Armadillo's Den:
Saturday's List of 13:
Clearing out a cluttered mind........

Baseball information (pitchers, teams, umps) every day thru World Series
DDLohaus' Saratoga analysis is on college football page
CFL Week 5 information now posted on NBA page

Saturday's six-pack
Six teams that football analyst Phil Steele thinks will be a lot better this season:
-- Texas Longhorns-- 11-14 in Strong's first two years; not good enough.
-- Nebraska Cornhuskers-- Minus-37 in turnovers last four years; no bueno.
-- UL Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns-- Went bowling four years in a row before LY.
-- Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets-- Went 3-9 LY and were favored seven times.
-- Boston College Eagles-- Have 15 seniors back and solid senior (transfer) QB.
-- Arizona State Sun Devils-- Went 6-7 LY, after 10-3/10-4 previous two years.

Quote of the Day
"Garry (Marshall) seemed to have an innate ability to make almost anything funny. Whenever he came on the set, we all knew we would be in for a good time, sharing laughs and learning something valuable along the way. He liked to foster a sense of family for all of us, and he set a great tone for everybody."
Donnie Most, who played Ralph Malph on Happy Days

Daily quiz
What is the state capital of Alaska?

Friday's quiz
Before Hanley Ramirez hit three HRs in a game this week, Kevin Millar was the last Red Sox player to homer three times in one game at Fenway Park.

Thursday's quiz
Hanley Ramirez began his major league career by making two plate appearances for the 2005 Red Sox.

Super Bowl records- most passing yards in a Super Bowl:
keep in mind there have now been 50 Super Bowls (100 QBs).
3) 365 yards, Kurt Warner, Rams vs NE-- Super Bowl XXXVI
2) 377 yards, Kurt Warner, Cardinals vs Pitt-- Super Bowl XLI

1) 414 yards, Kurt Warner, Rams vs Tenn-- Super Bowl XXXIV

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Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind......
13) We mentioned yesterday how the Florida Sons were a pretty good AAU hoop team; turns out one of their players, Anthony Caldwell, is nephew of Jacksonville Jaguars' GM David Caldwell. Pretty good shooter young Mr Caldwell is.

12) RIP Dennis Green, 67, former coach of the Cardinals/Vikings; he went 113-94 in 13 years as an NFL head coach. When you win more than you lose as an NFL head coach, thats a damn good record.

11) Found an excellent pizza place here in Las Vegas; Naked City Pizza, which has three locations-- I was at the one on Paradise Road Friday. Assistant coaches from Colorado State and North Florida were also there enjoying the square slices of pizza.

10) You dunk in an AAU game and break a backboard, it is on social media within three minutes; just the way the world works now. Everything is so fast.

9) USA (-29.5) 111, Argentina 74-- These are not fun games to watch, just like the Georgetown-St Leo's-type pre-conference games in November aren't much fun.

8) That just reminded me of something I forgot to write here; when I was at the Marlins-Phillies game in May, our seats were right next to the ballgirl in rightfield, so we talked during the game. Young lady played softball at St Leo's College in Florida, a school in rural Florida that has a beautiful campus.

When I was in college 1,000 years ago, our team took a trip to Florida and played the Monarchs, who apparently are now known as the Lions. They weren't very good, but apparently they have a good baseball team. Bob Tewksbury pitched there.

7) San Francisco Giants played the Red Sox during week, then took the train from Boston to New York for their weekend series in the Bronx.

6) Democratic Vice Presidnetial hopeful Tim Caine plays the harmonica so well that he has played with Bruce Hornsby and his band. Now he gets to play second fiddle; wonder if he talked to Al Gore about working with the Clintons.

5) Rollie Fingers had 201 saves of 4+ outs in his Hall of Fame career; Rich Gossage had 193, Mariano Rivera 116. Active leader? Jonathan Papelbon, with 37.

4) David Ortiz, Bartolo Colon and Alex Rodriguez all played in the major leagues before the Tampa Bay Rays ever existed.

3) NBA pulled the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte over a political issue; the world is slowly going crazy and this is one more example of it.

2) Possible trade chip Julio Teheran left the Atlanta-Colorado game after facing one batter in the fifth inning with right lat tightness. Trade deadline is nine days away.

1) A's 1, Rays 0 (13)-- Tampa Bay scored 28 runs in their last three games, then gets shut out for 13 innings, eight by rookie lefty Sean Manaea. Go figure.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.......
13) Saw a kid shatter a backboard dunking today, the highlight of my full day inside the Cashman Center, watching the adidas Uprising summer tournament. As soon as I figure out how to post pictures on this website, that'll be the first one I post.

12) ACC basketball will go to a 20-game conference schedule when ACC Network gets off the ground, to create more programming.

11) Most of the games I watched on Thursday were tight, competitive games, good basketball. Louisville Magic were a solid team with lot of good players; they got off to bad starts in both games I saw, but kept their poise and rallied both times- they lost to a very good Florida Sons team, after beating the Atlanta Celtics.

10) AAU players play a ton of games and they get seen by D-I coaches, which is essential to getting scholarship offers, but some of these kids would be better off at home, working on their skills, or becoming quicker, or stronger.

9) Couple years ago I went to a JC showcase at a boys' club, with only one court and about 30 coaches, mostly low majors, looking to find a diamond in the rough. It was a little bit sad, kids on their last chance for a college scholarship. One kid blew his knee out, undoubtedly ending his career. Not good.

8) Saw two kids this week step out of the bounds on the sideline while catching ball and getting ready to shoot a 3-pointer. Last time I had seen that was in an 8th grade game-- you have to know where you are on the court.

7) Utah-BYU will renew their rivalry next year (2017-18) which is good news, since they basically despise each other, which is always fun.

6) Referees huddle with supervisors during timeouts; one guy called three seconds 1:28 into a game-- good lord, no one came here to watch you ref.

That said, most of the officiating was good-- these are really good players and they're fast and the games get physical. but please stop with the three seconds calls.

5) In 15 hours of watching games this week, I didn't see one technical foul; the kids were all well-behaved, the coaches didn't act out too much. Good to watch.

4) One thing: teams that attack the basket get more calls; if you just pass the ball around the arc then jack a 3-pointer, you're not gong to get calls. Drive to the basket, be aggressive and you will get to the foul line more often.

3) Hubert Davis: "When I was a kid, I went to one week of basketball camp, then played pickup the rest of the summer". Times have changed.

2) I like to watch teams that press; you get to see how players defend, handle ball, make quick decisions, pass, shoot, run, defend. Only bad thing is that big kids suffer in these fast-paced games- they rarely touch the ball unless they rebound it.

1) Saw a promising 7-footer from Louisville, Chris Vogt, who has a soft touch around the hoop but he needs to get stronger, which will come with age. Smart kid; he told me Yale, Vanderbilt are among the teams vying for his services.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) Mariners 6, White Sox 5 (11)-- Can't remember ever seeing a pitcher, umpire go at it over balls/strikes in first inning of a game. Plate ump Andy Fletcher blatantly missed a 3-2 pitch to Justin Morneau that put two on with two out in the first inning, and Hernandez let him have it, with Fletcher taking off his mask and yelling back.

When Todd Frazier hit the next pitch for a 3-run homer, Felix' return from the DL was off to a very bad start.

12) RIP Garry Marshall-- A TV genius in the 70s and also a movie maker, he passed away this week at age 81. Odd Couple, Happy Days, Laverne/Shirley, Runaway Bride, just some of Marshall's handiwork. RIP, sir.

11) New Orleans Saints rookies are already in training camp at Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia- their first regular season game isn't until September 11th.

10) James Loney got thrown out at the plate in top of 4th inning with Mets down 3-0 Wednesday, but replays showed he was safe, but the Mets never challenged the call. No bueno. Some teams have much better replay coaches than others.

9) So I spent much of Wednesday and will spend all day today at the adidas Uprising basketball tournament in downtown Las Vegas; saw lot of good games last night, lot of good players. Seven games going on at once under one roof in the Cashman Center, a convention center next to the ballpark where the Mets' AAA team plays.

8) Very well-run event; good officials, a main court where the game is shown on a big screen on the wall, comfortable place to watch kids play ball. Lot of the coaches you see on TV all winter were there to recruit- this is the last part of this recruiting season.

Player of the Game is brought to a platform where he is interviewed on camera, which is a good prep for when he goes to college and meets the press.

7) With seven games going on at once, how do you choose which game to watch? If you want to see elite players, you look at which big-name coaches are watching each game. If Tom Izzo and Lon Kruger are at one court, thats a good place to be.

If you just want to be comfortable, then pick one spot, stay there and hope the games on that court turn out to be good ones. There are so many good players, the games I saw were mostly all hard-fought, competitive games.

6) For kids playing this week, their goal is to get a college scholarship, or land one at as good a basketball program as possible.

One way not to get a scholarship is this: Your team is up 3 with 0:57 left, shot clock is at 0:19-- ball is reversed to you and you quickly jack up a 3-pointer, when the play is to hold the ball, milk the clock-- you can get a 3-pointer anytime.

Basketball IQ is a valuable asset to impress coaches with.

5) Surprisingly, the 30-second shot clock came into play a few times; you'd think in AAU games, it would be very fast-paced, but couple teams put on 1-2-2 presses and that slowed their opponents down, so the shot clock did matter.

I was talking to a high school coach from Georgia; his son had never played with a shot clock during his high school career, so this was all new to him.

4) A team from Virginia subbed five guys at a time, which makes it tough when a close game comes down to the wire, because which five do you play, or do you mix/match and have kids play together who haven't played together the whole game? This team got beat at the end by a Minnesota team that probably wasn't the better team.

3) One of my cab drivers is from Iraq; his English wasn't good, but I asked him what he thought about Donald Trump when he drove past the Trump Hotel, which is just off the Las Vegas Strip. He didn't want to answer, saying "my English isn't too good". He has only been in America three years-- he was a pleasant guy.

2) Had chance to talk with North Carolina assistant coach Hubert Davis for a few minutes-- terrific guy. He enjoys coaching more than he did working on ESPN-- he did not like the travel too much that came with working on television.

1) I'll have a lot more on this tomorrow, but championship game of this event will be Sunday at 6:00 ET on ESPNU.

Wednesday's List of 13: Mid-week musings........
13) Ex-St. Louis Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa was sentenced to nearly four years in prison for hacking into Houston Astros' computer personnel database. Correa did this roughly 60 times- he had previously worked for the Astros.

12) Unrelated note: Cardinals are only major league team that is over .500 despite being under .500 at home- they're 21-28 at home, 48-44 overall.

11) MSNBC's Steve Kornacki pointed out that this is first Presidential convention that was held in the arena of the defending NBA champ since the Democrats held their 2000 convention in Los Angeles.

10) ESPN will start the ACC Network in 2019, for better or for worse. It'll be really, really good during basketball season. Football? Not sure we need Syracuse-Virginia replays, but thats what they'll be showing.

9) It costs $8M to host a Presidential debate. Wright State in Dayton backed out of hosting the first debate in September for financial reasons, so now Hofstra on Long Island will host the first debate, which will be must-see TV.

8) Here at the Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas, my vacation home this week, the over/under on Golden State Warrior wins next year is listed at 67.5.

7) Winner of the Westgate NFL Handicapping contest last year took home $914,175 for his $1,500 investment.

6) Dodger games are blacked out here in Las Vegas; it makes no sense. If the new MLB commish can allow everyone to wear white baseball shoes now, he can allow Dodger games to be shown in Vegas, where lot of LA fans come for their vacation.

5) Felix Hernandez' brother is pitching coach for the Mariners' Class A team in Everett, WA. I'm guessing his job is safe as long as King Felix is a Mariner.

4) There have been 133 homers hit at Safeco Field this year, most of any AL park and thats more than a little surprising.

3) Phoenix Suns will play "home games" against the Spurs, Mavericks next season in Mexico City. Two marquee games their home fans get cheated out of seeing.

2) Jets should just trade a 7th-round draft pick to the Rams for Nick Foles, then cut bait with holdout QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. When your QB is holding out on July 20, thats no way to begin a successful season.

1) I'm thinking Jim Grobe will do just fine coaching Baylor. Ten years ago, he had Wake Forest playing in the Orange Bowl-- he had a three-year, 28-12 run with the Deacons, and if you can win like that at Wake Forest, you can damn sure coach.

Tuesday's List of 13: Looking at Mountain West football......
Air Force-- 9-2-1 vs spread at home last two years; they were +22 in turnovers back in 2009, are -16 since then. Lost three of last four bowls, allowing 38.8 ppg; are 7-16 vs spead coming off a loss.

Boise State-- 27-4 SU in Mountain West last five years; won four of last five bowls (3-1 vs Pac-12 teams). Are only 11-20 as home favorite since 2011, 4-3 as underdogs last decade, 9-3 vs spread coming off a loss. +76 in turnovers last seven years.

Colorado State-- Rams are 12-4 as home favorites since '12, 10-18 as road underdog since '08. State is 16-9 SU in league snce '13- they lost 45-10/28-23 in last two bowls. Underdog is 3-1-1 vs spread in their last five games with Colorado.

Fresno State-- Bulldogs are 9-17 last two years; their 3-9 record LY was worst since 1978. Fresno is 12-7 as home favorite under DeRuyter, but 6-11 as home dog since 2006. Fresno lost its last five bowl games, last four by 23+ points.

Hawai'i-- Last bowl was in 2010, last bowl win in '06; new coach is an alum. Open this season in Australia, against Cal. Rainbows are 1-6 as home favorite, 6-11 as dog at home- they were last favored on road in 2011. Are -54 in turnovers last four years.

Nevada-- Covered 10 of last 12 road games, six of last seven as road dog; they're 14-4 vs spread coming off a loss. Are 18-20 SU last three years, despite its +27 turnover ratio. Wolf Pack lost three of last four bowls, has 10 starters back on offense.

UNLV-- 32-92 SU last 10 years, 20-59 in league. Rebels are 13-5 as road dogs the last three years, 1-8 as home dogs last since '14. Have JC QB who was at Nebraska, so he knows Cotton's offense. Have been to one bowl since 2000, lost that one.

New Mexico-- 18-32 under Davie (3-33 three years before him). LY was first bowl since '07; are 10-5 as road underdog since then, but 15-21-1 as home dog. Last bowl they were in that wasn't on home field was in 2004- have 10 starters back on defense.

San Diego State-- Were +22 in turnovers LY, after being -16 previous six seasons. Aztecs are 6-2 as road favorite since '12, 16-7-1 off win since '13- they're 2-3 in last five bowls (were favored in 4 of 5). State is 13-15 as home favorite under Long. .

San Jose State-- Favorites covered 20 of their last 24 games; covered 8 of last 10 as favorite; they're 1-9 vs spread in last 10 games as road dog. Spartans won last four bowls; last bowl loss was in '87. State is -22 in turnovers last three years.

Utah State-- Won 23 of last 26 home games, have only three defensive starters back this year. Aggies are 27-13 as road dogs since '07, 12-8 as home favorites since 2012. Have had a new offensive and new defensive coordinator in each of last three years.

Wyoming-- Last bowl was in 2011; last bowl win was in '09. 8-14 vs spread in last 22 home games; 4-8 as home faves since '12. Had only 7 seniors LY, have 18 now, and 17 starters back. Cowboys are 24-11 as road underdogs since 2009.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend.....
13) Justin Marks pitched a no-hitter this week for Durham Bulls, the Rays' AAA team, but he musn't be a big prospect, seeing as they let him throw 130 pitches in the game. Marks is 28; he is 3-10, 3.73 in the IL this year and has a 36-63, 4.61 career mark in minor leagues. He has pitched in one big league game (2 IP, 3 runs allowed).

12) Durham has another AAA starter, Jaime Schultz- they keep him on a pitch limitso he is viewed as a prospect, since they're limiting his usage. Schultz' problem is that he goes into a lot of deep counts and 75 pitches often doesn't get him too far. Nine of first 13 batters he faced Sunday either walked or struck out- he threw 87 pitches in Sunday's game and didn't finish the fourth inning. No bueno. .

11) Weird British Open; Stenson finished at -20, Mickelson was -17 and third place was -6. Not often you scoring disparity like that, but Stenson/Mickelson have played together 16 times in tournaments, so they're comfortable in same twosome.

10) Stenson had seven top-5's in majors before his win; last golfer to do that was his playing partner Sunday, Mickelson.

9) Bronx Bombers haven't scored a first inning run in their last 21 games.

8) Archie Bradley pitched well for Arizona Saturday night, allowing one run in six IP, throwing 106 pitches, but he only induced two misses on 41 swings, after he had induced 32 misses on 129 swings in his previous three starts. When lot of balls are put into play, it puts more pressure on your defense.

7) By contrast, in his last two starts, Justin Verlander has induced 39 misses on 103 swings and thats in DH games where pitchers don't bat.

6) Daniel Murphy (hamstring) hadn't played since the All-Star Game, but homered with two outs in 9th inning to tie game 1-1. Game wound up going another nine innings before Pittsburgh won 2-1 in the 18th on a Sterling Marte homer

5) Over last four years, over is 69-38 when Jerry Meals umps home plate, so it made no sense that Meals was behind the plate for the marathon on Washington.

4) Lot of low scoring games Sunday; three NL games were 0-0 after five innings. Under wound up 9-5-1 in Sunday's games.

3) Giancarlo Stanton went thru a long, dismal slump at the plate which now appears to be over, but he has played a stellar rightfield all season long. He made a diving catch going towards the RF corner with two men on Saturday that saved couple of runs.

2) First round matchups for the Puerto Rico Tip-Off hoop tourney in November:
-- Clemson-Davidson, Xavier-Missouri, Northern Iowa-Arizona State and Tulane-Oklahoma.....Xavier-Oklahoma would be the expected finals matchup????

1) If the playoffs started today.........
NL: Nationals-Cubs-Giants. Wild Card: Dodgers vs Miami or Mets
AL: Orioles-Indians-Rangers. Wild Card: Boston-Toronto

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a summer Saturday.......
13) RIP Nate Thurmond, an outstanding NBA big man in the 60's/70s who spent lot of his career battling Wilt Chamberlain/Bill Russell under the boards. He was 74.

12) When I was 12 years old, I got this pair of red, canvas hi-top sneakers endorsed by Nate Thurmond. They were excellent.

This was when Chuck Taylor Converse All-Star canvas sneakers were all the rage, but it also was the year before they starting selling them in different colors, so I was the tall, awkward kid playing first base in Little League with red sneakers.

11) Thurmond averaged 15 ppg, 15 ppg in his 14-year career, but scored 20 ppg five years in row, from 1967-72. He played 11 years for the Warriors, but was traded away in September 1974, the fall before Golden State won the NBA championship. Thurmond, who went to Bowling Green, was traded to Chicago on September 3, 1974 for Clifford Ray and a first round draft pick, who became Joe Bryant.

You may or may not have heard of Joe Bryant, but I'm pretty sure you've heard of his son, a pretty good player named Kobe.

Anyway, RIP Mr Thurmond. You were an underappreciated player.

10) Of the nine guys who started for the Cubs Friday, Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell were the only two guys who played the same position on Saturday.

9) Saturday morning, Mike Pence was introduced as the Republican VP candidate in New York City; later in day, he and his family had lunch at Chili's before heading back home to Indiana, igniting a small firestorm on social media.

People get nutty about the smallest things; this spring I yapped about John Kasich eating pizza with a fork, which you do not do, ever. But then again, I'm an idiot.

8) A team doctor with the Cubs told pitcher Jason Hammel to eat potato chips to avoid cramping because of the potassium and sea salt. Who knew/?!?!?!?!?

7) MLB wants managers, GMs to stop carping about balls/strikes. MLB executive Joe Torre sent a memo Friday to managers and front office staff that said: ''This highly inappropriate conduct is detrimental to the game and must stop immediately.''

6) Houston Astros signed Cuban free agent infielder Yulieski Gurriel to a major-league contract worth $47.5 million for five years. He is 32, is said to be an excellent hitter.

5) Korean pro baseball league had a bunting contest as part of its All-Star Game festivities, complete with targets laid down on the infield grass. Not a bad idea.

4) Through four weeks of the CFL season, underdogs are 11-2 vs spread, home teams are 2-13-1, over is 5-10-1.

3) Angels 1, White Sox 0-- Chicago has been blanked three games in row for first time since 1968, the year before they lowered the pitchers' mound.

2) White Sox are 12-9 in their last 21 games, they were shut out in six of last seven losses. Chicago hasn't scored in 32 straight innings; the franchise record is 39.

1) White Sox became 132nd team since 1913 to have been shut out in at least three straight games; nine teams have been shut out in four straight games, last of which were 1992 Cubs. Jered Weaver pitches against the Sox today in Anaheim.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind.......
13) I'm usually in Las Vegas this week, which would make it one of weirdest sleep weeks of the year, with the British Open going on. Last year, I was sitting at bar, and watching the early tee-off times on Friday for the golf, while an extra-inning baseball game from the west coast was still going on Thursday night.

12) NBA Summer League makes this week tolerable, with no baseball until Friday; if you like the NBA, you should come out to the desert and watch the summer league. For $28, you can sit in air condiioning all day, watch good basketball for a week. Any NBA fan would really enjoy it.

11) Couple years ago I was sitting there watching games; for an hour, none of the talk around me was in English. Summer league is also players auditioning for spots on teams in Europe or the Middle East, maybe moreso than auditioning for the NBA.

10) Friend of mine was at Thomas & Mack last night for the summer games; he was disappointed that Ben Simmons didn't play, but then Larry Nance Jr damn near broke his wrist in last 10 seconds of Thursday's game, and you realize that it may not be 100% smart to play a potential star and risk him getting hurt.

9) First half of baseball season, there were 1.16 home runs per game; record is 1.17, set in 2000.

8) If the Chargers leave San Diego (I hope they don't), Padres would be only major league team without another big league sports team in their city.

7) Mick Jagger turns 73 on July 26; he has kids ranging from 17-45 years old, and now his 29-year old girlfriend is pregnant with Jagger's 8th child-- he is also a great grandfather. Christmas around his house must be very interesting.

6) AD at Missouri just bolted for Baylor, where the football program is in turmoil; makes you wonder if things at Mizzou aren't that great either, if AD jumped ship. If you're a major college coach, you want to work for the AD that hired you, so football and hoop coaches in Columbia have to be at least a little nervous.

5) Bad day for Richard Pitino and whomever the basketball coach is at Apple Valley HS in Minnesota. Gary Trent Jr, one of best players in Class of '17, will spend his last year of high school at Findlay Prep in Las Vegas, which means he ain't going to college in Minnesota. Gary Trent Sr played in the NBA for ten years.

4) Part of why this has been a dismal baseball season: Outfielders for the A's have a combined on-base% of .285 this year-- thats terrible!!!! Outfielders are generally your better hitters, but obviously, not always.

3) Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson is the highest-paid movie star in Hollywood.

2) NBA teams will have advertising on jerseys in 2017-18; Golden State Warriors are asking for $15-20M for whomever's ad goes on their jersey, most money any NBA team is asking for a jersey ad. Steph Curry makes $12.1M a year, so it makes sense for the teams, but it makes me want to puke.

What will Sacramento get for an ad? They'll be great disparity from team-to-team.

1) NBA should honor the history of the ABA by having one weekend where all the games are played with red, white and blue basketballs. Four NBA teams (Nets-Spurs-Pacers-Nuggets) came to the NBA from the ABA in 1976.

Friday's List of 13: Things I'm looking for in rest of baseball season
13) First things will be the trading that happens between now and the August 1 trade deadline. Who buys? Who sells? With two Wild Cards in each league now, teams are more reluctant to throw in the towel on a season.

12) After the dust has cleared from whatever trades happen, what minor leaguers will get the call to the majors, as struggling teams look to the future?

11) Cubs are 6-15 in their last 21 games; was it just a slump or are wheels coming off? Can they hold off the Pirates and Cardinals?

10) Would the Angels consider trading Mike Trout? Their farm system isn't very good, so the only way to replenish their talent level could be to deal their best player. Angels are woefully short on pitching.

9) Kershaw/Greinke both make roughly $1M per start, if they made all their starts this year, but they're both on the DL now; Dodgers are going to need Kershaw back in the rotation if they're going to make the playoffs.

8) Arizona's season is a debacle, an expensive debacle. They've already sold Ziegler to the Red Sox, will they make more deals? D'backs need to decide on which position guys they want to stick with, then deal for a pitcher or three.

7) Will the defending champ Royals make a run at first-place Cleveland, or will 2016 continue to be a magical year on Lake Erie?

6) Can the Orioles sustain their first-half success despite its substandard rotation? Baltimore is in bottom five in both IP, ERA for its starting pitchers.

5) Will Bronx Bombers sell their quality relievers or will they hang in there and try to get back in the Wild Card race? If I was a season ticket holder and they sold assets to slash their payroll, I'd ask for a damn refund- their tickets are exorbitant.

4) When I was 14, I met Dusty Baker when he was playing for the Braves, he was so nice to me for no reason, so I always, always root for him (except against the A's). It will make me smile if the Nationals make the playoffs.

3) What about the Mets' pitchers? Can they get healthy? Their healthiest pitcher is a 43-year old fat guy. Go figure.

2) Can Giancarlo Stanton build on his HR Derby showing to have a solid second half and lead the Marlins into the playoffs?

1) Houston Astros got hot before the break, while Texas stumbled; Rangers are said to be looking to make a lot of deals to strengthen their team. Astros have young Bregman to bring up from the minors and bolster their infield. Should be interesting.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) Politics intrudes into real life, in a strange way:

Albany Great Danes (my alma mater) were supposed to visit Duke on November 12, a big-money guarantee game with probable ESPN2 exposure too. Important for a team that needs money and TV expsoure, playing in the low-major America East.

But now the game is off, because of a new mandate by New York governor Andrew Cuomo that prevents businesses and public corporations or institutions from "non-essential" travel to North Carolina to protest the controversial "Bathroom Bill", which is seen by some as discriminatory toward transgenders.

12) I don't know anything about politics and don't give a rat's ass about them either, but if the governor wants to screw Albany out of a six-figure payday, the least he can do is call up Syracuse or St John's and get then to schedule Albany, to make up for the big money payday they lost when the Duke game was cancelled.

11) When there is a foul tip around home plate, the baseball is taken out of the game; Tuesday, you could go online and buy those baseballs. During the game.

A fan behind home plate paid $750 for one of the foul balls and had it in his hands by the fourth inning. Funny how quickly things move when there is money involved.

10) More memorabilia nonsense: Earlier this year, Bartolo Colon hit a homer in San Diego, against the Padres. This week at Fan Fest, they were selling the bases from that game for $2,000 apiece. I mean really, people have $2,000 to just give away?

9) How great a hitter was Tony Gwynn? He hit .394 (98-249) against threesome of Maddux-Glavine-Smoltz, three Hall of Famers for the Braves.

8) FOX did a piece during All-Star Game telling how NL manager Terry Collins said how he thought it was important for every team to get at least one player in the game, then he didn't put any of his own guys into the game. Go figure.

7) Miami Marlins sent an email offer to fans Monday saying that for every homer Giancarlo Stanton hit in HR Derby, they would knock a %age point off the price of tickets. That was before he hit 61 homers, won the Derby. Now the organization is clarifying that the deal was only good to a maximum of 25% off. Weasels.

Miami will offer 61% off tickets for one game, a July 29 game with St Louis.

6) Sign of the Times: Kris Bryant endorses adidas shoes; in the first four innings of the All-Star Game, Bryant wore three different pairs of cleats, all of which were being sold online in an Internet sale during the game on adidas' website.

5) Scheduling hijinx: Best part of being a college coach instead of a pro coach is that you make your own out-of-conference schedule (unless you're in NY). Auburn and Michigan do not play a road game until October 8th, their sixth game of the season.

4) Georgia Tech's basketball team added a couple of grad transfers from the MAC, one from Eastern Michigan, one from Western Michigan. Individually the kids are not difference makers, but they add depth/maturity to what was a thin Tech roster.

3) Golfer Charl Schwartzel left Nike and will use equipment from PXG, just in time for next month's Olympics. Golf is big business and so are the Olympics.

2) Lakers clubbed Golden State in summer league the other night; during game, Warriors' GM Bob Myers was on TV, and while he was yukking it up with the TV guys a little, he also said "I'm sitting with the owner....." implying that Joe Lacob, who owns the Warriors, might not be real happy with a loss, even in summer league. Oy.

1) Was out to dinner Tuesday night; motorcycle in the parking lot was painted like a wrapper from a Butterfingers candy bar. Pretty cool, actually.

Wednesday's List of 13: Happy Hump Day.......
13) Baseball commish Rob Manfred came out and said that expansion is on hold until A's, Rays get new stadiums.

Translation: We're using potential expansion cities to hold over the heads of people in Oakland, Tampa to extort $$$ for new stadiums out of them. Good luck there, since the A's and Rays both suck this year. The Montreal Rays? Could be.

12) TV people raved about the timing aspect of Home Run Derby, but ratings were down for it this year. Not sure why. Wonder if they asked David Ortiz to participate this year, his last in big leagues. Still think Ichiro should be in HR Derby once.

11) I would be OK with it if they let players use aluminum bats in the HR Derby.

10) Then there is Chris Berman, whose annoying, self-promoting act is really old. Few years ago, I'm sitting at the bar in the sportsbook at Planet Hollywood in Vegas, playing video poker and just relaxing. Except they had the HR Derby's volume up on TV's, so even though Cespedes is winning and he's on the A's, it is annoying as hell to listen to "back!! back!!! back!!!" 120 times in a row.

So I leave the bar and go out in the casino so I can't hear the damn TVs and I win $300 playing blackjack, so it was a good thing that night that Berman is so annoying.

9) East Meadow HS on Long Island this year, nine sets of twins graduated, which is a lot of kids who look alike.

8) Last five NBA MVPs who went to college went to: Davidson, Texas, Santa Clara, Memphis and Wake Forest. Really good players are everywhere, not just on TV.

7) Nets signed Tyler Johnson, Allen Crabbe to offer sheets, but both were matched by Miami, Portland. Brooklyn needs some players-- their new GM is Sean Marks, who comes from the Spurs' basketball tree-- thats the best part of the Spurs, Warriors being real good teams- their style will be imitated throughout the NBA.

Cleveland's style can't be imitated; there is only one Lebron James. .

6) Last time I went to NBA Summer League, I'm sitting behind this guy who looks like a damn bodybuilder-- huge guy and he is drinking- he bet on the game being played and he bet on the team that was losing. Badly. He was not happy about it.

It was a Minnesota-Cleveland game, that I remember and Minnesota had 18 guys on its roster. Problem for the guy betting was this: the nine guys who won for Minnesota the day before weren't playing in this game- the other half of the roster was getting its butt kicked. Moral of the story: Please do not bet on summer exhibition games.

5) Got to see the Hard Knocks with the Jets for the first time this week-- much more interesting than in recent years, where the coaches have been little more bland. If some network put Mike Westhoff in its studio, it would be TV gold.

4) Brian Schottenheimer was OC for the Jets back then; he later moved to St Louis, where he was saddled with Sam Bradford's injuries and cruddy backups, then he was at Georgia last year, when Mark Richt got fired despite consecutive 10-3 seasons. Now his career has taken him to Indisanapolis, where he will be the Colts' QB coach.

3) When Michael Douglas was in high school, he was accepted to go to college at Yale but went to Cal-Santa Barbara instead, since he wanted to be an actor like his father Kirk, who was also a great actor. Staying close to Hollywood was an excellent idea.

If you've ever been on UCSB's campus you know it is so scenic-- half the cars in the freakin' parking lot had surfboards on them. Santa Barbara or Connecticut? That one is an easy call, especially from November-March.

2) NFL Films does a half-hour lighlight film on every team; wonder if they draw straws to see who does the highlight films for the bad teams?

Rams haven't had a winning season since 2003, not lot of highlights there. Losing isn't something you want to reminisce about. Guess they just focus on their infrequent wins and whatever players had good seasons, but it can't be easy work.

1) Kerwin Danley umped first base at the All-Star Game last night; he played college ball at San Diego State with the late Tony Gwynn.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Congrats to Tim Duncan, retiring with five championships in his 19 years, but more than being a great player, Duncan is a terrific guy who was universally lauded as a great teammate. It is good to know that being a great teammate is being honored.

12) In his career, counting playoff games, Duncan's total plus/minus was exactly +10,000; next best during that time is Dirk Nowitzki, at +6,725.

That means while Duncan was on the court, the Spurs outscored their opponents by 10,000 points, a staggering figure.

Enjoy your retirement, sir.

11) They used the Padres' old brown/gold color scheme for All-Star uniforms, but San Diego's uniforms now are blue and white. Like the brown/gold that Dave Winfield and Nate Colbert wore much, much better- they should switch back.

10) Daniel Murphy is hitting 22-52 (.423) against his old team the Mets this season, with seven HRs, 21 RBI.

9) UFC sold for $4B over the weekend, which is a lot of money. I've never watched it, but what do you do with $4B? The guys who used to own UFC, their kids went to Bishop Gorman HS in Las Vegas- the weight room in that school is better than most D-I football teams' weight room- the UFC guys paid for it.

8) I just don't like watching people fight; I'll turn a hockey game off if a fight starts, but apparently, if UFC sold for $4B, lot of people like watching fights.

7) They just said on TV that Wil Myers hit a baseball off a tee, over the CF fence in San Diego- his coaches had bet him he couldn't do it.

6) Tony Padilla threw to Adam Duvall in HR Derby last night; he is also a college hoop ref who worked the Oklahoma-Villanova national semifinal game last April- his regular job is as a bail bondsman.

5) College basketball knowledge: Since 1987, the defending champ is 10-14 vs spread in its first NCAA tournament game the next season.

4) Since 2001, when the defending champ makes the Sweet 16, they're 1-7 SU, 0-8 against the spread in their Sweet 16 game. Only winner was Florida in 2008.

3) I'm tired of TV guys pumping up how much potential Joel Embiid has; he played one year (2013-14) at Kansas, scoring 11.2 ppg in 23.1 mpg. He then left for the NBA Draft, the 76ers took him and he's played in as many NBA games as I have-- zero.

Good teams draft productive players- they don't speculate on potential. Maybe some day the light bulb will come on over Embiid's head and he'll be a good player, but if he hasn't played in one game in two years, how likely is that to happen?

2) How hard is it to make an NBA roster? As I type this, Jimmer Fredette is on TV, playing for Denver's summer league team, trying to get back in the league. He is an elite shooter, which you would think makes him marketable, but Jimmer couldn't guard the chair I'm sitting on, so he has become a journeyman.

But he has an elite NBA skill and still struggles to make a roster. Lot of these kids who leave college early for the NBA- what elite skill do they have, other than potential?

1) Imagine my delight when I saw the Rams would be featured in not one, but two reality shows this summer/fall. No bueno.

First HBO has them on Hard Knocks, I'm sure part of the price they had to pay for moving to LA. Then, for better or worse, six Rams players will be featured on an E! Channel reality show during the season-- what could possibly go wrong there? Oy.

Monday's List of 13: Baseball thoughts at All-Star break.........
13) Buck Showalter is a great manager. His Orioles are 51-36, have a 2-game lead in AL East at the All-Star break, despite their starting pitchers being 29th in innings pitched, 28th in ERA- that puts a tremendous strain on their bullpen.

12) At an average Dodger home game, they sell over 15,000 Dodger Dogs.

11) Does Home Run Derby take a toll on participants?
Last year at the All-Star break Todd Frazier was hitting .284 with 25 HRs, 57 RBI, a .337 OB%.

Then he won HR Derby at his home park in Cincinnati. In his second half last year, Frazier hit .220 with 10 HR, 32 RBI and a .274 OB%. Then he got traded to Chicago.

10) A guy named Pat Shine will throw to Giancarlo Stanton at HR Derby tonite; he is the Marlins' video coordinator and in my opinion, the best guy in majors at telling his team when to challenge umpires' decisions via replay.

Shine has been an assistant coach at Cal-Irvine and UCLA; tonight he'll throw BP in front of the whole world. Little different than coaching third for the Anteaters.

9) Since start of 2013 season, over is 69-37 with Jerry Meals umping the plate.

8) Cubs' OF Matt Szczur once donated bone marrow to a 15-month old Ukrainian girl who was battling leukemia and desperately needed bone marrow that matched hers. He essentially saved the little girl's life, seeing as how she is still alive and well.

7) Bryce Harper is a great player, but he is 1 for 26 in his career against Matt Harvey. Miami pitcher Tom Koehler is 3 for 3 in his career against Harvey.

6) Cubs go into the All-Star break having lost 15 of their last 21 games; Texas goes into break having lost nine of last 12 games- they allowed 85 runs in last nine games.

5) Mike Pelfrey has made eight road starts for Detroit; the Tigers have been shut out in four of them.

4) Arizona Diamondbacks are 38-51, 15-32 at home, a huge flop. They traded closer Brad Ziegler to Boston, could dump more guys in the three weeks before the deadline, which is August 1 this year, because July 31 is a Sunday.

3) Curse of Cespedes: July 31, 2014, the A's traded Yoenis Cespedes to Boston for Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes- they were 66-41 and had been in the playoffs the two years before that. Since then, Oakland is 128-179 and summers aren't as much fun.

2) Shouldn't Colorado have an ex-pitcher as its manager? As difficult as pitching is in high altitude, you'd think an ex-pitcher would help current pitchers when their ERA gets inflated like all Rockies pitchers' do. Nothing against Walt Weiss, who is doing an admirable job in a smallish market, but I'd think about an ex-pitcher as a skipper.

1) If the playoffs started today (or tomorrow, or the next day.....)
NL: Nationals-Cubs-Giants. Wild Card: Mets or Miami @ Dodgers
AL: Orioles-Indians-Rangers. Wild Card: Toronto @ Boston

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.......
13) I go thru this every year at this time, but it is stupid that the All-Star Game will decide who has home field in the World Series. Mind-numbingly stupid.

This was done as a concession to FOX TV after the tie game in Milwaukee a few years ago, when the All-Star teams ran out of pitchers. Home field in the World Series could be determined by who wins interleague play, or it could just alternate, either option would be significiantly better than this.

12) Because the All-Star Game "matters", All-Star managers get goofy when they select players, making situational relievers All-Stars, while Max Scherzer stays home. The All-Star Game should be for guys having the best year this year, not guys who might help the team win. It is supposed to be a damn exhibition showcase.

11) Red Sox traded for Arizona reliever Brad Ziegler before they announced Craig Kimbrel needed his knee operated on-- price tag might've gone up if Arizona knew the Sox were hurting for a relief pitcher. .

10) Speaking of which, there is nothing more depressing to a fan than when his team starts selling off players in July-- A's will be doing it soon, since Rich Hill and Danny Valencia are both in their mid-30's, so whats the point of keeping them, when maybe you can get a prospect or two for them?

Remember, back on August 12, 1987, the Tigers needed another starting pitcher for the stretch run, so they acquired Doyle Alexander from Atlnata for a minor leaguer?

The minor leaguer's name was John Smoltz.

9) Arizona-San Francisco game Friday night was second one this season where both managers got tossed- first was a Cincy-Pittsburgh game on May 11.

8) Want to know why the NBA's salary cap is going to be as high as $102M in two years? They put over 16,000 fans in the Thomas & Mack Center last night, for the 76ers-Laker game. 16,000 fans for a damn summer league game at $28 a pop? Wow.

7) I know it is only summer league, but Ben Simmons, in his first three summer games for the 76ers, is shooting 7-25 from the floor, scoring just 8 ppg. He's grabbed 25 rebounds, had 19 assists, and the Sixers are +12 with him on the court, but he has looked incredibly uncomfortable shooting the ball, even on shots in the lane.

Defenders are going to play so far off Simmons that the 76ers will wind up playing 4-on-5 on offense when he has the ball, unless he becomes a scoring threat.

6) Oklahoma could be starting a freshman and four sophmores on its offensive line this fall, but three of the sophs started a total of 32 games LY.

5) Mets' pitcher Matt Harvey is having surgery on his shoulder, which includes having a rib taken out of his body, allowing more space for the muscles around Harvey’s neck and shoulder. Hopefully the surgery .can revive Harvey's career.

4) Buddy Hield started his pro career with a 5-20 shooting night (1-8 from the arc) in an 85-65 loss to the Lakers.

3) Angels' 1B CJ Cron was hitting .405 (12-33) with five HRs in July, but then he got hit by a pitch and broke his hand Friday night in Baltimore. He's out for a month.

2) My fantasy baseball team has more players in the Futures Game (3) than in the actual All-Star Game (2), which might be a good thing two of three years from now, but for this season......not so much.

1) Tom Candiotti is working on Arizona TV games this weekend; he usually works on the radio, but his presence reminded me that a few years ago, I'm watching a game with Arizona and the Padres, and Chad Gaudin was pitching- he was on my fantasy team.

Candiotti was a good big league pitcher, he was explaining why Gaudin would never be a good major leaguer-- his argument was so logical and convincing that I went right online and cut Gaudin, while he was still pitching that night. Not my finest moment, but it was the right move. Sometimes you just have to listen and learn.

Saturday's List of 13: Thoughts on a sad day.......
I don't feel like writing today, but I will because it is what I do. This probably won't be that well-written or that well-organized, but these are my thoughts on a cruddy day.

This has been a dismal week for America; we can't lean on the crutch of blaming other countries or religions-- we did this to ourselves.

Seven people dead; five in Dallas, one in Louisiana, one in Minnesota; why? We need to be better people, better employees, more respectful of disparate cultures. America is a melting pot and always has been; we have to make sure the pot doesn't boil over.

We have to do better as a country-- we need to be more tolerant of each other, need to be nicer to each other and no, being nice is not a sign of weakness.

We need leaders who will earn people's respect; seen many of those lately?

We need to worry less about the Middle East and more about America- we neglected this country, in trying to be the policeman for the entire world. No more.

Turns out the shooter in Dallas was an Army veteran, making things even worse.

There need to be less weapons in this country, no matter what the NRA says.

Social media and cameras in phones have outpaced traditional journalism in letting the world see what is going on. The news gets out faster, reactions are faster, and often these reactions are explosive and dangerous. There is less careful thought now.

Being a policeman is a difficult job, an important job, often a thankless job; it needs to be done well, so there is respect between the police and the people they protect.

Shootings are becoming so common that we're getting desensitized to them; just one more special report on CNN. How do you fix that? I do not have an answer.

All I can offer is this:
-- Talk to people. Listen to people. Get along with people. Be nice!!!!
-- Tolerate differing opinions and lifestyles. It is OK to disagree.
-- Respect authority; the police are hired to protect us.
-- We're lucky to live in a free country; lets not abuse the privilege.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here......
13) The spending spree that took place in the NBA over the last week has lowered the projections for next year's salary cap, from $107M to $102M.

12) Next summer will be a circus in the NBA; Curry-Westbrook-Griffin-Millsap-Paul-James-Durant could all be free agents, all at the same time.

11) Michigan Wolverines are paying Arkansas $2M after cancelling a home/home series with the Razorbacks, so they can renew their series with Notre Dame.

10) Over the last five years, SEC teams are 17-8 vs Big 14 teams, 14-10-1 against the spread; SEC squads were favored in 23 of the 25 games-- the exceptions were a . Wisconsin-South Carolina bowl in 2013 and a Michigan-Miami bowl game last year.

9) Ohio State has only six starters back this year, three on both sides of the ball.

8) Tennessee-Virginia Tech are playing a game at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sept 10; are expecting to draw a huge crowd. Unusual place for a football game.

7) UNLV's baseball team got a big boost; Greg Maddux is their new pitching coach- his son Chase is on the team. Nothing like having one of the best pitchers ever as one of your coaches- their recruiting should spike dramatically.

6) Enjoy watching family/friend reactions when young people make their MLB debuts; Thursday it was Tyler Glasnow making his debut in St Louis.

5) Clayton KershawDallas Keuchel led MLB with 232.2 IP last year; last pitcher to throw 250+ innings was Justin Verlander, five years ago.

4) From 1976-78, Jim Palmer threw 315-319-296 innings; last guy to throw 300+ innings in one season was Steve Carlton (304) in 1980.

3) Dick Enberg told a story on the Padre-Dodger game last night, about how the red numbers on the front of Dodger uniforms came to be.

When TV first was invented, in 1951, Dodgers decided the numbers on the front of their uniforms should be red, so they would show up better on TV. 65 years later, they are still red. Never heard that story until last night.

2) As if our Presidential race couldn't get any more hideous, there are commercials on Root Sports (Pirates-Rockies-Mariners games) supporting a Presidential candidate, all paid for by the NRA. Going to be very difficult for me to vote for either side in this year's elections-- we simply do not have an acceptable option, in my opinion. .

1) I'll be at the adidas Uprising tournament in Las Vegas in two weeks; am hoping the young man with best name in the country-- Immanuel Quickley will be there. Is there a better last name for a point guard than Quickley?

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud......
13) Interesting article in Las Vegas Review-Journal today about minor league baseball players and the language barriers guys from Central America face when they get here. It is remarkable that this is the first year it is mandatory for major league teams to have a Spanish translator with the ballclub.

It can be even worse for players from Curacao or Asia, who speak other languages.

12) Next Mega Millions jackpot will be at least $508M.

I worked for the New York State for 34 years; always laughed when there was a line for lottery tickets in the coffee shop, when they would bust your balls upstairs about running a football pool.

11) Kyrie Irving has played in 309 of a possible 410 games (75.4%) in the five years he's played in the NBA with the Cavaliers. He makes $7M a year.

Over last five years, Derrick Rose has played in 166 of a possible 410 games (40.5%) for the Bulls. He makes $18M a year.

Utah Jazz TV analyst Ron Boone played in 1,041 consecutive games, from 1969-80. Boone scored 17,437 points in his career, averaging 16.8 ppg.

Maybe the big money today has softened modern athletes; the quality of player today may be higher than it used to be, but yesterday's players were tougher. .

10) Brooklyn Nets will pay Tyler Johnson $50M over the next four years. Johnson has played 68 games for Miami in two years, starting seven. Thats $12.5M a year.

Steph Curry makes $12.1M a year. Something is amiss here.

9) In 2013, the California Franchise Tax Board collected $229.2M in tax revenue from athletes who played games in the Golden State. With the boost in NBA salaries this yearand the Rams coming back to Los Angeles, imagine what the tax board will be collecting next year?

8) NBA is experimenting with four referees in summer league games. I forgot who said this, but when they were switching from two to three refs a game 20-25 years ago or whenever it was, one coach said, "Just one more guy to yell at."

7) Movie trivia: Remember League of Their Own, the movie about women's baseball with Geena Davis, Tom Hanks and Madonna?

One of the pitchers for an opposing team in the movie was Janet Jones, better known now as Wayne Gretzky's wife/Dustin Johnson's mother-in-law

6) Since 2009, San Diego Padres have used 18 different shortstops.

5) In his last 32 games against the Giants, Nolan Arenado has 45 RBI.

4) Barry Bonds suggested that if Ichiro Suzuki were in the Home Run Derby, he would win it; he is not the first person I've heard say that. Next year's All-Star Game is in Miami; if Ichiro is still a Marlin then, he should be in the 2017 Home Run Derby.

3) For whatever reason, there are four All-Star games in a row in NL parks, so this year, the American League will be the home team, even though the game is in sunny San Diego. The DH should be used in All-Star Games every year-- no pitcher should ever bat in an All-Star Game-- it is nonsensical.

2) Arizona TV analyst Bob Brenly was describing how catchers go into a cold tub in the training room to revitalize their legs during a long baseball season.

Picture a big tub filled with cold slush; a catcher steps into that, and there is lot of pain for about two minutes. Then, Brenly says, you lose all the feeling in your legs as they go numb from the cold. After 5-7 more minutes, you get out of the tub, and when the blood rushes back into your legs and they regain feeling, they're supposed to feel re-energized. The hard part is staying in the tub during that first two minutes.

1) I subscribe to Insider because there is good info in there; with that I get a subscription to ESPN's magazine, which is a complete waste of paper. Maybe it is geared to really young people, I don't know. Lot of stuff I don't care about.

Wednesday's List of 13: Mid-week musings.......
13) Kevin Durant made sportswriting a very easy job this week, other than the fact that he also made lot of writers work on July 4th.

My take is this: Durant can do as he pleases; its a free country. You want to play for the Warriors, knock yourself out, but it gives the perception that he is not a leader and people will root against him because of it. Does that matter to him?

At the end of the day he will be really, really rich no matter what he chose; what does he care what we think? Will it effect his brand one way or the other? Only if he never wins an NBA title-- people are frontrunners and will always cheer a winner. .

12) Dallas Mavericks signed Seth Curry to a 2-year contract; Steph's little brother cashes in on the good season he had with Sacramento this year.

11) Cincinnati Reds fired their pitching coach this week, which won't help a thing. What they need are better pitchers, about five or six of them. Maybe seven.

10) I'm not a fan of the red-white-blue uniforms all the major league teams wear on holidays. I get it; we're Americans, we're patriotic and all that, but creating new stuff to sell online, whether it be for Mothers' Day, Fathers' Day, July 4, whatever-- just wear the normal uniforms-- hell, Arizona has eight sets of those. Enough.

9) Joey Chestnut credits playing the trumpet in high school with his being so good at stuffing hot dogs down his throat. I don't get the connection, but Mr Chestnut went to the same high school as CC Sabathia- they must have a good cafeteria there.

8) Was surprised to learn that San Jose and San Diego both have more people than San Francisco. Wouldn't have guessed that.

7) Marlins' catcher JT Realmuto has batted in every spot in the batting order this season, except for ninth.

6) Another Marlins note: if they make the playoffs, Dee Gordon can't play in them this year, because of his 80-game PED suspension.

5) Mets activated Jose Reyes and for some reason, Travis d'Arnaud gave him back uniform #7-- was surprised by that.

4) OK, you're an NBA GM: Would you rather give Timofey Mosgov $65M for four years or Bismack Biyombo $72M for four?

My choice would be Biyombo, but the guy has scored 4.6 ppg in his NBA career- he is a decent rebounder, shot blocker. In this market, that dictates $18M a year.

3) 76ers coach Brett Brown was telling a story on TV Monday about cutting Matthew Dellavedova from the Australian Olympic team in 2010;; was talking about how it was so painful for Dellavedova to get cut that Brown kind of knew at that point that Dellavedova was dedicated enough as a player to make a living at it. Dellavedova signed a $38M contract with the Bucks this week- go figure.

2) My new favorite word is "salty" as in: Getting asked for the 11th time about Tom Brady's suspension made the coach salty. Not mad, angry, annoyed, ticked off, pissed off, infuriated, ballistic-- salty. It has a certain ring to it.

1) Bob Stoops/Kirk Ferentz have both been in their current jobs for 18 years, making them the longest tenured I-A college football coaches in America. When was last time no I-A football coach has been in their job for 20+ years?

Tuesday's List of 13: Looking at ACC football teams.....
Boston College-- Went 0-8 in ACC LY; last time they were better than 7-6 was '09. Lost last five bowl games, after winning eight in row before that. Completed 44.6% of their passes LY-- grad transfer QB Patrick Towles started 22 games at Kentucky, and he should help the BC offense a great deal.

Clemson-- 56-12 last five years, with a +11 turnover margin, surprisingly low; scored 39.3 ppg in last four bowl/playoff games. 5-10 vs spread in true road games last three years. 29-4 in ACC games last four years, with three losses to Florida State and one at Georgia Tech in 2014.

Duke-- Played in bowls last four years, with average total of 83.5- last three of those were decided by 5 or less points. Are 13-7 as home favorites last four years, 5-1-1 as road favorites the last decade, 12-3 in non-ACC games last three seasons.

Florida State-- Fisher is 68-14 at FSU, 32-3 in ACC games last four years. Lost last two bowls, allowing 97 points; they're 26-16-2 all-time in bowls. Have all 11 starters back on offense this year. FSU is 23-16-1 as a home favorite under Fisher.

Georgia Tech-- Slipped to 3-9 LY, first losing year since 2010- went 1-9 in last ten games, but win was over Florida State. Johnson is 107-73 as I-A coach, just 4-7 in bowl games; triple option is easier to defend when you have full month to prep for it.

Louisville-- Petrino has 17 starters back, including top six rushers, top 10 WRs, so expect them to score a lot- they went 8-5 with freshman QB LY. Cards are 9-15 as home favorites last four years, Won last five games (3-1-1 vs spread) with Kentucky.

Miami-- Alum Mark Richt (145-51 at Georgia, 9-5 in bowls) is new coach. Lost last five bowl games, scoring just 15 ppg- they were favored in three of them. Canes are 16-9-1 vs spread at home last four years. Have junior QB Kaaya back-- he's started 25 games the last two years.

North Carolina-- Went 11-3 LY, their best year since '97. Are 15-9 as home favorite under Fedora, 4-7 as road underdog. Lost three of last four bowls, allowing 40+ points in the losses. Play Florida State-Va Tech-Miami on consecutive Saturdays early on.

NC State-- Wolfpack is 6-18 in ACC games under Doeren, 8-15-1 vs spread- LY they were 0-7 vs bowl eligible teams. Favorites are 10-4-1 vs spread in their road games last three years. New OC, new QB are both transfers from Boise State.

Pittsburgh-- Had four coaches the last six years; have 8 starters back on both sides of ball this year, so some welcomed continuity. Lost three of last three bowls, allowing average of 36 ppg. 4-9 vs spread at home last two years. Last three years, Pitt is 5-13 vs spread coming off a win.

Syracuse-- Babers is third coach in five years- they have top five rushers, seven of top eight WRs back. Orange is 7-14 vs spread as road dog the last five years. Syracuse won last three bowls- they weren't favored in any of them. Are playing I-AA team for sixth year in a row.

Virginia-- Last bowl was 2011, last bowl win was in '05. Mendenhall was 99-43 at BYU, 6-5 in bowls. Cavs are 6-11-3 as home favorites since 2011- they're 8-24 SU in ACC games last four years. Have senior QB who has started 27 games. .

Virginia Tech-- Fuente went 19-7 last two years at Memphis; replaces legendary VT coach Beamer here. Tech is 8-17-1 as home favorite last five years, 3-9 as road favorite last four years. Tech won three of last four bowls- they've been to a bowl the last 23 years in a row. Not an easy task replacing a legend.

Wake Forest-- Their stadium seats 31,500, #94 out of 128 in I-A football. Last bowl was in 2011, last bowl win in '09. Since '07, Wake is 14-24 as road underdog- over last decade, they're 19-11-1 as home dogs. Their QBs have been sacked 88 times the last two seasons, during which time Wake has sacked opposing QBs 48 times.

Monday's List of 13: Happy 4th of July, everyone.......
13) Here are two big league stat lines; which career would you rather have?

Pitcher A: 6 years: 36-40, 4.10 ERA in 103 starts.
Pitcher B: 6 years: 129-47, 2.19 ERA in 211 starts

These stats actually belong to the same guy; first six years and second six years of Sandy Koufax' career. He was very ordinary until his seventh year in the big leagues, but once he got rolling, he was freakin' unstoppable.

12) NC State's basketball team cancelled its summer trip to Italy this year because of security concerns in Europe. College teams only get to take these trips once every four years- they say they'll try again for next summer.

11) Major league ballplayers take an average of 12-15 bats with them on road trips of a week or so. Major league bats cost around $100 apiece.

10) Chicago White Sox' last fifteen home runs have come with the bases empty.

9) Bud Norris pitched seven shutout innings in his last start for the Braves; he was traded to the Dodgers and threw six shutout innings in his first start for LA.

Norris is the first pitcher since 1906 to throw consecutive scoreless starts, in the same season, for two different teams.

8) Oregon PG Dylan Ennis transferred from Villanova couple years ago; he was hurt lot of last year, but he got a sixth year of eligibility from NCAA thsi past week, which should greatly help the Ducks next winter.

7) Washington Nationals took Stephen Strasburg out after 6.2 IP against the Reds Sunday, even though he was tossing a no-hitter. Strasburg had just come off the DL with a bad back and had thrown 109 pitches.

6) Chicago Cubs are 51-30, have a huge lead in NL Central-- they're 14-17 against teams with winning records, 37-13 against teams with .500 or lower records.

5) Mets signed Jose Reyes, presumably to play 3B and take Wilmer Flores' place, but Flores went 6-for-6 yesterday, only the second Met ever to get six hits in a game.

Reyes, by the way, is hitting .246 in the minor leagues, as he awaits his call.

4) Old-time baseball: Astros plunked Jose Abreu in the 7th inning, so in bottom of the 7th, Jose Quintana threw a pitch behind Evan Gattis. Risky business, considering it was a 2-1 Chicago lead at the time- you don't want Quintana ejected there.

Players kept their cool, so did the umps. Astros manager AJ Hinch lost it a little and got tossed, but that was probably because Quintana had retired 14 in row at the time.

3) If the playoffs started today.........
NL: Nationals-Cubs-Giants. Wild Card: Dodgers, Mets
AL: Orioles-Indians-Rangers. Wild Card: Red Sox, Tigers

2) From now on, anytime anyone busts my balls about something I screwed up in the past, my pat answer will be, "Hindsight is 20-20". Its a great answer, and if its good enough for weasel politicians, it is good enough for me.

-- How could you pick Fresno State to cover? "Hindsight is 20-20"
-- Why did you trade Victor Martinez off your fantasy team? "Hindsight is 20-20"
-- Why did you ever get married? "Hindsight is 20-20"

See? It fits all occasions.

1) Stay safe around fireworks, please. Don't need anyone getting hurt.

Sunday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here......
13) I'm a big fan of the instant replay system in baseball, think it has made the game a lot better, but the Angels-Red Sox game Friday night was instant replay at its worst.

Angels are down 5-4 in ninth inning; Mike Trout is tying run on first with two out. . Daniel Nava hits a ball down the rightfield line at Fenway- it bounces, hits the top of the short wall, keeps going until a fan reaches out and grabs the ball. Call on the field is a ground rule double, but even the Red Sox TV guys said Trout should score.

Angels challenge the play but replay says Trout should stay at third. Who is making this call? Maybe they should show which umpires are deciding what in the replay center in Manhattan, because whoever made that decision screwed the Angels bigtime.

12) In 2013-14, NBA salary cap was $58.68M; it went up to $63.07, then $70M his past year, $94M next year and $107M in 2017-18, so the NBA is very healthy.

This year's salary floor is $85M; teams have to spend that much on salary, which is part of why guys who aren't stars are raking in silly money.

11) I remember seeing OJ Mayo play in an AAU tournament in Florida in 2006; he played on D-I Greyhounds, who also had Bill Walker- they played the 10pm game in The Milkhouse most nights-- they were the best team, and they knew it.

Ten years later, Mayo has banked $46M in salary but is now suspended by the NBA for two years- he'll be turning 31 next time he is eligible to be an NBA player, just as salaries are really taking off bigtime now. It can be difficult to handle prosperity.

10) New Orleans Saints wanted to make a waiver claim on QB Connor Shaw this week, but instead of e-mailing the NFL, they mistakenly sent their plan to every other team in the league and the Chicago Bears picked Shaw up instead.

9) White Sox got shut out Friday nite, but their TV guys praised home plate ump Jordan Baker, a young umpire who is 6-foot-8. When Hawk Harrelson praises an umpire after a White Sox loss, you know the ump did a really good job.

8) Somehow Tom Brady was involved in the Celtics' pitch to lure Kevin Durant to Boston as a free agent. Durant grew up in Maryland but isn't a Ravens' fan?

7) Captain Obvious checks in with this: In movies and on TV shows, the good guys are much better shooters than the bad guys. Bad guys should practice more- never see a criminal at a gun range practicing.

6) Arizona Cardinals are 20-6-1 vs spread under Bruce Arians in games where the spread was 4 or less points, by far best in NFL.

Indianapolis Colts are 23-13-1 under Chuck Pagano in games with a spread of 4 or less points, but if you remember, Pagano was ill during his first year as coach- the interim coach? Bruce Arians. Indy was 6-2-1 vs spread that season in low-spread games.

5) There is a tournament at World Series of Poker this weekend-- it costs $50,000 to enter, five times what the Main Event costs. Daniel Negreanu says that for most of the top players, the Players tourney is most fun/prestigious event of the WSOP.

4) Seven of the top nine international baseball prospects that were eligible for the draft this weekend were listed as shortstops, including all of the top five.

3) As I type this, Ryan Anderson just got $80M for four years from Houston; he scored 15.4 ppg the last two years in 29 mpg, despite starting only 12 of 127 games. He is a career 37.7% shooter outside the arc. Shooting is marketable.

Al Horford gets $113M for four years from the Celtics.

2) Blue Jays 9, Indians 6-- Congrats to Cleveland on a 14-game winning streak.

1) Pinnacle Sports posted odds on the Nathan's hot dog eating contest that is held every July 4 on Coney Island in Brooklyn.:

Over 65.5 hot dogs eaten by winner: -$145. Under 65.5: +119

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff on a summer day......
This is July 4 weekend, an American holiday; here are two examples of why this is a really great country:
13) Timofey Mosgov, who started 208 games in six NBA seasons, gets $65M from the Lakers for four years. Mosgov has a career scoring average of 6.9 ppg in his 369 NBA games. He will be 30 years old in two weeks. Now he is really, really rich, and he is not close to being really, really good.

12) Every July 1, from 2010-2035, Bobby Bonilla gets a check for $1,193,248.20 from the New York Mets, who dumped him before the 2000 season, instead of paying him $5.9M. So the Mets, whose owner is the head of MLB's Finance Committee, will pay Bonilla $29,831,205, instead of paying him $5.9M sixteen years ago. Geniuses.

Send your kid outside now, with a basketball or a bat. If he is going to be 7-feet tall, the basketball is probably a wiser choice. You never know what could happen.

11) Nationals' TV announcer FP Santangelo was explaining other night how moving from shortstop to centerfield isn't all that hard, much easier than moving to a corner outfield spot, where the fly balls slice or hook a lot more. Trea Turner, the Nationals' top prospect, is learning to play center in the minor leagues.

10) Dodgers' pitcher Kenta Maeda has an incentive-laden contract; he just bagged a $250K bonus for getting to the 90-inning mark. When he gets to the 100-inning mark, he cashes in on another $250K. Maeda has a balky elbow, which is why the Dodgers made his contract so heavily weighted with bonuses.

9) Saw something I never saw before: Thursday night, Braves led Miami 8-4 with two out in the ninth inning. Ump calls a close pitch a ball and the catcher (Tyler Flowers) explodes, yelling at the umpire and he gets tossed. With two outs in the last inning.

Field mikes pick up Flowers clearly yelling, "You're bleeping terrible!!!!" at umpire Larry Vanover before he goes to the dugout. Treemendous entertainment, then the TV guys apologize for airing the foul language. Hell, that was the best part.

8) I don't give a rat's ass about the Olympics. Not one bit; I guess I'll watch some of the basketball if I think games will be competitive, but otherwise, no thanks. Lot of the golfers are deciding not to go-- Jason Day is the latest to bail on his Olympic invite.

7) Phillies have a young OF prospect named Nick Williams who is rumored to be called up to the majors fairly soon. Read a lot of good things about Williams, so I made a trade for him and he is on my fantasy team, in a keeper league.

One small problem; Williams has been benched twice in the last couple of weeks for not hustling all the time, which will obviously delay his promotion to Philly. Ticklish situation; the guy is probably pouting because he wants to get called up, which delays the one thing he wants most. Phillies need more offense-- call the kid up!!!! If he does not hustle in front of the Philly fans, they'll let him know about it.

6) Congrats to Coastal Carolina on winning the College World Series; they're the first team since 1956 to win the CWS in their first appearance there.

5) So I'm watching Oceans Eleven the other night, had never seen it before. Excellent cast: Brad Pitt, Andy Garcia, George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, One scene, they're in a casino and just sitting at a video poker machine in a tuxedo is Clooney's character, waiting for the action to happen.

I go to Las Vegas several times a year, play my share of video poker and other games. I've met lot of interesting people, but never saw George Clooney playing video poker.

4) Terrance Ferguson is headed to Australia to play pro basketball for a year, three months after his high school graduation, then he'll enter the 2017 NBA Draft. Will not be easy being halfway around the world at age 18, playing pro ball against adults, but at least the language won't be a problem. .

3) ESPN had a very nice sendoff for Mike Tirico Thursday, which was his last day working for the network after 25 years. Big loss for ESPN letting him walk.

2) Want to feel old(er)? Mike Tyson turned 50 this week.

1) Roger Goodell made $32M last year, $1M per team. Pretty good job he has.

Friday's List of 13: Looking at SEC football teams.....
Alabama-- 39-5 SU in last 44 conference games, 27-17 vs spread. +63 in turnovers last nine years, but allowed 40+ points in three of last four bowl/playoff games- they are 3-2 in last five bowl/playoff games.

Arkansas-- Won last three bowl games, all by 13+ points; are +14 in turnovers last two years, after being -28 the two years before that. Razorbacks are 18-7-1 vs spread last two years, 11-4-1 in conference play.

Auburn-- Have eight new assistant coaches this year, after going 15-11 last two years. Scored 31+ points in last four bowls, but split those games. 7-19 vs spread in last 26 games, 3-9 in last 12 tries as a home favorite.

Florida-- Went 10-4 in McIlwain's first year, after going 29-23 under Muschamp, who is now the coach at South Carolina. Gators are 6-14 as home favorites since 2012; they covered six of last eight as a road favorite. Have two transfer QBs battling for #1 job; from Oregon State, Purdue-- one is Jack Del Rio's son.

Georgia-- Why did they fire Mark Richt? Dawgs are 50-17 last five years, have a +41 turnover ratio last five years. Since '13, are 9-17 vs spread coming off a win. Special teams coach in new regime is Shane Beamer, who spent last fuve years working for his father at Virginia Tech.

Kentucky-- Last bowl was 2010, last bowl win in '08. Wildcats are 14-6 as favorites at home since '10, but are 1-9-2 in last 12 tries as a home underdog. Cats are 7-18 as a road dog since 2010-- last time they were favored on the road was five years ago.

LSU-- In 2011-12, Tigers were +36 in TOs, went 23-4. Last three years, Tigers have a +10 TO ratio, are 27-11 and Les Miles barely kept his job. Last two years, LSU QBs completed 50%/53.6% of their passes- that has to go up. Tigers are 4-11 against the spread in true road games the last four years.

Ole Miss-- Favorites covered their last five bowl games; Rebels won four of them, are 13-7-1 as home favorites under Freeze, 11-4 as underdogs. Ole Miss lost four of its top six tacklers from LY. Senior QB Kelly threw for 4,042 yards, 31 TDs last year.

Mississippi State-- Six straight winning seasons, are 19-7 last two years. Mullen is 15-8-1 vs spread in SEC last three years, 6-2 as road underdog, 18-10 in last 28 games as a home favorite. Six straight winning years in Starkville is no small feat.

Missouri-- Will miss underrated coach Pinkel. Won last three bowl games, all by 10+ points, scoring 35 ppg. Tigers are +24 in turnovers last three years. Mizzou is 16-6 vs spread off a loss, but 2-6 in last eight games as a home underdog.

South Carolina-- Spurrier is tough act to follow, especially with only nine starters back. Gamecocks are 9-15 vs spread in SEC last three years- they're 1-5-1 in their last seven games as a road favorite. Won last four bowls, were underdog in last two.

Tennessee-- Vols are 3-9 vs spread in last dozen games where spread was 4 or less points-- Jones isn't a good game manager, but he can recruit- they won 45-28/45-6 in last two bowls. Have senior QB who needs to improve on 59.3% completion % from last year-- with 22 starts under his belt, Dobbs should be better than he is. .

Texas A&M-- Were minus in turnovers six of last seven years (-33 total), are 6-12 vs spread as home favorite last three years (6-17-1 vs spread in SEC games), covered just four of last 13 as a dog. Aggies have won four of their last five bowl games.

Vanderbilt-- 7-17 since James Franklin left, with -24 turnover ratio. Commodores are 10-5 as home underdog since '11, 11-6 as road dogs since '12, 22-13 overall in last 35 games when getting points. Won three of last four bowls, with average total of 64 in last three-- their last bowl was in 2013, Franklin's final year as Vandy's coach.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) Can you imagine if they ever put the DH in the National League, what games at Coors Field would be like? Teams would score 20+ runs several times a year.

12) Put it this way: Colorado is 12-2 at home this season when their starting pitcher throws 6+ innings and allows four or less runs. They're 6-18 in other home games.

11) Bad Beat of the Week: under 8.5 in Cubs-Reds Tuesday night. Game was 2-2 all the way into the 15th inning, when Cubs scored five times in top of the 15th. Oy.

10) Crowd at College World Series for Game 2 off the best-of-3 series was 24,716, which means the CWS is a pretty good money maker.

9) Jose Quintana has eight losses this year; White Sox scored a total of nine runs in those eight games.

8) Seattle Seahawks are 53-27 the last five years, thanks to a +55 turnover margin.

7) Zach Greinke left Tuesday's game with an oblique injury, making Arizona's year even more of a disaster than it already has been. Diamondbacks are 13-27 at home but 23-17 on the road, which makes very little sense.

6) Golfer Billy Hurley III qualified for the British Open by winning at Congressional last week; but will pass on going over the pond to go to his sister's wedding. Taking his place in the British Open field is Jim Herman.

5) Australian Peter Hooley, who helped put the "great" in Albany Great Danes for four years, will play pro basketball for the Plymouth Raiders in Great Britain.

4) Since 2007, the best single-season turnover margins were the 2011 49ers and 2010 Patriots, both of which had +28 margins.

3) Oakland Raiders were +1 in turnovers LY, after being -50 combined over the last six seasons. Winning the turnover battle is a big step in learning how to win. I'm going to have more on NFL teams and turnovers next month.

2) Odd note about umpire Vic Carapazza; his last five games behind the plate were all matchups between two lefty pitchers. Doesn't happen a lot.

1) Texas Longhorns scooped up four of the five recruits who bolted Baylor after coach Art Briles was let go. Texas is now #7 in this year's recruiting rankings.

Wednesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but......
13) Baseball has to change the rain delay rule; Texas-New York sat thru a 3:35 rain delay (thats three hours, 35 minutes) with the game resuming around 2:15am Tuesday in bottom of the 9th inning. First game of a series, it should have been suspended and then finished before Tuesday's game. Common sense just ain't that common.

12) Kirby Yates became the first pitcher to hit three batters in the ninth inning of a game since Ray Boggs of the Braves on September 17, 1928.

Aroldis Chapman threw nine pitches in the rain before the game was delayed, so they didn't ask him to finish the game after the lengthy delay. So they lost.

11) According to ESPN's Fran Fraschilla, who knows stuff about basketball, over the last 15 years, if you take the top 100 high school basketball players each year, so thats 1,500 kids, only 27% of them have made the NBA.

10) There were conflicting reports this week that the New Orleans Saints may or may not move their training camp from Greenbrier, WV to Metairie, LA because of all the flooding in the West Virginia area. Nick Faldo owns a home at Greenbrier, which is a very fancy resort area, tucked away in the hills.

9) Angels' pitchers Garrett Richards/Andrew Heaney both have elbow injuries, but instead of having Tommy John surgery, they're getting stem cell injections to try and heal the injury without surgery, which would reduce recovery time from a year to 12 weeks or so. If this works, it'll revolutionize how teams treat pitchers.

8) Tennis star/model/PED cheater Maria Sharapova is spending part of her suspension attending Harvard Business School, making her by far, the best looking Ivy League nitwit. Imagine being a college professor and having her come in during office hours for extra help?

7) A new business recently opened near my house-- Beer Universe, which claims to sell over 1,000 different types of beer. Last business that building housed was a place that sold clothes/toys for newborn babies and little kids.

I had no idea there were over 1,000 kinds of beer, but a relative of mine owns part of Evil Genius beer, which may or may not be named after Vince McMahon.

6) Milwaukee Brewer TV guys told an interesting story Sunday about how umpire supervisor Bruce Froemming "had a talk" with them about criticizing umpires on the air. Brian Anderson/Bill Schroeder made light of the meeting, but they made sure it got out over the air, which means they probably weren't real happy about it.

Those two are good natured and not controversial; seems like anytime anyone tells the truth on local baseball telecasts, either the players or umps get ticked off.

5) Rams-Giants play in England October 23, if England still exists by then; I notice yesterday that the game starts at 9:30 ET, which is not good. When is a guy supposed to sleep? College games will be on until around 2am the night before-- I feel bad for the ticket writers in Las Vegas sportsbooks-- thats a 6:30am kickoff in the desert.

4) Denver Broncos' public address announcer quit after 16 years, to be the PA announcer for the Vikings-- apparently the guy grew up in Minnesota.

3) Brewers' pitcher Jimmy Nelson left Sunday's game after five innings, having not allowed a hit, but once Washington got a hit, the scorer changed an earlier ruling and gave Washington hit on an earlier play, a hard-hit ball at the second baseman.

I was an official scorer in the Eastern League 30 years ago; the first thing they told me was "The first hit has to clearly be a hit", which clearly fits this situation, but that was so frustrating. Either it is or isn't a hit; lot of politics in official scoring, and that was before fantasy baseball, where thousands of people might have a financial stake in how a play is scored, one way or the other.

2) This bears repeating; Kris Bryant is the first player EVER to hit three homers and two doubles in the same game. Wow.

1) MLB and the players' union needs to compromise for the good of the game; do away with the DH and go with 27-man rosters. With David Ortiz retiring, this would be a good time to get rid of the DH. Trading the DH for 60 (or 64, after expansion) extra jobs should appeal to the players' union. Common sense rarely wins out.

Tuesday's List of 13: NFL knowledge to ponder......
13) Falcons-- Missed playoffs last three years, going 18-30, despite starting 5-0 LY. Were last in NFL in sacks (19) LY, 5-5 in games decided by less than seven points. .

12) Bills-- Had only 21 sacks LY (31st) so Rex Ryan brought his brother Rob in to help with the defense. Led NFL in rushing yards, but were #28 in passing yards.

11) Panthers-- Will be hard to re-create +20 turnover margin; they were 5-0 in games decided by less than 7 points. Have four games west of Rockies this season. Getting Kelvin Benjamin back at WR provides some upside.

10) Bengals-- Made playoffs last five years, but its been 25 years since they last won a playoff game. Were +11 in turnovers, allowed 2nd-least points, but will have their third offensive coordinator in last four years this season.

9) Cowboys-- Had four QBs throw 98+ passes LY; they lost 12 of last 14 games after a 2-0 start. Their -22 turnover margin was worst in the NFL.

8) Packers-- Five of McCarthy's seven playoff losses came on the last play of game. Started 6-0, stumbled to 4-6 finish, scoring 8-13 points in last two games- they get Jordy Nelson back from injury at WR this year.

7) Texans-- O'Brien is "QB guru" but Texans used nine QBs (starting seven) in his first two years in Houston. Only two of their 16 games LY were decided by less than seven points- they should have five new starters on offense this year.

6) Colts-- Luck missed nine games LY; Indy was 29th in rushing yards, 22nd passing, 28th in total yards- they drafted four offensive linemen. Also have their third OC in last five seasons.

5) Vikings-- Minnesota is 24-9 vs spread under Zimmer, 15-5 as an underdog; they were 4th in rushing yards, 31st in passing yards- their fired their offensive line coach.

4) Patriots-- Went 3-5 in last eight games after a 10-0 start; Garoppolo threw four passes all year-- now he has to start the first four games, with Brady suspended. Patriots had 49 sacks LY, second-most in NFL.

3) Giants-- Lost six of last seven games, but kept both coordinators and fired a future Hall of Fame head coach. Went 6-10 LY despite a +7 turnover ratio; they allowed an average of 420 yards/game (last) and gave up 40.7 ppg in last three games.

2) Saints-- 31st in rushing yards allowed, 31st in passing yards, 31st in total yards, last in points allowed. Brees threw for 4,870 yards but is 37 now. Only had five draft picks this year-- two of them were offensive players.

1) Steelers-- Roethlisberger is 34 now; Pitt was #3 in passing yards, T4 in scoring, despite Big Ben missing five games. Had 48 sacks under new DC Butler, 3rd in NFL.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend......
13) Washington Nationals lost seven of last eight games, but still lead Mets, Marlins by three games in NL East; they open a series with the Mets tonight at home. Nationals have pitching problems: Gio Gonzalez is 0-6, 8.68 in his last seven starts and Steven Strasburg is on DL with a rib injury suffered while lifting weights.

12) Coastal Carolina plays Arizona in best-of-3 finals of College World Series; they are in CWS for first time. Last time a team won the CWS in their first appearance in the World Series was Minnesota, back in 1956.

11) Coastal Carolina's coach took some grief on social media Saturday; his pitcher threw 137 pitches in Saturday's win (he is a submariner, which puts less stress on arms, but still.....) and apparently a kid was warming up during the game who had thrown 83 pitches in Friday's game.

There is a delicate balance between winning and abusing a pitcher's arm.

10) Jacob deGrom never pitched in high school; he's doing pretty well now. .If he had not played baseball at Stetson, the only college baseball team that recruited him, then he would've played basketball at Bethune-Cookman.

9) Andrew White, second-leading scorer for Nebraska last season, plans to play at another school as a graduate transfer next year. Coach Tim Miles said White requested a release and will be given one- they could've restricted what schools he went to. .

White, who sat out the 2014-15 season after transferring from Kansas, averaged 16.6 points and 5.9 rebounds in his only season with the Cornhuskers, who are screwed with their best player jumping ship on June 25, well after recruiting ended.

I'll say this about basketball transfers; it is a free country and a kid can transfer if he wants to, but when a kid plays for three teams in four years, it is a major red flag.

8) Cleveland Indians won their last nine games, lead AL Central by five games over the Royals; they're 9-0 against Detroit this season- they lead the Tigers by seven.

7) There is a weird rule in SEC basketball; teams cannot sign JC players unless the kid has been at the JC for 3+ semesters. This rule cost Ole Miss a recruit this spring and it cost Georgia Jae Crowder a few years ago- he went to Marquette instead and is now a solid contributor for the Boston Celtics.

6) Former big league outfielder Greg Vaughn (355 big league HRs) will be caddying on the PGA Tour next weekend in Reno for Spencer Levin (84th in FedEx standings). .

5) There have been 32 games this year where a starting pitcher went 7+ innings, gave up 0 or 1 run, and yet didn't win the game.

4) Sunday was Colorado's first walk-off win of the year; it was 7th for the Giants, most in the major leagues. Must be an even-numbered year- Giants won World Series in 2010, 2012, 2014, the last three even-numbered years.

3) Last year in college football, Big 14 teams were 11-2 SU against MAC teams- they use those games as tune-ups for conference play. Against the spread however, those MAC teams went 10-3 against the number, very impressive.

2) Purdue was only one of those 13 games where the Big 14 team was an underdog; Boilers lost 35-28 as 3-point home underdogs to Bowling Green.

1) Over the last five years, MAC teams are 32-29 against the spread when playing a Big 14 opponent, so last year was best they've done in some time.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) Strength coach for Alabama's football team makes $525,000 a year, more than 19 Division I-A head coaches. Strength coach is an extremely important job-- he is the only coach allowed to coach the players year-round.

12) John Calipari has coached 22 players who left school for the NBA after one year of college; all 22 were drafted in the first round.

11) Green Bay Packers turned a $75M profit last year. Thats million, with an M.

10) You see a number like that, and it irritates me that NFL teams do not suit up an emergency #3 QB every Sunday. Say the starting QB gets hurt on the first play of the game-- then they have to be super cautious with the backup, since there is no one else left to QB if the backup gets hurt. It dimishes the quality of the product.

How much could a #3 QB make? $1M? For an NFL team, thats pocket change.

9) Of the 32 current NFL head coaches, Adam Gaze/Ben McAdoo are only two who didn't play college football.

8) Red Sox use several TV analysts, with Jerry Remy the main one, but the best one is Dennis Eckersley is the best one-- he is smart, fair, and speaks his mind.

7) Dodgers are a weird team; they have a huge payroll, but a shaky pitching rotation and the other night, Yasiel Puig batted 8th-- not your ordinary #8 hitter.

6) George Springer is the first player since 1900 to hit a grand slam and a triple in the first inning of a major league game.

5) Mets signed Jose Reyes, but they're set at SS with Asdrubal Cabrera-- will they put him at 2B and have Neil Walker play third?

4) Nine college hoop teams will be playing exhibition games in the Bahamas in August; UNLV, Wake Forest, Akron, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, FAU, Wyoming and Missouri State. Trips like that are a big help.

3) Aptly-named 3-point gunner Max Hooper, who played for Oakland last year and took 257 3-pointers LY but no 2-point shots, has signed on with Oklahoma City to play on their summer league team.

2) Listened to Doug Gottlieb's talk show for a while on Friday, on CBS Sports Network; he is smart and opinionated. ESPN screwed up bigtime letting him get away.

1) There are guys who make a living in pro sports now as "mental skills coaches", which is a euphemism for "sports psychologist", except you don't need a degree in psychology to be a mental skills coach.

“It’s just about playing in the present. Not worrying about things I can’t control, and focusing on the things I can, obviously." Thats what Ben Simmons had to say about his mental skills coaching. Interesting way to make a living.

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here......
13) Correction: Got an e-mail yesterday sayng there are no agent commissions on rookie contracts in the NBA, so Jaylen Brown probably doesn't save any money by not having an agent, right now at least- there was one article on the Interweb that said some agents do claim commissions, despite there being very little negotiating involved with rookie contracts.

Brown is a bright kid; he says he'll hire an agent when the right time comes.

12) Scary scene in Anaheim Thursday, in 9th inning of A's-Angels game, with two out and A's up 5-4, Angels' batter swung and missed and let the bat go- the bat went behind the plate and drilled umpire Paul Emmel on top of his head, drawing blood. Quinn Wolcott went in and got his umpire's gear on, came out and worked the plate for the last out of the game, which actually took only one pitch.

11) In April the NCAA adopted a new rule that allows college coaches to evaluate the FIBA U17 World Championships in Spain; since this is a dead period for evaluating players in this country, lot of D-I coaches are in Spain for the tournament, which runs until July 3. .

10) Houston Astros were 1-1 on April 7; the next time they were at .500 or better was Tuesday night, 75 days later, when they got to 36-36.

9) Weird story of the day: In 1983, the St Louis Blues were having an ownership dispute; none of their representatives showed up for the NHL Draft, and the team actually forfeited all of its draft picks that year. No bueno.

8) Then there are the Green Bay Packers; they opened last year with 19 players who were drafted in the 4th round or later, including four of their five starting offensive linemen. Some organizations are run better than others.

7) Which brings us to the Miami Marlins, who on November 19, 2012, made a huge trade (12 players) with Toronto. As part of the trade, Miami chose Justin Nicolino, passing on Noah Syndergaard and Aaron Sanchez, who were both Toronto prospects back then. Oy.

6) Marlins raised around $100,000 for charity Thursday with the telethon they had on the air during their game with Cubs. They're better at telethons than baseball.

5) 59 underclassmen stayed in the NBA Draft; only 29 were drafted.

16 international players, 15 college seniors were also selected.

So 30 kids who could've played college ball this winter now have to find jobs, either in Europe or the D-League. Kids get a lot of bad advice.

4) Cubs' catcher David Ross played in the College World Series for two colleges, Florida and Auburn; don't see that very much.

3) More college basketball transfers (over 600 this year now)
-- Jordan Matthews, from Cal to Gonzaga
-- Kendrick Nunn, from Illinois to Oakland
-- Charles Matthews, from Kentucky to Michigan

2) June 23, 1917-- Babe Ruth was ejected after walking the first hitter of the game. His replacement came in, and didn't allow a baserunner the rest of the game, in what was probably the weirdest no-hitter in major league history.

