College basketball referees work a lot from November-March…

College basketball referees work a lot from November-March; here is what referee John Higgins has been doing for the last 7-10 days………
Dec 29– Texas Southern @ Baylor
Dec 30– Nevada @ New Mexico
Dec 31– BYU @ St Mary’s
Jan 1– Utah @ Stanford
Jan 2– Michigan State @ Minnesota
Jan 3– Arizona @ Arizona State– Higgins tossed Bobby Hurley at end.
Jan 4– Oklahoma @ Kansas– Game went triple overtime.
Jan 5– Kansas State @ Texas
Jan 6– Evansville @ Wichita State

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Basketball Selections

Today’s tips
No selections tonight. Exhibition baseball starts Tuesday; make sure you log in every day during baseball season for lot of information on pitchers, umpires and team trends. Plus its free!!!!

2015-16 record: 11-7, plus 99 calders

thru Feb 24
Atlantic 14
Big 14
Big X
Big East
Big Sky
Big West
Missouri Valley
Mountain West
Ohio Valley
Sun Belt
Skidmore beat Southern Vermont 128-123 November 23 in 7 OTs, the longest game in D-III history. Here is some knowledge about that historic game:
— Southern Vermont led by 7 at half; regulation ended 59-all, meaning there were 118 points scored in regulation, 133 points scored in OTs.
— With seven OTs. It was a 75-minute game. SV captain Lance Spratling played all 75 minutes and was an epic 10-40 from the floor; 0-13 from the arc, 10-27 inside the arc, 11-14 from foul line. He had 18 rebounds, 8 assists, 5 turnovers and the game’s only technical foul.
— In regulation, Skidmore was 4-25 behind the arc, SV 1-11; in the OTs, the Thoroughbreds were 9-24 behind the arc, Southern Vermont was 5-14.
— Eight guys fouled out, four on each side.
— Skidmore’s Quenten Howard, SV’s Greg Holt each played one minute; do you know how buried on the bench you have to be to play only one minute in a 7-overtime game?
— Four Southern Vermont starters played 64+ minutes, one Skidmore starter played more than 40. Kid named Melvis Langyintuo had 18 points, 21 rebounds in 36 minutes for Skidmore and he didn’t start. Wonder if he’ll start their next game.

2015-16 college football bowl results

Arizona Wildcats 10, 63 45-37
Albuquerque 12/19
New Mexico Lobos
Utah Utes 35-28
Las Vegas 12/19
BYU Cougars 2.5, 54
Appalachian State Mountaineers 8, 55 31-29
Montgomery, AL 12/19
Ohio Bobcats
Arkansas State Redwolves
New Orleans 12/19
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 1.5, 67 47-28
Georgia State Panthers
Orlando 12/19
San Jose State Spartans
3, 57 27-16
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers 3, 66 45-35
Miami 12/21
South Florida Bulls
Akron Zips 23-21
Boise 12/22
Utah State Aggies 6.5, 48.5
Toledo Rockets 32-17
Boca Raton 12/22
Temple Owls 1, 53
Northern Illinois Huskies
San Diego 12/23
Boise State Broncos 8, 55 55-7
Georgia Southern Eagles 58-27
Mobile 12/23

Bowling Green Falcons 7, 66
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
Bahamas 12/24
Western Michigan Broncos 3, 60.5 45-31
San Diego State Aztecs 42-7
Honolulu 12/24
Cincinnati Bearcats 1.5, 58
UConn Huskies
St Petersburg 12/26
Marshall Thundering Herd 4, 43 16-10
Miami Hurricanes
El Paso 12/26
Washington State Cougars 2.5, 63 20-14
Indiana Hoosiers
Bronx 12/26
Duke Blue Devils 1.5, 66 44-41 OT
Virginia Tech Hokies 13.5, 60.6 55-52
Shreveport 12/26
Tulsa Golden Hurricane
Nebraska Cornhuskers 37-29
Santa Clara 12/26
UCLA Bruins 6.5, 60
Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles
Dallas 12/26
Washington Huskies 8, 51.5 44-31
Pittsburgh Panthers
Annapolis 12/28
Navy Midshipmen 4, 56 44-28
Central Michigan Chippewas
Detroit 12/28
Minnesota Golden Gophers 6, 49 21-14
Air Force Falcons
Fort Worth 12/29
Cal Golden Bears 7, 63 55-36
North Carolina Tar Heels 3, 74
Orlando 12/29
Baylor Bears 49-38
LSU Tigers 7, 73 56-27
Houston 12/29
Texas Tech Red Raiders
Nevada Wolf Pack 28-23
Tucson 12/29
Colorado State Rams 3, 54
Memphis Tigers
Birmingham 12/30
Auburn Tigers 2.5, 63.5 31-10
NC State Wolfpack
Charlotte 12/30
Mississippi State Bulldogs 5.5, 59 51-28
Wisconsin Badgers 23-21
San Diego 12/30
USC Trojans 3, 51.5
Louisville Cardinals 27-21
Nashville 12/30
Texas A&M Aggies 2.5, 48
Houston Cougars 38-24
Atlanta 12/31
Florida State Seminoles 7, 53
Michigan State Spartans
Arlington TX 12/31
Alabama Crimson Tide 9.5, 47 38-0
Clemson Tigers 37-17
Miami 12/31
Oklahoma Sooners 3.5, 65.5
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Glendale, AZ 1/1
Ohio State Buckeyes 3.5, 58 44-28
Iowa Hawkeyes
Pasadena 1/1
Stanford Cardinal 6.5, 55.5 45-16
Ole Miss Rebels 7, 68.5
New Orleans 1/1
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Florida Gators
Orlando 1/1
Michigan Wolverines 4, 41 41-7
Northwestern Wildcats
Tampa 1/1
Tennessee Volunteers 9, 45 45-6
TCU Horned Frogs 47-41 OT
San Antonio 1/2
Oregon Ducks
7.5, 75
Kansas State Wildcats
Memphis 1/2
Arkansas Razorbacks
11, 62.5 45-23
Georgia Bulldogs 6.5, 43 24-17
Jacksonville 1/2
Penn State Nittany Lions
Arizona State Sun Devils
Phoenix 1/2
West Virginia Mountaineers 3, 65 43-42
Alabama Crimson Tide 6.5 45-40
Glendale, AZ 1/11 Favorites 22-18; over 26-14
Clemson Tigers

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.

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. .

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.

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.

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.