Wednesday’s List of 13: Mid-week musings…….

13) In mid-September, the Atlanta Falcons were 100-1 to win the Super Bowl.

12) Matt Ryan was the 25th-rated QB in the high school class of 2003. One of the QB’s ranked ahead of him was Clayton Richard, who pitched for the Cubs/Padres last year- he’s spent eight years in the major leagues. Richard was a backup QB at Michigan for a while in college.

11) Speaking of the Padres, they’ll be paying a lot of money this season to BJ Upton, James Shields and Hector Olivera, none of whom are Padres anymore.

No one on the current San Diego roster will earn as much money as any of those three guys this year.

10) St Louis Cardinals’ first pick in the June amateur draft will be the 94th pick in the draft.

9) ESPN hired David Ross (baseball), Rex Ryan (NFL) as analysts. Ryan should be TV gold, unless he wants to coach again and watches his words, which has never happened before.

8) Barclays Center in Brooklyn is booting the NHL’s Islanders out, saying they could make more money if they just had concerts and the Nets there.

Where will the Islanders go? Here is a novel idea: how about moving the team to Canada, where I’m told that hockey is very popular? Quebec City, Hamilton, Saskatoon; I’m sure they would all love to have an NHL franchise of their own.

7) Take the Power 6 college basketball conferences (ACC, Big X, Big 14, SEC, Pac-12, Big East); this year, those teams are averaging 73.3 pts/game, compared to 71.7 LY and 66.2 the year before, so thats a good trend.

Imagine if they let refs call continuation on drives to the basket; would increase scoring even more.

6) In 1992, the Florida Marlins drafted a pitcher from Stanford in the 2nd round, kid named John Lynch— he pitched two years in the NY-Penn League, then dedicated himself to football, where he was a great player. Now Lynch is the GM of the 49ers, despite having no experience in the front office. Will be interesting to see how he does.

I’ll say this: as a Ram fan, I can’t root for Lynch to succeed, but he’ll be missed on TV. He was smart and fair and teamed up well with FOX’s Kevin Burkhardt.

5) There have been 94 Kentucky players who played in the NBA, 88 from UCLA; they were talking about that on the Memphis-Phoenix NBA game Monday night.

4) Northwestern is going to make the NCAA’s this year for the first time; one of their best players is Bryant McIntosh, who is from Greensburg, IN. He was saying last week how Indiana Hoosiers recruit nationally more than they do in Indiana, so they weren’t so interested in him, but now he is helping put the Wildcats on the national map for the first time. Good for him.

3) You look at Gonzaga as a #1 seed that has never been to a Final Four; they’ll be the #1 seed out west if they wind up as a #1— now you look at Bracketology to see who they could possibly face in a second round game, just to get to the Sweet 16. They’ll have lot of pressure on them.

Here are the 8-9 seed matchups that ESPN has up right now; I know it is still early, but it gives you a little bit of an idea what could be ahead for Gonzaga.

USC-Indiana…..Marquette-Arkansas……Va Tech-Kansas State…….Michigan St-Dayton

Wow, being a #1 seed and playing a Michigan St-Dayton winner would be a really hard second round game. We’re 5.5 weeks away from all that, but it is food for thought.

2) Carroll Hardy played eight years in the majors, from 1958-67; he hit .225 with 17 career HR’s. His claim to fame is that he is the only player who ever pinch-hit for Ted Williams.

Hardy also played 10 games for the 49ers in 1955; he caught 12 passes, four for TD’s. After his playing days, he became player personnel director for the Denver Broncos in the 70’s. Interesting career.

1— Next four Super Bowl sites: Minnesota-Atlanta-Miami-Los Angeles, with three of those four coming in very new stadiums. Wonder if there will be a Super Bowl in Las Vegas someday.

Tuesday’s List of 13: Nobody asked me, but………

13) St Louis Cardinals have to send the Astros $2M and two draft picks as payment for the hacking scandal that saw one of their employees hit with criminal charges.

12) Kid named Mathias on Purdue makes 49% (49-100) of his 3-pointers, a superior shooter. Was very frustrating watching the Boilermakers play at Nebraska Sunday and the kid who is guarding Mathias would leave him to help out on dribble penetration. No!!!!!

A 49% 3-point shooter is like a 73.5% 2-point shooter; you never leave a guy like that, but the old school “help defense” school of thinking says you should. No bueno. Mathias had 19 points but Nebraska pulled the upset anyway. Never leave a great 3-point shooter.

11) These teams had the most turnovers in any college hoop game this season: Manhattan 40, Western Carolina 34, New Hampshire 34.

The common thread of those three games? They all came against West Virginia.

10) Joel Embiid played less than one year (23 games) in college at Kansas, scoring 11.2 pts/game in 23.2 mpg; he then missed two full seasons because of injury. Now he has emerged as a force in the NBA, scoring 20.3 pts/game in 25.4 mpg in 31 games for the 76ers.

Both very impressive and very surprising.

9) Kenny Smith took a night off from the TNT studios last week and the result was a great debate between Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal on whether the Cavaliers need more help to defend their championship. Good spirited debate; less people makes for better TV.

8) Employees at the Albany Times-Union, the main newspaper in my hometown, haven’t had a raise in 3,376 days, or 9.25 years. Long time.