1) Rough night at Dodger Stadium Wednesday for Nationals' CF Michael Taylot; he struck out five times, then let a single get by him in the bottom of the ninth inning, allowing the tying/winning runs to score, in Washington's fifth straight loss.

Friday's Den: Running diary of NBA Draft night......
Haven't done this in a long time, but this is a running diary of Thursday night's NBA Draft, with some baseball mixed in. Hope you enjoy......

7:05-- Rece Davis is ESPN's host for the draft; he is the best guy ESPN has, but I'm not sure they know it. Why did they let Mike Tirico get away?

7:07-- Mets acquired Kelly Johnson two weeks ago; he's batting 5th for them tonite, as their impotent offense brings back memories of their team at this time LY, before they traded for Yoenis Cespedes. They still have Cespedes, but they struggle to score.

7:10-- Why doesn't NBA TV cover the draft too, the way NFL Network does?

7:15-- The Celtics have eight picks tonight; kind of reduces their leverage in making a trade-- they HAVE TO trade some of those picks.

7:20-- They're having a telethon on Marlins' TV during their game with the Cubs- the best thing that could happen to the Marlins is if Jeffrey Loria put the team up for sale as part of the telethon, then Marlin fans could be rid of his foolishness.

7:23-- Marco Belinelli got traded to the Hornets. Really, he did.

7:25-- Dragan Bender is 18 years old, won't turn 19 until after the season starts. Then you have Buddy Hield, who played four years at Oklahoma and is 23. How much does that figure in factoring how much will these players improve?

Fran Fraschilla talks about the foreign players in the draft; it shows how ridiculous ESPN has become that Jay Williams was on the telecast before Fraschilla. Can never have enough Duke alums on a telecast, though.

7:29-- NBA salary cap is going to jump from $70M to $110M in two years? Oy.

7:31-- NBA commissioner Adam Silver is a tall, bald man with glasses; in other words, he is my hero.

7:37-- 76ers take Ben Simmons, who was 1-3 behind the arc at LSU LY. Kid is a real good passer, ut he is still a kid. Curious to see how he does in the pros; Simmons' dad played for Sixers' coach Brett Brown 27 years ago in Australia.

Simmons' sister is married to former NFL RB Michael Bush, who played for the Raiders/Bears in his six-year career, scoring 31 TDs.

7:44-- Simmons is 7th consecutive college freshman to go #1 in the draft.

7:46-- Lakers took Brandon Ingram with the #2 pick; at what point next fall will Luke Walton look at his team and ask "I left Golden State for this???"

7:50-- I wonder if Sam Hinkie would've taken Simmons, or would have have screwed that up too? Just because you went to a fancy school doesn't make you smart.

Worst thing about the draft is that they don't announce trades as they happen, so a kid drafted by one team may already have been dealt somewhere else. No bueno.

7:56-- Celtics drafted Jaylen Brown, who doesn't have an agent, thereby saving 3% in agents' fees-- rookie contracts are slotted, so no real need for an agent. Good for him.

8:07-- Suns took the 18-year old Bender, Minnesota took PG Kris Dunn, who will be a good fit with Tom Thibodeau's defensive teachings. You wonder if a kid isn't happy going somewhere like Minnesota, a franchise that has never won?

I mean, Dunn is rich now, but if he wanted to play for the Celtics or some other team, unless he gets traded, he's out of luck. As if being a millionaire is being out of luck.

8:15-- New Orleans takes Buddy Hield, who Jalen Rose compared to Voshon Lenard, who Rose went to high school with.

8:22-- Jalen Rose likes telling averyone how much money NBA players made in their career. Michael Redd made $101,991,325 in his career. He played in one All-Star tilt and 16 playoff games in his entire career, still made $102M. Nice.

8:27-- Sacramento takes Marquese Chriss. who scored 13.7 ppg at Washington- they then traded him to Phoenix, not sure for who. Chriss is a great athlete but is also prone to foul trouble. Translation: Mr Chriss is a project.

8:30-- Jay Bilas has Domantas Sabonis ranked ahead of Skal Labassiere, restoring my faith in mankind. This is my advice to teams guessing on marginal players:

Draft players who were productive in college
Draft players who were productive in college
Draft players who were productive in college....I rest my case.

8:40-- Milwaukee Bucks took Thon Maker, whose age is a question mark. Fraschilla likes him; the kid lived in Sudan until he was 6, then Australia for a while, then in this country, before moving to Canada. He apparently is a project; no one really seems to know. Bucks were one of three youngest NBA teams last year.

8:47-- Domantas Sabonis got picked #11, proving that I'm not a complete idiot (hold your jokes). I swore that if Sabonis went #20 in the draft, as ESPN's website claimed, then 10 NBA GMs needed to be fired. Sabonis is going to be a really good player.

He went #11 to the Magic, who then traded him and two others for Serge Ibaka, with Victor Oladipo one of the two guys going to Oklahoma with Sabonis.

9:02-- Sacramento's team is owned and run by foreigners, so of course they took a big kid from Greece I've never heard of. He played high school ball in Philly area, but is a project, according to Fraschilla.

9:16-- Denver took Juan Hernangomez, third time in last five years they took a foreign kid in the first round.

9:17-- They showed the Celtics' "war room" which is apparently is in what looks like a cramped locker room. Don't they have meeting space in their building?

9:25-- This is where I tell you Deandre Bembry from St Joe's is going to be a really good player. We're sitting at pick #17 as I type this; he should be off the board.

9:35-- TV guys won't say this because they don't want us to turn the channel, but this isn't a great draft. Teams are clutching at straws with foreign kids already, or looking for projects who will blossom down the road.

9:45-- You feel bad for kids who are actually in the arena, then slip in the draft and have to sit there-- has to be very humbling, as well as expenisve. Denver took Malik Beasley, who was sitting there for a while; Beasley's mom is an actress who was in The Hunger Games.

9:50-- This seems like a good time to point out that when he was in college, Cavaliers' owner Dan Gilbert was arrested for bookmaking-- he paid a fine and got three years of probation. Not lot of guys who own teams that have a gambling-related rap sheet.

9:57-- Atlanta Hawks took Bembry, who played for the St Joe's Hawks, so he will be a Hawk for the forseeable future. He is a little bit like Ben Simmons in that he needs to be a better shooter, stronger and a tad more selfish when it comes to scoring. He will be a 10-year NBA player, but he has to develop his scoring to be a really good 10-year player.

10:15-- Lebron James, Kawhi Leonard are skipping the Olympics, Rory McIlroy ain't going either, as NBC execs start to sweat just a little bit more.

10:25-- If you left college early to go pro and you haven't been picked yet, after 76ers just took Furkan Korkmaz, who won't be over here for at least two years, after they took some guard from France, then admit it, son-- you messed up bigtime.

10:30-- Would it be the worst thing on earth if kids who aren't drafted tonight could go back to college and play next year, and get better?

10:36-- That said, kids often listen to the wrong people- they hear what they want to hear and instead of going back to school and working on getting better, they jump at the lure of easy money, as Glenn Frey would say. .

10:42-- Only 14 of the first 27 players drafted were born in this country.

10:52-- $2.1M for two years ain't bad, but if you were expecting more, its a letdown for a kid who was told (lied to) that he would be a mid-first round pick. Kids taken in the first round are still guaranteed some money though. Better than nothing.

10:58-- NFL Draft is roughly ten weeks after the Super Bowl; NBA Draft is just four nights after the Finals ended. Kind of weird.

11:08-- I can't really imagine being really poor, then all of a sudden really rich; having grown up in a middle class home, both are foreign to me. Some of these kids are going to have to learn the word "no" or else their money won't last very long.

11:12-- Celtics took a 6-9 guy from Croatia named Ante Zizic; that pick got high praise on Most of the foreign kids picked were not praised as much.

11:17-- Pelicans traded two second round picks to move up to take Cheick Diallo, who was an unproductive sub for Kansas LY, after arriving with much hype. I liked the Suns taking Tyler Ulis with the next pick better-- take productive players.

11:21-- I'm not a big fan of bow ties, not that anyone consults me on fashion.

11:26-- Suns drafted Tyler Ulis, which could be a really good pick if he is healthy.

11:33-- Two UNLV kids got taken in the second round; I've would've lost a boatload of cash if you had bet me that Patrick McCaw would be selected ahead of Stephen Zimmerman. Realistically, both kids should've stayed in school. Zimmerman can really pass the ball but he needed to take another year to mature to really cash in.

McCaw got traded to from Milwaukee to Golden State; their D-League team is in Santa Cruz, so he can start looking for apartments there.

12:00-- Who would've thought that Oakland's point guard would get taken ahead of North Carolina's? 5-9 sparkplug Kay Felder is going to make the Jazz roster.

July 8 the NBA Summer League starts in Las Vegas; games are on TV and it is evident from watching those games, just how difficult it is to make an NBA roster. Players who didn't make the NBA last year will be there, fighting for one of those precious roster spots with this year's rookies. It is a very, very competitive ten days.

Thursday's Den: Looking at some Pac-12 football trends......
Some trends and tidibits on Pac-12 football teams........

Arizona--Wildcats are 5-1 as home underdogs under RichRod, but 5-9 as road dogs. Average total in their last four bowl games: 77.0. Arizona is 18-19 SU in Pac-12 under RichRod, 15-1 out of conference.

Arizona State--Sun Devils are 20-12 vs spread under Graham when favored; they're +31 in turnovers last three years. Underdogs won SU in last three bowls; average total in their last four bowls is 76.4.

California-- Last four years, Golden Bears are 6-23 vs spread coming off a loss- they are 12-24 vs spread in Pac-12 games last four years, 4-9 as a home favorite. Webb is a grad transfer from Texas Tech who will be Cal's QB, trying to fill Jared Goff's shoes. .

Colorado--- Buffaloes' last bowl was 2007, last bowl win was in '04. Colorado is 10-8 vs spread in Pac-12 games under MacIntyre, after being 9-18 the three years before that. Buffs are 6-0 as home favorites under MacIntyre.

Oregon-- Ducks are 89-18 last eight years, 64-10 in Pac-12; they're +82 in turnovers last six years. Oregon is 11-3 vs spread on road under Helfrich- they lost 42-20/47-41 in their last two bowl/playoff games. .

Oregon State-- Was bottom 10 team in nation in expereince LY; they're 3-15 against spread in Pac-12 games last two years. Beavers are 9-17 in last 26 games as a home favorite, 1-5 in last six as road favorite.

USC-- 34-20 SU last four years would be OK some places, but not here. Trojans are 18-11 as home favorites since 2011, but are 6-16 vs spread in last 22 road games, 4-10 when favored. Have ten starters back on offense this year; only new starter is QB.

Stanford-- 66-15 SU since 2010; won 45-21/45-16 in last two bowls. Cardinal is 9-4 vs spread in last 13 games as home favorite; they're 4-1-1 as road underdogs under Shaw, but 5-8 in last 13 as a road favorite.

UCLA-- Play at Texas A&M, BYU in September; tough schedule. Average total in their last four bowls: 67.5. Bruins are 3-8 as home favorites last two years, 11-20 as a road underdog since '08.

Utah-- Whittingham is 8-1 in bowl games, scoring 36.7 ppg in winning last three. Utes are 6-1 as road underdogs last two years, 7-4 as home dogs since '06. Are playing old rival BYU (September 10) this year for first time since '13.

Washington--Have been either 4-5 or 5-4 in Pac-12 seven years in row- they've been plus in turnovers all seven years. Huskies are 14-8 as home favorites since '11, 5-7 as home underdogs since 2010. Covered eight of last 11 games coming off a loss. .

Washington State-- Last year was their first bowl win since 2003- they started year with loss to I-AA team. Covered 12 of last 15 games as road underdog, ; Coogs are 7-4 in last 11 games as a home favorite. Have been negative in turnovers last seven years.

Wednesday's List of 13: Mid-week musings.......
13) New pet peeve: the phrase "maintenance day", a euphemism for "day off" in the modern world of baseball. Playing baseball is not that grueling, players do not need a day off every week (other than catchers, obviously).

Marcell Ozuna is hotter than hell, but he sat Tuesday because Ichiro Suzuki now has to play a couple days a week. Marlins must be making a fortune selling Ichiro gear in Japan as he approaches 3,000 major league hits. Christian Yelich sat Monday, Ozuna sat last night, despite his hitting two home runs on Monday. Oy.

12) When did the major leagues become more like Little League, where everyone has to play? Our society is getting soft as hell, and if I sound old saying that, so be it.

11) Dirk Nowtizki opted out of his contract with Dallas, turning down $8.7M to play with the Mavericks next year. Most everyone thinks he will re-sign with Dallas on a multi-year deal, but you never know in this world.

It should be noted here that Dallas hasn't been out of the first round of the playoffs since they won their first NBA title five years ago.

10) NHL teams are trading marginal players for draft picks rather than lose them in the upcoming expansion draft.

9) Skal Labissiere played 15.8 mpg for Kentucky LY, scoring 6.6 ppg, starting half the Wildcats' 36 games as a freshman.

Domantas Sabonis played 31.8 mpg for Gonzaga LY, scoring 17.6 ppg; he played 74 college games in his two years for the Bulldogs-- his dad is one of the greatest big men in European history.

If Labissiere is drafted before Sabonis tomorrow night, as many mock drafts suggest, I'm going to mock the NBA system, which values potential over performance.

8) The latest Big Ten media-rights contract will earn the league an average of $440 million annually over the next six years, with FOX and ESPN sharing the rights.

7) Miami Marlins' pitcher Paul Clemens lived in Miami for a while as a kid; his dad was the head of the FBI in South Florida.

6) Auburn, Michigan both have only two home football games before Halloween; on October 8 and October 29 for both teams. Not very courageous scheduling.

5) VCU's band director got the boot after they school couldn't come to a contract agreement with him. How much money can a band director make?

4) Yasmani Grandal's 3-run homer in bottom of 8th inning ruined a fine pitching performance by Tanner Roark. LA handed the Nationals their 4th loss in a row, 3-2.

3) Mets pushed back Noah Syndergaard's start Tuesday to line him up to pitch against division rival Washington down the road, then Bartolo Colon got KO'd by a line drive hit by the first batter of the game, but the Mets won anyway, 2-1.

2) For the next 40 days (until July 31), trade speculation will run rampant; Angels are in trouble, even with Mike Trout in CF. How do they raise their talent level? There has been suggestion of a Trout-to-Washington deal, with Nationals sending its three best minor leaguers to Anaheim-- Lucas Giolito, Trea Turner, Victor Robles.

1) If the baseball playoffs started today:
NL: Nationals-Cubs-Giants. Wild Cards: Dodgers-Mets
AL: Orioles-Indians-Rangers. Wild Cards: Royals-Red Sox

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) Awkward Christmas Department: On June 20, 1997, the Cincinnati Reds called Aaron Boone up to make his major league debut; to make room on the roster for him, the Reds sent Bret Boone back to the minor leagues. His brother.

12) Donald Trump fired his campaign manager Monday; someday there will be a movie made about all this and it will be wildly entertaining, although I'm not sure if there is an actor out there who could pull off portraying Trump.

The Republican convention in Cleveland should be momentous; its setting up to be quite a year on Lake Erie, with the Cavaliers winning their first title, the Indians being in first place and the chaos of the Republican party headed their way next month.

11) Speaking of which, Cavaliers' team plane took a detour to Las Vegas on its way home from Oakand Sunday night. Team did some partyng at the Wynn Casino, before getting back to Ohio Monday afternoon. Winning is fun.

10) Senators failed to pass legislation that would have made it illegal for suspected terrorists to buy guns; If these nitwits don't tighten gun laws, they should all be fired on the spot, every one of them-- they're expensive and totally bleeping useless.

Seriously, who votes against a law that says suspected terrorists can't buy guns? .

9) Pretty cool scene in Chicago last night; Pitt's new basketball coach Kevin Stallings was at Wrigley Field, watching his son Jacob catch for the Pirates in his MLB debut. Young Stallings played his college baseball at noth Carolina; he was born in Lawrence, kansas when his dad was an assistant coach for the Jayhawks.

8) Matt Holliday's brother Josh coaches Oklahoma State's baseball team, which is in the College World Series for first time since 1999; their father Tom was the coach back then. In between, the Cowboys were coached by Brett Anderson's dad; had to be a little awkward when Anderson, Matt Holliday were teammates in Oakland in 2009.

7) Stanford's football schedule is hard this year; its three non-league games are Notre Dame/Kansas State/Rice and the Rice game is the last game of the year. Cardinal has to play USC-UCLA-Washington on consecutive Saturdays in September.

6) Have to admit, since daytime TV during the week is so awful, sometimes I wind up watching re-runs of NFL games on NFL Network. I often spend NFL Sundays, watching 5-6 games on one screen, so i don't hear much of hat is being said, so it is interesting to listen to what is being said, seeing if I can pick up anything of note.

5) Three women dressed as nuns were at Phillies game Monday afternoon, taking selfies, drinking Miller Lite and later dancing on the Phillies dugout during the 7th inning stretch with the Philly Phanatic. Turns out they are actresses in a play about nuns and were in costume to promote the play.

4) There is an actor named Oliver Platt; he's been in a lot of stuff-- he was a lawyer in the John Grisham movie, A Time to Kill. Platt was actually related to Princess Di-- his grandmother and Princess Di's grandfather were brother/sister.

3) Staten Island-Brooklyn opened the NY-Penn League season last week by playing a 20-inning game, then played extra innings again the next night. Players who just got drafted aren't used to hitting with wood bats-- its not as much fun, so you wind up with a lot of low-scoring games at that level.

2) Mets scored total of two runs in Jacob deGrom's last four starts; he hasn't won a game since April and his body language is beginning to look that way.

1) Wouldn't you love to know what David Blatt was thinking Sunday night, while the Cavaliers won their first NBA title, after firing Blatt this season, despite the team having a 30-11 record. Winning an NBA title with a neophyte head coach increases a notion that, for better or worse, the NBA is so much of a player-driven league.

Monday's Den: Our first dose of college football knowledge......
Today we start our summer review of college football teams, looking at the Big 14:

Illinois-- Last winning season was 2011; they hired Lovie Smith as head coach and he hasn't been a college head coach before. Illini is 4-13 as a road dog the last four years.

Indiana-- Hoosiers are 9-16 as a road underdog since 2010; in their last three bowls, they gave up 45-49-44 points- they didn't win any of those games.

Iowa-- Over last four years, Hawkeyes are 8-17 as home favorites, 9-0 as favorites on the road. Lost last four bowl games by an average score of 36-18.

Michigan-- Favorites are 4-0-1 vs spread in Wolverines' last five bowls; Michigan is 3-8 vs spread as a road underdog the last four years.

Michigan State-- Spartans are an amazing +46 in turnovers the last three years; they lost their bowl game 38-0 to Alabama LY, after winning their previous four bowls by a combined total of nine points.

Minnesota-- Golden Gophers have been a good spread team in conference; they're 8-3 as a road underdog the last three years, 10-6 as a home favorite the last four years.

Nebraska-- Cornhuskers are 34-19 the last four years (20-13 in league), despite a -37 turnover ratio. Huskers are 7-12 as home favorites the last three years.

Northwestern-- Last three years, Wildcats are 2-10 vs spread coming off a loss- they are 19-9 as a road underdog since '08. Northwestern is 2-10 all-time in bowls. .

Ohio State-- Buckeyes are 15-6 vs spread away from Columbus under Urban Meyer. Ohio State scored 35-42-42-44 points in last four bowl/playoff games.

Penn State-- Nittany Lions are 0-8 vs spread on road, 2-2 on neutral fields in James Franklin era. PSU lost three of last four bowls; was underdog in last five.

Purdue-- Since 2008, Boilermakers are 9-19 vs spread off a win; they're 7-2 as a road underdog last two years. Purdue is 6-30 last three years; their last bowl was in '12.

Rutgers-- Over last decade, Scarlet Knights are 22-13 as road underdogs- they're 4-12 SU in Big 14 games since joining league- they allowed 46+ points in four of their last six games last year. .

Wisconsin-- In 2010-11, Badgers went 22-5 with a +30 turnover ratio. In four years since, Wisconsin is 38-16, but with a turnover ratio of -2. Badgers haven't been a home underdog since 2010.

Sunday's List of 13: Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there
13) First of all, Happy Father's Day to all the dads reading this; I was lucky to have a great dad. He passed away last year and I miss him very much, so if your dad is still alive, give him a hug and tell him you love him.

12) Get well soon to Michael Lee Aday, aka Meat Loaf; the 68-year old singer collapsed during a show in Edmonton this week. He was released from the hospital and is said to be in good condition now, which is very good news.

11) I'm watching NFL Network the other day and a guy is trying to make a big deal out of the fact that the Rams haven't named Jared Goff the #1 QB yet. Oy. It is really hard to be an NFL quarterback; rushing someone into starting can be very stupid.

10) Here are the Rams' first four games:
@ 49ers, Seahawks, @ Buccaneers, @ Cardinals.

Three road games, three division games. I'm a big fan of easing a guy into being the QB of the future, especially with the Cal offense being lot different than an NFL offense.

9) Kurt Warner started nine games for '04 Giants, before prize rookie Eli Manning took over. Giants went 1-7 in Manning starts, scoring 37 points in his first four starts; he was 6-21 in one start, 4-18 in another. Eli has turned out pretty well, but make no mistake about it, he was terrible in his rookie season.

Steve McNair started six games his first two years with Tennessee; he turned out to be a pretty good QB, too. Goff will be fine, but it will take time.

8) Brewers-Dodgers game last night was only second game in majors this year where both teams scored in each of the first three innings of the game. Red Sox-Orioles game on June 1 was the first game like that this season.

7) Wally Szczerbiak, who is a pretty good basketball analyst these days, predicted that there might not be anyone in this draft class who becomes an NBA All-Star.

6) Then there are mock drafts, which are fine if you do one; but once you start having new ones every other day, then you're just screwing around trying to get page views. Anyone can shuffle the top 15 names around; lets stick to one mock per analyst.

5) There was something on Twitter about the Warriors flying home after Game 6 and three of their guys are doing homework from online classes, trying to earn their college degrees. Pretty cool that really rich guys still want their degree.

4) One of the highlights this weekend was in San Diego, wehre they showed a guy playing ping pong outdoors, while wearing stilts. Don't see that every day.

3) If you owned one of the top five picks in the NBA Draft, would you trade it to the Lakers for D'Angelo Russell, after Russell's display of immaturity last year? I'd have to say no; you can't make mistakes when you have a top five pick.

2) Clipper coach Doc Rivers has quietly dumped two of his assistant coaches already; when you spend a ton of money on a team and it underachieves, heads will roll.

1) A person paid $99,000 for two tickets to tonight's Game 7 in Oakland. Wow.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind.......
13) NBA's salary cap will be around $94M next year, higher than expected, so the league is doing really well. Next time Steph Curry's wife wants to bitch about things, , maybe she should remember that Mr Curry brings home a huge chunk of that money, so she should keep her comments to herself.

12) I went to the eye doctor Friday and my eyes are dilated when I leave; luckily I have sunglasses in the car, which was huge or I might've been there until the sun went down. As I'm leaving, I'm thinking, this might be the most dangerous place in America to drive, an eye doctor's parking lot. Luckily, got home without incident.

11) Miami Marlins are skipping a Jose Fernandez start now and then, to preserve him as best they can, since he had an arm operation not that long ago. If the Marlins are a contender, will they ask Terry Collins to leave Fernandez off the All-Star team? If he is skipping starts now and then, why should he pitch in an exhibition game?

10) Young man named Derryck Thornton scored 7.1 ppg LY while playing 26 mpg for Duke, but he transferred to USC this week. Kid left high school a year early to plug a hole in Duke's rotation, then bolted after one year. Interesting.

9) Jose Altuve walked 33 times in 671 plate appearances last year; this year, he has walked 35 times in 269 PAs. He is still an aggressive hitter, too.

8) The mayor of Washington DC was on MSNBC yesterday, saying she wants DC to be the 51st state. Washington DC has balanced its budget 21 years in a row, which is very impressive, but if they're doing so well, why do they want to change?

7) Julio Urias struck out eight in five shutout innings last night, but the Dodgers are keeping a lid on his pitches this year, so he came out after 85 pitches. Home fans did not have a positive reaction when Milwaukee scored twice in the sixth inning.

6) Every person with the Pittsburgh Penguins gets a day with the Stanley Cup; you can basically do anything you want with it. One of the years Scotty Bowman won a Cup as a head coach, he put the thing on a lawn chair in his backyard and anyone who walked by could come behind the house and have their picture taken with it. One of the really cool traditions in sports.

5) Owner of the Chicago Cubs has done a great job making Wrigley Field look nicer and more modern; the team is doing great, so the stands are always full and that is always a help, but the owner has definitely created a positive atmosphere.

4) Pirates got shut out at Wrigley yesterday; they were the last team in majors to get shut out this season.

3) Nationals are 23-13 on the road; 0-4 in Wrigley, 23-9 everywhere else.

2) It makes no sense that Dodger games are blacked out in Las Vegas; who thought that was a good idea? Baseball should step in and reverse that. Makes no sense.

1) Six games in the NBA Finals; Warriors have scored 610 points, Cavaliers have scored 610 points. ABC will get huge ratings if Game 7 is a competitive one- so far in the Finals, the games haven't been very close.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here......
13) 19 of Cleveland Cavaliers' last 21 games were decided by 11+ points.

12) LSU rookie Ben Simmons declined to work out for the 76ers? No idea what this means, but I doubt it is a positive sign. Maybe it is nothing, maybe he is angling to be a LA Laker, but red flags are increasingly popping up around the Australian rookie.

11) Bob Davidson has been a major league umpire for 30+ years and he isn't a crew chief? What does this say about him? Davidson did the plate in Cubs-Nationals game Wednesday; by end of the game, both sidies were livid with his ball/strike calls.

10) City of Philadelphia put a 1.5 cent-per-ounce tax on soda, making it the biggest city in America to do so (Berkeley had been). So my 20-ounce Cherry Coke goes up 30 cents a bottle, but God forbid someone on the Terror Watch List not be allowed to buy an assault weapon. Politicians are scum.

9) Oakland A's pulled a fast one on their competitors when they signed Yoenis Cespedes to a 4-year, $36M deal in 2012; they went 256-175 and made playoffs all three years Cespedes played for them. Since they traded him? 117-167.

8) Pittsburgh Pirates have had a brutal travel schedule the last couple weeks; they played at Citi Field last night and have a day game in Chicago today. This is wrong; if you have a day game, your getaway day game also should be a day game.

7) So I'm in a 16-team keeper fantasy league, four pickups a month, good league and highly competitive. I need another hitter and I'm listening to Mets' TV guys pumping up Wilmer Flores last night. I'm about to click on his page on my laptop, and Flores gets drilled on the hand by a pitch- he leaves the game. So much for that idea. .

6) Tampa Bay rookie pitcher Blake Snell is wearing #4, making him 4th big league pitcher this year to wear a single digit number.

5) With Florida AD Jeremy Foley retiring this week, you wonder if that played into Billy Donovan bolting Gainesville for the NBA last spring. If you're a college coach, you want to work for the AD that hired you. Makes life a lot easier.

4) Other than the Pittsburgh/San Francisco markets, Buffalo had highest TV ratings for the Stanley Cup Finals, amongst American markets.

3) Two groups have bid over $4B to buy UFC, thats how popular UFC is.

2) Playing football is difficult. Steelers' center Maurkice Pouncey had six operations and a skin graft, just last year.

1) Only nine golfers finished the first round of the US Open Thursday; if you like to watch golf on TV, today is your day.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) Baseball's interleague trading deadline is July 31, but when I was a kid, back in the 70's, it was June 15. On June 15, 1976, the A's tried to sell Rollie Fingers/Joe Rudi to the Red Sox and Vida Blue to New York. Oakland had won the last five AL West titles, but had lost Catfish Hunter to free agency, and the owner was bailing out.

Now I was a 16-year old high school junior; this didn't set well with me, someone who had zero idea how the real world works. Three days later, the baseball commish nixed the deals and the players went back to Oakland, but things were never the same again.

I guess that day was when it hit me that sports are a big business, not just something that people do for fun.

12) Nationals 5, Cubs 4 (12)-- Chicago is now 40-4 when it scores 4+ runs. This had the feel of a postseason game.

11) Last time the #1 pick in NBA Draft came from the Pac-12 (or Pac-8 or Pac-10) was Bill Walton way back in 1974.

10) Philadelphia Eagles have doled out $280,254,834 in guaranteed salary so far in 2016; next highest figure in NFL this year: Giants, at roughly $141M.

9) You don't see a starting pitcher thrown out of a game for arguing balls, strikes very often; Tampa Bay's Jake Odorizzi got run by umpire Jerry Meals Tuesday nite. Meals is a notorious hitters' ump (over is 28-13-3 in Meals' games last two years).

8) Last major league player to play every position in one game: Shane Halter, way back on October 1, 2000 for Detroit.

7) Obscure baseball record: since 1938, of all the hitters to bat .300+ in a season, Billy Butler into the most doubleplays-- he hit into 32 twin killings in 2010, when he hit .318. Four guys hit into 31 DPs, including Matt Holliday and Jim Rice.

6) Another nominee for "Worst TV show ever": Marriage Boot Camp. Horrendous progam showcasing attention-starved couples getting in disputes of various kinds. I'd rather stare at color bars for an hour than watch another minute of that garbage.

5) Colorado Rockies DFA'd Jose Reyes yesterday, meaning they have ten days to trade him or else they can release him or send him to the minors, if he agrees to do that. Reyes will still get his $22M a year salary, but not sure a contender will want to pick him up-- there is no way a non-conender would pick him up, given domestic violence backlash involved. Hard to believe his career would end this way.

4) Chris Sale was 9-0, 1.58 in his first nine starts this year; he is 1-2, 6.75 in his last four. Why do players suddenly lose it or why do they suddenly regain their form?

3) WWE is returning to Las Vegas Sunday night for first time in eight years, at the new T-Mobile Arena just off the strip, kind of behind the New York-New York hotel.

2) Portland Trailblazers decided to fire their TV announcers this week, which makes me sad, since Mike Rice is one of my favorites. A former coach, Rice used to call Big West games on USA Network in the Tark the Shark glory years in the 80's-- his son Mike was the coach at Rutgers a few years ago. Rice was with the Trailblazers for 26 yeasrs and is immensely popular with Trailblazer fans.

1) Apparently they don't have public rest rooms in North Dakota.

Eagles' rookie QB Carson Wentz somehow got locked in a bathroom at a gas station in New Jersey on Wednesday; his rescue included garden shears.

If the Rams had drafted this guy, I'd probably be a little worried right now.

Wednesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) Miami Marlins' TV people have to stop with the Ichiro/Pete Rose stuff. Hits he got in the Japanese League are not close to the same as hits in the major leagues.

Ichiro Suzuki is a great baseball player, a first ballot Hall of Famer, but to say he has as many hits at Rose is misleading. Its like including hits in the minor leagues.

12) Jeremy Foley retired this week as AD at Florida, after 25 years; he hired Urban Meyer and Billy Donovan, oversaw a great period of success in Florida athletics.

Not great for basketball coach Michael White; you don't want the guy who hired you to leave, but White's father is the AD at Duke and he has a brother who is an AD, so he is connected enough to have a good career no matter what.

11) Kid on Miami, Fla's baseball team openly taunted his opponents after hitting a homer against Boston College Sunday, almost starting a fracas. Someone better tell this young man that if he doesn't tone his act down, someone in pro baseball is going to plant a 95 mph fastball in his ear. Maybe more than one.

10) Pretty cool Sunday when a freshman pinch-hitter on Cal-Santa Barbara comes off the bench and hits a walk-off grand slam to send the Gauchos to their first-ever College World Series. UCSB doesn't even have lights on its baseball field- they were the third place team in the Big West, but now they're heading to Omaha.

9) I was watching movies the other night and I'm thinking; which actor died the most times in his acting career? Does anyone keep track of this stuff?

So I look it up on the Interweb; an actor named John Hurt died in either 40 or 45 movies, depending on which website you believe. Vincent Price died 33 times, before he became the Egghead in the old Batman TV series.

8) The 8th hole at Oakmont this week is a 288-yard par -3. Oy.

7) Golden State Warriors are +153 when Draymond Green has been on the floor, -30 when he has been out of the game. Green will be back Thursday.

6) 8 of the 26 basketball teams in SEC/Pac-12 are off to Europe for summer trips; Oregon-UCLA-Washington-Washington State and Arkansas-Georgia-Mississippi State-Missouri. Those trips are generally good for a team, unless your best player gets hurt and is out for the year, like what happened to USC a few years ago.

5) In his 18 years in the NBA, John Stockton missed a total of 22 games.

4) Odd fact: Kobe Bryant's grandparents once bought a house from Muhammad Ali

3) James Shields is 34 years old and is struggling badly; in his last three starts, one for San Diego and two for the White Sox, he's allowed 24 runs in 9.2 IP. No bueno.

2) Before Brandon Finnegan lost 1-0 at Dodger Stadium May 23, the Reds had not had a complete game pitched by a lefty starter since 2001.

1) 20 years ago I coached Little League, which was interesting, in both good and bad ways. We had a pretty good team; one night, we're beating this team and their 3B had a rough night, made a couple errors and his coach is ragging on him pretty good.

I'm standing right there listening to this; the coach's son is pitching and the coach isn't happy. He lets loose on the third baseman one more time and then, finally, the kid looks at him and says: "Hey!!! You're the one who put me here!!!!"

That put an end to that.

Tuesday's Den: Happy Armadillo Day, everyone......
Hard to believe it has been fifteen years since I started this little endeavor; so much has changed since then, both around here and in the world. It was three months before the 9/11 attacks-- I thought about shuttering this site when 9/11 happened and the world took a week off to mourn that fateful day. I'm glad I didn't.

So no list today, just a few thoughts on things that crossed my mind today:

-- Do things you enjoy; life is too short not to.
-- Be nice to people, especially those who don't deserve it.
-- If there are things you've always wanted to do but haven't done, find a way to do them. Don't put them off. When your time comes, you don't want any regrets.
-- Learning to deal with failure and learning to accept praise are equally important.

-- Laughter relaxes the muscles in your body.
-- You never really lose until you stop trying.
-- There is no such thing as bad pizza, though some is better than others.
-- Making someone else smile should make you smile, too.
-- Tell people close to you that you love them, before it is too late.

I've been really lucky in my life; I've been to a World Series game, was in St Louis the day the Rams won an NFC title, was an assistant coach on two state championship high school basketball teams. I was raised in a positive environment and taught things that have served me well in life.

I've made friends from people reading this site and then sending me an e-mail. You never have enough friends in this world.

As we start Year 16 here, there is a lot more to do. Hopefully this site will finally get a new design soon that is long overdue. Maybe I'll even post pictures someday.

Thanks to you the readers; it means a lot that you log in every day. Enjoy.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sad weekend......
13) 50 people gunned down in a nightclub. 53 more injured.

I've never touched a gun in my life, so obviously I am not pro-gun, but how can any reasonable person not think something needs to be done about this?

12) Draymond Green got assesed a flagrant foul from Friday night's game, which puts him over the limit on flagrants, so he is suspended for tonight's Game 5.

11) Wonder how many kids realize what a great player George Gervin was? He is in that Gatorade commercial with Dwyane Wade-- he just isn't some older guy wearing a sweatsuit- he was one of the most prolific scorers that game has ever seen.

10) Gervin once played for an ABA team called the Virginia Squires, who were an announcer's nightmare; they had Gervin, Julius Erving and George Irvine all on the same team. Imagine the three of them coming down on a 3-on-2 fast break.

9) Florida Gators' baseball field is weird; it doesn't have dirt basepaths from home to first base or from third base to home.

8) During replay reviews at White Sox home games, if the original call went in favor of the White Sox, the PA system plays the Beatles' classic, "Let It Be".

7) OK, so I traded five guys to get Felix Hernandez on my fantasy team, which has turned into a debacle, since Hernandez got hurt right after I traded for him. Turns out he may have gotten hurt while celebrating a teammate's home run. Oy.

If I was a head coach, no matter what sport, I'd have a strict rule about celebrations; no one leaves their feet to celebrate. Kendrys Morales broke his leg jumping on home plate after a walk-off home run- it has greatly hampered his career since. Find a way to celebrate without jumping and putting your legs at risk- it is not that difficult.

6) I'm flipping channels late Saturday night and I come across Bloodsucking Bastards, arguably the worst title in movie history. Billed "an action-packed horror comedy", it took me about 90 seconds to turn off-- simply awful.

5) Cardinals are now 35-0 when they lead in the 7th inning or later, only big league team that is still unbeaten in that scenario.

4) Far as I know, there are three big league pitchers who wear single-digit numbers; Marcus Stroman (6) of Toronto, Julio Urias (7) of Dodgers, Mike Leake (8) on Cards. Colorado's Adam Ottavino wears 0, but he is on the DL.

3) If you read this space a lot, you know that Steve Martin is my favorite; what a great comedian/actor, a brilliant guy. My two favorite Steve Martin movie scenes:
-- In Roxanne, when he comes up with 20 (actually 26) jokes in a crowded bar about his long nose.
-- In Leap of Faith, when the teenage boy drops his leg braces and walks across the stage, years after being crippled in a car accident.

2) Get well soon to Mets' manager Terry Collins, who wasn't feeling well and was taken to a Milwaukee hospital before Sunday's game with the Brewers. He stayed in Milwaukee for observation overnight; we wish him the best.

1) Our thoughts and prayers go out to people in Orlando after Saturday night's mass killings. Workers were going thru the ravaged nightclub Sunday, with cellphones of the deceased still ringing in their pockets, as loved ones tried to find them.

The shooter is someone the FBI investigated in 2013 and 2014; how this person was allowed to legally purchase guns is beyond me. At some point this has to stop before the world becomes one big target range, but thats just my opinion. There have to be more stringent background checks on people who want to buy weapons.

We need to be nicer to each other, to tolerate each other, before it is too late.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) Someone brought this up on Twitter Friday night and it took me a damn hour to unravel the whole thing in my mind:

Vince Carter was drafted by Golden State on June 24, 1988; he was traded later that night to Toronto for Antawn Jamison, but the pick that was used to draft him had already been traded twice, in 1993 and 1994-- the Anfernee Hardaway/Chris Webber deal in '93 and a deal involving Scott Skiles the next year.

In both trades, a pick Golden State later used to draft Todd Fuller (whoops) was also moved with the Carter pick.

12) Vince Carter scored 23,969 points in his NBA career, earned $165,575,296 in salary; the pick used to select him was traded when he was in 10th and 11th grade.

11) Barry Bonds was a great, great hitter; he hit 762 HRs, had a career OB% of .444.

Don Mattingly hit .307 in his fine career, with 222 homers, also a great hitter.

But playing isn't coaching; Mattingly is Marlins' manager, Bonds is a hitting coach and neither one of them can fix Giancarlo Stanton, who is going thru one of the worst hitting funks I've ever seen. Its like he has suddenly become Adam Dunn, except he never walks. Stanton is hitting .195 this season. No bueno.

With two strikes on him this season, Stanton is 9-112, with 14 walks, 77 strikeouts. Seeing as they still owe hm $325M or so down the road, they need to have coaches who can fix him, even if that coach wasn't a Hall of Fame player.

10) White Sox brought up SS prospect Tim Anderson and DFA'd Jimmy Rollins, making them younger, more athletic and probably better.

9) In Jose Quintana's last 17 losses, White Sox scored a total of 19 runs.

8) Cavan Biggio, son of the Astros' Hall of Famer, was a 5th-round draft pick of the Blue Jays. That pick was announced by Cavan's older brother, who is an intern in the commissioner's office. There is networking in baseball; your dad is a Hall of Famer, you have a better shot at an internship.

7) Red Sox have scored 54 more runs than any team in the AL; some credit has to go to hitting coach Chili Davis, who is very underrated. When he was in Oakland, the A's made the playoffs all three years. Probably not a coincidence.

6) New sliding rules at second base are hurting offenses; you get lot more double plays now, with runners not allowed to do anything remotely aggressive to break up a double play. Reducing contact around home plate probably helped scoring go up.

5) Golfer Jason Day threw out the first pitch at the Pirates game last night; he is in town for the US Open at Oakmont next week.

4) Chicago Cubs used a 6th-round pick on Chad Hockin, who is the grandson of the great hitter, the late Harmon Killebrew.

3) Klay Thompson wore a Dodgers' hat at a Giants' home game last night, normally not the best way to make friends in the Bay Area, but Thompson's brother plays for the Dodgers and if the Warriors win Monday night, it'll all be forgotten, I'm guessing.

2) CBS made a good move, dumped former referee Mike Carey as its rules expert; Carey wasn't good on TV, although he did improve last year.

1) I'd like to propose a change to how saves are tracked; the current system just isn't a good yardstick for how closers finish games.

-- Protect a one-run lead, 3 points. Lose a one-run lead, lose 1 point.
-- Protect a two-run lead, 2 points. Lose a two-run lead, lose 2 points.
-- Protect a three-run lead, 1 point. Lose a three-run lead, lose 3 points.

For instance, Huston Street entered the game last night with a 3-0 lead; he blew the lead, so he would lose three points. I think over the course of a season, this point system would be more telling than the current one.

Saturday's Den: DDLohaus handicaps the Belmont Stakes.....
Hard to believe the Triple Crown had come and gone. The past seven weeks have flown by...

No Nyquist so bettors who aren't in love with Exaggerator could make some cash....

Big Sandy figures to be a daunting challenge for this group of three year olds, who, in my opinion, aren't as good as previous years.

Obviously Exaggerator is the one to beat. Finally broke through in the Preakness and really may be star.

Destin back after a break and deserves a long look. I liked him in the Derby and willing to give him another shot.

Stradivari has the dynamic duo and may be good enough. Wise guy horse.

Cherry Wine should relish the distance and may upset.

The Bets:
$15WP Destin

$5EX BX Destin/Exaggerator/Cherry Wine

Total Bets: $45.00

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.......
13) Pirates got rained out Monday, played a doubleheader Tuesday, lost in 10 innings Wednesday, then got on a plane and flew to Denver for one make-up game against the Rockies, then flew back to Steel City last night for this weekend's series with the Cardinals. After this weekend, Pirates will have played 27 consecutive days.

12) Indians 5, Mariners 3-- Quietly, Cleveland is three games up in AL Central.

11) Which brings me to this: Why on God's green earth did the Red Sox fire Terry Francona? Francona went 744-552 in eight years managing Boston, winning a couple of World Series trophies, when the Red Sox hadn't won one in 80+ years. Instead of firing the guy, they should put a statue of him in front of Fenway Park.

Well, Francona is 290-253 in Cleveland and he has the Tribe in first place, and that is a harder job than managing the wealthy Red Sox. Francona is a future Hall of Famer.

10) And yes, I realize the Red Sox won a World Series with John Farrell in 2013, but breaking a losing culture is the hardest thing a coach has to do and Francona is the guy who did it in Boston. Still think they screwed up firing him.

9) Baltimore Orioles are 19-4 in games where the winning run scores after the sixth inning- Buck Showalter is also a really, really good manager. .

8) Kershaw-Cueto in San Francisco tonight. Don't see lot of totals at 5.5.

7) If you have Jose Altuve on your fantasy team and position eligibility is one game at that position, you can now use Altuve at shortstop- he played a few innings there in Thursday's loss in Arlington. First time Altuve has played short in the majors.

6) Yordano Ventura got a nine-game suspension, Manny Machado four games after a brawl in Baltimore Tuesday. Both appealed, which means they may not serve their penalties before the 4th of July-- justice moves slowly in baseball circles.

5) Madison Bumgarner is the best pitcher the Giants have, but he wants to be in the Home Run Derby in San Diego next month. He has 13 career homers and a .180 career batting average. If you were Bruce Bochy, would you let him try HR Derby?

Despite his .180 batting average, Bumgarner is 0-22 batting in the playoffs.

4) I watch a ton of latenight TV when I am up updating this space; luckily I do not watch a lot of commercials, because if I did, I'd feel like a bad person.

Commercials for preventing animal cruelty, preventing starvation in Africa, more for keeping rare species of animals from becoming extinct, or helping wounded warriors-- the magic number seems to be $18 a month for each one. Enough already.

I'm sure most of these are worthy causes, but it gets tiring constantly being hit up for money-- the government should be taking care of our veterans, by the way.

3) Miami Marlins are 31-29, despite being outscored by 27 runs from 7th inning on, even after they pounded Minnesota's bullpen in a 10-3 win Thursday. Marlins are +17 in runs scored in the first six innings of their games.

2) Pirates' 1B John Jaso is hitting .375 (15-40) in first inning of games, which is good for Pittsburgh, since he bats leadoff.

1) Obscure baseball rule I never heard until last night:

In games with a retractable dome, the roof is only allowed to move once during the game. Say the game starts with the roof open, if it closed during the game, it cannot be re-opened during the game. That is why roofs are rarely opened during the game, because once the roof opens, if it were to rain, by rule the roof couldn't be closed.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud......
13) Sauerkraut got a lot of support from e-mailers today, which baffles me, but that is what makes life interesting-- we like different things.

12) I was also informed that the world's largest sauerkraut factory is in Phelps, NY, near where a friend of mine's grandfather lives. You learrn new stuff every day.

11) Speaking of which, it is now illegal to sit on a sidewalk in Saratoga Springs, NY, where the six-week horse racing meet is held every summer. Not sure if the mayor is a guy who sells benches, but that seems like a dumb thing to have as a law.

10) Maria Sharapova was suspended for two years, which means she is likely to lose as much as $50M in income during that time. Sharapova has been the world's highest-paid female athlete for the last 11 years, but that streak is over now.

9) A Uber driver from Boulder, CO won $1M in a World Series of Poker tourney this week, after being down to one $500 chip at one point in the tournament. Something you rarely read about are people who try to become pro poker players and fail; this guy went bust couple years ago, moved to Colorado and started driving for Uber, then built up some cash and took a shot in this year's WSOP and hit it big. Good for him.

8) Jacksonville Jaguars paid WR Allen Hurns $40M for four years this offseason, now find out Hurns is allergic to grass; no bueno. Will they switch to Field Turf?

7) Washington 11, White Sox 4-- James Sheilds faced 17 batters in his White Sox debut and seven of them scored, not what the struggling Pale Hose needed. He threw 84 pitches and got six outs. Chicago is 6-20 in its last 26 games.

6) Braves' play-by play Chip Caray, grandson of Harry, son of Chip, has improved a lot as a play-play guy; he used to be awful. Haven't listened to Braves' games much the last few years because I don't have any Braves on my fantasy team, but I have this year and Chip is pretty good now. He has a very good partner in Joe Simpson.

5) Phillies young pitching star Vince Velasquez left Wednesday's game after two pitches, never a good sign. Apparently some kind of biceps issue. Last thing Phillies need right now is a pitching injury. Last thing anyone needs, actually.

4) Why I like Phil Martelli as a college hoop coach; St Joe's is 12-3 vs spread in its last 15 conference tournament games, 11-4 vs spread as a road underdog in conference games. He has good players and he lets them play, which gives them confidence.

3) Rumors in NYC this week that St John's assistant coach Barry Rohrssen is off to another job, possibly to be replaced by former NBA star Mitch Richmond. St John's gets to play the Big East tournament on its home court every year, yet they are 0-7 vs spread in last seven Big East tournament games.

Then there is Providence, which covered its last seven Big East tourney games.

2) Cavaliers 120, Warriors 90-- 10 of last 12 Cleveland games were decided by 11+ points. Golden State is 3-5 on the road in playoffs. Still think all playoff series should be best-of-3 and the Finals best-of-5. Much more dramatic that way.

1) Tonight was Golden State's 102nd game this season, not counting the handful of preseason games they play; it was Cleveland's 99th game. NBA is a long season, then the draft is June 23, and the NBA Summer League is in Las Vegas starting July 8. Not a lot of rest for the executives of the good teams.

Regular season ended in mid-April, so the lesser teams have had some time off.

Wednesday's List of 13; Mid-week musings.......
13) Is a hot dog a sandwich? Inquiring minds want to know. Most people I've heard say no, but it is meat in between two pieces of bread, so those who argue "yes" have some ammunition on their side. Let me know what you think.

12) More hot dog banter: Everyone puts different stuff on hot dogs, but how in god's name can anyone eat sauerkraut? It is the single worst-tasting food I've ever eaten, narrowly beating about broccoli and beet greens, which are both terrible.

11) Remember when Noah Syndergaard got tossed for throwing behind Chase Utley at Citi Field a week ago Friday? Controversial call, and umpire Adam Hamari has not worked the plate again since that game- he makes his return behind the.plate tonight in Los Angeles, at the Colorado-Dodger game, 12 days later after the Syndergaard mess.

Did he get a week's suspension? No one is talking, but it looks that way.

10) Odd fact of the day: On September 12, 1969, Mets swept a doubleheader from the Pirates, winning both games 1-0. Both runs were driven in by Mets' pitchers.

9) Mets have scored least amount of runs they've ever scored at this point in season, despite hitting most HRs they've hit at this stage of the season, since 1989.

8) As a baseball fan, whether it be the A's or my fantasy team, I'd much rather my players had the four days of the All-Star break off, rather than being busy all week during the break, either in Home Run Derby or in the All-Star Game. Let 'em relax.

Still think that two years ago, when A's stumbled to a 22-33 finish, having six of their guys in All-Star Game contributed to their lame finish- they got tired. Plus, the stupid Cespedes trade didn't help any, either.

7) This from Scientists are in agreement that 22 hours without sleeping has been shown to cause cognitive and reactive impairment comparable to being legally drunk.

Not sure what it means if you stay up for 24 hours and you're also drinking heavily.

6) Tim Lineceum's first two starts for the Angels' AAA team: 10 IP, six hits, seven runs (five earned), five walks, 11 strikeouts. Most people think his next start will be for the Los Angeles Angels, who desperately need starting pitching.

5) In their long history, San Diego Chargers are 421-420-11 in regular season games, 11-17 in playoff games, losing their one and only Super Bowl appearance.

4) In his first five AAA rehab games since his suspension ended, Jose Reyes is 2-16 with four walks while batting second for Albuquerque.

3) Former Colorado closer Brian Fuentes was saying on Twitter Tuesday night that as a former closer, it was not the same when he came into a game if it wasn't a situation where he could get a save. Just not the same adrenaline rush, he said.

2) Yordano Ventura drilled Manny Machado in the fifth inning last night and a brawl erupted in Baltimore. Ventura is a noted head-hunter who rarely has to bat because he pitches in the American League. Machado is a hothead, too; both these guys have had scuffles with the A's in the last two years. Suspensions will follow.

1) RIP Sean Rooks, 46, who collapsed and died in a Philadelphia restaurant Tuesday night, hours after interviewing with the Knicks for an assistant coaching job. Rooks was a 12-year NBA veteran who played college ball at Arizona- he had been with the 76ers as an assistant coach specializing in player development. RIP, sir.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) You don't think professional golf is hugely competitive? A freshman golfer at LSU qualified for US Open Monday. Kid named Sam Burns was one of two golfers out of six in a playoff to grab the last two spots at the Memphis qualifier. So a kid who was in high school last year qualified for the US Open- lot of good players.

12) Good news and bad news for Packer fans in Wisconsin: Aaron Rodgers has given up dairy products and is at his lightest weight since 2007, which is the good news.

Bad news is that Wisconsin is the Dairy State, where people wear plastic hats that looks like hunks of cheese. If giving up dairy products is good for you......

11) Leaders amongst starting pitchers in strikeouts per nine innings:
Jose Fernandez 13.3, Noah Syndergaard 11.5, Steven Strasburg 11.4

10) Ole Miss Rebels will be playing home football games on grass this season, for the first time since 2002.

9) Draymond Green was drafted 35th in the 2012 NBA Draft; he can recite (in order) all 34 guys taken ahead of him, not that he took it personally or anything.

8) Rumors during the day Monday had the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes (once the Hartford Whalers) moving to Las Vegas, which would put expansion on hold.

7) Sounds like Arizona basketball commit Terrance Ferguson will skip college and go play overseas next season- he'l sign an endorsement deal with Under Armour and be eligible for the 2017 NBA Draft. Ferguson is a shooting guard.

6) Mets' OF Juan Lagares has a partially torn ligament in his left thumb but didn't go on the DL, which seems odd. He hurt the thumb making a diving catch Saturday.

5) Mets' 2B Neil Walker was so popular in Pittsburgh that all the stadium workers gathered and gave Walker a huge ovation when he came out for batting practice before Monday's game, which wound up getting rained out. It was Walker's first game back in Pittsburgh since he was traded to New York last winter.

4) Steph Curry is out of the Olympics this summer, a smart move. Been couple long years in a row for Curry, that on top of health concerns in South America. LaMarcus Aldridge will also miss the Olympics with a hand injury.

3) Colorado pitcher Tyler Chatwood on road this year: 5-0, 0.65 ERA, 0.84 WHIP. Too bad he has to make half his starts at high altitude at Coors Field. .

2) Pittsburgh 3, San Jose 1-- Penguins lead series 3-1, are one win away from their fourth Stanley Cup championship.

1) If you get shot in the leg at a nightclub, and your story is "I was too drunk to remember what happened" you might have a deeper problem than an injured leg. I'm just saying.........Aqib Talib is the same guy who once grabbed a gun from his mother to shoot at his sister's boyfriend. Oy.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend......
13) Golden State 110, Cleveland 77-- Went out to eat, hoping to have some pasta while watching the basketball game. Was 30-22 Cavaliers when I sat down, but by time the linguini came, Warriors were up nine. Game. Set, Match.

NBA has to give serious thought to re-seeding the playoffs without East/West, so that the two best teams (or close to it) make the Finals. When a second round series is the second-best series of the playoffs (Spurs-Thunder), that not good.

12) Jockey Kent Desormeaux won the Preakness, will ride in the Belmont five days from now, but in between he is spending some time in a rehab center as he battles alcohol abuse. I have no idea how this is allowed, but apparently it is.

11) It was 108 degrees in Las Vegas Sunday, tied for hottest June 5 in Las Vegas history. Should be nice and cool when I get there next month.

10) Golfer William McGirt won his first PGA tournament in 165 tries Sunday, which gets him into the Masters, US Open and PGA. in 12 years on Tour, McGirt has only played in one major, so this a career-maker for him.

9) Last pitcher to no-hit the Red Sox in Fenway Park? Detroit's Jim Bunning.

In 1958.

8) I'd be curious to know, over the course of a typical year, how much $$$ Budweiser spends on advertising at ballgames and on televised games.

7) Last November 2, Detroit Tigers' GM Al Avila granted his starting catcher free agency, as Detroit moved in another direction behind the plate.

That catcher he let walk was Alex Avila, his son.

They said on TV Sunday that Al Avila's mom, Alex's grandma, didn't talk to her son for a week after that transaction. Must've been an awkward Christmas.

6) San Francisco Giants are 13-3 on road if game stays under the total or pushes the total; they're 5-10 on road if game went over the total.

5) Oakland's starting pitcher lasted 5+ innings in only eight of its last 20 road games; you cannot win that way, it puts too much strain on the team's bullpen.

4) Milwaukee SS Jonathan Villar is having a big year, but the Brewers' #1 prospect is Orlando Arcia, who is hitting .309 at AAA Colorado Springs. Brewers could easily trade Villar at the trading deadline next month.

3) Cincinnati Reds went 5-2 last week, even after a 10-9 loss to Washington, when Reds blew an early 5-0 lead. Cincy has bad pitching, but they should at least score lot of runs; they have some good veteran position players.

2) Down in Miami, Giancarlo Stanton is a mess; he looks terrible at the plate, like he is afraid of being hit by the ball. New hitting coach Barry Bonds hasn't helped. My guess is, behind the scenes, things aren't too pleasant in Miami.

1) Last seven Super Bowl losers made the playoffs the next year; none of the seven got back to the Super Bowl that year.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.......
13) James Shields got traded to the White Sox for Erik Johnson and a 17-year old who has never played a pro game; San Diego is also on the hook for $29M of $56M left on Shields' contract, assuming he doesn't opt out after this season.

12) In essence, White Sox get Shields for $9M a year thru 2018, a pretty good deal.

11) Milwaukee SS Jonathan Villar has homered in his last three games, after hitting two homers in his first 51 games. Philly is definitely a hitters' park.

10) If you care about such things, over is 57-32-3 in interleague games this year.

9) In Oakland's last 32 games, take out Rich Hill's starts and A's starting pitchers have a 7.90 ERA-- the Donaldson trade has turned into a complete disaster- the two starting pitchers Oakland got were Kendall Graveman and Sean Nolin- no bueno.

8) White Sox brought up OF Jason Coats who left his first big league game with a lacerated mouth after a collision with JB Shuck. Tough way to begin a career.

7) NBA teams who won Game 1 of Finals by 15+ points are 11-2 in those series.

6) San Francisco 49ers aren't favored in any of their games this coming season.

5) Looking thru social media for the last 36 hours, one thing is for sure; Muhammad Ali posed for a hell of a lot of pictures with fans-- lot of people who are famous themselves were showing off their picture(s) with the Champ Saturday.

4) Speaking of Ali, back in 60's, when he was training in Miami, one of his sparring partners was Rich Kotite, then a football player at Miami and later head coach of the Jets and Eagles.

3) I've read almost all the John Grisham books and seen all the movies that were made out of his mostly legal-themed books; in my opinion, the two best movies were Runaway Jury and The Client. I think Runaway Jury is a great movie, with Dustin Hoffman, Gene Hackman and John Cusack.

2) I hope actress Jennifer Garner buys her agent a Cadillac for Christmas; she is an awful lot of commercials.

1) College baseball tournament has a weird dynamic to it; the pro draft begins this coming Thursday, right in the middle of the tournament. Nothing like some of your best players being totally distracted during the team's most important time of year.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind......
13) Can't be much fun for ESPN's Mark Jackson calling the NBA Finals, seeing as he coached Warriors for three years before Steve Kerr took over, rallying Golden State from a 23-43 strike-shortened season to 98-66 his last two years, before an off-court between he and the front office led to his departure.

12) Not only is Golden State 140-24 in regular season under Kerr, they're 49-3 at home this season, just a remarkable record. Cleveland has to win at least one game in Oakland to even have a shot in this series.

11) One thing, though; you'd think Kerr would use a higher quality clipboard than the cheesy one he shattered during a timeout in Game 1. I'm guessing this could lead to an endorsement next season with whatever company makes those things.

10) Dwane Casey got a well-deserved 3-year contract extension from Toronto, after his Raptors made the Eastern Conference finals for the first time

9) Minnesota Twins have had a rough season, but Eduardo Nunez led off bottom of first inning of Thursday's game with an inside-the-park homer-it iwas the first inside-park homer for the Twins since moving to Minnesota in 1961.

8) Jose Reyes had his first rehab game rained out Wednesday, he went 0-3 in Game 1 of a DH Thursday, then sat out Game 2, I'm not really sure why- wouldn't he at least DH? Reyes went 1-3 with a homer and a walk Friday night.

Colorado is fairly set with LeMahieu/Story up the middle- it figures they have to eat a lot of Reyes' salary and trade him to a contender, right?

7) When Seattle overcame a 12-2 deficit to win in San Diego Thursday, they became the first MLB team since 1990 to win after trailing by 10+ runs.

6) Kevin Love and Klay Thompson were once Little League teammates in Lake Oswego, Oregon; wonder if their team was any good?

5) David Wright (neck), Hunter Pence (hamstring) are both out 6-8 weeks, big blows for their teams (Mets/Giants), which are both obviously contending.

4) Over last three years, Gonzaga is 25-24 vs spread as a favorite in WCC league games, but 7-2 vs spread in the WCC tournament- they peak at the right time.

3) All five of the Chicago Cubs' starting pitchers have an ERA under 3.00, latest in season that has happened in majors since the 1972 Dodgers.

2) I'm looking forward to going to the adidas Uprising basketball tournament in Las Vegas this summer; went to it last year. Very well-organized, lot of good players, all the coaches you see on TV during the winter are there recruiting. Seven games going on under one roof at the same time, plus decent food in the concession stand.

1) RIP Muhammad Ali, 74, for many years considered the most widely-recognized person on the planet, athlete or otherwise. He will be missed.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.......
13) Warriors 104, Cavaliers 89-- Curry/Thompson combined for only 20 points, their lowest total of the year, and Golden State still wasn't in danger here. Subs for Warriors were a combined +55 in the game.

12) Now Curry/Thompson can rest up for a couple days before Sunday's Game 2. Golden State has won six in a row over the Cavaliers, dating back to LY's Finals.

11) Mariners 16, Padres 13-- San Diego led 12-2 after 5th inning, trailed before the 7th-inning stretch. Seattle had seven consecutive run scoring singles in top of the 7th. If you took the Giants and Clayton Kershaw out of the NL West, it wouldn't be that much better than the freakin' Pacific Coast League.

10) Bud Black went 649-713 in 8.5 years as Padres' manager; looking back, he seems like freakin' Sparky Anderson compared to the present regime. Somene remind me why an Ivy league genius fired Black. anyone? anyone? Bueller?

9) So far seven football recruits have asked out of their Letter of Intent to play this fall at Baylor; will be interesting to see how much this damages their recruiting going forward. People tend to have short memories.

8) When UNLV hired Marvin Menzies as its basketball coach April 16, they had three scholarship players on their roster- now they have 11, two under the limit. This is an excellent job of recruiting by the new staff; plus there are no McDonald's A-A's in the group, so no one will be jumping to the NBA next spring. Muy bueno. .

7) Looking thri college hoop stuff this week, it is striking how St Mary's went 29-6 this year, 15-3 in WCC, despite Gaels having no seniors on their squad. They should be really good this coming season, with their whole team back.

6) Rennie Stennett was at the Pirate-Marlin game Wednesday night; he is best known as last player to get seven hits in a game, on September 16, 1975 against Chicago. Odd thing is that his first hit that night was against Rick Reuschel; his 7th hit that night was against Reuschel's brother Paul

5) Arizona 3B Jake Lamb has nine homers this year, five in the ninth inning.

4) Diamondback TV analyst Bob Brenly is a very nice guy, totally relaxed during games, so it was odd to hear shred Houston OF Carlos Gomez during Monday's game, saying opponents are "delighted to see Gomez struggle" like he is this season. Gomez is known as a showboat who gloats when things are going well for him- they have not been going well for him for over a year now.

3) Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas will be imploded starting at 2am June 14- demolition of the famed casino, which will be completed in August, will cost $42M.

2) Jets need a starting QB, Rams have a QB (Nick Foles) they don't want. Foles threw 27 TDs with two INTs when he was on the Eagles and had DeSean Jackson to throw to. Jets should toss the Rams a 7th-round pick and help both teams out, and then Ryan Fitzpatrick can explain to his wife why he turned down a $24M deal. .

1) ESPN is not going to be happy if the NBA Finals are as bad as it looks like they might be. Thunder-Warriors seems like real Finals- they were televised on TNT. The Western Conference is just so much better than the East. Would the league think about eliminating east/west distinctions for the playoffs? Tough thing to do.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud........
13) If Clayton Kershaw starts 32 games this year, he makes $1,080,357 per start. Reliever Adam Liberatore makes $507,500 this year. When it comes to decisions on who will get big outs late in games, let Kershaw get the big outs.

12) Seattle Mariners are 7-0-1 in road series this year, only major league team that has not lost a road series this season- they need to beat San Diego tonight to avoid its first loss in a road series. .

11) Astros' George Springer batting in the leadoff spot this year: 18-44 with four walks, two HBP, for an on-base % of .480, thru ten games. He had a .354 OB% in 44 games as the #2 hitter in the lineup.

10) Home teams are 101-24 SU in Game 7 of NBA playoff series; #1 seeds are 29-3 in Game 7's, all of which, obviously, having been played at home.

9) If this year's NBA Finals last seven games, they'll be spread out over 18 days, lot of time to practice. NBA teams don't practice a lot during the season.

8) Mookie Betts has five homers in his last two games, 12 for the year. He also has four triples, solid production from the leadoff spot.

7) Knuckleballer RA Dickey got only two misses on 48 swings against the Red Sox Sunday; in his first 10 starts, he averaged 10.5 misses per game.

6) Underrated MLB record that will be very hard to break: Sean Green got 19 total bases in one game. If you hit four homers in a game, you still need a triple to tie the record. Would need a windy day at Wrigley or a sugfest at Coors Field.

5) Since May 16, AL teams are 25-12 in interleague play.

4) Monmouth missed out on NCAA tournament last March because their non-league schedule wasn't so hot. That won't be an issue this year; they've got games, all on the road of course, at South Carolina-Syracuse-Memphis-North Carolina.

3) Anderson Varejao played for the Cavaliers earlier this year, is on the Warriors now, so he gets a championship ring no matter who wins the NBA Finals.

2) There are rumors former Cavaliers coach David Blatt will take a coaching job in Turkey; kind of wish he'd coach a college team here. People say he is a really good coach with a little bit of an ego-- sounds like a perfect college coach. NBA ball is more about the players than the coach; college is more of a coach's game.

1) Cal Golden Bears lose Jordan Matthews (13.5 ppg LY) as a graduate transfer, big blow for Cuonzo Martin's group. Social media has him heading to Gonzaga.

Wednesday's List of 13: College hoop knowledge........
13) Klay Thompson played three years at Washington State; Coogs went 55-44 during that time, 23-31 in conference games. Since he left, Wazzu is 64-98, 22-68 in Pac-12.

12) Pullman is most remote town in Pac-12, tough place to win, but in the two years before Thompson got to the Paloose, they were 52-17, 24-12 in league play, because Tony Bennett is an amazing coach, which is why he is at Virginia now. Bennett was Thompson's coach for one year, then left for the ACC.

11) Steph Curry played three years at Davidson, then in the Southern Conference. Wildcats went 85-20 in the Curry era, 55-3 in SoCon games. Since he left Davidson, they are 149-80, 93-31 in conference play and even moved up to the Atlantic 14.

10) Davidson's coach Bob McKillop is one of the best coaches in the country; they were 59-20 in league games before Curry got to Charlotte-- still amazing to me that neither Steph or Seth Curry went to Virginia Tech, where their day played. .

9) College basketball teams with shortest average possessions LY:
Green Bay 13.4 seconds, Washington 13.6, Marshall 13.9

8) Teams with longest average possessions LY:
American 21.1 seconds, Denver 20.77, Wisconsin 20.4.

7) Teams with best 3-point %age LY:
Michigan State 43.4%, Oklahoma 42.2%, SMU 42%. Ten teams in the country made more than 40% of their 3-pointers.

6) Teams with worst 3-point %age LY:
Prairie View 27.3%, Grambling 27.9%, Robert Morris 27.6%. 15 teams mde less than 30% of their 3-pointers LY.

5) Teams who made the highest %age of free throws LY:
UConn 79.3%, Villanova 78.2%, Norfolk State 78.1%.

4) Teams who made the lowest %age of free throws LY:
Florida A&M 58.9%, Harvard 59.1%, Middle Tennessee 60.6%

3) Leagues that played fastest-paced games LY: Horizon-Southland-Atlantic Sun.

Leagues that played the slowest tempo games: ACC-SWAC-MEAC

2) Leagues that made highest %age of 3-pointers LY:
Summit 37.4%, Big Sky, Ivy League

Leagues that made lowest %age of 3-pointers LY:
SWAC 30.1%, MEAC, Northeast

1) Teams that turned ball over least %age of time LY:
Central Michigan 13.6%, Temple, Davidson, St Joe's

Teams that turned ball over highast %age of time LY:
Bradley 25.4%, Ark-Pine Bluff, Seattle

Tuesday's list of 13: Hey!! Things its OK to say on last day of May
13) Stupid Scheduling Dept: Giants played in Denver Sunday afternoon, had a 1pm game Monday in Atlanta- they couldn't play a 5:00 or 6:00 game Monday?

Dodgers play in Queens Sunday night, then had a 5pm game in Chicago; not quite as bad, but still, the teams that play on Sunday night and have to travel after should play a night game on Monday. .

12) Cubs 2, Dodgers 0-- WP- Wood 3-0, LP- Wood 1-4. All of which reminds me that from 1971-75, a 5-year period, White Sox pitcher Wilbur Wood started 224 games, an average of 44.8 starts per year (most any pitcher starts now is usually 32 or so).

Wood was a knuckleballer who went 24-20 in 1973, 20-19 in '74 and once started both games in a doubleheader. He also had 57 saves in an interesting career.

11) There have been six major league games this year where a team got only one hit for the game, but those teams are a surprising 3-3 in those games.

10) I watch these mini-series on Showtime, like Billions or House of Lies and I'm not eager to trust any human on the planet-- is everyone a scoundrel? Can anyone be a trusted friend? On these shows, its almost like a WWE storyline, where people turn on each other at the drop of a hat. Every man for himself. Kind of sad.

9) Baylor hired former Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe as its interim football coach, after a string of off-field problem that caused Art Briles to get fired recently. I've long been a fan of Grobe; he won an ACC ttile at Wake Forest, a huge accomplishment.

Not sure what happens to Baylor's assistants; don't think they can fire them all, since that could lead to a mass exodus of players via transfer. No matter what the school says, they want/need a winning team and good players are responsible for that,.

8) Clayton Kershaw is making $34,571,429 this year, over $1M per start; not sure how you take him out in a key spot Sunday night to bring in a situational lefty in a big spot, when the reliever makes the major league minimum. By my count, Granderson is 3-17 in his career vs Kershaw, with a double in his first AB Sunday. Odd decision.

7) Dodgers have a payroll of $249,781,668, a huge payroll, yet they have an entry level manager running their games- it makes no sense. Roberts has never managed in the minor leagues- he ran one game in San Diego LY after Bud Black got canned.

I know teams that play "Moneyball" consider managers to be an expendable middle manager who just pushes buttons during games, but damn its an important job. To have a guy in charge who has never done it before this year puts you at a disadvantage.

And no, the Dodgers don't play "Moneyball" but GM Andrew Friedman did when he ran the Tampa Bay Rays. I think he underrates the manager's influence on a team.

6) Obscure major league record-- July 30, 1991, Dennis Martinez vs Mike Morgan at Dodger Stadium-- Major league record for most batters to make out in a game, before any batter reached base. 30 batters went down before there was a baserunner.

Tigers/Angels got to 27 consecutive batters retired last night, before CJ Cron singled to open the bottom of the fifth inning.

5) WeTV, a purveyor of bad TV programs, is bringing "Millionaire Matchmaker" back to the airwaves. This woman sets up millionaires with dates-- she has had a ton of cosmetic surgery since this program was last on the air, I believe on Bravo Network. I actually felt bad for some of the guys she had the show on a few years ago.

Anyway, I'll say this: any guy who is a millionaire and needs a dating service is a jackass. Exhibit A: Donald J Trump. He has the worst hair in America, but he also has $10B so he has a raving beauty tagging along behind him. Thats just the way it is.

Like it or not, attractive women are drawn to money like locusts to a rotting corpse.

4) There is an intersection in town of Banff, Alberta-- Moose and Squirrel Streets. Obviously whoever planned this neighborhood is a Rocky/Bullwinkle fan from the old cartoon. No word on whether there is a Boris Badenov Blvd.

3) Pittsburgh Penguins haven't been out of the eastern time zone since January 18, when they played in St Louis- they're headed to San Jose for Games 3-4 of Stanley Cup finals- they were last in the Pacific Time Zone in December.

2) Watching the Oklahoma City Thunder play, you forget they are the old Seattle SuperSonics, who the NBA stole from the city of Seattle after the 2007-08 season, because the city of Seattle wouldn't build (yet another) new arena for the Sonics. This was a horrendous injustice, since Seattle always supported their team very well.

1) Warriors 96, Thunder 88-- Lot of the nitwits on social media who gave up on the Warriors last week can now eat their words. 10th time a team down 3-1 has won in a 7-game series, out of 233 tries. This series was good for the NBA, two great teams that people like to watch going at it for seven games. Solid entertainment.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend........
13) Going to be a big night for sports bars in SF/Oakland Bay Area tonight, with the Sharks opening their first-ever Stanley Cup final, while Warriors host Oklahoma City in Game 7 of the NBA Western Conference final.

12) Astros 8, Angels 6 (13)-- Carlos Correa came off the bench in the 13th inning and hit a 3-run homer to win this marathon game. The homer was hit really high; not often you see reactions like the ones Angel fielders gave when the ball landed in the bullpen.

11) Houston had a runner picked off first for the third game in a row; at 22-29, they are not the same team that stunned baseball by making the playoffs LY. At 22-28, the Angels aren't much better, with an injury-ravaged pitching staff.

10) The save rule makes managers' jobs harder, because closers do not pitch as well if they come into a game with a 4+-run lead, which is not a save situation. Sometimes the manager figures the closer just needs work, but the Mets' closer Familia coughed up a 4-run lead in the ninth inning Friday night.

9) Washington Nationals are lucky Brandon Phillips vetoed his trade last winter; they wound up signing Daniel Murphy instead-- Murphy is a much better player.

8) In Saturday's Cincinnati-Milwaukee game, both starting pitchers hit the other with pitches, the first time that happened in a game since 2003, when Dan Haren and Matt Clement drilled each other in a Cardinal-Cub game.

7) With Lucas Duda hurt, the Mets traded for James Loney from San Diego; he is a good fielder who doesn't hit enough to be a regular corner infielder. He will be activated for their Tuesday game, when they face righty pitcher Mat Latos.

6) Not often a 20-point underdog wins in football; Tampa Bay Storm upset Arizona Rattlers in the Arena Lague this weekend. Tampa Bay had been winless this year.

5) First round matchups in a college hoop tournament in Cancun next fall: Purdue will play Utah State, Auburn will play Texas Tech. Not a bad tournament.

4) Martin Truex jogged in Charlotte's NASCAR race, dominating the 600-mile race. It was his first win this season.

3) Chris Webber is way better than Reggie Miller as an NBA game analyst; TNT got the better of the two conference finals. The Cleveland-Toronto games were all one-sided, and as a result got terrible TV ratings.

2) Jordan Spieth won at Colonial, meaning with the Memorial this week, Spieth, Day and McIroy all are coming in off a win in their last event.

1) Today is Memorial Day, when we honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. Thanks to all the brave men/women in our military.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) Weird day/night at the ballpark Saturday. Umps threw Noah Syndergaard out in the third inning for throwing a ball a foot or two behind Chase Utley. Apparently no warnings had been issued before this series, so the ejection was unexpected, and Mets manager Terry Collins got tossed as a result.

12) The pitch was obviously intentional, but not only did it not hit Utley, it didn't come that close to him. If the umps warn both dugouts and play on, it ends there. The micromanaging that baseball does with umpires does not help the game.

Lot of people paid a lot of money to watch that game, and they got cheated out of watching it. No one pays to watch the umpires do their job.

11) The Mets-Utley thing goes back to LY's playoffs, when Utley slid hard into second base and broke SS Ruben Tejada's leg. Ironically, Tejada was DFA'd by the Cardinals Saturday.

10) Utley tied Friday night's game with a bases loaded double, then put LA with a sixth inning homer last night, then hit a grand slam later in the game. Wonder what the TV executives at FOX think about the Mets' star Syndergaard getting tossed in the third inning of a national TV game?

9) One last Dodger note: 19-year old Julio Urias was sent back to AAA after making his MLB debut Friday night. He is on an innings limit this year, anyway.

8) Royals 8, White Sox 7-- Brutal loss for Chicago, which led 7-1 in 9th inning but this catastrophic loss means they are now 4-12 in their last 16 games.

7) Reds 7, Brewers 6-- Milwaukee led 6-1 in 7th inning, but Reds rallied to win and broke their 12-game losing streak. Winning run came after a replay review overturned a Brewer double play that would've ended the top of the 9th with game tied.

6) Blue Jays 10, Red Sox 9-- Boston's bullpen gave up six runs in 2.1 IP, blowing leads in both 8th/9th innings.

5) Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker was 2-5, 8.80 in his first seven starts this year, with 62 misses on 261 swings (23.8%), and 22 strikeouts in 29.2 IP. Not good.

In two starts since then, Shoemaker is 1-0, 1.15 in two starts, with 23 strikeouts in 15.2 IP and 48 misses on 117 swings (41.0%). Wonder what he changed?

4) Juan Lagares hit an opposite field homer Friday, then hit another one last night as a pinch-hitter. First thing that flashed thru my mind after his homer Friday, was that he is going to be drug tested and real soon. Mets TV announcers seemed stunned when the ball went over the right field fence.

3) Speaking of Mets' TV, Ron Darling told a story on TV Friday about when he retired, a guy came up to him and hugged him, telling Darling that he had bet on the Mets every game Darling started one season and the Mets had won so many of those games that the guy took the money and bought a house that he still lived in.

2) John Smoltz was good on TV Saturday, talking about Matt Harvey's struggles on the mound, and how as a starting pitcher, it is not fun if you're having a lousy season. Smotz was 2-11 at the All-Star break one year; he talked about that and how he had to basically re-boot in the second half, which he did. Good stuff.

1) A 23-year old young man who played for the New Orleans Pelicans was shot and killed in Dallas this weekend. According to police reports, he was somewhere he was not supposed to be-- he got shot and he died.

Our world is going crazy and I'm not even sure it is slowly going crazy. Something has to be done about gun violence and violence in general. There is a lack of respect for people's boundaries, and when that happens, regrettable things happen.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind........
13) Atlanta is getting new baseball stadium and football stadium even though the ones Braves/Falcons use now are both less than 30 years old. To me, this is absurd in an era where cities have financial problems. I'm thinking publicly funded stadiums should have to be used for 40 years before they can be replaced.

12) My thought on spelling bee that ESPN televised this week: God bless these kids for being so smart, but go out and play for Pete's sake.

11) I'm guessing MLB Commissioner Manfred wasn't happy with the Astros game Thursday night; Houston starter Lance McCullers threw 108 pitches in five IP, with only seven of them put into play. Not a lot of action when out of 108 pitches, 16 are called strikes, 18 are swung at/missed, 21 are fouled off, seven are put in play.

10) There was flash flooding in Texas Thursday night, with dangerous conditions but channel 2's TV lady was out in the rain, on the air, telling people how dangerous it was. Who thought this was a good idea? The poor woman was soaked.

9) Much was made last year about Joe Maddon batting his pitcher 8th, but he hasn't done it this year and he didn't do it in LY's playoffs. Still haven't been convinced that batting a pitcher 8th gives a team any advantage at all. Some teams still do it, but also some TV analysts openly mock the idea.

8) Phillies are 14-4 in one-run games, 1-7 in games decided by 5+ runs.

7) Want to win a bar bet? Mark Lemke, former utility infielder of the Braves, holds MLB record for most plate appearances (3,664) without getting hit by a pitch.

6) Bryce Harper homered the other night with no batting gloves on; when he got back to the Washington dugout he took a pair of scissors and cut his batting gloves up into several pieces. Athletes can be very quirky people.

5) Former NFL QB Jon Kitna's son will be a walk-on QB at TCU this season.

4) Los Angeles Kings have taken the captain's "C" away from Dustin Brown-- he has been the Kings' captain since 2008, so this is a big deal.

3) North Carolina hoop coach Roy Williams had a knee replaced this week, so we wish him well with that. He should be healthy in time for July recruiting season.

2) Modern basketball: Draymond Green got an offensive rebound on the block, and turned and whipped a diagonal cross-court pass to Klay Thompson outside the arc, 25 feet from the basket. In today's game, thats a good play.

I'll sound old now, but 30 years ago, if you made that pass, you'd get yanked out of the game and maybe drug tested afterwards. The 3-point line has changed basketball (for the better) and made it a more interesting game.

1) Arizona Diamondbacks are having a really bad season; they put two starting pitchers on DL Friday, Shelby Miller and Rubby De la Rosa. Arizona traded a lot of their top prospects to get Miller, who is 1-6, 7.09 this season.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.......
13) Baylor fired football coach Art Briles, who went 65-37 at a school that hadn't gone to a single bowl game in the 12 years before he came to Waco. Briles got fired due to his players having lot of legal problems off the field. On the field, Baylor did so well they just built a new $266 million stadium. Off the field, there were big problems.

12) The next questions are these: a) Who takes Briles' place? and b) is Baylot a good job right now for an aspiring young coach? Recruiting right now could be a problem.

11) Houston Rockets hired Mike D'Antoni as its new coach, meaning Houston will be a fun team to watch going forward.

10) 19-year old Julio Urias makes his MLB debut for the Dodgers tonight when they play at Citi Field against the Mets.

9) A CBS TV station in California found 265 people voting while using the IDs of dead people, one of whom died as long ago as 1988. 86 Republicans, 146 Democrats, 33 independents. Is this a great country or what?

8) Pirates' TV announcers do not like Tony LaRussa; while D'Backs/Pirates were plunking each other this week, Pittsburgh TV guys basically blamed LaRussa for the fireworks not dying down. LaRussa, who was in Pittsburgh for the series, went into the Pirate TV booth in between innings to talk to the announcers, which is not how these things are usually handled. .

7) Cubs scored 81 runs in winning all 10 of Jake Arrieta's starts this season.

6) World Series of Poker starts pretty soon; players can wear headphones this year, until the final table, which is a player-friendly change in rules.

5) Maryland got very good news when Melo Trimble dropped out of NBA Draft just before the deadline to do so.

4) All in all, 49 underclassmen stayed in the NBA Draft, compared to 46 LY. There are only 60 picks in the whole draft. Lot of kids get bad advice.

3) Al Leiter does TV analysis part-time for both the Miami Marlins/Bronx Bombers; is there another guy who works for two teams in two different cities?

2) New Orleans Pelicans' Anthony Davis will not be awarded the estimated $24.8 million bonus allowed as the maximum value for the contract he signed last summer.

The Rose Rule says that a player coming off his rookie contract is eligible for a higher raise structure if he accomplishes two of the following: a) wins the MVP award b) is selected as an All-Star starter, or c) is selected for All-NBA.

Davis was hurt much of last year, which is why he fell short of those goals.

1) Royals' OF Lorenzo Cain never played baseball until he was in 10th grade.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) Wednesday was the deadline for NBA prospects to drop out of the draft and go back to school-- at least 45 players have done that. Dillon Brooks, Tyler Dorsey both went back to school, making Oregon a national title contender next winter.

12) Purdue gets big man Caleb Swanigan back for next year: "I'm going back to school. I feel I'm only a 2nd round pick and I can do better than that. I love Purdue.'' Boilermakers still need better guard play, but Swanigan's return is important.

11) Clemson also got very good news that Jaron Blossonggame will return to school; Littlejohn Coliseum was re-done last winter, so Brad Brownell will be on the hot seat to make the NCAAs next year. When boosters kick in a lot of money to refurbish an arena, they expect results. With Blossingame, Clemson can make the NCAAs.

10) USC appears to be the big loser Wednesday; they lost two starters, their point guard and center, despite thought that neither one will get drafted. Trojans were going to be a top 15 team if both kids came back. Now they're out of the top 25. .

9) Similar bad news at Seton Hall, after Isaiah Whitehead stayed in the draft- had he stayed in school, he would've been a preseason All-American, and Kevin Willard is a much smarter coach. Whitehead may or may not get picked in the first round.

8) Los Angeles Rams will travel 32,072 miles this coming season, most of any team; even without their London trip, Rams would travel 5th-most miles in league.

7) There are six teams who will travel less than 10,000 miles this year, all from the two north divisions-- Lions-Packers-Bears-Ravens-Browns-Steelers.

6) Memphis Grizzlies offered their coaching job to Miami assistant David Fizdale, who has been an NBA assistant for 14 years. Grizzlies are tough team to work for; in last four years, they've fired a coach who went 56-26, then a coach who went 42-40 despite using 28 players, the most players an NBA team has ever had in one season.

