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

13) Alex Rodriguez is going to have his own TV show on CNBC, dealing with athletes who have had financial problems in their post-playing days. The show will match athletes with “money-savvy mentors” who will advise the athletes on way to upgrade their financial situations.

12) One growing trend in college basketball; more and more teams are playing only 7-8 guys in a game, some only six. Would expect to see a rule change next year, where it’ll take six fouls to foul out, rather than five fouls.

11) Creighton guard Mo Watson tore his ACL Monday at Xavier, his college career is over. Very sad for the young man and his team; he is the Bluejays’ best player.

10) This is tremendous; 25 moving companies based in San Diego banded together and refuse to help the Chargers move north to Los Angeles.

Chargers kept Ken Whisenhunt as OC, a good move.

9) ESPN’s Sean McDonough did his first basketball telecast of the season Monday night in Chapel Hill; he seemed positively giddy to be working with Jay Bilas, after working with Jon Gruden on Monday Night Football all season. Draw your own conclusions.

8) Oklahoma City Thunder has nine games left in January; eight of them are on the road. Thunder will fly over 14,000 miles in January alone.

7) Happy birthday to the great Betty White, who turned 95 on Tuesday.

Also congrats to Roy Williams on his 800th win Monday night.

6) Phillies signed OF Michael Saunders to a 1-year deal; the oft-injured Saunders is 30, has played 130+ games in only three seasons, but he did hit 24 HR’s for Toronto LY.

5) Two guys in Las Vegas pooled $300 and money-lined the Packers in Week 12, and let it ride ever since. Their $300 investment now is worth $28,213.60 and if Green Bay wins on Sunday, it’ll be worth $76,176.70.

These guys tried the same thing LY (with two other friends) but the Cowboys lost the first week of the wager. I’m guessing the two friends who didn’t re-up this year are kicking themselves.

One of the two guys played basketball for Seth Greenberg at Long Beach State and later was an assistant coach for Greenberg, I think at South Florida.

4) Quinnipiac is 4-4 in the MAAC, an ordinary team, but they’ve covered their last seven MAAC games, making them a great team for those who wager on the Bobcats.

3) Chris Paul tore ligaments in his thumb Monday night, is out 6-8 weeks.

2) Houston Texans fired their offensive coordinator two days after their loss in Foxboro; they said “they mutually parted ways” which means they paid off his contract and told him to take a hike.

1— Interesting discussion on the Australian Open late Monday night, on how tennis players on the rise can actually play too much, if they advance further than expected in tournaments.

Marginal players play in more events, but if they go deep into the tournaments, it reduces their down time between events, increasing their risk of injury and making conditioning a lot more important. As a player improves, he/she actually reduce the number of events they play in.

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

13) When Orlando Magic coach Frank Vogel was in 8th grade, he appeared on the David Letterman Show in the Stupid Human Tricks segment, spinning a basketball on a toothbrush while brushing his teeth. I’m not a sure how a kid starts practicing that stunt, but he did and got good enough to be on national TV.

12) Speaking of the Magic, guard DJ Augustin has played for nine different NBA teams over the last six seasons; he’s banked roughly $28.3M in his career and must be an expert packer, too.

11) If you’re Mike Tomlin, whats your reaction that one of your star players was broadcasting your postgame speech live over the Interweb? Would’ve been nice if Antonio Brown had turned the camera off when Tomlin started speaking, but that isn’t what happened.

10) Kansas City Chiefs are first team in NFL playoff history to score multiple touchdowns, allow zero touchdowns in a playoff game, and still lose the game.

9) When the Packers hired Mike McCarthy as coach in 2006, the guy he beat out for the job was Sean Payton. Would’ve been fun to see Payton work with Aaron Rodgers.

8) Tex-Arlington 89, South Alabama 83— Glad to see the Sun Belt get exposure on ESPN; back when ESPN first started, Sun Belt was one of the first leagues to let ESPN broadcast its games on a regular basis.

7) Creighton 72, Xavier 67— Costly victory for Bluejays; senior PG Mo Watson went down with a knee injury and it didn’t look good- he said he heard it pop, rarely a good thing.

6) Saturday was just third time ever that the LA Lakers/Clippers/Kings all played in Staples Center on the same day.