7) What four colleges have the most players in this year’s Super Bowl?

Alabama, LSU, Stanford aren’t surprising, but Rutgers having four guys in it is.

6) FOX Sports’ Steve Lavin compared Utah hoop coach Larry Krystkowiak’s coaching style to Robert Duvall in The Great Santini, where Duvall was a military parent who used tough love in raising his kids. Lavin is great with movie references but not sure that was a compliment.

5) If you care about such things, Eastern Washington is 8-1 vs spread in Big Sky games this season.

4) Someone on MLB Network was touting Dwight Evans as a Hall of Fame over the weekend; ugh. Evans is like Keith Hernandez; an outstanding defensive player who wasn’t a great player, but was a really, really good player on very good teams. I’d vote Hernandez for the HOF before I’d vote for Evans and I wouldn’t vote for Hernandez.

3) More bad injury news from the Big East: Xavier loses PG Edmond Sumner for the season with a torn ACL, joining Creighton’s Maurice Watson on the sidelines with a knee injury.

2) This is a quote in the Blue Ribbon Basketball Yearbook, a preseason hoop guide, from Arizona coach Sean Miller:

“Allonzo Trier has been in the gym more this summer than some guys who consider themselves hard workers would’ve done over two summers………..his body, his waist, his body fat— he looks like a different person and that’s through hard work. It is an obsession for him to become a great player and it’s so fun to be around him because he is maturing.”

Consider then, that Trier was later declared ineligible for most of the season due to having PED’s in his system. Maybe he really did get in a car accident and maybe a relative did give him PED’s to recover, but in today’s world, it isn’t difficult to be cynical.

1— Speaking of Arizona, the road team is 9-0-2 vs spread in Arizona’s Pac-12 games so far this season. With Trier eligible again, the Wildcats are going to be a fashionable Final Four pick.

NHL teams’ records on back end of back/back games

NHL teams’ records on the second night of back/back games:

Anaheim Ducks 3-6……….Arizona Coyotes 2-6
Boston Bruins 1-7…………Buffalo Sabres 3-5
Calgary Flames 3-7……….Carolina Hurricanes 6-4
Chicago Blackhawks 6-3…Colorado Avalanche 3-2
Columbus Blue Jackets 6-5……Dallas Stars 2-4
Detroit Red Wings 3-3…….Edmonton Oilers 3-3
Florida Panthers 4-6………Los Angeles Kings 4-4
Minnesota Wild 4-3………..Montreal Canadiens 6-4
Nashville Predators 3-4…..New Jersey Devils 6-5
New York Islanders 1-6……New York Rangers 8-1
Ottawa Senators 5-2………Philadelphia Flyers 8-5
Pittsburgh Penguins 4-5…..St Louis Blues 5-2
San Jose Sharks 6-3………Tampa Bay Lightning 1-8
Toronto Maple Leafs 2-7…..Vancouver Canucks 4-7
Washington Capitals 2-5…..Winnipeg Jets 4-5

Monday’s List of 13: More Super Bowl prop bets……

More prop bets for this weekend’s Super Bowl from the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas:
13) Distance of first made field goal of game:
over 34.5 yards, -$130, under 34.5 yards, +$110

12) Total touchdowns by both teams:
over 6.5, -$150, under +$130

11) Largest lead of the game by either team:
over 16.5 points, -$130, under 16.5 points, +$110

10) Will the team that scores first win the game? yes, -$175, no +$155

9) Will there be a TD scored by the defense or special teams?
yes, +$145, no -$165

8) Which team will score last? Patriots -$130, Falcons +$110

7) Will there be a lead change in 4th quarter? yes +330, no -$400

6) Total passing yards for Tom Brady:
over 300.5 yards, -$110, under 300.5 yards, -$110

5) Total passing yards for Matt Ryan:
over 320.5 yards, -$110, under 320.5 yards, -$110

4) Total receiving yards by Julian Edelman:
over 100.5 yards, -$110, under 100.5 yards, -$110

3) Total points scored by the Falcons:
over 28, -$110, under 28, -$110

2) Total first downs by New England: over 23.5, -$110, under 23.5, -$110

1— What will happen first?
Falcons score, -$135, Falcons punt, +$115

Sunday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a basketball Saturday…….

13) Kansas 79, Kentucky 73— Michael Buffer announced the starting lineups, but Jayhawks KO’d the home team, handing Kentucky its second loss in a row.

12) Miami 77, North Carolina 62— Tar Heels jumped out to an 11-2 lead, then got their butts kicked by a Miami team that had been struggling the last couple of weeks. Playing Thursday, then again at 1pm on Saturday is an issue for college teams.

11) Duke 85, Wake Forest 83— Kennard scored 34 points, 30 in the second half, as Duke tore the Demon Deacons’ hearts out with a late comeback. Before scoring the GW basket, Duke’s last lead was 18-17- Wake Forest led by 10 at the half.

Danny Manning has his work cut out for him, pasting back together his team’s psyche; this was the first home sellout in eight years for Wake Forest- they went all-in and then had the game taken away from them. Curious to see how a young team responds to that.

