Saturday’s 6-pack, Quote, Quiz of the Day

College basketball knowledge is on the Hoops page
NFL knowledge is posted on the NFL page

Saturday’s 6-pack
— Falcons hired Titans’ OC Arthur Smith as their head coach.
— Bronx re-signed DJ Lemahieu for six years, $90M
— Siena 78, Rider 69— 5-0 Saints win road game without their best player.
— UAB 61, Charlotte 37— Blazers led this game 24-1.
— Monmouth (-10) 92, Quinnipiac 80, OT— Bad Beat of the Week???
— Wisconsin 60, Rutgers 54— Scarlet Knights lost 5 of last 6 games.
Americans who have died from COVID-19: 388,887
PLEASE wear a mask (over your nose/mouth) when you go out.

Quote of the Day
“It’s no secret he’s disappointed in the (lack of) communication during the hiring process.”
Houston Texans’ owner Cal McNair, on his QB (Deshaun Watson) being unhappy on how the team chose its new general manager

Saturday’s quiz
Of all current NBA players, who has the most games with 20+ points/20+ rebounds?

Friday’s quiz
Before coaching Florida/Ohio State, Urban Meyer was a head coach at Utah, Bowling Green.

Thursday’s quiz
James Harden played his college basketball at Arizona State. 

Saturday’s List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here……

13) Jacksonville Jaguars made some noise Thursday, hiring Urban Meyer as their new coach; it will be fascinating to see how this works out. 56-year old Meyer is 187-32 as a college coach, but has zero NFL experience, so who he hires as assistant coaches will be interesting.

Jaguars have four of the top 45 picks in April’s draft, have $74M in cap space, so they figure to get better fairly quickly.

Meyer seemed to have stress-related issues at Florida/Ohio State; can he deal with 9-7 or 8-8 being a great year with the Jaguars? Or 5-11 being a big improvement?

Again, Meyer was 187-32 in college; last three years, Jaguars are 12-36. This will be interesting. 

12) There were murmurs on the Interweb Thursday night that Scott Linehan would be the new OC in Jacksonville. Linehan was head coach of the Rams from 2006-08, then OC in Detroit from 2009-13 and OC for Dallas from 2015-18. He was the OC at LSU this past season. 

11) Detroit Lions hired LA Rams’ director of college scouting Brad Holmes as the team’s new GM; Holmes worked for the Rams for 17 years, starting out as a PR intern. He is the son of former Steelers’ lineman Mel Holmes, the nephew of Luther Bradley, who was the Lions’ first round draft pick in 1978.

Here’s what makes all this a little different; because Holmes is a minority, Rams will get two 3rd round draft picks, as part of the NFL’s new hiring initiatives- when one team hires a minority coach or a GM from another team, the other team gets two 3rd round picks as compensation. 

10) Texas Longhorns hired Jeff Banks as their new special teams coach; the guy was making $750,000 as special teams coach at Alabama, will make $1M for doing the same thing at Texas.

9) Atlantic 14 pulled its conference tournament out of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, will have it at a campus facility- they’ll be back in Barclays Center next year. 

8) Purdue 81, Indiana 69:
— Purdue won last eight series games, last five visits to Bloomington.
— Purdue’s last four games were on the road, the first time since 1960 they played four straight conference games on the road. One of their home games was postponed because of COVID.

7) 76ers 125, Heat 108:
— Shake Milton scored 31 points in 27:00 off bench; 76ers were +24 with him on the floor.
— Ben Simmons had 12 assists, 10 rebounds, took only 8 shots. He is a unique player. 

6) Something to look forward to: spring training for Korean baseball starts February 1st, two weeks from Sunday. Spring training for the major leagues starts February 17th. 

5) Baseball stuff:
— Mets signed 1B/DH Jose Martinez, a solid right-handed bat
— Phillies signed reliever Archie Bradley, who was most recently with Arizona.

4) Former Red Sox/Cubs GM Theo Epstein got a job this week in the commissioner’s office as a consultant. According to a MLB statement, Epstein will “work with baseball analytics experts from the Commissioner’s Office and the Clubs to determine the likely effects of various contemplated rule changes.”

3) Blind resume for the Pro Football Hall of Fame:
One of these QB’s is in the Hall of Fame, one is not.
Player A: 62-63-4 career regular season record, 2-1 in playoffs. 173 TD passes, 220 INT’s
Player B: 72-72 career regular season record, 8-2 in playoffs. 164 TD passes, 198 INT’s.

Which of these two resumes do you think belongs to a Hall of Famer? 

2) If you’re one of the morons who attacked the Capitol in Washington last week, and you had your cellphone with you, get ready to be arrested, since the phones have GPS tracking systems in them, so it is a matter of time until they find you and fingerprint you. 

1) I’m a little annoyed that the Secret Service was spending $3,000 per month to rent a studio apartment, just so they could have a bathroom available to use while they protected Jared Kushner and his cruddy wife. The Kushner’s didn’t let the Secret Service, the people who were PROTECTING THEM, use one of the SIX BATHROOMS in their house. Oy. 

Friday’s Den: NBA trends…….

It is still early in the NBA season, but here are trends to consider for each team:
(stats are thru Wednesday’s games)

Atlanta Hawks:
— Lost four of last five games.
— Last six games stayed under total.
— 1-4 ATS at home, 4-1 on road. 

Boston Celtics:
— Won their last four games, covered last three.
— 3-1 ATS at home.
— Underdogs covered all six of their road games. 

Brooklyn Nets:
— Won four of their six games.
— Covered three of last four home games.
— Last five home games went over total.
— How will team’s approach change with James Harden on board?

Charlotte Hornets :
— Won/covered four of last five games.
— Five of their last six games stayed under.
— Underdogs are 8-4 ATS in their games.
— Check status of Hayward, who hurt his hip Wednesday

Chicago Bulls:
— Covered five in row, eight of last nine games.
— Four of their last five games went over total.
— 6-1 ATS as a road underdog. 

Cleveland Cavaliers:
— Lost three in row, five of last six games.
— Lost last three home games, scoring 88 ppg.
— Their last ten games stayed under the total. 

Dallas Mavericks:
— Won/covered their last four games.
— Won/covered four of last five road games.
— Five of their last seven games stayed under. 

Denver Nuggets:
— 1-5 ATS at home.
— Nine of their 11 games went over.
— Favorites are 3-1-1 ATS in their road games.

Detroit Pistons:
— Lost five of their last six games.
— Covered five of last seven games.
— Under is 5-2 in their home games; over is 3-1 in their road games.

Golden State Warriors:
— Won/covered four of last six games, all at home.
— Last four games stayed under total.
— 1-3 ATS on road; their last road game was December 29.