5) Odubel Herrera, Yasiel Puig were both benched this week for not running balls out. Herrera returned to the lineup and homered Wednesday afternoon.

4) Rougned Odor punched an opponent in the face 11 days ago; when does he get suspended? Baseball does this so badly; by the time he gets suspended, we'll forget what he got suspended for. For that fight, the suspension should've been immediate.

3) Giancarlo Stanton is hitting .214 this year and is hurt again; this is his 7th year in the major leagues- he's played more than 123 games twice. I look at the guy and I see a WWE wrestler; he is too damn bulked-up to play baseball. Yes I'm bitter because he has been on my fantasy team since he was an 18-year old in the Florida State League, but how can a guy like this have only one season with 90+ RBI?

2) Imagine how bitter you would be if you were paying Stanton's salary? The meat of his big-money deal doesn't start for two more years-- starting in 2018, Stanton will make an average of $31M a year for 11 years, from age 28 to 38. Oy.

1) Matt Harvey is 3-7, 6.08 this season; he's allowed 73 hits in 53.1 IP. No bueno.

Wednesday's List of 13: Mid-week musings.......
13) Under Armour, UCLA signed a 15-year, $280M apparel/shoe deal this week, which will make entitled athletes in football/basketball complain that they're not going to get a piece of that pie. They are getting a free college education, so there's that.

12) In a probably-related development, Pac-12 football teams will play fewer 10:30 kickoff games, in part so Under Armour brand can get more eastern exposure on TV.

11) Monday night in Miami, Logan Morrison took a marginal pitch for a strike and before the TV people could mute their field mikes, Morrison unleashed a string of obscenities against plate umpire Lance Barksdale. Good stuff.

10) Former NBA vet Kerry Kittles signed on as an assistant coach at Princeton.

9) ACC-Big 14 basketball challenge is a mere six months away; Michigan State-Duke is the premiere matchup. UNC-Indiana, Ohio State-Virginia, Purdue-Louisville are some of the other featured games.

8) Devin Watson, who scored 20.3 ppg as a soph at San Francisco LY, transferred to San Diego State, where he will sit out this year, then play two more years. More good news for Steve Fisher; Malik Pope dropped out of the NBA Draft, will go back to school for another year. Decisions like that will mean a lot next winter.

7) Delaware Blue Hens finally hired a basketball coach, Notre Dame assistant coach Martin Inglesby, who has ties to the Philadelphia area. Plus Mike Brey used to be the Delaware coach, so that helps. Delaware has very few players; hiring a coach on May 24 is not the ideal way to run an athletic department.

6) Looking thru all-time college records today, noticed that Rams' QB Case Keenum holds I-A records for most career passing yards (19,217) and pssing TDs (217). it didn't prevent the Rams from spending a king's ransom on acquiring Jared Goff to take Keenum's job, but those records are still impressive.

5) Are there any phone booths left in this country? Was watching a movie the other night and someone ran to a phone booth to make a call, which automatically makes it a fairly old movie, I guess.

4) Was doing NFL research today; Carolina beat the Buccaneers twice LY, 37-23 and 38-10. Panthers scored nine TDs in the two games: two by the defense, with five of the seven TDs scored by the offense coming on drives of less than 50 yards.

3) NHL's Florida Panthers had 103 points this year, most they've ever had in their 23-year history, but they just fired their scouting dorector who had been with the team for 14 years, thru seven head coaches and five GMs. There is a battle there between the analytics people and the old school people, and analytics people are winning.

2) Long time ago, November 1993, I'm an assistant high school basketball coach, in my first year at this school, whose program was a mess. Our head coach is a great guy but he was in over his head at this job. After the second game of the year (we had won the first game), there were some attitude problems in the group.

Coach said something after that game that I've never forgotten: "So we lose a game and the rats start jumping off the ship", one of the all-time best quotes I've heard.

That is where the Warriors are now; their bandwagon is emptying quickly; nitwit media people have declared this series over, even though nine NBA teams have rallied from 3-1 deficits to win their series. Steve Kerr will probably rally his troops with an "us against the world" speech, since no one thinks Golden State can rally now.

We'll see.

1) White Sox TV voice Jason Benetti has an inspirational story; he was born with cerebral palsy, but never let that stop him. He went to college at Syracuse, then got his law degree from Wake Forest. He later joined ESPN and now has a job broadcasting ball in the major leagues, and he is very good at it. Good for him.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Major league baseball teams aren't allowed to play more than 20 days in a row, so players on Colorado/Pittsburgh had to vote to play Monday, after Sunday's game was rained out in the second inning.

Pirates will now take the field 34 days in a row, Colorado 27, but playing yesterday was better than the Rockies flying in for one day later this season.

12) With Lucas Duda out for an extended time bith back issues, would the Mets trade for a 3B, move David Wright to first? He has been struggling with throws, anyway, this could be the time to put him at first base.

11) Interesting matchup in Chicago tonight: Indians are 7-0 when Josh Tomlin starts on the mound, White Sox are 9-0 when Chris Sale pitches.

10) White Sox announcer Steve Stone was talking about former Braves' slugger Rico Carty (.299 career BA, 204 HRs). Apparently Carty wasn't a trusting soul-- he kept his wallet in hsi uniform pants while he was playing. Seriously.

9) On the Pirate game yesterday afternoon, Colorado announcers were saying that when he played for the Bronx Bombers, New York coaches tried to get Francisco Cervelli to quit and become a minor league coach, like Crash Davis in Bull Durham.

Cervelli just signed a three-year, $31M extension; hope he sends a copy of his checks to New York, so they can see how wrong they were.

8) I've spent a lot of time keeping score at baseball games, was even an official scorer in the minor leagues for two years, but if I started keeping score again, I'd have to change the way I kept score, because of shifting defenses.

A good scorecard is something you can look at six months later and tell what went on in that game, even if you never saw the game. Jotting down "5-3" is no longer enough, because the 3B ("5") might have shifted to the right side of the infield. Now you need to take notes and be more descriptive, in order to be more accurate.

7) Raptors 105, Cavaliers 99- Why do teams play so much better at home?

6) Trevon Blueitt is going back to Xavier; the Musketeers have their top four guys on the perimeter back and are a top 25 team.

5) Drivers in this year's Indianapolis 500 represent 11 different countries.

4) In his last 1,001 innings pitched, Clayton Kershaw's ERA is 1.995.

3) Players who have come to bat with most men on base this season:
Rizzo 150, Polanco 147, Pujols 143, Abreu 137.

2) Players with 100+ PA who have driven in the highest %age of baserunners:
Bruce 26.7%, Betts 24.2%, Markakis 24.2%, Bradley Jr 23.4%

1) Players with 100+ PA who have driven in the lowest %age of baserunners
Gennett 1-64, MTaylor 2-68, Norris 3-85.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend........
13) Blue Jays manager John Gibbons had an interesting week;
Sunday: ejected, Monday: ejected.
Tuesday-Thursday: suspended in connection with Sunday's ejection
Friday/Saturday: He actually managed the whole game both days.
Sunday: ejected-- good work if you can get it.

12) Washington Nationals played 13 of their first 44 games against Miami; now the teams will play only six more times the rest of this season. .

11) Albuquerque Isotopes are the Rockies' AAA team; they're having a bad year, losing six games in a row and 10 of last 12.

Things are so bad that the team employee who wears the "jar of salsa" costume during the Chile Race promotion pulled a leg muscle this weekend nad is now out of action.

10) From 2013-15, Hillary Clinton made 94 speaking engagements, earned $21.6M doing so. Thats million, with an M. Yikes.

9) Phil Mickelson agreed to forfeit nearly $1 million that the Securities/Exchange Commission said was unfairly earned on a tip from an insider trading scheme run by a former corporate director and a professional gambler.

Who plays Mickelson in the movie that will inevitably be made about this?

8) Thunder 133, Warriors 105-- This makes Game 4 a very interesting game. if the Spurs/Warriors go a combined 140-24 in the regular season and neither makes the NBA Finals, teams will be resting players constantly next season. No bueno.

7) I'm sitting here watching the 1995 movie Jury Duty, a movie so stunningly bad that I can't turn it off. For some reason, Dick Vitale was in this movie as a TV leegal analyst, basically playing his TV role, yelling and screaming. 21 years later, this movie is still on pay TV-- is this a great country or what?

6) I was watching the 1991 movie Forget Paris the other night, where Billy Crystal is an NBA ref; in the opening scene, he makes a critical call in a playoff game against the Phoenix Suns, who had Charles Barkley, Kevin Johnson, Dan Majerle.

25 years later, Barkley is the best studio analyst the NBA has; Majerle is the coach at Grand Canyon College an up-and-coming D-I team and Johnson somehow is mayor of Sacramento, where he has saved the NBA's Kings from moving several times.

Real life is often stranger than fiction.

5) Then there is the 1973 movie "World's Greatest Athlete", where Seahawk coach Pete Carroll had an untitled role as a college football player. Also in this fine movie are the guy who played Mr Whipple in the old Charmin TV commercials, the guy who played General Burkhalter on Hogan's Heroes and former Viking QB Joe Kapp.

4) Why do the Texas Rangers want a new stadium? The one they play in is only 22 years old- teams should have to stay at least 40 years in a new stadium.

3) Tim Lincecum signed with the Angels for $2.5M; Halos are in even worse shape than the A's- their payroll is $164,673,333, compared to Oakland's $86,806,234.

2) While I am on this subject, the A's are 19-26 this year with a starting pitching rotation that is totally in shambles with Sonny Gray ineffective/hurt. After making the playoffs in 2012-14, the Ivy League genuses in the Oakland front office decided to trade Yoenis Cespedes for Jon Lester so they could win the 2014 World Series. The plan failed.....miserably.

109-154, thats the A's record since July 31, 2014- they pay Billy Butler $10M a year, Jed Lowrie $7M, Coco Crisp $11M. People talk about Moneyball all the time, but the 2001-03 A's were good for three reasons-- Hudson, Mulder, Zito. Starting pitchers.

Without solid starting pitchers (6+ innings most every night) your team has absolutely zero chance to contend. None. Pitching is the most critical element in baseball.

1) Congratulations to my friend Gary DiNola for being inducted into the Upstate New York Basketball Hall of Fame last night. I spent four years (1994-98) as one of his assistants and it one was one of the most interesting/fun eperiences of my life.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.......
13) Milwaukee Brewer TV announcers were telling a story about last July 31, when the Mets/Brewers almost made a trade at the deadline. Milwaukee brass told Carlos Gomez he had been traded to the Mets, he was shaking hands with teammates, saying his goodbyes but then the trade fell through.

12) Mets wound up trading for Yoenis Cespedes instead, which worked out really well for them, as they got to the World Series. Gomez wound up getting dealt to the Astros, where he has struggled greatly.

11) As far as baseball eliminating the four pitches for the intentional walk, last year in the major leagues there were 951 intentional walks in 2,430 games, so eliminating those four pitches isn't going to be a huge time-saver.

10) Ichiro Suzuki had his 253rd game with 3+ hits last night, most amongst active players. Ichiro now has 2,954 hits in his 16 big league seasons.

9) I've got no idea why, but people in Chicago do not like ketchup on hot dogs. White Sox announcers were discussing this the other night and back in 2003, a friend of mine actually got mad at me for asking for ketchup at a Chicago hot dog stand.

I dislike mustard and relish but if I knew the ketchup was going to cause a problem, I would've eaten the weiner plain.

8) A batter who hits a sacrifice fly isn't charged with an at-bat, but a batter who knocks in a run with a ground out is-- why is this? Whats the difference?

7) Marlins 3, Nationals 2-- Washington had bases loaded, no one out in ninth inning but couldn't tie game. Miami is now 3.5 games behind Washington in NL East.

6) Jim Baron is retiring as basketball coach at Canisius at age 62; he has been a very good coach at a number of places: Canisius, St Bonaventure, URI, St Francis, PA.

Few years ago, I was sitting in front of coach Baron at an AAU tournament here in Albany- his son was playing. It was a close game against a local team, and at the end of the game, the hometown refs gave the local team a couple calls and they won.

Coach Baron had been pretty low-key during the game but when his son's team got hosed at the end and lost, he was steamed and he went after the offending ref to give him a piece of his mind. He did quickly and fairly quietly but believe me, the guy who made the calls deserved to get ripped.

Anyway, good luck in retirement coach. Canisius will miss you. .

5) 164 undergraduates declared for this year's NBA Draft; many have returned to college, but there are only 60 picks in the draft, so add in seniors and kids from other countries and a lot of kids are going to wind up very disappointed.

4) Toronto's Bismack Biyombo is going to make a fortune as a free agent this summer and when he does, remember this: last night in Game 3 against Cleveland, Biyombo had 15 rebounds before he took his first shot of the game. Guys like that are worth their weight in gold, if you want to have a winning team.

3) Jack McDowell threw 10+ complete games three years in a row, the last pitcher to do that and that was back in 1991-93. Will probably never happen again.

2) Major league baseball wants more balls in play; approximately 30% of plate appearances are ending in walks/strikeouts. Baseball's head honchos want more action, so they're going to raise the strike zone some, hoping it'll result in more balls put in play, which makes the game more interesting. We'll see how that goes.

1) RIP Alan Young 96, the actor who played Wilbur Post on the classic TV show Mr Ed, passed away this week. It is not easy to be a straight man for a talking horse; that was one of my favorite TV shows as a kid. Yes, I said a talking horse, but he only talked to Wilbur, which caused problems with Wilbur's wife Carol.

Just loved Mr Ed, whether he was driving a delivery truck or taking batting practice against Sandy Koufax (yes, Koufax tossed a meatball to a horse, with manager Leo Durocher watching). Spent many hours laughing with this show. RIP, sir.

Saturday's List of 13: College football knowledge, and DDLohaus handicaps the Preakness Stakes........
The Kentucky Derby is behind us and the race really ended as we had expected. Nyquist was all he was said to be; looked great winning the race in a very solid time. The top four favorites covered the top four spots with Exaggerator again the runner up. We couldn't collect on our big bets as Mohaymen could only manage fourth. We did hit the saver exacta but not much joy there....

The Preakness comes quickly and welcomes a host of newcomers trying to not only beat the Derby winner, but launch themselves into the summer spotlight as the racing season continues to crank up. As I sit here in Delaware, the weather forecast for Saturday is BAD; 90% chance of rain all morning into the afternoon and COLD with a high of 57 degrees. The weather forecast certainly requires a bit of restraint in wagering but also introduces a whole other set of variables when handicapping the race.

Nyquist is still the horse to beat. As I've said before, he has done nothing wrong and look really good in the Derby. I am convinced that Exaggerator is as honest as they come and he keeps Nyquist honest. If Nyquist doesn't show up, Exaggerator will turn the tables. These two (Nyquist and Exaggerator) are clear standouts in the 3yr old category so far this year; I just don't see a very deep crop of 3yr olds (yet). The problem is that they are both very short odds AND the weather conditions are sure to make conditions anything but ideal. Talent alone, these two run 1-2 but I challenge anyone to say, for sure, how they will respond to adverse conditions on Saturday.

As is customary, I will throw out a wildcard for you to consider. This runner may be worth a small wager and given the expected weather and track conditions is not a complete reach. Abiding Star is on a bit of a hot streak coming into the Preakness. He has won five in a row and has had success over wet tracks. He will likely be close to the front if not on the lead and may not look back. Distance is a concern and he may be a notch below many in here but horses do get brave sometimes and if he finds himself in front turning for home, the track is heavy and tiring, and the others don't fire their best he may shock at a big price and he would be a nice play underneath the two favorites.

Nyquist: Deserving favorite and a notch better than the rest (just cant bet a 3/5 in adverse conditions)
Exaggerator: Honest, hard knocker capable of winning if top one doesn't fire his best (just cant bet a horse that has lost 4 times to top one and short odds)
Abiding Star: Longshot being tested for class and distance but may get brave on the front end and has handled off tracks.

The Bets:
$5WPS Abiding Star
$5EXBX Abiding Star/Nyquist/Exaggerator
$2TRIBX Abiding Star/Nyquist/Exagerator

Total Bets: $57.00

College football knowledge..........
13) LSU's new defensive coordinator last worked at Wisconsin; Tigers, who have 18 starters back, open the season Sept 3 against the Badgers at Lambeau Field.

12) USC plays Alabama, Stanford, Utah in September, none of them at home.

11) Urban Meyer has a 154-27 record, 50-4 at Ohio State; his defensvie coordinator this year is former Rutgers/Bucs coach Greg Schiano.

10) Texas A&M recruited only two of the top 20 recruits from the Lone Star State this year- they're on their fourth offensive coordinator in the last five years. Aggies are 16-10 overall the last two years, 17-15 in conference play the last four years.

9) Contrast that to Oklahoma State, which is 27-12 the last three years; their OC is in his fourth season in Stillwater, their DC is in his sixth season. Continuity helps.

8) UCLA's freshman kicker JJ Molson is the grandson of Montreal Canadiens' owner, beer magnate Geoff Molson; wonder if they'll be selling Molson beer at the Rose Bowl this year. Having a freshman kicker can drive you to drink.

7) Michigan State is 36-5 the last three years, but lost top two WRs and their QB who started for three years. Spartans play Notre Dame/Wisconsin on back/back early on in season. Mark D'Antonio is 7-2 against rival Michigan.

6) Tennessee hasn't won SEC East since 2007; they haven't won the SEC since '98, the year after Peyton Manning left. Vols' over/under win total in Las Vegas this year is 10, so with 18 starters back, Butch Davis' team has high expectations.

5) Mack Brown was 25-14 his last three years at Texas; Charlie Strong is 11-14 his first two years in Austin. Longhorns gave up 30.3 ppg last year.

4) Florida State is 49-6 the last four years; only one of their four September games is at home. RB Dalvin Cook won SEC rushing title by 164 yards LY.

3) Oregon went 9-4 LY, after going 48-5 the four years before that; they lost their bowl game after leading 31-0 at the half. Once again, the Ducks' QB will be a transfer from a I-AA school, this time Dakota Prukop from Montana State.

2) Ole Miss has its first-ever two-game winning streak over Alabama, which is hard to believe. Rebels play Florida State, Alabama and Georgia, all in September. Oy.

1) Michigan is 2-14 against Ohio State/Michigan State the last eight years.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here......
13) I'm tired of hearing people whine about baseball games lasting too long, as if an extra 8-10 minutes is going to ruin someone's day. Want to eliminate 8-10 minutes a game? Eliminate coaches/managers visiting the mound, that will do it. Whether a game is 2:52 or 3:05, baseball is great. Nothing wrong with spending more time having fun.

12) Saw couple of amazing catches in 9th inning of games last night; Minnesota CF Danny Santana made a fantastic catch, keeping the game 2-2 with the go-ahead run on second base and Rafael Ortega of the Angels made a sliding catch down left field line to help the Halos hold off the Dodgers 7-4.

11) Nationals 9, Mets 1-- Matt Harvey is 3-6, 5.77 and terribly overrated. Last year, New York media had him getting inducted in Cooperstown before he turned 27. Last night, Harvey went over the 500 innings mark in his career- he is 30-24.

10) Austin Russell, better known as Chumlee on Pawn Stars, somehow avoided jail time after at one time having 19 felony drug charges against him. Hope he realizes how lucky he is; when I was in Las Vegas in April, it seemed apparent that he was going to jail and maybe for a very long time.

9) Pro Bowl is moving from Honolulu to Orlando this comng year; for some reason, it was mentioned that Sydney, Australia was interested in hosting it. Why?

8) Orlando Magic gave Frank Vogel $22M for four years- first Magic-Pacer game next fall should be interesting.

7) Buck Showalter once managed a team in the NY-Penn League, a short-season farm team. He went 114-41 in Oneonta, hometown of ESPN's Mark May, and also the place where John Elway played his minor league baseball.

6) In case you are wondering, Elway hit .318 with a .432 OB% that year, for a 43-33 Oneonta team that was managed by former White Sox CF Ken Berry.

5) Drew Pomeranz has pitched well for San Diego but they haven't hit much for him; in Pomeranz' last four starts, a total of seven runs have scored.

4) Stan Musial hit three homers in a game at age 42, the oldest player to do so.

3) Angels are 22-1 in Mike Trout's career when he scores 3+ runs in a game.

2) Not only did Texas A&M's basketball team lose four senior starters this year, three of their assistant coaches also bolted for other jobs, so Billy Kennedy is totally rebuilding his program- he hired Don Maestri, who coached Troy State for 30 years and will now be someone Kennedy can lean on for advice. .

1) Chargers signed Zach Mettenberger as a backup QB; Giants/Bengals also had interest n the former LSU signal-caller. Backing up Philip Rivers seems like good duty; Rivers has started every San Diego game for the last decade.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud......
13) Warriors 118, Thunder 91-- No one on Oklahoma City had more than 9 points, other than Durant/Westbrook. They need a third double figure scorer to compete.

12) Knicks are apparently going to name Jeff Hornacek head coach; good coach, good basketball guy, but kind of feel about him the same way I felt when the Mets hired Art Howe as manager-- not very New York-ish. Sometimes that matters.

11) Chicago White Sox turned their second triple play of the season last night; they are first team since '07 Phillies to turn two triple plays in same season.

10) A's 8, Rangers 1-- Khris Davis has nine HRs, 20 RBI in first 18 days of May.

9) NBA playoff favorites of 8+ points are 19-6 vs spread this season.

8) Why is the price of gasoline 45 cents a gallon cheaper in New Jersey than here in New York? Is Crhis Christie that good a governor that his constituents don't get ripped off like we do? By the way, in New Jersey they put the gas in your car for you.

7) NBA Summer League will be July 8-18 at UNLV and on TV every day on NBA TV. Solid entertainment; I'll be out there for the AAU tournaments later in the month.

6) Illinois got good news: big man Mike Thorne got a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA, very important for John Groce's team.

5) More transfers, as number approaches 600 this year (there are 351 D-I teams):
-- Anthony Livingston goes from Arkansas State to Texas Tech.
-- Kendall Stephens goes from Purdue to Nevada

4) This will be the sixth NFL season for 49er QB Blaine Gabbert, who will have his sxith different head coach, sixth offensive coordinator, sixth QB coach. Oy.

3) Why would the Ravens intentionally break the NFL rule about not using full pads during rookie minicamps? Sounds like they did just that.

2) Minnesota Twins are 4-2 against the Cleveland Indians, 0-15 against the rest of the AL Central. No bueno. Minnesota is 5-12 in games where the winning run scores from the 7th inning on.

1) Werid story about Robert Griffin III and his relationship with his coaches in Washington; if that story is remotely true, Daniel Snyder is the worst owner in the NFL and the Browns may have made a colossal mistake acquiring RGIII, who appears to be a complete jerk if you believe the article, which is excerpted up above.

Wednesday's List of 13: Good to be home after vacation......
13) 76ers won the NBA Draft Lottery, will probably take Ben Simmons, seeing as how coach Brett Brown coached Simmons' dad in Australia a long time ago.

12) Cavaliers 115, Raptors 84-- Cleveland is now 9-0 this postseason. Looks like the drama in this round will be in the series out west.

11) Warriors' Klay Thompson scored 25 points in first three quarters of Game 1 with the Thunder, but was scoreless in the fateful 4th quarter.

10) MLB suspended Rougned Odor eight games after Sunday's fight with Toronto, but because of a ridiculous appeal system MLB has, Odor is playing this week. Once the suspension is announced, the player should be suspended immediately. The way it is now, the player basically gets to choose when he is suspended.

9) Rays 12, Jays 2-- Toronto lost its last four games, was outscored 25-4 in the last two; they've also lost four in a row at home.

8) Indians 13, Reds 1-- Cincinnati reliever Stever Delabar issued four consecutive bases-loaded walks, first time a pitcher has done that.

7) Braves fired manager Fredi Gonzalez, then lost 12-9 to the Pirates, with one of its top pitching prospects giving up nine runs in less than two innings. No bueno.

6) Pirates gave catcher Dominic Cervelli $31M for three years, a sign of the ballclub's commitment to winning. Good for them.

5) Had great seats for the Marlins-Phillies game in Philly Monday night. Sat right next to ballgirl in right field. They don't have an easy job.

When the Phillies change pitchers, the ballgirl sprints out to the bullpen in centerfield to get the pitcher's jacket from the clubhouse attendant- they're not allowed to interact with the players directly. When the visiting team changes pitchers, the ballgirl down the leftfield line gets the jacket.

There are 22 ballgirls in Philly; they rotate between field duty and running the team's 50-50 raffle for charity and working in the team's recycling drive.

4) Restaurant recommendations: Crab Trap and the Anchorage Tavern, both of which are in Somers Point. At the Anchorage, I got a piece of chicken parm that looked like it could tip over Fred Flintstone's car.

3) A's 8, Rangers 5-- Khris Davis homered three times, the last one a walk-off grand slam to send everyone home happy. Oakland has won four of last five games since the epic pounding their pitching staff took in Boston last week.

2) Good to see Mets fans give Daniel Murphy an ovation on his return to Citi Field last night; he was my dad's favorite player and is hitting .399 this year.

1) My dad passed away a year ago today; I miss him a lot. Would be great to sit and watch a game with him one more time- he really loved baseball, especially the Mets.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Thunder 108, Warriors 102-- Golden State led 61-47 at half, but were held to 41 points in second half as Thunder grab home-court edge in series. Oklhaoma City won a game where Westbrook/Durant combined to shoot 17-51.

12) Over last ten years, Winnipeg/Edmonton are only two NHL teams who haven't won at least one playoff game.

11) Why was Roughned Odor so mad at Jose Bautista? Because of some stupid bat flip from LY's playoffs? Odor avoided Bautista's hard slide into second; not sure why that game turned into a WWE Ranger Rumble, but suspensions will be handed down.

10) A's 3B Danny Valencia has five HRs in his last four games, after not having any in his previous 17 games.

9) Couple of signings in college basketball: Omer Yurtseven signs with NC State; he is from Turkey. Jordy Tshimanga signs with Nebraska.

8) Serious question: Can Bill Clinton be his wife's running mate?

7) Tennessee Ttians cut Zach Mettenberger, leaving Matt Cassel as their #2 QB. Guy on ESPN who used to be an NFL GM said there is probably more than meets the eye to this story and if the Chargers don't pick him up then it is really a red flag.

6) Since 1960, worst winning %'s of NFL starting QBs:
0-10-- Zach Mettenberger, Brodie Croyle
0-8-- Curtis Painter
0-7-- John Beck, Gary Marangi

5) Syracuse offers a degree in Sports Analytics; where was this topic when I was a young college student? I had to drag myself thru with an English degree. No bueno.

4) Toronto center Valunciunas is out for Game 1 tonight, and doubtful for Game 2, which is bad news for the Raptors, but backup Biyombo played well against Miami.

3) I'll say this about the draft; no way in hell is Domnatas Sabonis of Gonzaga the #12 pick in this draft, where ESPN has him in their mock draft. Much higher.

2) 76ers are first NBA team to sell advertising on their uniforms, they got $15M over thrtee years from Stub Hub.

1) NBA Draft Lottery is tonight; you listen to experts, the real loser is the team that gets the #3 pick, since Simmons/Ingram are the consensus top two picks, no matter who gets those choices.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend......
13) Raptors 116, Heat 89-- Toronto is in NBA's Final Four for first time.

12) I've always wondered what the story was behind Russell Wilson transferring from NC State to Wisconsin, before his senior year, and the Wolfpack seemingly not caring if he left or not. Now Russell Wilson says coach Tom O'Brien basically fired him and told him he had no future in football. Curious to see what O'Brin has to say.

11) A's 7, Rays 6-- Danny Valencia homered three times, including the game-winner in the 9th inning, as Oakland salvaged a lousy road trip by going 2-1 in St Pete.

10) 15 baseball games Sunday; game-winning run scored in 7th inning or later in 11 of the 15 games. Pretty good day at the ballpark.

9) Rangers 7, Blue Jays 6-- Big-league brawl in this game, an offshoot of the tensions between these clubs in last year's playoffs. This was an actual fight, not the normal pushing/pulling baseball scuffle. Umps worked hard to keep the peace.

Matt Bush drilled Jose Bautista right before the brawl started; Bautista was smart enough not to go after Bush, who recently spent 3.5 years in jail. Don't want to be picking fights with guys who have done hard time.

8) Tom Dolan came up with a great stat Sunday: Lenny Dykstra had 81 HRs in 4,552 regular season career ABs. 10 HRs in 112 postseason ABs. That is a HR every 56.2 ABs in regular season games, one every 11.2 in postseason games.

7) Red Sox have scored in first inning in 12 of their 22 home games.

6) Rockies 4, Mets 3-- New Yorkers get swept in Denver.

5) Odd timing by MLB announcing Jose Reyes' suspension with New York media is in Denver for the weekend; then the Bronx Bombers brought up catching prospect Gary Sanchez the same day. There aren't many coincidences in this world........could the Bombers be interested in acquiring Reyes?

4) Why run differential is an overrated stat: Phillies are 22-16, but 14-3 in one-run games; they've got a -30 run differential but would be in the playoffs if they started today (they don't). They're maxing out on the talent they have, but wins are the only stat that truly matters and Philly has a lot of them.

3) Red Sox have scored 229 runs, 50 more than any other AL team.

2) If the baseball playoffs started today:
AL: Orioles-White Sox-Rangers. Wild Card: Boston-Seattle
NL: Nationals-Cubs-Giants. Wild Card: Phillies-Mets

1) Heading back from vacation this weekend on the Jersey shore; a tremendous place, lot of good places to eat, lot of good people, made some new friends. Walking on the beach is highly underrated.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.....
13) National League is off to a 31-20 start in interleague play, its best start in years. Over is 31-20 in those 51 games.

12) Cubs 8, Pirates 2-- Chicago has won Jake Arrieta's last 21 starts.

11) Larry Fitzgerald graduated from college, fuffilling a promise he made to his late mother, so good for him.

10) Red Sox 6, Astros 5-- Gregerson blew save in 9th for 15-23 Houston.

9) There were no NBA or NHL games Saturday, which is odd.

8) Braves 5, Royals 0-- Mike Foltynewsicz shut Royals out for eight innins, then got picked up by my fantasy team while I was sitting in a bar listening to live music.

7) Orioles 9, Tigers 3-- Baltimore is 23-12; Showalter is a great manager- at one point in spring training, Orioles were 0-10 and there was unstated concern. But those games do not atter and now the O's are in first place.

6) Phillies 4, Reds 3-- Philly is now 14-3 in games decided by one run.

5) Angels 9, Mariners 7-- Jhoulys Chacin was excellent in his Halos debut, but LA's bullpen blew 6-2 lead on him, then Seattle bullpen blew that lead in ninth.

4) No NBA team should draft Cheick Diallo in the first round; he averaged 3.0 ppg and 2.5 rpg in his only year at Kasnas-n he played 7.5 mpg. Why would a kid leave school so early when he clearly is not ready? .

3) Russell Wilson gave the commencement address at Wisconsin yesterday; he went to school in Madison for one year, after transferring from NC State.

2) Cubs are 15-2 vs NL West rivals, 12-6 vs everyone else.

1) Giants and Dodger are tied atop NL West, three games over .500. No bueno.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind.......
13) Miami 103, Toronto 91-- Heat forces a Game 7 Sunday in Ontario.

12) In franchise history, Toronto is 0-7 when it has the lead in a series.

11) Miami won its last eight elimination games.

10) Home teams are 99-24 SU in NBA Game 7's.

9) Philadelphia Phillies have played the most road games in baseball; 19 of their next 24 games are at home. People in Philly are starting to get excited.

8) Tampa Bay 3, Pittsburgh 1- Lightning goes up 1-0 in Eastern finals but lose their goalie Bishop with an apparent left leg injury.

7) There are lot of Australian college basketball players in this country; odd thing for them is, when school breaks for the summer here, it is winter back home for them.

6) Washington Nationals hitters batting right behind Bryce Harper are 5-33 this season after Harper is walked.

5) Patrick Ewing interviewed for the Orlando head coaching job. He once turned down a shot to coach in the D-League to gain experience as a head coach.

4) Jose Reyes found out Friday that his suspension will be 51 games, or roughly $6.2M; now the Rockies can talk trade for Reyes while he gets ready to begin his 2016 season. With the 33-year old Reyes making $22M, hard to believe Colorado will want to keep him, even if they wanted to play him at 2B.

3) Chris Sale is 8-0 this season as the first place White Sox won again.

2) Golfer Will Wilcox aced the 17th hole at the PLAYERS Championship, he is first player to do that in 14 years.

1) 115 major league hitters have homered in their first career at-bat.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.......
13) Its not that I'm old, its just that I'm not young anymore.

I'm watching TV the other night and a commercial for some reality dating show comes on; the host says to the contestant: "I need your swag level up to the tril!!!"

WTF does that even mean? When did I stop understanding English?

12) Kansas City Royals put two starting pitchers (Young/Medlen) on DL, as they continue to flounder, having lost 11 of their last 16 games.

11) Scott Skiles abruptly quit as coach of the Orlando Magic after only one season, during which the Magic improved 10 games from over last season.

10) Braves-Marlins are playing a game at Fort Bragg, NC on July 3 to honor our troops; they're putting up a new ballpark for the occasion.

9) UNLV added a couple of recruits from Chicago this week and now 6-11 Canadian Jordy Tshimanga will visit UNLV with his 7-1 brother Link Kabadyundi, a JC transfer who played a year at TCU. Rebels are up to nine players as they rebuild under Marvin Menzies, who had several Canadian players at New Mexico State.

8) Speaking of Las Vegas, WCC wisely decided to keep its postseason tourney at Orleans Arena thru 2019. Nice arena, good size for that league's tournament.

7) NBA Combine stuff is on TV this week on ESPN2 during the day; interesting to see the kids fightning hard as they try to impress NBA teams. Kids who are really good players in HS/college have to be shocked at how hard it is to make an NBA roster.

6) Nashville Predators are 21st NHL team to play two Game 7's in same season.

5) Noah Sydergaard homered twice in LA Wednesday night, first pitcher to do that since Micah Owings in 2007, first Met pitcher since Walt Terrell in '83.

4) Fernando Rodney saved two games Wednesday as Padres swept a twinbill; only other time a Padre reliever did that was Rollie Fingers at Candlestick in 1977.

3) Max Scherzer and John Lackey are only two active pitchers who've beaten all 30 major league teams.

2) It is odd that the Cowboys look like they're going into training camp with only two backup QBs, Kellen Moore and rookie Dak Prescott. Tony Romo is 36; he played in four games LY. Would be nice to have a competent backup QB.

1) RIP Dayton C Steve McAlvene, 20, who collapsed and died at his Indiana home this week. Very tragic to pass away so young.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud......
13) Hard to believe not one person voted for Lebron James for MVP; Warriors won playoff games without Steph Curry. How many playoff games would Cleveland win if Lebron was hurt for a while?

12) Early NBA salary cap numbers for next year: Lakers ($62,298,562) have most room available, Clippers ($10,820,891) have the least.

11) Magic Johnson won NBA MVP in both 1989, 1990; thats the last time a player from a Big 14 college won the NBA MVP.

10) Arizona pitcher Daniel Hudson is only pitcher in big league history to have Tommy John surgery in consecutive years and make it back to the majors.

9) Los Angeles Angels are in trouble; they tried to patch some holes Wednesday by trading for P Jhoulys Chacin and SS Brandon Ryan.

8) Braves 5, Phillies 1-- Atlanta is now 2-16 at home.

7) Royals 7, Bronx 3-- Ventura went six innings for the win, just second time in KC's last 11 road games the Royals' starting pitcher went 6+ innings.

Lorenzo Cain hit three HRs Tuesday; he got drilled on the knee in his first AB here.

6) Injury-prone Stephen Matz (forearm) will miss his next start; he's only made 12 big league starts, for 70.1 innings.

5) You know how each ballpark has a person who brings out the headphones for umpires when there is an instant replay challenge? The guy who does it in Arlington at Ranger games is former big league pitcher Pete Falcone, who went 70-90, 4.07 in his 10-year career (1975-84), mostly with the Cardinals/Mets.

4) Astros 5, Indians 3 (16)-- Marwin Gonzalez sent fans home happy with a homer in 16th inning; three extra inning day games yesterday. Home side won all three.

3) Minnesota Gophers basketball coach Richard Pitino is 16-38 in league games in his three years with the Gophers; he also overspent his $150K private plane allowance by double, spending $325K on private planes, which are used for recruiting.

You'd think Pitino's job would be in danger, but he has a $7.1M buyout that will keep him employed for at least another year- that deal was negotiated by an AD who later got fired by the school for other reasons. Not the best situation in Minnesota. .

2) World Series of Beer Pong is going to be at my second home, the Westgate Casino in Las Vegas, July 6-10. Had no idea there was professional beer pong.

1) Max Scherzer threw 119 pitches in his 20-strikeout win last night; he didn't walk anyone, and it wasn't a difficult decision for Dusty Baker to leave him in, especially in a 3-2 game. Both Detroit runs scored on home runs. It will be interesting to track him the next few weeks, but doubtful this game will have any ill effect on him.

Wednesday's List of 13: Mid-week musings......
13) Only ten NBA head coaches have had their current job for more than two years. You grab the big money for as long as you can, put up with the insanity, then go on TV and relax. When coaches who win 50+ games get fired, you know its a nutty job.

12) Of the 32 NFL kickers who finished last season. 21 of them were not drafted.

11) Stephen Strasburg gets $175M for seven years from the Nationals; unusual for a Scott Boras client not to give free agency a shot. Finally, a sane person-- take the $$$ and run while you can!!!!

10) TV guys always are quick to praise AT&T Park in San Francisco, but there are bullpens on the field for one reason; the geniuses who planned this scenic ballpark forgot to incorporate them in the stadium's original plans. Whoops.

9) Christopher Kamka points out that of Todd Frazier's first 27 RBI this year, 16 of them came from the 7th inning on.

8) JT Realmuto lost a home run Monday night because a runner on first base went back to first base to tag up and Realmuto passed him, which means he is out. Nice to know Milwaukee 1B Chris Carter was paying attention; this happened in another Brewer game last month at Miller Park, but no one ever noticed.

Realmuto gets a single and one RBI but loses the home run.

7) Speaking of the Marlins, Dee Gordon's 80-game suspension ends in late July, but if the Marlins make the playoffs, Gordon is also ineligible for those games.

6) Mike DeCourcy of Sporting News reports that of the top ten vote getters in the NBA MVP voting, eight of them played 2+ years in college.

5) Random stat of the day: since 1984, the Portland Trailblazers hold the odd record of having the worst 3-point % (0-20) in a game they won. Lot of teams won without making a 3-pointer, but Portland missed the most, way back on December 10, 2002.

4) If I was a Seattle Mariners fan, I'd be excited; they're clearly the best team in the AL West and if their starting pitchers stay healthy, they're going to make the playoffs.

3) I like to watch the Mix Channel on DirecTV on baseball nights; can monitor eight games at once on my bigscreen. One small problem; Dodger games are never on the Mix Channel- that is channel 720 on DirecTV, by the way.

2) I'd have to be a masochist to watch the A's; they're terrible. Oakland starting pitchers lasted a total of nine innings in their last three games- they've finished the sixth inning once in their last ten road games.

Your five starting pitchers are like your five offensive linemen in the NFL; if those five guys aren't solid, your team cannot win.

1) I do not understand the new slide rule at second base and I think lot of players, managers feel the same way. No idea what the rule is and how it is supposed to be applied, because of the drastic inconsistencies in the first six weeks this season.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but......
13) Would the Angels trade Mike Trout?

Halos are in deep trouble, with three starting pitchers and SS Simmons now on the shelf for an extended time. LA's farm system hasn't been very productive (other than Trout) and Anaheim is in deep trouble. How do they get better?

They're stuck with Albert Pujols' contract and they're paying Josh Hamilton to sit on the DL in Texas-- trading Trout would net a significant return, but it would also put up a white flag and turn off people who pay to come to the ballpark in Anaheim.

12) A high school in McKinney, TX is spending $62.5M to build a 12,000-seat HS football stadium. $62.5M.....for a high school football stadium.

11) Mike Krzyzewski had hernia surgery last week, his 2nd surgery since Duke's season ended. Coach K will turn 70 during the season next winter. I don't envy the guy who takes his place at Duke-- the bar has been set impossibly high.

10) College basketball transfers......
-- Canyon Barry (Rick's son) from Charleston to Florida.
-- LG Gill from Duquesne to Maryland
-- Miles Reynolds from Saint Louis to Pacific
-- Lew Evans from Utah State to Tennessee.

9) Interesting doubleheader at Barclay's Center in Brooklyn on Dec 11: Hofstra will play Kentucky, St John's will play LIU. Curious to see how much better Johnnies will be in Chris Mullin's second year as coach.

8) Krispy Kreme donuts sold the company for $1.35B yesterday; smaller donuts than what they sell at Dunkin' Donuts, but I guess lot of people like them. Myself, I'm for bigger donuts, but to each their own.

7) Sean McDonough was named to replace Mike Tirico on Monday Night Football. Tirico is off to NBC, as lot of people are jumping (or being pushed) off ESPN's boat.

6) Trent Dilfer, Ray Lewis, Cris Carter are off ESPN's NFL coverage; appears that Matt Hasselbeck, Randy Moss, Charles Woodson are in.

5) Sounds like MLB will throw the book at Jose Reyes; a suspension of 60-80 games, depending who you listen to. My question is this; an 80-game suspension goes past the July 31 trade deadline-- can you trade a player while he is suspended?

4) 2003/2004 Philadelphia Eagles are last team to repeat as NFC East champs, bad news for the Redskins, who won the division LY.

3) Yoenis Cespedes has 28 homers in 94 games with the Mets. A's are 104-146 since they traded Cespedes for Jonny Gomes and two months of Jon Lester. Then they got almost nothing in return from Toronto for Josh Donaldson. Been a bad couple of years for the Ivy League geniuses in the Oakland front office.

2) Former Bowling Green head coach Chris Jans was named special assistant to Gregg Marshall at Wichita State- he was a consultant in Wichita last winter. Bowling Green was 21-12 in Jans' only season at BG, one of their two winning seasons sinxe '05, but he got fired after an off-court incident where he was drunk, hit on a woman and the incident was recorded on someone's phone.

1) Heat 94, Raptors 87 OT-- Third OT game out of four in series, which is now 2-2.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend......
13) Lets see the analytics people quantify this with a number......

Packers' WR Randall Cobb graduated from Kentucky Sunday; one of the people who was there cheering him on was teammate Aaron Rodgers- how cool is that?

Rodgers did a Kentucky Derby/graduation weekend. One of the things the analytics people do not get is the value of friendship/camaraderie within a team. It just can't be quantified, but on Sundays in the fall, stuff like this matters.

12) Washington Nationals have a problem and if they don't fix it, Bryce Harper will walk 200 times this year.

Harper came to the plate seven times Sunday; he walked six times and got hit by a pitch the other time. The Cubs do not respect Ryan Zimmerman, so they won't pitch to Harper. Washington has to put Daniel Murphy or Anthony Rendon right behind Harper, which will encourage opponents to pitch to Harper.

11) You look at Bartolo Colon, thriving at age 42 with a body made for slow-pitch softball, and one thing becomes obvious: baseball players overtrain.

10) Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas is done for the Miami series with a sprained ankle, which is bad news for Toronto; they're +39 when he has been in the game, -37 when he has been off the floor.

9) Speaking of Miami-Toronto, why was Dwyane Wade taking jump shots during O, Canada before Game 3? Apparently he is a stickler for a shooting routine he has, and the timing of the anthems was going to interrupt that, only Wade kept shooting to maintain his routine. Thats his story and he's sticking to it.

8) Mets 4, Padres 3-- San Diego got hosed badly when pitcher Andrew Cashner was called out at the plate while trying to score the tying run in the sixth inning, then the replay people did not overturn the call, when Stevie Wonder could've seen the guy was safe. Even the Mets' TV guys said Cashner should've been called safe.

How San Diego had bases loaded and none out in 8th inning and couldn't score, so the carping about Cashner's play takes a back seat to that, but the play cast doubts on the replay system and if there are some umps who are reluctant to overturn calls.

7) Padres have now played in ten series and the lost the last game in all ten.

6) Golfer James Hahn won the Wells Fargo tournament yesterday; he had missed his previous eight cuts and last played on a Sunday on Super Bowl Sunday (Feb 7).

5) Chicago Cubs are first team since the '84 Tigers to start a season 24-6.

4) College basketball transfers:
-- Que Johnson goes from Washington State to Western Kentucky
-- Devin Watson goes from San Francisco to San Diego State.

3) Washington Huskies hired Michael Porter Sr as an assistant coach last week; it seemed a little odd, since Mr Porter was an assistant girls' coach in his last job, but to reinforce faith in life having no coincidences, we find out that Michael Porter Jr is the #3 ranked player in the class of 2017. Wonder where he will go to college?

2) Thunder 111, Spurs 97-- Series is tied 2-2. Now things get interesting.

1) Looks like Sacramento is going to hire the coach Memphis fired. Memphis wants to hire the coach Indiana fired; shouldn't Indiana hire the coach Sacramento fired?

Sunday's List of 13: Happy Mothers' Day......
13) Whats wrong with the people who run the Memphis Grizzlies?

Three years ago, Memphis went 56-26, lost in Western Conference final; they showed their gratitude for the franchise's best-ever season by firing coach Lionel Hollins.

Yesterday, the Grizzlies fired coach Dave Joerger, after he led injury-ravaged Griz to a 42-40 season. You don't think thats impressive? Memphis used 28 different players this year, the most any NBA team has ever used in one season and yet they still made the playoffs. And they fire the coach. Wow.

12) Bartolo Colon homered last night in San Diego, making him the oldest player in major league history (42) to hit his first home run. Colon took 31 seconds to round the bases; don't think he was showboating, he just doesn't move very fast.

11) Sounds like major leagues are going to expand to 32 teams soon; Montreal, Mexico City mentioned as possible franchise homes. 32 teams would make it easier to schedule; not sure where all the new pitchers are going to come from, though.

10) Saw something I've never seen in a major league game last night.

Cincinnati's speedster Billy Hamilton was on second, he tries to steal third. Milwaukee catcher Jonathan Lucroy throws to third, but the third baseman doesn't cover the base. I've seen guys not cover second base, but never third; it looked like Little League.

9) Willie Mays turned 85 this week; one of the greatest players ever, he hit 660 home runs in his career and played a great centerfield.

8) San Diego Padres have never had a no-hitter; Colin Rea got into the 7th inning with one Friday night, but had to settle for a 5-3 win. Yoenis Cespedes rolled a single thru the shift-vacated right side of the infield to get the Mets' first hit.

7) In doubleheaders, the home plate umps do not work the other game. Feel bad for the home plate ump in Baltimore today, who did two games on the bases yesterday. I'm guessing the strike zone might be a little large this afternoon.

6) Orioles' SS JJ Hardy's mom played on the LPGA tour; his dad was a professional tennis player.

5) Portland 120, Golden State 108-- I'm guessing Steph Curry's leg feels a little bit better than it did 24 hours ago.

4) Toronto 95, Miami 91-- Three games in this series were decided by a total of 14 points, with two of them going to overtime. Kyle Lowry had 33 for the Raptors after he went 10-35 from the floor in the first two series games.

3) Week or so ago, we talked about how quickly Bruce Boudreau would have a new coaching job after Anaheim Ducks fired him despite his 409-192-80 career record. Boudreau also has a 1-7 career record in Game 7's of playoff series. Minnesota would probably be happy just to get to Game 7 of a playoff series.

2) Quick baseball notes:
-- White Sox have a 5-game lead, Cubs have a 7.5-game lead in their divisions.
-- Giants are only 17-15, but they're in first place.
-- Arizona ownership has to be sick to be 14-18 after all the money they spent this winter. Luckily for them, they're only three games out fo first place.
-- Angels' 4-2 loss to Tampa Bay was a real gut-wrencher; watching it happen, the loss just seemed more important than one game. Halos have already lost their three of their top pitchers to injury- a lost season looks like a real possibility.

1) RIP Howard Garfinkel, 86, an iconic figure in basketball who co-founded the Five-Star Basketball Camp and helped thousands of basketball coaches/players further their careers. Mr Garfinkel was a beloved figure who dedicated his life to hoops. RIP, sir.

Saturday's Den: DD Lohaus handicaps the Kentucky Derby....
First Saturday in May; must be Kentucky Derby Day!

Snuck up on me this year which again proves that the older you get, the faster time flies.

As I write this analysis and give my picks, the weather for Saturday looks gorgeous and should allow for all runners to give their best efforts. It is with that assumption that I make my analysis and selections.

The conversation begins with Nyquist. He has done nothing wrong and has been on quite a run since last year. He has beaten another top contender in this race (Exaggerator) three times! This team has won the Derby (and Preakness) before and Nyquist will likely be favored for the race. He is a logical favorite and his versatile running style makes him very dangerous.

Mohaymen came up short in the much anticipated race with Nyquist in the Florida Derby. Trainer calls it 'a throw out' and this guy looked fantastic in his last workout (46.8). May be a bit too fast to have enough left to handle this group but also could be peaking at the right time; maybe he didn't like losing his last (and first) in Florida and will be extra motivated to turn the tables on Nyquist.  A lot to like if you're willing to throw out the last.

Gun Runner, for Steve Asmussen, is a the prototypical 'sharp-looker' from a high octane outfit. Has a steady race tab and been winning quite nicely. He will have to be on his toes for this one but may be ready to step forward. Like the 6F workout; not necessarily the time but the distance; tells me he has some bottom... I would not be surprised if this one makes some noise.

Exaggerator, as mentioned earlier is a top contender but hasn't figured out how to be Nyquist. A prime post position should give him lots of choices. Not sure I like to pick a horse that's been beaten three times by the expected race favorite. He is a hard knocker who gives an honest effort and maybe he just needed to figure things out. I think he's more likely to get a minor award.

Destin has had eight weeks off since his last race; a win in the Tampa Derby. This one has the looks of a runner flying under the radar for Todd Pletcher (if that's possible). Not thrilled with his latest workout, but I wouldn't be shocked if this one shows well on Saturday. This one will offer some value and worth playing underneath top ones.

The Bets:
$20WP Mohaymen: I think this guys turns the table and runs BIG on Saturday.
$10Ex Mohaymen/Nyquist, Gun Runner, Exaggerator, Destin
$5Ex  Nyquist, Gun Runner, Exaggerator, Destin/Mohaymen
$1ExBx Nyquist/Gun Runner/Exaggerator/Destin
$2Tri Mohaymen/Nyquist/Gun Runner, Exaggerator, Destin

Total Bets: $118.00

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.......
13) Playoff hockey is tremendously tremendous; Nashville scored a goal at 2:05am ET to beat San Jose 4-3 in triple OT and even their series 2-2. Great fun; the effort these players put out is just very impressive. Outstanding entertainment.

12) Houston Astros didn't win consecutive games in April; they're first team in 34 years to make the playoffs one year, then not win consecutive games the next April.

11) Indiana Pacers fired Frank Vogel Thursday; Vogel was 250-181 in the regular season, 31-30 in playoff games, and he gets fired? Not unlike Anaheim Ducks firing their coach last week, after an early playoff ouster. It seems terribly unfair.

10) So far in interleague baseball games this season, over is 25-12.

9) Scott Kerkin pointed this out on Twitter: over the last 22 years, the AL team that had the best April record made the playoffs 18 of those 22 years. That team this year is the Chicago White Sox.

8) The outfield at Marlins Park is a little messed up; they had a Beyonce concert there last weekend and re-sodded the outfield afterwards, but there were complaints about the soft dirt on the warning track. Last night was only fourth time the roof was open at Marlins Park-- it rains a lot in the early evening in south Florida.

7) One more Marlins note; Miami opponents are 0-9 this year when they challenge calls via replay; you wonder what umpires hear from the league office when their calls get overturned. Some umpires have to get overturned more than others.

6) Houston Astros starting pitchers have finished six innings in only six of their last 18 games; they need to improve that, or the bullpen will implode. Teams that win are teams whose bullpens need to get less than nine outs per game.

Wednesday night, Astros are up 9-4 in 5th inning with two outs. Seattle has a couple guys on base and AJ Hinch takes Mike Fiers out, not a great show of faith. Maybe it was the right move, but making the bullpen get 13 outs in that game was curious.

5) Bartolo Colon is older than 14 of the 30 major league managers.

4) Rockies 17, Giants 7-- SF gave up 12+ runs in an inning for second time in last six days. Tim Lincecum has a showcase today; will the Giants be interested?

3) Derek Law is a reliever for the Giants; his dad Joe Law pitched in minors for nine years he was in major leagues for four days, but never got into a game, which seems kind of sad. Even if he only got in once, like Moonlight Graham in the movies.

2) My best friend in first grade was a huge hockey fan; he had one of those rod hockey games in his house, the first one I ever saw. After that year, his parents put him in another school and we went our separate ways. Years later, I found out that he became a state trooper and his son was playing as a defenseman in the AHL.

Looked it up on the Internet; his son got to the NHL briefly and played one game for the Sharks. Must be pretty cool to see your name on

1) Judging from what I heard on TV today, Donald Trump is basically a third-party candidate, and the Republicans are sitting the election out. Lot of these Republicans seem like spoiled rich kids who take their ball and go home if they don't get their way.

Thursday's Den: Early season trends for NFC teams......
Cardinals-- Arizona won its last six home openers, covering four of last five; they are 8-0 vs spread in last eight road openers. Under is 7-3 in last ten road openers.

Falcons-- Atlanta won/covered its last eight home openers; they're 14-3 vs spread in last 17 home openers. They're 3-9 vs spread in last 12 road openers (under 10-2)

Panthers-- Last 13 Super Bowl losers are 2-11 vs spread in their opener the following season. Carolina is 10-5 as an underdog in road openers (under 3-1 last four).

Bears-- Chicago is opening on road for first time since '09; under is 10-2 in their last 12 road openers. Bears covered eight of last eleven home openers.

Cowboys-- Dallas covered one of last eight home openers; since '93, they're 7-13 vs spread as a favorite in home openers, 18-8 in last 26 road openers.

Lions-- Detroit is 4-8 as underdog in road openers; over is 7-3-1 in their last 11 road openers. Lions are 8-1-1 as a favorite in home openers (over 5-1 last 6).

Packers-- Green Bay lost three of last four home openers, covered one of its last five. Packeras are 6-2 vs spread as favorite in home openers (over 4-1 last five).

Rams-- Rams are 3-13 vs spread in last 16 openers, 1-13 SU in last 14 road openers, with only win 19-17 in Tampa. Under is 7-3 in their last ten road openers.

Vikings-- Minnesota is 4-11 in last 15 road openers, 3-5 in last eight season openers. Vikings covered once in last eight home openers; they've got a new dome this year.

Saints-- NO is 13-5 in last 18 home openers, 5-2-1 vs spread as favorite. under is 9-3 in their last 12 home openers. Saints covered once in last eight road openers.

Giants-- Big Blue started last five years 0-1; they've lost five of last six road openers. Over is 14-2 in their last 16 road openers. Giants lost last four home openers.

Eagles-- Philly is 2-8 vs spread in last 10 home openers; they're 0-7 as favorite of less than 8 points in HO's. Iggles won six of their last seven road openers.

49ers-- Niners won last five season openers, are 10-1-1 vs spread in last dozen home openers. Under is 9-5-1 in last 15 home openers, 4-2-1 in last seven road openers.

Seahawks-- Seattle won/covered 12 of last 13 home openers; under is 12-2-1 in their last 15 HO's. Seahawks covered once in their last 11 road openers (1-8 last 9 SU).

Bucs-- Tampa Bay covered four of last five as an underdog in road openers; under is 16-7 in their last 23 AO's. Buccaneers lost four of their last five home openers.

Redskins-- Washington lost three of last four home openers; four of their last five went over total. Redskins lost seven of last eight road openers (over 5-2 last seven).

Wednesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) Three officials missed five calls in the last 0:13 of Thunder-Spurs game Monday in San Antonio- those refs need to be suspended. I mean, you can watch a winter of 5th grade CYO games and not see officiating that bad- NBA fans like to brag how he pro game is better than the college game, but the college game is better officiated.

12) Tampa Bay Bucs traded up to draft Florida State kicker Roberto Aguayo; one NFL exec called it, "the dumbest draft pick ever", but with touchbacks now being brought out to the 25-yard line, Aguayo's skill at pooching kickoffs could help Bucs trap opponents deep in their own territory. We'll see.

11) States with most players drafted last weekend: Texas 32, Florida 30, California 25, Georgia 16.

10) Dodgers are playing in St Pete against the Rays this week; LA has three players who were on the 2008 AL champ Rays-- Kazmir, Crawford, Howell. Tampa Bay has only one player left from that team, Evan Longoria.

9) Washington Nationals have scored in first inning in 15 of their 26 games, best %age of any big league team.

8) Last December 12, Astros traded Vincent Velasquez and four other players to the Phillies for reliever Ken Giles and a minor leaguer. Velasquez is 4-1, 1.44 for the Phils so far, while Giles is struggling (0-2, 8.18). Early returns favor the Phils by a lot.

7) I don't think felons should be allowed to vote; its a price you pay for getting caught committing a felony, which is a serious crime.

6) Prior to Tuesday's games, these players have come to the plate with the most men on base this season: Polanco (Pitt) 94, Rizzo (Cubs) 88, Heyward (Cubs) 86.

5) Players who knocked in the highest %age of baserunners this season:
Nick Markakis, 33.9%, Ben Paulsen/Bryce Harper 30%, Ryan Braun 27.8%.

4) Players who have had trouble knocking in baserunners this year:
Howie Kendrick 0-34, Logan Morrison, 0-26, Erick Aybar 1-61. Kendrick had four hits Tuesday, getting off the schneid with two RBI.

3) Former UNLV hoop coach Dave Rice is getting paid $300K a year over the next three years by his old team, which is why he signed on as an assistant coach at Nevada for only $75K. Coaches of Rice's stature generally make more than that.

2) Golfer Brian Stuard won his first PGA tournamnt in New Orleans Monday; for the week, he was 44-44 on putts of 10 feet or less. I couldn't make 44 of 44 putting into the clown's mouth at miniature golf, so good for him.

1) One of the growing debates in baseball is whether teams should shift and how much. I'm thinking it is generally helpful but it is being overdone because the numbers gurus have to justify their existence. With bases empty and a non-home run hitter up, you're giving up an easy base hit by shifting. Trey Calhoun did that against the Brewers in a game Monday, bunting for an easy hit because Milwaukee shifted. Shifting against home run hitters has very little downside.

Tuesday's Den: Early season trends for AFC teams......
Ravens-- Baltimore is 13-6 vs spread as a favorite in home openers. Over is 5-2 in its last seven home openers. Home side won their last five games with Buffalo.

Bills-- Buffalo covered nine of its last 11 season openers; they're 9-5 vs spread in last 14 road openers. Bills covered seven of last nine home openers.

Bengals-- Cincinnati lost its last nine games against the Jets in Swamp Stadium; last win at the Jets was in 1981. Six of Bengals' last seven road openers went over total.

Browns-- Cleveland came back to the NFL in 1999; they've been 1-0 once since then, going 2-8-1 vs spread in last 11 openers. Over is 11-4 in their last 15 road openers.

Broncos-- Denver is 18-8-1 vs spread in last 27 home openers. Super Bowl champs are 7-3-3 vs spread in season openers the next year. Is Mark Sanchez the Denver QB?

Texans-- Houston won six of last seven season openers, five of last six at home, six of last seven on road. Under is 7-4 in their last eleven home openers.

Colts--Indy is 1-5 vs spread as a favorite in home openers; under is 4-1 in its last five season openers. Colts are 3-10-1 vs spread as an underdog in road openers.

Jaguars--Jax is 2-7 in its last nine home openers, losing last four by average score of 30-9. Under is 8-3-1 n their last 12 home openers. 8-4 in last 12 road openers.

Chiefs-- KC is 5-11 in its last 16 home openers, 2-9-1 vs spread when favored in its home opener. Under is 19-4-2 in their last 25 home openers, 7-4 in road openers.

Dolphins-- Miami is 3-9 in last 12 road openers, 1-6-1 vs spread when an underdog in road openers. Dolphins won five of their last six games with Seattle.

Patriots--NE won 11 of last 12 season openers; they're 3-4 in road openers if spead was 3 or less points. Patriots were favored in their last twelve road openers.

Jets-- Jets won last five home openers, three by 5 or less points; they've won seven of last eight season openers. Jets are 14-5 vs spread in last 19 road openers. .

Raiders-- Oakland lost 12 of last 13 season openers, but is 6-1-1 vs spread as a dog in road openers. Over is 11-5-1 in their last 17 road openers

Steelers-- Pitt lost its last five road openers (0-4-1 vs spread); seven of their last nine road openers stayed under. Steelers lost season opener four of last five years.

Chargers-- San Diego covered its last four season openers; they're 8-5 vs spread as an underdog in road openers. Bolts lost 33-3/10-3 against Kansas City LY.

Titans-- Tennessee covered seven of last nine road openers (6-3 SU); under is 15-4 in its last 19 road openers. Four of of their last five season openers stayed under.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend......
13) Why is someone who never played baseball an analyst on Sunday Night Baseball? It is a fair question, but in this politically correct era, no one has the onions to address it.

12) In ten quarters since Steph Curry hurt his knee, the Warriors are +72.

11) Dodgers 1, Padres 0-- Clayton Kershaw pitched a complete game, knocked in the only run; last pitcher to win a 1-0 complete game and knick in the only run was Mat Latos, six years ago.

10) Six sons of former NFL players were drafted by NFL teams this week.

9) Minor league baseball is a good investment; Saturday night, they drew 7,079 fans for a Hartford-Richmond Eastern League game in Virginia.

8) DeSean Murray, who led Big South in scoring this past year, bolted on his friends/teammates and will now play at Auburn. Poaching mid-major stars is how some high-major teams replenish their rosters now.

7) Graduate transfer John Gillon bolts from Colorado State to Syracuse; he will be only the third scholarship guard on Syracuse's roster heading into next season- not a deep team at all.

6) Northern Colorado named Boise assistant Jeff Linder as its new basketball coach, making Delaware the only team that hasn't got a coach-- Blue Hens aren't going to name a coach until they hire a new AD, and they haven't even done that yet. Good luck to the poor soul who gets that job; he's a year behind already and he hasn't got the job yet.

5) Greedy bastard update: Apparently the new rule is that gas prices go up 10 cents a gallon on the first of each month, second month in row it happened here. Gas is $2.49 a gallon at Fuller/Central in beautiful downtown Colonie.

4) Flipped on the NASCAR race Sunday and about 90 seconds later, the #20 car flips, goes on its head while going really fast. Scary stuff, but I'm told as long as the car is moving, the driver is fairly safe- it is when car comes to a quick, sudden stop that the driver could be in jeopardy.

3) Royals 4, Mariners 1-- World champs snap a 7-game road losing skid.

2) Why are the Toronto Raptors' uniforms so plain? They used to have great uniforms with the cartoon raptor on it. These uniforms are plain ugly.

1) Last year, Milwaukee Brewers hired a 30-year old to run their franchise; because he went to an Ivy League school and worked for an Astros team that had suddenly become a contender. Last winter, the new GM traded 28-year old Khris Davis, who hit 49 homers the last two years, for two minor leaguers, one of whom is Jacob Nottingham, a catching prospect who the new GM made sound like the next Johnny Bench.

Problem is, Nottingham is hitting .159 in the AA Southern League; Davis is hitting 5th for a 13-13 Oakland team that is better than expected. Second guy the Brewers got is still pitching in A ball. But hey, the GM went to Harvard; he must be smarter than the rest of us, right?

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports saturday......
13) Coaching is a tough profession. Anaheim Ducks fired Bruce Boudreau this weekend, despite his 208-104 record in five years with the Ducks. Lot of teams would sell their souls to win 2/3 of their games, but Anaheim wanted more.

Why did the Ducks pull the plug on Boudreau? Well, his playoff record is only 24-19 with Anaheim, 41-39 overall and it is winning the Stanley Cup that is expected when you have great success in the regular season.

12) One parallel from another sport that comes to mind is Chuck Knox in the NFL; he went 186-147-1 as an NFL head coach, but was only 7-11 in playoff games and does not get enough credit for how good a coach he was because of his playoff record.

11) This will sound hokey, but NFL teams value things like loyalty when it comes to drafting players. QB Vernon Adams bolted I-AA Eastern Washington before his senior year to play at Oregon, because he thought playing in the Pac-12 would help his draft status. Well the draft just happened and Adams wasn't drafted- he got hurt at Oregon, missed about half the season- not good.

Meanwhile, the second pick in the draft this weekend was Carson Wentz, who played at I-AA power North Dakota State- they won the national title. Had Adams stayed at Eastern Washington and played well, he might've been drafted this weekend.

10) Chiefs drafted Stanford QB Kevin Hogan; the last time KC won a game where their QB was a guy they drafted was 1987, when Todd Blackledge played QB.

9) Seattle Seahawks drafted three RBs; Marshawn Lynch will be tough to replace.

8) Chris Fallica points out on Twitter that Tennessee and North Carolina should be really good this fall; Vols won nine games LY, UNC won 11 games and neither team had a player drafted this weekend, so they've got lot of talent coming back.

7) Chicago White Sox are 17-8, 8-1 in games where winning run scores from the 7th inning on; Orioles are 14-9, 7-2 in games decided late.

6) Atlanta Braves moved both their prize shortstop prospects up a level this week, Ozzie Albies to AAA, Dansby Swanson to AA. With parent club floundering with a 5-18 record, promoting their prospects is only way to keep their fans' hopes up.

5) Yoenis Cespedes drove in six runs in third inning Friday night; last big leaguer to knock in 7+ runs in one inning is Alex rodriguez, who did that on October 4, 2009.

4) Milwaukee Brewers got a double leading off bottom of the first inning last night; the next hitter bunted the guy over to third. Why? Why in God's name would you make the first out of the game on purpose? You have your best hitters up, maybe the other pitcher is having an off night and you give him his first out? I disagree with that.

3) As for kids who leave college early and do not get invited to the NBA Combine, you damn well better go back to school and get better; lot of kids I've seen get invited to the Combine who have a minimal chance to make the league next year, so if you're not even invited to go there, thats all the info you need about your pro prospects.

2) Spurs 124, Thunder 92-- Am curious to see how the Thunder competes in Game 2, because they did not offer much resistence in this game.

1) Red Sox 8, Bronx 0-- How does Bronx GM Brian Cashman keep his job? Team he has put on the field this season is dreadful, an aging roster of overpaid players who are 8-14 right now and figure to get worse when the schedule gets heavier and their lack of starting pitching depth is further exposed.

Their Opening Day payroll? $225,997,792-- they're already on the hook for $103M in 2018, just for seven guys.

Phillies cut their payroll $58M from LY and are 14-10 with an $88M tab.

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here........
13) Four quarterbacks drafted in rounds 2-3 won Super Bowls with the team that drafted them: Stabler-Wilson-Hostetler-Montana.

12) 22 defensive players were taken in the second round last night, a record.

11) Bill O'Brien coached Penn State rookie QB Christian Hackenberg for a year before he bolted to coach in the NFL; if O'Brien's Texans didn't want him, why should any other NFL team draft him? Friend of mine who is an expert on the quarterback position doesn't like Hackenberg at all.

10) Michigan State QB Connor Cook went 34-5 as a starter for the Spartans, but he wasn't elected as a captain by his teammates senior year, which has become a thing, as far as Cook being drafted by the NFL.

He wasn't taken n the first three round of the draft, while NC State's Jacoby Brissett and USC's Cody Kessler were both drafted Friday night, and neither is considered as good a player as Cook. .

If you read between the lines during the draft broadcasts on TV, not being a captain is somehow an indictment of Cook, but no one will say exactly what it is/was that made teammates not vote for him as a captain.

9) One good thing about the three-day NFL Draft; lot more trades the second day, as teams reconsider their positions after the first round.

8) I saw Urban Meyer smile last night!!! He is a smart guy, a great coach, but when he was doing college games on ESPN I actually felt bad for him because he seemed so completely humorless. He was on the NFL Network last night during the draft and was good.

7) Scheduling oddity; Baltimore Ravens play the Giants in Swamp Stadium in Week 6, then return to Jersey the next week and play the Jets in Week 7.

6) Watching Braves-Cubs yesterday, Atlanta announcer Joe Simpson was just killing umpire CB Bucknor, who is widely regarded as the worst umpire in the major leagues. I've always read that Bucknor is (relatively) better behind the plate than on the bases, but Simpson was shredding his mechanics of setting ip to call a pitch. Bucknor's been around for a while; he's not going anywhere.

5) UNLV had a horrific basketball season this year; the players/coaches have scattered quickly in many different directions since.

-- Only four players from last year's team will be back next year.
-- Former head coach Dave Rice is now an assistant at Nevada.

Forner interim coach Todd Simon is now head coach at Southern Utah.
-- Former assistant coach Ryan Miller is now an assistant at TCU.
-- Forner assistant Max Good is now head coach at Pratt CC in Kansas.
-- Chris Beard was the head coach for 6-7 days this spring, but quickly bolted for Texas Tech after Tubby Smith went to Memphis.

4) Sam Bradford wants the Eagles to trade him, but not to the 49ers; sounds like he and Chip Kelly didn't get along so well.

3) Tampa Bay Buccaneera traded up to draft a kicker in the second round; Florida State's Roberto Aguayo (pick #50), the highest-drafted kicker since the Jets took Mike Nugent with the 47th pick in 2005.

2) You have to root for former Arkansas QB Brandon Allen; kid had his car egged by miserable Arkansas fans after a loss few years ago, then someone torched his truck the next year, and that was before the season started. Allen hasn't been drafted yet; we wish him well in the pros, where fans might not take things as seriously as fans in the SEC take their college ball.

1) Baltimore Ravens have five 4th-round draft picks today. Five.

Friday's List of 13: Quick thoughts after the draft's 1st round......
13) Very bad night to be Ole Miss T Laremy Tunsil; someone hacked his Twitter account, posted a picture of Tunsil smoking pot while wearing a gas mask. No bueno. It definitely was Tunsil in the picture and it is going to cost him millions of dollars. Apparently he ticked off the wrong person.

Tunsil wound up taken #13 by Miami; hope he learned his lesson. Dolphins may have gotten a great value if he has his life in order- before the Rams got the #1 pick in that big trade, Tunsil was rumored to be the Titans' #1 choice. .

12) Jared Goff's dad hit .215 in 250 PA as a backup catcher for three teams in the 90's. I have no idea how Jared will do, but I'll be rooting like hell for him and I know this-- Bill Parcells never wanted to draft a QB unless he played for three years in college, and Goff started three years at Cal. In the Pac-12.

11) This is a little bit random, but I'm wondering if quarterbacks with lot of siblings fare better leading a team than a guy who was an only child. When you grow up in a big family, you have to deal more with different types of personailities; with all the due diligence these professional teams do on prospects, I wonder if that plays into it at all.

10) This was the fifth year in a row Jacksonville drafted in the top 5; its not good for a coach's job security when that happens. Jalen Ramsey figures to help out a defense that was 29th against the pass LY.

9) Leonard Floyd (#9 to Chicago) was first SEC player taken; this was only third time in last 31 years no SEC player was taken in the first five picks of the draft. John Fox is going all-out to improve his defense this offseason.

8) This was the third time in last five years QBs went #1-2 in the draft; before that, it had been 13 years since the top two picks were quarterbacks.

7) Houston gave Washington a 6th round pick so they could move up one slot and draft Notre Dame WR Will Fuller, who is very fast but drops a lot of passes. A 6th-round pick doesn't sound like much, but 16 years ago, the Patriots used a 6th-round pick on someone you may have heard of-- Tom Brady.

6) Redskins then took TCU's WR Josh Doctson, who I think is great-- TCU's offense went in the ashcan LY as soon as Doctson got hurt.

5) Chiefs got extra 4th, 6th-round draft choices from the 49ers so SF could move up a few spots (eight?), and draft G Joshua Garnett of Stanford.

NFL Network guys were ready to bash the 49ers for trading up just to take a lineman, but David Shaw, Garnett's college coach, was sitting next to them on the dais so they backed off.

Shaw, by the way, is very good on TV and will have a spot waiting for him in a studio somewhere when he doesn't want to coach anymore.

4) In the 1981 baseball draft, two-sport star John Elway was taken six picks ahead of another two-sport star, Tony Gwynn. Whoops.

3) Eagles have $61M in guaranteed money tied up in their three QBs; Bradford, Wentz and Chase Daniel. Bradford wants a trade, but not to the 49ers; apparently he is no Chip Kelly fan. Could he wind up on the Jets?

2) I mean, it is April 29 and Ryan Fitzpatrick is making noises like he has no intention of ever playing for the Jets again, which means they don't have an NFL-caliber QB on their roster, unless Bryce Petty somehow had an epiphany during the offseason. Trading for Bradford could make sense.

1) NFL Network did a fine job with their coverage Thursday; I can't stand Chris Berman, so I won't watch ESPN if he is on, which he won't be tonight, so I can listen to my man Mel Kiper the next two nights. Stretching this out over three days is a debatable idea, but moving it around the country is a great idea. Philadelphia is said to be the favorite to host the draft next year.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) NFL Draft is tonight; since 1967, USC (68) has had the most first round draft picks, followed by Miami (58), Ohio State (56), Florida (46).

12) I enjoyed the mock draft on NFL Network this week, despite occasional screaming/yelling whenever Michael Irvin got involved. It was a little bit like a fantasy draft but without the laboring over picks, since mock drafts don't have any accountability, the way real teams or even fantasy teams have.

11) Giants' pitcher Jeff Samardzija was a pretty good WR in college; he scored 27 TDs and averaged 14.5 yards/catch.

10) RIP Ozzie Silna, former owner of the Spirits of St Louis of the old ABA, who reaped a bonanza from the NBA when he agreed to fold the Spirits before the NBA-ABA merger in 1976. One of the greatest business deals of all-time, Silna was paid millions and millions of dollars to do absolutely nothing.

9) Houston Astros are 7-15 and in trouble; its not just that they're losing lot of games, they're playing sloppily and their pitching has regressed.

8) Oakland and Detroit brought up their ace pitching prospects to make starts on Friday. A's will have Sean Manaea starting against Houston, Tigers gave Michael Fullmer the call to start against the Twins in Minnesota.

7) A's signed 36-year old lefty Rich Hill as a starter this year; Hill is 3-0, 1.42 in his first three road starts, but is 0-2, 9.00 in two starts at the normally pitcher-friendly Oakland Coliseum.

6) Detroit Tigers are paying Texas $6M a year for the next five years, part of the deal that sent Prince Fielder packing from the Motor City. As Billy Beane said to David Justice in Moneyball, "They're paying you to play against them."

5) San Diego Padres are 0-5 when James Shields starts on the mound; they've scored a total of six runs in his five starts. Padres are also the only team that hasn't scored a first inning run on the road this season (10 games).

4) Eric Byrnes is the only player (Oakland, 2003) who has hit for the cycle at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Pablo Sandoval is the last Giant to hit for the cycle-- would like to see a clip of the triple he hit.

3) Georgia Tech still owes former basketball coach Paul Hewitt $2.7M; he has not been the coach there since 2011. Quite a deal his agent made for him.

2) Columbia graduate transfer Grant Mullins chose Cal over Michigan; young Mullins is a 6-3 guard who shot 44.1% on the arc last year.

1) Cool thing about the NFL Draft is that no one knows what will happen when these college kids become pros this summer. Flash back to 1998, just as many people liked Ryan Leaf as Peyton Manning. How did that turn out?

Wednesday's List of 13: Mid-week musings.......
13) MSNBC's Hallie Jackson was in the gym where Hoosiers was filmed last night for a political rally, but admitted on air that she has never seen the iconic basketball movie. Ms Jackson will be 32 on Friday, two years before Hoosiers was made; she went to college at Johns Hopkins, an elite college, but so did Andy Enfield, the basketball coach at USC.

I've never seen Star Wars or The Godfather; I can't say anything.

12) Uh-oh. Prince didn't have a will or a trust, so his sister, six half-siblings are in line to divide his estate, estimated at $300M, which doesn't include the stash of hundreds of unpublished songs, which figure to be worth another small fortune. Hopefully they can divide everything up peacefully.

11) Over/under given by a doctor Tuesday on recovery time for Chris Paul's hand injury: four weeks. If Paul misses four weeks, his next game for the Clippers will be in October- they're not going far without him.

10) I like Steve Kerr, I'm a big fan of his, but how in God's name does a coach who missed 43 of 82 regular season games win Coach of the Year? No player who missed 43 games would ever win MVP-- it makes very little sense.

9) Dick Vermeil is only coach in NFL history who worked for three different teams, but was never fired by any of them.

8) Obscure trivia: Christian Yelich is an OF for the Miami Marlins; his great-grandfather is the guy who designed the LA Rams' football helmets back in the 40's, the first helmets with the team's logo on them.

7) Chicago White Sox are 6-0 in games where the winning run scored in the 7th inning or later; Toronto is 1-7 in such games.

6) Padres are only major league team that doesn't have a bobblehead giveaway night this year; they didn't have one LY, either.

5) Was surprised to hear that New Hampshire has produced 51 major league baseball players and four major league managers.

4) Kelly Ripa makes $26M a year? Seriously? And she blows off three days of work because no one told her a co-worker got another job? As a friend of mine likes to say and I'll clean it up here, "Grow the (bleep) up!!!"

3) What would happen if Bernie Sanders ran as a third party candidate in the Presidential election? Who would that help? Could he win?

2) These politicians must be tired; Bernie Sanders is 74, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are both pushing 70, but they've all been bouncing around the country like rock stars. Has to be exhausting.

1) Tonight Nashville-Anaheim play a Game 7 in NHL playoffs. Nashville has never had a Game 7 in its franchise history; Ducks lost their last four Game 7's, are 2-5 in Game 7's in their franchise history.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
Pretty eventful day, for a Monday in April.........
Tom Brady will be suspended for the first four games of the season, after a federal appeals court overturned a lower court's ruling. Patriots have already jumped from 6-1 to 8-1 to win Super Bowl-- the average point spread for New England's first four games moved 3.5 to 4 points with Brady out of the lineup.

Those first four games? @Arizona, then Miami-Houston-Buffalo, all at home.

12) Stephen Curry has a Grade 1 sprained MCL, the lowest sprain possible; they are saying they'll re-evaluate in two weeks. If Golden State doesn't win the title, media will turn on Steve Kerr for playing Curry too much trying to get to the 73-9 regular season record and wearing him out.

11) ESPN's Mike Tirico, who is really good at calling every sport, is leaving ESPN for NBC, where he will call Thursday Night Football and PGA Tour. There are also rumors of Brad Nessler jumping to CBS to replace Verne Lundquist on SEC football when that day comes, as well as calling college basketball.

Sean McDonough was mentioned as a possible replacement for Tirico on Monday Night Football.

10) Former UNLV basketball coach Dave Rice signed on as an assistant coach with Eric Musselman at rival Nevada-Reno. Musselman makes less than a half million, so if he were to lead the Wolf Pack to the NCAAs next year, after a big season this year, he figures to move on to a higher profile job, leaving Rice as the logical successor in Reno.

9) Speaking of the Mountain West, they have 11 teams right now, which is a bad number; they're supposedly looking for a 12th school-- UTEP is being mentioned.

8) The April open recruiting period for college basketball ended this weekend; noticed that some teams offered kids in Class of '19 scholarships-- those are 9th graders. I'm not sure why teams do this-- difficult to project three years down the road.

7) Couple of graduate transfers: Avery Woodson jumps from Memphis to Butler; Ronnie Johnson bolts from Houston to Auburn.

6) Sam Bradford has requested a trade from the Eagles; this is the guy with a career won-lost record of 25-37-1, with 33 games missed due to injury-- he's already banked roughly $87M in six years, despite playing in zero playoff games, but he requested a trade, because Philly is going to draft a QB Thursday. That takes onions.

5) Bill Polian/Herm Edwards are very good in ESPN's studio during the day; they tell you stuff you don't know.

4) John Daly turns 50 this week; the Senior Golf Tour is about to get a little more interesting.

3) There were no radar gun readings at Citi Field last night with Noah Syndergaard pitching; doubt it is a coincidence, since there so few coincidences in this world. Mark Mulder never liked radar gun readings on the scoreboard when he pitched for the A's, so maybe it was a request from the pitcher himself.

2) As if the Presidential race couldn't get stranger, Bob Knight is going to endorse Donald Trump in Indianapolis Wednesday. Should make for good TV.

1) If you know me, you know when I call someone "a weasel" that is the worst possible insult coming from me. Well, this Cruz/Kasich alliance has weasel written all over it. No wonder people despise politicians- they're total sellouts and people are so disgusted with politicians that an egotistical billionaire that very few people like could wind up being the President of the United States. Awesome.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend......
13) Tremendous day of games today, lot of good stuff. Washington beat the Twins in 16 innings, in a game with 516 pitches thrown, 27 players used, 14 pitchers. Game took 5:56, with 27 hits and 32 strikeouts. Great fun.

12) Cubs are already 6-1 against Cincinnati this year; they've outscored the Reds 60-20 in those seven games. Reds are not a good baseball team.

11) Yesterday's quiz answer was Hideo Nomo as author of the only no-hitter at Coors Field; Nomo pitched in Denver 10 times. In his other nine starts, aside from the no-hitter, Nomo was 2-1, 9.67, allowing 11 HRs in 44.2 IP.

10) Pitcher Shelby Miller wound up playing left field for Arizona in the 13th inning yesterday, as SS Nick Ahmed got thrown out for arguing balls/strikes and the Snakes were out of position players. Pitchers Zack Greinke and Jon Niese both had pinch-hits in the game.

9) Braves' catcher AJ Pierzynski has 1,999 hits; he will become the 10th catcher ever to get 2,000 hits. Pretty impressive; was surprised when I heard it.

8) Mat Latos is early leader for Comeback Player of the Year; he is 4-0, 0.74 in four starts for the White Sox. In 2014-15, he was a combined 9-15, 4.16 in 37 starts for four different teams.

7) Saturday night in Las Vegas, four guys bet a cab driver $100 he wouldn't drive thru the In 'n Out Burger drive-thru lane in reverse; they lost.

6) Hall of Fame pitcher Don Drysdale's widow, Anne Meyers, who was a great hoop player at UCLA, sold lot of her late husband's memorabilia; his 1963 and 1965 World Series rungs netted just under $200,000 combined.

5) Tanner Roark was awesome Saturday, whiffing 15 Twins in a 2-0 Washington win; he threw 121 pitches, most by any major leaguer this season.

There was a Twitter debate this weekend, where guys were talking about high school coaches having kids throw 160+ pitches in a game. No bueno.

4) Of the 183 NHL teams who trailed playoff series 3-0, only nine forced a Game 7; those nine teams went 4-5 in the Game 7.

3) Do big league teams shift too much? Some ex-players in TV booths this weekend were discussing this- their consensus seemed to be that a star pitcher like Kershaw should have veto rights over any shifts, but you have to earn the right to have veto rights over the manager. It is an interesting debate.

2) Los Angeles Clippers have never led a playoff series, 3-0. Ever.

1) Phil Simms came out and said Jared Goff is the 3rd-best QB in this week's draft; he may be right or may be wrong, but I don't give rat's ass what Simms says about QBs, despite his having been a very good player himself.

Long time ago, Simms shredded Ben Roethlisberger on Mike Francesa's Sunday radio show when Ben was a senior at Miami; he denies it now, but I remember listening to it and then laughing when Big Ben became such a good player.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday........
13) Hornets 96, Heat 80-- First playoff win for Charlotte in 14 years; they had lost their last 12 playoff games in a row.