10) Georgia Tech 62, Notre Dame 60— Yellow Jackets are 5-4 in ACC; they were picked to finish last by EVERYBODY. Assistant coach Eric Reveno has worked wonders with Lammers, the big kid inside— he’s been a force for Tech.

9) Wisconsin 61, Rutgers 54 OT— Scarlet Knights led by 9 with 3:15 left at Madison Square Garden, had an upset in their reach, but let it slip away.

8) San Diego 68, Portland 50— Cameron Neubauer is a sturdy forward for the Toreros, a very effective player— his grandfather Bob Fry was an offensive lineman in the NFL for 10 years, with the Rams/Cowboys, after he played for Bear Bryant at Kentucky.

San Diego is a well-coached team that needs another player or two so it has enough depth to compete with the big boys in the WCC.

7) Warriors 144, Clippers 98— Not exactly what ESPN had in mind for Saturday night entertainment. Who would watch this?

6) Upsets of the Day:
— UTEP (+15.5) 91, Marshall 68— Miners scored 91 points despite going 1-9 on the arc; Tim Floyd was an NBA coach- he’s very good. UTEP won four of its last five games after a rough start to the season.
— Georgetown (+11.5) 85, Butler 81
— Auburn (+9) 88, TCU 80
— Northern Arizona (+9) 68, North Dakota 67

5) Maryland 85, Minnesota 78— Terps are now 11-1 this season in games decided by 8 or less points. Minnesota lost its poise in last couple of minutes; they’ve lost five games in a row after a 15-2 start, with last four losses all by 7 or less points.

4) Wm & Mary 96, NC-Wilmington 78— First CAA loss for the Seahawks, who beat W&M by 24 in their first meeting this season.

3) Cal-Davis 74, Cal-Irvine 65— Home team was 35-46 on the foul line; road team was 11-16. Coach of the road team wasn’t happy. Irvine has a very young team; they’re going to be very good in the Big West next year and the year after.

2) Colorado 74, Oregon 65— Huge win for Buffs, who started season 0-7 in Pac-12 but won couple of home games this week. Loss was first for Oregon since mid-November.

1— Central Michigan 105, Kent State 98 OT— Chippewas are unusual; their two best scorers are both 5-9 guards, so they play fast. CMU was 14-36 on the arc; their two guards combined to score 67 points in a game Kent led by 5 at the half.

Saturday’s List of 13: Small Sampling of Super Bowl prop bets

The list of Super Bowl prop bets from the Westgate SuperBook is a 32-page PDF document that is simply amazing. Here are 13 wagers I picked out that looked interesting.

13) Will either team score three straight times? (PAT’s, 2-point conversions don’t count)
Yes -$175, No +$155

12) Will either team score in the first 6:30 of the game?
Yes -$140, No +$120

11) Will either team in final 2:00 of first half? (score at exactly 2:00 left counts)
Yes -$250, No +$210

10) Will either team score in final 3:30 of the game? (overtime is included)
Yes -$155, No +$135

9) Team with most penalty yards: Falcons -$125, Patriots +$105

8) Total number of sacks by both teams
Over 4, even
Under 4, under -$120

7) Length of Julian Edelman’s first reception
Over 9.5 yards, -$110, Under 9.5 yards, -$110

6) Length of Julio Jones’ first reception
Over 12.5 yards, even, Under 12.5 yards, -$120

5) Will Matt Ryan throw an interception?
Yes -$135, No +$115

4) First punt by Falcons’ punter Matt Bosher (if he doesn’t punt, bets are refunded)
Over 45.5 yards, -$110, Under 45.5 yards, -$110

3) Team that scores first: Patriots -$130, Falcons +$110

2) Longest made field goal of game:
Over 45.5 yards, -$130, Under 45.5 yards, +$110

1— Longest touchdown play of the game
Over 49.5 yards, -$110, Under 49.5 yards, -$110

Friday’s List of 13: Random thoughts with weekend here……

13) January 14, 1974 was the first Super Bowl played in Houston, at Rice Stadium; the Dolphins beat Minnesota 24-7. For the entire game, Miami QB Bob Griese was 6-7 passing for 93 yards. FOR THE WHOLE GAME. Seven passes, plus he was sacked once.

Football has changed tremendously in the last 40 years.

12) From 1975-80, Duke and Clemson both had basketball coaches named Bill Foster, which is a little odd, since they’re conference rivals in the ACC.

Duke’s Bill Foster had the Blue Devils in the 1978 Final Four but left a couple years later, upset over some little things, one of which was the school’s refusal to pave the coaches’ parking lot.

So Mike Krzyzewski became Duke’s coach in part because the school wouldn’t pave a parking lot. Life is funny sometimes.

11) Ice Cube is starting a 3-on-3 half-court, summer basketball league for retired NBA players called Big3, which starts this June. The league will eight teams of five players each and the league will apparently tour the country together, with each team playing once in each city.

10) Three assistant football coaches at Michigan are now making over $1M a year; thats not counting head coach Jim Harbaugh. I get it that coordinators make $1M+, but the third guy?

9) Eldrick Woods started this week ranked #663 in the World Golf Rankings.

8) When Lebron James says “….we need a bleeping playmaker” he means someone who makes his teammates better by passing the ball. He wasn’t referring to Carmelo Anthony.