5) After the 2014 college basketball season, South Florida tried to hire Manhattan coach Steve Masiello as basketball coach, but changed their mind after it turned out he was a couple courses short of having graduated from college at Kentucky.

Masiello got Manhattan to the NCAAs two years in a row and was one of hot names in the coaching carousel, but the last couple of years, Jaspers are just 20-29 and are struggling in the MAAC this season. Masiello has since gotten his college degree, but isn’t a hot name anymore, which seems ludicrous. He hasn’t gotten dumber the last two years.

Anyway, the South Florida job is open again; curious to see if USF goes after Masiello this time. They were also interested in then-UNLV coach Dave Rice back then; he’s an assistant at Nevada these days. Either guy would be a good hire for the Bulls.

4) There will be three college football games at Fenway Park next fall: UConn-Boston College, Brown-Dartmouth and UMass-Maine.

Long time ago, back in the 60’s, the Patriots played home games at Fenway.

3) Turns out Derrick Rose got fined $193,848 for missing that game last week; when the NBA suspends a player for a game, they take 1/110th of a player’s salary- for Rose thats the number. So not answering a phone call and making up a lie for 30 seconds cost him $193,848. Wow.

2) There is a new casino opening in Schenectady on February 8, around 15 miles from Armadillo World HQ. Am curious to see what it is like. Also wonder how long it will be before we can go there and bet on ballgames, like in Las Vegas.

1— Last week I asked about why the Chargers would move to LA instead of just staying where they were; read over the weekend where the value of the Charger franchise would roughly double after the move, more than making up for the $550M relocation fee they will pay out over the next decade. When in doubt, the answer is always “its about the money”.

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

13) Packers 34, Cowboys 31— Last 5:00 of this game turned into Arena Football; tremendous drama. There were three FG’s of 50+ yards in last 2:00 of this game. Aaron Rodgers is worth his weight in gold to the Packers, who led 21-3 in first half.

After the game, people were told not to leave the stadium due to a tornado warning, as a bad day for Dallas got even worse. Hope everyone got home safely.

12) Steelers 18, Chiefs 16— Andy Reid has a 173-114-1 regular record as an NFL coach; he is 11-12 in playoff games, 7-4 at home, 4-7 on road, 0-1 in Super Bowls.

From 2000-08, Reid was 10-7 in playoffs, 7-0 in the first playoff game of a season. Since 2009, he is 1-5 in playoff games, with home losses to Packers-Steelers. His Chiefs also lost a playoff game in Indy that they led 38-10 in the third quarter.

I equate Reid’s career with Chuck Knox, who was 186-147 in regular season games, 7-11 in playoff games. Hard to complain about guys who win as many regular season games as they did, but in January, their teams made you bang your head against a freakin’ wall.

As for the Chiefs with or without Reid, they’re 0-5 in home playoff games since 1995. Oy.

11) Another interesting stat I heard on my car radio Sunday: Since 2008, Aaron Rodgers has thrown 13 TD passes on a play where the opponent jumped offsides, giving him a “free play”. During that time, no one else in the NFL has more than three such TD passes.

10) FieldTurf makes refs’ job simpler on catches close to the sidelines; easy to see if the WR drags his toe on the ground, since the little black tire pellets pop up when the foot is dragged.

9) USC 71, Colorado 68— Buffs might be best team in country that is 0-5 in conference play; their coach WAS NOT HAPPY when this game ended. Losing isn’t fun.

USC basketball coach Andy Enfield scored over 2,000 points in his college career at D-III Johns Hopkins; he shot over 92% on the foul line for his career.

8) Georgia Tech 86, NC State 76— Tech was universally picked to finish last in the ACC; they’re 3-2 in league now, with wins over Carolina, Clemson and NC State. Josh Pastner is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met; he’s a damn good coach too.

7) I’m watching the San Diego-BYU game Saturday night; out of nowhere, they show Johnny Manziel sitting in the crowd with a buddy. There weren’t a lot of people at the game; was just kind of random. Hope he is getting his life in order.