Houston Rockets:
— Lost four of their last five games.
— 3-6 ATS this season; 2-4 at home, 1-2 on road.
— Under is 5-0-1 in their last six games.

Indiana Pacers
— 3-0 ATS as an underdog this season.
— Three of their four road games went over.
— 2-0 ATS if they played night before.

LA Clippers:
— Won three of their last four games
— Last four home games went over total.
— 0-3 ATS in last three home games.

LA Lakers:
— Won last four games, covered last three.
— Six of their seven road games stayed under total.
— 2-4 ATS as a home favorite, 5-2 as a road favorite.

Memphis Grizzlies:
— Won/covered their last three games.
— 1-5 SU at home, 4-1 SU on road.
— Four of their last five home games stayed under. 

Miami Heat
— Lost three of their four road games (underdogs 4-0 ATS)
— Three of their last four home games stayed under.
— 3-1 ATS in game after a loss; 1-3 ATS after a win.

Milwaukee Bucks:
— Won six of their last seven games.
— Last three games stayed under the total.
— 4-2 ATS as a home favorite, 3-3 as a road favorite.

Minnesota Timberwolves:
— Lost eight of their last nine games.
— Six of their last seven games went over.
— Karl-Anthony Towns is back from his injury.

New Orleans Pelicans:
— Lost their last four games (1-3 ATS)
— 1-4 ATS as a favorite, 3-2 ATS as an underdog.
— Underdogs covered all five of their home games.

New York Knicks:
— Lost their last four games (0-4 ATS)
— Last five road games stayed under total.
— 2-4 ATS at home, 3-3 ATS on road.

Oklahoma City:
— Lost all five of their home games.
— 1-4 ATS as home underdogs, 5-2 ATS as road dogs.
— Over is 3-2 in their home games; under is 4-2 in their road games.

Orlando Magic:
— Lost five of their last seven games.
— Last five home games stayed under the total.
— 4-1 ATS as a favorite, 2-4 ATS as an underdog.

Philadelphia 76ers:
— Lost three of their last four games.
— Last four games went over the total.
— Covered once in their last four games.

Phoenix Suns:
— 2-3 in last five games, after a 5-1 start.
— 3-0 ATS in game following a loss.
— Four of their last five games went over total.

Portland Trailblazers:
— Won their last four games (3-1 ATS)
— 1-4 ATS at home, 4-2 ATS on road
— Under is 3-2 in their home games.

Sacramento Kings:
— Lost six of their last eight games.
— 2-5-1 ATS at home, 3-2 on road.
— Five of their last six games went over.

San Antonio Spurs:
— Won four of last five games, all on road.
— 4-0 ATS as a road underdog.
— Lost three of their four home games.

Toronto Raptors
— Lost five of their last six games.
— 2-5 ATS on the road.
— Four of their last six games went over.
— Remember, they’re playing “home” games in Tampa, not Toronto

Utah Jazz
— Won/covered last three games, all on the road.
— Underdogs covered all three of their home games.
— Three of their last four games stayed under.

Washington Wizards
— Underdogs covered five of their six home games.
— Covered four of their five road games.
— Six of their last seven games went over total. 

Thursday’s 6-pack, Quote, Quiz of the Day

College basketball knowledge is on the Hoops page
NFL knowledge is posted on the NFL page

Thursday’s 6-pack
Updated odds to win NBA title:
2-1—  Lakers
7-2— Brooklyn
8-1— Clippers, Milwaukee
20-1— Boston, Miami
30-1— Dallas, Denver, Phoenix, Portland, Utah
60-1— Golden State, Toronto
Americans who have died from COVID-19: 381,116
PLEASE wear a mask (over your nose/mouth) when you go out.

Quote of the Day
“……..they were unimpressed by Tagovailoa during training camp to the point they thought he wouldn’t be ready to play in 2020. They said they were ‘caught totally off guard,’ as one put it, when Tagovailoa was named the starter the seventh game of the season.”
Three unnamed Miami Dolphins, talking to the Miami Herald about QB Tue Tagovailoa

Thursday’s quiz
Where did James Harden play his college basketball?

Wednesday’s quiz
Steph Curry played his college basketball at Davidson.

Tuesday’s quiz
In between coaching gigs at LSU/Alabama, Nick Saban coached the Miami Dolphins for two years. 

Thursday’s Den: Doing some thinking out loud…….

13) Brooklyn Nets grabbed the headlines Wednesday when they traded for James Harden, in a 4-way deal that had to have the salary cap guys recharging their iPhones a couple times.

— Nets get James Harden
— Pacers get Caris LaVert and a 2nd round pick
— Cavaliers get Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince
— Rockets got four 1st round draft picks, four pick swaps with Brooklyn, plus:
Victor Oladipo, Dante Exum, Rodions Kurcus

Very unusual for a blockbuster like this to happen during the season. 

12) Harden and Kevin Durant have won 7 of the last 11 NBA scoring titles; Nets become the first team ever with two players who have won 3+ scoring titles each.

Why is that? Because there is only one basketball in a game; to win a scoring title, you have to have that ball a great deal of the time. It is going to take a lot of cooperation for this to work. 

11) Put yourself in Steve Nash’s shoes; after a Hall of Fame playing career, Nash is a rookie head coach at age 46, charged with coaching a team with:
— 32-year old Kevin Durant coming off an achilles injury
— 31-year old Kyrie Irving, who missed the last two weeks for personal issues
— and now a thinned-out roster after acquiring the prolific Harden, who is 31.

Nets need to add three more players before the playoffs start, in order to contend for a title. One has to be a backup center. 

10) Wednesday morning, Nets were +$550 to win the NBA title; now they’re +$300.

9) Texas Tech 79, Texas 77:
— High-level game, could’ve been an Elite 8 or Final Four game.
— Tech was 22-28 on foul line, Texas 18-31
— Longhorns led 48-38 at halftime.
— Texas had 15 turnovers, Red Raiders 7
— Teams meet again in the last regular season game, February 27

8) Saw something in that game I don’t think I’ve ever seen in a real game before; have seen it on the playground a few times, but never in a serious game.

Tech’s Mac McClung, who transferred to Tech from Georgetown, was driving towards the hoop, about 12 feet from the basket on the left side of the lane and he leaves his feet while throwing the ball off the backboard- to himself, where he grabbed it and got fouled trying to score.

You have to be pretty damn sure you’re not getting taken out of the game if you do stuff like that; McClung scored 22 points for the 11-3 Red Raiders, playing 36:00. He doesn’t come out often. 

7) UConn star James Bouknight is out indefinitely after having surgery on his left elbow; he hurt the elbow diving for a loose ball the other night. Bouknight is averaging 20.3 ppg. 

