at Covers.Com

Villanova University is a college with a long and very prestigious history. The school’s basketball team is a huge part of Villanova’s history. The team has delivering thrilling wins many times over the years. Fans and astute gamblers are likely looking over Villanova’s prospects for 2017’s March Madness festivities. In 2016, North Carolina and Villanova faced off in a memorable National Championship game held in Houston, TX. North Carolina held the number one spot and Villanova was number two. Villanova won the game 77 – 74. At the time, the odds had North Carolina at -2. So, for gamblers, the final score could be adjusted to 79 – 74 with Villanova coming out on top.

Covers.com ran an excellent video ahead of the championship game in early April of 2016. Prophetically, the video revealed that bigger bets were likely to be placed on Villanova. Jay Rood, an executive from MGM resorts was interviewed just before the game. He stated the goal was to draw in a lot of money on the money line for Villanova. Rood revealed many people were betting on the “over” wager, which would be a wager on the combined score of the game.

Rood felt that more wagers were going to come in for North Carolina. He noted interest on Villanova was for the money line, but an increase in the point spread by leveling North Carolina with a -2.5 spread would bring in Villanova money.

As the final score shows, North Carolina would not have won with the -2.5. The over and under betting saw some sportsbooks list 151. The total points scored at the game was, ironically, 151. So wagers would have been a push at 151 over/under.

Hindsight reveals all about betting and wagers, but this game was an incredibly difficult one to predict. Both teams played exceptionally well and the point difference between the two was minimal. Considering the talent on both teams, a tight game should have been expected.

Anyone interested in March Madness odds definitely should check out Covers.com. Covers.com remains a solid source of information on NCAAB betting information.

Bruce Levenson: Entrepreneur, Publisher, Sports Leader

Since he and a friend started United Communications Group (UCG) in 1977, Bruce Levenson on ucg has been an unstoppable businessman. He has also worked as a major publisher and has even found time to make major commitments to professional sports. He is an all around well rounded American business man who works hard and plays harder.

Levenson started UCG with the Oil Express, a newsletter that gave inside information about current news in the oil industry. He then made bold moves to acquire other similar newsletters, which led to his invention of the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS), a private database that can be drilled down into to reveal many interesting facts of the oil industry. Bruce Levenson has kept UCG a private firm all these years and has added many more features, such as news and analysis of health care, energy leaders, mortgage banking, telecoms, the computer business, and some other industry sectors. The very popular mobile app ‘GasBuddy’ is produced by UCG. With GasBuddy anyone can instantly locate the cheapest fuel prices in the user’s geographical area.

More recently Bruce Levenson was the lead investor in a bid to buy professional basketball’s Atlanta Hawks. He and his group of supporting investors were successful, buying the team from former owner Ted Turner over 10 years ago. They also bought the team’s venue: Phillips Arena. A follow on deal landed him and his group the professional hockey team: the Atlanta Thrashers, which they finally sold in 2011. Levenson is on the Board of Governors for the National Basketball Association (NBA). He also was the Atlanta Hawks team manager on Time.

Bruce Levenson was born into a Jewish family living in Chevy Chase, Maryland. His mother-in-law is a Holocaust survivor, and her experiences have made a strong impression on him from a young age. He has founded and directly supports many Jewish American causes. His biggest contribution may be his creation in New York City of the Holocaust Museum. Part of his interest and commitment are highlighted by the starting of ‘Bringing the Lessons Home.’ This is just one of many programs he has founded to support better American education. Besides the museum, Levenson has supported a host of charities, including the Jewish Federation, the Hoop Dreams Foundation, and the Community Foundation of Washington, D.C.

He is an American University Law School graduate. He worked his way through night courses by working as a reporter for the Washington Star newspaper by day.

A Brief Recap on the History of the Atlanta Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks Basketball team has had an impressive track record that has kept investors yearning to be part of its ownership. Bruce Levenson is one of the lucky investors who got the opportunity to become a major partner in the team’s ownership. Being an experienced investor, Bruce understood the benefits that were to come along as a result of this partnership. Sporting events are good investments and the returns are also very rewarding. It is even better when you are part of the winning team and Atlanta Hawks have the propensity to win at any given tournament. Bruce banked his investment decision on this fact.