7) Louisville lost another point guard with Tony Hicks going down for 4-6 weeks with a broken hand. I doubt Pitt has much sympathy for them, after the 51-point drubbing Louisville put on the Panthers earlier this week.

6) Monday night, someone at The D Casino in Las Vegas bet a $5 parlay on the money line on these NBA teams: Miami Heat +$650, Knicks +$195, Clippers +$270, Sacramento +$240, Milwaukee +$195. When those five underdogs all won SU, that $5 ticket turned into $3,800.

5) 30 years ago, a 30-second commercial on the Super Bowl telecast cost $550,000. This year, that same commercial would cost $5,000,000. Thats million, with an M.

4) There will be at least one fewer bowl game next year; the Poinsettia Bowl is no longer, as San Diego will have only only one bowl, the Holiday Bowl next season. The Poinsettia Bowl existed for 12 years.

3) NBA teams will have corporate advertising on their uniforms next year; Celtics will have a GE patch on their uniforms. They’re supposedly making $7M from GE on the deal.

2) Late one night at the Australian Open earlier this week, Brad Gilbert interviewed Giants’ punter Brad Wing, who is from Australia and was at the tournament.

1— Haven’t made my summer travel plans yet, but would be fun to be in Las Vegas during the British Open. Couple years ago, I was sitting at a bar late one night in Vegas, watching the end of an extra inning baseball game in Arizona, while at the same time watching early morning golf from across the pond. Thursday night baseball, Friday morning golf. Not bad.

Thursday’s List of 13: Wrapping up last two nights of hoops

13) The great Brent Musburger is retiring from TV broadcasting next week, the end of an era where he was one of America’s most recognizable voices.

Musburger trivia: When he was a young man, in 1959, Brent was an umpire in Class A ball out in the Pacific Northwest. He once umpired a game where the catcher was a young Tim McCarver, who went to play a long time in the big leagues and who also became a prominent broadcaster.

12) Turns out that Musburger is leaving ESPN to become the main voice for the soon-to-be-launched Vegas Sports Information Network, which has a nearly completed studio on the floor of the South Point Casino. The network will be available on SiriusXM radio.

As luck would have it, my next Las Vegas vacation is going to be at South Point, so that could turn out to be very cool.

11) Celtics 120, Rockets 109— Quote from Boston TV guy Mike Gorman: “This is like when you go to a high school rival and they have two local guys officiating.”

Gorman is supposed to be the reasonable guy on Celtic telecasts. Oy.

10) Georgia Tech 75, Florida State 56— So Florida State beats Duke/Louisville, everyone is touting them as a Sweet 16 team (at least) and then they’re down 41-15 at the half in this game. Now as a handicapper, I cannot trust the Seminoles.

Josh Pastner might be doing the best coaching job in the whole country.

9) Louisville 106, Pitt 51— Think Jamie Dixon enjoyed this score? He bolted Pitt because he felt unappreciated, now the Panthers are 1-6 in the ACC while Dixon has TCU contending to get into the NCAA’s. And Louisville played this game without their injured point guard.

8) USC 82, UCLA 74— Bruins got their butts kicked by a more athletic, tougher team that also made 14-34 on the arc. UCLA is soft and very young, but they’re way better than this. Trojans held Bryce Alford to 3 points; if he isn’t scoring, he is totally bleeping useless.

7) Marquette 74, Villanova 72— Hard to win when you go 6-34 on the arc. Villanova led this game 68-55 with 5:43 left to play, but faded down stretch. Wildcats played only seven guys.

6) VMI 80, Chattanooga 64— Keydets were a 22.5-point underdog. 22-point underdogs don’t win very much.

5) Tennessee 82, Kentucky 80— Vols fell behind 8-2 early, survived shaky (17-27) foul shooting and pulled off a big upset. Kentucky’s last three road games were all decided by 7 or less points.

4) Penn 77, LaSalle 74— Last two years, Ivy League teams are now just 3-14 against A-14 teams. LaSalle had been playing well until the last couple games, which were awful.

3) West Virginia 85, Kansas 69— Bob Huggins gets a $25,000 bonus every time he beats Kansas; he donates the money to cancer research, in honor of his late mother. Jayhawks have now lost their last four visits to Morgantown.

2) Wyoming 66, UNLV 65— Cowboys were up 18 at the half, but trailed by 3 with 1:35 left before they pulled game out down the stretch. Teams combined to go 18-34 on foul line.

1— RIP Mary Tyler Moore. I spent a ton of time as a kid watching her TV show and the old Dick Van Dyke Show. A terrific actress. She also had a variety show on CBS in the late 70’s that helped launch David Letterman’s comedy career.

I’m having lunch at a bar yesterday and had to explain to one of the younger workers who Mary Tyler Moore was. Showed him some pictures of her off the Interweb and he says “Oh, she was beautiful.” Indeed.

Wednesday’s List of 13: Quotes, tweets, other stuff…….

13) Tweet of the Day #1, from ESPN’s Seth Greenberg: “I seriously feel it is not in (Grayson) Allen’s best interest to play the remainder of the season. He surely is not himself and seems distracted!”

Grayson Allen isn’t playing well; not sure how sitting out would help anyone, but that was Seth Greenberg’s opinion and he was a D-I coach for a long time, so I respect that.