6) How are NBA teams on the second night of back/backs?
— Road team that played at home night before: 4-4-1 ATS
— Road team that also played on road night before: 11-8 ATS
— Home team that played at home night before: 10-6 ATS
— Home team that also played on road night before: 5-4 ATS

That adds up to 30-22-1 ATS, surprisingly good. 

5) JaKarr Sampson is a forward for the Indiana Pacers; at age 27, he is already on his fifth NBA team. This is another guy who must be good at packing:

2014-16: played 121 games for the 76ers, scored 5.2 ppg in 15.1 mpg.
2016: finished that season playing 26 games for Denver, scoring 5.2 ppg in 18 mpg
2016-17: Played in the G-League.
2017-18: Scored 4.7 ppg in 15.6 mpg in 22 games for Sacramento.
2018-19: Played only four games for Chicago.
2019-20: Scored 4.9 ppg in 13.6 mpg in 34 games for Indiana
2020-21: Is scoring 2.5 ppg in 6.7 mpg for Indiana.

Sampson played two years at St John’s, scoring 13.9 ppg; he played in the Chinese league a couple times too, for a team in Shandong. He is on his way to writing an interesting book. 

4) Dallas 104, Charlotte 93:
— Kristaps Porzingis made his season debut, scoring 16 points in 21:00.
— Charlotte’s Gordon Hayward strained his hip, left the game early. 

3) Florida State 105, NC State 73:
— Seminoles hadn’t played in 15 days; they played really, really well.
— FSU shot 72.5% inside the arc, made 12-18 shots on the arc.
— Seminoles’ 1.52 ppp is highest ppp I’ve ever seen. 

2) Why do people wear watches? Everyone carries cellphones, which obviously have clocks in them. Seems like a waste of money to buy a watch. 

1) If you’re a football coach for the Cal Bears, I’m guessing you’ll be on the phone making recruiting calls Saturday afternoon, seeing how the Rams-Packers playoff game has couple of Cal Bears playing quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, Jared Goff. Good advertising for the program. 

Two lists today: re-running my favorite Batman villains

My 13 favorite Batman (TV) villains

13) Chandell (Liberace)— The gifted piano player was both Chandell (the piano player) and his twin brother Harry who it turns out, was the real villain. 

Trivia: Two Batman villains also had roles in Magnum PI; Howard Duff (Cabala) played Magnum’s grandfather. Barbara Rush (Nora Clavicle) played Magnum’s Aunt Phoebe, a playwright who had Alzheimer’s, and was also in another earlier episode. 

12) Bookworm (Roddy McDowell)— Appeared in two episodes; Bookworm’s crimes were inspired by literary works, well, because he likes books.

McDowell also appeared in the Batman animated series in the early 90’s.

11) Colonel Gumm (Roger C Carmel)— He loved the color pink and was obsessed with stamps; Colonel Gumm appeared in the two-episode crossover with The Green Hornet, with Bruce Lee as Kato and Van Williams as the Green Hornet. 

Trivia: There were three different Mr Freeze’s; Eli Wallach, Otto Preminger, George Sanders. 

10) Siren (Joan Collins)— Played a sidekick to The Riddler’s devious plan to take over Gotham City’s boxing industry, but she also wanted to uncover Batman’s true identity. 

9) The Archer (Art Carney)— Ed Norton from The Honeymooners was also a Batman villain!!! 

Archer’s character was based (loosely) on Robin Hood; his henchmen were Maid Marilyn, Big John, and Crier Tuck.

8) King Tut (Victor Buono)— Appeared in eight episodes; Buono supposedly loved playing the character because it allowed him the chance to overact, one of the aspects of the character that made King Tut so beloved by fans. 

7) Marsha, Queen of Diamonds (Carolyn Jones)— Better known for playing Morticia Addams on The Addams Family, Ms Jones was in five episodes of Batman, joining Addams Family cast members John Astin, Ted Cassidy in making Batman appearances.

6) Egghead (Vincent Price)— When I was a kid, would often substitute (eggs-ellent) for excellent when talking to my family. For a little kid, that was eggs-citing. Vincent Price was awesome in this role, an egg-centric guy with a very strangely-shaped head. 

5) Mad Hatter (David Wayne)— This villain was obsessed with getting his hands on Batman’s cowl, which of course didn’t happen. 

Wayne also appeared in four movies with Marilyn Monroe. 

4) Penguin (Burgess Meredith)—Is more famous for playing Rocky Balboa’s trainer Mickey, but Meredith appeared in 20 Batman episodes, most of any villain. 

3) Catwoman (Julie Newmar)— Lee Meriwether, Eartha Kitt also played Catwoman, but Julie Newman was the best of the three; she was 5-11, a prima ballerina for the Los Angeles Opera who graduated high school when she was 15. 

in 2004, her next-door neighbor Jim Belushi sued her for $4M alleging harassment and defamation of character, as a result of a dispute over leaf-blowing. 

2) Joker (Cesar Romero)— Appeared in 19 episodes, 2nd-most of any villain. Romero refused to shave his mustache and you can see it under his white face paint. 

Romero had a long, excellent career; he appeared in the first Oceans Eleven (1960). 

1) Riddler (Frank Gorshin)— No one wore the green body suit with the big ???’s on it better than Gorshin, who had a long career as a TV guest star, appearing in CSI, Wonder Woman and the original Hawaii Five-O, among many other shows. 

John Astin played The Riddler for two episodes, but of course he was way more famous as Gomez Addams in The Addams Family.

Wednesday’s Den: Mid-week musings…….

13) Being the #1 seed in the NFL playoffs is a big advantage; Chiefs/Packers both got last week off, got to rest their players while everyone else fought like hell to get to this weekend.

Over last seven years, in the divisional round of the playoffs, #1 seeds are 11-3 ATS, 10-3 as the favorite. Three years ago, the Nick Foles-led Eagles were an underdog in all three of their playoff games, as they won an unlikely Super Bowl title. 

12) So far in the NBA this season, underdogs are 93-66 against the spread (58.5%).

Home underdogs are 37-32; home favorites are 34-56. 

11) When pro/college football teams fall short of their expectations, there are often scapegoats; Seattle Seahawks told offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer to take a hike Tuesday. Seattle was 34-18 in his three years as OC, but 1-3 in playoff games. 

10) Chiefs play Cleveland this weekend, Patrick Mahomes vs Baker Mayfield.

In 2016, those two played in a college game; Oklahoma outlasted Texas Texas Tech 66-59. Mahomes threw for 734 yards (734!!!), ran for 85 more. Mayfield threw for 545 yards and seven TD’s. Imagine a team gaining 854 yards and LOSING- they converted 20-25 third down plays. 