Basketball in America is a very popular sport and there are numerous teams all over especially in North America. The Atlanta Hawks is one of the professional teams enlisted in the NBA. The team is has its home base in Atlanta forming part of the teams from the Southeast Division of the NBA League. The team’s roots can be traced from the early formation of the NBA league in 1946 although there has been numerous changes over the years. For instance, in 1951 the team changed its base to Milwaukee and then the name changed to Blackhawks. It was not until 1968 that the hawks moved to Atlanta 10 years after winning their first ever NBA championship title.

Having been based in Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Atlanta, the most successes that the team has had were achieved during their time in St. Louis. This is where they won their championship in 1958. However, the team has been on the move since its inception. Originally, the hawks’ history can be drawn from the Tri-Cities Blackhawks founded in 1946 as aforementioned. This team was a listed National Basketball League member. The NBL merged with the BBA, to form the current NBA.

After the merger, the Blackhawks showed a very poor performance finishing last in the league hence missing the playoffs. With such a poor performance, the team decided to move to Milwaukee and rebranded to Milwaukee Hawks. Here, the hawks did poorly once again and became the leagues weakest team and for a change, the team decided to move again to St. Louis, Missouri in 1955. The team’s redemption was achieved here as the hawks’ performance improved to the surprise of many. Their winning record was written at this point when they won their first division record by beating some of the greatest teams at that time.

For the next decade, the Hawks remained top of the league building a name in the NBA before relocating once again to Atlanta. Moving to Atlanta, the team won again their first title in the league and by this time investors were already looking forward to form part of its ownership. Ted Turner had already bought the team and had hired Coach Hubie Brown who was very instrumental in making the team’s performance improve. Under Browns leadership the team set a record win of 50-33, a better record than the 48-34 record they had set in the western division.

The Atlanta Hawks Are Soaring

For almost a decade the Atlanta Hawks have lived in complete mediocrity. It was following their acquisition of Joe Johnson that things finally started to turn around. In 2002 Bruce Levenson acquired the team and by 2007, with the acquisition of Al Horford alongside Joe Johnson, the squad started to seriously turn things around. In 2014 we saw Atlanta win 60 games and make it to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in 50 years. Now Levenson has opted to sell his ownership in the team in order to move on to other ventures, leaving Atlanta in a rather precarious situation.

The No Superstar Build
The NBA is often built around the idea that superstars rule the league. If you don’t have a superstar, according to this theory, you cannot be a legitimate contender. Last season the Hawks won 60 games despite the fact that no player scored even 17ppg on the team. Paul Millsap led the squad with a 16.7ppg average. However Atlanta’s entire starting five averaged double figures with Dennis Schroder coming off the bench for an additional 10. The team rode their well rounded line up farther than anybody could have guessed and now, after making it to the ECF, fans are wondering if Atlanta can repeat.

The biggest question Hawk fans are asking, in the wake of Levenson’s departure, is how will Atlanta hold up for another year with high expectations. The Hawks historically haven’t held on to long term success and they’ve struggled at times to progress in a logical manner. Losing Demarre Carroll and Mike Scott this past offseason, one to free agency and the other to drug issues, is likely going to shake things up enough to cause issues. Not only is their line up going to be different but the rest of the squads around them have gotten much better.

Take, for instance, the Miami Heat. Last season Miami was a bottom feeder thanks to LeBron’s departure and injury issues to Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. This past offseason the Heat resigned Wade, resigned Goran Dragic, and acquired both Amare Stoudemire and Gerald Green. This team, if healthy, could seriously contend in the Southeast. Then look at Washington. Washington acquired Jared Dudley, Gary Neal, and Ramon Sessions to round out their bench. Another year of evolution for John Wall and Bradley Beal could have them poised for a huge jump.

No matter what Atlanta does in 2016 the path has been laid out for expectations. Fans want to see Atlanta as an annual contender and the city deserves it. Atlanta is a huge NBA market and when the Hawks are good so is business in the city, making this season more important than ever.