12) Tweet of the Day #2, from Evan Longoria on the Rays’ trade Monday: “I’m surprised and upset at losing a player, clubhouse presence and friend like Logan (Forsythe). He’s a rare player’’

What he means is, “I need some protection in the damn lineup or I’ll never see another fastball.”

11) Tweet of the Day, #3, from MGM Resorts sports book hub manager Jeff Stoneback, talking about the Super Bowl spread: ”It would take a minimum of a half-a-million (dollars) for us to move off 3, but we’ve got house players who can do it with one wager.”

10) Quote of the Day, #2: “Get it to a shooter!!! Instead, he got it to Solomon Hill”
New Orleans Pelicans TV guy Joel Meyers, at end of the Pelicans’ upset of Cleveland Monday night. Apparently Meyers doesn’t think much of Hill’s shooting (he made 1 of 2, Pelicans won)

9) Quote of the Day, #3: “Them skeezers ain’t going to be out for the bad teams.” Charles Barkley, on TNT Monday night, talking about why good teams may struggle on the road in certain cities, like Miami, New Orleans, New York and Los Angeles. Party cities.

The exact definition of “skeezers” wasn’t given, but apparently whoever they are, they don’t like to party with players from non-contending teams.

8) Quote of the Day, #4— “Seriously, why are we showing the Knicks?”
Barkley again, complaining (again) that the Knicks are on a TNT game

7) Quote of the Day, #5— “It’s like when you don’t have bodies. It’s tough. The bleeping grind of the regular season. We’re a top-heavy team. We have a top-heavy team. We top-heavy as shit. It’s me, [Kyrie Irving], [Kevin Love]. It’s top-heavy.”

“We need a bleeping playmaker. I’m not saying you can just go find one, like you can go outside and see trees. I didn’t say that.”
Lebron James after the Cavaliers lost in New Orleans

6) By whatever metric ESPN uses, Oklahoma has played the toughest basketball schedule in the country this season; they’re a very young team, so thats a bad combination.

5) Troy Aikman told a story Sunday about how Dallas center Mark Stepnoski once tore up his knee during a game, but he stayed in the game for five more plays before coming out and he wound up needing a total knee reconstruction. Football players are tough.

4) Was surprised Sunday that with 12:53 left in the game and Green Bay driving, Joe Buck made an Al Michaels-like reference to the over/under in the game. Never heard him do that before. People who bet the over can thank Aaron Rodgers’ competitive drive for cashing their bets.

3) Cleveland Cavaliers are 3-5 in their last eight games, all against Western Conference clubs. Not only do the Cavaliers need another point guard, they need to get back to playing the weaker Eastern Conference teams.

2) I wonder if Shaka Smart regrets leaving VCU? Other than the money, of course, but Texas doesn’t play anything like his VCU teams play— he could out-recruit teams in the A-14, but he can’t in the Big X and the people in Austin ain’t going to be happy for much longer with the lousy record the Longhorns have this season.

VCU could be like Gonzaga is out west and he would still be making over $1M a year, winning all the while. The Big X doesn’t have any bad teams, but somebody still has to finish last.

1— February 11 they’re going to have a TV show that will publicize who the top 16 seeds in the NCAA tournament would be if the season ended then. It doesn’t end then, so the show is irrelevant, but it’ll get people talking more about college basketball, which is a good thing.

Tuesday’s List of 13: Nobody asked me, but…….

13) Michigan Wolverines are having spring football practice….in Italy? Jim Harbaugh is very creative, a little weird. This has to cost a lot of money. Does it help them?

12) Floyd Mayweather has a guy in his entourage who walks around with a doctor’s bag that is filled with a ton of cash, in case he wants to bet. Last Thursday, he wanted to bet.

Mayweather wagered $100,000 on Gonzaga (-8, -$115) in the first half of its game at Santa Clara. His winning wager netted him $86,956. Not bad work for an hour.

11) Interesting baseball trade: Dodgers send pitching prospect Jose DeLeon to Tampa Bay for versatile IF Logan Forsythe.

24-year old DeLeon was 2-0, 6.35 in four starts (17 IP) for LA last year. 30-year old Forsythe hit .264 with 20 HR’s LY- he’s played all four infield positions, but was strictly at 2B LY.

10) Andy Iskoe is a really smart guy, an excellent handicapper. He points out that since Super Bowl XXX, the team with the better regular season record is 1-14-1 vs spread in Super Bowls, the one cover being Tampa Bay in 2002 when Jon Gruden coached against his old team.

Underdogs won last five, and seven of last nine Super Bowls SU.

9) There are five ex-Browns, five ex-Redskins playing in this year’s Super Bowl.

8) Before this NFL season started, more people bet on Cleveland to win the Super Bowl than bet on the Falcons to win it. Gambling is difficult, but it isn’t that difficult.

7) For the first time ever, college football teams averaged over 30 pts/game (30.04) this year.

6) Northern Colorado University is located in Greeley, CO. Tom Norton is Greeley’s mayor; he has courtside seats at Northern Colorado’s hoop games- the coach is his neighbor.