9) After going 0-10 this season, Louisiana-Monroe hired Terry Bowden as its new football coach, which shows a seriousness about moving up in the Sun Belt standings. Tuesday, Bowden hired former Arizona/Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez as the WarHawks’ new offensive coordinator, also a good sign. Now all they need are a lot of good players. 

8) Alabama 85, Kentucky 65:
— Crimson Tide is off to its best start in SEC basketball since 1987.
— A 22-year old kid who was a walk-on for Kentucky last year passed away Monday night; he was very popular with his former teammates, which probably contributed to this score. 

7) Oklahoma State 75, Kansas 70:
— Cowboys are only 3-3 in Big X, but their three losses are by total of 7 points.
— OSU scored the last eight points in this game. 

6) Florida 72, Ole Miss 63:
— Gators ended this game on a 14-0 run, snapping a 2-game skid.
— Ole Miss lost five of its last seven games, after 4-0 start. 

5) Michigan 77, Wisconsin 54:
— Wolverines are 11-0, have only one win by less than 10 points.
— Opponents are shooting only 38.3% inside the arc (#1).

4) Virginia Tech 74, Duke 67:
— Duke lost four of its last five visits to Blacksburg.
— Blue Devils are 2-3 in top 100 games, beating Boston College/Notre Dame. 

3) USC 67, Cal-Riverside 62 OT:
— Riverside was 12-32 on the arc, Trojans 3-21.
— Riverside ran out to a quick 25-14 lead, damn near pulled a big upset here. USC blew a 65-59 lead with 0:59 left in regulation. 

2) Northern Illinois 67, Akron 65:
— Huskies pull a big upset, get their first MAC win.
— NIU played their starting guards 40/38 minutes; they needed this win. 

1) Tuesday was the 55th anniversary of the first airing of the classic TV show Batman, with Adam West as the caped crusader. I was six years old at the time; when you’re six years old and your name is Biff, the cartoonish opening credits “WHAP!!! BIFF!!! OOF!!!” were very cool.

Lot of famous people were guest villains; during the pandemic last spring, we ran thru our favorites. I’ll have to re-run that list soon. Anyway, if you can find Batman re-runs on TV, I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy it. Especially the opening credits. 

Tuesday’s Den: Nobody asked me, but…….

13) Alabama 52, Ohio State 24:
— Crimson Tide led 35-17 at halftime; Jones threw for 345 first half yards.
— Alabama WR Smith caught 12 passes for 215 yards and 3 TD’s, all in first half; then he broke his hand early in third quarter.
— Nick Saban wins his 7th national title, six of them at Alabama. 

12) Philadelphia Eagles fired coach Doug Pederson Monday; he won the freakin’ Super Bowl only three years ago. Pederson was 46-39-1 coaching the Eagles; he is rumored to be a strong candidate to be the next coach of the Jets. 

11) Dallas Cowboys hired former Falcons’ coach Dan Quinn as their new defensive coordinator; Quinn went 46-44 as head coach of the Falcons, winning the NFC title four years ago. Quinn was Seattle’s DC when they won their only Super Bowl title in the 2013 season. 

10) Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson is a unique quarterback; not the greatest passer, he threw for only 170 yards in the Ravens’ win Sunday, but he also ran for 136 yards. Key seems to be to contain him in the pocket, which is the opposite of how you defend most QB’s, and it is also way easier said than done. 

9) ESPN’s Chris Fallica pointed out that Tennessee Titans ran the ball on 12 of their first 16 first down plays Sunday; very predictable. Tennessee gained only 27 yards on those 12 running plays.

8) Nebraska’s best WR, Wan’Dale Robinson, is transferring, a big blow to the Cornhuskers; this past season, Robinson caught 51 passes for 461 yards. 

7) Closer Liam Hendriks gets $54M for three years from the Chicago White Sox. Hendriks was never a closer until two years ago; he saved 39 games for Oakland in 2019-20. 

6) We mentioned yesterday that Victor Rojas quit as the Angels’ TV voice, after working for the Halos for 11 years; it seemed weird- who gives up a gig like that?

Monday, Rojas was announced as the new president/GM of the Frisco Roughriders, the Double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers.Rojas applied for the Angels’ GM job last fall; now he is getting valuable experience in that area. 

5) Was watching a tribute to the late Paul Westphal on NBA TV Monday; they were showing highlights of his days playing for the Phoenix Suns. It was so long ago that the court didn’t have a 3-point arc on it. Westphal was an excellent guard who died way too early last week, at age 70.

4) UConn 60, DePaul 53— Huskies are off to a 7-1 start, 4-1 in the Big East, where they’ve returned to after seven years in the AAC. 

3) Colorado 65, Utah 58— Somehow, Utah went 2-11 on the foul line, in their own gym. Buffs are the #28 experience team and could make some noise in March. 

2) Bradley 75, Northern Iowa 73— UNI is off to an awful 3-8 start, 2-4 in Valley games. 

1) SMU 79, Temple 68— Mustangs made 11-28 on the arc, sweep the season series with Temple, which at 0-3, is the only AAC team winless in conference play. 

Monday’s Den: Wrapping up a sports Sunday

13) Ravens 20, Titans 13:
— Tennessee led 10-0 after the first quarter.
— Lamar Jackson gets his first playoff win (1-2).
— Ravens held Derrick Henry to 40 yards on 18 carries.

— Baltimore outgained Tennessee, 401-209
— Titans’ last six series: 31 plays, 103 yards, 3 points.
— Ravens visit Buffalo Saturday night. 

12) Saints 21, Bears 9:
— New Orleans outgained the Bears, 385-239
— 3rd down conversions: Saints 11-17, Bears 1-10
— Chicago’s only TD came on the last play of the game.

— Saints had 3 drives in 2nd half; they lasted 7:29, 8:51, 5:19 (38 plays)
— Chicago went 3/out on five of their ten drives.
— Saints host Tampa Bay Sunday. 

11) Browns 48, Steelers 37:
— Browns were +5 in turnovers, always a good thing.
— Cleveland led 28-0 after the first quarter, 35-10 at halftime.
— Roethlisberger was 47-68/501 passing, most completions EVER in any NFL game.

— Steelers started season 11-0, then lost five of their last six games.
— New Browns started up in 1999; this is their first playoff win.
— Old Browns, who moved to Baltimore, last won a playoff game in 1994.
— Cleveland visits Kansas City Sunday afternoon. 

10) Last three years, home teams went 4-10 SU in this round of the NFL playoffs. 

9) Washington QB Tyler Heinicke threw for 306 yards in his 2nd NFL start; he made himself a lot of money, proving to all 32 teams that he is good enough to be productive in a playoff game.