Hawks Found A New Home With Ressler

Bruce Levenson partnered with Ed Peskowitz to take on the role as co-founder when they created the United Communications Group (UGC). During the last 27 years, Levenson helped to sustain UCG’s strategic business plans which resulted in achieving outstanding results for the firm. Before founding UCG, he was a writer for the Washington Star and Observer Publishing and also served on the Board of Directors of the Newsletter and Electronic Publishers Association. Years later, Levinson gained ownership of the Atlanta Hawks and the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers. He also acquired operating rights to Philips Arena, Gearon, and other partners for $250 million in 2004. The Thrashers eventually moved to Winnipeg.

Last September, Levenson announced his intention to sell its 50.1% share of the Hawks team as well as operating rights to Philips Arena. In line with this decision, they hired Goldman Sachs and Inner Circle Sports in October to look for interested groups during the sales process. Goldman Sachs predicted that the team’s franchise and arena’s operating rights could generate at least $1 billion.

The lengthy sales process took seven long months before a prospect for the next ownership of the Hawks finally emerged. According to several people who are familiar with the process, Hawks ownership group finalized the sale of the team to a group led by Antony Ressler. This equity and investment fund manager teamed up with former NBA All-Star Grant Hill, Rick Schnall, Jesse Itzler and his wife, Sara Blakely. This group was reported to have recently purchased the Hawks from Bruce Levenson, Michael Gearon Jr., and other partners for $850 million. The said sources were anonymous because they are not authorized to speak in public due to nondisclosure agreements signed by Hawks ownership and prospective buyers.

The auction ended with a $730 million bid by a group managed by AresManagement LP’s billionaire co-founder Tony Ressler. A year ago he also planned to acquire the Los Angeles Clippers but his group did not go up against the $2 billion offer made by Steve Ballmer. Ressler, who is also a real estate developer, was included among the three finalists in the Los Angeles Clippers sale during the last spring. The 55-year-old billionaire was part of the investment firm led by Mark Attanasio that purchased the Milwaukee Brewers in 2005.

Ressler mentioned in a statement that he is honored and thrilled to be the new stewards of the Hawks. He also added that he respects the process of approval by the NBA and that he is excited by the success of Hawks in the playoffs. Some deals from local and national TV promised to provide assistance in the financial situation of the franchise while the new owners will do their best to draw investment from Fortune 500 companies that will generate income. Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer and CEO Steve Koonin will work together with the new ownership group in reaching their long-term plans.

Austin Rivers Shows He Can Play

Austin Rivers was terrific in college, but he has not done much in the NBA until late. With the Spurs looking to lock down the series with the Clippers with a 3-1 lead, Rivers played some of the best basketball he’s played in his life. He was great on both the offensive side of the ball and the defensive side – something that is often lacking in the NBA – and the Clippers came away with a win. The series is now tied 2-2, and the Clippers have a chance to move on. The Spurs are one of the best teams in the NBA, as they have been for years, so this is a big moment for the Clippers.

It’s clear to fans like Flavio Maluf (linkedin.com) that Rivers is never going to be an elite basketball player. Some thought he could be coming out of college, but he just hasn’t taken that next step. Even as good as he was last night, it doesn’t change the fact that he’s not the next LeBron James.

However, the NBA is full of good players who may not be superstars, but who still help their teams to win night in and night out. In many cases, it’s the way that these players step up in big moments that matters. Everyone knows that the stars are going to be good. When the other players step up, as Rivers did against the Spurs, it changes the game.

Rod Thorn Decides to Retire

If you’ve never heard the name Rod Thorn before, you may be surprised to know that he is one of the men who changed the NBA forever. He did not do it on the court, but from an office. Specifically, Thorn was the man who decided that the Chicago Bulls should take a player out of North Carolina in the NBA draft, all the way back in 1984. Folks at STX Entertainment know that that player was Michael Jordan.

News coming out lately is that Thorn, who is 73 years old, is finally going to retire. He has not been the general manager in Chicago for years, but has been working for the NBA directly. He’s decided that it’s time to walk away from the game.

Jordan is now commonly thought of as the best player in NBA history, and some people would contend that he is one of the best overall athletes of all time.

Since people put Jordan up on a pedestal like this in the modern day, it’s often forgotten that he was not the first overall pick. Chicago was actually picking third in that draft. It took some foresight and a seriously developed understanding of the game for Thorn to decide to make that pick.