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Sports Scraps 2.0

Top 10 storylines to follow in 2012

Here is your sneak peek at this week's "From the Sports Desk" column. Enjoy, and Happy New Year!

  1. Jimmer Fredette’s rookie season in the NBA. Through his first three games, Fredette scored a total of 30 points while coming off the bench for the Sacramento Kings. But in each game, the pride of Glens Falls scored more points than the previous contest. That’s a good sign for Jimmer. (Side note: since his first three games, Fredette has scored seven points in each of his last two appearances. But, he had five assists in Sunday's victory over New Orleans. So, that's also a good sign.)

  2. The Union College hockey team’s pursuit of a second straight ECAC title. The Dutchmen have already proven that they can compete with the elite teams – not only in their league, but outside of it as well with road wins against Michigan and Merrimack. Can they keep their level of play consistently high during January and February? (Side note: Union lost to Denver and Colorado College on its western road trip last weekend.)

  3. The University at Albany men’s basketball team’s pursuit of an America East Tournament title. Last month’s loss to Siena notwithstanding, the Great Danes have a better shot at getting to the NCAA Tournament in their league than the Saints do in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

  4. Christian Brothers Academy’s pursuit of a seventh Section II title in nine years. The Brothers are off to a fast start with quality wins against Big 10 foe Albany, St. Peter’s and Cathedral. They still have to face Troy twice in the regular season and then get through a tough Class AA field to accomplish this feat, but it looks doable for the Brothers.

  5. The UAlbany women’s lacrosse team takes another shot at the NCAA Division I title. The Great Danes return several key players from last year’s team, which reached the national quarterfinals. No telling if they can match their undefeated regular season record, but John Battaglino’s players will give it a shot. (Side note: UAlbany received ZERO votes in my sports poll on the top sports stories of 2011. You guys do know how hard it is to go through a regular season undefeated in lacrosse, right?)

  6. Tim Stauffer’s first season as the undisputed No. 1 starting pitcher for the San Diego Padres. Now that Mat Latos is in Cincinnati, the burden of being the Padres’ ace rests squarely on the Saratoga Central Catholic grad’s shoulders. How will Stauffer respond? San Diego is hoping he will post similar numbers to his 2011 season when he had a 3.73 earned run average and 128 strikeouts against 53 walks in 31 starts.

  7. The New York Giants return to UAlbany for training camp. This marks the final year of the NFL team’s contract with the state university to use its facilities, and no one is certain if there will be a new contract – at least, at this time. It will be interesting to see what the average daily attendance will be, especially after the Giants couldn’t train at UAlbany in 2011 due to the NFL lockout.

  8. The Shenendehowa football team’s first season without Brent Steuerwald on the sidelines. Steuerwald built this program from the ground up. Now, it will be somebody else’s responsibility to continue the tradition of excellence that Steuerwald began (318 career wins and 13 Section II championships).

  9. The College of Saint Rose women’s soccer team defends its NCAA Division II title. The Golden Knights have never been in this position before, but with most of their starters returning from 2011, they should be in good shape to make another run at the national championship.

  10. Jimmer Fredette’s second NBA season. Will Jimmer become an everyday starter for the Kings, or will he continue to come off the bench and hit three-pointers? Either way, area sports fans will be glued to their TV sets when he takes the court.

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