Heinicke went to college at Old Dominion, while the Monarchs were transitioning from I-AA football to I-A; he once started a game ODU lost 80-20 to North Carolina. Monarchs went 35-15 in Heinicke’s four seasons- starting in college for four years is solid experience.

We’ll see if Saturday’s effort was enough to make the Washington roster next fall. Either way, he’ll be on someone’s roster in 2021. 

8) Kyrie Irving has sat out the Brooklyn Nets’ last three games, apparently because he was upset by the attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington last Wednesday.

Here’s the thing: Irving’s salary works out to $405,452 per game, every game. Is he getting paid while he refuses to play? If not, then that’s on him. If he’s still getting paid, then what the bleep are we doing here? A guy gets $1.2M over five days for doing nothing, because he doesn’t feel like going to work? Nets aren’t saying much; they cannot be happy. 

7) In 2013-14, Zach LaVine played his only season of college basketball, for UCLA; he scored 9.4 ppg in 24.4 mpg, nothing amazing, but the NBA is a developmental league now, and he was taken with the 13th pick by Minnesota in the 2014 draft. Great pick.

LaVine has worked very hard on his game; last three years, he’s averaged 23.7/25.5/26.0 ppg; he is a legit star, because he got good coaching and he obviously worked his butt off to become a great player, which he now is.

Problem for Minnesota is, on June 22, 2017, they traded him to Chicago; here’s the trade:
— Minnesota got: Jimmy Butler, Justin Patton
— Chicago got: LaVine, Kris Dunn, Lauri Markkanen

Wouldn’t have been a terrible trade for Minnesota, but Butler/Karl-Anthony Towns didn’t get along, and one of them had to go- they’re 57-98 last 2+ seasons, with Butler traded elsewhere. 

6) Wichita State 82, Cincinnati 76— First seven fouls of the game were called on Cincinnati, which reminded me of a story.

March 2001, I was an assistant basketball coach at Schenectady High; we had great players, and won the public school state championship, our second title in four years.

We’re playing St Raymond’s from New York City in the Federation tournament- they had Julius Hodge, who went on to play at NC State, then in the NBA for a couple years. The game starts, and the first five or six fouls are called on our guys. No bueno.

There were lot of people at this game in Glens Falls; we were the local team and those people weren’t very pleased with the refs. Our coach says something to the ref, who has the onions to reply: “You should sit down. You don’t hear the other coach complaining!!!”

Well genius, you haven’t called a bleeping foul on his team yet!!! Go figure. 

5) You know the State Farm commercial where the guys are all getting their hair cut like Patrick Mahomes? On a table behind one of the guys, there is an old fashioned dial-up phone- don’t see a lot of those anymore. It just looks out of place in the commercial. 

4) Washington Nationals gave Kyle Schwarber a one-year, $10M contract; Schwarber hit only .188 in last year’s shortened season- he’s a career .230 hitter, but he’s also hit 105 homers the last four seasons. His career OPS is .816. 

3) Was surprised to see that Victor Rojas has walked away from his job as TV voice of the Los Angeles Angels; the son of former big leaguer Cookie Rojas, Victor interviewed for the Angels’ vacant general manager job last fall, but they hired someone else. Rojas worked for the Angels for the last 11 years. 

2) Week or so ago, MLB Network ran a replay of the Bronx-Boston playoff game from 1978, the Bucky Dent game. Seems like 1,000 years ago; I was still in college. A million things are different now than they were then, but these stood out:

— There were no ads on the Green Monster
— There were no graphics on the TV screen, except after each half-inning.
— The first baseman for Boston (George Scott) wore a batting helmet in the field.
— It was a day game; wouldn’t be today. TV would want the game at night.
— There were no (zero, none) mention of pitch counts.
— Bucky Dent only hit 40 homers in his MLB career; his homer in this game made him an iconic figure in New York sports.
— Bronx had acquired him for LaMarr Hoyt and Oscar Gamble. Hoyt won 43 games for Chicago in 1982-83.

1) If you’re on Twitter, and you want to follow someone who will make you smile nearly every day, follow former NBA player Rex Chapman. He posts all kinds of stuff, lot of unusual animal videos. Guaranteed he will make you smile at least once a day; these days, we can all use that.

Sunday, Chapman posted a video of a bear on a golf course, trying to get the flag out of a hole on one green, but instead the bear winds up dancing with the pole. Funny stuff. 

Sunday’s Den: Wrapping up a sports Saturday…….

13) Bills 27, Colts 24:
— Indy outgained the Bills, 472-397; that doesn’t matter.
— Colts had two empty trips to the red zone; no bueno.
— 3rd down conversions: Colts 9-17, Bills 2-9

— Buffalo gets its first playoff win since 1995.
— Bills’ first four drives: 17 plays, 108 yards, 7 points.
— Bills’ last five drives: 43 plays, 293 yards, 20 points. 

12) Rams 30, Seahawks 20:
— Darious Williams had a pick-6 for the Rams.
— Cam Akers ran for 131 yards, caught passes for 45 more.
— Jared Goff came off the bench to lead the win after backup John Wolford got KO’d after getting kneed in the head while running the ball— he hurt his neck.

— Seahawks completed only 11 of their 27 passes.
— Third down conversions: Rams 3-15, Seattle 2-14
— Rams outgained Seattle, 333-278.

11) Buccaneers 31, Washington 23:
— Fournette ran for 93 yards and a TD.
— Brady threw for 381 yards in his 31st postseason win.
— Evans caught six passes for 119 yards.

— Washington was within 18-16 after three quarters.
— Heinicke threw for 306 yards; it was his second NFL start.
— Refs had right idea; total of five penalties were called in the game. 

10) Texas 72, West Virginia 70:
— Three years ago, Andrew Jones had leukemia; he hit the game-winning 3-pointer in this game, after West Virginia missed two foul shots with 0:10 left.
— Mountaineers led 54-45 with 13:08 left, 70-65 with 1:41 left.
— Longhorns are 10-1; they won their last six games. 

9) San Diego State 69, Nevada 67— Aztecs’ G Pulliam hit a runner off the glass at the buzzer to give San Diego State a walk-off home win, after they had blown a 10-point first half lead.

8) Santa Clara 66, Saint Mary’s 64— Herb Sendek has coached at NC State/Arizona State, but went 5-7 in NCAA tourney games so now he is at Santa Clara, where he has the Broncos on an upward path. Santa Clara is 7-2 this year, 27-15 last two years. 