12) Charlotte coach Steve Clifford makes around $4M a year now working for Michael Jordan's team, but in 1994-95, he was an assistant coach at Siena College here just outside of Albany, where he made far less than $4M a year.

11) Why did the Knicks let Jeremy Lin go? Never made sense to me; the team was winning when he ran the point, they were fun to watch-- everyone (except Carmelo Anthony) seemed happy. He would still be the best point guard on their roster.

10) Twins' rookie OF Max Kepler was born in Germany; both of his parents are professional dancers over there.

9) Atlanta Braves are 4-13, haven't homered in their last 12 games- could be a very long year on Peachtree Street, but they move into their new stadium next year and have lot of good young prospects down on the farm, not far from the big leagues.

8) There have been 15 pinch-hit homers in the major leagues this month; Cardinals have seven of them.

7) In Japan, the baseball season is 143 games long and Monday is a mandatory day off; during batting practice, they use two cages at once, placed next to each other.

6) I'd watch a Japanese League Game of the Week; could have American graphics and maybe a couple of guys on MLB Network studios analyzing the game wthout going all the way over there. Am curious to see waht their games are like.

5) When minor league teams play doubleheaders, both games are seven innings.

4) A 29-year old African man is facing deportation from Canada after he posed as a 16-year old basketball star and was attracting interest from American colleges.

3) New York Mets scored in top of first inning in six of the eight games on their current road trip- they have 38 games against Philly/Atlanta and 19 more with the dysfunctional Marlins- it must be nice.

2) Dodgers 4, Rockies 1-- Japanese import Kenta Maeda has allowed one run in 25.1 IP in his first four American starts.

1) Has to be hard for ESPN's Jeff Van Gundy to be calling the one-sided Detroit-Cleveland series, seeing as the losing coach is going to be his brother Stan. He does as well as he can hiding the fact that he is rooting for the Pistons.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind.......
13) Cleveland Browns aren't favored in any of their first 15 games this year; they play at Pittsburgh in Week 17, so they won't be favored there, either, so new coach Hue Jackson has his work cut out for him.

12) Free agent CB Josh Norman got big money from the Redskins last night, which means he'll line up against Odell Beckham twice a year when Giants play the Redskins in divisional games. Little strange how Carolina suddenly did an about face and let Norman walk, rather than pay him.

11) Hartford Yard Dogs are the AA farm club of Colorado Rockies; they do not have a home game until May 31, since their new home park is still being worked on. They'll play their first 52 games on the road- they are 11-4 so far this season and in first place in their division.

10) Last year, Biloxi of the Southern League played their first 54 games on the road, while their new stadium was being finished; guy who managed that team is now the first base coach for the big league Milwaukee Brewers.

9) White Sox turned a 9-3-2-6-2-5 triple play last night that involved Prince Fielder being caught in a rundown; suffice to say it will not be included on Tom Emanski's next baserunning instructional video.

8) Why has the state of Virginia given 200,000 convicted felons the right to vote? Virginia is the 8th state to allow felons to vote, after they're released from supervision. To me, it doesn't make much sense.

7) Keelon Lawson is an assistant basketball coach at Memphis; the Tigers' top two returning scorers are his sons. He has a third son who is listed as a top 10 recruit in the Class of 2019, which is why Lawson is still employed by Memphis, even after head coach Josh Pastner was paid $1.25M to go away and take the Georgia Tech job earlier this month.

New coach Tubby Smith wasn't going to keep Lawson as an assistant coach, so one of the sons, Dedric Lawson applied for NBA Draft, an implied threat to keep the father as an assistant. This hasn't been resolved yet. Stay tuned.

6) Going thru some college basketball stuff, getting stuff ready for next year and saw this: over the last 11 years, DePaul is 39-155 in conference games. How in the name of Ray Meyer is this possible? DePaul is in Chicago, there are lot of good high school players in Chicago-- recruit some of them!!!!

5) Texas Rangers are 15-3 in their last 18 games vs AL West rival Houston.

4) Baseball season is in its third week and my fantasy team is already in deep trouble; Stanton/Abreu have been awful, two of my top three pitchers are hurt and I'm going to be 0-3 come Sunday night. No bueno; Carlos Gomez, Marcell Ozuna and Avasail Garcia have all proven to be stiffs in my outfield.

3) Yasiel Puig made an amazing throw from the rightfield fence last night to nail Trevor Story at third base, trying for a triple. Reminded me of Ellis Valentine throwing from RF for the old Montreal Expos at Olympic Stadium.

2) Coaching carousel: Northern Colorado fired BJ Hill, amidst allegations of NCAA issues. Detroit Titans named Michigan assistant Bacari Alexander their new hoop coach. UNLV approved Marvin Menzies' contract, but for whatever reason, he won't be paid as much as Chris Beard was going to be paid. Oy.

1) Matt Holliday may be 37, but over last three years, he is hitting .379 with RISP, best such mark in the major leagues.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here........
13) Washington Wizards gave Scott Brooks $35M for five years to be their new coach; with Maryland native Kevin Durant a free agent this summer, I'm sure it is not a coincidence that the Wizards hired Durant's old coach.

12) Jake Arrieta no-hit the Reds 16-0 last night in Cincinnati, the most dramatic 16-0 game in MLB history. There were only nine starts between this game and Arrieta's other no-hitter last year.

11) If you care about such things, it was just the second no-hitter at Great American Ballpark; Homer Bailey had the first one.

10) If you care about such things, over is 14-5 in interleague games so far this season.

9) Oakland A's are much-improved so far over last year; A's are 7-2 if their starting pitcher finishes the 6th inning, 2-5 if he does not.

8) Tony Romo turned 36 years old Thursday; why haven't the Cowboys drafted a young QB they can groom to play after Romo finishes his career?

7) Rockets 97, Warriors 96-- I'm guessing Steph Curry's foot got a lot better once Houston won this game, making series 2-1 Golden State.

6) Chicago 4, St Louis 3 double OT-- Patrick Kane scored his 5th career OT playoff goal as Chicago stayed alive- they trail series 3-2. Only guys with more OT playoff goals than Kane are Joe Sakic (8), Rocket Richard (6)- Edmonton's Glenn Anderson also had five OT playoff goals.

Blackhawks are now 12-4 in elimination games under Joel Quenneville.

5) Tennessee-Martin head coach Heath Schroyer quit this week, to become an assistant coach at NC State, a kick in the teeth to the OVC school that gave Schroyer a chance to resurrect his career after he had been fired at Wyoming- he was later an assistant at UNLV. He'll make more money as an assistant at NC State than he was making at Tenn-Martin.

4) Adam Scott/Louis Oosthuizen already came out and said they'll skip the Olympics in South America this summer- they're both in top 15 in the world, so thats a blow to golf becoming a regular Olympic sport.

3) A 6-10 kid who plays hoop at Washington State but graduated from the school this spring wanted to transfer to San Diego State, where he could play one more season next year, for a much better team, but Wazzu coach Ernie Kent blocked the transfer, claiming the Aztecs tampered/poached the kid.

This happens more and more these days, bigtime schools filling holes in their roster by cherry-picking good players from lower-level schools. I applaud Kent for standing up to teams poaching his roster.

2) If you ever wondered how much a casino costs, Boyd Gaming bought Aliante Casino in North Las Vegas this week, for a reported $380M, a mere bag of shells. LOL That is one casino in Las Vegas I haven't been to yet.

1) I had no idea how wildly popular Prince was, until he passed away way too early Thursday at age 57. Apparently he had been ill for a while, but official word hasn't come out yet. I read yesterday that he was a prolific songwriter who has a ton of unreleased music that I'm sure we'll be hearing in the future.

Read yesterday where several professional musicians were reverent in their praise of Price's musical skills/dedication to his craft-- couple of them called him the greatest guitar player ever. RIP, sir.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) Cleveland traded the #2 pick in the NFL Draft to the Eagles, for two #1's, a second, third and fourth round draft picks. Browns cit seven starters during this offseason, so they need to re-stock their team. It also means they're going with Robert Griffin at quarterback, which should be interesting.

12) Not sure what the Eagles' new regime is doing; they're obviously going to take whichever QB the Rams do not take, so they must like both players to be OK with trading so many choices, when they don't know which QB it will be. Wonder what Sam Bradford thinks about all of this?

11) Last time the top two choices in the same draft got traded was 1997-- the #3 pick that year got traded too.

10) Carolina Panthers took the franchise tag off CB Josh Norman, making him a free agent; 49ers are rumored to be the team that can afford him that wants him the most.

9) Alabama's spring football game got better TV ratings Saturday than the NHL playoff games played that day.

8) Steve Spurrier would make a terrrific college football analyst, right? I'm hoping one of the networks signs him up so we can learn from him this fall.

7) Random prediction: Jose Reyes winds up as the shortstop for the Bronx Bombers. Reyes' contract and Trevor Story make Reyes expendable in Denver.

6) RIP Dwayne (Pearl) Washington, one of the Big East's first great players, who passed away too early this week at age 52. Washington was a playground in Brooklyn who became a terrific college player.

5) DeAndre Jordan committed a foul on the opening tap last night, before any time came off the clock; don't think I've ever seen that before.

4) Minnesota Timberwolves signed Tom Thibodeau to run their franchose, a smart move; I'm still disappointed he never showed up on TV this season-- would've been fun listening to him talk hoops. I'm wondering if any college programs approached him about coaching their team-- he is a basketball genius.

3) Over/under total for all three NBA games combined last night was 613.5; total wound up being 598, an easy win for the under.

2) Quote of the Day, part II: "Last time I hit was eight years ago."

That was A's pitcher Kendall Graveman, after the Oakland A's lost their DH for the fourth time in 15 games this season, this time because 3B Danny Valencia got hurt and DH Jed Lowrie had to take his place in the field.

1) Rough day for Andrew Jackson, who got taken off the front of $20 bills by the US Treasury, replaced by Harriet Tubman. Jackson moves to the back of $20 bills. It is amazing to me that there are people collecting a paycheck for deciding stuff like this.

Wednesday's List of 13: Mid-week musings.......
13) Chicago Cubs are off to an 11-3 start; their starting pitching lasted at least six innings n all 14 games, which is huge, takes the strain off the bullpen.

Cincinnati is 7-7, despite it starting pitcher lasting 6+ innings four times.

12) Since 2010, the low-budget Tampa Bay Rays are 60-53 against the Boston Red Sox, 59-52 against the Bronx Bombers, their big money rivals.

11) Jacob deGrom is having a good week; his newborn has come home from the hospital after a medical scare last week and then deGrom threw 71 pitches in a simulated game Monday, meaning he probably avoids a stint on the DL.

10) Oakland A's won their fifth one-run game of the season last night; last year, they won their fifth one-run game of the season on June 16.

9) Big 14 Conference hasn't had a QB taken in the first round of the NFL Draft since Kerry Collins in 1995.

8) Lookalikes: New York City mayor Bill DeBlasio and Bills' coach Rex Ryan.

7) Over last three years, Florida State has had 13 players taken in first two rounds of the NFL Draft; next highest is Alabama, with ten.

6) The original Rocky was on last night, a great movie; hard to believe it is 40 years old. Can still remember sitting in the theater watching it for the first time; The theater I watched it in is long gone, replaced by a car dealership.

5) NHL teams with a 3-0 lead in playoff series are 179-4 in those series, but two of the four losses have come since 2010.

4) '85-'86 Celtics are the only NBA team to win consecutive playoff games by 30+ points; Spurs came close last night, beating overmatched Memphis by 26 in Game 2.

3) Bernie Sanders went to the same high school in Brooklyn as Chris Rock and the great actor Martin Landau.

2) North Carolina had 99 basketball practices this season; they played 40 games and had 99 practices. Spurs have played 84 games (not counting preseason games) this season. Wonder how many practices (not counting game day walk-thru's) they've had?

1) Its about time Major League Baseball got off its butt and made a decision on the Jose Reyes situation; criminal charges in Hawai'i were dropped three weeks ago, the Rockies are already 8-6 and Reyes hasn't even had his spring training yet. Reyes is still being paid, so the Rockies can't be happy and Reyes isn't happy, since he can't play. Make a decision already!!!!

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) Oklahoma City Thunder is now 3-13 in their last 16 games that were within five points with 5:00 to play.

NBA replay system came up big here, nullifying the Oklahoma City hoop that came just after the buzzer; Felton missed two FTs with 0:07 left, but Dallas survived and now the series heads to Texas tied 1-1.

12) #1 seeds are 45-1 in NBA playoff series if they lead the series, 2-0.

11) Jets are going into the NFL Draft without knowing who its QB will be in the fall, which is obviously a problem. Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Jets haven't been able to get an agreement on a contract- do they really want Geno Smith to be their guy?

10) Kevin McHale is pretty good as a TV cmmentator; couple of people I know say he's a good guy and it came thru over the air Monday. The best analysts make you feel like you're listening to a conversation between him and the play-by-play guy.

9) Parts of Houston had over 10 inches of rain in the last few days; crazy weather.

8) Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen ran the Boston Marathon Monday; if I drive my car 26 miles, I'm looking for a drive-thru window or a convenience store to get some Cherry Coke. Running 26 miles seems craxy to me.

7) Cubs were -$310 against Colorado Saturday, the heaviest April favorite in over 10 years, when Bronx was -$354 in a game against the Royals.

6) Dwyane Wade hasn't made a 3-pointer since December; he is 7-44 outside the arc for the season, which explains why he doesn't try many anymore. In 2009, Wade was 88-278 (31.7%) behind the arc- his career mark is 28.4%.

5) Big East/Big East will play series of early season games in November to kick off the season: Villanova-Purdue, Wisconsin-Creighton, Seton Hall-Iowa are three of the better games that have been scheduled. St John's-Minnesota will also play.

4) Mike Trout was the 25th pick in the 2009 MLB Draft, one pick after Cardinals' OF Randal Grichuk. Scouting is an inexact scienece.

3) Angels didn't score a first inning run until their 11th game, despite Trout batting third in the batting order.

2) Dustin Pedroia has been on base 48 games in a row against AL East opponents. The all-time record for most consecutive games reaching base is held by Ted Williams, who reached base in an amazing 84 consecutive games.

1) John Madden's only three rules when he coached the Oakland Raiders:
-- Be on time. Pay attention. Play like hell.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend.........
13) So which QB do the Rams take with the first pick in the draft? Spent an hour this morning watching Jon Gruden's TV shows with Goff/Wentz, trying to learn about both guys, while seeing if Gruden preferred either guy. Hard to tell.

One thing: Goff is a huge SF Giants baseball fan; you wonder if he's a 49er fan too; if he is, kind of awkward to make him the cornerstone of the Rams' franchise.

12) 18 years ago, Colts/Chargers had #1, #2 picks in the draft; there was a standoff in the media which QB rpsopect was the better one, no one seemed to know. Turns out that Peyton Manning was the right choice and Ryan Leaf wasn't. But make no mistake about it, at the time a lot of smart people thought Leaf was the better choice.

11) Apparently, Tennessee is using the extra picks it got from the Rams to try and get back in the top 10 of the first round.

10) Since 1999 in the NBA playoffs, #7 seeds are 1-33 in first round series against the #2 seeds. I've long believed that best-of-7 series are too long in these first round series. It just gets boring watching the #1, #2 seeds pummel inferior teams.

9) In 1981, Mike Schmidt was baseball's highest paid player; he made $2,130,000.

8) Disney has six Star Wars movies planned, all the way thru 2020; its like having this out-of-control printing press in your cellar that just constantly churns out money.

7) On July 2, 2013, the Orioles traded Jake Arrieta, Pedro Strop and cash to the Cubs, for Scott Feldman, Steve Clevenger. Oy. Arrieta hasn't allowed a run at Wrigley Field since last July, thats six scoreless home starts in a row.

6) Couple years ago, Steve Kerr turned down the Knicks' coaching job and went to the Warriors; now his assistant Luke Walton is doing the same thing.

5) Brooklyn Nets hired Hawks' assistant Kenny Atkinson as their new coach; he is said to be a very strong player development coach.

4) On Opening Day, there were 82 Dominican-born major leaguers, an average of three per team. You wonder how the language barrier affects players who weren't born in this country. If I owned a big league team, all my coaches would have to know how to speak Spanish. Communication is very important.

3) Former Iona star AJ English was VP of the Portsmouth tournament this weekend; we'll see if that helps him get drafted in June.

2) Dodgers started Howie Kendrick at 3B this week, first time he's started there since 2006; they also started him in LF, first time he's started there since 2011.

1) Florida State has played in 34 consecutive bowls, the longest current streak in college football; Virginia Tech is next at 23, then Georgia at 19. Funny that all three schools have changed coaches in the last six years, Va Tech and Georgia this year.

Sunday's List of 13: More thoughts on the NFL schedule......
13) New England is currently (even) in its season opener at Arizona; Patriots have been favored in their last twelve season openers.

12) If you play fantasy football, Cleveland/Houston will be first teams since 2001 with Week 13 byes, which is often the last week of the fantasy leagues' regular season.

11) Oakland Raiders get their first Sunday night home game in 10 years when Denver comes calling in Week 9.

10) Miami Dolphins requested to be on the road in Weeks 1-2, because their stadium is being refurbished.

9) Five teams opened with consecutive road games LY; of those five, Seattle was only one to make the playoffs.

8) Washington (weeks 12-14), Green Bay (weeks 10-12), are only teams with three-game road trips this season. Teams playing their third week in row on road are generally very poor bets.

7) If you want to draft Aaron Rodgers in fantasy, keep in mind his three playoff games (weeks 14-16) will be two games at Lambeau, one in Chicago, not the best weather scenarios.

6) Tampa Bay's three away games in December: Dallas-New Orleans and San Diego- thats two domes and San Diego, so probably no weather issues.

5) USC requested the Rams not have any primetime home games, because they generally fall on school nights- Seriously, they did- Rams/USC will share the LA Coliseum for the next three years. They must roll up the sidewalks pretty early in Tinseltown, so the kids can do their homework. .

4) Texans/Jets will both play four games on short work weeks this season, most in NFL. Kansas City is the only NFL team with one game on short rest.

3) Oakland Raiders have five 1:00 ET games this year, most in NFL; LA Rams have four, plus a game in England that looks like it is going to start at 6:30am LA time. Terrific.

2) Carolina Panthers have already been bet down from +2.5 to +1 for their season opener in Denver. Line should move again when we finally figure out who the Broncos' QB is going to be.

1) Ridiculous amounts of NFL mock drafts have been done the last few months; when the Rams/Titans swung their big trade the other day, every single one of them went in the ashcan. .

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.........
13) Here is one example of how the coaching carousel works and how it can be very strange:
-- Georgia Tech fired Brian Gregory after the season.
-- Memphis was so disgusted by
Josh Pastner's 167-73 record that they helped him leave for Georgia Tech, even supplementing his salary at Tech for two years.
-- Memphis then hired Tubby Smith away from Texas Tech, paying Tech his buyout of $1M (that becomes important fairly soon).
-- UNLV fired Dave Rice January 10, but buitchered their coaching search so badly that they still don't have a coach- they had finally hired Chris Beard last week (in his one year at Little Rock, he won 30+ games and an NCAA tourney game), but Beard is now at Texas Tech, where he previously spent a lomg time as an assistant.

UNLV got $1M from Tech for Beard bolting, but Smith's buyout from Memphis provided 90% of that cash.
-- Rumors as I type this are that Marvin Menzies will be UNLV's next coach; he has a 198-111 record in nine years at New Mexico State in the WAC, a once-proud league that is now one of the worst leagues in America (#27 out of 31).

So UNLV might not be going thru any of this mess had Georgia Tech not fired its coach, thats how weird some of this stuff gets.

12) Two years ago, Chris Beard made $70,000 as the coach at Angelo State in Texas; he made $236K this year at Little Rock, was going to make $1.15M or so at UNLV this fall, now he'll make over $2M a year a Texas Tech, which ain't an easy job, seeing as most of other schools in Big X all have heavyweight, Hall-of-Fame type coaches.

Beard lasted less than a week at UNLV; he has been quite a vagabond in his coaching career, but Texas seems like home for him. Texas Tech is a harder job than UNLV is though, tougher league. At UNLV, they care a lot about basketball; at Texas Tech, it is something to do in between football season and spring football.

11) Barry Anderson lives in Chicago; he is quitting his job after 12 years-- who is this guy? For the last 12 years, Mr Anderson has worn the Benny the Bull costume at Chicago Bull games. Now a new Benny has to be trained; not as easy as it looks.

10) Brooklyn Nets fired their trainer, who had been with the club for 16 years and their VP of Communications, who had been there for 23 years. It can be a cruel world sometimes-- apparently the Nets want a fresh start from top to bottom.

9) East Tennessee State coach Steve Forbes called Penny Hardaway "the best high school player I've ever seen", high praise from a veteran coach. Hardaway is now a high school coach in the Memphis area, and tried for the Memphis State job.

8) NBA will put advertisements on its players' jerseys starting in 2017-18.

7) Stephen Curry scored 30.1 ppg in 34.2 minutes per game, the fewest minutes an NBA scoring champion has averaged in one season.

6) Kike Hernandez is now 10-16 with three homers off Madison Bumgarner.

5) Indianapolis Colts requested not to have a bye week after their Week 4 London trip- they don't want their bye so early in the season- their wish was granted. This is the first a team has played in London and won't have the next week off.

4) Mark Trumbo hit two homers in one inning (7th) last night, as Baltimore scofed nine times in 7th in an 11-5 win over the Rangers in Arlington.

3) Braves/Twins both came from behind to get their first wins of the season Friday.

2) Added an old movie scene to my list of all-time favorites last night.

In the 2002 movie The Rookie, based on a Texas high school teacher who reaches the major leagues as a relief pitcher, the scene where he is throwing in the bullpen and his wife and two kids yell down from the walkway to get his attwntion is just a great scene- imagine what a thrill it must have been for that guy. Just an excellent scene.

1) Movie trivia; First batter that Jim Morris faced in the majors was Texas SS Royce Clayton; nine years later, Clayton was an actor who played Miguel Tejada in the very fine baseball movie, Moneyball.

Friday's List of 13: Talkin' football in April......
13) There is a scene early in the movie Draft Day, where the Browns' owner (Frank Langella) tells the Browns' GM (Kevin Costner) to "make a splash" in the upcoming draft, in other words, telling him to draft a QB first.

Thats the first thing I thought of when I heard the Los Angeles Rams traded with Tennessee for the first pick in the April 28-30 NFL Draft. Rams need to sell tickets in their new (old) city, they need to upgrade at QB, whether they played home games in Los Angeles, St Louis, or Oshkosh.

12) As far as which QB the Rams are going to take, and they are going to take a QB (this ain't the movies), they're less likely to shy away from a I-AA QB (Carson Wentz) seeing as Jeff Fisher's son played at Montana, which is a rival of North Dakota State at the I-AA level.

I could write about this for a week, but I'll say this: Jeff Fisher presided over the Steve McNair era in Houston/Tennessee; McNair started six games (6) in his first two NFL seasons, playing behind Chris Chandler, so it isn't etched in stone that the rookie QB will start in Week 1 in San Francisco.

11) As for the Rams' schedule, LA and Dallas are only two teams who open with a pair of division opponents. Rams play their three division rivals in the first four weeks of the season, then again in the last three weeks.

Quick impressions of the 2016 schedule-- I'll have more on this tomorrow, but I just got off an airplane and my brain is a little scrambled......
10) Brock Osweiler returns to Denver in Week 7, when the Texans visit Denver on a Monday night. Browns go to Washington October 2-- RGIII against his old team.

9) Over 43,000 possible schedules are considered before the final product is given the seal of approval. TV ratings matter more than the fan who goes to games, seeing as four of the last five Monday night games are in cold weather cities.

8) Green Bay Packers open with two road games for first time since 1924, yes 1924; they christen the Vikings' new domed stadium in a Week 2 Sunday night tilt. After the first two road games, Green Bay then doesn't play another road game until Week 8- they've got four home games and a bye in between their second and third road games.

7) Week 16 is mostly played on Christmas Eve (a Saturday), with two Christmas games; Week 17 is 16 division games, all on New Year's Day, a Sunday. Steelers play on both Thanksgiving and Christmas Days.

6) 8:25 Christmas Eve game with Bengals-Texans should be renamed the Divorce Bowl, fior families who gather on Christmas Eve (its a joke people!!!). Back in the old days, when I was once married, an 8:25 Christmas Eve game would've been an issue. In no way am I complaining that there is a game on Christmas Eve this year. :-)

5) Super Bowl rematch in Week 1: Carolina-Denver on a Thursday.

4) Pete Carroll has a reunion tour this year: the former USC coach revisits the LA Coliseum in Week 2, for the Rams' first home game there in 37 years- Seattle also visits the Jets in Week 4, and Foxboro in Week 10, Carroll's two former teams. The Week 10 game is also the first Seahawk-Patriot meeting since Super Bowl 49.

3) Miami Dolphins have December road games in Baltimore, New Jersey, Buffalo; hope they've got good parkas.

2) One more draft note: Tennessee has six of the top 76 picks in the draft and they do not need a QB, so they could improve their team a lot in two weeks.

1) Thanks to the $8 I spent on WiFi on my flight home last night, the flight was a lot of fun and seemed fairly short. Got to read lot of NFL schedule stuff on Twitter and follow the Thursday baseball-- best $8 I've spent in a while.

I'll have more on the NFL schedule tomorrow-- I'm going to sleep right now.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud......
13) Damn, the NFL schedule is coming out tonight, not next week; if I knew that, would've flown home a different day. I'll be on the plane when the 2016 NFL schedule comes out, but I'll get the WiFi on the plane and try to have some coherent thoughts about the schedule for this space tomorrow.

12) Quite a scene in Westgate Sportsbook last night, with Warriors winning their 73rd game and Kobe Bryant playing his last game. ESPN sent its #1 announce team to Oakland, but the sportsbook gave the Lakers a slight preference, as far as where the games were shown on TVs.

11) In my humble opinion, the NBA promotes its stars too much and its teams not enough, and thats why I like college ball better. The Lakers stink, but it seemed like a playoff game last night, just because Bryant was playing his last game.

10) Nobody in Oakland should hint that the Warriors are the best team ever unless they win the championship this season; thats a measure of greatmess, not your regular season record.

9) Minnesota/Sacramento fired their coach; Washington is also expected to fire those. 16 teams make the playoffs; the other 14 coaches are on the hot seat.

8) When the Bulls went 72-10 in 1995-96, Michael Jordan played in all 82 games. No resting or taking nights off for bogus reasons- he played in every game.

7) Rumors have Memphis State going after Tubby Smith, which would create an opening at Texas Tech. UNLV's newly-hired coach Chris Beard spent ten years as an assistant in Lubbock; would they be interested in hiring him?

6) Speaking of Beard, the coach has three daughters but unfortunately also has only three players who are on scholarship at UNLV right now-- everyone else jumped ship, which probably helps explain why they weren't any good the last two years.

5) Ole Miss lands transfer PG Cullen Neal, son of the New Mexico coach. Things got ugly in Albuquerque LY, so the son, a good player, transferred. Good get for Rebels' coach Andy Kennedy, who had been mentioned for the Memphis job.

4) USC is weird; they hired Lynn Swann as their new AD. Their last three ADs are all former football players; Mike Garrett, Pat Haden and now Swann. Guess they don't like outsiders too much; sounds more like Texas than California, but so be it.

3) Dee Gordon had an epic 16-pitch at-bat against the Mets Tuesday, the longest single at-bat in Marlins' history- he reached on a single. It was the longest AB in any big league game since a 16-pitch walk to Justin Turner two years ago.

2) Longest playoff drought of any baseball team? Mariners, last in playoffs in 2001.

1) Does the exhibition season matter? The results do not, but the Mets won once in their last 15 spring training games, and are struggling out of the gate in real games, so there could be something to it, at least as far as the quality of play goes.

Wednesday's List of 13: Happy Hump Day......
13) NBA betting prop: Golden State's over/under for playoff losses: 5.5

12) Golfer Jason Bohn is playing golf on Hilton Head this weekend, seven weeks after he ha a heart attack after a round on Tour.

11) Orioles 9, Red Sox 5-- Baltimore is 7-0, already 4.5 games ahead of the Blue Jays in AL East.

10) Only took Carl Crawford six days to land on the DL- guy makes $20M a year and hardly plays and isn't that good when he does play.

9) Whats up with Arizona's road uniforms? Dark gray with copper and turquiose trim; I'm guessing they look better in person than on TV.

8) Mets are 1-4 at home vs Philly/Miami; they're 3.5 games behind Wasington already. New York scored nine runs total in its five losses.

7) Tampa Bay is 0-7, when it comes to the 5-inning betting prop.

6) Braves/Twins are still winless; Jhoulys Chacin pitched really well for Atlanta last night, but you need to score runs to win.

5) Angels 5, A's 4-- Bitter loss for my A's- their bullpen imploded in 8th/9th innings. Have to win games like this if you ant to contend.

4) Pitchers with worst batting average on their pitches, only when they're put in play: Archer .478, JDe La Rosa .440, Cashner .429.

3) NCAA renewed their deal for the NCAA basketball tournament with CBS/Turner until 2032. Hope I'm around to see that one.

2) Florida Gulf Coast head coach Joe Dooley is bolting the Eagles to become an assistant coach at NC State, where he'll make more money. Dooley replaces Bobby Lutz, who is going to Georgia Tech to help out Josh Pastner.

1) When the Warriors beat San Antonio Sunday night, people in the Westgate sportsbook here gave Golden State a respectful round of applause for getting to 70 wins. People like the way the Warriors play.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) I met Pete Rose yesterday; got an autographed ball for a buddy of mine. Pete signs autographs at Mandalay Bay for a few hours most afternoons; $75 for a picture, $99 for a ball- they have a framed bat for a bargain, $1,500. You get your picture taken with him and he'll talk a little bit with you. Seems like a good guy.

12) I told him that if his Hall of Fame eligibility was put up for a public vote, that he would win handily. His reply: "They have their own set of rules", referring to MLB. He makes $1M+ a year signing his name, lives here in Vegas, he is doing pretty well.

11) Lot of music and movie memorabilia in that store where he signs autographs; you can get a Dave Matthews autographed guitar for $4,500 or an autographed Army helmet from Full Metal Jacket for $1,495. An interesting place.

10) Since 2013, St Louis is 40-18 against the Brewers, thw most lopsided series in major league baseball during that time.

9) Quote of the Day, part 2: "What the world needs are less mental hospitals and more minor league baseball." Bill Murray, 1982

Went to the Sacramento-Las Vegas minor league baseball game last night, AAA teams of the Giants-Mets, played before a sparse crowd on a pleasant night. Top prospect Brandon Nimmo plays CF for the Mets' AAA team- he showed great range in center..

8) Marlins 10, Mets 3-- New York lost three of four at home- it is way too early to go nuts about this, but their pitching has been spotty, deGrom is hurt, Granderson is one for 24, Miami treated Matz like a pinata in this game.

7) I watched afternoon baseball games at Mandalay Bay for a couple hours, but the gorgeous big screens at the Westgate have spoiled me. The pizza at Slice in the shopping area at Mandalay Bay was first class, however.

6) At one point in March, Baltimore was something like 0-10-2 in spring training games and their TV guys were trying hard not to sound concerned. Now the Orioles are 6-0 and we are reminded that Buck Showalter is a good as any manager without the last name of Bochy.

5) Minnesota is 0-7 and it was 42 degrees at their home opener, played outdoors because they weren't smart enough to put a retractable dome on their ballpark, the way the Brewers did in Milwaukee.

4) Atlanta is 0-6 but they've openly tanked this season as they acquire prospects who will make the majors when the Braves start playing in their new stadium in suburban Cobb County next season. 15 of their top 30 prospects have been acquired by trade, and they traded some talented older players to get those prospects.

3) Josh Jackson committed to Kansas Monday, jumping the Jayhawks from #41 in the 2016 recruiting rankings into the top 10. He is a 6-7 shooting guard.

2) Vanderbilt-Marquette and Ohio State-Navy will be a Veterans' Day twinbill in Annapolis next fall. That will be Bryce Drew's first game as Vandy's coach.

1) Kings 105, Suns 101-- Seth Curry had 20 points, 15 assists-- he has a players' option to stay in Sacramento next season, or he can become a free agent. I'm thinking someone will overpay for his services, just based on bloodlines.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend..........
13) A's 2, Mariners 1 (10)-- We've talked some baseball strategy this week; Seattle's rookie manager Scott Servais took Felix Hernandez out after seven innings, 99 pitches Sunday with a 1-0 lead. Hernandez is a valued commodity- they get a few thousand more fans when he pitches at home, so his health is paramount, but so is winning, and when Marcus Semien homered to tie the game 1-1, eyes had to roll in Seattle.

12) I'm not leaving this subject without saying how freakin' awesome it is that the A's swept their first road series, with two dramatic wins. Tremendous!!!!

11) Texas Rangers brought up their #1 prospect Nomar Mazara and he had three hits in his debut, including a home run-- kids come up thru the ranks faster now than they used to and that makes fantasy baseball keeper leagues more fun.

10) The MLB app for IPhone is excellent; for $20 for the whole year, you can listen to any radio broadcast of any game. Listened to the great Bob Uecker from Milwaukee some this weekend. Best $20 I've spent this year.

9) A's radio guy Ken Korach once gave up a home run to NCIS star Mark Harmon, when the two were Little League rivals in the Los Angeles area. Harmon played QB at UCLA later on, his dad won the Heisman Trophy.

8) Phillies have a choice after this season; pay Ryan Howard $27M to be a slug at 1B again next season, or pay him $10M to go away. When he gets his $10M, I hope he buys his agent a nice parting gift.

7) Memo to ESPN: How about scheduling Sunday night TV games in warm weather cities or in domes in April? MLB had a fun first week and with a chance to promote their product on national TV with little opposition Sunday night, their game in Detroit got rained out. No bueno.

6) Jason deGrom got scratched from his Wednesday start with a lat injury; he isn't on the DL yet, but until this issue is resolved, the Mets are nervous.

5) Iona's basketball team added transfers Sam Cassell Jr (UConn) and Jon Severe (Fordham) this weekend, as they restock for another run at the '17 MAAC ttile.

4) Kids who are talented basketball players make some goofy decisions: Duke needed another guard this past season, so Derryck Thornton Jr reclassified (moved up a year) and played for Duke, when he could've still been in high school.

Thornton didn't play that well, Duke recruited over him, so now the kid is transferring and will have to sit out this coming season at his new school, when he could've stayed in high school this past year and had a normal senior year. Who advises these kids?

3) 25 college football teams had their spring games this weekend; I'm guessing the Paul Finebaum show today will have a lot of college football discussion, even in April.

2) Cubs are 21-2 in Jake Arrieta's last 23 starts.

1) Cubs' home opener is a night game? Is that a first?

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.....
13) It rained here in Las Vegas last night, very hard at times; wound up stuck in a huge traffic jam because a tractor trailed jackknifed on I-15, or I-95, not sure which road it was. Turns out that people in the desert aren't real good at driving in rainstorms. Go figure.

12) Padres were outscored 25-0 by the Dodgers in three games during the week, then they go to Coors Field and score 29 runs in their first two games there. Dodgers scored 11 runs in their first three games in San Francisco.

11) San Diego loses ace Tyson Ross to DL with shoulder problems.

10) All five Houston games this week have gone over the total.

9) Minnesota Twins are 0-5 for first time ever; its not good if you're buried in the standings before your home opener.

8) If you look at the 5-inning records of teams, Cubs are 5-0 so far, Arizona is 0-6. You can bet on how games will wind up after the fifth inning, so this is a relevant stat. All the five-inning record are posted on our baseball page.

7) Broncos traded OT Ryan Clady to the Jets, where he will replace the retired D'Brickashaw Ferguson.

6) Was wondering today what golfers do the night before the last round of a major? Their tee time is late in the day, so no need to go to bed real early. Do they watch replays of the Saturday telecast, to try and pick up something about the course?

5) Donnie Tyndall got a 10-year show-cause order from NCAA, meaning he cannot coach for the next nine years. Apparently Tyndall had his assistant coaches do course work for his players. Everyone knows thats what student managers are for, except when I was a manager, since I was worse at schoolwork than most all of our players.

Seriously though, a 10-year show-cause is basically a lifetime ban. He'll have to coach at an NAIA school or in junior college or high school if he wants to keep coaching.

4) Former Cal assistant Yann Hufnagel, who quit the Golden Bears last month because of a sexual harassment charge, has surfaced as an assistant at Nevada. Hufnagel is a very good recruiter and recruiters are very important people.

3) Oakland's pint-sized point guard Kay Felder is off to the NBA; I say he makes someone's roster.

2) Iowa State caught a big break when PG Monte Morris passed on the NBA Draft; Cyclones will have a lot of new players next year, at least now they still have a floor leader. Big X is a very tough league, but Iowa State, Oklahoma have to rebuild.

1) Domantas Sabonis is apparently heading to the NBA; boy, if I had the top pick in the draft, I'd seriously have a hard time passing him up, giving how productive he has been at Gonzaga and also his bloodlines-- his dad was one of the greatest players ever before he tore an Achilles in Europe.

Top of the NBA Draft is going to be very interesting this year.

Saturday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) Kid named Stripling made his MLB debut for the Dodgers at AT&T Park in San Francisco last night; he had a no-hitter with one out in 8th inning, there was a guy on first, Dodgers led 2-0 and Stripling had thrown 100 pitches, two years after having Tommy John surgery. What does the manager do?

He took him out, the reliever gave up a tying homer, Giants hit a walk-off HR in the ninth and social media in SoCal damn near imploded.

12) Manager Dave Roberts had to take the kid out; with five outs to go, he would've been up around 125-130 pitches if they let him finish, which would be managing malpractice this early in the season, espeially with a kid who had an arm operation two years ago. So now the Dodgers are 0-2 on the road.

11) 29 of 61 major league games played so far this week have seen the winning run score in the 7th inning or later, thats how important bullpens are now.

29 of 61 is not a percentage that will sustain over the whole season, but looks like the contending teams will need stronger bullpens than usual.

10) Trevor Story is running amok; Colorado's rookie SS now has six homers in four games- he is the first player EVER whose first four big league hits were all home runs. And he's a good fielder, too.

9) Cubs lost C/OF Kyle Schwarber for the season with a blown-out knee after an outfield collision in Arizona Thursday night. Nasty looking injury.

8) Robinson Cano has four home runs in his first four games; LY, during an injury-plagued season, he hit his 4th home run in his 71st game.

7) Seattle manager Scott Servais is the Mariners' 10th manager in the last 15 years; hasn't been a lot of continuity since Lou Piniella left town.

6) A's-White Sox game Thursday was the first game this season that was 0-0 after the fifth inning- you'll be surprised how many of these there are, over the course of a season. Playoff teams win all kinds of games, high and low scoring ones.

5) Josh Pastner goes from Memphis State to Georgia Tech to coach basketball; things had gotten ugly for him in Memphis, where the fanbase is ridiculously spoiled. He'll make $11M over six years at Tech, plus Mmphis will supplement that some over the next two years. Pastner is a good guy; we wish him well.

4) One of the fun things about college sports is that different schools are strong in different sports. Championship game at the Frozen Four tonight is Quinnipiac-North Dakota, not a matchup you'd expect to see, except in hockey.

3) Pistons 112, Wizards 99-- Stan Van Gundy has Detroit in the playoffs for the first time since 2009-- good for him.

2) Jets' OT D'Brickashaw Ferguson retired at age 32; in his whole time with the Jets, 10,708 offensive plays, Ferguson missed one play. One.

1) Justin Holiday plays for the Chicago Bulls; he played four years of college ball at Washington. In his junior year, he scored less than six points a game-- he scored 10.6 ppg as a senior, but he's worked his butt off and now he is in the NBA. Kids need to look at this-- leaving school before your skills are developed enough is career suicide. Way too many kids jump to the pros before they're ready- its a damn shame.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here......
13) If you see me in a sportsbook this week and you bet on an NHL game, do not sit next to me to watch it; twice in the last three nights, a guy sitting next to me lost his NHL bet when his team gave up the tying goal in the last 90 seconds, then lost in either OT or a shootout. No bueno.

12) Angels 4, Rangers 3-- This is why big league managers make big money and it is why they get fired. Game is tied 3-3, bottom 9th. Angels have men on 2nd and 3rd, two out and Trout is up, with Pujols up next. Do you pitch to Trout?

Texas walked Trout, Pujols crushed a ball off the wall in left-center and the Angels won. This is second time I can remember a team walking Trout to load the bases and faced Pujols with the game on the line. Both time Pujols delivered- pitch to Trout!!!

11) Giants 12, Dodgers 6-- LA led 4-0 in 5th inning, and it looked like they might go the whole season without giving up a run. Then the damn broke and Giants scored three in the 5th and four more in the 6th. Joe Panik, scored three, knocked in three.

10) Since 1985, the first round leader of The Masters has won the tournament only two times, in '08 and last year.

9) Ernie Els is one of the best golfers ever, but golf is hard. Els got a 9 on the first hole Thursday- he six-putted the hole. Not his finest moment. Els shot +8, an 81.

8) Wednesday at the Par-3 tournament, 80-year old Gary Player got a hole-in-one, fourth time he has done that at the Par-3 tournament.

7) Of the last ten NFL teams who traded the #1 pick in the draft, six had new GMs, who are more prone to want to stockpile picks to develop their team's depth.

6) North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz will be a first round pick; his QB coach with the Bison was Randy Hedberg, who played in the NFL with the '77 Buccaneers, who lost their first 12 games before finally winning the franchise's first-ever game against the Saints in the Superdome- they had been 0-26 up until then.

5) NFL schedule for 2016 gets released April 21 at 8:00, always an interesting thing to see, then analyze. As the old Vikings coach Bud Grant said, "It is not who you play, it is when you play them."

4) Orioles' Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson was in the TV booth for the NHL game in Washington last night, the Penguins-Nationals game. No idea why, just saw him up there on the big screen. I met Mr Robinson once a long time ago, just after he stopped playing, a very nice man, a real polite gentleman.

Bunch of us were watching an NFL game on TV and Brooks was there; I remember the Broncos were playing. Something weird happened in the game and he laughed, "I don't know how anyone can bet on those games." Amen.

3) Arizona Diamondbacks have worn four different jerseys in their first four games, the Padres three jerseys in their first three games; not sure what this accomplishes, but it doesn't help the team win. Arizona having eight sets of uniforms is just strange.

2) Suns 124, Rockets 115-- Gag job by Houston, losing at home to the putrid Suns. Rockets GM Daryl Morey is another one of these over-educated nitwits who doesn't think people matter, just numbers.

Accumulating talented players is not the same as building a cohesive team, it just isn't. Morey fired Kevin McHale after 11 games this year; he fired his D-League coach after the guy had two winning seasons in his only two years there. Karma is a bitch and losing to a horrendous team like Phoenix last night was payback for Morey.

1) Today would've been Catfish Hunter's 70th birthday; my favorite ballplayer as a kid, Hunter threw a perfect game in 1968, led the A's to three straight world titles from 1972-74, just a great clutch pitcher. He made my childhood a happier one.

Catfish knocked in three of the A's four runs in his perfect game against the Twins (Rich Reese struck out for the last out). He was also the losing pitcher in the 1967 All-Star Game, giving up a homer to Tony Perez in the 15th inning-- he was in his fifth inning on the mound. Today, his agent would've sued MLB for abusing his arm.

Catfish got revenge against Perez five years later, when Oakland beat the Reds in the 1972 World Series. Happy birthday, sir.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud......
13) Dodgers 7, Padres 0-- San Diego is first team ever to get shut out in its first three games of a season- they've been outscored 25-0 and if I was a Padre fan, it would tough for me not to think the season was over already.

If ever a team needed a series at Coors Field, it is the Padres- they play the Rockies in Denver starting Friday.

12) Dodgers are first team since the 1963 Cardinals to open a season with three straight shutouts- the '43 Cardinals started season with 26 consecutive scoreless innings. Alex Wood gets the nod or LA against the Giants tonight.

11) Colorado's rookie SS Trevor Story has four HRs in his first three games; he is the first player EVER whose first four big league hits were all home runs and he hasn't played at Coors Field yet.

10) Victor Martinez didn't start either game in Miami because they don't the DH in NL parks, but he pinch-hit in both games and homered both times, once rghty and once lefty. Pretty impressive.

9) Since John Hart took over the Atlanta Braves after the 2014 season, they've made 28 trades involving 89 players.

8) I still don't understand why pitchers bat 8th; it is nonsensical, but if Reds are going to bat their pitchers 8th, then they have to bat Joey Votto leadoff, right? He needs to get as many at-bats as possible on a bad team.

7) Yesterday was first time since May 9, 2014 that Miami Marlins, had both Jose Fernandez and Giancarlo Stanton in the same lineup on the same day.

6) Back when the Milwaukee Brewers played at outdoor County Stadium, when the Brewers hit a homer, mascot Bernie Brewer slid down a slide into a huge fake beer mug- it was very cool. Since the Brewers moved into a domed stadium, Bernie slides down a slide onto a ramp-- no fake beer mug.

Why? The damn ballpark is named Miller Park, as in Miller beer!!!!!

5) Arizona Diamondbacks loaded the bases 13 times in three games against the Rockies this week, thats an ominous nimber for a team with very shaky pitching.

4) Aubrey Dawkins transfers from Central Florida to Michigan, where he will play for his dad, former Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins, who is now at UCF.

3) Trump Hotel in Las Vegas doesn't have a casino in it.

2) Former Florida QB Will Grier transfers from the Gators to West Virginia, where he will be eligible to play starting in 2017.

1) Philadelphia 76ers finally put GM Sam Hinkie out of his misery, firing him and letting him say he "resigned", which he did in a 13-page, 7,000 word document that hopefully will guarantee he never gets another job in pro basketball.

This overeducated nitwit screwed up the Sixers so badly- he spent a first round pick on Joel Embiid, who played 23.1 mpg in his entire 28-game college career, his only season ended early by a sore back. He has yet to play one minute in the NBA.

Why did this tick me off? Because I never played college basketball, so I root for guys who rose thru the ranks and got great jobs. Hinkie has set back the cause of people like this ten or twenty years.

Wednesday's List of 13: Hsppy Hump Day, everyone......
13) Minnesota 124, Golden State 117 OT-- At the start of the overtime, you could've gotten +$300 on the Timberwolves to win. Didn't see a big rush to the windows to bet them, but Wiggins was terrific and Minnesota is now 26-52. Steph Curry was 7-25 as Warriors lost second home game in last three tries.

12) Still confused why TV networks insist on interviewing the losing coach after a championship game. Do you enjoy watching people suffer? Thats really what it is, and unless there was controversy in the game, it isn't necessary.

11) White Sox 5, A's 4-- Season starts with my A's losing two one-run games, continuing last year's dismal trend, when Oakland was 19-35 in one-run games.

10) Staggering amount of betting options here at the Westgate for the golf this week at The Masters. You can lay 9-1 that Jordan Spieth won't miss the cut, you can take over/under 73.5 for Brandt Snedeker's first round score. Lot of options.

9) Dodgers 3, Padres 0-- San Diego still hasn't scored a run, third time in franchise history they were blanked in their first two games. Other two years, they went on to lose 96, 102 games. No bueno.

8) Phil Jackson is pushing for Kurt Rambis to be given a multi-year deal to coach the Knicks-- I'm confused by this, but I confuse easily. Why hasn't anyone hired Tom Thibobeau to coach their team and I'm including college teams in this?

7) Rookie SS Trevor Story hit his third homer in his second MLB game; he is the first player since 1889 to hit two homers in his first game, then homer again the next day. Just wait until he gets to Coors Field.

6) Tim Duncan won his 1,000th NBA game last night; he ranks behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,074) and Robert Parish (1,014) on the all-time list.

5) To put that into perspective, five NBA franchises haven't won 1,000 games yet.

4) If you're ever in the Westgate Casino, I highly recommend the cherry danish in the coffee area by the gift shop. Tremendous.

3) The new sliding rules around second base are going to be a problem early in the season; not everyone seems sure exactly what they are. They called Nick Markakis out on a slide Monday night and it looked perfectly legal. Go figure; they try to eliminate any injuries and they wind up screwing things up more than they were.

2) Do you think the Rays will move to Montreal? They put 106,000 fans into Olympic Stadium last weekend, for two exhibition games. Rays aren't supported well enough in the Bay Area.

1) I complained last year about the Westgate Sportsbook having cocktail waitresses old enough to be my mother and I am 56. I am here to report that this issue has been resolved and resolved in an emphatically positive way.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) Villanova 77, North Carolina 74-- One of the great championship games ever played in NCAA tournament, an ending that will be remembered forever. A great advertisement for the sport.

12) The swing in emotions in a Las Vegas sportsbook during a game like that is fun to watch; was next to a sharp gambler who had Villanova and the under- the Marcus Paige 3-pointer cost him his under bet-- he took that loss like an adult and was rewarded by Villanova covering.

11) Mike Krzyzewski had knee replacement surgery on Sunday; who has surgery on a Sunday?

10) I had no idea Shaquille O'Neal wasn't in the Basketball Hall of Fame already; what took so long? He appeared in Wrestlemania before his election.

9) UAB hired from within, replacing Jerod Haase with assistant Rob Ehsan.

Vanderbilt hired Bryce Drew away from Valparaiso.

8) I'm driving down the Strip Sunday night, and a guy dressed in full Superman costume is walking alongside my car, carrying only a crowbar. Only in Las Vegas.

7) Random fact: Apparently Al Roker and Lenny Kravitz are cousins.

6) It snowed in the Northeast this week and baseball season started. A team in Texas that plays its home games in a dome got rained out in the Bronx yesterday. Why in the name of Willard Scott was this series not played in Houston?

There are seven dome teams in the majors; those seven, the five California teams, and the Rangers should open at home every damn year, just for weather's sake.

5) Rookie shortstop Trevor Story homered twice in his MLB debut as Colorado won in Arizona. Story looks like a terrific prospect, but sometime this year, they'll also get Jose Reyes back from whatever suspension he gets. Reyes makes $22M a year- they'll have to trade Reyes, right?

4) Mets-Royals series was put at the start of the season before the teams met in the World Series LY. Schedules for the next season come out in August.

3) Pirates gave Gregory Polanco a 5-year, $35M extension; glad to see them spend some money to keep their nucleus intact.

2) Ben Revere left the Nationals' opener yesterday, but Washington doesn't release injury information during a game- they said it was a ribcage injury after the game.

1) Sonny Gray got scratched from his start with food poisoning; Rich Hill was less than brilliant as a replacement. No word on when Gray will pitch next.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend......
13) Notes for tonight's national title game:

Since '87, #1-seeds are 6-0 vs #2-seeds in national final (4-2 vs spread, covering last four).

Since '85, six teams won national semifinal games by 18+ points. Underdogs covered five of six national finals those years.

ACC, Big East teams split 12 games this season; favorites were 9-3 vs spread in those games.

12) Of the 20 kids who started in the Final Four Saturday, 10 were seniors, a much higher total than in recent seasons.

11) Bronx Bombers were last in a World Series in 2009; they spent $1,273,295,558 in payroll since then.

Angels haven't won playoff game since 2009; that's $852,409,866 in salary paid out since they last won a playoff game.

10) Jimmy Butler became third Chicago Bull to get a triple double, with 28+ points, 15+ rebounds and 10+ assists. The other two? Scottie Pippen, Reggie Theus.

9) Brett Favre spoke to LSU's football team last week; considering how lame the Tigers have been at developing QBs, he should've been doing some coaching, too.

8) Bob Feller is only major league pitcher ever to toss a no-hitter on Opening Day.

7) Funny how some baseball teams break camp with 13 pitchers, others with 12. Not lot of pinch-hitting moves to make if you only have four bench players, one of whom is your backup catcher, who you generally do not use.

This will make me sound old, but in the early 70's, when Dick Williams managed the A's, they usually went with nine pitchers early in the season-- his starters went deep into games, and relief pitchers pitched more than one inning at a time back then.

6) Dan Straily is a marginal big league starting pitcher; in the last 10 days, he was traded from Houston to San Diego, and then was picked up on waivers by the Reds. Straily makes the big league minimum; he might have a wife and kids- they don't know what direction to head in for Opening Day. Has to be a stressful time for him, but at least with the Reds, he knows they need him, so he'll be in the big leagues all season.

5) Former A's 3rd base coach Mike Gallego was fired last year, used as a scapegoat for Oakland's lousy season; he is now Director of Baseball Development for the rival Angels- he works extensively with the Halos' farm teams.

4) Los Angeles Kings sold out their last 200 home games; thats what happens when you win two championships- more people go to the games.

3) Texas Rangers have a pitcher named Matt Bush who was once the top pick in the big league draft, but later ran into legal problems and spent four years in jail. Imagine him and Ranger OF Josh Hamilton trading horror stories about their experiences?

2) Quite a week for Jim Nantz; does the national championship game tonight, then goes right to Augusta National for The Masters on Thursday.

1) New York Post had its seven baseball writers pick the World Series winner; they came up with seven different teams. Should be an interesting season. Enjoy.

Sunday's List of 13: Brief look at all the AL teams......
Orioles-- From 1998--2011, O's were under .500 every year. Under Showalter, they're 62 games over .500 since '12, thats what a great manager Showalter is. Adding Mark Trumbo should help, but their starting pitching is shaky.

Red Sox-- Shaw beat out Sandoval at 3B; Boston owes Sandoval $72.6M over next four years. Next year he'll be the DH with Ortiz retiring. They also owe Rusney Castillo $60M over next five years and he doesn't start. Adding Price/Kimbrel elevates the pitching.

White Sox-- Added Frazier/Lawrie to give Abreu protection in lineup; LaRoche retired after hitting .207. Sox are 62 games under .500 last three years-- manager Ventura somehow kept his job. 37-year old SS Rollins takes over from departed Ramirez; not sure that is an upgrade.

Indians-- One article this spring said Tribe has best rotation in big leagues. Kluber went from 18-9 in '14 to 9-16 LY; he gave up eight more HRs (22-14) LY. Francona has been over .500 all three years in Cleveland, but win totals also decreased last two years.

Tigers-- Over next four years, Detroit has $226M wrapped up in Verlander, Cabrera; when Mike Pelfrey is your #4 starter (they dealt Price LY), pitching is a concern. Justin Upton takes over in LF, Anthony Gose in CF- they've regressed a little.

Astros-- Over last four years, no Astro has played more than 105 games in any season at 1B; White beat out fellow prospect Reed at 1B this spring. Houston's 1-3 hitters are all 26 or younger, but three of five starting pitchers are 31+, with McCullers on DL.

Royals-- World Champs have new RF in rookie Fuentes, who was 5-33 in '13 cameo with San Diego. Four of five starting pitchers are 30+. LY, seven Royals were represented by Scott Boras, and their payroll went up $20M. Heavy is the head that wears the crown.

Angels-- Big $$$ team made playoffs once in last six years, were swept that one year- they've paid $852,409,866 in salaries since its last playoff win. Improved left side of infield, adding pair of SSs in Escobar/Simmons, but who will play LF?

Twins--Went 83-79 LY, first winning season since 2010; they were in playoffs three times in last decade, but got swept 3-0 in all three series. Payroll jumped $23M LY- they signed Korean DH Park this winter. have several versatile players; who will play SS?

Bronx-- Made playoffs 18 of last 21 years, but won World Series once since 2000; Bronx fans have to be wondering why owners sit back and don't make many moves, while fans get charged big $$$ to watch a team that is only 26 games over .500 last three years. Payroll spent since last World Series title: $1,273,295,558.

A's-- Bottom fell out LY, going 68-94 after three straight playoff years. Need quality starting pitching, guys who can be depended upon to 6+ innings every game- takes strain off bullpen. Oakland should score more runs this year; they've fortified the bullpen, Doubront was supposed to be #5 starter, but hurt arm Saturday.

Mariners-- New GM, new manager after going 437-535 in previous six seasons; Cano played hurt LY, should rebound this year, but after Felix/Iwakuma, how good is their rotation? Felix Hernandez has pitched 200+ innings last eight years, 190+ two years before that, so he is as dependable a pitcher as there is in the majors.

Rays-- Always do more with less; LY was second time they ever had a payroll higher than $75M, but they've been under .500 last two years, after making playoffs four of last six years. Two games in Montreal this weekend drew 106,000; could Rays relocate?

Rangers-- Been 12+ games over .500 five of last six years, came so close to winning World Series when Washington was manager. Payroll was $141M+ LY; it was $92M+ in 2011, so new owners are stepping up with financial support. Six of nine projected starters are 30+ years old, so future is now in Arlington.

Blue Jays-- This is first time since 1970 no Canadian teams will be in Stanley Cup playoffs, so focus will be on Jays early on, and the expectations are very high north of border. Jays made playoffs LY for first time since 1993; how good is rotation with Price gone?

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here......
13) Quote of the Day, part 2, from Rush Limbaugh, which pretty much sums up what a lot of people are thinking about politics these days:

"I don't know what to do here today ....... I mean, if you want a campaign slogan for 2016, it would be, 'Everybody sucks.'"

12) Bernie Sanders raised $108.8M in the first three months of 2016; this guy might still be campaigning after the election is over. A 74-year old Socialist raised $109M in three months-- what an indictment of every other person in this Presidential race.

11) Was talking to a friend of mine the other day who said, "It doesn't matter. They're all liars." Sad but true sentiment, thats how we view our nation's "leaders".

10) CNBC's Andrea Mitchell did some fact-checking: Hillary Clinton banked $300M in contributions from oil/gas companies, Bernie Sanders $53M.

On to stuff I like better and know more about.......
9) Memphis Grizzlies set an NBA record by using 28 players this year; funny thing is, they're probably going to make the playoffs anyway- you'd figure a team with that much turnover would be falling apart. Nice coaching job by Dave Joerger.

8) The average fan would be surprised by how little yelling/shouting goes on in locker rooms before basketball games and at halftime. Halftime is short; adjustments are made, guys get hydrated, there is only so much yelling a coach can do over the course of a long season before the players stop listening.

7) People bet on spring training games, but in some games, an AL team might use the DH, while the NL team in same game has its pitchers hit. Small advantage there. If a team doesn't care whether it wins/loses, I'd be hesitant to bet on that game.

6) Basketball coaching carousel: Jim Engles bolts from NJIT to Columbia. Detroit let Ray McCallum go; Titans hadn't been same since Ray McCallum Jr played there. Portland named former Pistons coach Terry Porter its new head coach.

5) Texas Longhorns turned down a chance for another trip to China next fall, in order to play in a tournament at Barclays Center in Brooklyn with Northwestern, Notre Dame and Colorado. Pretty good tournament.

4) If you bring your cellphone into The Masters at Augusta National, you're likely to get tossed and then banned for life from the golf course. Banned for life seems a bit harsh, but they're pretty serious about having no phones on the course.

3) Maryland's football team lost defensive coordinator Scott Shafer, who resigned for personal reasons before he ever coached a game for the Terps. Shafer was the head coach at Syracuse the last three seasons.

2) Nevada 85, Morehead State 82 OT-- wins CBI championship. Not too fond of the best-of-3 finals format, but these teams played really good games.

1) Knicks 105, Nets 91-- Nice of the NBA to have the Lopez brothers play each other on April 1, which happens to be the twins' birthday.

Friday's List of 13: Happy April Fools' Day........
13) On Selection Sunday, someone in NCAA headquarters confused Southern Cal with South Carolina (both USC) and texted South Carolina that they had made the NCAA tournament, when in fact they had not. No bueno. Wouldn't have wanted to be the person who had to explain that miscue to the Gamecocks.

12) Oklahoma plays Villanova Saturday, but on Tuesday, they'll be down a couple of assistant coaches. Steve Henson goes to Tex-San Antonio, Lew Hill to Rio Grande Valley in the Southland Conference. Thats the price of winning.

11) The Final Four is at NRG Stadium in Houston, a dome where the Texans play their NFL games. In the last 13 basketball games played there, favorites are 11-2 vs the spread, under is 8-4-1.

10) Over last 30 years, teams with an 8-seed or worse are 1-3-1 vs spread in national semifinal games, when not playing against each other.

9) Over last 30 years, when teams from same conference meet in national semifinals, the better team won/covered three of the four games.

8) George Washington 76, Valparaiso 60-- GW wins the NIT, but they shouldn't get too happy; the coach who won last year's NIT has already been fired. Stanford fired Johnny Dawkins, who has already resurfaced at Central Florida.

Switching over to baseball..........
7) Travis Shaw beats out Pablo Sandoval as 3B in Boston. Sandoval showed up to spring training more out of shape than usual, and now he will sit.

6) As far as I know, Mike Leake (#8), Marcus Stroman (#6) are only major league starting pitchers with a single digit uniform number. Reliever Adam Ottavino also wears 0 for the Rockies.

5) They put 11,025 fans in Cashman Field in Las Vegas last night for a Mets-Cubs game, listed as a sellout. They have another exhibition game there this afternoon.

4) Bronx TV analyst David Cone joined Royals analyst Rex Hudler in blaming Ruben Tejada for the broken leg Tejada incurred when Chase Utley slid hard into second base in LY's playoffs. Angels' analyst Mark Gubicza took the opposite viewpoint, so apparently the slide is kid of a gray area, even amongst ex-players.

3) Bronx reliever Andrew Miller suffered a chip fracture in his right (non-throwing) wrist when he got hit by a line drive Thursday. With Aroldis Chapman suspended for the first 30 games, Bronx doesn't need Miller on the DL in April.

2) Jockey Calvin Borel retired this week, with 5,136 wins, a great career.

1) I felt so old Thursday; I'm getting my hair buzzed, doesn't take too long, but while I'm there, an ad for comedian Steven Wright's appearance in Albany comes on the radio. Neither of the girls working in the hair salon know who he is. Wright is a brilliant comedian with a deadpan delivery- he also won an Oscar as a film producer; he is a brilliant guy, very funny, but at age 60, he's not well known by younger people. Oy. .

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud......
13) NBA coaches make a lot of money; but when you read about D'Angelo Russell secretly taping a conversation with a teammate, where the teammate admits cheating on his girlfriend, and then the tape goes public, you realize that some of these teams are traveling circuses where 19-year old millionaires can blow the whole team up.

12) Some football people tweeted Wednesday, ".....he (Russell) is lucky he isn't on a football team, or else........"; well if he played football, he'd still be in college, since football players can't bolt for the NFL until they have three years in college. Growing up emotionally is a big part of why staying in college is often a good idea.

11) If you're the Lakers, don't you have to trade Russell? He has a lot of talent, but it'll take a lot to rebuild trust between his teammates and himself. Dicey situation.

10) Apple and Major League Baseball signed a multi-year deal to equip teams with stats, matchups, video stuff in the dugout area. Baseball is a game of numbers, so much so that you can drown in them- different teams use them different ways.

9) Cubs averaged 15,000+ fans for their spring training home games this month.

8) Oakland Grizzlies started five lefties in a game this week; don't see that a lot.

7) Oakland sharpshooter Max Hooper (he hasn't taken a 2-point shot all year), lost his dad last month. Chip Hooper was once manager of the Dave Matthews Band- his loss has been felt both in the Oakland community and in the music world.

6) Billy Donovan's first head coaching job was at Marshall in 1994, but before he took the job, Mike Brey (then a Duke assistant) turned it down. Brey became coach at Delaware the next year. Both guys have obviously had great careers.

5) Coaching carousel: Travis Ford to Saint Louis, Kyle Smith from Columbia to San Francisco, Zach Spiker from Army to Drexel.

Random fact: Travis Ford appeared in the movie The Sixth Man, playing role of Danny O'Grady. Ford coached at UMass, Eastern Kentucky before Oklahoma State.

4) Nevada 77, Morehead State 68-- Wolf Pack outscored Morehead 27-13 on the foul line, reversing Game 1 results; Eagles were 1-18 on arc in a physical game that saw tempers flare couple times. Decisive Game 3 of series is Friday night in Reno.

3) Old Dominion 68, Oakland 67-- Monarchs had 16 offensive rebounds, were +16 on boards as they won first Vegas 16 tournament, an event with only eight teams in it. Oakland allowed the CBS TV crew incredible access; the sideline reporter sat next to coach Greg Kampe and talked to him for a couple possessions each game, while the game was being played.

2) Good news for Jose Reyes and much more importantly, my fantasy baseball team; domestic violence charges against Reyes will be dropped- his wife won't cooperate with authorities. Reyes makes $22M a year, so the couple stood to lose a fortune if the trial went on as scheduled (Monday), but he isn't totally off the hook yet.

Unfortunately, Reyes might still be suspended by MLB, which suspended Aroldis Chapman 30 games, but then declined to suspend Yasiel Puig for domestic violence incidents. In the meantime, the shortstop for the Armadillos will be Marcus Semien, who hopefully won't get arrested before the season starts.

1) NFL linebacker Sean Weatherspoon was moving last week; during the move, his fiancee found an uncashed game check from last year, worth $138,235. Must be nice that you don't cash all your paychecks and don't notice the difference.

Wednesday's List of 13: Happy Hump Day, everyone.......
Today, a quick comment/thought on every National League team, with baseball season starting up in a few days.......

Arizona-- Spent ton of $$$ in off-season, adding Zach Greinke, are winning awful lot of spring training games, which means bupkus. We'll see starting Monday. Jean Segura looked like Ty Cobb this spring, after hitting .257 in Milwaukee LY.

Atlanta-- Last year at Turner Field, open fancy new stadium in Cobb County in 2017, are building a team that will be strong when they get there. Of their 30 top prospects in minor leagues, they've traded for 15 of them, by far most in majors.

Cubs-- Made playoffs last year, now expectations are off the charts; having a mime lead stretching exercises and doing fun things to break up the monotony of a long year might get old if Cubs struggle early on. They're favored to win World Series.

Reds-- In serious rebuild mold; Reds' TV guys are complaining that Joey Votto might walk 200 times, with Todd Frazier gone. If so, why not just bat him leadoff? If your Opening Day starter is Raisel Iglesias, no disrespect, but.....that not good.

Rockies-- Last five years, are combined 120 games under .500. Traded Tulowitzki for a SS who makes as much money and is now suspended for domestic violence-- what sense did that make? Top pitching prospect Gray may start season on the DL.

Dodgers-- New manager in Dave Roberts; plenty of injuries on pitching staff. Still amuses me that LA has a huge payroll, but justin Turner bats third, a guy the Mets just didn't want. How good is Japanese pitching import Maeda?

Marlins-- Mattingly is new manager, Barry Bonds is hitting coach, but they won't be playing. Need to keep Stanton/Fernandez healthy. Moved some of fences in, lowered others, which was overdue. Have only made playoffs twice, but won WS both times.

Brewers-- New GM looks like he is 15; another rebuilding team, despite being over .500 three of last five years. Will they trade Lucroy/Braun to fortify their farm system as they rebuild for the future?

Mets-- Defending NL champs have new DP combo, same fine rotation. Curious to see if Washington can challenge them, since rest of division looks lame. David Wright got late start to spring; who plays 3B if his back flares up again?

Phillies-- Maikel Franco has eight homers this spring, most in majors. Still saddled with Ryan Howard's ludicrous contract- he hit .229 LY and he can't defend. Phillies' second run next week will be the 90,000th run in franchise history.

Pirates-- Clint Hurdle managed in playoffs in four of his last eight years as a manager, while with Rockies/Pirates- why did Colorado let him go? Can Pirates get another .370 OB% out of catcher Cervelli? Josh Harrison replaces traded Walker at 2B.

Cardinals-- Have been in playoffs last five years and 12 of last 16. When do they get Yadier Molina back to full strength? Is Ruben Tejada good enough to man SS until Peralta gets back after All-Star break? Mike Leake should help the rotation.

Padres-- Ross-Shields-Cashner is really strong top 3 of rotation. Will Alexei Ramirez be solid at SS? They've also moved some of fences in. Padres are hoping Myers can be solid at 1B and that Jon Jay can anchor the outfield in CF.

Giants-- Its an even-numbered year, so.....Bumgarner is only starting pitcher who is under 30- they added Cueto/Samardzija, but Samardzija was awful LY with White Sox. Hopefully people realize what a great manager Bruce Bochy is.

Nationals-- Dusty Baker is the new skipper, after team went 83-79 and missed the playoffs for second time in last four years. It is a contract year for Strasburg, so if he has a big year, scumweasel agent Scott Boras will ask for the moon next winter.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Some concern for the Mets; Matt Harvey was scratched from today's start with some sort of non-baseball medical situation. This was supposed to be the tuneup for his Opening Night start in Kansas City. Hopefully it is not serious.

12) Mets and Cubs are headed to Las Vegas for exhibition games Thursday/Friday at Cashman Field in downtown Vegas. Always enjoy going to minor league games there while I'm in Las Vegas- the Mets' AAA team plays there.

11) Old friend Nick Swisher got released by Atlanta Monday; when a bad team cuts you, it could be the end of the line. Always liked Swisher when he played for the A's and even after; seems like a good-natured guy.

10) Was watching Rangers-Dodgers last night; in my opinion, Orel Hershiser is the best TV analyst in baseball. Very smart, you learn stuff from him but he still keeps his sense of humor. Ron Darling is also very good and there are others: Mark Gubicza, Tom Grieve, Bob Brenly that to me stand out above the rest.

9) Oklahoma basketball coach Lon Kruger was a really good baseball player; he was drafted by the Astros in 1970, the Cardinals in 1974 and played one year of minor league ball in the St Louis system, before he found his calling as a coach.

8) My opinion on retired baseball players complaining about the current players showing off: Please be quiet. Just stop. Shut up. No one wants to hear guys from the past sound like Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino-- "Get off my lawn!!!!"

7) Georgia Tech is targeting Duke assistant Jeff Capel for its head coaching job, but if you're Capel's friend, don't you tell him to pass on this job? Being at Duke, he will get plenty more head coaching offers (he has been a head coach, at VCU, Oklahoma). Georgia Tech seems like a hard place to win, the way the ACC is set up now.

6) Santa Ckara was brilliant in hiring Herb Sendek as its coach; they'll be happy.

UNLV fired alum Dave Rice on January 10, then stumbled thru 11 weeks of looking like incompetent administrators, before finally hiring Little Rock's Chris Beard. Fans will like Beard's fiery demeanor; looks like he can coach, but its going to take time to rebuild a roster that has been ravaged by attrition the last few months.

5) Former UConn coach Jim Calhoun picked Oklahoma to win the national title while appearing on ESPNU Monday.

4) NIT semifinals tonight: BYU-Valparaiso, George Washington-San Diego State.

3) Next few weeks we'll hear a lot about kids transferring, coaches getting new jobs. Some of next winter's games will be won or lost this spring; teams have so little on their benches, if they lose a couple kids unexpectedly, and don't replace them with good players, they will wind up like Duke was this seasonl with only six players you trust. Teams like that don't last long in March.

2) Green Bay Packers rarely sign veteran free agents away from other teams, but they signed TE Jared Cook Monday. I'll try to be nice here, but Cook got a lot of money in free agency from the Rams a few years back and did little to justify the expense. Now he has Aaron Rodgers throwing to him, which has to help a great deal, but iif he doesn't get open more than he did in St Louis, even that won't matter.

1) Syracuse lost to St John's this season.........
St John's lost to College of the Incarnate Word.....
College of the Incarnate Word lost to Our Lady of the Lake.....
Our Lady of the Lake lost to Oklahoma Arts & Sciences......

What would the spread be if Syracuse played Oklahoma Arts & Sciences?

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend.......
13) Syracuse 68, Virginia 62-- Over last 30 years, when teams from same conference meet in a regional final, the lower seed is 8-4 SU, 10-2 vs spread. Virginia led this game 54-39 with 9:32 left, before their epic collapse began. Syracuse is the first double-digit seed to make the Final Four since VCU five years ago.

12) North Carolina 88, Notre Dame 74-- Carolina shot 61.5% inside arc- they made 15-33 on arc this weekend. Tar Heels beat Syracuse by 5-11 points in two meetings this season, UNC was 8-40 on arc against the Orangemen this season. Next week is a dome setting, better suited for a zone defense.

11) Early Final Four line: North Carolina -9.5 over Syracuse

Over last 31 years, when teams from same conference meet in Final Four, higher seed is 3-3. St John's/Georgetown were both #1 seeds when they met in '85.

10) Pitt hired Kevin Stallings away from Vandy, hire that got mixed reviews- some suggest that Vanderbilt was about to can Stallings anyway, after their lackluster loss in the play-in game. He's been at Vandy 17 years; is 35-37 in SEC play last four years.

Considering how Vanderbilt gets treated like a pinata in football, you'd think they'd throw Stallings a parade, but apparently not, and that is why he left for Pitt.

9) Weird sidebar to Vandy-Pitt story: Sheldon Jeter is a 6-8 junior for Pitt; he started his college career at Vanderbilt-- when he wanted to transfer back home to Pitt, it was blocked by Stallings. Now the kid is playing for him again, unless he wants to transfer. I'm guessing the NCAA would give him a waiver if he wants to transfer again, without him having to sit out a year.

8) Good to see Lon Kruger, Jay Wright make Final Four; I'm told they're good guys that everyone likes. Kruger made the Final Four with Florida way back in 1994, has coached the Atlanta Hawks- he might be the most underrated coach in the game.

7) Looks like hitters will try to bunt more to beat the shift; Jay Bruce did it against the Dodgers yesterday. How many times will have a hitter have to take a free basehit by bunting, before teams don't shift against him anymore?

6) Diamondbacks have won 20+ spring training games; but it means zero, bupkus. Could it sell some extra season tickets? Maybe, but otherwise it means nothing. You can tell their TV guys want to talk about it, but sometimes it raises expectations to a stupid high level. Arizona spent a lot of $$$ last winter; we'll see if it helped.

5) Colorado Rockies look like they've got a keeper in rookie SS Trevor Story, which makes the Jose Reyes debacle an intriguing one. Reyes goes on trial over his domestic abuse charges next week in Hawai'i- considering he makes $22M this year and next, they'd probably be just as happy if he got suspended for the year- he's not tradeable, not at age 33, with a history of hamstring problems.

4) Cardinals' coach Jose Oquendo is taking medical leave after knee surgery; he's both the third base coach and infield instructor- he will be missed.

3) Actress Condola Rashad, whose character Kate works in the prosecutor's office in Showtime's Billions, is the daughter of Ahmad and Felicia Rashad.

2) Columbia beat NJIT 80-65, Cal-Irvine whacked Coastal Carolina 66-47 in CIT.

1) One week until Opening Day; make sure you log on every day for information on each and every baseball game, thru the World Series. Pitchers/umpires/team trends, it will be all be there.

Sunday's List of 13: Happy Easter to those you believe.......
13) Oklahoma 80, Oregon 68-- Sooners made 12-24 on arc, jumped out quickly and made quick work of the Ducks. Buddy Hield scored 37, made 8-13 on arc and was too much for Oregon, which got only seven points from Dillon Brooks.

12) Villanova 64, Kansas 59-- Strange stat: since 2003, #2-seeds are now 13-5 against #1-seeds SU in regional finals.

Teams combined to go 10-40 on arc in this brickfest. Jayhawks got zero bench points in this game. Bupkus. Bill Self is 2-4 in regional finals; he was favored in all six games.

11) Was reminded yesterday of Jeff Van Gundy's wish that any 3-point shot that is banked in only count as two points. I wouldn't be against that.

10) Greedy bastard update: Gas is back up to $2.29 in beautiful downtown Colonie, after it had gotten down to $2.03 last month. I'm told gas was in $1.60's in Ohio this winter. Price here went up a dime in one day here-- greedy bastards.

9) Home plate ump in Toronto-Philly game Friday looks like he is 15 years old; guy got drilled by a foul ball, he takes his mask off and I'm like, "Why is a kid umping the plate in a big league game?" They said his name; he is already in the majors, too.

8) I'm not a big fan of Reds' TV guy Thom Brennaman; he is brutally honest, but for a spring training game, thats good, because you learn stuff about the Reds' roster you might need for fantasy baseball. Cincinnati is in a major rebuild mode.

He and Chris Walsh were whining about the Reds playing three night games in Wrigley field on their first road trip-- guess they don't like cold weather.

7) Atlanta-Colorado-Milwaukee-Cincinnati-- lot of NL teams are rebuilding.

6) Brennaman was killing the Reds' lineup, saying because no one good hits behind Joey Votto, he is likely to draw 200+ walks this season. Votto won't expand his zone to avoid walks, he just lets pitchers walk him. Maybe he should bat leadoff.

5) Fact of Life: baseball players get hurt a lot, thats hard part of fantasy baseball, it is so aggravating. Brewers lost reliever Will Smith this weekend: he tore the LCL in his knee, when he was putting his shoe on. Seriously.

Imagine if you owned the Brewers and were paying Will Smith $1.475M this year and he blows his knee out putting his shoes on? He is a professional athlete!!!! Oy.

4) Singer Huey Lewis was in uniform and in the Giants' dugout Saturday; no word on whether he got hurt putting his shoes on, and Lewis is 65.

3) Rumors have Pitt Panthers going after Vandy coach Kevin Stallings, who has done well with the Commodores, going 332-220 there, 138-142 in SEC play. Vandy loses so much in football that 138-142 sounds like a great record-- Stallings has been there for 17 years. I'm not even sure Pitt is a better hoop job than Vanderbilt, money aside. Pretty sure he would get a substantial raise in Pittsburgh.

2) Early spread for next weekend: Villanova -1.5 over Oklahoma.

1) CIT tournament has a great mascot matchup today: Cal-Irvine is down south to play Coastal Carolina, the Anteaters against the Chanticleers. Top that.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind......
13) Notre Dame 61, Wisconsin 56-- Irish outscored last two opponents 14-3 in last minute of the game, sneaking by SF Austin/Wisconsin. Now Notre Dame plays UNC, which beat them by 31 three weeks ago in Washington, at ACC tournament. Irish did beat Tar Heels in South Bend 80-76 during the regular season.

12) Syracuse 63, Gonzaga 60-- Last week was best first weekend tournament has had; Sweet 16 wasn't as good, except for this game and ND-Wisconsin. Syracuse lost at Virginia 73-65 back in January, despite Orange going 13-30 on arc; teams play again Sunday at 6:00, with a trip to the Final Four in Houston up for grabs.

11) Virginia 84, Iowa State 71-- Cyclone squad that was #4 in country in experience got run off floor here, now has major rebuilding job, playing in a brutal league. Virginia shot 61% inside arc; Iowa State had no depth, hard to press that way and get back in the game. Last time all four #1 seeds made it to Elite 8: 2009.

10) North Carolina 101, Indiana 86-- In regional finals since 2005, teams seeded #6 or lower are 11-2 vs spread-- both non-covers were favored- that trend would favor the Fighting Irish Sunday. Last team to score 100 points in Sweet 16 game was Kentucky in 2012, also against Indiana. Hoosiers had an outstanding season, though.

9) Regional final spreads: Virginia -8.5 vs Syracuse.
Kansas -2.5 vs Villanova.....Oregon -1 vs Oklahoma........UNC -9.5 vs Notre Dame

8) Coaching carousel: Jerod Haase jumps from UAB to Stanford.

Tulane hired 62-year old Mike Dunleavy Sr, who has never coached college ball, but has coached three NBA teams.

7) Flip side: Georgia Tech canned Brian Gregory after five years, one night after Gregory was guest analyst on CBS College Sports.

Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin told UNLV to take a hike, using them as leverage to try and get better facilities built for his Bearcats. Leading candidate for the UNLV coaching job appears to be New Mexico State's Marvin Menzies.

6) Speaking of CBS College Sports, Danny Granger has a future on TV; he's done a good job on their studio show this month.

5) Wisconsin's Ethan Happ is the cousin of major league pitcher JA Happ.

4) Major league position players must be going nuts as Opening Day nears; spring training is so damn long because pitchers need to get their arms ready. Hitters do not need 30+ games to ready for the season- then once the season starts, lot of the games will be in much colder weather. which takes a big adjustment.

3) Mets are using Wilmer Flores some at 1B; you wonder if he'll become a utility guy once Asdrubel Cabrera gets healthy and becomes the Mets' SS.

2) Regional final pointspread trends by region:
-- East final: favorites covered four of last five.
-- South final: favorites covered six of last nine.
-- Midwest final: underdogs are 8-5 vs spread in last 13
-- West final: underdogs are 15-3 vs spread in last 18.

1) Guatemala has fewer people than Los Angeles; who knew?

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.......
13) Oregon 82, Duke 68-- ACC is 12-3 in NCAA's; 12-1 vs seeds 7 or lower, 0-2 vs #6 or better seeds. Duke was 7-22 on arc; last three teams to beat Oregon combined to shoot over 60% from downtown. Duke has never made a Final Four out of the West.

12) Kansas 79, Maryland 63-- Diamond Stone played only 21:00 and took four shots for the Terps, who were outrebounded 43-28. Terps wound up going 5-6 in their last 11 games; disappointing end for a team that figures to lose several guys to the pros.

11) Oklahoma 77, Texas A&M 63-- Aggies' comeback was hurt by their 13-24 night on foul line; they were down 19 at the half. Sooners made 11-25 on arc, made 52.7% of its 2-point shots. A&M was lucky to beat Northern Iowa last weekend; reality set in here against a veteran Oklahoma squad with one of the best coaches in the country.

10) Villanova 92, Miami 69-- Was probably a rough night for TV ratings, four cruddy games; Wildcats pulled away from 43-37 halftime lead and jogged here. Villanova has scored 88.3 ppg in winning first three tournament games.

9) Stat of the Day: Since 2003, #2-seeds are 11-5 SU vs #1-seeds in regional finals. Underdogs are 9-7 vs spread in those games.

8) All the #1-seeds are favored in this round; last time a #1-seed was an underdog in a r egional semifinal was 2005, when Washington (+1.5) lost 93-79 to Louisville.

7) There is a new 8-team tournament at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas starting Monday; games are being shown all day on CBS Sports Network. These teams haven't played in at least two weeks, in some cases three- tough games to handicap.

Oakland is playing Towson, Louisiana Tech vs East Tennessee State, Old Dominion vs Tennessee Tech and UCSB-Northern Illinois- those are first round games.

6) Robert Griffin III signed with Cleveland; Browns have a game in Washington this fall, so that might be a Monday night game now. Curious to see if Griffin can stay healthy for a whole season; the Vegas over/under on his starts this year: 9.5.

5) When RGIII starts for the Browns next fall, he'll be Cleveland's 25th starting QB since 1999; Dallas has had 19 since then, second-highest total in NFL.

4) Over/unders on Brock Osweiler: 3,750 passing yards, 25.5 TD passes.

3) Red Sox are playing Toronto two games in Montreal next weekend; they've already sold 106,000 tickets for the two games, as Montreal clamors for baseball to return to Quebec. Wonder how many of the 106,000 are Red Sox fans from south of border.

2) Colorado Rockies' AA farm team in the Eastern League is in Hartford; they're the Yard Goats. Curious to see what the hats look like. Hartford Yard Goats.

1) Quote of the Day, part II from newly-minted comedian Mitt Romney:

“Donald Trump has had several foreign wives. It turns out that there really are jobs Americans won’t do.”

If Mr Romney tried this hard when he actually ran for President himself, maybe he would've won. I've always heard Mormons are nice people; now? Not so much.

I'll say one last thing; if there is a guy out there who wouldn't be happier than hell to have Melania Trump hanging on his arm, I'd be surprised. If you don't like Donald Trump, that makes sense, but his wife seems like a nice lady-- she babysat for Ted Cruz' kids during one of the Republican debates. Go figure.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud........
13) People in Idaho were waiting on line for three hours to vote in the primary there on Tuesday night; I wouldn't wait on line for three hours to vote for myself.