Referees told Mayor Norton to take a hike Saturday when he came on the court to argue a call against his beloved Bears. The mayor later returned and sat in a different seat (further away from the court) as Northern Colorado lost 74-69 to Big Sky leader Weber State.

5) Back in 2005, when Nick Saban was coaching the Miami Dolphins, his defensive line coach was Dan Quinn, who will coach the Falcons in the Super Bowl next weekend.

4) There is a pro tennis player who wears a mouthpiece during matches, supposedly to help his balance. I’m not sure who came up with that idea, but if it helps, then it helps.

3) Chris Evert was saying that tennis players today are more isolated from each other now than they used to be; Evert told a story about she used to practice with rival Martina Navratilova and also have lunch with her before matches, which seems unusual.

Players today have so much more money, they have their own entourages and they hang out with them instead of other players.

The retractable roof at the Australian Open can be closed during a match if if rains, but once it is closed, it has to stay closed during the rest of that match.

2) NC State 84, Duke 82— Wolfpack lost by 51 in Chapel Hill, but they pulled the upset here as a 16-point underdog, rallying back from down 9 late in game. State had lost five of its last seven games coming in.

Last time the Wolfpack won in Durham was 1995, which is also the last time Coach Krzyzewski had back surgery.

1— Northwestern’s win at Ohio State Sunday was their first one since 1977, when the Wildcats’ coach was Tex Winter, who went on to be one of Phil Jackson’s assistants with the Chicago Bulls.

Monday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend

13) Willie Taggart is the new football coach at Oregon, but his tenure is off to a rocky start; three of his players wound up in the hospital after workouts under the new strength coach (who came with Taggart from USF) who was then suspended for a month.

Then his new offensive coordinator was arrested for DUI last week and will be fired for cause. All this in about a month. No bueno.

12) Al Geiberger was the first golfer to shoot 59 in a PGA event; he won the Memphis Open that week by three shots, Weird thing is, his other three rounds that week? 72-70-72.

How do you shoot 59 one day and not break 70 any of the other three days?

11) Of the eight rounds of 59 on Tour, only four came on par-72 courses.

Adam Hadwin shot 59 this week and didn’t win the tournament.

10) Broadcaster Barry Tompkins is in his mid-70’s now; he teaches broadcasting in college, has been a local sports anchor, been in movies (Rocky IV), broadcast boxing, football, basketball, tennis- he’s had a great career.

Working the LMU-Santa Clara basketball game Saturday night, Tompkins told partner Brad Holland that he never attended college. Apparently he tried to become an actor at an early age and that didn’t go too well. Things worked out really well since then, though.

9) When the NBA players voted for the All-Star teams, 51 players voted for Kristaps Porzingis, 50 players voted for Carmelo Anthony.

8) Cal Poly has an assistant coach from Poland, a freshman big man from Poland and will apparently try to start a recruiting pipeline from Poland, much like what St Mary’s has done with Australian players.

There is a Big West rule that teams have to give at least 7 of their 13 scholarships to kids from California, so the Mustangs will be going international with those other six free rides.

7) Arizona beat UCLA Saturday; heard someone saying that Sean Miller gave everyone else the blueprint for how to beat the Bruins. One small problem with that:

Very few teams have Arizona’s talent level, a level right there with UCLA and few teams defend like Arizona does— they were great at contesting 3-pointers Saturday.

6) There have been 19 games this season where a D-I college player scored 40+ points in a game; that player’s team is 12-7 in those games.

5) Virginia Tech 82, Clemson 81— Tigers have now lost six games in a row, as a promising season has turned into the season from hell.

Same thing at Colorado; the Buffs were picked to finish 4th in the Pac-12; right now, they’re 0-7 after losing in OT at perennial league doormat Washington State.

4) I don’t want to hear anything about 11 or 12 teams from the ACC making the NCAA’s; you finish 11th or 12th in a 15-team league, you don’t deserve to be in the national tournament.

These days, the Big-5 football conferences wield a lot of power, but the line has to be drawn somewhere. Much rather see two teams from mid-major leagues get in the tournament.

3) Patriots 36, Steelers 17— How come the Patriots win so much but no one hires their coordinators to become head coaches?

I’m guessing Antonio Brown didn’t broadcast Mike Tomlin’s postgame speech on Facebook.

2) Falcons 44, Packers 21— This was an awful game, just a complete destruction by the Falcon offense, which put up 493 yards in an easy win.

1— Kickers were 33-33 on field goals this postseason until Mason Crosby’s missed field goal in first quarter in Atlanta.

Sunday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday……

13) Florida State 73, Louisville 68— More than once on this telecast, Dick Vitale ripped the Florida State fans for being frontrunners: “If you want these fans to come back, you better win this game.”

I’m sure Leonard Hamilton will love those comments, but his team did win.

12) Arizona 96, UCLA 85— This was first time in ten years these teams met when both were in the top 15 in national ratings. Arizona played great defense in this game; they contested 3’s without fouling and held Bruins to 10-31 from the arc.

11) Butler 70, DePaul 69 OT— Blue Demons led 25-5 right off the bat, missed FT with 0:01 left to win game, as Bulldogs avoided what would’ve been a really bad loss.

10) Upsets of the Day:
— Vanderbilt (+12) won 68-66 in a noon game at Florida, snapping a 4-game losing skid.
— Niagara (+10.5) won 57-55 over a St Peter’s team playing its 4th game in seven days.