7) College basketball upsets:
— Santa Clara (+9) 66, Saint Mary’s 64
— Rice (+8) 71, Texas-El Paso 68
— Miami (+6.5) 64, NC State 59
— Citadel (+6.5) 92, Chattanooga 87
— Rhode Island (+6) 83, VCU 68
— Eastern Michigan (+5) 71, Akron 59
— Kentucky (+4.5) 76, Florida 58
— Middle Tennessee (+4) 67, FIU 56
— Wofford (+4) 48, NC-Greensboro 45

6) USC 73, Arizona State 64— This is the first time ever that UCLA/USC swept the two Arizona schools in Pac-12 play. Sounds surprising, but USC hadn’t won in Tucson for a decade. 

5) In this day and age, how the hell do teams not score 50 points but still win?
— Wofford 48, NC-Greensboro 45— Greensboro was 1-2 on the line, for whole game.
— Manhattan 45, Quinnipiac 42— Teams combined to make 9-39 on the arc. 

4) Kentucky 76, Florida 58— Wildcats stumbled thru a 1-6 non-conference slate, but won their first three conference games. This was, by far, their best game of the season. 

3) Ohio State 79, Rutgers 68— Scarlet Knights were 6-0 at one point; people like me were just assuming that Rutgers would make the NCAAs for the first time since 1991, but now they’ve lost four of their last five games— they need to start winning again. Shooting better than 58% on the foul line would be a big help.

2) Cleveland State 74, Northern Kentucky 71 OT— Vikings are already 8-0 in Horizon League, after losing all three non-conference games. Previous five years, Cleveland State was 27-53 in conference games. Dennis Gates is doing an excellent coaching job. 

1) Little Rock 78, Louisiana 76, OT— Teams split pair of 2-point decisions this weekend; the end of Friday’s game was……..unique.

Louisiana was up a hoop with 0:10 left, Little Rock had the ball. Point guard was dribbling near midcourt when the lights in the arena went out, and the auxiliary lights went on, the ones used during player introductions.

Lights stayed off for two seconds, then came back on; the refs never blew a whistle, the guard never stopped dribbling; when the lights came back on, he jacked up a 3 that missed, the refs sprinted off the floor, along with the Louisiana team. Little Rock’s coach was not happy.

Trojans got their revenge Saturday with this OT win; they were down 10 at halftime. 

Saturday’s Den: Random stuff with weekend here…….

13) Houston Texans’ QB Deshaun Watson offered input on potential GM candidates to the team’s owner, but the Texans neither considered nor consulted with those people, and now Watson is annoyed, which isn’t good when he has a 4-year, $156M contract.

Watson was justifiably unhappy when the Texans traded WR DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona; when the team’s owner says Watson will have input on hiring decisions, then he has to be listened to, even if you don’t agree with his choices. But he wasn’t listened to, and now the team has a big problem on their hands. 

12) When the late Al Davis was running the Raiders and was looking to hire coaches, he would often interview coaches he had no intention of hiring, because he wanted to pick their brains. 

11) Dallas Cowboys fired DC Mike Nolan Friday, so they’ll have their third defensive coordinator in three years next season. 

10) Saw an amazing video the other day, of Steph Curry making 105 3-pointers in a row at a recent practice. Curry has made shooting cool, and has proven that you can really rich by being a great shooter, which has made basketball a lot more fun to watch. 

9) Get well soon to Curry’s brother Seth, who plays for the 76ers and recently tested positive for COVID. 76ers finally got out of New York Friday night; they’ll only have six guys available for their next game, Saturday against Denver. 

8) Xavier did something unusual Wednesday night; they beat St John’s 69-61, but were 0-12 on the arc. Not often does a team win when they go empty outside the arc. Xavier outscored the Red Storm 21-8 on foul line; Johnnies were only 8-15 on the charity stripe. 

7) Stat that surprised the hell out of me: Indiana Hoosiers have now lost 18 games in a row at Wisconsin. Then again, Indiana has been above .500 in conference play in only three of the last 12 seasons. Still think they should hire Steve Alford as coach. 

6) Purdue 55, Michigan State 54:
— Spartans lost despite leading 31-16 at halftime.
— Purdue won despite going 3-24 on the arc.
— Purdue outscored MSU 5-0 over the last 0:19. 

5) Dayton 89, Davidson 78, OT— High quality game in the Atlantic 14. Flyers had been stunned in their last game, losing as an 11-point favorite at Fordham, so this is a good bounce back. 

4) Green Bay 84, Oakland 81, OT— Green Bay started the season 0-9, but has now won its last two games, both in overtime. 

3) Quinnipiac 84, Manhattan 79, 2OT— Jaspers led 60-49 with 6:25 left in this game, but let it get away. Teams combined to make 11-49 on the arc, a total brickfest. 

2) As I type this, underdogs are 77-51 ATS in the NBA this season, with three games still going on Friday night. Thats 60.2%; not having crowds helps the road teams.

1) Last three years, in this round of the NFL playoffs, underdogs went 8-2-1 ATS; one game was a pick ‘em. This will be the first time #2 seeds don’t have a bye in this round. 

Friday’s Den: Early season trends for each NBA team

It is early in the NBA season, but here are trends to consider for each team:

— Atlanta Hawks lost their last three games, all at home; their last four games stayed under the total. Hawks covered all four of their road games.

— Boston Celtics won three in row, five of last six games; underdogs covered seven of their nine games this season.

— Brooklyn Nets lost four of their last six games; three of their last four games went over. 

— Charlotte Hornets lost three of last four games; under is 6-1 in their last seven games. 

— Chicago Bulls covered six of last seven games overall, but lost three of four home games SU. Bulls’ last three home games went over the total. 

— Cleveland Cavaliers lost four of their last five games; their last six games stayed under. 

— Underdogs covered five of seven Dallas gams; four of their last five games stayed under the total. 

— Denver Nuggets are 1-4 ATS at home; six of their seven games went over.

— Detroit Pistons are 1-7, but they covered three of last four games. Detroit’s last three games went over the total.

— Golden State Warriors are 4-4, with three losses by 24+ points; they’re 2-4 ATS as underdogs.

— Houston Rockets are 0-3 SU on road; their last three games overall stayed under the total.

— Indiana Pacers are off to a 6-2 start, both SU/ATS; three of their last four games stayed under.

— LA Clippers won/covered three of four road games; they’re 3-2 ATS at home.

— LA Lakers are 2-2 SU at home, 4-0 on road; they’re 4-4 ATS. Lakers’ last six games stayed under the total.

— Memphis Grizzlies lost five of their first seven games; they’re 1-3 SU at home. Five of their last six games stayed under. 

— Miami Heat lost both its road games; six of their seven games stayed under the total.

— Milwaukee Bucks won all four home games (3-1 ATS); over is 6-2 in their games.