12) HBO announced its team for Hard Knocks this summer: the Los Angeles Rams, so I'll get an inside look at my favorite team. Hopefully they'll focus a little more on how the team moved and settled in to LA, giving it a little variety from most years.

11) Alexei Ramirez has been in major leagues eight years, is 34 years old, but still speaks no English; has to be difficult to live in a country where you don't speak the language, but then again, if he hasn't learned English, he must be able to get by. He has earned roughly $40M in his career, so his translator is probably very well-paid.

10) Former Louisville Cardinal Russ Smith scored 65 points in a D-League game last night; just a reminder of how hard it is to make an NBA roster. All these kids who bolt college early to go pro; many of them are in for a rude awakening.

9) Los Angeles Clipper players have 38 technical fouls this year, most in NBA.

8) Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos went 7-20 with three homers since he had Lasix surgery last week; it helps to be able to see the ball.

7) Minnesota Twins played RF Miguel Sano the whole game Wednesday, which is unsuual; they were hoping someone would hit a ball to rightfield so his defense could be tested, but it never happened. In reality, I could've stood out there and done same thing Sano did- nothing. Twins obviously think highly of him, though.

6) Iona and Dayton gave their basketball coaches contract extensions, just because other teams have job openings. Archie Miller has apparently turned down Pitt, his hometown team; so did his brother Sean, who played for Pitt.

5) Final 4 of the NIT: Valparaiso-BYU, George Washington-San Diego State. Semis and finals are next week at Madison Square Garden.

4) I had no idea MMA wasn't legal in New York State; it is just becoming legal now. New York was the last state to OK MMA. Go figure.

3) Arizona Diamondbacks' last seven spring training home games have sold out; the Padres' game the other day- they said it cost $7 to sit on a hill behind the outfield fence. Have to check spring training out one of these years- I've never been.

2) Sean Payton gets a 5-year $45M extension from the Saints, to usher his team into the post-Drew Brees era. Brees still has a year or two to play, but New Orleans has to start developing a QB to play after Brees retires.

1) RIP to Joe Garagiola 90, and Ken Howard 71, who passed away Wednesday.

Garagiola parlayed an average playing career into a great broadcasting gig that grew past baseball- he did sports on The Today Show and became a gameshow host. He was still appearing on Diamondbacks TV games once a week last year. He did a ton of good work for baseball alumni groups and seemed like a great guy.

Howard played Coach Ken Reeves in The White Shadow, one my favorite TV shows of all-time; it ran on CBS for three years (1978-81). My dad and I would watch it just before Monday Night Football came on- very realistic program that focused on a high school basketball team in inner-city Los Angeles.

Wednesday's List of 13: Mid-week musings........
13) I see where coaches Mike Montgomery, Hugh Durham were elected to College Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City; congrats to them, but why isn't UNLV's Jerry Tarkanian in that Hall of Fame? He is in Springfield's Basketball Hall of Fame (the real HOF), but for some reason, a Hall of Fame with Gene Keady, Norm Stewart, Lefty Driesell and Lou Carnesecca doesn't have room for Tark the Shark. No bueno.

12) Denzel Washington went to college at Fordham; he played freshman basketball, where his coach was PJ Carlesimo; both went on to bigger and better things.

11) Coaching carousel: Central Florida hires Johnny Dawkins, recently fired by the Stanford Cardinal. Southern Utah hired Todd Simon, former interim coach at UNLV.

10) Cat Barber bolts NC State for the NBA; this is why some teams cannot gain any traction in their leagues. Players skip out early and try to cash in, which obviously is their right, but teams that develop a nucleus of good players who don't have their eyes on NBA are ones that win more consistently-- say a team like Wisconsin or maybe Virginia. Kentucky/Duke are scooping up most of the big-time recruits.

9) Los Angeles Angels were supposed to play an exhibition game in Salt Lake City against their farm team Tuesday, but the game got snowed out. Snow. Yuk.

8) Remember Rik Smits, the Pacers' center? His son is red-shirting at Valparaiso this year and yes he is also 7-1. If he is as good as his dad, Bryce Drew is a lucky guy.

7) When the Chicago Cubs stretched yesterday, they were led by....a mime. I am not kidding, a freakin' mime was on the field, leading their stretching. Joe Maddon is big on breaking up the monotony of a long season. Mimes will do that sort of thing.

6) Spring training statistics are largely useless; Bob Welch won 27 games for the '90 A's, he won the Cy Young. His ERA in spring training that year was over 17.00.

5) Duke-Oregon game will be just third time in last 20 years that Duke is the lower-seeded team in an NCAA tourney game- they lost the other two, to Louisville in a regional final, to Kansas in a regional semi. Over last 30 years, Duke is 7-3 vs spread when getting points in the NCAAs- they're an underdog against Oregon.

4) Bandwagon fever: Royals drew 11,781 fans for an exhibition game last night, during which Royals' TV guy Rex Hudler was defending Chase Utley's slide from playoffs LY, when he broke Ruben Tejada's leg.

They showed Hal McRae breaking up a DP in the 1972 World Series, when he threw a cross-body block on Oakland's Dick Green. Hudler sounded like my dad, when he used to go into his "back in the good ol' days" routine. Classic stuff.

3) Why don't both leagues have the DH, or neither league? How is this possible, that one league does and one does not? And in Japan, it is the same damn thing-- one league has the DH, the other league doesn't. Makes no sense.

2) Roy Williams banks an extra $200K if North Carolina beats Indiana Friday; think he'll spring for extra toppings on players' pizzas if the Tar Heels win? He gets $200K more if the Tar Heels win on Sunday and $250K more if they win national title.

1) Today is an underrated TV day, with 32 first round matches in World Golf Match Play tournament. Plus some exhibition baseball. Better-than-usual daytime TV, which isn't sayng much. The quality of daytime TV most days is putrid.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.....
13) Chicago White Sox had one of their players quit because the team won't let his 14-year old son come to the ballpark with his dad every day, like he did last year. The guy (Adam LaRoche) walked away from a $12M a year job because of this- it is a complex issue. I'm not sure who is right; I am sure it is a big problem for the team.

-- LaRoche apparently had permission to do this last year, before he signed; the young kid went on road trips, came to the park every day, was practically a part of the team.
-- The young kid is a good kid, no one disputes this. He knows his place. Apparently he is being home-schooled.
-- Some players/staff privately complained to management.
-- Chris Sale, the team's biggest star, ripped the team's GM, called him a liar, after the GM asked LaRoche not to bring the kid in every day.
-- What does Mrs LaRoche saying about losing $12M over this?

I mean, the kid had his own locker/uniform; he did drills on the field and he is 14, so that is a little weird, but anytime the team's star is ripping the GM in mid-March, it is a very big problem. no matter who is right/wrong. Curious to see how it plays out.

12) Florida State lost at Valparaiso in the NIT; this is why Power 5 teams do not go on the road to play mid-majors- they could lose. In these tournaments, they have to go on the road if told. March exposes teams that are leery of playing on the road.

11) Xavier assistant coach Luke Murray is Bill Murray's son, but he claims never to have seen Caddyshack, an unthinkable thing, consdiering his boss Chris Mack does a decent imitation of greenskeeper Carl Spackler from that classic movie.

10) USC lost to Providence Thursday because they couldn't guard an out-of-bounds under play with 0:02.3 left in game. Not sure why teams insist on playing man-to-man defense on OB under plays. Back a long time ago, when I was a young person, all the teams played 2-3 zones on OB unders and rarely gave up easy hoops.

9) Coaching carousel: March is the time when basketball coaches change jobs.
-- Wyoming coach Larry Shyatt retired; no replacement has been named.
-- Oklahoma State hired Brad Underwood away from Stephen F Austin.
-- TCU hired alum Jamie Dixon away from the Pitt Panthers.

8) While I wasn't paying attention last week, Hulk Hogan won $140M in a lawsuit against a company that published a tape of Hogan having sex in a friend's house.

What would you do if you add $140M to spend?

7) San Diego State 93, Washington 78-- Aztecs sold out an NIT game on a Monday night. Thats how strong a program Steve Fisher has built. 12,000+ people-- wow.

6) Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell played college ball at Notre Dame; his manager there was Pat Murphy, who is now the Brewers' bench coach.

5) Iowa lost 87-68 to Villanova Sunday is 2-7 second round game.
Last year, Iowa lost 87-68 to Gonzaga in a 2-7 second round game.

Have to admire their consistency.

4) Former big league pitcher Josh Beckett was caddying on the Tour last weekend, for Brett Wetterich.

3) Florida is playing road games in NIT because its gym is being re-furbished.

2) So I'm watching an exhibition baseball game Monday afternoon, and the batter starts crabbing at the ump, which is unusual in the spring, then all of a sudden I realize why-- its my first CB Bucknor sighting this spring!!!!!

Universally recognized as the worst umpire in the major leagues, Bucknor is back for another year earning six figures even though everyone knows he isn't good at his job.

1) If they use a Wilson basketball during the NCAA tournament, why wouldn't you use one during the season? Teams use the basketball of whatever sneaker company pays them-- Nike, adidas or Under Armour. How different is each ball?

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend......
13) Texas A&M 92, Northern Iowa 88 2OT-- Major gakk job by the Panthers, who led by 12 points in the last minute. Kid who inbounded the ball against pressure hurt his knee and sat out during A&M's comeback, which killed UNI. Then the kid plays in the overtimes- all he needed to do was limp around and throw inbound passes and the Panthers would've won this game. Easy for me to say.

12) Notre Dame 76, SF Austin 75-- I'm not exaggerating when I say that the SFA coaches and players will regret their last three possessions in this game for the rest of their lives- they had the game won. Fact that the refs hosed the Lumberjacks with two lousy calls late didn't help, but they should've won this one on their own.

11) Wisconsin 66, Xavier 63-- Musketeers led by 9 with 6:19 left, but couldn't finish as Badgers have now won two tournament games by total of five points. Want to see a replay of this game, so I can focus on it, but the Badgers are mentally tough and Notre Dame is very lucky-- West Virginia and Xavier were beaten before they faced them.

10) Oklahoma 85, VCU 81-- Sooners were up 44-31 at half, but VCU stormed back and led with 8:11 to go. Buddy Hield scored 36 points; other Sooners were 2-12 on the arc. When you have four kids who've started 100+ games together, that is a powerful thing, kids will fight for each other. Oklahoma-Texas A&M next, interesting game.

9) Villanova 87, Iowa 68-- Wildcats looked like Golden State Warriors in first half of this game, running out to a 54-29 lead at the break. Iowa starts four seniors; and went out very meekly, losing seven of their last ten games. Time to rebuild now.

8) Syracuse 75, Middle Tennessee 50-- ACC has six of the Sweet 16, first time that has ever happened, so I'll have to go back to my notes on the ACC tournament. As for Middle Tennessee, they led this game early in second half- they had a great year, with an Alaskan Shootout title and a 15-2 seed upset over Michigan State.

7) Maryland 73, Hawai'i 60-- Terps survived 1-18 shooting on the arc to advance against a Hawai'i club that had beaten an injury-ravaged Cal team in first round. As of now, Hawai'i is on probation for next year; will their best returnees transfer?

6) Oregon 69, St Joe's 64-- Had a bad feeling for St Joe's after the Cincinnati game, which was very draining and Hawks' star Bembry played all 40:00, but St Joe's led by 7, 58-51, looked golden at that point. Oregon showed lot of guts to rally for the win. Ducks in Anaheim? I've heard that somewhere before........

5) Wright State fired coach Billy Donlon, who was 22-13 this year, has won 21+ games three of last four years and is 36-30 in Horizon during that time. His Raiders lost in finals of the Horizon tourney three of last four years, is that a fireable offense?

Milwaukee also fired Rob Jeter after a 21-win season. The world is going crazy.

4) WCC has ten basketball teams, a Big 3-- Gonzaga, St Mary's and BYU, and Little 7, four of whom will have new coaches next year. Seems like the powers-that-be at these have-nots are tired of losing. Damon Stoudamire is the new coach at Pacific, only one of the four schools that has hired a replacement.

3) Remember Billy Gillispie, who was such a rising star in coaching that he was the Kentucky coach for two years? He is now the coach at Ranger JC in Texas, where he once went to college. Life has a lot of ups and downs.

2) Weird stat: in their loss to Kansas, UConn made 10-22 on the arc, pretty darned good, but only 11-40 inside the arc, unspeakably bad. No wonder they lost.

1) Donald Trump Jr called his father "a blue-collar billionaire" on TV last night. Yeah, and I'm a Brad Pitt-lookalike. Seriously, the world is going crazy.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.....
13) Actually left the house today, went out for lunch and watched the Wichita State game. Checking out of the human race for a few days to watch basketball is something I highly recommend. Starting Monday, time to get ready for baseball, and Sweet 16 games next weekend. And maybe pack for a vacation...... :-)

12) Miami 65, Wichita State 57-- Hurricanes were up 27-6 very quickly, then blew the lead-- Shockers went up 43-42, but Miami pulled back ahead and advances to the Sweet 16. Van Vleet/Baker gave Wichita fans tons of thrills, what great careers they've had, but now they move on to pro ball and Wichita State has to rebuild.

11) Duke 71, Yale 64-- Duke led 46-19 at one point, were up 23 at half, then all of a sudden, Yale started playing well, then really well- they got the lead all the way down to three before time ran out on them. Historic season for the Bulldogs, who made it to the NCAAs for first time since 1962. Hope they enjoyed it.

10) Indiana 73, Kentucky 67-- Wildcats had at least made the Sweet 16 the last five they were in the tournament, but Indiana shot 61% inside arc, Kentucky shot 4-16 on the arc and now we wait to see which Wildcats bolt for the NBA Draft. Up next for the Hoosiers is North Carolina, another good game for TV ratings.

9) Virginia 77, Butler 69-- Cavaliers are 15-3 in last 18 games, move on to play Iowa State in a great game of contrasting styles. I think I overrated Butler; kept waiting for them to play better and they really never did. Wonder if the people at Wisconsin were going to go after Tony Bennett, had the Badgers not gotten hot in February?

8) Kansas 73, UConn 61-- Jayhawks led 42-19 at one point; Huskies got it down to single digits, but Kansas was just too good. Maryland-Hawai'i winner awaits in the next round; Terps are 4-6 in last ten games and were shaky at end of their win Friday against South Dakota State. Will Kevin Ollie jump to an NBA coaching job?

7) Iowa State 78, Ark-Little Rock 61-- Big underdogs who pull shocking first round upsets tend to do poorly in their next game, just the way it has usually been. After a couple of games vs free-wheeling teams this week, Iowa State plays Virginia next, and the Cavaliers are quite the opposite. That will be an interesting game.

6) Gonzaga 82, Utah 59-- Tank job by Utes, who lost to Oregon by 31 last week in Pac-12 tournament- those are their only two losses in their last ten games, but that is how this Utah team will be remembered. As for Gonzaga, three weeks ago, they lost at home to St Mary's on Senior Night and looked like they would miss the NCAAs for first time since 1998- now they're in Sweet 16 and playing their best basketball.

5) North Carolina 85, Providence 66-- .Game was 41-41, but Friars just didn't have enough players; you'd think they'd go to a zone once Dunn/Bentil got into foul trouble, since those two were the backbone of the team. Carolina is 11-1 in its last dozen Sweet 16 games, losing to Wisconsin LY. Tar Heels play Indiana next.

4) Favorites went 5-2 Saturday; I had Gonzaga-Utah as pick 'em. I'm thinking it is hard to play these noon games on Saturday/Sunday- pregame meals at 8am?

3) Rutgers hired Stony Brook coach Steve Pikiell as its new coach, $1.6M a year; he is also a former UConn player/coach. Danny Hurley/Mike Lonergan were Rutgers' first two choices. I might have looked at Manhattan coach Steve Masiello, but seems like these college administrators are so gutless- they just pick guys who had big years this season, rather than a lot of good years previously.

2) Middle Tennessee coach Kermit Davis got a $31,250 bonus for winning a game in the NCAA tournament; wonder how they came up with that amount?

1) 11-seed in South Region has now beaten the 6-seed in first round seven years in row, so go find a blank bracket, put "2017" on top and circle the 11-seed in the South. then put it where you can find it next March and you'll already have one winner.

Saturday's Den: Wrapping up a full day of basketball.......
Middle Tennessee State 90, Michigan State 81-- This was 3rd-biggest upset (MT was +18) in tournament history, but hardly a fluke; Blue Raiders outhustled Michigan State, hit 11-19 3-pointers, beat Spartans to most every loose ball- they jumped out to a 15-2 lead and became more confident as the game went on. Great win for them.

Oregon 91, Holy Cross 52-- If you care about such things, Norfolk State (+21.5) in '12, Santa Clara (+20) in '93, Middle Tennessee (+18) today are three biggest spread upsets in NCAA tournament history. As for Oregon, they'll have their hands full on Sunday, with St Joe's. More on the Hawks later.

Northern Iowa 75, Texas 72-- Kid on UNI made sure he will be on highlight shows in March until the day he dies, banking in a halfcourt shot at buzzer, giving Shaka Smart his third consecutive first round loss. Northern Iowa alum/booster Kurt Warner was in the crowd, and this game proved that indeed, all things are possible.

St Joe's 78, Cincinnati 76-- Rough week for Bearcats, who lost in AAC tourney in four OT's last week, after kid on UConn drained a 60-footer in third OT, then lost at buzzer here, when game-tying dunk was after light came on backboard. I had no idea how good DeAndre' Bembry is; he played all 40:00, its all the little things he does. he must have gobbled up five or six loose balls I thought he had no shot at. Great player.

Stephen F Austin 70, West Virginia 56-- Lumberjacks haven't lost since December; they play great defense and handled West Virginia's press very well. Mountaineers turned ball over 22 times, forced only seven- that doesn't happen much and they play in the best league in country. Brad Underwood will get a higher-level job soon.

Syracuse 70, Dayton 51-- Both teams limped into tournament; Flyers finished year going 4-5 in last nine games, after a 21-3 start. Hard to figure what happens to make a team regress like that- maybe someone was playing hurt. It is part of what makes the art of handicapping a very difficult one.

Villanova 86, NC-Asheville 56-- Villanova plays Iowa next; Wildcats haven't been to Sweet 16 since 2009. Going to be a very long summer if Villanova doesn't get there this year. This is random: Pitt's band stayed after their game to also be the Weber State band- they all got t-shirts and $15 apiece to play the Weber State fight song.

VCU 75, Oregon State 67-- It is ironical that VCU has gone farther in NCAAs this year than its former coach Shaka Smart. Rams shot 64% inside arc- they were down a hoop with 9:05 left, but scored 26 points from there on in. Oregon State had a great year, have a talented, young nucleus, but must replace Gary Payton II.

Iowa 72, Temple 70-- Hawkeyes won at buzzer, on a putback after an airball, when the refs ignored a push-off that would've given the Owls foul shots for the win. Fran McCaffery is from Philly, making his game with Villanova Sunday a little more spicy, In 2008, Villanova beat McCaffery's Siena team in a 2nd round 12-13-seed game.

Hawai'i 77, California 66-- Golden Bears lost PG Wallace on Wednesday in practice, then Jabari Bird had back spasms Friday morning and sat game out. This was the first non-play-in win for the Big West since Pacific in 2005 they aren't even in the league anymore, they're in the WCC now. Big day for Hawai'i- they play Maryland next.

Oklahoma 82, Cal-Bakersfield 68-- Roadrunners were spunky here, running out to an 8-0 lead, but reality set in against veteran Sooner squad that has four kids who have played 100+ games together in Norman. Bakersfield needs to move up to the Big West with the other mid-major state schools in California.

Maryland 79, South Dakota State 74-- Gritty Jackrabbits had ball with chance to tie in last 0:10, but turned it over and fell short of their first tournament win. Terps have to be concerned that they had to sweat out a game they led by 12 at half. Hawai'i is lot more athletic than South Dakota State- Maryland could have its hands full Sunday.

Wisconsin 47, Pitt 43-- Dreadful game, with 54 freakin' possessions. UNLV wants to hire Jamie Dixon; how about hiring a coach who will play a more entertaining style of play? Jesus, Northern Iowa led Texas 44-36 at the half and they both have tempos in the 300's. A 47-43 final? Badgers play Xavier Sunday; they'll have to play faster.

Texas A&M 92, Green Bay 65-- Milwaukee fired coach Rob Jeter this week; his dad played for the Lombardi Packers in the late 60's. Panthers were 20-13 this year, were in NCAAs two years ago-- there is a story out there that the female AD had it out for Jeter and undermined the program so she could fire him. Politics suck.

Xavier 71, Weber State 53-- I go to AAU games in Las Vegas in July; last summer, Xavier coach Chris Mack was there recruiting......with his 9-year old daughter. Mack also coaches his daughter's grade school team, he seems like a good guy. As for the Big Sky, they should have a Monday night midnight game on ESPN-- why not?

Notre Dame 70, Michigan 63-- Pac-12 lost five games as higher seeds the last two days, first team any conference has failed that much. Notre Dame is playing its next game against Stephen F Austin, a bunch of Lumberjacks taking Brooklyn by storm. There is a famous book called A Tree Grows in Brooklyn- could Stephen F Austin be the team that chops that tree down and moves on to the Sweet 16?

Friday's Den: Wrapping up a full day of basketball.......
Wichita State 65, Arizona 55-- Shocking no-show by Arizona, which trailed 31-19 at half. Is Sean Miller OK? He has lost 40 pounds, he sweated thru his shirt well before halftime, he just doesn't look right. Not just talking about today, either. Wichita paid Gregg Marshall $3M a year to turn down Alabama; today was why.

Providence 70, USC 69-- Friars scored on an out-of-bounds-under play with less than 0:03 left, after Trojans missed two front ends of 1-and-1's in last 0:30. Bentil/Dunn hit a combined 13-34 shots, Providence still won. Wow. Last minute of this game made James Naismith turn over in his grave, but the Friars advance to play North Carolina.

Yale 79, Baylor 75-- Georgia State last year, Yale this year; Baylor goes down again as a first round favorite. Scott Drew is this generation's version of Eddie Fogler, who lost as a 2-seed and 3-seed while at South Carolina. No bueno. Very good day for Yale coach James Jones-- last time Yale played in an NCAA game was 1962, when they played Wake Forest- one of the Deacons' guards that day was Billy Packer.

Ark-Little Rock 85, Purdue 83 2OT-- Epic gag job by Boilers, who led by 13 with 3:33 left. Second year in row a Sun Belt team pulls a big upset in first round. Maybe if ESPN showed some of their games, they wouldn't be underrated in March. Back when ESPN first started up, the Sun Belt was first league to have ESPN show its games.

Duke 93, NC-Wilmington 85-- Seahawks were 14-19 on foul line, Grayson Allen was 15-17 by himself. Chris Webber is good on TV; he speaks his mind and doesn't hold back. "They should call them at both ends." after the play-by-play guy described how refs were calling touch fouls on UNCW. Duke plays Yale on Saturday.

Butler 71, Texas Tech 61-- Big East has teams in Indiana, Nebraska, Wisconsin, as geography students grow dumber by the second. Want to make America great again? Make Big East only have teams in the east. Tubby Smith has now taken five schools to NCAAs- if you can win in Lubbock in Big X, you're a damn good coach.

Iowa State 84, Iona 71-- MAAC is now 0-8 in first round (0-8 vs spread) since Siena beat Ohio State in an 8-9 game in '09; Iona lost by 25-16-13 points its last three times in this round. Total was in doubt until AJ English got a technical for cursing at Iowa State's coach during a timeout- they were only down 7 when that happened.

UConn 74, Colorado 67-- Buffaloes were up nine at halftime, but got squashed in the second half. Rough day for Conference of Champions, with Utah only one of four Pac-12 teams to win. Kevin Ollie is now 7-0 in NCAA tournament as head coach- Huskies play Kansas Saturday- UConn wins that game, he might go straight to Springfield.

Utah 80, Fresno State 69-- Fresno went ahead 48-47, then Utah hit another gear and put the Bulldogs away, ending a bad year for the Mountain West. Utes face Gonzaga Saturday; battle inside between Poeltl-Sabonis will be spotlighted. Fresno had a great year with veteran guards, now they have to rebuild.

Virginia 81, Hampton 45-- I've got nothing on this mismatch; really enjoyed having three games on channel 702 on DirecTV, a mix channel, with the game on CBS' local station on my laptop, so I could see all four games at once, in the comfort of my own home. Good deal. I did see Hampton in Las Vegas in December; they lost to an 11-23 team, so their coach did a solid job having them win their league to get this far.

Kansas 105, Austin Peay 79-- It wouldn't have mattered much, but Austin Peay is a way worse team that Florida Gulf Coast and should've been in the play-in game. You watch FGCU compete against North Carolina- it was 41-40 at the half. Kansas game was over as soon as they sang the National Anthem. Say a prayer for coach Loos' little granddaughter, who is battling cancer; she is six years old.

Miami 79, Buffalo 72-- Game was in Providence, where coach Larranaga played 40 or so years ago. Miami starts two juniors, three seniors-- you need seniors who played in the program for 3-4 years, it means more to those kids. Lot of the bigger-name teams have transient players who have one eye on the NBA- they don't do as well.

Indiana 99, Chattanooga 74-- Remember when you were a kid and if game wasn't a real competitive one, you played "free outs"? Moccasins played free outs here for 40 full minutes- they looked like the Raptors the night Kobe Bryant scored 81 on them. Not lot of resistance- they shot 59.5% inside the arc and still lost by 25.

Kentucky 85, Stony Brook 57-- Not sure who is happier with the Indiana-Kentucky matchup Saturday, CBS or the scalpers? I was in the gym the night Stony Brook had its 18-game winning streak snapped by Albany. then I watched them today and it is like, how did this team ever win 18 games in a row?

Gonzaga 68, Seton Hall 52-- Pirates start five sophomores, young team- they made a great run to win Big East tournament Saturday night, but had very little here, against a Gonzaga squad that is hitting its stride at the right time. If Sabonis came out for the NBA Draft, I'd take him over Ben Simmons or the Ingram kid on Duke.

North Carolina 83, Florida Gulf Coast 67-- Game was 41-40 at the half, so credit to the Eagles for competing- they're just not good enough, obviously. Tar Heels will get a much better test on Saturday, when they play Providence. Tar Heels are much deeper than Providence, but if they have to hit outside shots to win, can they do it? .

Thursday's List of 13: Welcome to best four days of year.....
These are my favorite four days of the year; wall-to-wall basketball; I've been retired for over a year now, but the last time I worked this week was in 1986. Ha!!!! Here are some tidbits you might find interesting while you watch today's games.

13) I'll start by amusing you with my Final Four pick:
West Virginia-Kansas-St Joseph's-Michigan State

12) Teams that won Big East tournament are 6-2-1 vs spread in their first NCAA tournament game; thats Seton Hall this year- they play a Gonzaga squad thats won its last seven first round games.

11) Over last decade, teams that lost those Big East tournament finals are 6-4 vs spread in their first tournament game- that would be Villanova this year.

10) Arizona is 10-3 in its last 13 first round games; its losses came when they were seeded 8-8-10th- they're a 6 this year. Last time Arizona lost in first round as higher than an 8-seed was 1999, when they lost to West Virginia as a 4-seed.

9) Utah-Fresno State pits the Pac-12 against Mountain West. So far this season, teams from Pac-12 are 14-1 against Mountain West teams, 10-5 against the spread.

8) Since 2003, Ivy League champ is 1-3 vs spread in NCAAs if they're an underdog of less than 10 points; they're 5-4 if getting 10+ points (they're always underdogs). Yale is getting 5.5 points from Baylor- we're rooting for our old friend James Jones.

7) When Holy Cross plays Oregon Friday, and the TV guys start talking about Bob Cousy and Tom Heinsohn back in the 50's, one of your kids might ask you who Bob Cousy is. Show them this clip, from the movie Blue Chips-- I'm guessing your kids have heard of Shaquille O'Neal- he was in this movie, too.

6) There are two first-round matchups where both teams rank in bottom 50 in the country, in terms of tempo. Northern Iowa-Texas, Pitt-Wisconsin. Slow-paced games.

5) Iona-Iowa State is only first round game where both teams are in top 100 as far as tempo goes. Neither team is deep, game is in high altitude of Denver.

4) Stony Brook-Kentucky is only first round game where both teams won regular season in their league and then also won the conference tournament.

3) Since 2003, underdogs are 31-21 vs spread in games with 8-9 seeds playing.

2) Big Sky teams are 0-9 in NCAAs since Montana beat Nevada in a 2006 first round game. Wolf Pack beat Montana 79-75 last night, in a CBI game.

1) Last 22 years, the #12 seed in the midwest is 17-5 vs spread in its first round game. That #12 seed this year is Ark-Little Rock, getting nine points from Purdue.

Wednesday's List of 13: Mid-week musings......
13) Wichita State 70, Vanderbilt 50-- Shockers are mentally tough; an experienced team that will be a handful for Arizona on Thursday. Two huge runs propelled the Shockers in this game- they were down 30-25 before the first one, then closed things out on a 20-2 run, during which Vanderbilt basically just gave up.

12) Florida Gulf Coast 96, FDU 65-- One of worst games I saw all year; FGCU is not a 16-seed- they could beat a 2 or a 3-seed. They're definitely better than Austin Peay or Hampton, but nobody asked me. Eagles play North Carolina Thusday. .

11) No team that lost its first conference tournament game has won the national title; that would eliminate Indiana, Iowa this year.

10) Politics are a reality of life; money talks. No team from a Power-5 conference with an RPI of 54 or better missed the NCAA tournament. Eight teams with a 54 RPI or better from non-Power 5 conferences missed the tounrmanent. Money talks.

Eight teams from non-Power 5 conferences with an RPI of 54 or better got left out of the tournament. Syracuse got in with an RPI of 71.

9) Low major teams who play in these play-in games are happy; it is two hours on a nationally televised stage, when nothing else is going on. Its a damn infomercial for your program and if you win, you still have a shot at a big upset.

The at-large teams who play in Dayton are usually on TV a lot already, so they'd just as soon skip the play-in games and play in the first round.

8) The Experts show on ESPNU that previews NCAA tournament is a good source of information; former Wake Forest coach Dino Gaudio is very good on TV-- you learn stuff you wouldn't ordinarily find out. Plus the show isn't wooden-- there is laughter and you get the feeling you're just listening to friends talking about basketball.

7) Vanderbilt's Frank Cornet grew seven inches in his senior year of high school, then another two inches after he got to Vanderbilt. Thats a lot of growing.

6) Dan Majerle played 14 years in the NBA; he is now the coach at Grand Canyon University in Arizona, which sounds like the school Gabe Kaplan coached in the great basketball movie, Fast Break.

Anyway, Grand Canyon is on TV Monday and in his pre-game speech, he mentions how their game is the only one on TV that night, that is actually the heart of his pre-game talk. The Antelopes draw over 5,5000 fans a game in what looks like a fairly new arena- Grand Canyon is a program on the rise.

5) Heineken is sold in 192 countries. Just thought you'd like to know. There is no way I can name 192 countries.

4) Tyson Ross will start on Opening Day for the Padres, the 7th different pitcher to start on Opening Day for San Diego in the last eight years.

3) Mark McGwire is bench coach for the Padres; no one has been let off the hook more by national media than McGwire, after the whole steroids debacle. What really helped him was Tony Larussa bringing him back in as a coach. Now Barry Bonds is a coach too, so hopefully people will just ignore him too and let him coach.

2) Miami Dolphins signed backup QB Matt Moore to a 2-year, $3.5M deal; Moore is better than several starting QBs in the NFL. He's got a good deal, stands out there on the sidelines on Sunday, gets paid millions, never gets hit. Everyone loves him.

1) Oakland A's are typical, I assume; they play 32 exhibition games this month, lot of meaningless games used mainly to get pitchers in shape, but I do enjoy watching them and hearing the crack of the bat. MLB Network is tremendous in March; couple of games live every day, others replayed at all hours of night. Excellent.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) Winning is fun and losing sucks, but some fans at New Mexico crossed the line, sending death threats to Lobos' PG Cullen Neal, who is also the coach's son- things are apparently so bad the young man will transfer to another school to finish his playing career and he's a good player. Doesn't help his dad's chances of keeping his job.

12) Duke has made 16 Final Fours but has never made a Final Four out of the West Region; in last 30 years, they've been in West Region four other times.....
-- 2003: 3-seed. Lost to Kansas in regional semi.
-- 2007: 6-seed: Lost to VCU in first round.
-- 2008: 2-seed: Lost to West Virginia in second round.
-- 2011: 1-seed: Lost to Arizona in regional semi.
-- 2015: 4-seed: ?????

11) Coaching carousel: Cornell-Tulane-TCU-James Madison-Stanford fired their coaches in last couple of days. Lets look at all five situations:
-- Cornell: Bill Courtney went 27-57 in Ivy League games, after inhertiing a program that went 38-4 the three years before he got there. .
-- James Madison: Dukes were 23-13 in CAA last two years, but made NCAAs only once in Matt Brady's eight years. Not many guys get fired after a 21-11 season.
-- Stanford: Johnny Dawkins also made one NCAA in eight years, won NIT LY, was 46-44 in Pac-12 last five years. Guess the NIT means absolutely nothing.
-- TCU-- Horned Frogs got a new arena built, but went 8-64 in the Big X under Trent Johnson. Boosters are rich people who expect results; 8-64 gets you fired, even if the Horned Frogs are in the very best league in the country.
-- Tulane: Ed Conroy got hosed when Green Wave failed to get in the Big East, it set his program back- they had good players coming in who then went elsewhere. Tulane was 9-27 in their first two years in the AAC. .

10) Pitt coach Jamie Dixon is a TCU alum; back in 2012, lot of people wanted the Frogs to hire him. Now, TCU may have to fight off UNLV to hire Dixon, who is in the NCAAs with Pittsburgh, but rumored to be way on his way out of there. .

9) Big X is a terrific league, but no Big X team has made a regional final since Kansas, Baylor in 2012. Since then, Big X teams are 0-5 in regional semifinal round.

8) Four AAC teams made the NCAAs, but none is higher than a 9-seed; SMU would've been a 4 or a 5-seed, so their absence hurts the league.

7) Last two years; double digit favorites in first round: 9-16 against spread.

6) You know how on NASCAR telecasts the drivers are miked? Why do they bleep out the drivers cursing? Thats the best part!!!! They're driving in close quarters at 150 mph-- I know people who curse driving in traffic at 40 mph- lets hear it!!!!

5) One thing I noticed about Selection Sunday; lot of these college teams have really nice mini-theaters for their players to watch film in. Comfortable chairs, lot of leg room, probably outlets to plug video games into, also.

4) Since 2003, underdogs are 31-21 vs spread in 8-9 first round games.

3) Charlotte Hornets gave away Jeremy Lin bobbleheads to first 7,500 fans Saturday night; there are already several of them on EBay, for anywhere from $32-$60. Michael Jordan's team is doing well at 37-29- they're looking at a 4 or 5 seed in playoffs.

2) This is third year in row Virginia/Michigan State are in same region; Spartans beat UVa the last two years, despite being the lower seed both years.

1) U of Denver hired alum Rodney Billups as its new coach; he is an assistant at Colorado right now and the brother of former NBA star Chauncey Billups.

Monday's List of 13: Initital thoughts on the field of 68......
13) So Tulsa was the last team in, and whoever between Vandy-Wichita State wears the dark jersey was the second-to-last team in, which means that if SMU/Louisville weren't in trouble with the NCAA, those two teams would both be in the NIT.

12) No 16-seed has ever beaten a 1-seed and it ain't happening this year. Hampton is a 24-point underdog to Virginia; I saw the Pirates play in Las Vegas Dec 22, where they lost to a bad Nicholls State team, 84-81 (Nicholls was 11-23 this year). All the upsets in conference tournaments weakened the bottom of the bracket.

11) West Virginia vs Stephen F Austin-- Lumberjacks are only team in America that forces a higher %age of turnovers than West Virginia, but they do it more in half-court defense, not full-court. SFA is a veteran team, but Mountaineers will make them go a lot faster than they're used to going. West Virginia plays at an intensity level with lot of good players that you're not going to find in the Southland Conference.

10) College hoop has a long season; way back in November, Syracuse beat UConn, Texas A&M in the Bahamas- those two wins got them in thie NCAAs. Orange lost five of their last six games, they went 4-5 while their coach was suspended, but they are in and are facing a Dayton team that struggled the last few weeks.

9) Gonzaga-Seton Hall is a fascinating first round game; Zags only got in because they won the WCC tournament, while Seton Hall buzzed thru the Big East tourney-- this game is in Denver though, more Zags' territory than a Big East team.

8) Vanderbilt-Wichita State is a great play-in game; some of the people on TV came out and said the winner of that game would beat Arizona in the first round.

7) Pointspread that turned my head: Baylor -5.5 over Yale. Ivy League teams are 5-1 vs spread in the first round the last six years. Last time an Ivy team lost by more than nine points in first round of NCAAs was back in 2009.

6) Stony Brook is +13.5 vs Kentucky; since Vermont upset Syracuse in '05, America East teams are 0-10 in non-play-in games, 5-5 vs spread, covering last three years, but only one of those 10 losses was by less than 12 points. Oddly, Kentucky started this season against another America East team, the Albany Great Danes (78-65).

5) Not sure how Oregon State got a 7-seed; Tres Tinkle is hurt, they're +3.5 against VCU the 10-seed. The last six years, #7 seeds who are underdogs in first round are 3-0 against spread, with two SU upsets.

Go back to 1987, and 7-seed underdogs are 16-10-2 vs spread in the first round.

4) When Paul Hewitt coached at Siena, the Saints ran/pressed a lot; they made the NCAAs one year and drew Arkansas in the first round.

In Denver. High altitude, fast-paced teams, the game went over easily.

Now Iona of the MAAC is also heading to Denver, to play a veteran Iowa State team that isn't deep but is very good. Doug Gottlieb was babbling about the total going over about 20 seconds after he saw the brackets. No bueno.

3) USC lost seven of its last ten games, Providence won four of its last five games; how important is momentum heading into the tournament? Friars have two really good players who are surrounded by very young players. Can Andy Enfield recapture his magic with Florida Gulf Coast in 2013, when he beat the Big East's Georgetown?

2) UConn got a bad draw, time-wise; they're playing a Thursday afternoon game in Iowa vs Colorado, after they won the AAC tournament Sunday. Quick turnaround.

1) NC-Wilmington presses, they go up and down, they can get Duke in foul trouble and expose their lack of depth, but the Seahawks also played the #275 pre-conference schedule and lost to Georgetown by 5, their only top 100 non-conference game. Guys on TV totally overlooked this game, analyzed Duke-Baylor in second round instead.

Not so fast, my friend.

Sunday's List of 13: Thoughts on Selection Sunday.......
Did you turn you clock ahead an hour?

13) Bubble teams all over America will be rooting for UConn against Memphis in the AAC title game today. UConn is in the field of 68, Memphis is not, so the Tigers steal a bid they win. I'm rooting for Memphis; I've met Josh Pastner a couple times and he is a terrific guy. If you had a son, you'd want him to grow up to be like Josh.

12) Big West has nine teams in it, eight of whom are California state schools- why not add Bakersfield and make it a ten-team league?

11) I know TV pays for lot of this so they dictate game times, but day games after night games in these conference tournaments is a bad idea- kids need recovery time if you want the product to be good quality. Even 20-year olds get tired.

10) Dummy of the Day-- NFL Draft is in six weeks or so; lot of teams really need a QB and QBs make a lot of money, so if you're a QB that wants to be drafted, getting a DUI six weeks before the draft is just dumb. (Dak Prescott of Mississippi State).

9) Cal-Bakersfield 57, New Mexico State 54-- Dedrick Basile swished a 3-ponter at the buzzer to give Cal-Bakersfield its first-ever spot in March Madness. Bakersfield has won three national titles in D-II, if I remember right- this is a bigger deal. Why do I say that? The mayor of Bakersfield was on the team's bench right after the game.

8) Stony Brook 80, Vermont 74-- Seawolves get to March Madness for first time; three Vermont players fouled out- they led by 15 with 15:17 left.

7) Of 14 teams in Atlantic 14, only three of them (St Joe's, George Washington and Duquesne) were members of the league when it began 40 years ago, as Eastern 8.

6) Middle Tennessee 55, Old Dominion 53-- Enjoy watching coaches after they make the NCAA tournament for the first time. MTSU coach Kermit Davis wore a baseball cap with his gray suit after his Blue Raiders won the C-USA tournament. He was positively glowing. Coaching can be stressful; good to see them have fun.

5) Fresno State 68, San Diego State 63-- Mountain West was terrible this year; it is going to be a very long Sunday for members of the Aztec program, as they wait and see if they get an at-large bid. Fresno has veteran guards; last time they were in the NCAA tournament was in 2001, when Jerry Tarkanian was coaching his alma mater.

4) When UNLV won in triple OT in the Mountain West tournament earlier this week, the correct play was to go against them next day; sure enough, they lost to Fresno State by 11 the next day. So when UConn beat Cincinnati in 4 OTs Friday, popular wisdom said to go against the Huskies in their game with Temple yesterday.

But UConn seems to thrive on adversity; they won easily Saturday, thwarting lot of handicappers who tried to capitalize on their situation. I didn't have Temple or Fresno but I couldn't fault anyone who did. Capitalizing on that is solid handicapping.

3) Was great to hear Don Orsillo working a Padre spring training game Saturday; he got hosed last summer when the Red Sox fired him, but San Diego quickly scooped him up and he will replace Dick Enberg as the Padres' main TV guy in 2017.

2) Hawai'i 64, Long Beach State 60-- Weird situation; Hawai'i is going on probation after this season, but they can go to the tournament this year- they're not going to be an easy out. Hawai'i beat Northern Iowa by 16, lost to Oklahoma by 3. .

Big West title game ended three great days of basketball; tremendous fun. NCAAs are going to have a tough act to follow.

1) This is why there might be 20-25 teams who can win a national title this season; when UConn won in 2014, they won their first round game in OT-- they were down 3 in last minute of regulation. Huskies were then an underdog in four of their next five games and pick 'em in the other one- they just as easily could've lost that first game.

This year is just like that; survive and advance will be the key words. .

Saturday's List of 13: Wrapping up a full Friday......
13) UConn 104, Cincinnati 97 4OT-- This game tops the 6OT game in the Big East a few years ago, since UConn drained a 60-footer at the buzzer of the third OT to send the game to another five minutes. Not sure how the Huskies will react today against a Temple team they've already lost to twice, but this game was special.

12) West Virginia 69, Oklahoma 67-- Buddy Hield drained a shot from just inside half-court at the buzzer, but it was ruled to be a split-second too late and Bob Huggins makes his first conference tourney final since the 2010 Big East tournament.

11) Oregon 95, Arizona 89 OT-- Wildcats scored four points in last 0:00.6 of game to send it to OT, but Ducks prevailed in OT, sweeping season series with Arizona. Oregon was 10-19 on arc. Arizona has still only won this tournament once since '03.

10) Michigan 72, Indiana 69-- One of Michigan's scrubs hit a 3 from the deep corner at the buzzer and was immediately engulfed by jubilant teammates-- this was so early in the day I almost forgot about it. Michigan could be off the bubble now.

9) Word leaked out that Tulane will fire basketball coach Ed Conroy as soon as their season is over, but there is one small problem:

News spreads quickly these days; people were telling Conroy during the game yesterday that he was being fired. Then his 13-point underdog Green Wave shocked Houston 72-69 and made the AAC semifinals- they play 6-seed Memphis today.

So what if Tulane wins the next two days and makes the NCAAs? Then what?

8) Conroy's uncle was the great writer Pat Conroy who passed away last week- he wrote Conrack, The Great Santini and Prince of Tides.

7) Denver fired hoop coach Joe Scott; this will be a tougher rebuild job than normal, since Scott ran the Princeton offense, so you'll need to recruit players who are suited to a more traditional style of play. Summit League is an underrated conference.

6) Baltimore Orioles are 0-10 this spring, with two ties. I went out of my way the other day to say that this doesn't mean much, but at some point, it has to be at least a little troubling, doesn't it?

Sidebar: I am constantly amazed that people bet on exhibition baseball. Why?

5) Prince Fielder was recently diagnosed with sleep apnea, which had gotten so bad his doctors were alarmed by it. We all need our proper rest, especially athletes.

4) Beach volleyball is a college sport? Since when? If you're a high school kid out there and are trying to choose a college, pick one that has a beach volleyball team. I'm guessing those schools are more fun than most schools.

3) Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl 34 days ago; Friday they traded for Mark Sanchez, putting the celebrations to a complete halt immediately. Quarterback is an important position, or so I'm told. Trading for Sanchez is an emphatic red flag.

2) San Antonio Spurs are 14-0 this season on back end of a back/back, only team not to lose one of them- they're 9-5 vs spread in those games. .

1) Since 2012, only one NFL team has used two #1 picks on a QB, and Cleveland cut both of those picks after only two seasons-- Brandon Weeden and Johnny Manziel. .

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here........
13) What a day, always one of the best of the year. College basketball conference tournaments, just under 14 hours of them, from Brooklyn to Birmingham, Orlando to Las Vegas- there are three tournaments in Vegas, within three miles of each other. I'm tired and need some sleep, so on with today's list.........

12) Thirteen conference tournaments are over; Chattanooga is still the only #1-seed to win. It makes the NIT a strong tournament (I'm not sure how many people care about that) but it will also weaken the NCAA tournament field. Top seeds who lose in their conference tournament get an automatic invite from the NIT.

11) Western Kentucky 88, UAB 77-- Another #1 seed goes down

10) Coaching carousel started spinning faster; four coaches got the boot Thursday, as Rutgers, Central Florida, Tex-San Antonio and Saint Louis fired their coaches. It is looking like Rutgers will target Danny Hurley to replace Eddie Jordan at Rutgers.

9) Bill Murray was at Madison Square Garden last night, rooting on the Xavier Musketeers-- his son Luke is an assistant coach for Chris Mack's team.

8) Ivy League finally caved in, will have a four-team conference tournament starting next year, a Saturday/Sunday deal. Welcome to the 21st century.

7) Holy Cross was 0-9 in Patriot League road games; then conference tournament started and the Crusaders won four games, all on the road. Next stop for them will be Dayton for the play-in games next week.

6) Illinois 68, Iowa 66-- Hawkeyes are falling apart in March for second time in three years; they're officially a suspect for next week's NCAA tournament.

5) Notre Dame 84, Duke 79 OT-- Irish were down 16 in second half, rallied to beat a tired, thin Duke team that can't defend anymore. Notre Dame is 5-1 against Duke since the teams become conference rivals.

4) Providence 74, Butler 60-- Friars went 3-0 against Butler this season, surprising for teams with basically similar talent levels.

3) Tennessee 67, Vanderbilt 65-- Brutal loss for the Commodores, who are now probably on the outside looking in. You lose your first conference tournament game to a bad team playing without its leading scorer, there are no excuses.

2) Rumors have Colin Kaepernick getting traded to Denver for a 3rd-round draft pick. If the Broncos had to play a game today, their QB would be Trevor Siemian, who wouldn't even be a good QB in the Arena League. John Elway has some work to do.

1) Not as much hoop action during the day today, but what a card of games tonight, lot of semi-final games, high-level competition. Good time to order more pizza.

Thursday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) Pittsburgh 72, Syracuse 71-- Orangemen went 0-3 vs Pitt this year, are off the bubble; expect to hear lot of ESPN people push for them this weekend; over half the ESPN play-by-play guys went to college at Syracuse, but they lost five of their last six games. See ya.

12) Duke 92, NC State 89-- Grayson Allen got a flagrant foul for grabbing a player by the shirt from behind; at what point does Coach K sit this brat down? Duke gave up 1.30 ppp in this game and won; that almost never happens. Curious to see what hjappens today when they play a rested Notre Dame team thats beaten them four of their last five meetings.

11) Pac-12 tournament isn't on in my house, because the nitwits at the Pac-12 don't have a deal with DirecTV. In fact, while SEC Network and Big 14 Network are on in roughly 70 million homes each, the Pac-12 Network is on in 12 million. No bueno.

10) USC 95, UCLA 71-- Bruins finish a hideous 15-17, losing last five games and 10 of last 13, but since Steve Alford's buyout is $10.4M, he'll be back in Westwood next year. Two years from now, the buyout will be half that, but Alford's best player will be gone by then and he doesn't have any more sons to play for him.

9) Handicapping is difficult; the dilemma in these conference tournaments is this: which teams are just going to mail it in and not compete, like Stanford/Minnesota did Wednesday? You see Oklahoma State, FIU, Georgia Tech fight back from behind, but these other teams just showed up, but didn't bother to compete. Thats the goal, to try and figure out which teams have had enough and want the season to be over?

8) People were skeptical when Buzz Williams bolted from Marquette (a basketball school) to Virginia Tech (a football school) but Williams has Tech on the upswing and they hung 96 points on Florida State last night in an impressive win.

7) San Francisco canned coach Rex Walters after he went 127-127 in eight years, with zero NCAA tournaments; Dons were 63-65 in WCC play under Walters.

6) Southern Illinois had its best season in years, going 22-10, but they're turning down postseason tournaments-- apparently some of their better players are banged up and their students are on break, so it makes no sense, basketball-wise or financially, to coach Barry Hinson or the school's AD, to go on this season. Too bad.

5) NHL has struck gold with these outdoor games; next year, Pittsburgh, St Louis, Toronto and Winnipeg will all host outdoor games.

4) Illinois sold 2,000 football season tickets in first 48 hours after they hired former Bears coach Lovie Smith as their new football coach.

3) Arizona Diamondbacks will wear eight different uniforms this season. Eight.

2) Brad Boxberger saved 45 games for Tampa Bay LY; he made the All-Star team, yet the Rays cut his salary $2,200 this year. Seriously? They don't have $2,200 to kick in so they don't totally insult one of their players? If they don't have that kind of money, they should sell the team to someone who does.

1) If you like college basketball, today and tomorrow are two of the best days of the year; ton of games, all important ones. Enjoy!!!

Wednesday's List of 13: Mid-week musings........
13) Gonzaga 85, St Mary's 75-- HBO will be happy; their 5-part reality series on the Zags will have a happy ending next week. Looks like St Mary's is going to NIT despite its 27-5 record; their strength of schedule is #200 (out of conference, #318). They won two of three against Gonzaga, but this was the one that counted for everything.

12) Last four at-large teams go to Dayton next week for play-in games; according to Joe Lunardi, who is always at least very close, Syracuse-Monmouth would be one game in Dayton, UConn-St Bonaventure the other.

11) During the Florida State-Boston College game in ACC tournament, Doris Burke and Sean McDonough took turns bashing BC's administration for not committing enough money to fund a competitive team in the ACC. Apparently the thing now is to have a basketball-only facility that players can access 24/7 if they want to work on their games. Facilities like that cost a decent amount of money.

Seeing as Boston College went a combined 0-27 in football/basketball in the ACC this year, school honchos might want to reach into their deep pockets, spend some $$$.

10) ESPN's Seth Greenberg went to college at FDU in New Jersey; the 18-14 Knights upset Wagner to win the NEC title last night, Greenberg was calling FDU "Harvard in Hackensack" which apparently it very much is not.

Greenberg is very good on TV though, way better than he was as a coach.

9) Green Bay 78, Wright St 69-- Green Bay coach Linc Darner won the DII national title LY at Florida Southern; he has now won 13 consecutive games in March, the best month to have a winning streak.

During Green Bay's semi-final upset of Valparaiso Monday, one of the refs tossed the Green Bay radio guy from the gym, for objecting to some calls from his broadcast spot near the scorer's table. Conference officials intervened at the next TV timeout and let the guy back in.

8) Valpo and Oakland both got the double bye into the semifinals for being #1, #2 during the regular season, then they both lost their first tournament game, rendering the double bye useless. Tournaments played on neutral court hurt the top seeds, or more accurately, do not help them as much as playing them at home, obviously.

7) ESPN is using a new gadget at the ACC tourney, where the 3-point arc turns red on TV after a kid releases a 3-point shot. Not sure it was needed, but it is cool.

6) Sounds like the Pitt-Syracuse game today is an elimination game to stay on the NCAA bubble. Much like St Mary's-Gonzaga Tuesday, one team (Pitt) swept the season series, but now has to beat the Ornage a third time to stay in the hunt.

5) Marlins-Braves are playing a real game at Fort Bragg, NC July 3 will be shown on Sunday Night Baseball. The game will be played in a 12,500-seat stadium built by MLB and the MLBPA. Teams play Thurs-Sat that week in Atlanta, with a 4:10 game on Saturday, then play at 5:05 Sunday on the military base.

4) Detroit Tigers took the extra base on hits to the outfield only 34% of time LY, worst in the AL- they're looking to improve on that this year.

3) When I watch pitchers on my fantasy team pitch in spring training, I try not to be concerned as long as they appear healthy; When Bob Welch won the Cy Young for the A's in 1990, his ERA in spring training that year was over 17.00. Sometimes they just work on one pitch or don't use their best stuff. It just does not matter.

2) Baltimore Orioles are 0-8 in spring training; does it matter at all? And if yes, how much? If Buck Showalter wasn't their manager, I'd be more concerned for them.

1) Great scene in the movie Friday Night Lights, where Billy Bob Thornton's team gets beat unexpectedly- his character drives up to his house after the game, to find his wife sitting on the stoop with five "FOR SALE" signs stuck in the front lawn.

We live in a fickle society, people are generally frontrunners. You think anyone would give a rat's ass what Donald Trump thought if he wasn't a billionaire? But he might become President, because rich and famous is very important in our society.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Champ Week is tremendous; these low major and mid-major tournaments are great theater-- so much pressure on the high seeds, who don't go to the NCAAs unless they win this tournament. Of the first seven tournaments that have finished, the #1 seed has won only one of them, that being Chattanooga in the Southern Conference.

12) Drexel fired Bruiser Flint, Santa Clara canned Kerry Keating, as coaching carusel begins to spin. Flint gets fired mainly because his best player Damion Lee bolted for Louisville, where he wound up not even playing in the ACC tournament.

Lot of people feeling bad for Louisville's two senior transfers when school wouldn't let the team play in the postseason, but now coach Flint is unemployed because the kid bolted his teammates/coaches for greener pastures.

11) Good coaching news: Wisconsin gives the fulltime head coaching job to interim coach Greg Gard, who led the team this year after Bo Ryan retired.

10) Illinois gives Lovie Smith six years, $21M to be its football coach; Smith was a pretty good NFL head coach (89-87) but hasn't been involved in college ball since he was DB coach at Ohio State in 1995. Who he puts on his staff will be interesting.

9) Gonzaga 88, BYU 84-- Zags beat BYU twice in nine days, are in WCC finals with St Mary's tonight. Gonzaga hasn't missed NCAAs since late 90's; I'm thinking the win last night puts them in, but one never knows about these things. Zags played two subs last night for total of 19:00; fatigue could be an issue tonight.

8) NC-Wilmington 80, Hofstra 73 OT-- CAA consistently has a fun tournament; teams are so evenly matched. If I was a bigshot at UNLV, I'd damn sure give UNCW coach Kevin Keatts an interview for the Rebels' open coaching position.

7) Chattanooga 73, East Tennessee State 67-- Mocs were up 4 late in game; kid on ETSU got smacked while shooting a 3, but no foul was called, the shooter snapped, got a T, the coach snapped, got a T and school was out. These two teams were athletic as hell, but shot selection and poise weren't at optimum levels.

6) Iona 79, Monmouth 76-- Technicals in the SoCon game were justified; this game swung on a horrendous taunting technical called with 4:05 left in a tie game. There was no visible show of anything-- swallow your damn whistle, no one paid to watch you ref, and let the kids decide the game. I didn't care who won this game, was watching it because it as a fun game and the damn ref calls a taunting technical with 4:05 left. Oy.

5) Philadelphis Eagles traded three players away for assorted draft picks, as they identify which players Chip Kelly acquired and systemically get rid of them.

4) Watched the Milwaukee-San Diego spring training game yesterday; Brewers have a new GM who looks like he is 14 years old, one of these Ivy League geniuses and he is totally rebuilding the ballclub- they could be very, very bad this season, with an eye on developing young talent, the way the Astros did the last few years.

3) Redskins released Robert Griffin III; will be very, very interesting to see where he winds up. Can he stay healthy? Will his teammates follow his lead? I'm pretty sure he has the physical tools to succeed. Can't wait to see where he lands.

2) Baltimore Orioles signed 1B Pedro Alvarez to a 1-year, $5.75M contract which has a lot of incentives in it- he should enjoy Camden Yards.

1) When Maria Sharapova's people announced a 3pm press conference the same day as Peyton Manning's farewell, should've figured it was bad news, a classic news dump. She failed a drug test in January and is facing a lengthy suspension. With all the stuff she does with commercials, this could be a very, very expensive deal-- Nike already is suspending their deal with her. I wasn't aware she is highest paid woman in sports.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend.......
13) Oddest fact about Peyton Manning's great career-- he played in four Super Bowls, for four different head coaches. Even more unusual than Joe Gibbs winning his three Super Bowls with three different quarterbacks.

12) Northern Iowa 56, Evansville 54-- Panthers led by 14 at the half, blew the lead, but they advance to NCAAs thanks to a fortunate bounce on a last-second shot.

11) North Dakota State 60, IUPUI 45-- Bison advance because partly because IUPUI suspended its best player for undisclosed reasons. Sometimes you need to get lucky.

10) Hofstra 70, Wm & Mary 67-- Last year, Hofstra lost three times to Tribe, with a double OT loss in this round. This year, Hofstra beat W&M three times- their seniors Green/Tanksley combined for 37 points here. Hofstra now plays NC-Wilmington in CAA finals. Teams split their games this year-- both teams that lost blew double digit leads, so tonight's final should be interesting.

9) Iona 81, Siena 70-- Gaels win on Siena's home court- road team won all three series games this year- to reach finals against Monmouth, which got leading rebounder Jones back yesterday-- he missed the Hawks' loss to Iona last month. .

8) Southern Conference-- Chattanooga-East Tennessee State is final tonight; ETSU got swept by the Mocs this year, losing by 10-8 points. Buccaneers won 10 of their last 11 games, with only loss in the rematch with Chattanooga.

7) One of the referees at the Southern Conference tournament is Bruce Benedict, who played 12 years in the major leagues with the Atlanta Braves, where he hit .240 as a catcher. I spent most of his career rooting against him. Why?

My favorite ballplayer while Benedict was playing was Biff Pocoroba; if you know me, you know why. Pocoroba was also a catcher on the Braves and he competed with Benedict for playing time, so I spent several years hoping Benedict failed badly. I'm an idiot, I know- they were both very average, but together a decent platoon unit.

6) Kid named Wendall Williams from College of Cumberlands (I've never heard of it) ran a 4.19 40-yard dash at a tryout in Minnesota. Kid is a track star, hasn't played a lot of football-- he caught 15 passes for 457 yards (with 8 TDs) at an NAIA school. If Al Davis were still alive, Mr Williams would damn sure be a Raider next year.

5) Cincinnati 61, SMU 54-- Mustangs' season is over; both them and Louisville went out meekly this weekend, proving how mental the game can be- they become ineligible for the postseason, and things go south fairly quickly. Human nature.

4) Fresno State is 22-9, 13-5 in conference-- they've had a great year, are #2 seed in Mountain West, but if UNLV beats Air Force in a preliminary game, Fresno will have to play the Rebels in their first tournament game, in the Thomas & Mack Center. Not the best situation, but playing the conference tournament in Las Vegas is the only way the league would make any money. I've heard that somewhere before........

3) Golfer Steven Bowditch is struggling badly with his game, but he was still qualified for the World Golf tournament and he played all 72 holes (there is no cut in tourneys with small fields like this) +37. Thats 81-80-80-84 but he banked $48,000.

2) City of San Jose is owed $6.8M in unpaid library fines; so if you live in San Jose and you have an overdue book, pay your damn fine already.

1) Gonzaga-BYU figures to be very good tonight, from Las Vegas, semifinals of the WCC from Orleans Arena. Dick Vitale is going to do the WCC tourney the next two nights which should be very interesting. Mr Vitale isn't ESPN's #1 guy anymore and he can only do one game per night because he had throat surgery couple years ago, but this should be fun, for both him and the viewers.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday........
13) It is now Champ Week, not Championship Week; wonder what genius got paid to come up with that one? In any event, it is one of the best weeks all year and it is off to a tremendous start. In lot of ways, this week is better than the NCAAs, since for lot of these schools, just getting in the tournament is the biggest deal of all.

12) Yale 71, Columbia 55-- Yale is in NCAAs for first time since 1962; congrats to the Bulldogs and coach James Jones, a fellow Albany alum and a good guy. He's done a consistently solid job at Yale and now the national media will get to know him.

11) Austin Peay 83, UT-Martin 73 OT-- 69-year old Dave Loos is Austin Peay's coach; he is 491-443 in 30 years as a head coach, 26 of which have been at Peay. Last four years, they're 20-44 in OVC games, but over last four days, they put together a run for the ages, posting four straight upsets to win the OVC tournament.

Coach Loos has ten grandchildren, one of whom is a 5-year old girl who is fighting cancer; hopefully this tournament run gave the family some joy at a sad time.

10) In case you wonder about such things, the three states with the highest rate of sleep deprivation are: Kentucky-Hawai'i-Maryland.

9) The last first-team basketball All-American whose team didn't make the NCAA tournament was Mychal Thompson (Klay's father) at Minnesota in 1978. Its going to happen this year with Ben Simmons and LSU.

8) Saturday was Josh Whitman's first day as the new AD at Illinois; all he did was fire the football coach, who had just signed a 2-year contract in November, so the school has to eat $985,000, and four new assistant coaches who just moved to Champaign have to go and find new jobs. This was totally unexpected.

Lot of speculation on social media had Illinois going after Lovie Smith to be coach.

7) Illinois is 13-17 in basketball this year, 5-12 in conference; in John Groce's four years with the Illini, he is 75-59, 29-42 in Big 14. If I were him, I'd be nervous.

6) Boston College finishes 0-18 in basketball, meaning they go 0-26 in this school year in football/basketball, a level of consistent ineptitude that will go down in history as basically unbeatable. How does the athletic director not get fired there?

5) North Carolina 76, Duke 72-- Duke was 13-34 on arc, 12-33 inside arc; they let Carolina's big men catch the ball 12-15 feet from basket, and defied them to score and it almost worked but it didn't-- Carolina is top seed in ACC tournament, Duke tied for 5th with Notre Dame. They're likely to be lower than a 2-seed for only 4th time in their last 20 NCAA tournaments and are vulnerable to an early upset.

4) Northern Iowa 57, Wichita State 52 OT-- Joe Lunardi was fairly adamant last night that the Shockers are in the tournament, so I'll defer to him on that, but they will have a very, long, nervous week until they see their name in the brackets. Wichita is not that strong on offense-- MVC is only the #12 conference this season.

3) Siena plays Iona tonight in Albany, the #2 seed playing the #3 seed on #3 seed's home court. MAAC teams have bitched about this for years, but Albany is the only place they can hold the tournament and make a lot of money. At the end of the day, no one likes to lose money.

2) IP-Fort Worth has a kid named Max Landis who routinely jacks 28-footers; he is shooting 45.5% behind the arc this year for the 24-8 Mastodons, who play in the semis of the Summit League Monday night- they're a fun team to watch.

1) As a DirecTV subscriber, this was the first year that was available to me on my laptop-- have enjoyed it a lot. Saw a ton more games, from the Southern Conference to Summit the Big West to the MAC. Some of these leagues are better than you think- if the top seeds can survive their conference tournaments, they could spring some surprises in the NCAA tournament in a couple of weeks.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind.......
13) Florida Gulf Coast 89, North Florida 56-- Weirdness in Atlantic Sun; Stetson is the #7 seed- they're in the final against FGCU Sunday, but Stetson is ineligible for the NCAA tournament, so in an odd twist, if the Hatters upset Florida Gulf Coast, North Florida goes to the NCAA tournament, even though they lost by 33 in the semis.

12) Yale 88, Cornell 64-- Princeton lost at Harvard last night, so if Yale wins tonight at Columbia, they win the Ivy League and make the NCAAs for first time since 1962.

11) Houston is 22-8 under Kelvin Sampson this season, a great rebuilding job by an excellent coach who did great work at Oklahoma.

10) Political trivia: The Kansas presidential primary is this weekend, but Wichita State has so many fans in St Louis for Arch Madness, the Republicans put a polling station in St Louis this weekend, in a different state!!!

9) Several leagues divided their quarterfinal card into doubleheaders on separate days, giving the top two seeds the first day, then a day off in between the quarters and semifinals, while the #3 and #4 seeds would have to play on consecutive days.

8) In the Big South Conference, top seed High Point has to play this weekend without its best player, John Brown. High Point is coached by North Carolina alum Scott Cherry who is from Saratoga, NY, half-hour north of where I live.

7) Tuition at USC will be over $50,000 next year, for the first time.

6) Angels-Cubs exhibtion game drew 15,446 fans in Arizona Friday. They're going to make a fortune on spring training- Cubs are a hot ticket these days.

5) Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon is now the last active major leaguer who played for the Montreal Expos.

4) Orioles pitcher Brian Matusz throws lefty, but he has made a hole-in-the-one on the golf course, both righty and lefty. How many people have done that?

3) Speaking of golf, Thursday night, Donald Trump claims he hits a golf ball 285 yards- he is 69 years old. I'm not doubting him, just saying good for him if it is true.

2) Steve Spurrier Jr now works at Oklahoma, where he is the Recruiting Director as well as working with the offense. Assistant football coaches can be nomadic as hell.

1) Mets are low-balling pitching star Jacob deGrom, offering him $607,500 for this year, when the major league minimum is just over $500,000. deGrom is a big reason why the Mets won the National League LY; at least pay the guy a million bucks. He did not sign the contract, by the way. To be continued.....

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.......
13) Warriors 121, Thunder 106-- Oklahoma City has 10 losses when they led in 4th quarter, tied with 76ers for most in NBA this season.

Golden State has 31 games this year with 30+ assists; Thunder has four.

12) Sacramento 104, Dallas 101-- Kings ended an 0-22 skid in Dallas.

11) Longtime Clippers' TV announcer Ralph Lawler got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Thursday; he's worked for Braves/Clippers since 1978, and is probably the best local TV play-by-play guy in the NBA, other than maybe Mike Breen.

10) Golf coach at Arizona State is Tim Mickelson; yes, Lefty's brother. Recruiting probably isn't a real big problem.

9) Arizona 64, California 61-- Wildcats scored last 11 points of game; had the idea after this was over that the better team lost.

8) Manhattan basketball coach Steve Masiello signed a contract extension, which is not going to be worth the paper it is printed on if a big money school comes calling. Chances are when the UNLV job is filled, it is going to create a domino effect with lot of coaching changes all over the country.

7) Louisiana Tech 97, Marshall 94-- This was one of the most fun games I watched all season; two coaches who just let the players have at it. Kid on Tech drained one at the buzzer from halfcourt to win it. Hopefully these teams will meet up again at the Conference USA tournament next week.

6) Georgia 74, South Carolina 72-- Emotional Senior Night may have drained South Carolina some here; Gamecocks' three seniors are all from other countries, and it was a very emotional pre-game ceremony. Frank Martin has built a winning program where there hasn't been one in quite a while- their last NCAA appearance was in 2004.

5) Canisius 102, Niagara 97 3OT-- Rivals played a triple OT thriller in beautiful downtown Albany; I saw Canisius win a 3OT game against UL-Monroe in Las Vegas in December. Griffins have to play Iona tonight; Gaels beat them by 18-8 this year.

4) Oregon State freshman Tres Tinkle got hurt in a walkthrough Wednesdsy; his status for the UCLA game and the Pac-12 tournament is still unknown. he is a skilled scorer and is also the coach's son

3) Pittsburgh Pirates will wear old-fashioned, pillbox hats at Sunday home games this season; lot of teams wore those hats in 1976, for the nation's bicentennial- they were actually called bicentennial caps back then. Pirates were the only team, I think, that wore them after 1976.

2) Marco Rubio had the onions to say on TV last night that people move to Florida, not because of the better weather, but because government in Florida is run better than in the north. Alrighty then. Does this nitwit even listen to himself? Aren't there people who tell him not to say stupid things?

1) Texas Longhorns have an artificial turf baseball field, which is odd, because it doesn't rain that much in Texas, and only two big league teams (Tampa Bay/Toronto) have artificial turf fields and they both play in domed stadiums.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) RIP Mr Ray Stack-- A teacher, coach, friend, Ray passed away this week after a lengthy illness. Blessed with a booming voice and a tremendous laugh, Ray was always fun to be around-- you couldn't help but feel smarter after spending time with him.

He made an outsider feel welcome when he didn't have to; the four years Ray and I coached basketball together was one of the best experiences of my life.

RIP, Ray. It was an honor to know you.

12) Denver Broncos didn't franchise QB Brock Osweiler, meaning he becomes a free agent Wednesday; could it be that Peyton Manning might return to Denver?

11) VCU 70, Davidson 60-- Davidson coach Bob McKillop became Wildcats' coach in 1989, when VCU coach Will Wade.......was seven years old.

10) UNLV freshman Derrick Jones Jr has a 3.25 GPA, is a solid citizen, but he was declared ineligible this week because the ACT, out of nowhere, declared his test score ineligible.....on March 2. Not the NCAA, the actual ACT. Something isn't right-- why wasn't this discovered earlier? Now the kid will go pro when he isn't ready, when if it was discovered in the fall, he could've sat this year out, played next year, and his career wouldn't be screwed up. This doesn't sound like the right way to do business.

9) We talked yesterday about credits for the movie Leap of Faith, where a guy named Ricky Jay was mentioned-- turns out he is a magician that was influential in Steve Martin's career. Early on, Martin used to include magic in his comedy act, so it was a joke that Ricky Jay was listed in the credits as "Cons and Frauds Consultant".

8) Greedy bastard update-- We haven't done this for a while; I am told the price of gas in Ohio is in the $1.60's, which is great for them, but at the Mobil station closest to my house, it is still $2.13. Now there is another Mobil station about a mile from there- their price is $1.99, which makes no sense. Across the street from the place where gas is $2.13, they're selling it for $1.97, but the place has crummy parking and is harder to get in and out of, so not as many people get gas there. Go figure.

7) 36-year old Baron Davis played for the Knicks in 2012, the last time he was in the NBA; he has signed with the 76ers' D-League team, as he launches a comeback. This is going to be interesting, I guess, but do the 76ers really want him? If he can still play, what contender would take a chance on him? Four years is a long time.

6) Speaking of the D-League, the Knicks didn't offer Jimmer Fredette a second 10-day contract, which is a little unusual. I've always said he has two years on the Jazz bench coming to him, because his status as a BYU legend will allow him to end his playing career gracefully- that day may be coming sooner than he had hoped.

5) I'm enjoying spring training games during the day this week, but March is the one time of year I do not want to hear the name of players on my fantasy team on TV- it is seldom good news. Already have two pitchers hurt and a shortstop about to get the book thrown at him for a domestic violence thing. Oy.

4) Interesting contrast on ESPN-- they employ Joe Lunardi to re-configure the Field of 68 during every TV timeout, seemingly-- he works hard, his work is interesting, albeit irrelevant, but it is something to talk about. When it comes to the at-large bids, Lunardi favors taking strong mid-majors who slipped up in conference tournaments over teams from big conferences who had under-.500 records in conference.

Then there is Jay Bilas, an elitist who thinks the NCAAs should be the 68 best teams, no matter what. No automatic bids for smaller leagues-- those are the teams who make the tournament the fascinating event it is. He'd rather see the 10th-place team in the Pac-12 get in over the champ of the Southland Conference or the MAAC.

Differing opinions make for an interesting debate, but the charm of the NCAAs, and the big money it draws from CBS, is because it is truly a national tournament-- where else could Montana State play St John's, or UCLA play Stephen F Austin?

3) Heard a guy on TV say over weekend that he thought a #1 seed would get beat in first round of NCAA tournament this year- that has never happened. His partner was not agreeing with him, saying the 16-seeds have gotten worse over the years, plus two of the four 16-seeds have to win a play-in game first. Makes it harder.

2) In case you care about such things, going back to 1987, smallest pointspread in a 1-16 first round game was in 1990, when Michigan State was 15-point favorite over Murray State-- the Spartans won in overtime, as close to losing as a 1-seed has come.

1) I do think this year will be like 1988, when 6-seed Kansas won the national title, running a huge wave of luck to get advantageous matchups. Let me show you.....

1st round-- 6-seed Kansas (even) beat 11-seed Xavier 85-72
2nd round-- Kansas (-7.5) 61, beat 14-seed Murray State 61-58. Murray had upset the #3-seed NC State in its first round game.
3rd round-- Kansas (-1) beat Vanderbilt 77-64. Vandy upset #2-seed Pitt in a second round game.
Regional final-- Kansas (+2) beat Kansas State 77-58. K-State had upset the top seed Purdue in the regional semi-final.

So Kansas made the Final Four without playing the 1,2 or 3 seed in that region- that is how underdogs get to the Final Four. It could happen again..

Wednesday's List of 13: Happy birthday to Dr Seuss......
Today would've been Dr Seuss' 112th birthday; with that in mind, I'm adding one of his quotes at end of each note today.

13) Clippers' owner Steve Ballmer is a 59-year old, overweight bald man. Druing a timeout Monday night, Mr Ballmer dunked, using a trampoline. Thanks to him, I will never wonder what it would look like if I dunked using a trampoline, seeing as I am a 56-year old, overweight bald man. If you're wondering, it wasn't pretty.

Dr Seuss: "Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you."

12) Golden State Warriors have now had 159 consecutive home sellouts.

Dr Seuss: "A person's a person, no matter how small."

11) Bernie Sanders raised $6M on Monday alone; he raised over $42M in month of February. He is very good at raising money.

Dr Seuss: "Oh the things you can find, if you don't stand behind."

10) Aroldis Chapman got suspended 30 games for violating the domestic violence policy; based on his $11,325,000 salary, looks like he is being docked a total of just about $2,097,222.22.

Dr Seuss: "Today I shall behave, as if today is the day I will be remembered."

9) Sam Bradford gets $36M for two years from the Eagles; good luck there. He has a 25-37-1 career W-L record, with zero playoff appearances in six years.

Dr Seuss: "From there to here and here to there, funny things are everywhere."

8) Tampa Bay Rays are playing the Cuban National team in Havana March 22, which is really a breakthrough in international relations.

Dr Seuss: "You'll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut."

7) City of San Francisco raised the smoking age to 21 this week. I personally think smoking should be illegal, since it helps to kill people, but nobody asked me.

Dr Seuss: "Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple."

6) Spring training logistics must be interesting; so many players have to be given a chance to show themselves; its not like the egular season, when the best guys play the most. Cleveland has 22 pitchers in its big league camp; coaches ahve to script who gets how many innings and when. Takes a lot of planning.

Dr Seuss: "Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one."

5) Michigan loses its star player Caris LeVert for the season; he had only played one game since New Year's, but now it is offical that his college career is over.

Dr Seuss: "Don't cry because its over. Smile because it happened."

4) Dillon Avare is a walk-on basketball player at Louisville who will graduate from Louisville in three years, then transfer and play at Eastern Kentucky on scholarship. Why is he at Louisville? His dad is Rick Pitino's business manager. Why is he going to EKU? EKU's coach Dan McHale used to be a manager for Rick Pitino at Kentucky.

Dr Seuss: "You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose."

3) Colorado Rockies are raising fences in right-center field 8 feet and down the left field line 5 feet. They might raise all the fences for the 2017 season.

Dr Seuss: "From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere."

2) Kansas City Royals rewarded catcher Salvador Perez for his leadership and great play with a 5-year, $52.5M contract extension. Much deserved.

Dr Seuss: "Unlike someone like you cares a whole awful lot. Nothing is going to get better. Its not."

1) I like to watch the credits at the end of movies; not sure why. Was watching one of my favorite movies Leap of Faith the other night and noticed this in the credits:

Cons and Frauds Consultant-- Ricky Jay

Leap of Faith is about a travelling preacher who scams people into giving him money by making them think he can heal their illnesses, or fix their problems. Not sure if the credit is a joke or if they really did have a fraud consultant, but it made me laugh.

Dr Seuss: "Step with care and great tact. And remember that life is a great balancing act."

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but......
13) Boston Red Sox had a payroll LY of $185,568,958, 3rd-highest in baseball; they added David Price LY, so I'm assuming their payroll will be at least that high again this season, but their 3B will be Pablo Sandoval, their 1B Hanley Ramirez. Not exactly Brooks Robinson and JT Snow. Could be lot of bunts against the Sox this season.

12) Was fun watching the Red Sox play two college teams Monday; not the same as a real big league game (those start today), but good nonetheless. Spring training park the Red Sox call home is a facsimile of Fenway Park, kind of cool.

11) Red Sox' new 1B coach is Ruben Amaro, Jr, who for last seven years was the GM of the Phillies. Odd situation; no one can ever remember this happening before, but apparently Amaro wants to be a field manager and this is how he is learning the ropes. Plus, he needed a job after the Phillies fired him.

10) Win a bar bet: only Hall of Famer to get his 3,000th hit against another Hall of Famer was Dave Winfield (for the Twins) against Dennis Eckersley (for the A's) way back in 1993, in the Metrodome.

Winfield played baseball/basketball at U of Minnesota, where his hoop coach was Bill Musselman, whose son Eric now coaches at Nevada-Reno.

9) Speaking of which, our Bad Beat of Week: Nevada 87, Colorado State (+3.5) 80

If you had Colorado State +3.5 Sunday, you weren't happy. Rams were down two as one of their guards raced downcourt for the last shot with 0:04 left. It looked good for the cover-- he was either going to shoot or run out of time, but a Nevada player didn't know the score- he thought they were up 3-- and he fouls the guy intentionally.

Colorado State guy makes both foul shots, game goes OT and Nevada covers. Oy.

8) Michigan Wolverines are having spring football practice in Florida; a damn good idea, very creative, but what is the price tab? Has to be steep.

7) Just watched a movie while I was writing this-- The Judge, with Robert Duvall and Robert Downey Jr-- a really, really good movie. Great cast- Billy Bob Thornton was a lawyer, one of the judges was Ken Howard, the coach from The White Shadow, one of my all-time favorite TV shows. Movie is on Cinemax this month.

6) Los Angeles Kings acquired Kris Versteeg this week; poor guy has been traded seven times in his career, going from Boston to Chicago to Toronto to Philly to Florida to Chicago to Carolina and now, to Los Angeles. These guys have families and their kids have to change schools and sure, they make a lot of money, but you get traded seven times by the time you're 29- it has to mess with your mind some.

5) St Mary's plays in WCC tourney starting Saturday in Las Vegas, but they don't like a week between games, I guess, so the Gaels are playing Grand Canyon tonight as a prep. Dan Majerle's Antelopes are 24-5, tied for second in the WAC- they've beaten San Diego State this season, so it should be a good prep for St Mary's.

4) Tennessee State forced 23 turnovers in beating Belmont Sunday; teams are likely to play in OVC semi-finals and Belmont will be favored again- they're younger and less athletic. OVC has four pretty good teams; any of them could win the tourney.

3) Has been fun watching Oregon State play this year; Gary Payton watching his son's senior year in college, at same school he starred for. Beavers' best two players for next year are the coaches' sons, so they ain't leaving early- Oregon State will be a force in the Pac-12 the next few years.

2) College basketball starts around Veterans' Day, second week in November, but it is a long season; think back to the Maui Classic-- Indiana lost to Wake Forest, UNLV- they couldn't guard a freakin' chair. Looked like Tom Crean was going to get fired.

But fast-forward three months; Indiana is 23-6, a top 20 team. UNLV, Wake Forest are a combined 10-24 in conference play- Rebels fired their coach. Teams improve or they regress, they seldom stay the same. It is part of why handicapping is difficult.

1) I've tried to be more interested in politics this year, partly because its the only decent daytime TV (thank God exhibition baseball starts today), but this election has become a sad indictment of our system, lot of jackasses acting like 10-year olds.

Our society is so disgusted with politicians that a rich, egotistical bully might become President-- if this guy wasn't a billionaire no one would give him the time of day, he'd just be the kind of guy you try to avoid. But he is rich, so he's a hero to some. .

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend........
13) Boston College's athletic program may make money, but on the field, its move to the ACC has been a complete debacle. Eagles are 0-16 in ACC basketball games- in football, the Eagles were 0-8 in ACC play. This is not good. Hasn't happened in one of the major conferences since World War II.

12) Up until this season, Dwight Howard had earned $144,726,223 in salary as an NBA player; assuming he makes roughly the same $21M he made last year, that puts him around $166M for his NBA career, just in salary. Not bad, so it was surprising when Howard showed his gratitude this firing his agent. No bueno.

John Wall and DeAndre Jordan have also fired the same agent within last six months, claiming he doesn't do enough for them, off the court. Being an agent must be fun.

11) Burger King sells hot dogs now? Why? The two Burger Kings closest to my house both went out of business- its been a while since I've been to one. I don't have best diet in America, but if I ever go to Burger King to buy a weiner, God help me.

10) So Duke's Grayson Allen gets away with tripping two opponents on purpose and also getting a technical foul AFTER he fouled out at Louisville- Where is Coach K the educator? Shouldn't the school sit Allen down for being a total jerk? What if one of Kentucky's players did that? Media would want the book thrown at him.

I don't think the ACC should've suspended the kid, but Coach K should've stepped up and sat the kid for a game, for his own sake. But because Duke has zero despth, if they sit Allen, they're basically forfeiting that game, so you know that won't happen.

9) I'll give Duke credit for this; in their last 19 NCAA tournaments, they've been a #1 or a #2 seed 16 times- thats quite an accomplishment, to be that good for that long.

8) Dave Dombrowski replaced Ben Cherington as Red Sox GM; both are married to past or present ESPN anchors- Dombrowski to Karie Ross, Cherington to Wendi Nix. Cherington went to Amherst, a fancy school, relied heavily on analytics and new school thinking. Dombrowski went to Western Michigan, a good ol' state school!!!! Red Sox wised up and will use a more traditional approach under Dombrowski.

People who go to fancy schools should do more important stuff than running ballclubs.

7) There is such a thing as the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament- this year was the 38th one. 567 people entered and competed. Thought you'd like to know.

6) Iowa Hawkeyes lost at Ohio State Sunday, their 4th loss in five games; since it won the Big 14 tournament in 2006, Iowa is 2-9 in conference tournament games, 1-2 in NCAA tourney games. Iowa has four seniors in its nucleus- if they flop again this March, it could be a while before they're back in the NCAA tournament.

5) Wide receivers averaged 4.56 in their 40-yard dashes this week at the Combine, slowest average time in many years; not by much, but slowest nonetheless.

4) Of the top 10 college basketball teams last week, eight of them lost this week.

3) Per capita, Utah has the most plastic surgeons of any state in the country.

2) Ian Desmond gets $8M to play for the Rangers this year; they're rumored to be using him in LF. Desmond may be firing his agent soon, too.

1) Lebron James didn't play at Washington Sunday; I'd hate to be a guy who brought his kid(s) to the game (it ain't cheap) and then Lebron doesn't play because he is "resting". If he is hurt, say so. People would understand. But lot of teams utilize this tiered pricing, where it costs more to see the better teams play, and guys rest?

Without Lebron, the Cavaliers are nothing special (3-12 the last two years).

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday........
13) Warriors 121, Thunder 118 OT-- Steph Currty nailed a 38-footer with 0:00.6 left in OT for the win. NBA has to be thrilled with Curry as its poster boy- kids are finding out that with hard work, you can become a great, great player at 6-3.