9) UNLV 87, Air Force 85 (2 OT’s)— Last two times these teams met, there were total of five OT’s played. Rebels tied game with a banked 3 at buzzer of regulation; Falcons returned favor at buzzer of the first OT, then banked another 3 at the buzzer of the second OT to cover the 3-point pointspread.

8) Oklahoma State 83, Texas Tech 64— Cowboys get their first Big X win (1-6); they’ve led five of the seven games at halftime.

7) Wake Forest 93, NC State 88— Wolfpack was 16-27 on foul line, 6-26 on arc, and still scored 88 points. Wake Forest was 29-33 on foul line, which made all the difference.

6) Central Michigan 101, Miami OH 92— 5-foot-9 Marcus Keene scored 50 for the Chippewas, who were down 10 at the half. CMU was 20-33 behind the arc.

5) Notre Dame 84, Syracuse 66— Orangemen have lost eight in row on the road, their longest road losing streak since 1962.

4) Marquette 102, Creighton 94- Bluejays’ first game without injured PG Mo Watson (out for year) didn’t go well.

3) Duke 70, Miami 58— Hurricanes led by 11 at half, then Duke started second half on a 20-1 run. Having Amile Jefferson back helps the Blue Devils.

2) Spurs 118, Cavaliers 115, OT– ABC got a barnburner for their first Saturday primetime game of the year. I’m guessing Lebron James must like the Cavaliers’ sleeved uniforms, or else they wouldn’t wear them. Kawhi Leonard had 41 points for the Spurs.

1— Kentucky 85, South Carolina 69— Sindarius Thornwell scored 34 of Gamecocks’ 69 points, but there is no one in the SEC who can hang with Kentucky in Rupp Arena.

Saturday’s List of 13: Random stuff on a winter day

13) Packers-Falcons Sunday is the last football game at the Georgia Dome; Falcons get a new domed stadium next season. Georgia Dome is where the Rams won their Super Bowl; kind of sad to see it go. Plus, it isn’t that old, maybe 25 years old?

Braves/Falcons both get new stadiums in 2017; people in Georgia must pay lot of taxes.

12) Was fun watching some D-League on TV this week; every college player should be glued to it, to see how many really good college players aren’t in the NBA. Until your game is as refined as it can be, you’d be wise to stay in college, get your education as you prep for pro basketball.

11) To make the NBA, you have to be great at one thing; a player named Devondrick Walker from Texas A&M-Commerce was 12-12 on the arc in two games for the 76ers’ D-League team this week. Shooters are always marketable- maybe the Sixers will call him up.

10) The Texas high school football championship game drew 35,089 fans; thats more than 20 of the 40 college bowl games that were played this season.

9) Florida State’s basketball team is 5-1 in the ACC; opponents are shooting 46.1% outside the arc against the Seminoles, only 42.9% inside the arc. Very unusual set of numbers.

8) Over his last 13 games, totaling 316:00, Rajon Rondo has taken zero foul shots. None. Bupkus.

Over his last 17 games, covering 442:00, he is 0-2 on the charity stripe. How does this happen?

7) Washington Wizards’ Otto Porter didn’t play AAU ball as a kid; his parents wouldn’t let him. His dad was the all-time leading scorer at SE Missouri State, thought Otto would develop better as a player if he just worked on his game and he was right.

6) Speaking of the Wizards, they’re 17-7 in their last 24 games, after a 6-12 start. Glad for coach Scott Brooks, who got a raw deal in Oklahoma City.

5) I had no idea that Mississauga is the 6th-largest city in Canada. Now I know.

4) If you’re a student at U of Oregon, your student ID also serves as a free bus pass for the city of Eugene, so you’ve got that going for you.

3) I’m not sure which is more surprising, that someone didn’t vote for Ken Griffey Jr for the Hall of Fame last year, or that Tim Wakefield got a Hall of Fame vote this year.

2) Georgia leads the SEC, shooting 73.9% on the foul line as a team; there are five teams in the Southern Conference shooter higher than that from the line.

1— It still amuses me how close some fans are to the benches in NBA games; those tickets cost a lot of money, but they’re sitting right next to the trainer or an assistant coach. Have to be some interesting conversations that go on, ya think?

Friday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a basketball Thursday…..

13) Maryland 84, Iowa 76— NFL ref Gene Steratore gets around; he worked the Ohio State-Nebraska basketball game Wednesday, then worked this game.

Seven of the ten starters in this game are freshmen.

12) Memphis 70, Houston 67 OT— Best game I saw Thursday, but it was a brickfest; Tigers won despite going 9-21 on the foul line. Teams combined to go 8-37 on the arc.

11) North Dakota State 89, Fort Wayne 83— Who said shooting is a lost art? Bison were 13-22 behind the arc in this game, Fort Wayne was 16-31. Tough night if you go 16-31 on 3’s and lose.

10) Oregon 86, Cal 63– Ducks are 4-0 at home in Pac-12, winning last three home games by 23-42-23 points, but lost Dillon Brooks again to another leg injury. Cal’s big man Ivan Rabb was 2-10 in this game; if thats all they’re going to get from him, Golden Bears won’t beat anyone who is any good.