— Minnesota Timberwolves lost their last five games (1-4 ATS); their last three games went over.

— New Orleans Pelicans split their first eight games SU; last three went over the total, were decided by total of seven points.

— New York Knicks won/covered three in row, five of last six games; their last five games went under the total.

— Oklahoma City is 0-3 SU at home, 3-1 on road; under is 3-1 in their road games.

— Orlando Magic is off to a 6-2 start, 3-0 on road; their last four games stayed under total.

— Philadelphia 76ers won their last five games; they’re 5-3 ATS, 3-2 at home. Under is 3-0 in their road games.

— Phoenix Suns are 6-2 SU/ATS; all four of their road games stayed under total.

— Portland Trailblazers lost three of last four games; they’re 0-3 ATS at home. Blazers are 0-3 SU when they score fewer than 115 points.

— Sacramento Kings lost three of their last four games; four of their last five games went over.

— San Antonio Spurs lost four of their last five games; they’re 3-0 ATS at home.

— Toronto Raptors are 1-6 SU/ATS, 0-4 on road. Last three Toronto games went over.

— Utah Jazz are 2-5 ATS in their last seven games. Three of their last four games went over.

— Washington Wizards are 0-4 ATS at home, 4-0 on road; their last four games went over. 

Thursday’s Den: Doing some thinking out loud…….

I feel kind of stupid posting this article about sports on such a depressing day for our country, but this is what I do, and maybe it can provide some distraction for a couple of minutes.

Prayers go out to police and military who are trying to keep the peace. We appreciate you.

13) I mention this every now and then because I’m fascinated by how nomadic some football coaches are. This is the career path of Jedd Fisch, new coach of the Pac-12’s Arizona Wildcats.

1997: PK Yonge HS (Florida)— Defensive coordinator
1998: New Jersey Red Dogs, Arena League— WR coach
1999-2000: U of Florida— Graduate assistant
2002-03: Houston Texans— Defensive quality control
2004-07: Baltimore Ravens— Offensive assistant
2008: Denver Broncos— WR coach
2009-10: U of Minnesota— Offensive coordinator/QBs coach

2010: Seattle Seahawks— QBs coach
2011-12: Miami, FL— Offensive coordinator/QBs coach
2013-14: Jacksonville Jaguars— Offensive coordinator
2015-16: U of Michigan— Passing game coordinator/QB-WR coach
2017: UCLA— Offensive coordinator/QBs coach, then interim head coach
2018-19: Los Angeles Rams— Assistant offensive coordinator
2020: New England Patriots— QBs coach

The guy must be great at packing. Now he makes $2.2M a year. 

12) Quite a stat about the Green Bay Packers this year:
— Aaron Rodgers threw 48 TD passes.
— Green Bay’s punter punted 46 times. 

11) Stephen Curry missed a foul shot the other night, ending a streak of 80 consecutive makes; last time an NBA player had made 80+ free throws in a row was Dirk Nowitzki, in 2010. 

10) Washington QB Alex Smith is just the 5th quarterback in NFL history to lead three different teams to the playoffs; Chiefs, 49ers were the others. 

9) Random fact of the day: More people live in DeKalb County (Georgia) than in the whole state of Wyoming. 

8) QB JT Daniels will come back to play for the Georgia Bulldogs next fall. 

7) OF Robbie Grossman banks $10M for two years from Detroit. The 8-year veteran has a .350 career on-base percentage. Detroit will be his fourth MLB team.

6) Miami Dolphins’ offensive coordinator Chan Gailey resigned/got fired Wednesday, meaning Miami will have its third OC in three years next season. Continuity helps NFL teams, especially where young QB’s are concerned. 

5) NFL teams who played rookies the most snaps on offense this season:
1,130— Chargers, Cowboys
1,077— Broncos

4) PGA Tour starts Thursday, with the Sentry Tournament of Champions, so daytime TV gets a little bit better on Thursdays/Fridays. 

3) Wednesday would’ve been Ralph Branca’s 94th birthday; Branca pitched in the major leagues for 12 years, going 88-68, mostly for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He made three All-Star teams, but is best known for giving up a walk-off homer to Bobby Thomson in a 1951 NL playoff game. 

2) My dad grew up in New York City, was a huge Brooklyn Dodger fan; when I was a young person, I knew way too much about the Brooklyn Dodgers, seeing how they moved to LA three years before I was born. There is a still a ceramic dish on my kitchen wall, painted with the field at Ebbets Field on it.

1) One of the coolest things I ever did was in 1990 or so, on a weekday afternoon. Ralph Branca was doing an appearance at Mohawk Mall in Niskayuna, a mall that no longer exists. So I call my dad and tell him to get ready, I was taking him somewhere, but didn’t tell him where.

It was eight miles from my dad’s house to Mohawk Mall; on the way, I tell him we’re going to meet Ralph Branca, and confirm if all the stories he told me over the years were true.

We get to the mall, and Mr Branca is sitting at a card table, not many people around, which was perfect. I introduce my dad to Mr Branca, and then stepped back and watched them talk for the next 15-20 minutes, about Ebbets Field, the Dodgers, Ernie Lombardi, old baseball stuff. It was tremendously tremendous.

He confirmed all of my dad’s stories, and then when some other people showed up, we said our goodbyes and went home. It couldn’t have gone any better. Happy birthday, Mr Branca. 

Wednesday’s Den: Some early college basketball knowledge

This is another unusual college basketball season, but hopefully this season will play out until the end, which obviously didn’t happen last year. Here is some early knowledge……..

13) Michigan (4-0) is the only unbeaten team left in the Big 14; there are fewer turnovers in this league than in any league in the country. Lot of half-court basketball.

While I’m typing this up, I’m watching re-runs of the old TV show The West Wing, and who shows up on one episode but Michigan coach Juwan Howard, who shows up playing pick-up ball with the President and his staff. This was 1999; Howard was still an active player.

7-2 Rutgers looks like they’ll make the NCAA’s for first time since 1991. 

12) Oklahoma State starts out 1-3 in Big X, after going 6-0 out of conference; Cowboys are #312 in experience, #280 in continuity. Their best player is freshman Cade Cunningham, who won’t be in college three months from now— he’ll be getting ready for the NBA Draft, but he’ll likely stay engaged here, since his brother is an assistant coach at Oklahoma State. 

11) North Carolina is 6-4, 1-2 in the ACC; they’re experience team #325. Duke is off to a 3-2 start, 1-0 in ACC; they haven’t played since December 16, and are experience team #338. Seems like a bad year to have an inexperienced team. 