12) Surprising fact: Duke hasn't won the ACC regular season title by itself since 2006; they shared the 2010 title with Maryland-- the last time they were lower than a 3-seed in the NCAA tournament was in '07- they lost to VCU in the first round.

11) Texas 76, Oklahoma 63-- Sooners led 58-51, then Texas went on a 22-0 run, as Oklahoma lost for fourth time in last seven games.

10) Florida State 77, Notre Dame 56-- Irish PG Demetrius Jackson played 34:00, first time in six games he logged less than a full 40:00.

9) James Madison 71, Wm & Mary 65-- Dukes' win sets up a first-round game in the CAA tournament next Saturday against.....Wm & Mary.

8) Gonzaga 71, BYU 68-- HBO people have some happy film to edit as they put together their reality show on Gonzaga's team this week. Now it is on to the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas-- Zags may need to win the WCC tourney to make the NCAAs.

7) San Diego 85, Portland 76-- Toreros play home games in Jenny Craig Pavilion, named after the weight loss guru-- kids call it the Slim Gym.

6) Boise State 66, San Diego State 63-- Aztecs might be in same boat as Gonzaga, having to win their conference tournament in Las Vegas to make the NCAAs.

By the way, in the next two weeks, if you like college basketball, Las Vegas is the place to be; WCC, WAC, Pac-12, Mountain West all have tournaments there.

5) Vanderbilt 74, Kentucky 62-- Wildcats are 3-5 in SEC road games.

4) Bad Beat of the Day: Ohio U 103, Buffalo (+3.5) 96, OT-- Buffalo didn't score for last 2:49 of regulation- they led 85-80 at that point, then got blown away in OT. Weird thing is that Antonio Campbell scored only six points, and Ohio still won.

3) Utah 70, Arizona 64-- Utes are getting hot at the right time. Should be pointed out that during this game, Bill Walton talked about John Steinbeck, iguanas, Comanche Indians, and 90-year old Utah alum Arne Ferrin, whom he met this week. I'll have to admit that he sounded a little hoarse-- day games are unusual for him.

2) LSU 96, Florida 91-- Gators scored 62 points in second half, and still lost. ESPN had annoying know-it-all Dan Dakich on this game; LSU coaches won't be happy with his blunt critique of the Tigers'play in the second half-- he sounded bored that they sent him outside of the Big 14 this week.

1) Yale 76, Dartmouth 71 OT-- Yale/Princeton are tied for Ivy lead with one week left; actually Princeton has an extra game left against Penn, but they ain't losing to the Quakers. Ivy League doesn't have a tournament, so if Yale-Princeton tie for first, they will have a playoff game, probably at the Palestra.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind.........
13) Watching the Gonzaga reality show on HBO earlier this 0week, you realize how much the success of a basketball team can help the entire profile of a school, increasing applications to a college- normal students see the great atmosphere at the games, and they want to be a part of it. People are generally frontrunners.

12) As I type this, I'm sitting here watching HBO's special on UNLV basketball, one of my favorite hours of television ever. Lot of great memories, but the success of those teams has also made it so much harder for the current Rebels. It can be hard to compete against ghosts, to live up to unrealistic expectations.

11) Three college basketball teams who make the most 3-point baskets per game:
North Florida 12.5, Akron 11.5, The Citadel 11.4.

10) Most fun college team to watch this season: the Oakland Grizzlies, who run like hell, have a great point guard and a kid named Max Hooper who has taken 229 shots this season, all 3-pointers. Hooper's dad has cancer; he came to his son's Senior Night Friday night in his hospital bed- a touching moment when his son ran up the stairs to hug his dad after the game.

9) Monmouth signed hoop coach King Rice to a 5-year college extension, which is high comedy, since there is no way Rice will still be at Monmouth five years from now-- some big money school will come and scoop him up. Monmouth was 48-105 in five years before Rice got there- now they're 42-21 the last two years.

8) I watch the NFL Combine and these workouts are great and I'm sure the teams find them very useful, but at the end of the day, I only want to know one thing about each player that tries out-- CAN HE PLAY??????

Lifting weights is impressive, running fast is good, but Tom Brady ran like me at his Combine workout and he's turned out OK. Brady can lead a team, and there is nothing that measures that in February workouts-- it only gets measured in actual games.

7) Memphis QB Paxton Lynch is working with the former CFL head coach Charlie Taaffe as he tries to get up to speed with NFL terminology. Taaffe was at UCF when Blake Bortles played there; he is very good at developing QBs, so that has to be a big help for a young man like Lynch, who hopes to be drafted in the first round.

Sidebar; Charlie Taaffe is from Albany; I've met his brother Bob a few times. Charlie was head coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for a couple years; he knows his stuff.

6) Kyle Lowry had 43 points, nine assists as Toronto beat the Cavaliers at buzzer in a fun game to watch. Raptors are 39-18, currently the #2 team in the East.

5) Get well soon, golfer Jason Bohn, the 71st-ranked golfer in the world, who suffered a mild heart attack after his round on Friday. Bohn is 42 years old.

4) San Jose Sharks lost 3-1 to Buffalo last night, the first game in Sharks' history with no penalties for either side.

3) I thought the Astros were getting rid of that hill they had in centerfield at Minute Maid Park, but I heard yesterday they're keeping it for one more year. Originally, it was put there because there used to be a hill like that at old Crosley Field in Cincinnati, but it was a bad idea then and it still is.

2) College baseball saw home runs go up about 30% last year after they switched to baseball with lower seams. College baseball teams bunt too much, by the way. Kid on Texas Tech last night hit a homer, then squared to bunt on first pitch of his next AB.

1) Tuesday at 1:00 on MLB Network: Blue Jays-Phillies. Then at 4:00 from out in Arizona, Indians-Reds. Real live major league baseball. Can't wait.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here......
13) Saw something I never saw before last night; kid was taking a foul shot, the ball rattles in and out and wedged between the rim and the backboard. The ref looked at it for a second, like he had no idea what to do. Never saw that happen before, not even on a playground. They went to the possession arrow, by the way.

12) One of the things they do at the NFL Combine is give players physicals- the QBs get their hands measured-- big hands are an advantage, especially for teams that might play lot of games in bad weather. Jared Goff measured in with a 9-inch hand; a little less than optimal, but big enough so it won't hurt his standing in the draft.

One of the reasons Johnny Manziel appealed to Cleveland was that he has big hands, and should be OK playing in cold weather. Scouting is an inexact scienece; Manziel's issues obviously have very little to do with his play on the field.

11) NFL has tremendous skill at always staying in the news; the Combine this week is just a series of workouts/job interviews-- would be great TV if they aired the teams' interview part, which they obviously cannot.

Super Bowl was 19 days ago; you'd think this was a dead time of year, but they have this and then free agency starts March 9 and then they'll have the schedule unveling and the draft in April and that is why the NFL has a daily show os ESPN, year-round.

10) Colin Kaepernick is slated to make $11.9M next year, the 49ers say they he will be on the roster April 1, but apparently Kaepernick has sought permission to seek out a trade. How much can you get for a guy you benched for Blaiine Gabbert?

9) Pac-12 needs to do something about court storming before someone gets hurt; every time Arizona loses a road game, opponents' fans rush the floor after the game- it looks dangerous and it can be. Sean Miller spoke out about it Wednesday night- you'd hope the schools will get together and get security in place to prevent it.

8) Not only did Steph Curry have 51 points last night, he had eight assists, seven rebounds. The best player in the NBA is only 6-foot-3- he's made a 3-pointer in 128 straight games, a new NBA record. .

7) Baseball is putting up a 0:30 clock for coaches/managers' visits to the mound this year, as they try to speed up the game. I'll do them one better; why not just ban the visits to the mound altogether- what would that hurt? If you change pitchers, just sub them in/out like players do in basketball. if they're serious about shortening games, lot of ways to do it pretty easily, without screwing around with the actual game.

Random opinion: I love watching baseball, I don't think games are too long and I can amuse myself during stoppages in play, so I'm not a stickler that games need to be a lot shorter, but if you're trying to shorten them, this is an easy way to do it.

6) Put it this way: I'm fairly excited that exhibition games start Tuesday.

5) There was a report on the Interweb yesterday that Yoenis Cespedes was wearing his hat backwards during batting practice, a la Ken Griffey Jr and that Terry Collins wasn't that happy about it and was going to say something to him about it. Oy.

I'd be more concerned about those fancy cars Cespedes drives to the ballpark every day; they don't look like they were designed to stay under the speed limit. But if they do get sick of Cespedes and his backwards hat, feel free to send him back to Oakland.

4) Ever see those Dos Equus beer commercials, the ones with The Most Interesting Man in the World? I was informed yesterday that Mr Interesting lives about 100 miles south of here, in same town as one of my friends and he is in his late 70's now, being a 1956 high school graduate. He was at Saratoga racetrack couple of summers ago and drew quite a crowd- the power of television.

3) Interweb was reporting Wednesday night that Dexter Fowler signed with Baltimore for three years, $35M, after he turned down a 1-year, $15.8 deal from the Cubs early in this offseason. Turns out the Interweb was wrong; Fowler signed with the Cubs yesterday, for one year, $9M. Then his agent went public, bashing the Orioles for leaking info on the negotiations- I'm guessing the agent got an earful from Fowler and is now trying to avoid being fired by his client.

2) A's traded a struggling pitcher (Aaron Brooks) for a journeyman utility man (Chris Coghlan) yesterday, who became expendable once the Cubs re-signed Fowler. Brooks had a 6.71 ERA in nine starts LY. Coghlan was Rookie of the Year in 2009 and hit 16 HRs LY; his .340 career on-base %age ain't bad- to get him for basically nothing is a solid move by Oakland.

1) I'm amazed that each college basketball conference doesn't have an official basketball to be used during all conference games; each school can use whatever ball it sees fit. Apparently there is a big difference between Nike, adidas, Under Armour basketballs; some of the Wisconsin players were complaining about it last month.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) Oregon State 82, Washington 81-- One of the best endings all season; Stephen Thompson Jr knocked down a 3 at the buzzer as pandemonium erupted in Corvallis. This was a fun game to watch, except for when thunderstorms (??) in beautiful upstate New York knocked DirecTV off the air for a while in the first half.

Seriously, whats the deal with thunderstorms in February?

12) HBO is doing a 5-part reality show on Gonzaga's basketball team; they picked the wrong year, since the Zags might miss the tournament for the first time in 19 years but the end of this week's episode was very good TV.

Gonzaga loses its home finale to rival St Mary's, meaning the Gaels won the regular season title and put Gonzaga in jeopardy of missing the NCAAs. Not good; after the game in the locker room, the players are informed they have to go back on the court to greet the students, apparently a traditional event. They're not that happy about it.

When they get back up to the court, there are a couple thousand students still there, cheering for their fellow students- they start chanting "Its not over!!! Its not over!!!" as in, the WCC tournament can still get them into the NCAAs. I may not be doing it justice here, but it was a fairly touching moment. Something we would never have seen if not for the reality show-- its worth your time, if you like college hoop.

11) Villanova lost last night, meaning that Michigan State maintains the longest time this year at #1 (23 days) before they lost a game. Villanova had gotten up to 16.

10) Top 5 teams in the AP poll are 22-24 on the road this year; this would be the first time ever top 5 teams finished under .500 in true road games.

9) East Tennessee State is 8-1 in Southern Conference games this season that were decided by 6 or less points or in overtime. Thats good coaching, veteran guards.

8) A 33-year old guy in England named Sam Smith got drunk with friends and legally changed his name to Bacon Double Cheeseburger. I'm guessing he isn't married

7) Championship Week starts next week, one of the best times of the year; when the OVC title game comes on, remember that the last four OVC title games were decided by a total of 11 points. Evenly matched teams in that league

6) Nike founder Phil Knight donated $400M to Stanford for a scholarship program; who the hell has $400M to just give away?

5) If I ever coach basketball again, I'll be a stickler for my team passing the ball inside the arc at least once a possession, or at least reversing the ball so it gets to both sides of the floor. I see college teams dribble down, make one pass and jack a 3 and it makes me sick. Good offenses make the team's defense work on every possession.

Guaranteed if you charted points per possession, teams that shoot those quick 3's don't do as well. I'm not talking about shots taken in transition when you have a 2-on-1 or 3-on-2, I'm talking half-court sets. Not too many Steph Currys in this world.

4) Good H&R Block commercial with Pelicans' star Anthony Davis walking down the street with his H&R Block accountant to do his taxes. Encouraging to see a guy who plays for a smaller market team getting a commercial or two.

3) Ohio State lost its best player, Jae'Sean Tate (shoulder) for the season.

2) Houston Astros are expected to have an Opening Day paytoll of $96.7M this year, after making the playoffs LY. Three years ago, Houston's payroll was $18.8M. Wait until Altuve and Correa are there a few more years; Astros will really have to pay the piper then. Houston is America's 4th-biggest city- they'll be able to afford it.

1) Miami Marlins have banned facial hair this season, as if they have nothing else to worry about. What is the point of this? How does this help the players play better or the coaches coach better? Some things I just do not understand.

Wednesday's List of 13: Looking ahead to conference tourneys
Championship Week starts next week; here is a look at the history of some of these post-season events......
13) ACC-- #1 or #2 seed won this event eight of last ten years; #3 won the other two. Maryland (7-9) in 2004 was last real underdog to win this event.

12) Atlantic 14-- First place team in regular season has won this event only twice in last twelve years. In 2006, Xavier (8-8) pulled a big upset.

11) Big 14-- First place team won this tourney six of last eight years. Over last 12 years, no one who finished lower than 2nd place won this tournament.

10) Big X-- Kansas is probably going to win regular season for 12th year in a row; they've only won postseason tourney once in last four years. Iowa State won it the last two years. Worst teams to win this in last 12 years? Oklahoma State (11-5, '05), Iowa State (11-7, two years ago).

9) Big East-- 10 of last 13 conference tourney winners are no longer in this league. Three of last five years, a team that went 9-9 or 10-8 during the regular season won the conference tourney. #1 seed won only four of last 12 Big East tourneys. In the last ten years, Louisville won this tourney three times; seven other teams won it once.

8) Big Sky-- They wised up this year and moved tourney to Reno, a neutral site that is a good tourist destination. #1 seed had won it the last five years, but #1 seed also hosted the tournament, so they had that advantage. Sacramento State almost won the regular season LY and their gym is too small to host the conference tourney, so maybe that spurred them to move things to Reno.

7) Big West-- #1 seed won only once in last five years. 6-10 Cal Poly pulled an upset in 2014, 8-8 UCSB won it the next year. Northridge is ineligible this year, so it'll be a striaght 8-team tournament, with Hawai'i, Irvine, Long Beach the favorites.

6) CAA-- #1 or #2 seed won this tourney 11 of last 12 years; #3 seed won it the other year. tourney is in Baltimore this year, moves to Charleston next year. League is very balanced; the last five years, the #1 seed in conference had at least three losses during regular season.

5) Conference USA-- From 2006-09, Memphis was an amazing 73-1 in this league; no wonder their fanbase is so spoiled. In three of last six years since, #3 seed or lower won conference tourney. This league sold out for football and is now #21 basketball league, when as recently as five years ago, it was ranked #8.

4) Horizon-- Much like the Big Sky, this league moved its tournament to Joe Louis Arena in Detroit and away from campus sites. #1 seed won this event four of last six years. Anything other than Valparaiso winning this year would be a big upset.

3) MAAC-- From 2008-10, Siena went 55-8 in MAAC games, which is why Iowa hired Fran McCaffery. No #1 seed has won MAAC tourney since then, with last five winners being seeds 2-2-3-4-4. The tournament is in beautiful downtown Albany, not exactly Las Vegas but it is a nice arena.

2) Mountain West-- UNLV won this tourney in 2008; they're 7-7 since and this is played on their home court. San Diego State lost in finals last two years; they better not lose this year, because this is likely a one-bid league for the first time. #1 seed has won this tournament five of last 13 years.

1) Pac-12-- Last year was first time in seven years the #1 seed won, with Arizona winning in its fifth try as the #1 seed. Moving this to MGM Grand was a great idea; having it at Staples Center didn't provide the same atmosphere. Plus, listening to Bill Walton rave about Las Vegas for three days is never a bad thing.

Tuesday's List of 13: Handicapping the UNLV job, plus more....
Here are my top seven candidates for the UNLV basketball coaching job.........
1) Tom Thibodeau-- Went 278-167 as coach of the Bulls; was an NBA assistant for 20 years before that. Players whined that he worked them too hard-- he is a great coach, but his last college coaching job was as an assistant at Harvard in 1989. From a purely X's and O's standpoint, he would be the #1 choice.

Sidebar: Thibodeau's first NBA coaching job was in Minnesota for Bill Musselman, whose son Eric is now the coach at Nevada. Eric Musselman's college roommate at San Diego was George Tarkanian. Later on, Thibodeau was an assistant for the Spurs when Jerry Tarkanian was coach there. It is a small world sometimes.

2) Kevin Keatts-- Former Pitino assistant is 39-20 in two years at NC-Wilmington; his Seahawks press, play unselfishly and use lot of guys. They have to at least give Keatts an interview-- plus, if they hire him, the Stacey Augmon/race card claim goes out the window. If I am AD at UNLV, I have to strongly consider a minority coach, but quality is the most important factor and Keatts is obviously a quality coach.

Sidebar: UNLV'a last two coaches were Lon Kruger and Dave Rice, two terrific guys but they're both as bland as Jeb Bush. It is Las Vegas-- hire someone who plays a style that has some style!!!

3) Reggie Theus-- One of UNLV's greatest players; has been college coach at both New Mexico State, Cal-Northridge-- he is struggling at Northridge, but had Aggies in NCAAs in his second year there. He also was coach of the Sacramento Kings, and in his playing career, scored over 19,000 points in the NBA. If Tark was alive, I'm pretty sure he'd choose Theus to be the next coach-- Tark said he would've hired him the last time UNLV hired a head coach.

Sidebar: Again, unfortunately race could become an issue here. Hiring Theus defuses a lot of concerns, plus he is an alumnus who has coaching experience. He is much better qualified for this job than Stacey Augmon, who apparently isn't very personable with the press or the boosters. Theus would be my choice for this job.

4) Todd Simon-- 35-year old interim coach who is working like hell to keep the team afloat despite a crippling string of injuries. Was head coach at Findlay Prep for one year, was an assistant there for six years before that. His resume just isn't as good as other candidates.

Side bar: Firing college coaches during the season is a bad idea, unless the guy you want to hire permanently is available immediately.

5) Rick Pitino-- This would be the stuff of movies; Pitino is one of the greatest hoop coaches of all-time, on the surface an absolute coup of epic proportions, but if you get him, it means you're probably also getting his son Richard as coach-in-waiting.

Rick Pitino is 64 years old; if you got him for eight years, he is very intriguing, but I would need a commitment of at least 5-6 years before I considered hiring him.

Sidebar: Richard Pitino is 68-61 in his fourth year as a college coach-- he is 15-35 in league games at Minnesota. 15-35 ain't good- he was 18-14 in one year at FIU, which was a big improvement over his predecessor, Isiah Thomas.

6) Archie Miller-- Is 111-52 at Dayton, been in NCAAs last two years, is 50-30 in conference games. Is a quality coach, would be a good hire for sure, but why would he leave Dayton for UNLV? If he turned down Florida last spring, why would he leave Dayton now? Shaka Smart didn't leave VCU until the big $$$ (Texas) came calling and Brad Stevens didn't leave Butler until the Celtics wanted to hire him.

Sidebar: Archie is Sean Miller's brother; does he want to recruit against his brother? I'm thinking Archie's next move will be to a Power 5 conference or Big East/AAC, maybe at Rutgers, Illinois or Memphis. Maybe he's just content at Dayton.

7) Russell Turner-- In his sixth year as coach at Cal-Irvine, where he is 44-18 in Big West games the last four years- the Anteaters had very little basketball tradition, so Turner has built a league power out of virtually nothing. Turner spent six years as an assistant with the Golden State Warriors- if UNLV hires him, lot of people wouldn't be that familiar with him, but Turner would put a quality team on the floor.

Sidebar: In 1999-2000, Turner was an assistant womens' coach at San Francisco, before he hooked up with Mike Montgomery at Stanford.

Elsewhere in the world............
8) Mountain West looks like a one-bid league this year; San Diego State (#60) is only team in KenPom's top 100. From 2005-09, Mountain West got only two teams a year and also in 2014- they've had 3+ teams every other year since 2003.

9) Minnesota is 1-13 in the Big 14, yet they're a 12.5-point favorite tonight against Rutgers, which is 0-14. Rutgers is the state university of New Jersey- there are a lot of good high school players in New Jersey-- how are they this bad?

10) The US Congress has a 10% approval rating; who exactly is this 10% that thinks they're doing a good job?

11) White Sox signed 37-year old Jimmy Rollins to a contract; how is he an upgrade over Alexei Ramirez, their last shortstop? Rollins hit .224 last year.

12) My non-sports hero is probably the great comedian/actor Steve Martin; just got a copy of his 2007 memoir in the mail today, so I'm enjoying reading that. Unsure how I didn't know about the book sooner than this.

13) The actor who played the offensive coordinator in the football movie Any Given Sunday is now playing the President of the US in a new movie called London Is Falling. Apparently his career is on an upswing. .

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend.......
13) Seton Hall 62, St John's 61-- There was almost a fracas in the handshake line after this game, which was an awful game that Seton Hall survived because St John's committed two non-shooting fouls in last 0:40, both while they were tied/ahead.

Are handshake lines still a good idea, or do they invite trouble? Fair question-- there was also a problem after the first Iona-Monmouth game last month.

12) Pelicans 111, Pistons 106-- Anthony Davis had 59 points, 20 rebounds and four assists, quite a night- thats a good week for a lot of guys.

11) Wake Forest 74, Boston College 48-- Deacons suspended their best player for two games, then pounded BC here, running out to a 37-4 lead.

10) Virginia Tech is 7-0 vs spread at home in ACC games; Harvard is 0-10 against the spread in Ivy League games, and they won the league the last four years.

9) There are 11 Division I head coaches who are former Rick Pitino assistants.

8) Oklahoma has a nucleus of Hield-Cousins-Spangler-Woodard- those four kids have started Oklahoma's last 94 games together.

7) West Virginia is averaging 52.4 deflections in their wins, 34.5 in losses, so when you watch them play, if they're disrupting other team's offense with deflected passes, it greatly improves their chances of winning. Once they get out of the Big X and move on to the NCAAs, they'll face teams that aren't used to facing that kind of pressure.

6) Yovani Gallardo gets $35M for three years from the Orioles, just before the start of spring training. Baltimore has spent a lot of money this winter.

5) Watching people at games now, fewer people applaud now because they always have a phone in their hand and you can't applaud with one hand-- you need an app for applause-- just push the button on the phone-- it cheers wildly so you don't have to.

4) Brett Favre does this commercial thats on TV all the time late at night for some company that sells razor blades-- bet they were thrilled when Favre showed up at the Super Bowl with a full beard- actions speak louder than words.

3) A study concluded last week that if one of your neighbors hits the lottery, you're more likely to go broke, since you're going to spend more to try and keep up with him or her. What the study doesn't realize that if one of my neighbors hits the lottery, they're going to buy a place in a way nicer neighborhood and I'll never see them again.

2) I'm actually glad Jeb Bush dropped out of the Presidential race- was beginning to feel bad for the guy. Rumors have him and his people spending around $150M to get him elected to an office very few other people wanted him to have.

1) Today would've been my dad's 90th birthday; I wish he was still here, so we could watch the Knicks tonight. How he loved watching the Knicks, Mets and Giants.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) Texas A&M 79, Kentucky 77, OT-- End of this game was truly bizarre; when a kid on Kentucky grabbed a rebound and got fouled-- in jubilation he threw the ball away after the whistle and the refs gave him a technical, which was also his fifth foul, which meant he couldn't take foul shots from being fouled with Wildcats up one. His replacement split a pair after A&M made both technical foul shots.

Best part of this was that ESPN's Jay Bilas, who constantly bashes the refs, had no clue what the rule was on who chose the foul shooter because the kid had fouled out-- I have never seen that happen before, either. Big win for the Aggies, no matter what.

12) Louisville 71, Duke 64-- There is nothing quite as much fun as watching Dukies whine like 6-year olds when they don't get every call. Coach K got a technical late in game and Grayson Allen got one after he fouled out with 3:55 left. For Louisville, this game was like the Super Bowl, since they're banned from postseason.

11) Funniest thing that'll happen all weekend: Ben Simmons didn't start for LSU at Tennessee "....for academic reasons." Really?

In late June, Simmons will be the first player taken in the NBA Draft, which means that by Labor Day, he is going to be a multi-millionaire, even if he has no freakin' idea where the school library is (for historical reference, see Anthony, Carmelo). Simmons has less chance of being in college next fall than I do-- I graduated (somehow) in 1982.

10) South Carolina 73, Florida 69 OT-- It has to be fairly scary to have to interview Gamecocks coach Frank Martin when his team just gave up a 20-0 run to end the half, which is what happened here. Martin has an intimidating scowl and huge shoulders-- he looks like he could be a pro wrestler, had he so chosen-- he has done a very good job at South Carolina this season. The interview was calm and uneventful.

9) BYU 91, San Diego 33-- Teams played Thursday and BYU barely won 69-67; it is typical of this season, the wild variance in how teams play from day-to-day..

8) Hassan Whiteside had 29 points, 23 rebounds off the bench for Miami last night, the first NBA sub to produce numbers like that since Detlef Schrempf in 1992.

7) They put over 30,000 people in Coors Field Saturday for a hockey game between Colorado College and Denver- these outdoor hockey games have become cash cows.

6) Doug Gottlieb reported that a lot of coaches think Roy Williams will retire after this season and Williams wasn't very happy with that CBS report. Now it is unclear just where Gottlieb's report came from- time will tell who is right, but if Williams ain't retiring, it is BS to say he is, because that could screw up his recruiting.

5) Hawai'i 75, Cal-Irvine 71-- Rainbows are eligible for postseason this year, then go on probation next year- they trailed almost whole way in this game, then pulled it out at the end and opened up aa 2-game lead in the Big West.

They were talking last night that Hawai'i will wind up with lot of Australians on their team, since its new coach was one of the guys responsible for recruiting at St Mary's, which has a great pipeline to basketball players down under.

4) Yale 79, Penn 58-- Yale is tied with Princeton for Ivy lead with two weekends left- they both have to play Columbia, which is a game behind. No conference tourney in the Ivy League, so they'll have a playoff game if it ends in a tie.

3) Air Force 76, New Mexico 72-- Flyboys have now won four home games in a row; Mountain West is as bad as it has ever been this year- they're likely to get only one team in NCAAs. San Diego State is their only chance at an at-large bid.

2) UNLV 102, Nevada 91 OT-- Weird game with a very dramatic end to regulation, when both teams hit a 3-pointer in last 0:03 to send game to OT. Rebels had only six scholarship kids for this game- one kid quit, one kid got tossed, they have a transfer sitting out and four kids hurt-- that adds up to their 13 scholarships.

1) Texas Tech 71, Oklahoma State 61-- Tubby Smith has Texas Tech at 17-9 and on bubble; they've won five of last six games. About ten years ago, Smith was polite enough to let me interview him for this space at an AAU tournament in Florida. He's an excellent coach and a better person. Texas Tech is lucky to have him.

Saturday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind.......
13) RIP Tony Phillps-- He played 18 years in major leagues, nine with the A's-- he was a big reason they won the '89 World Series. Today he would've made a lot more money-- his level of versatility wasn't valued as much then as it is now. Had a career OB% of .374, which is pretty damn good. RIP, sir.

12) Was watching Charlotte-Marshall game Thursday night; Mike D'Antoni's brother coaches Marshall, and they're pretty good. So they interview this senior citizen in the stands-- it is Mike/Dan D'Antoni's father- the guy is 102 years old!!!!. Still sharp too-- apparently he was a really good coach back in the day. Good stuff.

11) I've talked a little bit here about the soon-to be-vacant UNLV basketball job; has no one brought up Tom Thibodeau's name for this job? Thibodeau is a hoop genius; he would be a great college coach-- he was one of Jerry Tarkanian's assistants during Tark's brief foray into NBA coaching (with the Spurs). He'd be a good hire there.

10) Ole Miss drew 10,129 fans for its baseball season opener. Wow.

9) Top 5 college college basketball teams have already lost 33 games this season; 20 of those 33 losses were to teams not in the top 25 at the time of their upset win.

8) When North Carolina lost to Duke Wednesday, Brice Johnson didn't take a shot in the last 4:44 of the game- his last hoop put UNC up by 4. You'd think you'd want your best player taking shots down the stretch, but that did not happen.

7) Clippers are 17-13 this season when Blake Griffin plays, 19-5 when he doesn't. This is a case where a statistic taken out of context becomes misleading; obviously the Clippers are better when they have Griffin. Clippers host Golden State tonight, night after the Warriors got crushed by 31 in Portland.

6) Los Angeles Rams cleared $24M of cap room by releasing three veteran players, including MLB James Lauranitis, which surprised me. When you haven't had a year above .500 since 2003, everyone is expendable, especially the older players.

5) Underrated basketball analyst-- Jon Crispin on Big Ten Network-- he is smart, he talks about the game and he can be funny. Better than 90% of ESPN's analysts.

4) Cleveland Indians signed Juan Uribe to a contract to play 3B this year; Uribe will be 37 next month- he has played for six teams- he played for three just last year.

3) Wake Forest suspended its best player for two games, tossed another kid off the team for breaking team rules, Cornelius Hudson is the kid who got tossed; he is the younger brother of NFL wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who played at Texas Tech, so you wonder if he'll wind up at Ark-Little Rock, since UALR coach Chris Beard was a Tech assistant when Crabtree went there.

2) Knicks signed Jimmer Fredette to a 10-day contract. He can't make things worse.

1) March is going to be a great month; Championship Week is going to have more meaning than it has in any year since the NCAAs went to 64 teams. There are zero great teams, but a ton of really good ones who can get lucky and win it all.

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here........
13) Of the 24 NBA players traded this week, jeff Green and Markieff Morris are only two playing 20+ minutes a game. An uneventiful trading deadline.

12) Read an article this week that ranked MLB managers; it had Joe Maddon first, which is just stupid. Maddon is a fine manager, but not only has Bruce Bochy won three World Series with the Giants, he also led the Padres to a World Series. Bochy is a dead solid lock to be in the Hall of Fame as a manager.

11) North Carolina lost to Duke Wednesday; Roy Williams didn't call timeout on the last possession- when that happens, it means Williams has faith in his veteran players to run the offense and get a good look at the basket. Having lost this game, it probably also means that the next time they're in that situation, they'll call a TO.

10) LSU named former Auburn QB/WR coach Dameyune Craig as its new WR coach; Craig is a dynamic recruiter and in SEC football, recruiting is a 24/7/365 job. When you lure an Auburn alum away from the Auburn coaching staff, it is going to be hard for Auburn to beat LSU out for any recruits in the near future

9) Yesterday was February 18, birthday of John Travolta, Dr Dre and Yoko Ono, in case you care about stuff like that

8) Purdue/Indiana play each other once this season, which makes no sense; these are arch-rivals-- shouldn't the teams play a non-conference game in December when they only play once in league play? I'm guessing that every time they play is a guaranteed sellout, so they're losing money when they only play once a year.

7) Minnesota 68, Maryland 63-- Gophers get their first league win on a night when Maryland's Stone was suspended. Was surprised by the size, enthusiasm of a crowd that came to see an 0-13 home team play.

In conference play this season, Gophers are 7-1 as an underdog of 10+ points, 0-6 as a single dgiit underdog.

6) Northeastern 95, James Madison 94, 3OT-- Huskies outscored JMU 35-14 on the foul line in JMU's gym- a kid on Northeastern played 44:00 and he didn't start.

5) Utah 75, UCLA 73-- Think UCLA boosters are happy the Bruins are 14-12, 5-8 in conference play? Yeah, me either.

4) California 78, Washington 75-- First Pac-12 road win in six tries for Cal.

3) IPFW 91, South Dakota State 79-- Mastodons are in first place by themselves in the Summit League, which doesn't matter as much as in other leagues- Summit tourney is in same place no matter who finishes first. In some leagues, top seeds are hosts for the conference tournament. Summit tournament still figures to be interesting.

2) Tenn-Martin 87, Eastern Illinois 84 OT-- EIU made 15-29 on arc but still lost, which is really a red flag- you only shoot like that a couple nights each year, you just HAVE to win when you do. Skyhawks have now won six games in a row.

1) Teams in the top five of the AP basketball poll have already lost 33 games this year; they lost 21 all of last season.

Thursday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but......
13) Albany 82, Stony Brook 70-- Had a fun time watching my alma mater end Stony Brook's 18-game winning streak; highlight of night was when a kid dressed as a banana came out of the stands during a timeout and made a layup, foul shot and 3-pointer in 0:30 to win a prize, I'm not sure what, but he banked in his 3-pointer at the buzzer to win the prize. First conference losss for Stony Brook in front of a large, loud crowd-- rare night out for me during hoop season and a fun one.

12) Duke 74, North Carolina 73-- Got home in time to see most of this; Duke lost Matt Jones early, played only two subs anyway-- how does Duke only have seven players they trust? Now two of those seven are hurt, so freshman Chase Jeter will have to play some. Carolina was 1-13 behind the arc-- there is no great team right now, they all have major flaws, which will make March a fascinating month.

11) Alabama 76, LSU 69-- You could make a case for Avery Johnson as national coach of the year; right now they're an NCAA tourney team and no one, I mean no one had them as that back in the fall. No one. Tough loss for LSU and CBS, which has to want Ben Simmons in the NCAAs pretty badly, but their resume is borderline at best.

10) Texas Tech 65, Oklahoma 63-- Sooners lost three of last four games after a 19-2 start; they were 6-23 on arc, are 22-79 on arc in last three losses. Tubby Smith has his Red Raiders headed towards the NCAA bubble.

9) St John's 80, DePaul 65-- First Big East win for coach Chris Mullin.

8) St Peter's 70, Manhattan 69-- This was a makeup game; Peacocks play another game tonight, at Quinnipiac, very unuusal for a college team.

7) Get well soon Chris Bosh, who has trouble with blood clots-- he does an ad on TV with Arnold Palmer and Kevin Nealon for Xarelto, a blood thinner. We hope he is feeling well enough to play again soon.

6) State Senate in Tennessee passed a bill making it OK for people to have a skunk as a pet-- the Tennessee house hasn't voted on the bill yet. I think the whole thing stinks, and no, I am not making any of that up.

5) University of Cincinnati is campaigning to join the Big X; if they do, another team has to go to too, to give the Big X an even number of teams. Memphis?

4) Carolina Panthers signed JJ Jansen to a 5-year, $5.5M contract; who is he, you ask? JJ Jansen is the Carolina long snapper, a critical yet obscure position. There are guys we've rarely heard of who play a long time in the NFL as long snappers.

3) Daytime TV is awful, just putrid. ESPN should be ashamed of themselves for the garbage they put on the air. I'm listening to more music now during the day, but when preseason baseball starts in 13 days, that will make afternoons a lot more fun.

2) NFL Combine is next week; not sure if that is interesting TV or not, but it is very important for NFL teams to learn about players they may or may not draft. Stuff like Geno Smith playing with his cellphone during team interviews- thats a red flag that the guy isn't the person you want playing the most important position on the field.

1) Jim Brown/Michael Jordan share a birthday- February 17. Very strong pairing of sports birthdays right there. I know a couple guys who would try to have sex with their wife on May 17 to heighten their chance of their kid sharing a birthday with those two legends. Seriously, they would. I feel bad for their wives.

Wednesday's List of 13: Mid-week musings.........
13) There was thing on TV in Raleigh, NC this week, that an NC State student who finished last in his fantasy football league had to spend 30 consecutive hours in a Waffle House as punishment for his dismal season. His friends came by to visit, he had some school books to study (architecture) but he was there for 30 freakin' hours.

Waffle Houses are smaller, cheesier versions of Denny's; in other words, they're great.

12) HBO started a 5-part reality show this week on Gonzaga's basketball team; lot of practice stuff, road trips, stuff like that. First episiode was pretty good, but coach Mark Few is a calm guy, so the entertainment factor won't be as high as if you had a wacko in charge of the program, where outbursts would make for good TV.

11) Speaking of Gonzaga, since 1999 they are 14-3 in first round of NCAAs, 5-9 in second round, 1-4 in regional semis, 0-1 in regional finals.

10) Over the last 10 years, Florida Gators were 25-5 in NCAA tournament under coach Billy Donovan, who is now in the NBA. Weirdly, they missed the tourney in three seasons, but made the Elite 8 in six of the other seven.

9) UConn is another team with an odd resume; in their last five NCAA tourneys, they lost in first round twice, made Final Four other three times, winning two titles, in 2011 and 2014, under two different coaches.

8) Roger Goodell made $34M in 2014; its good to be the commish of America's most popular sport. Trivia you may already know: when Robert Kennedy was assassinated in June of 1968, Goodell's father took RFK's Senate seat. He didn't make $34M.

7) Since 1998, Duke is 15-3 in first round of NCAA tournament, 14-1 in the second round, only 7-7 in regional semis, 5-2 in regional finals, 4-1 in nationl semis, 3-1 in title tilts. So you want to play Duke in the first game of the second weekend.

6) Speaking of Duke, when they beat Virginia 63-62 the other day, lot of people were complaining because Grayson Allen walked on his last shot, but he also was fouled and I am no Duke fan. If the whistle was going to be blown on that play, they were going to call the foul before they called a walk. Especially in Durham.

5) If you're planning your summer already: Packers-Colts is first NFL exhibition game, August 7 in Canton, Ohio. SEC already released its schedule for football media days-- July 14 is our guy Les Miles' turn at the podium.

4) LSU's basketball team scored 81.8 ppg in four games since a 77-75 home loss to Oklahoma, when Ben Simmons took criticism for not demanding the ball late in that close game. Kid is a freshman in college, he isn't a jerk and he takes heat for not being selfish; thats the America we live in now.

Simmons was 6-7 from the floor vs Oklahoma; in four games since, he is 28-49, an average of 12.3 shots per game, so the coach is making sure he gets more shots.

3) Kentucky is 22-4 in its last 26 NCAA tourney games; they made the Final Four the last four times they were in the tournament- they missed in 2013. .

2) Good news for BYU's football team: QB Taysom Hill will be back for his last season in the fall. he hurt his foot in the first game LY and missed rest of the season.

1) Kansas was pick 'em when they lost to Wichita State in second round of NCAAs last March; they were the first #2 seed since 1992 that wasn't favored in its second round game-- USC was a 1-point dog to Georgia Tech back in '92. . Kansas is just 4-3 in its last three NCAA tournaments.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) Apparently quality of high school basketball in New York City has declined; I'm watching the LIU-St Francis game Monday afternoon-- both schools are located in Brooklyn and both teams have a kid from Iceland-- freakin' Iceland!!!! Normally you would use subway tokens to recruit for those teams, but not anymore.

12) Oakland Grizzlies have a player named Max Hooper; young man is 98-214 on the arc this season, 0-0 inside the arc-- he hasn't taken a single shot inside the arc all year long. NOT ONE!!!! He is 18-19 on the foul line- he stands on the arc, waits for his point guard to penetrate and dish, then fires away.

11) If you win a Grammy, you have to sign a waiver saying you won't sell it, so you will never find one in a Las Vegas pawnshop. Thought you'd like to know.......

10) TV ratings for the NBA All-Star Game were up 6% from last year; can't say I added to that-- any game where there are 369 points scored, with only seven foul shots taken in the whole game-- thats not a competitive situation. Not fun to watch.

9) UConn won national titles in 2011, 2014; they were underdogs in seven of those 12 games, including their last five games in 2014.

8) UConn's 2014 team are only national champions in last 28 years who were an underdog in their second round game. In 1988, Kansas was pick 'em in its first round game, against Xavier, on their way to an unlikely national title as a 6-seed.

7) This will be sixth year of the field of 68, with four play-in games in Dayton on Tuesday/Wednesday before the main fun starts-- over the first five years, underdogs are 12-7-1 vs spread in those play-in games in Dayton-- 7-3 with the better teams in the play-in games, the 12-seed types, 5-4-1 in the 16-seed type teams. .

6) Over last three seasons, in first round of NCAA tournament, favorites of less than 5 points were 13-21 against the spread.

5) Over last four years, second round favorites of more than 5 points are 17-11-1.

4) We talked about Sean Miller yesterday; he is 11-4 in NCAA games at Arizona; he is 8-0 on the first weekend, only 3-4 on the second weekend. You get paid millions to win games on that second weekend, to get to the Final Four.

3) Not only has Kansas won the last 11 regular season titles in the Big X, they're 22-4 in the last ten Big X tournaments. In the four years they didn't win the title, they got KO'd in second round of NCAAs twice, in third round once and lost the national title in the fourth season. Bill Self takes the conference tourney seriously.

2) Bobby Hurley is finding out that Arizona State is a tough job-- he is 14-12, 4-9 in the Pac-12. Herb Sendek was his predecessor in Tempe- he is a damn good coach. Not a lot of great high school players in Arizona; so you have to be a recruiting dynamo to bring enough good players to the desert to win in the Pac-12.

1) Hard to believe that St John's has been in the NCAAs only twice in the last 14 years. Chris Mullin has a huge rebuilding job on his hands, but he should be able to bring players into NYC's highest profile program. You would think, at least.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend......
13) Nine years ago, Georgetown made the Final Four-- long time ago. Since then, the Hoyas are 3-7 in NCAAs, with four first-round losses, no Sweet 16's. At 14-12 this season, they're likely to miss the tourney for the second time in three years. You wonder if JohnThompson III's job is shaky-- probably not, but you never know.

12) UNLV would like to hire Dayton's Archie Miller as its next basketball coach, but is UNLV a better job than Dayton? Lot of unrealistic expectations in Vegas- they always recruit well, but so many of their players leave too early for the NBA. If I'm Miller's friend advising him, I'd advise him to wait for something bigger.

11) Miller's brother Sean is 184-57 at Arizona, 88-33 in Pac-12 play, but he hasn't been to a Final Four-- he is 11-4 in NCAA games at Arizona, but 0-3 in regional finals. At most places they would throw him a parade, but they have high expectations in the desert and this year's Wildcat team isn't as good as previous teams.

10) There are rumors that Rick Pitino could be headed to Las Vegas; bringing his son with him as an assistant coach/heir apparent. Richard Pitino's Minnesota team is 0-13 in the Big 14-- their only win since Dec 1 was over #345 Chicago State. Pitino would have to be the greatest salesman ever to sell his son as his heir apparent in Vegas

9) Albany coach Will Brown is Mr March; his Great Danes have won the America East tournament five times in the last decade- during that time, his record in regular season conference games is 105-68, pretty good but not dominant. Albany was the #1 seed in only two of those five tournament wins- they also won as a #2, 4 and a 5.

For the record, Albany is 1-5 in the NCAAs (win was in a play-in game), but 5-1 vs the spread and yes, I went to college there. Despite that, they have a good academic reputation.

8) Wisconsin's interim coach Greg Gard has proven he can coach at the Big 14 level, leading his Badgers to seven straight wins, including wins over Michigan State, Indiana and Maryland, but if I'm the Wisconsin athletic director, I have one question left, and it can't be answered before they have to decide on Gard's job status-- can he recruit at the Big 14 level, the way Bo Ryan did? It always takes good players to win games.

7) Golfer Vaughn Taylor won at Pebble Beach Sunday, his first PGA win since '05; Taylor had 14 top 10's in 85 events from 2004-06, winning twice- he was on Ryder Cup team in 2006, but from 2011-15, he had three top 10's in 84 events, as his game went south. Past successes do not guarantee future success.

Golf is tough-- ton of competition-- if you lose your confidence, can be difficult to get your game back. Was fun to see how happy he was when he won yesterday. Now he is back on Tour for the next three years, when he had no place to play before this.

6) Gonzaga hasn't missed the NCAAs since 1998; since 2002, Bulldogs are 199-23 in conference play- they're 24-4 in last 13 WCC tourneys, but in NCAA games, they are 12-12, with only two Sweet 16's, and no Elite 8's.

Next year the Zags add Washington transfer Nigel Williams-Goss, and Gonzaga will become more dominant in the league, with a great PG. They could be a Final Four team in the next couple years; anything they do this year would be a little supririsng.

5) Harvard won the Ivy League the last four years, but this year, they're 2-6 and haven't covered a conference game yet. Their PG got hurt and isn't playing this year. In the Ivy League, there are no redshirts, so the kid had to leave school for the year.

Ivy League has some weird rules, but there are murmurs that a conference tournament is on the horizon, which would help bring them closer to the 21st century.

4) Georgia State won the Sun Belt LY, with Ron Hunter coaching his son, but Ron Jr is in the NBA and the Panthers are struggling, losing seven of their last nine games, losing last two games by one point each. Sun Belt tournament is going to be fun, with both Louisiana schools, Little Rock and Tex-Arlington the favorites.

3) I have no idea if Boston College's move to the ACC has been profitable, but on the field of play, its been a disaster. This is the 11th year for BC in ACC- they have a conference record of 68-110, and haven't made the NCAAs since 2009. In their last four years in the Big East, Boston College was 41-23 in conference games.

2) St Mary's has five freshmen, three sophs and no seniors on its team; they're #335 in the country (out of 351) in experience, but they're 20-4, 11-3 in the WCC, so they're having an excellent season, but are the new kids tiring? Gaels split their last four games, are 1-8 vs spread in their last nine-- curious to see how they finish up.

1) Avery Johnson is going to be a force in the SEC; his Alabama team is 15-9, 6-6 in the SEC, a surprisingly good season. Crimson Tide beat Wichita State, Notre Dame, Clemson by a total of six points in pre-conference play-- now they've won their last four SEC games. and if they finish strong, could find themselves on the bubble at this time next month, a totally unexpected result.

Johnson played, coached in the NBA; Alabama made a great hire with him.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.........
13) Back in the early days of ESPN, when they had most of the NCAA tourney, they would run replays of every game back all night long, until next day's games started. This was tremendous; now there is station on DirecTV, ROOT TV (channel 687) that basically does the same thing every Saturday night, running games back all night. As I type this, I'm on my 18th straight hour of watching college hoop- tremendous!!!

12) Kentucky 89, South Carolina 62-- Calipari got tossed 2:26 into this game, then his players then played their best game of the season. Funny how that works.

11) ESPN treats Joe Lunardi's NCAA tournament projections like they are a fact: "Gonzaga dropped out of the field by losing at SMU". Stop already. Lunardi does an excellent job projecting the field, but he isn't always right and it becomes annoying as they talk about this stuff when the brackets are still four weeks away.

10) Providence (-4) 75, Georgetown 72-- Gambling is hard; Friars were up 26 in this game, led by 20 at the half, but didn't cover the spread.

9) Morehead State 78, Belmont 77-- Contrasting styles, a growing rivalry. Belmont was up 14 at the half in this game. This was a tough game to officiate

8) Stacey Augmon spoke out about the vacant UNLV head coaching job; he is an assistant at his alma mater now and he spoke to the Las Vegas newspaper Saturday, saying he wanted the job. If they don't hire him or Reggie Theus, another alum, then they better hire Rick Pitino or they're going to look bad.

7) Fort Wayne 88, Denver 84-- Pioneers of Summit League lost this game, but made 20-32 on the arc, wthout taking a single foul shot the whole game. Very rarely see a team go a whole game without any FTs- scoring 84 points makes it more rare.

6) Atlantic 14 needs better TV exposure- when you're on the east coast and your first game on a Saturday doesn't start until 4:00, you're missing out on four hours of potential TV exposure. Some good teams in this league; they need to be seen more.

5) Wright State 61, Valparaiso 59........Texas Tech 84, Baylor 66-- Rough day for the Drew brothers, who were favored by 14, 9 points in these games.

4) Albert Einstein has been dead since 1955- his estate made $11M last year.

3) Kansas 76, Oklahoma 72-- Not often Sooners go 10-32 on the arc- they shot 33% from floor in this game. .

2) I've said this before: ESPN fouled up letting basketball anaylst Doug Gottlieb get away-- he is smart, opinionated and teaches you stuff. He is so much better at his job than Jay Bilas is, but ESPN has anointed Bilas as its #1 analyst. Bad move.

1) Stanford 76, Oregon 72-- Rough weekend for Ducks in Bay Area; getting swept by Cal and Stanford. Oregon-Arizona-USC are all tied for first in loss column- Arizona and USC play today. Six teams are within 1.5 games of first place in Pac-12.

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.........
13) I'd like to see a HORSE competition for NBA All-Star weekend, in addition to a 3-point contest. I'd rather watch that than a dunking contest-- skill-based competition is more fun to watch. I'm probably in the minority on that one.

12) Was reminded last night that Jeff Van Gundy has suggested that any 3-point shot that gets banked in should only count for two points, since no one tries to bank a 3-pointer. He was probably kidding, but it would be interesting if that was a rule.

11) Rhode Island PG Jarvis Garrett broke a bone in his jaw, but has to come back to play with a facemask that looks like it might be hard to breathe thru. He played 36:00 in a tough 68-66 loss to Dayton last night, scoring 11 points with four assists.

10) University of Buffalo suspended its best player- they got waxed at home last nite by Ohio U. The logo at mid-court on Buffalo's court is a map of New York, which isn't unusual, but the huge "New York" written over it looks stupid. I'm pretty sure most everyone knows where Buffalo is.

9) I watched East Carolina's last two home games on TV; haven't seen a lot of ECU basketball over the years, but now that they're in the AAC, they got on TV now and then. They lost the two games, in double OT and triple OT. Tough week.

8) There was a Twitter controversy Friday about how the NCAA is going to judge Syracuse's season, since they went 4-5 while coach Boeheim was suspended. It isn't like a player was injured- the coach was suspended because they broke the rules, they should not get any kind of break from the committee because of that.

7) Presidential candidate Ted Cruz portrays himself as Mr Religion, which is fine, except he ran a TV commercial this week ripping one of his Republican rivals and one of the actresses in the commercial turns out to be a porn actress. Whoops.

6) Five assistant football coaches for the Texas Longhorns have bolted Austin since the season ended; what makes that unusual is that they did so well recruiting. Four of the five coaches were on the offensive side of the ball.

5) 96 underclassmen declared for the NFL Draft; 14 of those 96 kids weren't even invited to the NFL Combine, which means they made bad decisions to leave school.

4) Hadn't really thought about this, but in college basketball, each team can use the basketball of its choice for home games and the kids are starting to complain about it, since there apparently big differences in the balls used.

Hard to believe leagues like the ACC or Big 14 don't have a contract for a uniform ball to be used in its conference games, but Nike/adidas/Under Armour are providing new basketballs. That is something that should change for the quality of the game.

3) President of the Bank of America made $15M last year; he got a $3M raise, so we can safely assume he had a good banking year.

2) Oakland A's got OF Khris Davis from Milwaukee; he hit 27 HRs LY and all they gave up were two minor leaguers who haven't played above A ball. Good deal on the surface, but you have to wait to see how those kids pan out before we completely judge the deal. A's needed a right-handed power bat, though.

1) Bill Walton was talking about crocodiles and Egyptians Thursday; here is some more information that was sent to me about this:

The Nile crocodile was the biggest and most feared predator in ancient Egypt. People feared and revered them, those who successfully fought them were greatly admired. Crocodiles also inhabited the after-life, a big thing for Egyptians.

So now you know more than you ever wanted to on that subject. You're welcome.

Friday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind........
13) This season, Jimmy Butler, James Harden are only two NBA players who are playing 37+ minutes per game; as recently as ten years ago, there were 33 players averaging 37+ minutes a game. Have NBA players gotten softer?

12) People are writing articles now about how grueling the NBA travel schedule is- this'll make me sound old, but 20-30 years ago, teams didn't have their own airplanes-- travel was a hell of a lot less conventient than it is now Players are softer now; the money is so big, it has taken some of the toughness out of players.

Example: Karl Malone played 80+ games in 17 of his 18 season where there were 82 games. Derrick Rose has played in 385 of a possible 626 games in his career. This was started by Gregg Popovich, players routinely taking second nights of back/backs off. It cheats the fans-- kids in AAU play three games a day, but kids are hungry.

11) There was a scuffle on the Phoenix Suns' bench Wednesday; only surprising thing there is that it doesn't happen more often. Emotions run high and when a team's season goes down the drain, its not a lot of fun. Suns will be very glad for the All-Star break, just to get away from each other for a few days.

10) Underrated thing about these Presidential debates: the candidates stand up the whole time. Bernie Sanders is 74 years old-- I am 56, and if someone asked me to stand up for two hours straight, after I stopped laughing, I'd ask them for a 6-pack of Cherry Coke to keep me upright the whole time. I would want to debate sitting down.

9) California 83, Oregon 63-- This was an awful game, except that Bill Walton was the analyst and he was fired up-- he played a glockenspeil for part of the second half, while the game was going on, delighting the Cal band member he got on national TV.

8) Walton also educated us that crocodiles are revered in the Egypitan culture. Did not catch why crocodiles are revered by Egyptians, but apparently they are.

7) I was talking to a guy yesterday- he told me if you go to spring training in Florida, best camp to go to is the Phillies' camp in Clearwater-- very informal setting, can talk to lot of people. He talked to Charlie Manuel for a while there last year. My plan is to hit Arizona next March for my first-ever visit to A's spring training.

6) Tampa Bay Rays changed their hitting philosophy last year; they jumped frm 27th in swing % to 6th, a huge jump in one season. They acquired Corey Dickerson from the Rockies because they like his aggressive style at the plate.

5) Royals signed 3B Mike Moustakas for two years, $14.3M.

4) My man Les Miles signed 19 of ESPN's top 300 football recruits this winter, the #1 recruiting class in America; not sure if any of them are QBs and LSU needs a QB, but Les can recruit, which is why they always win a lot of games and why LSU has a ton of alumni playing in the NFL.

3) I did not know this because I never watched the TV show Entourage, but Jerry Jones once played himself on that show-- he was involved with bringing an NFL team back to Los Angeles, kind of what played out for real last month.

2) The average fan at the Super Bowl spent $87.57 on food/drink; I know stuff is real expensive, but $87.57 in 3-4 hours? Thats a lot of hot dogs. Apparently they sold over 8,000 glasses of wine, a sure sign we're getting soft-- who the hell drinks wine at a football game?

1) Rece Davis worked the Iowa-Indiana game with Dick Vitale last night; other than Mike Tirico, who is great at every sport he works, Davis is ESPN's best guy- no ego, just solid work at everything he does. Very easy to listen to.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) According to the LA Times, a young girl scout set up shop selling cookies next door to a marijuana depository-- she sold 117 boxes in two hours. Smart girl; hope she had a bodyguard

12) Kentucky has three alumni in the NBA All-Star Game Sunday, the most of any college.

11) Wofford hammered VMI 92-60 earlier this week; Terriers made 17-21 behind the arc, I've never seen a team shoot that high a percentage on 3-pointers.

10) There were 27 NBA scouts repesenting 15 teams at the Providence-Marquette game last night, mainly to see Dunn, Bentil and young Ellerson- they wound up seeing a double OT game, with Marquette winning- pretty fun ame.

9) Bernie Sanders' campaign raised $5.2M in the first 18 hours after he won the New Hampshire primary; these politicians sure raise a lot of cash. People in our society are frontrunners; you win a primary, you get $$-- you lose, you run out of money.

8) South Carolina is having a great basketball season- they do not have much hoop tradition- their last win in the NCAA tournament was in 1973

7) Gambling is difficult: Delaware is 0-12 in the CAA, but they're 2.5-point favorite over 1-11 Drexel tonight. Good luck handicapping that game.

6) I have the NBA package, so this doesn't bother me as much as it would otherwise, but why are the Lakers on national TV so much? I know this is Kobe Bryant's last year, but he is washed up and the Lakers stink. Enough already

5) West Virginia basketball coach Bob Huggins gets a $25K bonus every time his team beats Kansas, which they did last month. Hope he at least buys his players extra pizza or sweatsuits or something.

4) Wisconsin has now won its last six games; would the Badgers keep interim coach Greg Gard, who took over from Bo Ryan? He is proving he can coach.

3) San Diego Padres' scouting department will be busy this spring; they have six of the top 85 picks in the June draft, giving them an excellent chance of replenishing their farm system, if they strike it rich with those six picks.

2) Congrats to my cousin Kevin, the new track coach at CW Post on Long Island. He is an excellent coach- this will be an interesting challenge for him. If you know any kids in high school who can run fast, CW Post is a good school.

1) Our thoughts/prayers go out to Monty Williams, assistant coach for the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder; his wife was struck and killed by a car yesterday- they've got five kids, just a very, very sad situation.

Wednesday's List of 13: Mid-week musings..........
13) New Orleans Saints have $22M of dead money on their payroll for next year; Atlanta has $15M of dead money, no one else has more than $6M of dead money.

12) Why the A's traded Josh Donaldson last year; this week he signed a two-year, $29M deal with Toronto, which the A's were never going to pay. To get anything decent in return, you have to trade a guy a year early, just the way it is. Good for him.

11) Michigan Wolverines are having spring football practice in Florida, which may be something that gets outlawed by this time next year. SEC teams are not happy.

10) Read something today that Sacramento Kings now won't fire George Karl, since the minority owners objecting to tossing away more money.

9) Do the Denver Nuggets regret firing Karl? They were 423-257 in regular season under Karl, but only 21-38 in playoff games- they got impatient and canned him. Well, since Denver fired Karl, they're 87-133- all change is not positive.

8) Likewise, Tom Thibodeau went 255-139 with Chicago, but 23-28 in playoff games; the players whined that Thibodeau worked them too hard, so they fired him, but now they're 27-24 and players are falling left and right. Jimmy Butler is out 3-4 weeks with a bad knee and no one can blame Thibodeau.

7) Clippers docked Blake Griffin five game checks for hitting a team employee- he broke his hand and is on the injured list. LY, Griffin made $215,544.09 per game; that makes a 5-game suspension worth $1,077,720.29. Griffin hasn't played since Dec 25.

6) Two Cuban baseball players, who are brothers, defected at the Caribbean World Series last week; the one guy is a really good 3B. The drama here is that the father of these kids is apparently a bigshot in the Cuban military. Whoops.

5) Seven different college basketball teams got a first-place vote in the top 25 poll this week; thats how crazy this season has been. There is no great, dominant team.

4) Former used car salesman/baseball commish Alan R Selig will now be teaching a class at the Arizona State Sports Law/Business School. If I had to do it all over again, I'd go to college at ASU or Santa Barbara or San Diego State. Its good to be warm.

3) Duke's starting quarterback tore his achilles Tuesday, which means he probably won't be playing this fall. He had previously torn the other achilles. Bad break.

2) Add another current D-I coach who appeared as a player in Blue Chips; lefty Rex Walters, who was a damn good player and is now coach at San Francisco. He plays for Rick Pitino's team in the opening basketball scenes of that fine movie.

1) Purdue 82, Michigan State 81 OT-- Excellent game between two of the better teams in the country. Boilers led by 18 in first half, 16 at the half- they outscored the Spartans 22-12 on the foul line. .

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but....
13) Knicks fired coach Derek Fisher Monday; there is an awful lot of politics in pro coaching. Fisher went right from playing to being a head coach, a bad idea to begin with, but the Knicks improved this year because of adding Porzingis, but they've lost nine of last ten games. Phil Jackson figures to pursue Luke Walton this summer.

12) Steve Kerr turned down the Knicks job before they hired Fisher; would Walton take it? He is a west coast guy all the way, and with his success as interim coach of the Warriors, he might be able to wait for a better situation than the dysfunctional Knicks.

11) Total betting handle in Nevada on the Super Bowl was $132.5M, including one guy who risked $623,642.75 with Carolina on the money line to win $327,969.60. All the Panthers had to do was win-- whoops.

10) Opening line on next year's Super Bowl in Houston: NFC, -2, total of 48.5.

9) Very good article here on how NFL coaches interview for head coaching jobs. It is an interesting process-- learned a lot reading this article.

8) Kevin Durant had a media pass as a photographer at the Super Bowl.

7) Broncos gained 194 yards Sunday, least ever by a Super Bowl winner. They also hit Cam Newton 13 times; he had been hit an average of 3.4 times a game this year.

6) George Karl used to work for ESPN; nice of the network to continually speculate on exactly when he's going to be fired by the Kings this week. Sacramento was playing OK until they lost a great double OT game with Charlotte couple weeks ago- that loss propelled them into their current freefall. Freefalls cost coaches their jobs.

5) Villanova is #1 in the AP basketball poll for the first time, even though they won the 1985 national title; that leaves seven schools who have won a national title without ever having been #1 in the polls. Maryland is one of those teams.

4) I was looking at a list of college basketball players who play the highest %age of their team's minutes: LaSalle has three of top eight kids on the list. Their subs have played the 4th-least minutes of any bench in the country.

3) College hoop teams who score the highest %age of points on 3-pointers:
North Florida (18-8) 44.7%, Akron (19-4) 44.5%, Wyoming (12-13) 41.6%.

2) College hoop teams who score the highest %age of points on foul shots:
Howard (10-13) 29.2%, Towson State (17-8) 27.0%, Memphis (14-9) 26.6%.

1) Scoring in college basketball is up 9% this year; it would go up more if they put the NBA's continuation rule into the college game. Wouldn't take much, just let the refs let more baskets count after fouls in act of shooting. Would be a positive change.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Sunday.......
13) Broncos 24, Panthers 10-- In the excellent football movie Any Given Sunday, Al Pacino's character says more than once, "On any given Sunday, you're going to win or you're going to lose. The question is, can you win or lose like a man?"Cam Newton is going to have to learn that an NFL QB has to the face the music, win or lose.

When you lose, you have to grit your teeth and answer the media's questions, no matter how much you might hate it. Thats why quarterbacks and coaches make the big bucks- it is part of the job. Maybe you're purposely boring like Belichick, but you can not storm off the stage like a frustrated 10-year old. its not what a quarterback does,. .

12) Underdogs covered seven of last nine Super Bowls, winning six SU.

11) It was a sloppy Super Bowl and that includes the officials; when Ron Rivera watches this tape, he is not going to be happy with the officiating.

10) Next September 8, Broncos will host the 2016 season opener on a Thursday, the new NFL tradition, but that Bronco team is going to look a lot different than this one, with Peyton Manning probably retiring.

9) If you're Brock Osweiler and Broncos don't put the franchise tag on you, aren't you better off getting paid somewhere else, where the team has lesser espectations? There is nowhere to go but downhill in Denver; will be interesting to see what he does.

8) Houston Texan fans have to be bittersweet; Gary Kubiak went 63-66 in his eight years as the Houston coach, winning two playoff games. Basically, his tenure was one of underachieving. Then he goes to Denver and wins a title in his first year. Oy.

Also, Wade Phillips' dad coached the Houston Oilers for six years (59-38), so seeing his son hoist the Lombardi Trophy had to make Texan fans at least a little happy.

7) Rough week for Hofstra's basketball team; on Thursday, they lost 70-67 at home to NC-Wilmington, after being up 38-18 with 2:24 left in first half. On Sunday, they lost 98-95 in OT at James Madison, after leading 45-31 with 1:02 left in the first half. For a team that starts three seniors, that not good.

Hofstra's subs play the 2nd-least minutes of any bench in the country and it shows late in games. Hope they're having a big recruiting year- lot of points are graduating.

6) North Carolina/Oklahoma both lost Saturday, the first time since Feb 2, 2013 the #1 and #2 teams in country lost on the same day.

5) It cost $7 for a bottle of water at the Super Bowl. .An average-sized bottle.

4) San Diego State's basketball team has won 161 games in a row when they led with 5:00 to play; streak almost ended Saturday, but they escaped with an OT win over the Lobos at Viejas Arena, after trailing by 5 with 0:15 left to play.

3) Did my taxes Sunday; they ask you if you want to contibute $3 to any political campaigns-- ha!!! Maybe someday I'll do a list of 13 things I'd rather do than give money to a weasel politician- it'll include just about anything.

2) Mexico played Venezuela in the Caribbean (baseball) World Series Sunday; their uniforms were covered with advertisements, something different to see.

1) Phoenix Open golf tournament actually overlapped for close to a half hour with the Super Bowl, with the playoff in Phoenix going four holes. Weird to see another major sporting event going on while the Super Bowl was being played.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.......
13) First of all, congrats to Rams Orlando Pace, Kevin Greene on getting elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Greene was born in Schenectady, NY, hometown of Pat Riley, about 10 miles from Armadillo World Headquarters.

12) Kansas State 80, Oklahoma 69-- You go 6-24 on the arc when you normally shoot 40%, you'll probably lose.

11) Notre Dame 80, North Carolina 76-- ND was 31-38 on the foul line, scoring 80 points while turning ball over only twice the whole game. That doesn't happen much. Tar Heels were #1 in country, then lost two games in a row.

10) Pacific 77, BYU 72-- Cougars beat St Mary's Thursday, then lost as a 16-point home favorite here- they're not a good defensive team.

9) Fresno State 111, UNLV 104 2OT-- Wheels have fallen off for Rebels, now their freshman center Zimmerman is hurt- they're out of big players. Interesting though that George Karl might get fired; would he be interested in coaching at UNLV?

8) West Virginia 80, Baylor 69-- Mountaineers are on top in Big X, which will get at least six of its ten teams into the NCAAs.

7) Bad Beat of the Day: San Diego State (-6.5) 78, New Mexico 71-- If you took the points with the Lobos, don't watch SportsCenter. New Mexico led by five points with 0:15 left in regulation, getting 6.5 points and they didn't cover. Oy.

6) Illinois State 58, Wichita State 53-- Shockers led by 12 at half; this was their first loss since December 19 at Seton Hall. Illinois State shot 27% from the floor and won, which almost never happens- Wichita scored 20 points in second half.

5) Marshall 109, Tex-San Antonio 91-- Mike D'Antoni's brother is Marshall's coach; they run like hell, scoring 98.3 ppg in last three games. Thundering Herd is 8-3 in Conference USA, after starting its pre-conference schedule 0-6.

4) Michigan State 89, Michigan 73-- Game wasn't nearly this close; Spartans drilled 14-22 on arc, are 47-80 on the arc in last three games. Thats 58.8%!!!!

3) There were 201,003 spectators at the Phoenix Open golf tournament yesterday; some of them were drinking. Sounds like it needs to be added to my list of visits to make in the near future. Could also do college basketball and the Suns while there.

2) Why do college basketball teams bring their benches onto the court during breaks in action? It makes no sense; NBA teams don't do it and they have fans closer than lot of the college teams. Do coaches not want to be heard chewing out their players?

1) South Carolina 81, Texas A&M 78-- Huge win for Frank Martin's team, which is 20-3 but having played non-conference schedule #288, was lacking in quality wins. On Selection Sunday, this game will be huige for them.

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here........
13) Louisville self-imposed a postseason ban in its basketball team Friday, trying to head off a more severe (and longer lasting) penalty from the NCAA, one tha would negatively impact its recruiting. So no Louisville in the postseason next month; thats two of the top 25 teams (with SMU) that will be done too early this season.

12) Rick Pitino made a big thing out of feeling sorry for his two graduate transfers who came to Louisville to play their senior season for the Cardinals, leaving Drexel, Cleveland State for greener pastures. I have no sympathy for the kids- they bolted on their old teams for business reasons- well, business can be harsh sometimes.

Drexel is 3-19, Cleveland State 7-17; wonder what their coaches think?

11) I am told in the PR business it is known as "a Friday news dump", getting bad news out to the public just before the weekend, when the most people are not paying as much attention. We had Louisville's debacle, Iowa State suspending a player and USC AD Pat Haden retiring all announced 48 hours before the Super Bowl.

10) Yale's Brandon Sherrod had an amazing streak snapped Friday; he made 30 consecutive shots from the floor, but finally missed one. Yale hasn't won an Ivy title since 1959; they came thisclose LY, but are in first place now, with nine games left.

9) Bad Beat of the Week: Illinois (-7) 110, Rutgers 101, 3OT-- Wednesday's game was a horrific beat for Rutgers backers, not covering a triple OT game when you're +7, especially since Rutgers hit a ridiculous 3-pointer to tie the game at the buzzer of one of the OTs. But I have one question for people who bet on Rutgers:

They're a really, really bad team; how can you bet on Rutgers in the first place?

8) Richard Dreyfuss is playing Wall Street crook Bernie Madoff in a new movie and that makes it worth watching. Our two favorite Dreyfuss roles are the compulsive gambler in Let It Ride and the actor-turned-dictator in Moon Over Paradoor.

7) If you care about such things, over the last nine years, the average length of the national anthem before the Super Bowl was 1:57.

6) In Super Bowl history, the first score was: TD 24 times, 22 FGs, 3 safeties.

5) Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley and Purdue coach Matt Painter were both in the movie Blue Chips, as players, Hurley was Indiana's point guard in the movie.

4) St Mary's has had 18 Australian players since Randy Bennett has been coach of the Gaels, best of whom were Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova.

3) Golfer Steve Stricker turns 50 in 13 months; if he wants to play a lot of golf, he could make a small fortune on the Senior Tour, since he is still very competitive on the PGA Tour. Senior Tour is one place where being a rookie is an advantage.

2) Many thanks to Geek Squad at Best Buy, who put a quick end to this laptop's mouse problems during the week. Quick and inexpensive-- good place to shop.

1) NFL Network's Super Bowl pregame show starts at 9am Sunday; the game is 6:30 at night. Thats an awful lot of banter for one day.

Friday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud........
13) I'm watching Blue Chips as I type this; a great movie that I haven't seen in a long time. Nick Nolte, Shaquille O'Neal, Mary MacDonnell, Penny Hardaway, Ed O'Neill, Alfre Woodard- Rick Pitino even coaches one of the other teams in the first scene.

There is one scene where Nolte's character is recruiting a midwestern kid whose father is highly religious; of course the coach pretends to be the same religion, but when the father asks, "First Baptist or Southern Baptist?", he has to guess which one. Good thing for the movie he guesses right.

12) Which reminds me of these politicians who are running for President; they'll say whatever they can, if they think it'll get them votes. Ted Cruz babbles on and on about the Washington establishment, but his wife works for Goldman Sachs. Oy.

11) If you like college basketball, is a great website; lot of stats, solid knowledge. They had an article this week saying how the Washington Huskies have had 36 players (now 37) players foul out of games this season. Next highest on the list is Bradley, with 23. Washington is young and aggressive, a good team, but they do commit a lot of fouls.

10) In case you're wondering, the record is 50 disqualifications, set by Providence in 1987. Coached by Rick Pitino, with Billy Donovan as a point guard, they also made the Final Four, so maybe fouling a lot isn't such a bad thing. Playing passively is worse than being too aggressive..

9) Michigan is the only team this season that hasn't had a player foul out this year. Was weird the other night seeing Indiana go on a 28-0 run against the Wolverines the other night. Doesn't happen a lot at that level.

8) I'm not big on Jay Bilas as a TV analyst, but he worked an NBA game on ESPN with Mike Breen and Doug Collins and they made a great team. Lot of good talk about regular basketball stuff, not much BS. Bilas/Collins have a relationship because of Chris Collins having worked at Duke- they were good together.

7) Washington Wizards are the only NBA team this season with a better road record than home record.

6) Last time the Denver Broncos didn't sell out a home game? 1969.

5) Fred McNair is the new football coach at Alcorn State; he is the brother of the late Steve McNair-- Fred spent three years here in Albany as the backup QB for the Firebirds in the Arena Football League. We wish him well.

4) Good luck to Jonny Gomes, wh is headed to Japan to play for Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan. Gomes was a marginal big leaguer, but a great teammate. When Ray Fosse spoke glowingly of him on A's telecasts, as far as his reverence for the history of the game, that spoke a lot. He could be a manager someday.

3) Raiders-Texans are going to play a game in Mexico City next year; the first NFL game in Mexico since 2005.

2) Career tip: If you're an NFL player, especially a marginal one, its a very bad idea to get caught in a prostitution sting a week before the Super Bowl. I'm just sayin'...

1) There is one reason why NBA basketball is better than college basketball and it has nothing to do with the rules. College basketball has better rules, but the NBA has the greatest players on the planet!!! There are nitwits who want to foist NBA rules on the college game, but unless you have Steph Curry's talent level, it won't matter.

Thursday's List of 13: Looking at obscure Super Bowl prop bets
Apparently has lines on all these props; if you're a compulsive gambler, Super Bowl week can be tough. One sportsbook in Las Vegas puts out a 40-page pdf file with all the wagering possibilities for Sunday.

13) Will the Panthers player who scores their first TD give the ball to a boy or a girl?
Boy: -200...........Girl: +150

12) How many times will "John Fox" be said during the broadcast?
Over 1 (-$140)..........Under 1 (even)

11) How many times will Archie Manning be shown during the broadcast?
Over 1.5 (even).............Under 1.5 (-$140)

10) How many times will John Elway be shown during the broadcast?
Over 2.5 (even).......Under 2.5 (-$140)

9) What color will Beyonce's footwear be at halftime?
Black 3/2....Gold/brown 5/2......White 11/4.....Silver/grey 19/4......other 7/1

8) How many viewers will watch Super Bowl 50?
Over/under is 117,000,000 viewers

7) What will the Nielsen rating be for Super Bowl 50?
Over/under is 48.5 (Last year's rating was 49.7)

6) Will there be a penalty for excessive celebration?
Yes +$250..........No -$400

5) Will either backup QB take a snap during the game?
Yes +$200.......No -$300

4) Which will be higher:
Donald Trump's % in New Hampshire primary: -$200
Points scored by winning team in Super Bowl: +$150

3) Which will be higher:
DeMarcus Cousins points + rebounds on February 7 (-$105)
Cam Newton's rushng yards (-$105)

2) Which will be higher:
Goals scored in Montreal-Carolina game February 7 (-$105)
Total receptions by Carolina TE Greg Olsen (-$105)

1) Will the person who calls the coin toss be right?

Wednesday's List of 13: Looking at some college basketball.....
13) Mid-American Conference-- Everyone has 2+ losses already; #78 Akron is only MAC team ranked above #138 in country- their coach Keith Dambrot was high school coach, where he coached Lebron James. MAC has been a one-bid league 14 years in a row- their last NCAA tourney wins were by Ohio U in 2012. .

12) Missouri Valley-- Wichita State had injury problems in November; they've got no such problems now, are 10-0 in Valley. . Southern Illinois has had a resurgence, while Northern Iowa has regressed. Last three years, MVC teams are 4-1 in first round of the NCAA tournament.

11) West Coast-- Since 2003, WCC is 20-23 in NCAAs; Gonzaga is 14-12, rest of league is 6-11. Gonzaga/St Mary's, followed by BYU. I'm writing this on Groundhog Day, so it seems fitting- this league is same every year. Pepperdine has made strides; rest of this league stinks.

10) Mountain West-- San Diego State, then everyone else; UNLV is 4-6 despite being favored in nine of ten games. Last four years, league is 6-12 in NCAAs, with Aztecs in 2014 only team to make Sweet 16. No guarantee this league gets more than one team in NCAAs this year; if San Diego State wins conference tourney, no way they do.

9) Colonial-- Four teams within game of first place; four teams tied for first place LY. VCU/George Mason made Final Four from CAA in last decade, but both defected to A-14. This year, CAA is #9 conference; if that holds, it'll be their best rating in last 13 years-- last three years, CAA is 0-3 in NCAAs, losing by 21-15-4 points.

8) Atlantic 14-- VCU/Dayton/St Joe's look good for NCAAs; Rhode Island has been decimated by injuries. Still think 14 teams is too many for one league, but then again, no one asked me. From 2011-13, A-14 was 9-3 in first round games; last two years, they were 2-6, plus Dayton's play-in win (at home).

7) American-- SMU is 19-2 but is ineligible for postseason; four teams are tied for second with three conference losses. UConn/Cincinnati should get to NCAAs even if they lose conference tourney. League is 10-4 in NCAAs in its first two years, with UConn winning national title two years ago.

6) SEC-- Kentucky is 2-4 on SEC road; its hard to totally rebuild your squad every year with freshmen who think they should be in the NBA. Texas A&M is est team in SEC now; Vandy/LSU seem to be best teams who are on bubble. South Carolina has hardest part of its schedule ahead. SEC teams are 19-5 in first three rounds of NCAA's the last three years; five of ten teams made Elite 8, three made Final Four.

5) Big 14-- From 2011-14, this league was #1 in Ken Pom ratings every year; LY they were #4, now #5. Ohio State-Wisconsin-Illinois have regressed, Minnesota has fallen off the face of the earth, Iowa has its best team in years, with four seniors starting. Last six years, league is 28-10 in first round games, 17-11 in second round, 9-9 in third round, 6-3 in regional finals, but no national titles.

4) Big East- I'm not going to rant on goegraphy here, but I should. Midwest teams are dragging league down this year, them and St John's, which is basically an expansion team. How are teams in Chicago/NYC the worst teams in this league? Refigured Big East is 6-4 in first round games last two years; they were 8-8 the last two years prior to realignment.

3) Pac-12-- Weirdest of seasons in college basketball; no great teams, none. Oregon is 7-2, four other teams are 6-3. UCLA is tied for 7th. Andy Enfield has USC tied for 2nd, Arizona has been wracked by injuries. Ben Howland got UCLA to three straight NCAAs in 2006-08; no Pac-12 team has been in Final Four since then. Since 2003, Arizona is 5-8 on second weekend of NCAAs, with no Final Fours.

2) ACC-- Is it my imagination, or are lot less of these games on TV than there used to be? We see more SEC/Big 14/Big X now. Duke is 5-4 in ACC, a down year for them; North Carolina seems like best team. Last three years, ACC won 14 of 16 first round games, 8-6 in second round, 4-4 in third round, 1-3 in regional finals. Last year's Duke team was ACC's first Final Four team since 2010.

1) Big X-- This league is really good this year, really tough, no easy outs. I feel bad for the West Virginia kids, who got sold out by the athletic department because of money involved with football. Shortest road trip in conference for West Virginia is 700 miles to Ames, Iowa. Last three years, Big X is just 8-10 in first round NCAA games.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) Louisville 71, North Carolina 65-- First half of this game was a brickfest; UNC was 3-17 on arc for the game-- they're shooting 30.2% for the year. No bueno.

12) Two of Louisville's best players this year are Damion Lee and Trey Lewis, a pair of graduate transfers, Lee from Drexel, Lewis from Cleveland State. As an Oakland A's fan, I'm sensitive to big-money teams poaching players from schools with less cash, so this "free agency" that has popped up in college basketball bothers me.

ESPN's announcers didn't seem too anxious to talk about the graduate transfer rule, but I'm wondering what the coaches of Drexel (3-18) and Cleveland State (7-16) think?

11) One of the great lines I've ever heard was back when I was an assistant high hoop coach-- this is November of 1993, I'm pretty sure, after we lost our second game of what would be a very long season. The head coach looked at the players and said, "......when things start going bad, the rats start jumping off the ship."

I'm not doing it justice; but he delivered the line with great timing and disdain, but it underlines one of the unfortunate facts of our culture-- people are frontrunners, and as I start to learn more about politics from watching too much TV, it appears that this may be more true in politics than it is in sports. Someone loses and people are fast to hop off the bandwagon. It is too bad.

10) Donald Trump got beat last night, the headline the front page of the NY Daily News today is: "Dead Clown Walking". When you're cocky and arrogant and then you lose, people take pleasure in piling on. We'll see how this plays out.

Mike Tyson once said: "Everyone's got a plan until they get punched in the mouth." Now we'll see how Trump reacts to figuratively getting punched in the mouth.

9) Weekly update on Showtime's Billions: You watch a show like this and you hear about politics, the less you like or trust people. Just a bunch of weasels.

This week, the main character buys stock in a snack food company that made his favorite snack as a kid, because they changed the recipe to increase profits and now the snack doesn't taste as good. So he buys stock in the ompany, gets two board members fired, one of whom is sleeping with his main rival's father (its a soap opera, dammit).

8) No one told the Phoenix Suns players the team fired coach Jeff Hornacek; how do you run a business that way? There are only 15 players; how difficult would it be for a group text to go out?

7) NHL teams playing on second night of a back/back are 83-114 this year against teams that didn't play the night before. Under is 12-9 (with several pushes) in games involving two teams who were both on back end of a back/back.

6) Brandt Snedeker won the Farmers Open golf tournament Monday; he was the only guy in the field to break par (he played his 4th round Sunday) in the last round, which had an average stroke count of 77.9, the highest 4th-round scoring average on Tour in the last 33 years. Brutal winds made the course really difficult.

5) Golfer Jim Furyk is out for three more months after wrist surgery

4) Duke is out of the top 25 for the first time since April, 2007.

3) Terrible news for UNLV's Ben Carter, who blew out his ACL Saturday night in the loss to San Diego State. Tough guy, a glue guy, hard to replace.

2) Texas 67, Baylor 59-- I think Shaka Smart is little bit overrated; he got the Texas job because of his pressing style at VCU, but because of the roster he inherited, this Texas team is playing at pace #319 in country, very slow. Anyway, Texas is 6-3 in Big X- this was a good win for them. I'm just curious as to how Smart will recruit the next couple years, if he'll try to re-create Havoc and press like West Virginia does.

1) This is 2016, technology is running amok and yet in Iowa, they have an outdated way to choose who wins their state's delegates. It makes no sense, but it is how things are done. maybe at some point, they can join the 21st century. One thing for sure, it'll be four years before any of these politicians step foot in Iowa again.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend......
13) In the last 20 years, there have been 19 individual seasons where a player scored 24+ ppg with 7+ assists a game; of those 19, the only player not to make it to the All-Star Game? Damion Lillard of the Portland Trailblazers.

12) This is how big a rebuilding job Chris Mullin has at St John's; when Villanova was at Madison Square Garden yesterday, they were a 20-point road favorite. I chart teams in 23 different conferences; no one else has been a 20-point home dog this year.

11) St John's/Knicks both had home games at MSG Sunday; Clippers/Lakers both had games in Staples Center; would be interesting to know how many fans paid to see both games. Thats a good day, two NBA games in the same building.

10) Someone said on TV this weekend that when the Selection Committee looks at Syracuse for the NCAA tournament, they'll catch a break by playing much better since Jm Boeheim came back from his suspension. This seems asinine- its not like Boeheim was out with an illness, he missed nine games because his progam broke rules.

Why should Syracuse get the benefit of the doubt because their program cheated?

9) How does Johnny Manziel not have his own reality show?

8) Someone did an anonymous poll of NBA players/coaches, as far as who the best and worst referees are: According tot his survey, the best thee are:

Danny Crawford-Joey Crawford (not related)-Marty McCutchen
Worst three refs: Scott Foster (by wide margin), Lauren Holtkamp, Marc Davis

7) NHL owners must be happy with their business; commissioner Gary Bettman had his contract extended thru 2022 this weekend.

6) Phoenix Suns fired coach Jeff Hornacek last night; it won't help. Phoenix has a bad team and its best player is out for the year. Good players win games.

Brooklyn Nets are 2-9 since changing coaches; Cleveland Cavaliers are 4-1- they were winning before they changed coaches. Will be interesting to see where David Blatt surfaces, whether it is the NBA, college or even a television job. If he did NBA games on TV, how critical would he be?

5) Tom Thibodeau got fired by the Bulls LY after going 255-139 in five seasons, but only 23-28 in playoff games; well, under Fred Hoiberg this year, Chicago is 26-20 and treading water in the East- they're 4-7 in their last eleven games. Not an improvement.