9) UCLA 102, Arizona State 80— ASU fired Herb Sendek in 2015 and replaced him with Bobby Hurley; if they think that was an upgrade, they’re imbeciles. Arizona State is a tough job; Hurley will have to be a GREAT recruiter to make the Sun Devils a consistent winner.

As for UCLA, they’re great this year, but Lonzo Ball will be in the NBA next year; then what?

8) LaSalle 91, Davidson 83— Much-improved Explorers are 11-5, 5-1 in the A-14- they scored 84 pts/game during their 5-game win streak.

7) Random thought: How is Russell Westbrook not starting in the All-Star Game?

6) SMU 69, UConn 49— Rough year for the 7-12 Huskies; they trailed 41-17 at halftime.

5) Middle Tennessee State 65, FIU 52- Blue Raiders are only unbeaten (6-0) team left in Conference USA.

4) North Dakota 83, Weber State 77— Wildcats were last unbeaten team in Big Sky play.

3) Wizards 113, Knicks 110— Washington has won seven of its last eight games.

2) NC-Wilmington 65, Charleston 59— Seahawks win battle of unbeatens in CAA.

1— ESPN’s people like to put Gonzaga in late night slots; problem is, they’re so good that their games aren’t that much fun to watch. Gonzaga in the WCC is like UNLV was in the Big West during the Tark the Shark heyday 26-28 years ago, totally dominant.

Thursday’s List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud…….

13) Did you know that Anheuser-Busch has the option to buy the first ad of the Super Bowl, and they’ve declined two of the past three years? Their research shows them that commercials later in the game get more attention that those early on. By doing that, they’re gambling the game isn’t a blowout and people stop paying attention.

Advertising is also a big money game. Over the last 35 Super Bowls, Anheuser Busch has spent over $520M in advertising.

12) Three Oregon football players went to the hospital after off-season workouts, and so the new strength coach of the Ducks has been suspended for a month, replaced by the old strength coach, who must be laughing up his sleeve.

The new strength coach came from South Florida with coach Willie Taggart; supposedly he does not have the college degree a person in his position usually has.

Signing Day is 13 days away; stuff like that can hurt your recruiting.

11) Back in 1960, the first year of the AFL, the Los Angeles Chargers had a damn good coaching staff. Sid Gillman was head coach; two of his assistants were Al Davis and Chuck Noll. Not bad.

10) Tony Romo has a steel rod in the collarbone that has been broken three times.

I mention this because the last couple of times I flew, the security person asked me if I had any steel rods in my body. Maybe I look like an NFL quarterback or maybe I just look old, you make the call but my preference is to think I look like a former signal caller.

9) Tennis player Nick Kyrgios was trailing 6-5 in the third set late Tuesday night in Australia when he actually hit a return shot between his legs, like it was nothing. Seriously, I’d be in traction if I tried to do what he did, even without any steel rods in my body.

I don’t know much about tennis, but this guy looks like a little like Giancarlo Stanton, resembles a Greek Adonis, but John McEnroe ripped Kyrgios after he lost his second round match, saying “…..he has about the #200 mental game.” Alrighty then.

8) Congrats to Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell, Pudge Rodriguez on getting into the Hall of Fame. Will be lot of people coming down from Montreal to Cooperstown in July, I’m pretty sure.

One other HOF note: if David Ortiz gets put in the Hall of Fame someday and that seems likely, then they need to put Edgar Martinez in also. His career on-base %age was .418. Four-Freakin’-eighteen.

Just because he played on the west coast shouldn’t mean he gets excluded.

7) Since 2010, your major league leader in home runs? Jose Bautista, with 249.

6) If I ever get involved in coaching basketball again, I’d be a strong advocate for spending eight minutes of EVERY practice with kids practicing all different kinds of layups. It really helps.

This is something from the Princeton school of coaching; I’m no fan of the Princeton offense itself, but if you’re lucky enough to have players who get the ball close to the basket, it is a big help to have guys who can finish plays. Watch Belmont in the OVC; they’re crafty around the basket and it helps them neutralize more athletic opponents.

I see it all season watching college hoop for 5-6 hours a night; some teams have kids who are uncomfortable when they have the ball around the basket, unless they can dunk it.

5) Surprising fact: Atlanta Falcons have four rookie starters on defense.

4) Over last two years, Clippers are 5-12 in games that Chris Paul missed; he is now out 6-8 weeks with a torn ligament in his thumb.

3) Baylor’s Johnathan Motley had 32 points, 20 rebounds against Texas Monday night; it is really hard to go 30-20 in a basketball game, you have to be totally dominant. Baylor got zero votes in the preseason college hoop poll, but now they’re a top 10 team.

2) Washington Huskies QB Jake Browning had shoulder surgery this week; they did a nice job of hiding his injury thru the season.

1— The following numbers are presented as facts, not as any sort of political statement, but they are facts, and they are interesting.

President Obama commuted 1,385 prison sentences in his eight years in office, 504 of which were life sentences. He also pardoned 212 people. This is more than the last 12 presidents did combined.

I don’t have an opinion on these stats, other than when you do something more than the 12 people who had your job before you (combined), it is an interesting statistic.