10) Teams from the bigger conferences with the most experience:
AAC: Tulsa, SMU, East Carolina
ACC: Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, Florida State
A-14: Richmond, Dayton, Saint Louis
Big East: Seton Hall, Georgetown, Creighton
Big 14: Wisconsin, Penn State, Michigan
Big X: Oklahoma, Iowa State, Texas
Pac-12: Oregon, Colorado, California
SEC: Missouri, Georgia, Ole Miss

9) Teams from the bigger conferences with the least experience:
AAC: Tulane, Memphis, Central Florida
ACC: Duke, Louisville, North Carolina
A-14: UMass, St Joe’s, LaSalle
Big East: Butler, St John’s, Marquette
Big 14: Purdue, Indiana, Northwestern
Big X: Kansas State, TCU, Oklahoma State
Pac-12: Washington State, Arizona, Utah
SEC: Auburn, Kentucky, LSU

8) Maybe this category is more important than experience; continuity. How long have teams been together. Teams that cobble together transfers may have more experience, but they’re still getting to know each other.

Teams from the bigger conferences with the most
AAC: East Carolina, Memphis, South Florida
ACC: Georgia Tech, Clemson, Florida State
A-14: Richmond, Duquesne, Saint Louis
Big East: Villanova, Creighton, UConn
Big 14: Wisconsin, Rutgers, Illinois
Big X: Texas, West Virginia, Oklahoma
Pac-12: UCLA, Utah, Stanford
SEC: Missouri, South Carolina, Texas A&M

7) Montana Grizzlies started out Big Sky play 1-3; the four games were decided by a total of six points. Montana hasn’t finished under .500 in Big Sky play since 2004. 

6) Seton Hall split its six non-conference games, but is off to a 5-1 start in Big East play; their only conference loss was to Providence, in overtime. Overall, Pirates have played schedule #33 so far this season. 

5) Two years ago, Washington was 27-9, 15-3 in Pac-12, a 9-seed in the NCAA’s, but since then, Huskies are 16-24, 5-16 in league games. Washington is 1-7 this season; their only win is over #280 Seattle.

Oregon/UCLA are tied for first place at 3-0; Arizona is 9-1, 3-1 in conference, but they’re not going to the NCAA’s this year, and they’re experience team #281, so some regression is expected.  Stanford won five of its last six games; they’re 6-3, vs schedule #40. 

4) Kentucky is 2-6; one win was in double OT, the other over #275 Morehead State. Wildcats are #339 in experience, turning ball over 22.8% of time (#288)- lack of a true point guard seems to be an issue.

Tennessee is 7-1, with wins over Colorado, Cincinnati, Missouri; they defend very well, have overcome some COVID issues already. 

3) Teams who take highest %age of their shots behind the arc:
58.6%- Wofford
53.9%- Evansville
52.4%- UNLV
52.3%- Akron
51.9%- Florida International, Auburn

2) San Diego State is off to a 7-2 start, but they led 33-7 in one of the games they lost. You wouldn’t think the #8 team in experience would blow a lead like that. Utah State/Boise State would appear to be San Diego State’s biggest challengers in the Mountain West.

UNLV hasn’t played since December 5th; they were off to a 1-4 start anyway- no depth. 

1) Tulsa won its last five games after a 1-3 start; their last three D-I wins are over Houston, Memphis, Cincinnati, all quality wins. Golden Hurricane is #34 experience team that has played schedule #57- they force turnovers 22.3% of the time.

8-1 Houston is favored in the AAC; 6-4 Memphis has been a bit of a disappointment. 

Tuesday’s Den: Nobody asked me, but……..

13) If I’m making the 2021 NFL schedule, the Sunday night game in Week 1 has to be Eagles at Giants, after Philadelphia openly tanked their Week 17 game Sunday night, which put Washington into the postseason instead of the Giants. Lot of hostility over that game; take advantage of it!!! 

12) Stat of the Day: Patriots/Giants tied for fewest TD passes (12) in league this season; only ten of New England’s TD passes were thrown by quarterbacks.

11) Three NFL coaches were told to take a hike after Week 17 games (Jets, Jaguars, Chargers); there are six head coach openings right now (Texans, Falcons, Lions). 

10) Here is a difficult trivia question, too tough for the daily quiz:

NFL record for most field goals in a game is 8, set in 2007 by Tennessee’s Rob Bironas. 

2-part question (answers tomorrow):
a) (the easy part) Who was Tennessee’s coach that day?
b) (the hard part) Who was Tennessee’s QB that day?
(Hint: He once started a Super Bowl, but not for the Titans)

9) Rams’ QB John Wolford threw for 231 yards, ran for 56 more in LA’s 18-7 win over the Cardinals Sunday, making him the first NFL quarterback EVER to throw for 200+ yards and run for 50+ yards in his first NFL start.

Red flags for the Rams, besides their starting QB having a broken thumb:
— Rams haven’t scored an offensive TD in their last two games, despite being on the 1-yard line on three different drives.
— Rams scored a defensive TD in each of their last three wins; can’t depend on that happening a lot. 

8) Speaking of quarterbacks, Wisconsin’s basketball team has four kids who were QB of their high school football team. In this age of specialization, it has to be unusual for a D-I hoop team to have lot of kids who played football in high school. 

7) My friend Phil gave a me an outstanding piece of trivia Monday; the great singer Kris Kristoffersson was once a helicopter pilot in the Army- he quit as an English Literature teacher at West Point, in order to pursue songwriting in Nashville.

Before he struck it rich in music/acting, he got a job sweeping floors at Columbia Recording Studios in Nashville. From there, things worked out pretty well for him. 

6) There are 150 Canadians playing Division I college basketball this year; there are 17 Canadians playing in the NBA right now. 

5) While I was watching football Sunday, Steph Curry scored 62 points for Warriors, in their 137-122 win over Portland. Curry made 8-16 on the arc, 10-15 inside the arc, 18-19 on the foul line. He also had four assists and five rebounds.

it was the most points scored by any Warrior since Rick Barry scored 64 in a game in 1974. 

4) North Carolina QB Sam Howell does not eat any type of meat except for chicken; no hamburgers, no steak, nada. Howell said he frequents Chick-fil-a, and he eats a lot of chicken tenders and nuggets. Lot of times, he brings his own chicken fingers to team dinners. 

3) ACC teams went 0-6 in bowl games this year, first time since 1983 that ACC teams went winless in bowls- they were only 0-2 that year. 

2) Alabama opened as a 7-point favorite over Ohio State in Monday’s national title game, with a total of 76.

1) During baseball season, I watch a lot of baseball, a lot. Was happy to see Monday that the Cubs hired Jon Sciambi as their new TV voice- he is excellent. Watching day games from Wrigley Field during the week is always a highlight, now they’ll be a little bit better.