4) NBA banned sideline cameras at midcourt this weekend, a safety issue for refs and players; actually, Lebron James tripped over one last week and tweaked his ankle. If Lou Amundson had tripped on a camera, they'd probably still be there.

3) Tennessee-Virginia Tech are playing football at Bristol Motor Speedway next September, in front of a crowd expected to be around 160,000.

2) Its getting tough to listen to Dick Vitale on TV these days; only reason I stuck with the audio of the Oklahoma-LSU game Saturday was because Brent Musberger was working with him, and I enjoy his work. Vitale has his shtick, and seems to have been thrown off his game by Jay Bilas getting the #1 game on Saturdays now. ESPN's roster of college basketball analysts has taken a hit the last few years.

1) Carolina Panthers are ninth team to get to the Super Bowl with either zero or one loss; the other eight teams went 5-3 in their Super Bowls.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) Kansas 90, Kentucky 84 OT-- If the games at the Final Four are this good, CBS will be very happy with the TV ratings it gets. Tyler Ulis played the whole game for Kentucky; Wayne Selden played 44:00 for Kansas. Great effort by both teams. .

12) Oklahoma 77, LSU 75-- Ben Simmons is a kid, a freshman in college in a new country who is going to be a great player; for the love of God, could you get the kid one shot in the last 4:46 of a close game? He is your best player.

That said, I can't take TV people criticizing the kid for not being more forceful; he is a freshman- its up to the point guard and the coach to get him shots. LSU is 13-8; this win would've put them on the bubble. Not a lot of marquee games left for them.

11) Big X went 7-3 in their 10-game challenge with the SEC, 4-6 vs spread. Favorites from the Big X went 3-3 vs spread; SEC favorites went 3-1.

10) Providence 73, Georgetown 69-- Friars play better on the road than at home.

9) Houston 97, East Carolina 93 2OT-- Players in this game were cramping up on the court, during the second OT. Eight kids played 40:00+- not many teams have lot of depth, as we watch games cross-country all day long.

8) Milwaukee Brewers traded SS Jose Segura to Arizona in 5-player deal, opening a spot for Orlando arcia, their #1 minor league prospect. .

7) Apparently there is nothing in NFL rules that says Raiders cannot move to Las Vegas; Jerry Jones doesn't want them in San Antonio and they seem reluctant to move to Santa Clara to share Levi's Stadium with the 49ers, so Vegas is an option.

6) With a week until the Super Bowl, a huge majority of $$$ being bet on the Super Bowl has been bet on Carolina so far. Underdog bettors are likely wating to see how high the spread goes; would expect lot of Denver fans to head to Vegas next weekend to bet on their team. Carolina's bandwagon is suddenly getting pretty crowded.

5) Long Beach State 78, Hawai'i 64; UCSB 76, Cal-Irvine 60; Top two teams in Big West both lose for first time in league play.

4) Wizards 123, Rockets 122-- Dwight Howard got ejected for the second game in a row, this time with 8:08 to play. His team could've used him.

3) Virginia 63, Louisville 47-- Cardinals had 14 points at the half. Fourteen. Virginia had been 0-3 on the road in ACC games.

2) Channel 687 on DirecTV is one of the better college basketball channels on the dish; ROOT Sports shows lot of games from the west, smaller leagues. Games from Mountain West, WCC, Summit, even some lesser ACC games.

1) We're six weeks from Selection Sunday; Monday is February 1- the second half of conference play is beginning. An excellent time of the year.

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here........
13) Chargers will play the 2016 season in San Diego; it remains to be seen where their permanent home will be, but this keeps the Raiders in limbo and gives the Rams LA to themselves, at least for next season- they'll share the Coliseum with USC. San Diego is the 8th-largest city in America; they're going to have an NFL team, whether it is the Chargers or someone else which plays into the Spanos family's decision to keep that door open. Not sure if the NFL would approve the Raiders going to Las Vegas.

12) Over last 15 years, penalties called in NFL playoff games are 18% less than in the regular season, confirming our suspicions that referee supervisors micromanage their employees so badly it makes the game less fun to watch-- too many penalties.

11) Player on the NHL's Calgary Flames cross-checked a linesman during a game and is suspended- he's lucky if they don't suspend him for a year for such a blatant try to official. Doesn't this genius realize the games are televised and they show replays of things that happen? He should be suspended just for being stupid.

10) Paul Allen owns the Seahawks and Trailblazers; he is worth around $18B, and is said to be a good guy. Recently his yacht tore up 14,000 square feet of protected coral reef in the Cayman Islands-- he will be fined $600K, which is like fining me $25.

9) Player on Manhattan got a technical foul for flopping, after the refs looked at an instant replay of the incident, where the Manhattan player acted like he got whacked in the head by the Iona guy who had the ball. First time I've seen a defender given a technical foul for faking it since back when I was in high school in the mid-70's.

8) Golden State is a 17.5-point road favorite at Philly today, most an NBA visitor has been favored by since Miami was a 17-point favorite in New Orleans on April 2, 2008. Warriors are 14-7-1 as a road favorite this year.

7) College football signing day is Wednesday, so you'll see coaches getting contract extensions, to reassure recruits the coach will be there throughout their playing days. Brian Kelly (ND) and Kyle Whittingham (Utah) got extensions late this week.

6) Laker GM Mitch Kupchak's son is a freshman at UCSB, where he's started the last ten games for the Gauchos. Quite a compliment for a program if the GM of an NBA team sends his kid to play for you. UCSB is struggling this year, but has been a perennial upper-division team in the Big West.

5) Barry Trotz was the coach of the Nashville Predators for 15 years, a really long time for a guy to coach the same pro team. This weekend he is back in Nashville as a coach in the NHL All-Star Game. He wouldn't be human if he didn't feel at least a little more satisfaction because the game is in Tennessee.

4) How much time and effort goes into choosing which color tie a candidate wears during one of these Presidential debates? There have to be consultants for that, right?

3) One of the anchors on CNN or MSNBC this week signed off for the hour by saying, "Don't forget to friend us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter". Somehow, and this will make me sound old, I'm sure, but I can't picture Walter Cronkite or Tom Brokaw ever saying that. I could be wrong.......

2) Susan Sarandon introduced Bernie Sanders at a rally in Iowa this week; if you told me to guess how far apart in age those two are, I would've missed badly. Sanders is 74; Ms Sarandon is the most attractive 69-year old woman on the planet.

1) One of my pet peeves is when people say "I can't write". Everyone can write; if you can talk, you can write. People get intimidated by the keyboard and the computer screen. if you get writer's block, take a tape recorder and talk into it. Tell stories, make lists, just talk. then transcribe the tape and, voila-- you've written!!!!

Friday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind........
13) Seven New England Patriots were voted into the Pro Bowl; none will play. None of them were replaced by other Patriots. In probably unrelated news, the NFL named their all-time Super Bowl team and neither Brady/Belichick were on it.

12) Speaking of the Pro Bowl, that is the one football game I rarely watch-- can't remember the last time I've seen it. Having Michael Irvin/Jerry Rice draft the teams doesn't exactly make the game any more appealing for me.

11) Denver Broncos are taking all their employees to the Super Bowl; around 300 people. Apparently not every team does this-- it can't be cheap, but NFL teams make so much money, doubt that is a factor. Nice thing to do, isn't it?

10) Former Oregon State coach Craig Robinson was debating wisdom of putting a hand up while closing out a 3-point shooter last night, at the Richmond-GW game. Lot of basketball coaches are more in line with Mark Jackson's thinking-- he always said on ESPN if a defender didn't put his hand up, "Hand down, man down".

Robinson claimed putting a hand up helped the shooter line up his shot; I know he is the President's brother-in-law and all, but I'd have to disagree with him on this.

9) If you beg out of playing in the NHL All-Star Game because of injury/illness, you are not allowed to play in your team's first game after the All-Star break.

8) Clete Blakeman, who was a backup QB at Nebraska in his college days will be the ref at the Super Bowl- it is his first Super Bowl. Curious to me how they've never had Gene Steratore ref a Super Bowl-- it can't be that he refs college basketball, since Bill Vinovich reffed the Super Bowl LY and he does college basketball games, too,

7) Why can't the Raiders/49ers just share Levi's Stadium? 49ers seem open to it, but Mark Davis is in Las Vegas today, looking at sites for a potential new stadium. Unsure if the NFL would let a team relocate to Las Vegas. Interesting option, though.

6) Clemson Tigers are 8-0 against the spread in the ACC; Charlotte is 8-0 vs spread in C-USA games; neither team was a preseason contender in their league.

5) New York Mets' Class A farm team in South Carolina is the Columbia Fireflies; apparently their hats this season will glow in the dark. Seriously.

4) Golden State Warriors are moving from Oakland to San Francisco in four years, when their new arena is done; I'm wondering if they'll still have the great home court advantage they have now in Oakland? New arena means more expensive tickets which means wealthier fans who care less about the game than less wealthy people.

3) Wisconsin hired Justin Wilcox as defensive coordinator; he spent last two years at USC, had previously worked at Oregon, Boise State. ESPN needs to do a feature on how a lot of these assistant football coaches are total nomads, going from one job to another almost every year. Bears coach John Fox once worked in a different place for eight consecutive years and I think Iowa State was the best plaxe of the eight. .

2) Interesting time of year; in middle of night, there is live golf on TV from Qatar, Singapore, live tennis from Australia. I remember sitting in a bar in Vegas last March, and the next day's golf tournament had already started on TV. It is worse in July and the British Open is on-- that starts at about 11pm Las Vegas time every day.

1) This has been an unusual year; the NBA All-Star Game is in Toronto, the NHL's All-Star Game is in Tennessee. One of the leading contenders to be President of the United States insults over half the country and gets away with it-- go figure.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) Teams wearing white won 10 of the last 11 Super Bowls; Denver chose to wear white next week, since they're 0-4 in Super Bowl with orange jerseys on.

12) There were a total of 14,073 walks in in 2,430 major league baseball games LY; in those 2,430 games, the leadoff hitter in the game walked 144 times. There were four bases-loaded walks that ended games, walk-off walks.

11) Salaries of basketball coaches at some lesser-known successful programs:
Xavier coach makes $1.2M, Richmond's coach $700K, Northern Iowa's $600K.

10) In the NBA, Houston-Portland-Sacramento have all played 12 sets of back/back games, the most in the league so far. Minnesota has played seven, the least- they are 0-7 in the second game of back/backs, 3-4 vs spread.

9) Under is 110-96 this season in NBA games when a team playing the second night in a row faces a team that had the previous night off.

8) Home teams playing the second night in a row are 52-38 vs spread this year.

7) Nikola Mirotic of the Chicago Bulls will be out for a few weeks after he had an appendectomy; he should be back after the All-Star break.

6) Watching San Diego State-Nevada game Tuesday night, Nevada players did some interesting pre-game drills, one of which was dribbling a basketball and a tennis ball at the same time-- sharpens your hand/eye coordination

5) Someone voted for David Eckstein for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Why?

4) Gas is $2.23 a gallon here in beautiful upstate New York; I am told that down in Daytona Beach, it is $1.72. Lot of greedy bastards here in New York State.

3) Texas A&M's loss at Arkansas last night was 22nd loss this season by a top 5 college basketball team- there were 21 of those all of last season.

2) Kansas hoop coach Bill Self has a career record of 200-9 at Allen Fieldhouse.

1) Happy birthday this week to the great Bob Uecker, the former major league catcher and current analyst for the Milwaukee Brewers. Uecker made himself famous with self-deprecating humor, but he did homer off Sandy Koufax, Gaylord Perry. He once joked that he hit a HR and the other team's manager came to the mound, with the pitcher's suitcase-- Uecker's career batting average was exactly .200.

Wednesday's List of 13: Mid-week Musings........
13) Blake Griffin has been out since Christmas with a quadriceps injury, now he is out another 4-6 weeks after breaking his hand when he punched a member of the team's equipment staff outside a Toronto restaurant. Not good.

Some advice for the equipment guy.........
-- Blake Griffin is a very large man. probably a bad idea to get him so mad that he wants to break his hand on your face.
-- No matter who is at fault here, Griffin is one of the team's stars; the other guy is a member of the equipment staff. Guess who is going to lose his job over this.

12) Why some teams win and some teams do not: You see Jonathan Simmons with the Spurs, you see how explosive he is going to the basket and you figure he will be their next guy to emerge as a star, after toiling in obscurity. Then you realize he was on the Nets' summer league team in Orlando last summer and you wonder why they let him go to the Spurs' summer league team a couple weeks later in Las Vegas.

The Nets should've signed him up when they has the chance, but they hesitated and then he was gone to the Alamo, playing for a better team that is smarter than the Nets.

11) Scapegoats: Green Bay fired their RB and TE coaches, Patriots fired their OL coach because, you know, someone has to get the blame for the team losing.

10) There is a new show on Showtime called Billions, about Wall Street and all the deals/cheating that goes on and the authorities who try and catch them. The main guy in the show usually wears t-shirts even though he is, as the title suggests, worth a lot of money. One of the storylines last week involved the t-shirt guy paying a college $100M to put his family's name on one of the buildings, which already had someone's name on it. The guy at the college didn't understand why it had to be THAT building

Turns out the t-shirt guy comes from modest means; he was a caddy at a country club as a kid-- a looper, as my friend Joe would say. Back in the day, t-shirt guy had been a caddy for the rich family whose name was on that college building and when the old man had a bad day golfing, he blamed it on his caddy and had t-shirt guy fired from the country club as a caddy. T-shirt guy never forgot that.

Thirty years later, the rich family had fallen on hard times; the old man was deceased, the rest of the family needed money fast or they were going to go broke and t-shirt guy found this out, so he paid the college off, then tossed the family $25M so they could see their name physically removed from the building and replaced by his. Vindictive.

Anyway, the show is on Sunday nights and it isn't bad.

9) Kansas basketball coach Bill Self was once college roommates with singer Garth Brooks, who was a javelin thrower at Oklahoma State- Self played basketball.

8) SNY in New York City televises Mets games all summer; they promote their channel as "just New York sports", which is fine, but the Loud Mouths program had a thing on the other night where they showed the pictures of four NBA head coaches, and the two hosts admitted they had no idea who three of them were. They both knew who Quin Snyder was, because he coached Missouri and played at Duke.

If you're running this station, do you want your hosts telling viewers how little they know about the NBA? Especially since Nuggets coach Michael Malone spent four years as an assistant coach with the Knicks? Guys get paid decent money to give their opinions on stuff and it turns out they're ignorant about one of the most popular sports. Not their finest moment.

7) Remember the movie Scent of a Woman, when Al Pacino plays a blind guy who had been injured in the Marines? Chris O'Donnell plays a prep school kid who serves as Pacino's aide for a while. In one scene, Pacino does the tango in a Manhattan restaurant with this beautiful young lady, who looked vaguely familiar to me.

So I look her up on the Interweb; her name is Gabrielle Anwar; she was the co-star in USA Network's Burn Notice that ran the last few years, about former spies who do special ops-type stuff in Miami to assist people who need their help. 20 years later and she is still quite beautiful.

6) This Saturday, the Big X and most of the SEC take time out from conference play for a series of televised games that should raise the RPI's of everyone involved. The Big X-SEC challnge should be fun. Some of the better games:

Ole Miss-Kansas State.....LSU-Oklahoma....Iowa State-Texas A&M.....and the best game of the day, Kentucky at Kansas.

5) Wayne Gretzky wore #99 thru his whole NHL career; the number has been retired by the league. But in his first game with the Edmonton Oilers, back in the old WHA, Gretzky wore #24. After that game, he requested #99 and that was the end of #24.

4) There have been 221 coaching changes in the NBA since Gregg Popovich has been coach of the San Antonio Spurs. 29 other teams- thats 7.6 changes per team.

3) George Karl has the Sacramento Kings contending for a playoff spot- don't read articles anymore about his impending dismissal. DeMarcus Cousins is playing really well and they have some solid players around him. Fun team to watch. Cousins has to be on the All-Star team or the thing is a joke.

2) Cardinals coach Bruce Arians was quoted recently as saying that spread offenses in college have hurt the development of offensive linemen for the NFL, because in a spread offense, linemen don't do lot of the things that NFL lineman have to do in an NFL-style offense, so when they move up to the pros, there is some remedial training that has to be done, which sets their development back some. Makes sense.

1) Dan Gable is the John Wooden of college wrestling; he won 15 national titles as the coach at Iowa, after he won a gold medal at the '72 Olympics himself. His career record as a college wrestler was 181-1. Pretty tough guy.

I mention this because 35 or so years ago, our paths crossed. The wrestling team at UAlbany had a triangular match with Springfield College and Iowa, a very big deal for them. Iowa was in midst of winning ten national titles in a row. There was only one problem- they needed someone to run the clock on the main scoreboard, since they didn't always have matches in the big gym.

I was the basketball manager at Albany, I was good at running the panel for the scoreboard over the basketball floor, so I was elected timekeeper for the day. About three minutes before the first match, with the legendary Gable standing about 20 feet from me, I realized that I had no idea how this all worked-- I had never seen an actual amateur wrestling match, only pro wrestling on TV. No clocks in the WWE.

When did I start the clock? Stop it? How would I know what points to put up? What if Gable passed one of his wrestlers a foreign object? Oh wait, that doesn't happen here, but panic set in. Actually, it was more like terror.

Luckily for me, the referee on the main court was the father of a friend of mine from high school-- I called him over and explained my anxiety. He was cool and explained that he would signal points to me and that the clock ran pretty much like basketball-- on the referee's signal. After that, it was fairly uneventful-- Gable didn't put me in a sleeper hold or anything, and that was my brush with one of the most successful coaches in the history of college sports.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) TV ratings for Sunday's football games were up 8% from LY, despite the NFC game being a lousy game to watch, so good for the league there.

12) Carolina LB Thomas Davis broke his arm Sunday, but expects to play in Super Bowl, reminiscent of Jack Youngblood playing in Super Bowl XIV with a broken leg he suffered in a playoff game.

11) Obscure fact of the day: This is the 11th Super Bowl in a row with at least one Texas Longhorn alum playing in it.

10) There are 33 undrafted free agents playing in the Super Bowl this year- it isn't ridiculous to suggest an NFL team's personnel guy is more important than the team's coaching staff. You have to have good players to coach.

9) In two games against Denver this season, the Patriots were 4-28 on third down. In the regular season, New England was 88-215 (40.9%) on third down.

8) Southern Mississippi needs a new football coach; Todd Monken is the new OC of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Signing Day for college football recruiting is eight days away, so this is an awkward time for that to happen.

7) Bulls' coach Fred Hoiberg is so popular in Ames, Iowa that he is known as The Mayor; he played and was later the coach at Iowa State. Hoiberg's daughter goes to rival Kansas, where she works part-time in the basketball office.

6) There are obviously 12 teams in the Pac-12; eight of their 12 basketball teams are either 5-2 or 4-3 in the standings right now. Cluttered race.

5) Washington Huskies are getting more points from their freshmen than any team in the country. Lorenzo Romar has done a tremendous rebuilding job this year- they basically blew up their team from LY and started over, and it has worked.

4) Siena's Lavon Long made all seven of his shots at Canisius Sunday; he was also 11-11 on the foul line, the first college player to put up numbers like that since 2001.

3) Reading a lot about the Lebron James/David Blatt stuff from last week, it dawns on me that Blatt might be better suited as a college coach. He seems to have a fairly big ego and in the NBA, until you've won an NBA title, coaches don't get a whole lot of respect from the players. College hoop is more of a coaches' game.

2) Sales at McDonald's were up 5.7% in the 4th quarter of 2015, the first quarter in which McDonald's offered 24-hour breakfasts. Smart idea that was long overdue.

1) Place called Glengary, WV had 42 inches of snow last weekend- thats 3.5 feet of snow!!!!! New York City had 26.5 inches, their 2nd-most ever.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend.........
13) Broncos 20, Patriots 18-- Peyton Manning is 6-9 in his first playoff game of the year, 5-1 in his second one. His commercials will be all over TV long after we are dead and buried. Would be interesting to see his tax returns.

This will be Denver's 8th Super Bowl, under five different head coaches.

12) Panthers 49, Cardinals 15-- Carolina gets to its second Super Bowl; its coach the last time was John Fox, who was Denver's head coach until he was replaced by Gary Kubiak two years ago. Panthers are listed as a 4-point favorite.

To nitwit owners who fire coaches every two years: Ron Rivera was 13-19 in his first two years with the Panthers. Some teams would've fired him then.

11) Sunday's highlight for me was having dinner at a bar, watching the Carolina game and listening to three women to my right talking about how one of their friends married a guy, while he was still in jail. None of my business, but it begs the question......

What do you get the happy couple as a wedding present?

10) Temple 89, SMU 80-- Last unbeaten goes down. Owls made a season-high 14 3's in a game pushed back a day by snow. Question for Mustangs now is their motivation for the rest of the regular season, since there is no postseason for them.

9) Providence 82, Villanova 76 OT-- Rough day to be favored in Philly, as Wildcats got beat by Friars in the best game of the day. Having been in Philly a few times, I have no idea where they put 22 inches of snow, which they had this weekend.

8) Carolina Panthers' owner Jerry Richardson is first owner since George Halas who also played in the NFL; he has been the recipient of a heart transplant, too.

7) San Diego State Aztecs' hoop team is 19-2 in its last 21 overtime games.

6) Bad Beat of Weekend, Month, Year???-- Northern Kentucky 82, Ill-Chicago 69, in overtime. UIC was a 12.5-point underdog; you get 12.5 points and game goes to OT, you're not happy but you figure you still will win- not so fast. Flames are still winless against D-I teams this season.

5) I swear I heard this right on Golf Channel last night: Jordan Spieth gets $1.3M just for showing up and playing at the Malaysian Open this coming week. Not $1.3M if he wins, $1.3M just for showing up. Oy.

4) Since 2000, Utah State's basketball team has the 6th-best winning %age in the whole country-- never would've guessed that.

3) If you care about such things, in the United Arab Emirates, the weekend is Friday, Saturday, not Saturday./Sunday. Go figure.

2) Cleveland Cavaliers were 97-215 in four years that Lebron James was in Miami; they're 83-41 since he came back.

1) Was glad that ESPN showed Stephen Curry 90 minutes before his game Friday night, doing ballhandling drills and practicing his craft. Thats why he is so good, he works his ass off at it. Kids need to realize that practicing skills improves your game more than playing in actual games does.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) Nevada 65, UNLV 63-- Former NBA coach Eric Musselman is the new coach at Nevada; this was his first game against rival UNLV. Musselman went to college at the U of San Diego, where his roommate was George Tarkanian (yes, his son).

12) ESPN struck gold with former Stanford/Cal/Warrior coach Mike Montgomery as analyst of the UNLV-Nevada game. He is smart, relaxed behind the mike-- you learn stuff listening to him.

11) Ball State, Iowa State were only teams that played yesterday that turned the ball over more than 20 times; odd thing is, they both won and on the road at that.

10) Ball State 88, Eastern Michigan 87 2OT-- Speaking of which, maybe the worst 0:15 of officiating we'll see all season at the end of the second OT. Seriously.

EMU led 87-85 with 0:18 left, Ball State misses a 3 from the left wing. Rebound goes into the right corner, where an EMU player grabs it, is trapped by three guys on Ball State, at least two of whom seem to foul him, or in worst case, cause a tied ball.

But the officials swallow their whistles, a Ball State player emerges from the scrum by taking at least four steps with the ball- he passes to a teammate, who hits a 3-ball to win game with 0:00.7 left. This game was in Ypsilanti; home fans weren't happy.

All three of these refs should be suspended for blatantly failing to do their job.

9) Ark-Little Rock 68, Tex-Arlington 62-- Game between Sun Belt titans was 42-14 at the half, Little Rock.hung on in second half; Arlington got within four in last 1:00.

8) Pepperdine 71, BYU 65-- Cougars came back from 10 down at half to win at LMU Thursday, but Waves got best of them here. BYU was just 6-22 on the arc.

7) Bulls 96, Cavaliers 83-- Tyronn Lue's first game as head coach in Cleveland did not go well. Lue says the Cavaliers aren't in good enough shape. To be continued....

6) California 74, Arizona 73-- During this game, Bill Walton talked about: volcanoes, Lou Brock, alignment of the planets, Bugs Bunny, San Quentin, Apple computers, as well as his grandson. He also fit in commentary on Cal's dramatic win- they went 2-0 at home this week, even without injured point guard Tyrone Wallace. Big week.

5) Louisville 75, Georgia Tech 71-- Tech led by 7 at half, Cardinals rallied for third win in a row. Coach K's son-in-law was analyst for this game; he was shilling for the ACC as strongest league in the country. Apparently, he hasn't seen any Big X games.

4) Cal-Riverside 74, Long Beach State 72-- Riverside coach Dennis Cutts is a fellow Albany alum and a good coach; big win for him here. Long Beach made 13-24 from the arc and still lost- that doesn't happen very much.

3) Indiana 89, Northwestern 57-- Impressed with how much better Hoosiers are now than they were in November, when they lost to Wake Forest, UNLV. They're 7-0 in a Big 14 that isn't nearly as good as everyone thinks it is, but they are 7-0.

2) Biggest upset of the day: South Florida (+16.5) 71, Houston 62.

1) Duke and Michigan State ended their three-game skids. Spartans were especially emotional after beating Maryland at home-- was fun to see kids show genuine joy at winning one regular season game. Maybe it was more relief than joy, but still.......

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here......
13) Odd fact of the day: John Calipari doesn't go to his team's pre-game meals; he wants his team to relax, so he stays away from them while they're eating.

12) Cincinnati Bearcats will be doing an $87M upgrade of their basketball arena after the 2016-17 season; they haven't decided where they'll play games in 2017-18. Puts more pressure on the coach, having that much $$$ poured into the program.

11) Back in October, I was lucky enough to go to a UNLV basketball practice; they have a brand new practice facility, a building that is first class in every way. Took a lot of cash to build it and rich people (boosters) aren't patient, so when the Rebels lost five of six games around the holidays, coach Dave Rice was fired.

The night of the practice I went to, there was a booster event at the practice facility; they have these donor cords with check boxes for how much you'd like to contribute to the program, ranging from $3,000 to $20,000 with an "other" box. UNLV flies charter for conference road games, an important upgrade for the program, but it ain't cheap.

My point is this: teams like Cincinnati/UNLV get donors to provide enhancements for the programs, but those boosters want results. No results? Heads can roll.

10) Speaking of unhappy rich people, the Cavaliers' owner fired coach David Blatt, who was 30-11 this year and lost in NBA Finals LY, his first as an NBA coach. Only people in the Cavaliers' inner circle know what the deal is, so I'm not going to criticize the move, or praise it. Not many 30-11 coaches get fired, though.

9) Cavaliers went out of their way to say that Lebron James wasn't notified of Blatt's firing until it actually happened; I really don't believe that, and even if I do believe that, I'm not sure it would be smart to change coaches without talking to James first. Former NBA guard Tyronn Lue is the new coach, by the way.

8) Not sure if they still do it, but Princeton used to spend eight minutes of every practice working on all kinds of layups that they might take as a result of cuts made in their offense. as Watching Belmont play Thursday night; their bigger guys are good at using the basket for protection from more athletic shot blockers on reverse layups.

7) From 2005-08, Marist went 37-17 in MAAC with Matt Brady as coach; Brady moved on to James Madison. since then, Marist is 27-102 in MAAC games.

6) Steve Kerr came back to the Warriors' bench last night; Jason Kidd is coming back from back surgery next week. Milwaukee is 8-7 under interim coach Joe Prunty sduring Kidd's absence.

5) Bob Huggins has been basketball coach at West Virginia for nine years; during that time, the school has had five school presidents and three athletic directors. Seems to me that five school presidents in nine years is an awful lot.

4) Houston Rockets put Andre Drummond on foul line 36 times in Detroit's 123-114 win in Houston the other night- he was 13-36, the most foul shots any NBA player has ever missed in one game. Very discouraged to see shooting that bad.

3) Mike Vrabel is the linebackers' coach for the Texans; he turned down a chance to be Chip Kelly's defensive coordinator in San Frasncisco. Interesting decision.

2) New Orleans Pelicans' star Anthony Davis stands to lose a potential $23M in contract incentives unless he makes all-NBA this season, which is unlikely. Not getting voted to the All-Star team makes the all-NBA thing the deciding factor.

1) Good luck to the selection committee for the NCAA hoop tournament; what an odd season. Seeding is going to be impossible. Lot of guys on TV think mid-major teams like Valparaiso or Belmont will make lot of noise in March.

Friday's List: Ranking the months of the year......
This list is totally subjective; weather plays into it. Make your own list-- when you are retired, though, there are no bad months. Just some are better than others.

12) January-- If not for college basketball, this would be a long, cold month. At least now when I hear the wind whipping outside in the morning, I pull the covers over my head and go back to sleep- no trudging to work in cruddy weather. Football playoffs are only a lot of fun if your team is in them; I'm a Ram fan, so........

11) February-- Lot like January, only shorter so it ranks higher. Chinese New Year is next month and 2016 is the Year of the Monkey. Spring training starts and there is a February 29th this year. Most famous people I can find with February 29 birthdays are motivational speaker Tony Robbins and hockey legend Henri Richard.

10) May-- NBA/NHL playoffs, weather is pretty good. Kentucky Derby but this has always been a pretty quiet month for me, except for the four years where I coached Little League, which was an experience all to itself. Very little taught me more about people than watching them watch their young kids play ball. I have

9) June-- Lot like May, only better weather. When I was a kid, this was by far the best month of the year, with school ending for the year. Minor league baseball is one of the best entertainment values there is-- we have a short season team over the river in Troy (Astros' Class A team). $7 for a night out is a good deal.

8) April-- Opening Day of baseball season, NFL Draft, plus I usually go to Las Vegas in April and that is prime pool season-- I highly recommend it. I'll be the guy wearing sunglasses, covered in towels so I don't get sunburned. Made that mistake once, never again. Nothing quite as relaxing as an afternoon by the pool.

7) October-- Quietest month for this website; baseball playoffs, football, and prep starts for college basketball. Weather is still decent but it starts getting dark too early. Halloween in Las Vegas is different than Halloween anywhere else; its, how can I say this.......just more fun. More people are into Halloween there.

In 2011, I stayed at South Point Hotel off the Strip, which also happened to host the Fetish and Fantasy Ball on Halloween night. Red carpet, TV camera, some costumes that were amazing. Very interesting elevator rides.

6) July-- This is a good basketball month; AAU in Florida or Vegas, NBA Summer League. One year it was 95 and humid in Florida, but the air conditioning in the Milk House at Walt Disney World was cranked so high I went to the mall to buy sweats to wear in there while I watched games. Sitting by the pool at night and reading college football magazines is also an annual July happening.

5) August-- The big thing in upstate New York in August is the racetrack that runs for six weeks at Saratoga, ending on Labor Day. Good social scene at night, lot of racing during the day. The first time I was in Las Vegas: August 1, 1986- it was 112 outside and I'm in a sportsbook, watching horse races from Saratoga, which is 20 miles from my house. They've over-commercialized it recently, but it is still a fun day.

4) September-- Worst month when I was a kid- who wants to go back to school? I wonder if teachers dreaded it as much as I did. But now as an adult, football is getting started, baseball pennant races are happening, it is still summer weather. Nothing bad about September anymore.

In September 1973, I rode a school bus for the first time, after walking to school in grades K-8. Public school in 9th grade was a new experience-- 720+ kids in the school, all 9th graders and I knew five of them. Five. The first week was a little scary.

3) November-- Busiest month for the website; overlap between college football/hoop gets crazy, plus the NBA gets started. I'm thinking the NBA will become a better game to handicap as they stretch out the season more, to reduce back/backs for teams. When I was working, November had three holidays, never a bad thing.

2) December-- You can get really good rates at hotels in Las Vegas if you go the week before Christmas-- you can get suites fairly cheap. Christmas, New Year's Eve, people putting up trees/lights for my birthday; what could be bad about December? Snow is a potential problem. People are usualy in better moods in December.

1) March-- I'm a big college basketball fan, so March is an excellent month, though you aren't out of the woods with weather yet. Plus there is spring training baseball every day-- I'm thinking of a trip to Arizona to see the A's next March. Have never done the spring training thing-- am told it is lot of fun.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) Actor Jamie Foxx pulled a guy out of a burning car yesterday and saved his life; took lot of guts to do that. Good for him.

12) Nebraska 72, Michigan State 71-- Spartans have not only lost three games in row, they've lost their last three games against Nebraska. big win for Tim Miles' team. When was last time Duke/Michigan State were on losing skids at the same time?

11) Pistons 123, Rockets 114-- Detroit was 35-59 on foul line; Houston was the first team since 2007 to be called for 40+ fouls (41) in one game.

10) Knicks 118, Utah 111 (OT)-- New York is now 22-22 and only half a game out of the 8th spot in the East. Much improved team this year.....

9).......lot of credit goes to rookie Kristaps Porzingis, whose jersey is the #4 seller in the NBA this season. Great draft pick by Phil Jackson.

8) Baylor 79, Kansas State 72 2OT-- Three of top six teams in country play in the Big X, but none of them are in first place in league play- Baylor is.

7) Former SMU Mustang Keith Frazier transferred from SMU to North Texas; it was his eligibility that got SMU in hot water with the NCAA. Frazier should be a difference maker in Conference USA, when he becomes eligible.

6) Villanova 72, Seton Hall 71-- Wildcats have won 22 in row in Big East; Pirates start five sophomores, should be very good for the next 2+ years.

5) is a terrific addition this season- can watch almost any game in the country now on my laptop, even if it isn't on TV.

4) So many college hoop teams lack depth, playing seven guys, maybe eight. South Florida has four scholarshop kids sitting on the bench out of uniform- they're transfers for next year or injured players. Teams like West Virginia who actually have guys on the bench who can play have a big advantage. Even Duke plays six guys now.

3) Tennessee Titans named Dick LeBeau defensive coordinator, with the last DC Ray Horton moving on to the same job in Cleveland. Coach LeBeau will turn 79 two days before the Titans' season opener in September. He is a very young 78 right now.

2) San Diego Padres signed closer Fernando Rodney to a $2M deal yesterday.

Also in baseball, the Marlins finally moved their CF fence in 11 feet for next year. I care about this because Stanton/Ozuna are both on my fantasy team- you have the #1 power hitter in baseball, then you build a park with a fence 417 feet from the plate and a 20-foot fence. How can people with so much $$$ be so stupid? .

1) Pamela Anderson spoke to the French Parliament yesterday; no idea what it was about, but I bet attendance was lot higher than normal. I'm just sayin'.......

Wednesday's List of 13: Random thoughts on a winter day.....
13) Tuesday was the worst kind of winter day here in upstate NY; temps in 20s, but with a vicious, cutting wind that would cut thru any number of layers of clothes, and make you question your intelligence for choosing to live here. The good part is the wind will be gone today and a normal 25 degree day will feel like springtime.

12) Maryland 62, Northwestern 56 OT-- Wildcats are 15-5, 2-4 in last six games; on Selection Sunday, if Northwestern doesn't make the tournament (again), they can look at this game as a big reason why. Winning at Maryland would've been huge- they have a #264 strength of schedule (#346 non-conference) and badly need quality wins. Right now, their best wins are at home over Wisconsin/Nebraska- no bueno.

11) How on God's green earth does getting an endorsement from Sarah Palin help someone become President of the United States? I'd rather get an endorsement from Julianne Moore, who played Ms Palin in a movie called Game Change. Ms Palin is a walking, talking Saturday Night Live skit; Tina Fey had to be delighted yesterday.

10) Oklahoma State 86, Kansas 67-- Cowboys had lost four in row coming into this game, third straight loss for Jayhawks in Stillwater. It is January 20 and I have zero freakin' idea who the best team in the country is. An interesting season.

9) South Carolina 77, Ole Miss 74 OT-- Gamecocks scored the last 11 points of regulation, handing Ole Miss a bitter loss. Gamecocks are an underappreciated 17-1, with only loss at Alabama- they don't play A&M or Kentucky until next month.

8) When Duke lost to Syracuse Monday, they were 13-25 inside arc, 10-37 outside the arc, only 6-9 on foul line, very un-Duke-like numbers. If you do not attack the basket, you're not going to get calls from refs. Duke doesn't play great great defense because they have no depth; now they're not getting the ball inside on offense.

7) RIP coach Johnny Bach, one of Phil Jackson's assistants with the Jordan-era Bulls. Coach Bach grew up in NYC at the same time as my dad, who would tell stories about his high school playing Bach's high school. Coach Bach and Tex Winter teamed to give Phil Jackson a pair of experienced voices to lean on, when he needed it. RIP, sir.

6) Eagles introduced Doug Pederson as their new coach, where he was grilled over the Chiefs' play-calling late in their loss at New England Saturday. Didn't take long for the honeymoon to end there.

5) UNLV 80, Utah State 68-- Ten days, UNLV changed basketball coaches; they are 3-0 since then, winning all three games fairly easily, begging the question:

a) UNLV changed basketball coaches ten days ago..........they were 0-3 in league.
b) Since then, UNLV is 3-0, winning by 12-36-12 points.
c) Did a) cause b)? If the Rebels keep winning, the powers-that-be in the desert are going to have a very interesting decision to make- promote the (much cheaper to hire) interim coach to permanent coach, or go national and hire a big name? .

4) There have been 22 OT games in the NFL this season; five of the 22 ended with a TD being scored by the team having the ball first.

3) San Diego State 73, Fresno State 67 OT-- For team with such great experience, Fresno plays too willy-nilly for me. Bulldogs are #12 in experience in country, but in last 0:10 down 3, Marvelle Harris (4-20 from floor) jacks up a hideous 3-pointer with 0:06 left and its an airball, which is rebounded by the shortest player on the court under the hoop, who races out to the corner and knocks down a ridiculous fadeaway 3 to tie the game at the buzzer. Fresno was right for the wrong reason.

If you bet Fresno +7.5, you needed a 3-pointer in last 0:20 of OT to cover. Aztecs are on a winning streak now, but they're still offensively-challenged.

2) Pacers 97, Suns 94-- Phoenix is 13-30; they should bring Mike D'Antoni back.

A story to close out today.........
1) Long time ago, I coached Little League in a wealthy suburb; one year, a doctor was one of my assistant coaches. Smart guy, but he hated the way I coached and we did not interact that much (hard to believe, huh?). Anyway, the doctor loved to play golf-- that year, Arnold Palmer came to the area in a charity event, and the doctor did volunteer work that day and met Mr Palmer.

So the next day at our Little League practice, I asked the doctor how the golf outing was. He was not prone to praise or overstatement, but he looked at me and said, "It was the greatest day of my life." That is the effect Arnold Palmer has on people.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but......
13) Detroit Tigers signed Justin Upton for $22M a year for six years, which tells me there is something about Yoenis Cespedes that the general public doesn't know. I'd rather have Cespedes than Upton, although Cespedes is two years older.

12) Warriors 132, Cavaliers 98-- Ugly no-show at home for Cleveland. You play the team that beat you in the Finals last year, you're supposed to compete.

11) Knicks 119, 76ers 113 2OT-- New York was 25-30 on the foul line; Philly was 13-25. Sixers had rallied back from down 18 late in third quarter.

10) Charlotte 124, Utah 119 2OT-- Solid set of afternoon games in the NBA. Kemba Walker had 52, the first Hornet ever to score 50+ points.

9) Purdue 107, Rutgers 57-- If you're in your third year as coach of a Big 14 team and you lose by 50 at home, it is time to start updating your resume. There are lot of good basketball players in New Jersey-- no excuse for Rutgers to be this bad.

8) Robert Morris won the NEC tournament LY, won a play-in game in the NCAAs, but last spring Clemson poached their best player, 6-3 G Marcquise Reed (he is sitting out this season at Clemson) and now Robert Morris is 4-15 and floundering. It is a free country, but poaching players from mid-majors is a growing trend and it stinks.

7) You'll see some Saturday afternoon NBA games starting later this month for this reason: the league now has a Saturday night TV deal in Europe- since they're 5-6 hours ahead of us, for games to be shown live there they have to be afternoon games here.

6) Odd stat: West Virginia won the Big East tournament in 2010, then made it to the Final Four in DeSean Butler's last year there; since then, the Mountaineers are 0-5 in conference tournament games- that surprised me.

5) Guy in the Australian Open Sunday night was wearing two different sneakers as he played, one black, one orange. Hopefully this is not a portent of the future. Some wiseguy said he probably has another pair just like that one back in his hotel. .

4) I enjoy the instant replay system in tennis; it is quick and it makes a difference.

3) This is the first time since 2004 that both conference championship games have the #1 seed playing #2 seed. Home sides were 4-0 this past weekend, after being 0-4 the week before. Sunday should be an interesting day.

2) It wound up not mattering Saturday night, but Patrick Peterson drew a taunting penalty as he ran back an INT for a TD, turning and waving to guys who were chasing him. How stupid can he be? If not for another Arizona penalty on the same play, he would've cost his team a TD in a game that wound up going to overtime. Wise up!!!

1) If you like politics or are interested by it, there is a good reality show on Showtime called The Circus, about this year's Presidential race. Lot of behind-the-scenes looks at rallies, interviews with candidates. Stuff we don't normally get to see.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend.......
13) Utah 59, Oregon State 53-- I'm leading with this because with 2:56 left in a tie game, Oregon State's Jarmal Reid tripped an official on purpose as play moved to the other end of the floor-- the official (former NBA ref Tommy Nunez) called a technical and Utah went on to win 59-53.

Beavers had taken a 52-50 lead with 5:28 left, but scored only one point the rest of the game and fell to 2-3 in Pac-12 play. Mr Reid is going to be suspended for multiple games, I am pretty sure. Utah outscored OSU 18-5 on the foul line, but thats life on the road a lot of the time. No excuse for losing your poise like that.

12) Panthers 31, Seahawks 24-- Game was 31-0 at the half.; Seahawks fought back, but the hill was too steep to climb. Carolina remains vastly underrated at 16-1.

11) Broncos 23, Steelers 16-- Peyton Manning has been in playoffs 15 times; he is now 6-9 in the first playoff game of a season. Tom Brady is 11-2 in such games. That said, Manning is 4-1 in the second playoff game of a season.

10) Of the eight QBs who started in playoff games this weekend, six were drafted in the first round; only Brady and Russell Wilson were not.

9) Steelers kicker Chris Boswell went to college at Rice, where his roommate and holder for kicks during Owls games was one of Gary Kubiak's sons. Small world.

8) Been reading a lot about offensive gurus who become NFL head coaches; seems like the "fun" part of the job is calling plays, the technical football stuff, but when you become a head coach, lot of that gets delegated to assistants, while the head coach does a ton of media stuff and CEO/administration-type stuff, the less fun part.

Will be interesting to see if Hue Jackson/Dirk Koetter/Ben McAdoo continue to call plays or if the weight of all that becomes too much and play calling gets passed off. When Mike Martz became coach of the Rams, it was a problem because he was poor with interpersonal relationships-- he was a genius play caller, but not much else.

7) Tennessee Titans are hiring Bobby April as special teams coach; Titans will be 9th of 32 NFL teams that April has been special teams coach for.

6) Interesting discussion on Golf Channel during the Hawaiian Open this weekend as to whether you can practice golf too much. 52-year old Vijay Singh was playing well and he practices so much, that is why it all came up. The consensus seemed to be that for most golfers, there are diminishing returns to excessive practice, but it works for Singh, who continues to compete with the younger guys.

5) Odd golf stat: Only once in the last six years has Adam Scott finished in the top 100 on Tour in putting. How can someone who is so good struggle so much to putt?

4) Unsuual that the 18th hole at Wailea CC is a par-5, don't see that a lot on Tour. Makes for more interesting ends to tournaments; guys can get eagles to finish up.

3) Single digit underdogs were 50-29 vs spread in college hoop Saturday/Sunday, as a season of unexpected outcomes continues.

2) Florida State 69, Virginia 62-- Highly touted Cavaliers are 0-3 on ACC road, with losses to Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Florida State- they still have to go to Louisville, Duke and Pitt. Seminoles remain a difficult team to figure out.

1) Serious question that came up this weekend; e-mail me with your answer, if you have one: If a little kid is left alone to play by him/herself, is he/she more likely to develop a good imagination, or does that not matter? Some people think that kids have so many structured activities that it inhibits their ability to think freely as they become adults. I hadn't thought a lot about it until yesterday.

E-mail me at with your opinions.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) Cardinals 26, Packers 20 OT-- Tremendous drama at the end. Some thoughts:

-- No matter what, Aaron Rodgers is freakin' awesome.
-- Football coaches try to get cute with clock mamagement and wind up looking like stupid people. Sometimes being conservative is the right play.
-- Media has to be happy that the possibility of a trip to Green Bay next week is out.
-- How hard is it to flip a coin? How do you do it without the coin turning over?
-- For the last 24 years, Green Bay has had Favre/Rodgers at QB, two Hall of Famers. They've won two Super Bowls, which has to be described as underachieving.
-- Mike McCarthy has lost seven playoff games, five on the last play of the game.

12) Really a fun day, watching college basketball for 13 hours, except for Cardinal game mixed in there. I'm not sure what the right word is, but it is hard to tell what will happen from one day to the next. Parity-unpredictability-mediocrity?

11) Oklahoma 70, West Virginia 68-- If these teams played for the national title, it wouldn't be a big shock. Really high level game. has Big X with three of the five best teams in the country-- these two plus Kansas.

10) VCU 94, Richmond 89 OT-- Game seems like it was two days ago, but it was a 2pm game. Neighborhood rivalries are awesome; these schools are five miles apart.

Richmond had a 2-point lead and the ball with 1:47 left in regulation; they come out of a timeout with six men on the floor-- one-shot technical foul. Game winds up going to OT and Richmond lost-- coach Mooney's brush-by handshake with Will Wade was not very friendly. The rematch at VCU will be interesting.

9) Clemson 76, Miami 65-- In last seven days, Tigers beat Louisville-Duke-Miami, all at home. At some point they have to go on the road, but what a week!!!!

8) Notre Dame 95, Duke 91-- Duke can't defend because if they get in foul trouble, they're screwed since they have zero depth- six good players. Irish have now won four of their last five games against the Blue Devils.

7) North Carolina 67, NC State 55-- This is hard to believe, but Tar Heels are 5-0 in the ACC for the first time in fifteen years.

6) Gambling is hard: 76ers won by 25 last night. Golden State lost by 18.

5) Gambling is hard, part 2: Florida Atlantic 63, Louisiana Tech 61-- Tech (-5.5) was up 20 at the half, but lost to the 4-14 Owls. Oy.

4) Virginia Tech 78, Georgia Tech 77-- Buzz Williams has Hokies 4-1 in the ACC, with all four wins by 1 or 2 points or in OT.

3) Auburn 75, Kentucky 70-- This will help Bruce Pearl's recruiting down the road, but his team is really banged-up right now.

2) LSU 76, Arkansas 74-- ESPN has to shut up about Ben Simmons; he is a kid who will be a great player when he grows into an adult, but that is not this year. To listen to ESPN's voices, you'd think he was Magic Johnson right now. He is not, but he will be very wealthy this summer, when he is the first pick in the NBA Draft.

Apparently, Simmons' "high school" team in Australia didn't play home/away games like teams do here; they played in all neutral court tournaments, so Simmons is not used to playing home games where fans root like hell for you, or road games, where fans work like hell to distract you or irritate you. He is learning a lot this year.

1) This college basketball season is summed up by this fact: the only unbeaten team in Division I can not go to their conference tourney or the NCAAs, because their coach is a serial cheater. If SMU finishes 30-0, will it put a cloud over March?

Saturday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but......
13) So it is January 16 and already my fantasy baseball team has a setback for the coming season. Jose Reyes got into an argument with his wife and was arrested back in October and the trail is starting April 4, which happens to be Opening Day. MLB will make an example of him and suspend him, so I guess I need a new shortstop.

12) Yoenis Cespedes is looking for a six-year, $132M deal; the Orioles are offering him $15-18M a year, not very close. No one else seems that interested, which makes me wonder why. Guy has been in the playoffs three times in his four MLB seasons.

11) Wal-Mart has roughly 11,600 stores worldwide; they're closing 269 of them. Is it possible some of these stores lose money, or just don't make enough?

10) They built a new arena in Las Vegas with no parking lot; in something that may or may not be related, MGM Grand and ten other Las Vegas hotels are going to start charging overnight parking fees (less than $10 a night).

MGM is also spending $54M on a new 3,000-space parking garage that will be near the new arena. The new arena is going to help local cabbies.

9) Antonio Brown/DeAngelo Williams are out for Sunday's game in Denver; could be that the biggest winner in Cincinnati last week was the Broncos.

8) Tampa Bay Bucs' coach Dirk Koetter was 26-10 at Boise State, 40-34 at Arizona State when he was a college coach- he was only 21-28 in Pac-12 games at ASU. His defensive coordinator in Tampa will be Mike Smith, the ex-coach of the Falcons.

7) Koetter's hiring gives Idaho State two alums as NFL head coaches, Marvin Lewis being the other one. Wouldn't have guessed that.

6) Detroit started season 1-7, went 6-2 after changing offensive coordinators, and that saved Jim Caldwell's job. Guess they didn't want to make Jim Bob Cooter their head coach, the way Tampa Bay did with Koetter.

5) Colts hired ex-Miami coach Joe Philbin as its offensive line coach. Vikings hired another ex-Dolphin coach, Tony Sparano as its OL coach.

4) Monmouth 110, Iona 102-- Hawks scored 66 points in second half of wild game that ended with near-brawl between teams in the handshake line. Winning is the good news for Monmouth; bad news is that there is no way King Rice will still be the coach there next season-- a school with deeper pockets will sign him up this spring.

3) Mavericks 83, Bulls 77-- Jimmy Butler had four points; he had 53 in Chicago's last game, an OT win in Philly. Bulls are not playing very well right now.

2) One of my least favorite rules in sports is the NBA rule where you can advance the ball into the frontcourt by calling a timeout. It is an artificial way to create drama at the end of games. I hear people on TV now pushing for college hoop to add the rule. Making college ball more like the NBA is not a positive change.

1) If the price of oil keeps going down, how come gas is still $2.29 a gallon at the greedy bastards' Mobil Mart up the road from my house?

Friday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here........
Lot of NFL coaching news Thursday.........
49ers signed Chip Kelly; the 49er Gift Shop had Colin Kaepernick jerseys on the clearance rack, but once Kelly got hired, those jerseys aren't clearance items anymore-- he is the ideal QB for Kelly's offense.

12) Giants promoted OC Ben McAdoo to head coach, crediting his work with Eli Manning the last two years. I have some questions/comments about this.

-- How much of Eli's improvement is McAdoo, and how much is Odell Beckham? In Philly, Nick Foles threw 27 TDs with two INTs when he had DeSean Jackson on his team. Foles went to St Louis with subpar WRs and he got benched.
-- Giants retained Steve Spagnuolo as DC; his defense was NFL's worst LY.
-- They fired a Hall of Fame head coach but kept the coordinator of the worst defense in the league? Thats either stupid or age descrimination. Or both.

11) Tampa Bay hired OC Dirk Koetter as coach; they fired Lovie Smith because they didn't trust him to hire an OC who would work well with Jameis Winston once Koetter got a head coaching job elsewhere. Weird way to run a $1B business.

10) Philly will turn to Chiefs' OC Doug Pederson as its next head coach. Pederson is the answer to a trivia question; he played QB for Miami in the game that Don Shula became the winningest coach in NFL history, in 1993 against the Eagles.

9) Rex Ryan hired his brother Rob as a defensive assistant; Buffalo's defense was better before Rex Ryan became the Bills' head coach.

8) NFL Network airs a replay of Super Bowl I tonight; 17 Hall of Famers played in that game which ironically was played in the LA Coliseum, which has been in the news a lot this week, with the Rams moving back to Los Angeles this coming season.

7) Hurricane Alex is the first January hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean since 1938.

6) Major League baseball put in a new rule for 2016: every team has to have a full-time Spanish translator. Not sure why you wouldn't have one anyway, as well as have your coaches be bilingual, with so many Hispanic players these days.

5) Dodgers have six people working in their front office who at one time were GMs of a major league team. Thats a little top-heavy, no?

4) Former NBA player Corey Maggette works Big West games on Prime Ticket in LA; he pointed out last night that Cal-Irvine's 7-foot-6 center Mamadou Ndiaye wears low-cut sneakers when he plays, almost like deck shoes. Very unusual; I'm guessing he gets his ankles taped, but you don't see many players wearing low-cut sneakers.

3) San Diego State's Skylar Spencer is a lefty, but when he was shooting 30% on the foul line, it was suggested that he shoot free throws right-handed. He has improved his %age into the upper 50's and looked like he had good touch in Wednesday's game.

2) Pro golfer Kevin Kisner lost three playoffs last year, the first PGA golfer to do that since 1937-- he later won a tournament too, so it was a big money year for him, making $3,567,939. You still make a lot of money when lose a playoff.

1) So far in the Atlantic 14 this season, favorites are 20-8 against the spread.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) Clemson 68, Duke 63-- In last four days, Tigers beat Louisville/Duke, both home games, the best stretch in years for Clemson basketball. In those two games, Clemson took 57 foul shots, their opponents 23. Landry Nnoko was a beast in this game.

12) Should be noted that Clemson's Littlejohn Coliseum is being refurbished this year; Tigers are playing games in Greenville, SC, sharing the building with an ECHL minor league hockey team called the Greenville Swamp Rabbits-- tremendous name.

11) Forbes Magazine reported that the Rams are worth twice as much now as they were two days ago, before they moved to LA. Stan Kroenke has to pay NFL $550M to re-locate, but the team is worth more than that and doubled in worth, so he's already re-couped the $550M, and then some. I was happy today when I found a quarter and a dime on the floor of my car-- everything is relative.

10) Found it ironical that late Tuesday nite the movie Wall Street showed up on TV, where Michael Douglas' character tells an audience that ".....greed is good." This was a couple hours after NFL owners resorted to a secret ballot to make sure the guy with the most money won the re-location competition. Real life is stranger than fiction.

9) Philip Rivers might not be happy about the Chargers potentially moving, but he has to be happy Ken Whisenhunt is back as Chargers' offensive coordinator. Rivers had a big year in 2013 when Whisenhunt was OC for the Bolts.

8) Miami Marlins gave 2B Dee Gordon $50M for five years; he's been a very good leadoff hitter the last few years. Marlins have Mattingly as manager, Barry Bonds as a hitting coach- they should be very interesting to follow.

7) Alabama 73, South Carolina 50-- Rough night for Gamecocks, who lose for first time in 16 games this season. Solid week for Crimson Tide sports.

6) Still amazed that Alabama did the onside kick in a tie game with less than 11:00 left Monday night. Takes lot of onions to do that.

5) Sign of the times: 14 SEC basketball teams, 28 international players.

4) Cleveland Browns hired Hue Jackson as head coach; he went 8-8 in his one and only season as coach of the Raiders in 2011- he was OC in Cincinnati the last couple years. Marvin Lewis has lost three coordinators to HC jobs the last three years.

3) The great Bill Raftery announced two basketball games in same day on two different networks Sunday; Ohio State-Indiana on CBS, Villanova-Butler on FS1.

2) NFL free agency starts March 9, so Chargers really have to decide before then where they're going to play in 2016- their official deadline to inform the league for its '16 plans is March 23. Lot of loose ends to tie up in six weeks.

1) RIP Jim Simpson, 88, the first play-by-play guy ESPN used when they started in 1979- he also worked a lot for NBC before that. I'm pretty sure Simpson was working the first time Dick Vitale got behind an ESPN mike. If you're my age you heard him work a lot of different events, including lot of AFL games. RIP, sir.

Wednesday's List of 13: Random thoughts with Rams off to LA....
13) I've been a Ram fan since I was six years old, watching them lose to the Packers on our black/white TV with my dad-- I loved their helmets, and became a huge fan as coach George Allen turned them into a contender.

Roman Gabriel, Deacon Jones, Dick Bass, Jack Snow- the heroes of my youth.

Tuesday night's news that the Rams are heading back to LA brought mixed emotions; I live in New York, so it really didn't matter where they wound up-- I just wanted the situation resolved so players/coaches can get settled and get about the job of winning.

12) I was at the 2000 NFC title game when the Rams beat Tampa Bay to made it to the Super Bowl; it was an awesome weekend. St Louis is a very friendly place, so it is sad to see them lose a team. Hopefully they'll get another team soon, but the fact it that St Louis is a baseball-first (and second) town, so they'll get over this.

11) Rams owner Stan Kroenke is called "Silent Stan"; he seldom speaks publicly, but in July 2010, I talked to him at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas- he also owns the Denver Nuggets. He is a businessman first, a really rich guy who knows how to make deals. I took him off guard that day in 2010, but he was polite and talked to me for 10 minutes or so. Was interesting hearing him talk at the press conference last nite.

10) I am not wealthy and do not understand business, so how this all happened is out of my realm, but here is the fallout: Chargers have a year to decide whether to join the Rams in LA or stay in San Diego- if they stay in San Diego, then the Raiders have a year to decide if they want to return to LA or go somewhere else.

As far as 2016 goes, the Rams will be in LA, probably at the Coliseum, the other two teams are in limbo right now.

9) When Clemson scored with 0:12 left Monday night to make final score 45-40, it caused a $10M swing in Las Vegas, with the line at Alabama, -6.5. Nothing like the reactions in the sportsbook when stuff like that happens-- great theater.

8) 40 bowl games this year; over was 26-14 in those forty games.

7) Alabama's nine assistant coaches banked a combined $1.1M in bonuses when they won Monday night; the players got free hats and t-shirts. SEC wound up 9-2 in bowl games this season.

6) Ben Roethlisberger has torn ligaments in his shoulder, will be interesting to see if he plays Sunday (I think he will) and how effective he can be in Denver if he does.

5) Miami Marlins signed P Wei-Yin Chen for five years, $80M. Good move.

4) There is a 16-year old Cuban OF named Lazarito Armentrano who is now a free agent and will be highly sought after by big league teams.

3) Colorado Rockies gave Gerardo Parra a 3-year deal, now will try to deal one of its other OFs for pitching, maybe to the Orioles. If you have a pitcher on your fantasy team who gets traded to the Rockies, it is a very unhappy day.

2) Minnesota Vikings fired their offensive line coach Tuesday; guess it was his fault the kicker missed that short field goal.

1) RIP Andrew Smith, who passed away yesterday at age 25; he played for Butler when they played in back/back national title games a few years back. A damn shame when someone passes away so young. RIP, sir

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) Alabama 45, Clemson 40-- Some quick thoughts on this exceptional game:
-- Special. Teams. In fourth quarter alone, Alabama recovered an onside kick and ran a kick back for a TD and that was the difference.
-- Deshaun Watson should've won the Heisman Trophy. Period.
-- It is fair to list Nick Saban as one of the greatest college coaches ever; he's won five national titles, four at Alabama.
-- That said, Saban chose Daunte Culpepper over Drew Brees as a free agent QB when he was coaching the Dolphins- had he picked Brees, he likely never would've become the Alabama coach, because he would've stayed with Miami.
-- Florida coach Jim McElwaine, who was very relaxed/friendly on ESPN2 with the other coaches, pointed out matter-of-factly that Alabama will probably have a staff meeting tomorrow to deal with recruiting- they get 12 hours to enjoy the title, and that is it. Not sure that is healthy, but thats the business.
-- Signing Day is three weeks from Wednesday; future games are won/lost then, so it imperative that coaches work like hell on recruiting for the next three weeks.

12) Wound up watching the game on ESPN2 with five college coaches and ESPN's Chris Spielman/Brian Greise sitting in a room giving commentary. Can learn lot more listening to coaches, but that coaches' clicker, where they rewind plays over and over quickly, it just makes me queasy.

11) Wednesday's Powerball jackpot is $1.4B, thats billion, with a B. Never bought a ticket myself, though I did go in with co-workers back in my working days. What in God's name would you do if you won that much money?

10) Playing field used for the Clemson-Alabama game is not the same one the Arizona Cardinals use; they keep the grass fields outside the dome and wheel them into the dome for the game.

9) There are rumors that Chick-fil-A is coming to Albany, which would be excellent news for me-- they say they don't have a site yet, but hopefully will soon. Love their chicken sandwiches. Still have to try the new Sonic about ten miles from here.

8) The outgoing university president at Alabama make $545K last year. Strength coach for the Alabama football team will make $600K next season. Strength coach at Clemson needs a new agent; he makes $245K a year.

7) I'm still amazed at how NBA coaches are standing there coaching their teams and there are fans sitting six inches from them, right there on the sidelines. There have to be interesting conversations that go on, like when Jack Nicholson used to sit by the visitors' bench at Laker games.

6) Robert Griffin III will be a free agent this winter; if you ran an NFL team and needed a QB, would you take a chance on him? Can he lead a team? When the 2016 season starts it will be 20 months since he's played in an NFL game.

5) UNLV hosts New Mexico tonight, two days after they fired coach Dave Rice; it is ironic that the picture on tickets for tonight's game is Coach Rice and that Elijah Brown plays for New Mexico- he is (former Cavaliers coach) Mike Brown's son. Rumors out there are saying that Mike Brown is a popular choice to be the Rebels' next coach.

4) NFL suspended Vontaze Burfict for three games for his hijinx during the playoff game Saturday night, all of which sets up the inevitable Steeler-Bengal game on Sunday Night Football in Week 4 next season.

3) ACC ran a promotional video at halftime of the game last night; one of the players they touted as a former ACC player was Russell Wilson, who transferred from NC State to Wisconsin before his senior season.

2) So Tom Brady and I have two things in common:
a) We both attended state universities.
b) Neither one of us has ever had a drop of coffee.

Other than that, there are zero similiarities. None.

1) First spring training workouts are only 37 days away-- Reds-Phillies-Giants.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend.......
13) We start with disappointing but not surprising news: UNLV fired its basketball coach Dave Rice Sunday after the Rebels started 0-3 in conference play. A national search will take place for the next coach. Dave Rice is a good man, a very patient guy who has an autistic child, which requires great patience, but his teams didn't play to their talent level and at the end of the day, it is a performance-based business.

12) Carnage wasn't limited to the college game; Lionel Hollins was let go by the Nets Sunday, with Brooklyn languishing with a 10-27 record and a big payroll. GM Billy King was also re-assigned; how he ever gets these jobs is beyond me.

11) Seahawks 10, Vikings 9-- Minnesota missed a 27-yard FG wide left in the last minute on a frigid day in the Twin Cities. Vikings led 9-0 in 4th quarter but failing to score a TD wound up costing them the game. In 260 NFL games this year, Denver is the only team to win a game without scoring an offensive TD-- they did it twice this year, in Weeks 1-5.

10) Before the game, 88-year old Bud Grant, who led the Vikings to four Super Bowls, came out for the coin toss without a coat on, with the temp at -6. The whole game reminded me of my teenage years, when the LA Rams went to Minnesota three times in playoff games in frigid conditions and came up empty in all three against Grant's Vikings. No bueno. How I hated Metropolitan Stadium; when they knocked it down, they built the Mall of America on the same spot. Better use of real estate.

Quick trivia on Grant: He also played for the Minneapolis Lakers and played in the lowest scoring game in NBA history. Interesting guy.

9) Chuck Knox was the coach of those really good Rams teams in the 70's; he went 186-147-1 in 22 years as a head coach, but was only 7-11 in playoff games, never making the Super Bowl, a little bit like Marvin Lewis, who is 112-94-2 in his regular season tilts, 0-7 in playoff games. Going to be a long winter for Bengal fans.

8) Not only did Arizona lose two basketball games in LA this weekend, they lost leading scorer Allonzo Trier for 4-6 weeks with a broken hand. These days, very few teams have much depth; injuries like this are tough to overcome.

7) Wake Forest 77, NC State 74-- Deacons are 8-0 in games decided by six or less points- they're on the right track under 2nd-year coach Danny Manning.

6) Illinois 84, Purdue 70-- Illini were 10.5-point home underdog. Big win.

5) Jason Garrett is 17-28 (60.7%) on replay challenges in his career, best of current NFL head coaches. Detroit's Jim Caldwell (16-27, 59.3%) is next best.

4) Villanova 60, Butler 55-- High-level Big East game; along with Xavier, these are the best teams in the conference this season.

3) Indiana 85, Ohio State 60-- This game was 48-18 at the half; rough game for the Buckeyes, who are #346 in experience this season. .

2) When Knile Davis ran the opening kick back for a TD in Houston Saturday, it was the fifth opening kickoff in playoff history run back for a TD.

1) I think it is important to remember when these coaches get fired that they have families like the rest of us and job changes affect a lot of people. Yes, they make a lot of money but would you want your job history chronicled in the local paper or have nitwits like me writing about you from 2,300 miles away?

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.......
13) USC 103, Arizona 101 4 OTs-- Andy Enfield is turning around USC's fortunes; they're 14-3, 3-1 in Pac-12, winning this wild game, as Arizona goes 0-2 on its swing to Tinseltown. Nine players played 40:00+ in this marathon.

12) Pitt 86, Notre Dame 82-- January 9-- it was Pitt's first true road game all season. Teams from big conferences are playing fewer non-conference road games, making it harder to gauge what they'll do when they get to conference play.

11) North Carolina 84, Syracuse 73-- ESPN treated Jim Boeheim like he was coming back from two tours of duty in Middle East, as opposed to a suspension for coaching a program that skirts the NCAA's rules. It pays to be friends with Coach K.

10) Biggest upsets: LaSalle/Southern Miss both won as 12-point home dogs. LaSalle only used six guys the whole game- the one sub played 15:00.

9) Georgia Tech 68, Virginia 64-- Big win for Brian Gregory; they talked a lot on the Wisconsin game yesterday that Tony Bennett could probably have the Badgers job if he wants it, but is Wisconsin a better job than Virginia?

8) South Carolina 69, Vanderbilt 65-- Gamecocks are a very quiet 15-0; guess they will have to beat Kentucky before anyone believes in them.

7) Washington 99, Washington State 95 OT-- Huskies are atop Pac-12 at 3-0; USC is 3-1, Arizona is 1-2, UCLA 2-2. No easy outs in this league

6) Wichita State 83, Southern Illinois 58-- Salukis are much-improved, but their first taste of the big-game atmosphere didn't go well against the veteran Shockers.

5) Wm & Mary 78, Northeastern 60-- Tribe avenges loss to Northeastern in finals of CAA tourney last March. CAA is a wide-open league once again.

4) Omaha 79, South Dakota 73-- Mavericks were down 52-31 with 15:12 left but won despite playing zero possessions of man/man defense during the comeback. They have solid, veteran guards who are ballhawks. Omaha attacks basket well, gets to foul line a lot- this was an exceptional road win.

3) Wyoming 59, UNLV 57-- Dave Rice is a terrific guy, but this UNLV team is now officially a train wreck and change is on its way, just a matter of when. You watch the game and you get the feeling the coaches have no idea who they really trust to put on the floor in the last 3:00 of a close game. And it shows.

2) 13 hours of watching college basketball is a fine way to spend a winter day.

1) Could somebody please buy Mike Tomlin a jacket? Guy is standing outside in a freakin' typhoon and doesn't know enough to put a coat on.

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.....
13) ESPN's Adam Schefter had a great NFL stat this week: Four QBs who start for the road teams this weekend have made a combined 37 playoff starts; four home QBs have started zero playoff games.

12) Drafting ballplayers is an inexact science; smart people make some hideously bad decisions. Why are the Warriors great? Steph Curry was the 7th pick in the 2009 draft. Klay Thompson was the 11th pick in the '11 draft. Minnesota had two picks in the '09 draft ahead of Golden State; they took Ricky Rubio/Jonny Flynn. Yikes.

11) I laugh when pro golfers act disgusted with shots they hit, then the ball winds up 20 feet from the hole. Of course they're very precise and their winning/losing rides on getting as many shots as close to the hole as possible, but I can't hit two shots in a row on the fairway and they're such perfectionists.

There must be some epic temper tantrums off camera when these guys have bad days.

10) Then there is the Ally bank commercial, when the guy plays golf with his boss and cheats for his boss- that commercial makes me want to puke. I could never do that which probably explains my mediocre career as a civil servant........lolol

9) Ole Miss opened its new basketball arena this week and TV guys were raving about how nice it is. One thing about facilities though; when the rich donors cough up major money for better facilities, they expect to see an upgrade in the win-loss record.

Nebraska upgraded its facilities and is struggling, which has turned up the heat on Tim Miles. Auburn has new facilities and quickly fired Tony Barbee when he struggled in the SEC after it opened. Rich people are impatient; they expect results.

8) Speaking of which, Georgia's offensive coordinator makes $850K, the OL coach will make $650K, more than just about every MAC head coach.

7) The guy who was St Louis Cardinals' scouting director hacked the Astros' scouting database not once, but twice; thats a federal offense and he pled guilty on five counts of corporate espionage this week- the could could go to jail for five years.

6) One of the things in the leaked documents that were hacked was that the Marlins would've traded Giancarlo Stanton to Houston for Carlos Correa, George Springer. Seeing as I have Stanton in my keeper fantasy league, knowing he could be playing 81 games in Minute Maid Park instead of Miami's cavernous yard makes me sick.

5) Over the last 20 years, under is 20-13-1 in NFL playoff games involving teams who are divisional rivals, such as Steelers-Bengals tonight.

4) Washington Nationals traded former closer Drew Storen to Toronto Friday; Nats fell apart late LY- their bullpen imploded when they acquired Jonathan Papelbon and moved Storen to a set-up role.

3) Minnesota Vikings are only NFL team this year that started same five offensive linemen in all 16 games; thats good scouting, good coaching and a lot of luck that none of them got hurt.

2) Oakland Grizzlies of Horizon League have a player named Max Hooper who is 58-129 (45%) outside the arc this year; he hasn't taken one 2-point shot in a game!!! He scored a layup in a scrimmage during practice the other day and the coach stopped practice so the team could give him a standing ovation. Seriously.

1) Jim Boeheim returns from his nine-game suspension tonight, team went 4-5 while he was away. ESPN will treat him like a hero, but he was banished from the team because the program cheated and to say he didn't know what was going on is comical. Coaches are control freaks; if they don't know, its because they don't want to know.

Friday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud......
13) One college basketball rule that should be changed to increase scoring: when a TV timeout is due and a foul is committed, the TV commercials happen before the foul shots are taken, which makes them harder to make, especially late in a close game. No way to prove this, but I'm telling you more foul shots would be made if the foul shots were taken before the TV commercials, the way they used to be.

12) Your Powerball jackpot is $675M. Good luck to everyone. What would you do if you won that much money?

11) Supposedly the Buccaneers fired Lovie Smith because they do not want to lose OC Dirk Koetter, who worked very well with rookie QB Jameis Winston this year. Smith had six OC's in his 11 years as a head coach; word is Bucs' front office did not have faith in him to find another reliable OC to work with their franchise QB. That is an indication that Koetter could be the Bucs' new HC.

10) Mike Piazza is the first catcher elected to the Hall of Fame since Gary Carter was elected in 2003.

9) 49ers fired coach Jim Tomsula after only one season, which seems unfair, then you realize the guy gets $14M to go away and you stop feeling sorry for him. He can go be an assistant coach somewhere, or try for a TV job or just buy a really nice couch and lay on it for the rest of his life- he's set for life financially.

8) George Karl's son Coby is an assistant coach with Knicks' D-League team in Westchester. He played ball at Boise State, is working his way up the coaching ladder.

7) Six of the ten basketball coaches in the Big X have coached in a Final Four.

6) Not only does Nick Saban make around $7M/year as football coach at Alabama, he is part-owner of a Mercedes dealership in the Tuscaloosa area. So every time one of the rich boosters buys a fancy new car, he's lining coach Saban's pockets even more.

5) Sign of the Times: A daytime show on ESPN this week was discussing betting props for the Clemson-Alabama game Monday night. Interesting stuff; I'm sure the casinos are treating this game like a mini version of the Super Bowl.

4) In his great pitching career, one that will end up in the Hall of Fame eventually, Trevor Hoffman threw to 41 different catchers, first of which was Kevin Higgins, who is now an assistant coach at UNLV. Higgins played in 71 big league games, 26 as a catcher-- pretty good claim to fame, the first catcher for a future Hall of Famer.

3) Rockets are 11-4 if James Harden scores 30+ points, 7-15 when he does not.

2) 1.1 million people entered Germany just last year, looking for asylum from other countries; what the hell do you do with 1.1 million extra people?

1) Every HS/college basketball player should've watched D-League showcase on NBA.TV this week-- there are 19 teams in the D-League, thats roughly 190 guys that are really good basketball players who can't make an NBA roster. Should make guys who are marginal prospects think twice about leaving school early-- it iis really, really hard to make an NBA roster. Maximize your skillset before you go for the money.

Thursday's Den: Ranking the NFL's playoff teams.......
12) Green Bay-- Rodgers was sacked 14 times in his last two games.

11) Washington-- Won last four games, three of which were on road.

10) Houston-- 7-2 in their last nine games after a 2-5 start.

9) Minnesota-- Going to be sub-zero for their game on Sunday.

8) Cincinnati-- Their last playoff win was in 1990: I had hair then!!!!

7) Steelers-- I beat this to death every time an NFL team fires a coach too soon; the Steelers have had three head coaches...........since 1969

6) Seahawks-- Ted Cruz was born in Calgary; if he shows up at a campaign event wearing a Calgary Flames jersey I promise to vote for him. Have some fun with it.

5) Chiefs-- They haven't lost since the Royals won the World Series; they haven't won a playoff game since 1993.

4) Denver-- Don't have lot of confidence in their chances, even at home.

3) New England-- Who are the three people who didn't vote for Junior Griffey for the Hall of Fame? They need to be identified.

2) Arizona-- Now is the hour for Carson Palmer and the Redbirds. Why did Mike Piazza have to wait four years to get into the Hall of Fame?

1) Carolina-- Think about Lovie Smith getting fired last night; in Ron Rivera's first two years with the Panthers, they went 13-19, but they kept him and they're 34-13-1 in three years since then. Firing a guy after two years makes very little sense.

Wednesday's List of 13: Rambling on a winter day......
13) Thank God I don't root for the Cleveland Browns.

They're rebuilding their front office; since the season eneded, they promoted a lawyer to head of football operations- he has full control of the roster and transactions, but he is a lawyer and not a GM. Maybe he's a genius; we don't know, but he has no football background that we know of. Its like making me GM of the Vancouver Canucks.

Then on Tuesday, they poached an efficiency expert from another team to help the Browns get more from the analytics movement-- they hired Paul DePodesta from the New York Mets. DePodesta apparently once had a small job with CFL's Baltimore Stallions before his baseball career began-- he played football and baseball at Harvard, but what on God's green earth are they doing? Hire a football person!!!!

12) DePodesta was the inspiration for Jonah Hill's character in Moneyball, a smart guy who played college football/baseball but rose quickly in the world of pro sports thanks to an analytical approach that helped the Oakland A's make the playoffs despite a small payroll 10-15 years ago. He later was GM of the Dodgers for a while but has never held a job in the NFL. Browns fans have to be a little queasy about this. .

11) Golden Corral had a deluge of commercials on TV last weekend about how they serve breakfast for dinner and lunch, so I go there Monday morning to have some pancakes, some bacon-- I'm not a morning person, but I happened to be awake so off I went. One small problem; Golden Corral doesn't open until 11am.

So the place that buys tons of TV commercials promoting the fact that they'll serve you breakfast all day long, isn't open when breakfast actually takes place. Oy.

10) Want to win a bar bet? Will Clark hit the most home runs (six) off of Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, hitting six taters in only 39 plate appearances.

9) There are nine states in this country where when you vote, you can just pull one lever and automatically vote for all the candidates from one party or the other.

8) Serious question: How do you vote for Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens for the Hall of Fame and not vote for Pete Rose? Bonds and Clemens cheated, plain and simple. Rose bet on games; which is worse?

7) Kansas 109, Oklahoma 106 (3OT)-- From Monday night, this was one of the best college basketball games I've ever seen. Oklahoma was 16-33 from arc, Kansas 11-22, in a 55:00 game where eight kids played 43:00+. Buddy Hield played 54:00, scored 46 points, had 7 assists. Sooners went 21:02 in this game without subbing once.

It is possible these teams could play three more times: Feb 13 in Norman, again in Big X tournament, then in Final Four???? It would be a very good national title game.

6) 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick has torn ligaments in his right thumb, a torn labrum in his left shoulder and a rod in his left leg. Other than that, he is fine. Whoever the next coach of the 49ers is has to deal with that mess of a QB situation and if the 49ers cut Kaepernick loose, which team will roll the dice and sign him up?

5) NCAA had been investigating San Diego State for various improprieties but this week they exonerated the Aztecs, which almost always gets a lot less press than when the investigation is announced. Go figure.

4) Apparently New Orleans Saints want a 2nd-round draft pick in exchange for coach Sean Payton. If they deal Payton, it would be hard to imagine them keeping QB Drew Brees around- they would probably go to a total rebuild.

3) 1972 USC Trojans had 33 players who wound up being being drafted by NFL teams, including five first-round picks- thats a lot of great players on one team. NFL Draft was longer back then than it is now, but still, thats almost half the team.

2) Tom Coughlin is a 69-year old white guy who coached the Giants to two Super Bowl titles but was fired as coach this week after three losing seasons in a row.

Jerry Reese is a 52-year old black guy who was GM of the Giants for those same two Super Bowl titles, but he keeps his job despite those three straight losing seasons.

Tuesday, the Giants held a press conference where the undercurrents of ageism and racism collided head-on. It was interesting to watch. It'll be fascinating to see who the Giants hire to replace Coughlin and if Coughlin coaches elsewhere.

1) With the Giants changing coaches, Seattle's Pete Carroll is now the oldest head coach in the NFL, at age 64.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Jets' owner Woody Johnson is finance manager for Jeb Bush's Presidential campaign, so of course Donald Trump had to bust his chops when the Jets didn't make the playoffs. 30 years ago, Trump tried to become an NFL owner; now world history may be different because he didn't get a team.

12) LSU hired a new defensive coordinator, Dave Aranda, who comes to the bayou from Wisconsin. What makes it interesting is that LSU-Wisconsin open next football season against each other at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

11) Since start of the 1997 season, Dallas Cowboys are 152-152.

10) North Carolina 106, Florida State 90-- Brice Johnson had 39 points, 23 boards for Tar Heels, who ran all over the spineless Seminoles in Tallahassee.

9) West Virginia 95, TCU 87--- West Virginia's athletic department sold the hoop team down the river when they joined the Big X. Find a map and locate West Virginia. The other nine teams in the league are in Iowa, Kansas (2), Oklahoma (2), Texas (4). Not a lot of short road trips in that group-- Ames, Iowa is their shortest one.

For second game in row, a West Virginia player got a technical for doing a chin-up on the rim after a dunk- this kid got an loud earful from Bob Huggins.

8) Tom Coughlin's firing (you really think he quit?) ends an NFL-record streak of 183 straight games with same starting QB/head coach. Eli Manning has never played for another head coach in the NFL. 183 games is 11.5 years; thats a record that may go a long time before it is broken, same starting QB and head coach.

7) If I owned the Cleveland Browns, I hire Coughlin to run the whole operation; he had the expansion Jaguars in the playoffs in his second year there-- the guy still has a lot to offer and the Browns need structure and continuity.

6) Bobby Hurley has four technical fouls in his first 14 games as basketball coach at Arizona State; he went all-WWE Sunday night, getting thrown out of the game with 0:59 left in a home loss to Arizona. By way of contrast, someone posted on Twitter Monday that Northeastern coach Bill Coen has been there nine years and has never gotten even one technical foul.

5) Washington Huskies have a basketball player named Malik Dime who, fittingly, wears number 10. Mr Dime is an excellent shot blocker for the improved Huskies, who beat USC Sunday after being down 22 at one point.

4) Upset of the Day: Colts gave Chuck Pagano a contract extension, a total upset after they let the guy coach this year as a lame duck. It was just assumed Pagano was a goner, especially after the Colts struggled with Andrew Luck hurt, but Jim Irsay is the Colts' owner and he is an unusual guy. I think this was a good decision; you wonder if the GM will go, since Pagano and he have been at odds over personnel issues.

3) There is this guy on latenight TV commercials who looks like Rollie Fingers and sells pillows- they never say how much the pillows cost, but if you buy one, you get a second one for free. I had to look it up; the two pillows will set you back around $100- I am told that is too expensive, so I passed- they're supposedly good pillows.

2) It is my experience that the first foul shot of a game is the most difficult for most players; even really good shooters. If you're looking for a guy to foul at the end of the game, pick out someone who hasn't taken a free throw yet in that game.

1) If you're chilly this week (it is 7 degrees outside as I type this), keep in mind the PGA Tour starts Thursday in Kapalua. At least it is warm somewhere.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday......
13) Vikings 20, Packers 13-- Second abominable week in row for Green Bay, which now goes to Washington next week, while Seahawks visit Minnesota. If my team had Aaron Rodgers, I'd sure as hell find him some receivers who can get open.

12) Bills 22, Jets 17-- Jets had ball in red zone down 19-17 with just over 4:00 left; you figure they at worst get go-ahead FG, but Fitzpatrick threw INT in end zone and their season comes to an unfortunate end. Jets were +18 in turnovers in their ten wins, -15 in their six losses. Sometimes its that simple.

11) Steelers 28, Browns 12-- Cleveland fired its GM before the game, the coach after the game. Next year they'll have their sixth HC in nine years. Pittsburgh has had three head coaches since 1969. Hire a coach, then give some freakin' time. Oy.

10) Eagles 35, Giants 30-- Tom Coughlin will be in the Hall of Fame; he obviously doesn't want to retire, but Giants have had three straight losing seasons and only one playoff spot in last seven- that gets you fired.

But when you've won two Super Bowls you get to "resign" or "mutually agree to part ways". Has to be very awkward for the Giants' front office-- "....nothing ends well or else it wouldn't end". That line from the bartender in the Tom Cruise movie, Cocktail, whose name, coincidentally, was Doug Coughlin.

9) Colts 30, Titans 24-- Tennessee clinches first pick in draft; you know they're not taking a QB-- maybe they'll deal the pick for multiple selections. Cleveland will pick #2 and Dallas #3- those two teams will have very interesting offseasons.

8) Seahawks 36, Cardinals 6-- Seattle goes on road in playoffs next week but they are a team no one wants to play. Arizona gets the #2 seed and has next week off- they will want the #3 seed to win next week so they don't have to play Seahawks again.

7) Broncos 27, Chargers 20-- Peyton Manning came out of the bullpen with Broncos down 13-7 in third quarter, promptly led go-ahead TD drive, and has his starting job back. This winter, what will Denver do with Osweiler? Manning will be retired and the Broncos are going to need a franchise QB.

6) Texans 30, Jaguars 6-- Houston recovers from its 2-5 start to win the AFC South; when I watched Hard Knocks last summer, wasn't impressed with Bill O'Brien at all- thought he butchered the QB situation, and Texans did wind up starting five different QBs this season, but now they're in the playoffs, thanks to Andrew Luck being hurt and the division being a bad division.

5) Dolphins 20, Patriots 10-- New England is 2-4 in its last six games after their 10-0 start; Patriots had only 12 first downs, 196 TY. Hard to tell if they're playing possum or if they have real issues, but they'll have next week off to work on them.

4) Redskins 34, Cowboys 23-- Dallas went 1-7 at home this year; they'll have the #4 pick in April's draft. Tony Romo will turn 36 right around the time the draft happens; might be a good time to pick a franchise quarterback.

3) Lions 24, Bears 20-- Detroit won six of its last eight games and one of the losses was the Green Bay Hail Mary in that Thursday night game- the question is now, will they fire Jim Caldwell after almost everyone else got fired during the season?

2) Chiefs 23, Raiders 17-- KC started season 1-5, so just making playoffs is big deal; they head to Houston to face a team they're better than. Chiefs won 27-20 in season opener at Houston, then didn't win again for six weeks.

1) Panthers 38, Buccaneers 10-- Carolina is highly underrated; they're heading into playoffs at 15-1 and the #1 seed in the NFC. Last two Super Bowls were #1-seed vs #1-seed; in 20 years before that, it only happened once.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.....
13) TCU 47, Oregon 41 OT-- Hasn't been a great bowl season, but this game was an epic comeback by TCU, which trailed 31-0 at halftime-- their star QB was arrested, suspended after a bar fight during the week. This ties the record for biggest comeback in a bowl game, tying Texas Tech's comeback from a 38-7 deficit to beat Minnesota in 2006 Insight Bowl-- the Gophers' coach was fired shortly after that

12) SEC football-- SEC teams kicked butt in the bowls, winning/covering eight of ten bowls, with only losers Florida/Texas A&M, both of whom had severe deficiencies at quarterback. Hell, LSU has a lousy QB and they hung half a hundred on Texas Tech.

11) Oklahoma 87, Iowa State 83-- Monday night's Kansas-Oklahoma game will be a showdown between #1-#2 teams in country. Jayhawks pounded on Baylor, making 11-19 from arc. Sooners won a tough game over a veteran Cyclone squad.

10) Xavier 88, Butler 69-- Bulldogs went 11-1 pre-conference but are now 0-2 in Big East and the 11-1 stuff is all forgotten. Their Big East opponents shot 22-47 from arc and that won't last, so this is just a bump in the road for Butler.

9) Iowa 70, Purdue 63-- Boilermakers honored the great shooter Rick Mount at half of this game, when they led by 17, but then Hawkeyes made an unlikely comeback and are now 2-0 in Big 14 play. Purdue has terrific big guys; how good are their guards?

8) LSU 90, Vanderbilt 82-- ESPN now has a "beat-it-to-death" approach to how they promote their network; you'd think Ben Simmons was a combination of Dr J, Lebron and Kareem the way they hype his every move. LSU-Kentucky is on Tuesday, if you missed it. Simmons is really good- he had 37 points, 14 rebounds in this game.

7) West Virginia 43, Arizona State 42-- Are football coaches stupid? Arizona State scored a TD with 4:58 left to go up 41-36; at that point, there is no difference between being up by 5 or 6 points- you lose if West Virginia scores a TD, so ASU has to go for two points, but they don't. And they lose. Their coach makes $2.7M a year- this isn't the first time this year that happened. Tennessee lost to Florida in a similar fashion.

6) West Virginia 87, Kansas State 83 2OT-- Good day to be a Mountaineer; about 12 hours before the football team won, the hoop team pulled out a game in Manhattan in a brickfest where teams combined to go 6-39 from arc. Wouldn't want to have been a ref for this game-- ton of loose balls, lot of close calls, two screaming coaches.

5) Southern Illinois 75, Northern Iowa 73-- Two years ago, Barry Hinson publicly berated his Salukis, some of the kids fired back and a mutiny had to be averted. Now SIU is 13-2 and no one is getting berated. This is a huge win for Hinson, whose only losses this year are by total of seven points to UTEP, SI-Edwardsville.

4) Gonzaga 102, San Francisco 94 OT-- Dons had double digit lead in second half, but couldn't close the deal. Zags are 12-3 but not as strong as usual.

3) Montana State 74 Northern Arizona 72 OT-- Lumberjacks are 0-11 vs teams in D-I, but lost first two Big Sky games in overtime- they were up 8 with 2:55 left in this game. Not the best way to start a new year.

2) North Carolina 86, Georgia Tech 78-- Tech is improved, Carolina still struggles shooting from arc- they were 2-12 here.

1) Auburn 83, Tennessee 77-- Bruce Pearl's new team beats Bruce Pearl's old team, ending a 7-game series losing streak. Auburn has some injury issues, so they've been struggling, but this win had to make him feel good. Auburn's Kareem Canty is fun to watch if you like shameless gunners, but he's really good, shooting 41.2% from arc.

Saturday's List of 13: Some of this year's better bowl games.....
13) Duke 44, Indiana 41 OT-- Hoosiers gained 667 yards but lost; their kicker missed a FG on last play; he thought he made the kick. Duke wins its first bowl in 54 years.

12) Utah 35, BYU 28-- Rivalry game sold out Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, but in first quarter, Cougars turned ball over on their first five possessions and it was 35-0 Utah very early. I was in Westgate sportsbook sitting next to a guy who had bet on BYU- he was not happy. BYU wound up coming back- they had the ball late in game with a chance to tie the score, but Utah held on. Whittingham is now 8-1 in bowls.

11) Washington State 20, Miami 14-- Wonder how many times a Mike Leach team has been shut out in a half? Not only that, they hung on to win. Unusual.

10) LSU 56, Texas Tech 27-- You look at Texas Tech's chart for season; they allowed 300+ rushing yards in five of last eight games- it was evident that Leonard Fournette was going to run amuck in this game. He scored five touchdowns in an easy win.

9) Virginia Tech 55, Tulsa 52-- Frank Beamer goes out with a bowl win; almost 30 years ago I was at a Virginia Tech-Syracuse game in the Carrier Dome-- Syracuse killed them, 35-0, something like that, an awful game. The job Beamer did to lift the Hokies into national prominence shouldn't be understated.

8) Nevada 28, Colorado State 23-- Las Vegas Bowl wanted BYU-Utah instead of a Mountain West team, so these two schools from same league wound up playing each other- thats not supposed to happen. At least they hadn't played each other this year.

7) Baylor 49, North Carolina 38-- Bears lost their top two QBs, so they just ran the ball all day-- 84 times for 645 yards, Baylor ran 102 plays for 756 yards with its #3 QB taking the snap and mostly just handing the ball off.

6) The three 5-7 teams-- There are too many bowl games; lousy teams shouldn't be in bowls. So of course all three 5-7 teams won their bowl game.

5) Wisconsin 23, USC 21-- Trojans had won 14 in a row against Big 14 teams, but got upset here. USC desperately needs some continuity in its program; somehow they've kept winning enough games to get to bowls, but they'll be breaking in a new QB next year. Curious to see how Clay Helton builds his coaching staff.

4) Navy 44, Pitt 28-- QB Keenan Reynolds might've been Navy's best football player since Roger Staubach, its best athlete since David Robinson. He eneded his career with a home win; he has scored more TDs than any I-A player, ever.

3) Pre-game hype-- Always bet the over on pre-game hype; too much talking since ESPN seemingly has an infinite amount of time dedicated to promoting these games. ESPN actually owns ten bowl games, so they have a vested interest in hyping them.

2) Houston 38, Florida State 24-- Everett Golson missed his last college game due to a death in the family; he missed a year at Notre Dame because he got tossed out of the school. Disappointing career. Cougars had a great win here, both for themselves and the AAC, which went 2-6 in bowl games this year but won their biggest one.

1) Alabama 38, Michigan State 0-- Spartans lost two bowls to Bama in last six years by a combined score of 87-7; in between, they went 4-0 in bowls, winning all four by 4 or less points- they were underdog in all six of those games.

Friday's List of 13: Happy New Year, everyone.........
13) TCU QB Trevone Boykin cemented his status in the Nitwit Hall of Fame by getting arrested after a fracas outside a San Antonio bar, two days before the Frogs' bowl game with Oregon. Boykin had a bit of a rap sheet before this; he makes Johnny Manziel look like a choir boy. Good luck getting drafted in April.

12) After last night's dreadful playoff semifinal games, Alabama opens at -7 against Clemson in the national title game January 11. Odd Fact of the Day: Dabo Swinney is the fifth Clemson head football coach who went to college at Alabama.

11) Flipping channels between games last night, I stumbled upon CNN's New Year's Eve special from New York City. Anderson Cooper seems like a good guy, but how on God's green earth does Kathy Griffin keep getting jobs? She isn't funny. Amazing how many people come to Times Square every year to see the ball drop.

10) When Wisconsin upset USC in the Holiday Bowl Wednesday night, it snapped the Trojans' 14-game winning streak against Big 14 teams.

9) Golden State dropped from -8.5 to -3.5 after Steph Curry was declared out for the Dallas game Wednesday; Warriors got hammered by the Mavericks, but beat Rockets in Houston last night without Curry.

8) Why did Buffalo Bills announce that Rex Ryan was coming back next year? Was there doubt about this? Ryan finishes his first year as Buffalo's coach Sunday; would have been quite a statement had they fired him after one mediocre season.

7) There are a lot of horrificly sad commercials on latenight TV; please donate $$$ for homeless pets, terminally ill children, children in Africa, etc......only 50 cents a day to save an abused chicken. Seriously, who abuses chickens? I sense fowl play.

6) Ravens' WR Steve Smith tore his achilles in November, ending what was going to be his last year in the NFL. Now Smith says he is coming back next year, not wanting his career to end with such a bad injury. Wouldn't mind if he played for the Rams.

5) Bill Parcells never liked to draft a QB unless the kid had started for 3+ years in college; makes you wonder if USC's Cody Kessler has helped his case to make an NFL roster by playing his senior year for the Trojans. Too many kids leave school so early; they need game experience in order to improve.

4) Joe Buck did an hour interview show with Troy Aikman the other night; Aikman was saying if the Mets had given him a $200K bonus, he never would've gone to play college football at Oklahoma and would've played baseball instead. Pretty good show if you find it on TV-- I don't remember what station it was on.

3) San Diego is the 8th largest city in America? I had no idea. Why don't the Padres spend more money if they're a big market team?

2) Have you seen the GEICO commercial where the people at the 50th high school reunion are annoyed by the Peter Pan-type character who calls the one lady old? I'd love to see one of the guys choke-slam the little jerk the way The Undertaker used to do on pro wrestling, just slam him thru a table, then laugh- that would be excellent.

1) Hope y'all have a happy and healthy New Year. Life is short; have fun.

Thursday's List of 13: Our last article for 2015.......
13) Scott Kazmir gets $48M for three years from the Dodgers, who will probably start the season with an all-lefty starting rotation- very unusual. Kazmir started LY with the A's, so I've seen him pitch a lot. He was not 100% healthy last season- he came out early a couple times, fought thru it other times- buyer beware.

12) December 30 is a very strong day for celebrity birthdays: Lebron James, Sandy Koufax, Eldrick Woods. There will be guys in this world who read that and mark the calendar to have sex with their wife on March 29-31 every year.

11) Peyton Manning will begin Sunday as the backup QB for Denver, which could become interesting if the Broncos struggle early against San Diego.

10) So I go into Denny's for breakfast at 10am Wednesday and the place is packed!!! Doesn't anyone work anymore? Almost had to wait for a table. By the way, if you get the Grand Slam breakfast, its a better deal to get eggs/pancakes rather than a double order of eggs. Its a good food value

9) This older lady in Denny's has a new Patriots' jacket on; it says "Four-time Super Bowl champs" on it, with the years they won. I don't do it, but I'm dying to go up to her and ask her who the Patriots' coach was before Belichick. A non-bandwagon fan would know the answer (Pete Carroll) pretty quickly. I was curious if she knew.

8) Seton Hall 83, Marquette 63-- Pirates start five sophomores; if Kevin Willard can keep this group together, the next three years will be fun for Seton Hall fans.

7) Clemson sent its #2 WR home from the Orange Bowl, along with two other subs; rumor had them failing drug tests. Usually when kids get sent home from a big game like tonight's, the team has capable reserves ready to step in. Go figure.

6) NCAA reports that 44% of men's basketball transfers go to another D-I school, which means that 56% of them wash out and play at a lower level. There is nothing simple about recruiting and mistakes are often made.

5) Boston Celtics gave Kobe Bryant a piece of their parquet floor as part of their gift to him on his last appearance in Boston. They gave Julius Erving a similar gift when he retired from the 76ers; according to ESPN, years later, Dr J sold the gift for $15,766.

4) FS1 analyst in the first minute of DePaul-Georgetown game: "JTIII has done a great job with this Georgetown program....." OK, you've lost your credibility in less than a minute. He hasn't done a great job- if his last name isn't Thomposon, he would have been fired by now. Just ask Craig Esherick, the Hoyas' last coach.

3) I don't get ESPN's fascination with Stephen A Smith/Skip Bayless, professional nitwits who would fit in better on WWE telecasts. You try and watch talkshows and learn something, then all of a sudden one of these nitwits appears and chaos ensues. It makes no sense why they would be highly paid centerpieces of a TV network.

2) Odd fact of the day: Baylor didn't have any field goals longer than 40 yards this year. Memphis had seven field goals longer than 50 yards. .

1) Our condolences to Michigan State hoop coach Tom Izzo, who lost his dad this week at age 90. Losing a loved one is always difficult, but it is a little tougher when it happens around the holidays

Wednesday's List of 13: Our bottom 5, top 8 in the NFL.......
32) Titans-- Their fortunes took a turn last night when Eagles fired Chip Kelly. Hard to believe Tennessee won't bring him in next year to coach Marcus Mariota .

31) Browns-- Can knock Steelers out of playoff contention by beating them Sunday; problem is, they're 5-27 in last 32 games against Pittsburgh.

30) Jaguars-- Offense has progressed, defense has regressed; they're keeping coach Bradley next year, which is good, since they've improved overall this season.

29) Cowboys-- 1-10 when Romo didn't start; they cut Weeden, now he is leading the Texans to the playoffs. Will they trade for Johnny Manziel this winter?

28) 49ers-- I'm sure the taxpayers are thrilled that they blew up the team two years after they got their brand-new stadium. Is Gabbert the answer at QB?

8) Packers-- Their offensive line was awful last week; they host Vikings for the NFC North title and a home playoff game in Sunday night's regular season finale.

7) Steelers-- Need a win this week and need Bills to upset Jets to make playoffs. it is a very small difference between success/failure in the NFL, like having a good backup QB when your Hall of Fame starter gets hurt. Steelers are likely to miss playoffs due to getting swept by the 5-10 Ravens, who used a 4th-string QB last week.

6) Jets-- They're +18 in turnovers in their wins, -13 in losses; they had two fewer road games than usual, playing Giants in stadium they share, also playing a Miami "home" game in London. Fitzpatrick has had an excellent season, but only reason he starts is because a teammate (since cut) punched Geno Smith and broke his jaw this summer.

5) Seahawks-- Last week was first time in almost four years they played a game and never had the lead. They're going to play either Washington, Minnesota or Green Bay in playoffs next week; they'd be a hefty favorite over the Redskins.

4) Chiefs-- They were 1-5 and now they've won nine games in a row and could win their division if Denver slips up against the Chargers.

3) Patriots-- They've lost three of last five games after 10-0 start; they need win this week to sew up home field thru AFC playoffs. They're 9-2 in last 11 games vs Miami, so that looks like a pretty good bet.

2) Panthers-- I'm guessing they feel relieved after losing last week; now they can get down to business and prepare for the playoffs. I'm guessing they'd rather play either Packers/Vikings than Seahawks in first round of playoffs.

1) Cardinals-- Carson Palmer has never won a playoff game; this is the best chance Arizona will have of winning a Super Bowl for a few years. Can they do it?

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.........
13) Broncos 20, Bengals 17 OT-- Highly entertaining game that put Denver in the playoffs; on their first three drives, Bengals gained 205 yards on 38 plays, scoring 14 points but missing a FG at end of the third drive, when they led 14-0.

From that point on, Cincinnati gained 90 yards on 35 plays over seven drives, scoring three points. Andy Dalton's thumb better start healing faster.

12) Navy 44, Pittsburgh 28--- Last college game for Navy QB Reynolds, who was a great player in his Middie career. This was first bowl win this year for the AAC.

11) Minnesota 21, Central Michigan 14-- Three 5-7 teams got to bowl games this year, because there are too many bowls and not enough good teams. Oddly, all three of the 5-7 teams won their bowl games and two of them covered as favorites. MAC ends this bowl season 3-4, after being 4-12 in bowls the previous three years.

10) Reds traded closer Aroldis Chapman to Bronx for four minor league prospects, none of whom are considered elite prospects. Chapman made $8M LY and is eligible for arbitration this winter, so this was mostly a salary dump by Cincinnati.

9) Phoenix Suns fired two assistant coaches, as they search for scapegoats for their terrible 12-21 start that won't get better soon since Eric Bledsoe just got hurt. Losing to a 2-30 Sixers squad that has Mike D'antoni as an assistant coach was probably the straw that broke the camel's back. Suns never should've fired D'Antoni as coach.

8) My flight home from Las Vegas Saturday night seemed so much shorter because I bought a John Grisham book and read most of it by time we landed here in beautiful upstate New York. Grisham is a great writer; he's written over 30 books and if you like to read, they're well worth your time.

7) Speaking of upstate New York, it is snowing outside as I type this, first time this fall/winter it has snowed at Armadillo World HQ. 76 days until Selection Sunday, 97 until Opening Day of baseball season. Snow is evil.

6) How times have changed: NFL teams used to play six preseason games. In 1976, Dick Vermeil's first year with the Eagles, Philly had two-a-day practices six weeks in a row. Now, I'm not sure two-a-days are even allowed.

5) Indianapolis Colts have a miniscule chance of making the playoffs, but they do have a chance. Problem is, Andrew Luck is still hurt; so is Matt Hasselbeck and they ruled out 3rd-stringer Charlie Whitehurst (hamstring), which leaves them with Miami alum Stephen Morris, who has never played in an NFL game, to be its QB Sunday.

4) NFL schedule trivia: After Sunday night's NFL game, the 2016 schedule will be established, as far as who plays who and where. The when is what makes the whole thing interesting; that gets released in April, but for instance, the loser of the Giants-Eagles game Sunday plays the Rams in London next year.

The winner of this week's Chicago-Detroit game hosts the Rams next fall.

3) Arizona Cardinals have 14 takeways (+12) in their last five games.

2) Guy named Mike Black is a spotter for Monday Night Football on ESPN; he was a kicker at Boise State in college and kicked for several teams in the Arena League, one of which was the Iowa Barnstormers, where his holder was a guy named Kurt Warner.

1) RIP Dave Henderson, who died of cardiac arrest this weekend at age 57. He was a key member of the A's 1989 World Series champs, and hit .298 with seven HRs in 36 career postseason games. From 1988-91 he hit 84 HRs for the A's and was an All-Star in 1991. He always played the game with great enthusiasm. RIP, sir.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday........
13) Rams 23, Seahawks 17-- St Louis sweeps Seahawks for first time in 11 years; at 7-8, Rams are finishing strong, but when they go 3-1 vs Arizona/Seattle and miss the playoffs, its an empty feeling. St Louis was +3 in turnovers; last two weeks, teams with +2 or better turnover ratio are 14-0 SU.

12) Bears 26, Buccaneers 21-- Tampa Bay faded down stretch, losing four of last five games; in those five games, Bucs started 37 drives 80+ yards from goal line, their opponents only 20. Bad special teams, lousy on 3rd down (9 of last 29). Up 14-13 in third quarter with ball in red zone, Winston threw an awful INT, giving up an easy FG. Chicago dominated game from that point on.

11) Falcons 20, Panthers 13-- First loss of season for Carolina; not sure it is worst thing, takes some pressure off- they can rest banged-up guys next week. Atlanta was eliminated when the Giants got beat in Minnesota last night- they started season 5-0, so missing the playoffs.makes this season a crummy one.

10) Bills 16, Cowboys 6-- Buffalo hosts the Jets next week, with chance to knock Rex Ryan's old team out of playoffs. Dallas is 1-10 with backup QB starting this year, and they used three of them. Broncos (Week 5) are only team this year to win a game they didn't score an offensive TD in, when other team did- Broncos also won a game in Week 1 when neither team scored an offensive TD.

9) Saints 38, Jaguars 27-- New Orleans had 10 drives; five TDs, three FGs, not good day for Jaguars, who have now lost four of last five games. If you're the Saints, would you trade your coach for a draft pick and if so, how high a pick would you want? Lot of rumors out there that the Dolphins/Colts are interested in Sean Payton.

8) Lions 32, 49ers 17-- Detroit won five of last seven games; if they're smart, they get rid of Jim Caldwell anyway, hire a defensive-minded coach who will keep OC Cooter on his staff. 49ers are 2-9 vs spread in its 11 losses, 4-8 vs the spread as an underdog of 6+ points. They must've really not liked Jim Harbaugh to fire him.

7) Chiefs 17, Browns 13-- Chiefs won last nine games (7-2 against spread) have made playoffs despite starting season 1-5. Cleveland lost nine of last ten games (2-8 against spread) as another dismal season comes to an end. This is good time to point out that all 16 games next weekend will be divisional rivalry games.

6) Colts 18, Dolphins 12-- Miami lost seven of last nine games (1-8 vs spread); their next coach will be a big name- they had ball in red zone five times in this game, scored only 12 points. Indy is still alive for playoff spot; they host hapless Titans, Houston plays Jacksonville. Still baffled how Ryan Tannehill never gets benched.

5) Jets 26, Patriots 20 OT-- Since OT rules were changed, three teams have started OT by voluntarily kicking off; Patriots twice, and Vikings vs Rams this year when the stiff wind dictated strategy. If Patriot defense kept Jets out of EZ on first drive, no one says a word, but they didn't.

Tom Brady used to date actress Bridget Moynihan- they had a kid together- the young man's name is John Edward Thomas, as in J-E-T. Not a coincidence. Apparently Ms Moynihan holds a grudge-- hope she bet the Jets in this game.

4) Texans 34, Titans 6-- Houston won six of its last eight games, despite using five QBs this season- they could be tough out in AFC playoffs. Tennessee lost six of its last seven games (0-6-1 vs spread); they're 1-10 vs spread when scoring less than 33 points. How happy will Jerry Jones be when Brandon Weeden starts a playoff game?

3) Cardinals 38, Packers 8-- Next week's Sunday night game: Vikings-Packers, so for second week in row, a game in frigid conditions gets moved from noon to 7:30pm local time kickoff. Does no one care about fans who buy tickets? Packers' OL was useless in this game. Arizona won last nine games; they were -3 in turnovers in both their losses- they're the best team in the NFL right now.

2) Ravens 20, Steelers 17-- Steelers now need to win in Cleveland and get help from Buffalo next week to make playoffs. Ravens found a competent backup QB in Mallett, who was cut by Houston when he missed plane to Miami game, after he took a day off when Hoyer was named starter this summer.

1) Vikings 49, Giants 17-- Tank job by Giants, who were eliminated when Redskins won Saturday night. If you owned the Giants and it was your money being spent, do you bring Tom Coughlin back as coach? It was pretty much assumed in the media last summer that if he missed the playoffs this year it was sayonara.

And if you do fire a coach who won two Super Bowls, who do you bring in who will be better? Do you fire the GM, who hasn't drafted well? Interesting questions.

Sunday's List of 13: Some notes on today's NFL games........
13) Bears (5-9) @ Buccaneers (6-8)-- Lovie Smith was 81-63 in nine years as Chicago's coach, winning NFC in third year, going 1-1 in playoffs next six years so they fired him. Can Smith's Tampa Bay players get him some revenge today?

12) Panthers (14-0) @ Falcons (7-7)--- Carolina (-8.5) spanked Falcons 38-0 at home two weeks ago, outgaining them 424-230 in game that was 28-0 at half. Atlanta is 1-9 vs spread in its last 10 games.

11) Cowboys (4-10) @ Bills (6-8)-- Kellen Moore gets his first NFL start in what is expected to be rainy, warm day in Orchard Park. Bills lost four of last five games; they won 33-17/30-21 in two home games since Halloween.

10) Jaguars (5-9) @ Saints (5-9)-- Saints lost six of last seven tilts thanks to a hideous defense; they've allowed 35.3 ppg in last seven games. Saints are 3-4 at home, 1-3-1 as home favorite- they allowed 166.4 rushing ypg the last five weeks.

9) 49ers (4-10) @ Lions (5-9)-- Detroit is 4-2 since its bye; only one of the wins was by more than eight points. 49ers are 2-8 vs spread in its 10 losses, 4-7 vs the spread as an underdog of 6+ points.

8) Browns (3-11) @ Chiefs (9-5)-- Red-hot Chiefs won last eight games (7-1 against spread) are 2-3 as home favorites, with wins by 10-8-7 points. Cleveland lost eight of last nine games (1-7 vs spread in last eight); they're 2-5 as road underdogs, losing last four away games, all by 17+ points.

7) Colts (6-8) @ Dolphins (5-9)-- Indy lost last three games overall by 35-35-6 points, scoring two TDs on last 36 drives- they've run for just 60 ypg in five post-bye games. Miami lost six of last eight games (1-7 vs spread); they're 2-3 as favorite- its last two wins were by total of three points.

6) Patriots (12-2) @ Jets (8-6)-- Jets are +18 in turnovers in eight wins, -13 in their six losses. Pats won eight of last nine series games; five of last seven were decided by 3 or less points. NE won three of last four visits here, with last two decided by total of four points.

5) Texans (7-7) @ Titans (6-8)--Tennessee lost five of its last six games (0-5-1 vs spread); they're 1-9 vs spread when scoring less than 33, a figure Texans allowed twice all year. Underdogs are 5-3-1 vs spread in AFC South divisional games, 1-0 at home.

4) Packers (10-4) @ Cardinals (12-2)-- Arizona won its last eight games; they're 2-4 as home favorite, with only SU loss to Rams in Week 4- Cards were -3 in turnovers in both their losses. Under is 8-3 in last 11 Green Bay games, 3-1 in four Cardinal tilts.

3) Rams (6-8) @ Seahawks (9-5)-- St Louis is 0-5 vs the spread outdoors this year- their only road cover was Week 4 win at Arizona. Rams are 0-10 in Seattle since they beat Seahawks 27-20 in '04 playoff game, when both of them got to playoffs at 8-8.

2) Steelers (9-5) @ Ravens (4-10)-- Ravens are down to #4 QB Mallett, who was cut by Houston when he missed plane to Miami game, after he took a day off when Hoyer was named starter this summer. In last three games, Pitt outscored foes 62-13 in second half; they're 5-1 as favorite this season.

1) Giants (6-8) @ Vikings (9-5)-- Minnesota is playng for playoff position; Giants are without Beckham- they got eliminated last night when Redskins won NFC East. NFC East non-divisional road dogs are 4-8 vs spread; NFC North home favorites are 8-4.

Saturday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud......
13) Ironic to hear Chicago Bull players whining about Fred Hoiberg being too easy on them, after they ran the last coach (Tom Thibodeau) out of town for being too tough on them. Coaxhing in the NBA has to occasionally resemble an insane asylum.

12) Gregg Popovich is a great, great coach; his teams are fun to watch and they win a lot, but would it kill him to be civil during these in-game TV interviews? He has the interviewers terrified of him- they walk on eggshells, hoping that he'll at least give a civil answer and not belittle them. Why be such a jerk?

11) QB Kyler Murray is transferring from Texas A&M to Oklahoma.

10) Dallas Cowboys finally put Tony Romo on IR; they were holding out hope that they could make the playoffs, but now they're out of it so no use in exposing Romo to further injury, so he is done for the last two weeks of the season.

9) UConn/Louisville have both lost their center for 6-8 weeks with injuries.

8) Oklahoma 83, Harvard 71-- Sooners were down 2 at half, came out with a 27-5 run to break the game open, then held off a late Harvard to run to win the Diamond Head tournament. Good weekend for both teams, really.

7) If you were looking at a Final Four right now, judged solely on this season's play, you'd look at Oklahoma-Xavier-Purdue in there, with the fourth team coming from a number of candidates, depending on injuries. Selection Sunday is still 11 days away, so a lot will change, but there doesn't appear to be a dominant team this season.

6) Minnesota Vikings are now -6 over the Giants Sunday night; line was 4.5 before the Beckham suspension was upheld.

5) Christmas is unusual in Las Vegas; several times I rode up in the elevator and no one was speaking English. Lot of people came into town for the weekend, so as I leave lot of other people are coming in. Place will be mobbed for New Year's Eve Thursday.

4) You watch NBA/college hoop games side-by-side in the sportsbook and the talent gap is glaring. Fran Fraschilla says a lot on ESPN how Euroleague is the second-best basketball in the world, well ahead of Division I college ball. Still think college ball would be better off if the best high school players went straight to the NBA, then the kids who go to college could stay there for 2-3 years, and it would give teams more continuity, and make it more fun to watch.

3) Paul Pierce has now played on Christmas Day the last four years, but for four different teams, which is odd. Celtics-Nets-Wizards-Clippers.

2) If somehow the Lakers don't finish with one of the three worst records in the NBA this year, they lose their first round draft pick in June. if they have one of picks 1-3, then they keep the pick. They really need that pick- they need more good players.

1) Virginia Tech suspended three players for their bowl game Saturday; only one of the three players starts (LB).

Friday's List of 13: Giving out Christmas gifts.......
13) To Jerry Jones-- A good GM so his team can start winning again.

12) New York Met fans-- New owners so their team is no longer run like a small market franchise. Losing Daniel Murphy to a division rival isn't good.

11) City of San Diego-- An upset, with the Chargers staying in town.

10) Philadelphia 76er fans-- You got Jerry Colangelo; things will get better soon.

9) Peyton Manning-- A happy and healthy retirement.

8) Yoenis Cespedes-- A big, fat contract with a team that will appreciate him and keep him; guy has been on four teams in last 18 months.

7) My friend Ken Thomson-- A network radio show that would befit his talent.

6) Kurt Warner-- A much-deserved weekend in Canton, Ohio this summer.

5) Tom Coughlin-- A spot in an NFL studio show, so we can pick his brain.

4) Pete Rose-- Induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Guy deserves it.

3) America-- A year with no murders. Just peace and quiet.

2) Cincinnati Bengals-- A playoff win. Just one.

1) All my readers-- Health and happiness. Its really all that matters.

Thursday's List of 13: Movie/TV memorabilia I'd like to have....
Couple days ago, people were Twitter were talking about what pieces of movie memorabilia they'd like to have- I expanded my list to include TV.........

13) Rocky Balboa's boxing gloves-- The original Rocky is one of the greatest movies ever; the sequels made a lot of money and helped launch the WWE craze, but other than the last fight scene in Rocky II, they can't touch the original.

12) The hat Ted Knight bought in the pro shop in Caddyshack-- You know the one, when Rodney Dangerfield asks, "You get a bowl of soup with that hat?"

11) The shiny jacket Steve Martin wore as a huckster preacher in Leap of Faith; he leaves in on the hotel bed for Debra Winger at the end of the movie.

10) The racing program Richard Dreyfuss used in Let It Ride, the classic comedy about a degenerate gambler having a very good day at the racetrack.

9) Miami Sharks football helmet from Any Given Sunday-- Al Pacino coaches a team with Dennis Quaid, at QB, Lawrence Taylor at LB; Jim Brown was an assistant.

8) The Cross of Lorraine ring Magnum, TC and Rick wore in Magnum PI; it is a symbol thought to be first used by Joan of Arc.

7) Poker chips that were used in Teddy G's poker club in Rounders.

6) Hamilton Mustangs' jersey from the Rob Lowe/Patrick Swayze hockey movie, Youngblood. Thats the movie where the coach says in between periods of a road game, "I didn't come halfway to the (bleep)ing Arctic Circle to lose to these goons!!!!"

5) Eddie Albert's pitchfork from the great 60's comedy, Green Acres.

4) Henry Steele's high school letter jacket from 1977 basketball movie One on One, which was filmed in the gym that Colorado State still plays in.

3) The Batphone, the red phone Commissioner Gordon used to call stately Wayne Manor when he needed crimefighting help from Batman, which was every week. The commish was so clueless he didn't recognize that Batgirl was his own daughter.

2) Oscar Madison's typewriter from The Odd Couple; yes kids, there was a day that if you made a mistake typing, you had to use whiteout to correct the mistake.

1) The basketball Bob Cousy shot free throws with in his scene with Nick Nolte in Blue Chips; Cousy doesn't miss in the dimly-lit gym, most of the dialogue between them in that scene was ad-libbed and the scene was shot in one take.

Wednesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) Canisius 108, UL-Monroe 96, 3OT-- Griffins were down 13 with 1:02 left in game, tied it up, missed two FTs with 0:01 left in one of the OTs, then shut ULM out 12-0 in third overtime for the win. ULM's coach was sick and missed the game, which was played in a nice arena with about 80 people watching-- I was at the game before this one in the same arena. Good hamburgers.

12) Michigan State 99, Oakland 93 OT-- Grizzlies are coached by Greg Kampe; he is a very good coach who gives his players lot of freedom. This game could be red flag short-term for Spartans, who are without star Valentine for couple weeks.

11) Virginia 63, California 62 OT-- Golden Bears were up 7 at half, up 5 in first OT, but Virginia scored last six points of the game to win. Cavaliers made 7-12 on the arc, shot only 33% inside the arc.

10) Texas Tech 65, Little Rock 53-- First loss of season for the Trojans, whose new coach Beard was a Tech assistant for ten years.

9) South Carolina 75, St John's 61-- Frank Martin's Gamecocks are still unbeaten; they've played the #295 schedule, with top 100 wins over Tulsa/Clemson.

8) Houston 94, Wyoming 89, 2OT-- Kelvin Sampson's team is 9-2, but against #350 schedule, 2nd-easiest in country so far.

7) Pistons 93, Heat 92-- Stan VanGundy has Detroit at 17-12; much improved.

6) Ball State lost head football coach Pete Lembo to Maryland, where he will be the special teams coach/assistant HC. Second year in a row a MAC school lost its HC to be an assistant for a big money program- Dan Enos left Central Michigan LY to be a coordinator at Arkansas.

5) Iowa State 81, Cincinnati 79-- Quality road win for Cyclones after their loss to Northern Iowa over weekend; State played only seven guys, with two subs playing 16-11 minutes. Cyclones really need to have a big recruiting class this year.

4) Mike Leake gets $80M for five years to pitch for St Louis. His career record is a decent 64-52, 3.88 in 172 career starts- great majority of that was in small ballpark in Cincinnati, so bigger park, better team-- that adds up to $16M a year.

3) Kansas 70, San Diego State 57-- Aztecs are disappointing 5-5, Mountain West figures to be a one-bid league- they don't have anyone ranked above #70. San Diego St is a lousy offensive team; their defensive numbers are about same as usual.

2) TCU's star WR Josh Doctson will miss Horned Frogs' bowl game, very good news for Oregon. Doctson's presence in lineup opened up lot of stuff for other offensive options for TCU- they struggled badly with him and QB Boykin hurt.

1) Hawai'i 68, Northern Iowa 52-- NCAA handed down penalties to Hawai'i during day yesterday, but oddly, Warriors can go to NCAAs this year- they'll be ineligible in 2016-17. This is temporary good news for a team that might win the Big West.

Tuesday's List of 13: Random thoughts on a winter day........
13) Many thanks to Ken Thomson of SportsX Radio for having me in studio as a guest on last night's show; if you really like sports, thats a good show to listen to-- you will learn stuff if you tune in.

12) Lions 35, Saints 27-- Funny how Monday Night Football finds its way to the Big Easy most every December- they must have some good Christmas parties. Will be interesting to see if Saints bring Sean Payton/Drew Brees back next year.

11) I'm guessing Steve Harvey's career as a beauty pageant emcee is over, after he butchered the end of the Miss Universe Pageant Sunday night. He announced a winner; problem is, he announced the wrong contestant as the winner and it took five minutes to sort it out and get the right winner named. Very, very awkward.

10) Nothing says the holidays here in Las Vegas like the sounds of slot machines combined with an instrumental version of Frosty the Snowman. Tremendous.

9) St John's lost to College of Incarnate Word and NJIT last weekend, after they had beaten Syracuse the week before. Going to be a long winter for Chris Mullin's team. 2016 is a leap year too, so February has one more day than usual. \

8) Kellen Moore is getting his first NFL start this weekend, for the Cowboys in Buffalo; Moore is the 4th starting QB for Dallas in their 15 games.

7) I've talked a few times about the movie Leap of Faith, where Steve Martin plays a travelling preacher/huckster- excellent movie. Sunday morning I put the TV on and this guy is on TV preaching, not unlike Martin, except with a few less theaterics and in an arena that has to house an NBA or NHL team-- 15-18,000 people- it was packed.

This guy is buying time on USA Network; he must be freakin' loaded- he looks like Jason Sehorn. Apparently he's written a bunch of books too. Good for him.

6) Was bothered by an interview I saw on ESPN's pregame show Sunday; Michael Strahan, an ex-Giant, interviewing current Giant Jason Pierre Paul about his injured hnd that was damaged while he was messing around with fireworks last July 4th. It wasn't journalism, it was two pals sitting around berating the media because some of them called Pierre-Paul "stupid" and other things after his costly injury.

If you're a professional athlete whose career is shortened because you messed around with explosive devices you aren't an expert with, I'm sorry-- that makes you stupid.

5) Odell Beckham Jr is suspended for Sunday night's game at Minnesota, the last Viking outdoor home game, with their new dome opening next season. My thought is to suspend him for Week 17 instead, a game with the Eagles that could decide the NFC East champ. That would be more of a penalty than suspending him for this week.

4) Ray Lewis actually blamed Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning for Beckham's bad day Sunday; Lewis says Coughlin/Manning should've pulled Beckham away, given him a lecture before things got out of hand. Why not just blame Beckham for losing his cool? Would it be so hard to do that? How is it possibly the quarterback's fault?

3) Other than late reports who is playing/sitting, NFL pregame shows I've seen are mostly huge wastes of time. These shows need to let the "experts" pick games against the spread. It is 2015, for Pete's sake- join the rest of the world.

2) WCC conference play started last night; all four home teams won, with three easy wins and Pacific's OT win over Santa Clara.

1) Oregon 72, Alabama 68-- Ducks were down 12 at half in Tuscaloosa, rallied to win behind a strong second half. Dana Altman is an underrated coach.

Monday's List of 13: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday........
13) Steelers 34, Broncos 27-- Denver led 27-13 at half, never scored again; in second half, they ran nine drives: 35 plays, 72 yards, zero points. Bad news for Jets, Chiefs as teams scramble for AFC Wild Card position.

12) Panthers 38, Giants 35-- In 2001, Vince McMahon owned XFL, a minor league football operation that was part football, part-WWE. This game resembled that, with Norman/Beckham swatting each other throughout the first quarter as officials refused to police the action and Troy Aikman bitched about it in the FOX TV booth.

Carolina led this game 35-7, blew the lead, won on a last-second FG, but not before both sides were an embarrassment to their employers, with Norman/Beckham swatting each other during/after most every play. Beckham had three personal foul penalties, scored the tying TD, both of which I'm guessing will lead to more commercials.

11) Chiefs 34, Ravens 14-- "More games are lost than won."- George Allen. Chiefs had two defensive TDs, one of their two TD drives was 24 yards, as Jimmy Clausen falls to 0-3 this season with losses by 26-0/35-6/34-14 scores. Chiefs haven't lost since the Royals won the World Series- they still have work to do to make the playoffs.

10) Texans 16, Colts 10-- Houston takes over first place in AFC South behind 5th-string QB Weeden, who was cut by Dallas earlier this season. Texans are 7-7 after 1-4 start, so they'll have positive momentum if they make the playoffs, and a home game in the first round. Colts and Giants are both going to be looking for new coaches soon.

9) Falcons 23, Jaguars 17-- Atlanta ends six-game skid by going 7-14 on 3rd down; Jags were 0-8. Game swung in last 0:10 of first half; down 14-3, Jax had ball on 1-yard line but pass was picked and run back 86 yards, where Falcons kicked FG on last play of half to go up 17-3. 6 or 10-point swing was the difference.

8) Vikings 38, Bears 17-- Minnesota-Green Bay could be playing for first round bye in Week 17; Minnesota was +2 in turnovers here. This week, teams that were +2 or better in turnovers are 6-0 so far. When Vikings average 10.5 ypa, they will win, since that is one of weaker parts of their game.

7) Patriots 33, Titans 16-- Now there are rumors that Bill Polian is going to come to Nashville to run the Titans and bring in Peyton Manning to work with him in the front office. Chicago OC Adam Gase is rumored as a probably head coaching candidate.

6) Redskins 35, Bills 25-- Washington has leg up on winning NFC East; they threw for 10.6 yards/attempt in this game, as rumors persist that Rex Ryan and front office aren't getting along. Buffalo just played five road games in six weeks, which is unkind scheduling; they get Kellen Moore's Dallas Cowboys in Orchard Park next week.

5) Packers 30, Raiders 20-- Green Bay scored two TDs in 0:15 to take an early 14-0 lead on a rainy, dismal day in Oakland. Raiders are 2-5 at home and could be playing their last game ever in the Coliseum against the Chargers next week.

4) Seahawks 30, Browns 13-- Russell Wilson is so valuable because of his mobility; Seattle was 9-12 on third down, ran ball for 182 yards and is a team no one wants to face in mid or late January. As for the Browns, they'll be a curious team to follow in winter/spring months. Not sure they know what they're doing.

3) Chargers 30, Dolphins 14-- Female blackjack dealer in casino here had a great Dan Fouts throwback jersey on today, the light blue one with big gold lightning bolts on each shoulder. Sad day for San Diego, probably their last game ever in Qualcomm, and that doesn't seem fair. San Diego supported the team, deserves to keep it.

2) Bengals 24, 49ers 14-- AJ McCarron is first Alabama QB since 1987 to start/win an NFL game (Rutledge); they scored three TDs in 4:23 near end of first half, on three scoring drives totalling 67 yards, with two 49er turnovers involved. 49ers are 0 for 6 on replay challenges this year, while former coach Harbaugh has his Wolverines in a New Year's Day bowl game. Maybe they should've kept him.

1) Cardinals 40, Eagles 17-- If I was an Eagles fan, I'd seriously question what the hell Chip Kelly is doing; they've gotten worse in Years 2-3 of his regime, but they could create chaos in NFC East by beating Washington Saturday night. Best part of the big Foles-Bradford trade for me is this: Rams get a mid-round draft pick in April. .

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday.........
13) Star Wars movie took in $120M, just on Friday; how much overpriced popcorn was sold? I remember when VCRs came out, people said it would kill movie theaters, no one would go anymore. Uh huh.

12) Utah 77, Duke 75 OT-- Surprising result from MSG; Duke played seven kids, and one of those played only six minutes. Utes avenge LY's loss in Sweet 16.

11) Utah 35, BYU 28-- Tremendously tremendous day for the Utes, who beat their arch-rivals in the Las Vegas Bowl- this game was 35-0 in first quarter thanks to just an awful performance by BYU's QB. Then the Utes had to hang on at the end. BYU had a turnover on each of its first five drives of the game.

10) Speaking of BYU, could be that Bronco Mendenhall coached the bowl game for BYU because he is taking six of his assistants with him to Virginia. Cougars are going to hire an alum as head coach who is DC at Oregon State right now.

9) Rice 90, New Mexico 89-- Game was tied in last seconds when there was a wild scramble for a loose ball and Lobos called timeout with 0:00.1 left. Problem is, they didn't have a timeout left, Rice made the foul shot and escaped Albuquerque with an upset win that ain't going to help the Mountain West's power rating.

8) NC-Asheville 79, Georgetown 73-- If John Thompson III's last name wasn't what it is, would he still be the Hoyas' coach? Hoyas are 0-2 at home vs Big South teams and got drilled at home by 15 by Monmouth. I'm just askin'......

7) Northwestern 78, DePaul 70 OT-- Good lord, Doug Collins looked like he was going to have a heart attack watching his son's team play. Wildcats are 10-1- if they have a decent season in conference play, they might make NCAAs for first time ever.

6) Ohio State 74, Kentucky 67-- Buckeyes had been very ordinary up to this point; this Kentucky team ain't last year's Kentucky team.

5) Arizona 45, New Mexico 37-- Is it fun to play bowl games on your home field? This was Lobos' first bowl in eight years, but they didn't travel-- isn't that half the fun for the players? I know coaches like the extra practices, but the players don't.

4) Appalachian State 31, Ohio U 29-- ASU wins a bowl in its second year of I-A play. Both teams kicked a short FG in last 2:00 of this obscure but interesting game.

3) Good lord the Lakers are terrible- they're 4-23 and lost by 40 in Oklahoma. Do they get better when Kobe Bryant retires and they have more cap room?

2) Seton Hall 80, Wichita State 76 OT-- Shockers may have to win MVC tourney to get into the NCAA this year; their KenPom rating is 36 and MVC is only 12th rated league in country. They'll likely be a bubble team.

1) Dr Dre must be making a fortune off those headphones he sells; ton of people wore wore them on the airplane Friday out to Las Vegas. You know there is zero hope of conversation on the flight when you've got an aisle seat and the person next to you has headphones on.

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here........
13) Pistons 147, Bulls 144, 4 OTs-- Epic game. Andre Drummond had 33-21, Reggie Jackson had 31-13 assists for winners. Four Bulls played 44+ minutes; they have a game in New York tonight. Good luck there.

12) I'm tired of NBA types whining about teams hacking lousy foul shooters, but if you want to get rid of it, then any intentional foul is two shots plus the ball and hacking goes away five seconds later. Not just in last 2:00, the whole game.

11) Golden State 121, Bucks 112-- Why do the Bucks play so well against Golden State and so lousy against everyone else? Bucks led this game 70-58 at the half- they are only team to beat the Warriors this season.

10) When NFL posts penalty stats, I'd be curious to see them divided between five yard/procedural type penalties and 10+-yard penalties, which are more subjective in nature. I'm guessing every ref will call most all of the five-yard penalties, they're pretty much cut-and-dry. The major penalties are what differentiate officials.

9) You see Lebron James plow full speed into a fan sitting courtside, you wonder "Why hasn't this happened more often?" Luckily, Mrs Day is alright and out of the hospital, but she took quite a shot and probably hit her head on the floor, too.

8) Fomer Kentucky QB Patrick Towles is transferring to Boston College, which desperately needs a QB. Towles is grandson of Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning.

7) James Fraschilla was a scrub player at Oklahoma, now he is video coordinator for the Maine Redclaws of the D-League. His dad is Fran Fraschilla, who coached three D-I teams and now works on ESPN. The kid's connections got him in, now he's going to have to work his way up in the business. D-Legaue video coordinator is about as entry level position as there is in pro basketball.

6) Ok, mock me: I have never seen Star Wars. Ever. I've seen Moneyball 50 times, Invincible 20-25 times, Begin Again about the same. But never Star Wars.

5) Shaquille O'Neal looked pretty spry jetting around the TNT studio on one of those hover boards kids use now on Inside the NBA late Thursday night. As big a guy as O'Neal is, his hover board had to be specially made. He knew how to use it.

4) They said on TV last night the Golden State Warriors have a waiting list of about 19,000 people for season tickets; we'll see what happens to that when they move from Oakland to San Francisco in a couple years- list might get bigger.

3) Richmond got clocked by North Dakota State in I-AA football playoffs Friday, but the Spiders have very cool white helmets with that excellent spider logo on it.

2) College of Incarnate Word 73, St John's 51-- Oy. CIW is in Southland, they're a D-I school located in San Antonio but this is an ugly result for Chris Mullin's team. A Big East is never supposed to lose by 22 at home to a Southland team. Ever.

1) Today is a very good of college hoop but December has degenerated into a waiting period between the Thanksgiving tournaments and the start of conference play. Lot of these games still find coaches experimenting with lineups, or getting transfers eligible aftert the first semester. When conference play starts, you'll see a big difference.

Friday's Den: Ranking NFL QBs within tiers.........
I divided 33 NFL (two for Denver) QBs into four tiers, then ranked them within the tiers. I think Philip Rivers is better than Joe Flacco, but Flacco won a Super Bowl and Rivers hasn't played in one, so they're in different tiers. Rankings are for right now, with exception of the injured starters- their ranking is for when they were last healthy.

Tier One: QBs who won a Super Bowl
8) Peyton Manning-- One of the all-time greats is at the end of the trail.

7) Joe Flacco-- This was his first losing season out of eight in NFL.

6) Eli Manning-- Durable, immobile, won two Super Bowls. Funny how he and his brother are statuesque, while their dad was a lot like Steve Young, a scrambler.

5) Drew Brees-- Had advantage of playing in dome and being coached by Sean Payton, an aggressive playcaller. Wonder if Chargers regret letting him go.

4) Russell Wilson-- As Ram fan, root against him twice a year; he has many qualities like Joe Montana. Elusive, smart, much better runner obviously but he doesn't have Jerry Rice. He is really, really good, as his 50-19 W-L record suggests.

3) Aaron Rodgers-- Which was more seamless, Packers going from Favre/Rodgers or Colts going from Manning/Luck? Good management by both teams.

2) Ben Roethlisberger-- Go back to 2004 draft; Giants traded for Eli Manning, when they could've stood pat and taken Big Ben. Its worked out well for both sides, but if that draft happened again, you wonder how it would play out?

1) Tom Brady-- Why do quarterbacks run a 40-yard dash at the Combine?

Tier Two: Veteran QBs who haven't won a Super Bowl
10) Matt Ryan-- Has had a dismal year, Falcons' third losing year in row (16-29).

9) Alex Smith-- 49ers chose Kaepernick over him; was that the right move?

8) Matthew Stafford-- Plays in dome, for a team that has won one playoff game since 1957. Has 39-51 record; you watch him and think Lions should be better.

7) Jay Cutler-- 66-65 career record, going 27-13 from 2010-12, 39-52 the rest of the time. Bears lost 26-0 in one game he missed this year. Cutler might be underrated.

6) Tony Romo-- Dallas is 1-8 in games he missed this year, but a 2-4 playoff record also haunts him. 10 years as a starter, six playoff games. No bueno.

5) Andy Dalton-- 0-4 in playoffs, but 50-26-1 in regular season- Bengals were terrible before he became the QB. This was his best season until he broke his right thumb.

4) Andrew Luck-- Indy better be careful with him; lacerated kidney is nothing to mess around with. The way this season has gone, Colts will have new coach next year. Has 3-3 playoff record in four years (more playoff wins than Romo/Dalton combined).

3) Carson Palmer-- What QB wouldn't love playing for Bruce Arians? This is his best season, now he needs a playoff win-- his playoff record is 0-2 ('05, '09).

2) Cam Newton-- Win college, won in junior college, winning in NFL.

1) Philip Rivers-- 95-71 career record, 4-5 in playoffs; was drafted in same year as Eli and Big Ben. Has eight kids, so I'm guessing he leads NFL QBs in that category.

Tier Three: Less accomplished QBs
8) Nick Foles/Case Keenum-- Give one of them a decent OL and a tight end who can catch the ball, then we'll see. Rest of team is ready to roll- offensive ineptitude has kept this team from contention this year- they're really not very far away.

7) Ryan Tannehill-- Was WR for two years at Texas A&M, not sure what Dolphins see in him- his starting job never seems to get challenged.

6) Sam Bradford-- At least he stayed mostly healthy this season.

5) Blaine Gabbert-- Has played fairly well for 49ers this season.

4) Brian Hoyer-- Head coach is a QB guru, but Texans can't find a QB- Hoyer has been OK but now has concussion issues.

3) Blake Bortles-- Jaguars scored 115 points in last three games; they have hope.

2) Derek Carr-- Oakland has chance to get to .500 this year if they can upset Green Bay this weekend. Raiders management got him couple good WRs, which helps.

1) Ryan Fitzpatrick-- Playing for fourth team in four years, during which time he has started 50 games-- unique career. Hope he writes a book someday.

Tier Four: Young QBs
7) Johnny Manziel-- Second coming of Fran Tarkenton on the field; hopefully he will be little less active off the field. Curious what Browns will do with him this winter.

6) Tyrod Taylor-- Wasn't that good in college, sat bench in Baltimore for four years, has done pretty well as a starter this year. Maybe thats the way to develop a QB.

5) Brock Osweiler-- Same boat as Taylor, is 3-1 filling in for legendary QB Manning. Will be free agent this winter- will Denver sign him up longterm?

4) Teddy Bridgewater-- Seems a little bit like Alex Smith; doesn't screw things up, is mobile enough to move chains. Vikings move to new stadium indoors next year.

3) Kirk Cousins-- No one talks about RGIII anymore.

2) Marcus Mariota-- I'm sure Tennessee is happy with him, but not sure why they fired the coach. Teams with rookie QBs starting seldom win a lot.

1) Jameis Winston-- All the BS he put himself thru in college is gone now; he has done way better than most people expected in his rookie year. Went 27-1 at Florida State, is 6-7 with Bucs- big improvement. Future is bright in Tampa Bay.

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) Golden State is obviously best NBA team right now, but 3-4 years ago, when I was at the Las Vegas Summer League, it was striking that the Warriors had way more fans than any other team. I remember telling a friend of mine that if you didn't know, you would assume the Warriors were the best team in the NBA because of their big following, but at the time, they were nowhere near that. Strong, loyal fanbase.

12) Lebron James is making $22,970,580 this year; Kevin Love $19,689,000. Just seems a little weird; is Lebron underpaid or Love overpaid? Or both?

11) Bartolo Colon bags a $7.25M deal with the Mets for next year; not even sure if Colon will be in the rotation once Zack Wheeler comes back next summer.

10) Navy football coach Ken Niumatalolo turned BYU down, will stay with Navy next season. You wonder if BYU being an independent hurts them as they try and get a new coach? Cougars aren't on national TV every week like Notre Dame.

9) UNLV has made a 3-pointer in 952 straight games, which is every game they've played since the 3-point shot came into college ball 30 years ago.

8) White Sox acquired 3B Todd Frazier from the Reds in a 3-team deal with Reds and Dodgers; scouts were criticial of the return Cincinnati got back, while thinking that the Dodgers are trying to stockpile young talent to make a run at Jose Fernandez in a potential trade with the Marlins.

7) NHL ratings are up 12% this year on NBC Sports Network telecasts.

6) There have been 24 head coaching changes in college football this year; 11 of the 24 teams are playing in bowls. Bowling Green-Georgia Southern is a bowl where both teams have had really good seasons but both head coaches are gone already.

5) If a team plays badly in a mid or lesser-level bowl game, does that automatically mean "They didn't want to be there"? You hear guys on TV say this all the time, but sometimes team play badly in big games too and you know everyone wanted to be in that game. I'm thinking coaching turnover might have more to do with preparation for a bowl game. Players tend to enjoy games no matter when/where they are.

4) UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone was hospitalized this week with a blood clot in his lung. Bruins play Nebraska in a bowl game next week, so obviously their prep for that game has been disrupted. Get well soon, coach.

3) Texas A&M has QB issues; Kyle Allen is transferring and Kyler Murray missed practice Wednesday, amidst rumors that he will be gone too, but it was reported last night that Murray will be back practicing Thursday and will start the Aggies' bowl game on December 30 against Louisville.

2) Ryan Mallett signed on with QB-starved Ravens; Houston cut him after he acted like a 10-year old when Brian Hoyer was named starter, then later missed a team flight. It says a lot that it took him so long to latch on with another team.

1) Los Angeles Angels have been in top 10 in salary the last 12 years, but missed the playoffs five of last six years. They won a World Series under Mike Scioscia, but it was in 2002. In lot of places, Scioscia would have another job by now.

Wednesday's List of 13: Mid-week, mid-month thoughts.....
13) Wisconsin basketball coach Bo Ryan abruptly retired last night, after Badgers beat Texas-Corpus Christi 64-49. Timing of the announcement seems odd, but I have a theory that Ryan wants his assistant Greg Gard to have a shot at succeeding him as Wisconsin coach and this was the only way that was going to happen.

12) CNN's crew analyzing Republican debate was outside the Venetian in Las Vegas last night; they looked like they were freezing their butts off. As I type this, it is 43 degrees in Las Vegas, 43 here in beautiful upstate New York.

11) Monmouth 83, Georgetown 68-- Hawks were 10-20 from arc, 31-37 on foul line as they led Hoyas just about whole way. Monmouth has beaten UCLA, Notre Dame, USC and Georgetown- they also lost at Canisius. UNC alum King Rice is the coach at Monmouth, at least for another three months, then he'll get a bigger job.

10) Going into Tuesday's games, college basketball scoring was up 5.28 ppg, so the new rules have influenced coaches to play more aggressively, which had created a lot more attractive product to watch, all of which will make this winter more fun.

9) ESPN will televise 38 of the 41 bowl games; they OWN ten of them. 80 of 128 college football teams are going to bowls-- it is just too many. You go 6-6 or 5-7 and you get a trip to the Bahamas or San Diego-- those teams don't deserve it!!!!

8) Last year, Eastern Washington QB Vernon Adams transferred from I-AA Eagles to Oregon in hopes of enhancing his resume for NFL scouts. Now it has happened again, as Montana State QB Dakota Prukop will transfer to the Ducks-- he chose them over Alabama. Whatever happened to loyalty? Whatever happened to finishing what you started? Tony Romo went to Eastern Illinois, Ryan Fitzpatrick went to Harvard, future Hall of Famer Kurt Warner went to Northern Iowa.

If you're good enough, the NFL will find you, that I guarantee.

7) Parents, please teach your kids to throw lefty: reliever Jerry Blevins just signed a deal with the Mets for $4M for next season. I have great fondness for Blevins, who helped the A's make the playoffs in 2012-2013, but he has 16 wins, two saves in his nine major league seasons. $4M a year, thats million, with an M. Wow.

6) Eli Manning was playing flag football Monday night, going 27-31 against a team that blitzed him three times the whole game. Three times. Eli Manning is immobile, just like his brother and Odell Beckham is a great deep threat. How on God's green earth do you let him stand back there and throw the ball long all night?

5) There is a TV program on A&E called Married at First Sight where couples are matched and then get married, five minutes after they first meet. A friend asked me if this was a real show and it is; these people get married legally, then have six weeks or so to decide if they want a divorce or to remain married. No annulments. Oy.

My mom passed away in 2004; my one wish would've been to sit in a room with her while this show was on and just watch her boil over as it unfolded. She was religious and outspoken-- the over/under on her demanding the channel be switched would've been roughly 11.5 minutes, and I'm being generous. It would've been great fun.

4) Raiders' LB Khalil Mack had five sacks in Denver Sunday; if he played for a New York team, they'd be fitting him for his Hall of Fame jacket already. Oakland has a shot for a .500 season- they haven't had one since 8-8 years in 2010-11- their last winning season was in '02, when they lost to the Bucs in the Super Bowl.

3) Raiders' QB Derek Carr bought all of his offensive linemen flatscreeen TVs as Christmas presents. What do QBs on lousy teams buy their linemen?

2) Nick Young played over 400 minutes on floor at same time as Kobe Bryant, until he assisted on a Bryant basket. Thats hard to believe, but it was true until he finally assisted on a Bryant basket last week.

1) Baseball won't reinstate Pete Rose, which is fine; he is 74 years old so he wasn't going to coach or be in a front office job anyway-- he makes over $1M a year signing his name in Las Vegas 4-5 days a week, and he does studio work on FOX, so he has his hand in it a little bit, but the Hall of Fame needs to let him it. Here is why.

-- He has more hits than anyone who ever played the game.
-- He changed positions mulitple times to help his team improve; all he wanted to do was win and he was a great player whose teams did win a lot.
-- Cooperstown, NY is a very small town that could use a boost and a ceremony with Rose would be the biggest weekend the Baseball Hall of Fame has ever seen.
-- He broke a rule and bet on baseball, so put it on his Hall of Fame plaque, say he was banned from baseball, but let him have his day-- he'll make a speech and then this will become a non-issue.
-- I'm not a Reds fan, but I think Rose deserves to be honored as a great player.

Tuesday's List of 13: Top 8, bottom 5 teams in NFL......
32) Ravens-- They move out of bottom five if Schaub comes back, but Clausen is just awful- he's started two games this year, with no touchdowns in 26-0/35-6 losses. 7 of nine Baltimore losses this season are by six or less points.

31) Falcons-- Lost seven of last eight games since a 5-0 start; they scored 36.8 ppg in first four games- they scored two TDs on last 29 drives and gave up almost 300 yards in first quarter at Carolina Sunday.

30) Titans-- They're 1-8 vs spread when they score less than 33 points; if you want to play a rookie QB, thats fine, he's going to be good, but how do you fire the coach if you know damn well you're going to struggle with a rookie QB playing?

29) Browns-- Their offseason will be fascinating; will they change coaches again- that would make six coaches in nine years in 2016? Will they keep Manziel? If they trade him, what do they get for him and then who plays QB? Interesting decisions loom.

28) Lions-- Good grief, I wish the Rams had Matthew Stafford; how can you be so bad with a QB like that? Detroit is 0-9 vs spread this year when they allow more than 16 points. Lions are on TV next Monday; think is my fourth time in row they've been on in primetime when I'm in Las Vegas, which I will be next week.

8) Vikings-- They move into a new domed stadium next year; Week 16 game with the Giants will be their last game in the Gophers' stadium. Need to win and right the ship this week by beating hard-to-figure Bears, who play lot of close games.

7) Bengals-- Giving them benefit of doubt in this spot, with Dalton hurt. McCarron makes first NFL start this week against 49ers, who play pretty good defense at home. If Bengals win one of remaining two AFC games, they clinch division, but can they get that valuable first round bye?

6) Chiefs-- On a freakin' roll with seven wins in row (6-0-1 vs spread); they're using WRs lot more this year, and had goal line stand at end of rainy win over Chargers last week. First team since '70 Bengals to win seven in row after losing five straight.

5) Packers-- Great fun to watch Rodgers play QB; never ceases to amaze me how he didn't get a college scholarship out of high school- he played a year of junior college ball in Boise. That said, Green Bay ran ball better in McCarthy's first game back as the playcaller for Green Bay.

4) Seahawks-- How great are the cameras they put in pylons? Give you great shots of close plays around the end zone. Whoever invented those deserves a raise. As for the Seahawks, they figure to be a very tough out in January, even if they're on the road.

3) Patriots-- Why does NFL make referees run to the stands and look at the replays himself? Why not have people in New York who look at these things and then decide what the right call is? Wouldn't this be a better, faster system? Was thinking other day whether or not Tom Brady will go on TV when he's done playing? Would be he good at it? You never know which ex-players will emerge as TV stars.

2) Cardinals-- Now-or-never for Arizona; they're going to win NFC West, have to win maybe one road game to get to Super Bowl. Carson Palmer's 36th birthday is in a couple weeks- this is their best shot to win a championship.

1) Panthers-- If Arizona has to win NFC title game on road, it'll be in Charlotte with the Panthers hosting. Carolina beat the Redbirds in the playoffs LY, but #3 QB Ryan Lindley was playing for Arizona and it was a lousy game. Palmer vs Newton for the NFC championshop would be a tremendous game.

Monday's List of 14: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday......
14) Steelers 33, Bengals 20-- This is how fragile success is in the NFL; Andy Dalton broke his right (passing) thumb, is out for the year- he might get back for the playoffs, but how long are the Bengals going to last in playoffs without him? This probably will cost them a first round bye, at least.

Wonder what the jackasses who booed Dalton at the celebrity softball game in Cincy last summer are saying now?

13) Eagles 23, Bills 20-- When LeSean McCoy was in Philly, he lived in a condo that didn't allow Christmas decorations on the doors that led to the hallway; McCoy's mom put them up anyway, no one said anything, so other people put them up. McCoy had 74 yards on 20 rushes in his return to Philly, but Bills had 15 penalties for 101 yards, Eagles five for 55. Third loss in four games for Rex Ryan's fading team.

12) Panthers 38, Falcons 0-- While network TV nitwits insist on putting Dallas on national TV most every week, Carolina is 13-0 and steamrolling towards going 16-0. This was a major tank job by freefalling Falcons, who gave up almost 300 yards in the first quarter. Atlanta has a big decision regarding Matt Ryan this winter- do they plan to go ahead with him as their franchise QB and if so, why?

11) Browns 24, 49ers 10-- Manziel was 21-31, 270 passing as Cleveland ended skid at seven games. Johnny Football has certainly improved this year, but are Browns using him to get ready for 2016, or to showcase him for a trade? Total yardage in this game was 481-221, Browns ran for 230, winning easily despite a -2 turnover ratio.

10) Redskins 24, Bears 21-- Condolences to Jay Cutler, whose brother-in-law was found dead in Utah this week, at age 30. Nine of last ten Chicago games were won by six or less points- Chicago lost three of its last four. Jay Gruden was head coach in Arena League for nine years, UFL for one; he is actually one of more experienced head coaches in NFL. Washington/Philly are tied atop NFC East at 6-7.

9) Rams 21, Lions 14-- At one point in this game, Rams had 3rd-and-3, Keenum took a quick drop, threw a 5-yard pass to Britt and the play gained seven yards and a first down- I jumped out of my chair and shook my fist-- they NEVER get first downs that easily, and I'm not being sarcastic. Actual progress. Aaron Donald is a beast at tackle and Hekker/Gurley also had big games, as St Louis ended a 5-game skid.

8) Chiefs 10, Chargers 3-- Gil Brandt pointed out that Chiefs are the second team in NFL history ('70 Bengals) to win seven consecutive games following a losing streak of five games- this was first of the seven they didn't cover. San Diego isn't a good team, but they've covered their last four road games. .

7) Saints 24, Buccaneers 17-- Damaging loss to Bucs' playoff hopes, as Saints win fourth visit in row to Bay Area, endng their 4-game skid. This turned out to be a good week for teams on long losing streaks (Saints-Browns-Rams). Saints converted on 12 of 17 third down plays, helping New Orleans to 9-yard edge in field position.

6) Jaguars 51, Colts 16-- Indy led this game 13-3 at 2:00 warning of first half, gave up a defensive TD before halftime, then two more TDs in first 3:11 of third quarter. Jags outscored Indy 42-3 in second half; at 5-8, they're not out of AFC South race just yet, with Texans losing badly Sunday night. As for Colts, who lost 45-10 last week, it is time to start speculating on who their next coach will be.

5) Jets 30, Titans 8-- My cousin texted me around 2:15: "....Titans stopped playing".

Jets are now +15 in turnovers in their eight wins, -13 in five losses. Jets ran for 183 yards, had 12-yard edge in field position. Only Tennessee TD was pass to Mariota. Jets-Steelers-Chiefs are tied for two AFC Wild Cards; Gang Green ends up with road games at Dallas/Buffalo and a home game with New England.

4) Raiders 15, Broncos 12-- NFL teams are now 1-25 when they don't score a TD on offense, the one win being the first Raider-Bronco game, so Denver didn't score a TD on offense in two games vs Oakland this year. Red zone failures in first half (three FGs on three red zone drives), dropped passes on big plays in second half doomed Denver here. The big question in Denver is going to be whether or not Osweiler keeps his job at QB, if and when Peyton Manning deems himself ready to play.

Jack Del Rio almost broke Twitter when he went for two with a 15-12 lead; turns out the Oakland long snapper hurt his shoulder, so they went for two instead of risking a fouled-up snap on a PAT with a backup snapper.

3) Seahawks 35, Ravens 6-- Former Viking coaxh Bud Grant liked to say "Its not who you play, its when you play them". Seattle played Chicago in only game Jimmy Clausen started for Bears; here they played Ravens in only game Clausen has started for them. The results? 26-0/35-6 wins. Clausen might be the worst QB in the NFL. Seattle looks like the #5 seed in the NFC, which will make them a hefty road favorite at the NFC East champ on Wild Card weekend.

2) Packers 28, Cowboys 7-- Dallas is now 1-8 with backup QBs starting; when NFL only has two 4:00 games and Cassel-led Cowboys are in one of them, its just terrible scheduling. Put the undefeated Panthers in the national spotlight more often, they've earned it. Biggest news here is that Mike McCarthy took play-calling duties back for Green Bay, who end season with Raiders-Cardinals-Vikings.

1) Patriots 27, Texans 6-- This game had all the suspense of a Harlem Globetrotters-Washington Generals tilt. NE is back as #1 seed in AFC, with Broncos/Bengals losing. Houston plays at Indy next week; in what could be a QB matchuip between Charlie Whitehurst-TJ Yates, with a division title on the line. Can the Rams get moved to this division? They're as good as any of those four teams.

Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday......
13) Bucks 108, Warriors 95-- Golden State's 28-game win streak comes to an end; I'm wondering if anyone in Oakland is relieved the streak is over, so they can get on with the business of the regular season- the bandwagon will empty, lot of the media will be gone, and they can properly rest guys who are banged-up.

12) Our world is too impatient: Penguins fired coach Mike Johnston, even though the team has a 15-10-3 record. 15-10-3 ain't bad. Apparently the owners think things should be better, but its not even Christmas yet. We'll see how this turns out.

11) Chattanooga 61, Dayton 59-- Biggest basketball upset of the day; Flyers won at Vanderbilt earlier this week, now lose at home to a Southern Conference team. UTC has a new coach this year; the previous coach replaced Shaka Smart at VCU.

10) Texas 84, North Carolina 82-- Speaking of Shaka Smart, he got the biggest win of his brief Texas tenure when his Longhorns upset UNC on a late baseline jumper that just barely beat the buzzer. Tar Heels are now 0-2 in true road games.

9) I know the show is 90:00 because they can sell ads to fill 90:00 of TV, but why in God's name does ESPN waste 90:00 of airtime for a Heisman Trophy show? All that matter is the thirty seconds at the end the winner is announced- how can people watch the rest of it? What is said that already hasn't been said?

8) When Iowa State rallied back from 20 down to beat Iowa Thursday, kids stormed the court in celebration, during which a sports columnist was knocked down and he broke his leg. Few years ago, a high school star in Arizona was paralyzed when he was trampled in a similar court storming- the kid had a scholarship at Stanford waiting for him, but he can't walk anymore. Pretty soon court storming will be banned.

7) Xavier 65, Cincinnati 55-- Musketeers have now won six of last seven games in an intense inner-city rivalry- they're probably the best team in the Big East. .

6) Xavier-Cincinnati is so intense that it was moved off campus for a couple years to a neutral downtown arena, after a big brawl. When you see the refs assigned to a game like this, it is a big compliment to them. The three refs at Xavier last night were Jeffrey Anderson, Brent Hampton, Roger Ayers- they must be very good officials.

5) UCLA 71, Gonzaga 66-- Zags lost at home to Arizona/UCLA in last eight days; at what point do we call them a fraud, or is Karnowski's back injury the missing link to the Zags being a really good team? Gonzaga gets an awful lot of publicity, but other than taking the WCC every year, what exactly do they win?

4) Kansas 82, Oregon State 67-- Jayhawks were down 11 at half, outscored OSU 54-28 in second half. Beavers' coach Wayne Tinkle's son plays for OSU-- he shoots a lot of 3-pointers, he wears uniform number 3, his first name is Tres. Now that makes sense; the kid hit his first five 3's in this game, but made only one other basket.

3) Michael Cuddyer retired after 15 years in the big leagues; good to wrap up your career by playing in a World Series for the first time. Cuddyer banked just over $79M in his 13-year career- he would have made another $12.5M if he played next year. .

2) Marquette 57, Wisconsin 55-- Badgers have lost three home games already.

1) Carolina Panthers are 12-0, rolling along towards an undefeated season, but coach Ron Rivera's mom Delores thinks the Panthers should blitz more. Seriously, she knows a lot about football and thinks her son's defense doesn't blitz enough. Oy.

Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here.......
13) Jason Heyward bags an 8-year, $184M contract from the Cubs, leaving St Louis for its division rival. Heyward has played six full seasons; he's hit more than 18 HRs once, has never scored more than 93 runs or knocked in more than 82. He is 26, has been in one All-Star Game. One. $23M a year. Interesting.

12) If I'm Yoenis Cespedes' agent, the bidding starts at $24M a year. Not for eight years because Cespedes is four years older than Heyward, but he is the better player.

11) I could never own a pro sports team; if I offered Chris Davis $150M for seven years, and he didn't immediately sign the damn thing, then I'd have to tell him to go bleep himself and move on. It takes onions to turn down that much cabbage.

10) Johnny Cueto turned down $120M for six years from Arizona, which is why they went after Zack Greinke; curious to see if Cueto signs for more than that.

9) Popular wisdom on MLB Network and on Twitter was that the Braves got the better of the Shelby Miller-to-Arizona trade. Two of three players Atlanta got are minor leaguers, so it'll take a few years for the final verdict to come in.

8) Last year, I was criticial of the team Phil Jackson put on the floor with the Knicks, but he has more than earned his $12M salary by drafting Porzingis; he gives the team real hope going forward and is someone to build the franchise around. They need a couple more guys to become contenders, but at least their compass is pointed up.

7) Red Sox OF Mookie Betts has bowled four perfect (300) games; he took part in his first pro bowlers tournament this week in Reno. He bowled 224 in his first game.

6) I'm surprised that neither Arizona Cardinals/St Louis Rams have retired #13 yet; hopefully Kurt Warner gets in the Hall of Fame next summer, than both teams can do it next season.

5) Stephen Curry is 22-58 (37.9%) from floor in two games Klay Thompson missed.

4) Temple's Tyler Matakevich won the Chuck Bednarik Award, which goes to the defensive player of the year. Ironic since Temple is in Philadelphia and Bednarik was a Philly guy, playing in college at Penn, in pros with the Eagles.

3) Speaking of Temple, some of these SEC schools just shuffle coordinators around when a guy like Owls' coach Matt Rhule doesn't get a better job. Maybe Al Golden's struggles at Miami hurt Rhule's value-- Golden went from Temple to Miami, but this guy Rhule is a really good coach and will get a big job soon.

2) Sixteen players were taken in this week's Rule 5 baseball draft; for $50K, a guy drafted has to stay in big leagues all next season or he can bought back by his original team for $25K. This rule prevents teams from keeping guys in the minors forever.

1) I get tired of players saying they want to make more money because ".......the owners are making so much money." Well they're the damn owners, they're supposed to make a lot of money. How about lowering ticket prices now and then so the fans catch an occasional break? Players are making way more than enough money.

Friday's List of 13: Baseball thoughts on a mid-December day
Baseball's Winter Meetings were this week so with that in mind, some baseball stuff to ponder, with spring training a little over two months away.......

13) Houston Astros used the most (151) different lineups LY and made the playoffs; KC Royals used the fewest (83) and won World Series. No other big league team used less than 108 (Pirates) lineups.

12) Every NL team issued at least 28 intentional walks LY-- pitchers bat in the NL, so you often walk the #8 hitter to get to the pitcher. Nine of 15 AL teams issued less than 28 intentional walks- Bronx (16), Astros (17) issued the fewest.

Angels (45), Mariners (41) issued most intentional walks of the AL teams.

11) Every NL team attempted at least 48 sacrifice bunts; 11 of 15 AL teams tried fewer than 48 LY, with Oakland (17), Baltimore (26) trying the fewest.

Pirates (81), Braves (80) tried bunting the most; of the AL teams, Rangers (66) tried the most sacrifices. Texas manager Banister used to be Clint Hurdle's right-hand man.

10) Most major league managers are former catchers; Seattle (30) pitched out the most LY, followed by the Reds (28- managed by a former pitcher). Mets, Nationals had only one pitch-out each last year.

9) Every NL team pinch-hit at least 225 (Washington) times; San Diego (311) used the most pinch-hitters. Tampa Bay (219) pinch-hit 58 more times than any other team in the American League (Oakland, 161).

Platooning is an unfortunate epidemic in baseball these days.

8) I read an article that gave Billy Butler a 9% chance of getting to 3,000 career hits; he currently has 1,408 hits and has been putrid the last two years. If Butler has a 9% shot at 3,000 hits, then I have a 9% chance of dating Pamela Anderson, whose sons were once batboys for the Pepperdine baseball team, so you never know........

7) There were 44% more runs scored in Colorado home games than road tilts LY.

6) There were 15% fewer runs scored in Giant home games than road tilts LY.

5) Over last three years, Fenway Park has been friendliest to righty hitters; Camden Yards has been friendliest for lefty hitters (Chris Davis, take note).

4) Batters who came up with most men on base LY, and % of those runners he knocked in:
Carlos Santana 480 (13.8%)...Todd Frazier 468 (11.5%)....Eric Hosmer 457 (16.4%)

3) Of batters with 250+ PA, those who knocked in highest percantage of runners from third base:
1) Ryan Zimmerman (27-45, 60%), 2) Mookie Betts (33-58, 56.9%), 3) Juan Lagares (14-26, 53.8%).

2) Of batters with 250+ PA, those who knocked in lowest percantage of runners from third base:
295) Chris Coghlan (6-42, 14.3%), 294) Justin Maxwell (4-23, 17.4%), 293) Joc Pederson (9-50, 18%).

1) Best record in one-run games LY:
Pirates 36-17, Angels 35-17, Cubs 34-21, Braves 28-18.

Worst record in one-run games LY:
Blue Jays 15-28, A's 19-35, Phillies 16-27, Reds 18-29

Thursday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) Why is Steph Curry such a great shooter? He works his ass off, thats why. He says he makes between 200-350 shots every day during the season and probably a lot more in the offseason. He once made 77 3-pointers in a row at a practice. You aren't born that way; if more players practiced this much, they'd shoot a lot better.

12) Cool trivia; Don Sutton is in baseball's Hall of Fame; his career record in the majors was 324-256. Turns out he lost one game in high school; the opposing pitcher in his one loss was Kenny Stabler, the great Raiders' quarterback.

11) I was in a deli for a sandwich earlier this week; guy at the register has the biggest arms I've ever seen, like one of the WWE wrestlers on TV. Turns out the guy is a pro bodybuilder but apparently there isn't a whole lot of money in that. Go figure.

10) Orioles offered Chris Davis a 7-year deal for $150M; how on God's green earth does he turn that down? Apparently Davis wants eight years, $200M. Granted, he hit 47 HRs with 117 RBI LY but that was playing half his games in Baltimore's closet of a ballpark. His numbers would go down most anywhere else. Just take the money.

9) Heisman Trophy is one of the most overrated things on earth; in what other sport is the Player of the Year award talked about so much?

8) Five years ago, Conference USA was the #8 basketball league in America; now, it is the #22 league, as the football maneuvering has crippled the basketball part. The mid-major leagues that are basketball-only have mostly all passed by C-USA.

7) Was pretty cool seeing Ray Allen, Richard Hamilton at courtside Tuesday nite watching UConn playing Maryland at Madison Square Garden. Those guys made ton of money playing in the NBA, but still took out time to cheer on the alma mater.

6) Paris Hotel is Las Vegas is getting a 10,000 square foot beer garden above Hexx restaurant that will seat up to 500 people. One thing about Las Vegas is places are always being improved/added. If you like to eat/drink, Vegas is where to go.

5) I think the NFL makes a mistake fining players for celebration penalties; I don't think it is a deterrent. My suggestion is to still throw flags for celebrations but get rid of the fines- it gives the media too easy a chance to rip the league ("No Fun League"). Let the players act out after they score TDs, let the coaches police things after player gets a penalty for being a selfish human.

4) If the Browns fire Mike Pettine this winter, they'll have their sixth head coach in nine years next season- this is no way to run a business, especially one worth close to $1B, thats billion with a B. Hire a coach, give him five years to run his program and recruit free agents-- things couldn't be worse than they are in Cleveland right now.

3) SMU has a good basketball team; they pounded Michigan by 24 the other night, but the Mustangs aren't going to the postseason this year because they committed academic fraud. Larry Brown was out of college coaching for 25 years, mostly because he put his last school (Kansas) on probation too. Hmmm....

2) Not only does Big X play a 9-game conference football schedule, now they're going to have to play at least one other Power 5 game every year. My guess is the phones at Vanderbilt, Purdue and Wake Forest are going to be ringing off the hook soon, since they're the perennial doormats in the other Power 5 leagues. .

1) I'm genuinely concerned that if Donald Trump became President, we would have a civil war in this country; you can't have a leader who openly insults more than half the citizens. Part of me thinks he is saying outrageous stuff on purpose so he will lose, but no matter what he does, he doesn't drop in the polls. Weird thing.

No matter what, some day all this is going to make one hell of a movie.

Wednesday's List of 13: Tell your statistics to shut up.......
I like numbers, think they can explain a lot, but not everything; some people don't like them as much, but there's enough room in this world for all kinds of ideas.

NFL moved kickoffs up to create more touchbacks, since most injuries were occurring on kick returns; as a result, more drives start 80+ yards from the end zone. Defenses and special teams that create short fields help teams win, but which offenses are best at driving the ball 80+ yards?

13) There are six NFL teams averaging 2.00+ ppp on drives starting 80+ yards from goal line (you lose points for defensive TDs/safeties allowed):

Cardinals/Steelers 2.28, Bengals 2.15, Raiders 2.13, Chiefs 2.08, Patriots 2.07.

12) Rams have started 80 drives 80+ yards from end zone, scored only 71 points on those drives; they're only NFL team averaging under 1.00 ppp in that scenario.

11) Other teams that struggle scoring on long (80-yard+) TD drives:

Rams 0.89, Browns 1.03, 49ers 1.19, Panthers 1.26-- Carolina has 10 drives of less than 60 yards and five defensive TDs, lightening the load on its offense. .

10) Chargers have started 92 drives 80+ yards from goal line, seven more than any other team (Saints), 12 more than any of the other teams. Hard to win when you're playing on a longer field than your opponent.

9) Patriots lead NFL with 15 TDs on drives of less than 60 yards, but they haven't scored a TD on defense or special teams this year- they gave up three on Sunday.

Bowl matchups were announced this week; some numbers on how conferences have done in recent bowl games.......
8) Big 14 teams have been an underdog in 27 of last 33 bowl games, going 13-20 SU in those games (14-17-2 vs spread).

7) SEC teams were favored in 32 of last 38 bowl games, going 25-13 SU, 23-14-1 vs spread, 5-1 in few games when they were an underdog.

6) Surprisingly good bowl league: Conference USA, which is 15-7 SU in bowls last four years, 12-8 vs spread (9-3 when favored).

5) ACC teams are 13-19 SU in their last 32 bowls, 3-8 vs spread when favored.

4) Big X games are famous for being high-scoring, but over last four years, bowl games involving Big X teams have seen 18 go under total, only ten go over.

Elsewhere in the world of numbers.........
3) Chicago White Sox used a lefty starting pitcher in 119 games LY, third-most by any team over the last 100 years.

2) Summit League is a mid-major basketball league that has teams like South Dakota State, North Dakota State, Oral Roberts, Denver; heading into Tuesday's games, teams from Summit League were 39-19 against the spread this year, pretty damn good.

1) Golden State Warriors are now 23-0 this season; they're 16-7 against the spread, 9-3 as a road favorite- their last seven games went over the total.

Tuesday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but.......
13) Steve Sarkisian is suing USC for wrongful termination; he is asking for a lot of money. He got fired for showing up drunk- he might even have coached a game or two under the influence. Takes a lot of onions to sue your employer after that happens.

12) Dodgers signed pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma as a free-agent; Seattle then filled that hole by acquiring Wade Miley from Boston. Iwakuma is good if he is healthy.

11) Speaking of the Dodgers, Peter Gammons wrote last week that new manager Dave Roberts wasn't allowed to pick any of his coaches-- very unusual. Why would you hire a guy who has never managed, then not let him pick any of his coaches?

10) Saints ran a blocked PAT back for two points Sunday, first time that happened in an NFL game-- rule has been in college for lot longer. Counting that block, there were nine PATs missed this week- there were eight missed all of last year.

9) UMass-Lowell 68, Boston College 66-- If you're in same league as Louisville, Duke, North Carolina and Virginia, and you lose to Mass-Lowell, its going to be a very long winter. Some BC players apparently got food poisoning at a Chipotle, too- they didn't practice on Monday.

8) When Austin Davis started for Cleveland Sunday, he became their 24th starting QB since 1999. If you own the Browns, just hire a coach, keep him there for a few years, give him a chance. Without continuity, it is hard to dev