6) Sonny Dykes must’ve really aggravated some people at Cal; for a football coach to be fired in mid-January, three weeks before Signing Day, then to have them hire a successor from outside the program, that is an indication of severe dysfunction that is potentially disastrous if they do not recruit well this year.

Knee-jerk reaction when Dykes got fired was that Cal was going after Chip Kelly, but that didn’t happen, so now the Golden Bears have a first-time head coach. Interesting decision.

5) Why is it so newsworthy that the Jaguars interviewed Kelly before they hired Doug Marrone as their coach? Their job is to interview good candidates and find the best one.

Al Davis used to interview a ton of people for openings with the Raiders, many of whom he had no intention of hiring, just to pick their brains and learn as much as he could about the Raiders, football and the NFL. It is smart business.

4) Steph Curry is the 4th-highest paid guy on the Warriors. Yikes.

3) Tickets to the Super Bowl in Houston dropped anywhere from 18-20% on StubHub after the Cowboys lost Sunday.

2) Early lines on next weekend’s conference championship games:
Falcons -4 over Green Bay and Patriots -6 over Pittsburgh.

1— Playoff wins of random NFL teams since 1999:

Patriots 23, Ravens 15, Steelers 15, Giants 10, Rams 6, Titans 5, Cowboys 2.

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

13) Falcons 36, Seahawks 20— Matt Ryan has a 2-4 career record in playoff games, with both wins at home against Seattle. Football is an emotional game; Seahawk lineman Michael Bennett went off on a reporter for a question he was asked after the game.

Side note: This result is a win for the Rams; had they waited for Kyle Shanahan to be available, this would’ve been bad. Now they already have their coach and are assembling a staff. Curious to see if Shanahan goes to San Francisco.

12) Patriots 34, Texans 16— Home favorites won/covered first six playoff games this month; bad for ratings, but what can you do? It is not pro wrestling or roller derby, where the finishes are scripted. Sometimes the top teams are just a lot better than the teams below them.

11) Upsets of the Day: Saint Louis (+14) got their first A-14 win, 63-56 at George Mason, and Brown (+12) upset Penn 82-70 in the Palestra. Stephen Spieth (Jordan’s brother) had 22 points for the victorious Bears and yes, he really is Jordan Spieth’s brother.

10) Louisville 78, Duke 69— Blue Devils are 2-3 in ACC, their worst league start since 1996, last time Mike Krzyzewski had his back operated on. Duke is fairly ordinary without big man Amile Jefferson, who has a bad foot (again). Louisville sometimes looks like they practice without a basketball, but boy can they defend.

9) West Virginia 74, Texas 72— Longhorns played their hearts out in first game without leading scorer Tevin Mack (suspended), but came up just short. This was just second win for West Virginia in their last eight games with Texas, which is floundering this year at 7-10, 1-4 Big X.

8) Mississippi State 67, Texas A&M 59— Starters in this game: 4 freshman, 5 sophomores and one lone junior. Two good teams; Ben Howland is quietly assembling a very good team down there in Starkville.

7) Loyola Marymount 79, Portland 78— Just watched a replay of this game; Portland led 78-73 with 0:45 left and then collapsed, just an awful loss, but LMU starts three seniors and they’re struggling, so unless they have a great recruiting year, they’ll get pummeled next year.

6) Illinois State 76, Wichita State 62— Big win for the Redbirds, who are challenging Wichita for MVC supremacy; it is possible the Valley could get two teams in NCAAs this year.

5) UCLA 83, Utah 82— If you had the Bruins -3, a pretty bad beat. Welsh hit two FT’s with 0:01 left to give UCLA an 83-80 lead, with ONE SECOND LEFT. Somehow, Utah throws a long pass right under the basket and the kid hits a short jumper and he celebrates like they just forced OT, except THEY WERE DOWN THREE  POINTS. Why do these arenas have scoreboards?

4) UTEP 66, Florida Atlantic 65 OT— Miners came into this weekend on a 12-game losing skid, but they won both home games, both by a point in OT. Winning helps and losing doesn’t.

3) TCU 84, Iowa State 77— Is Jamie Dixon National Coach of the Year so far? After going 50-79 the last four years (8-64 in league play), Horned Frogs are 14-3 this year, 3-2 in Big X play and there are no easy games in the Big X. They beat a very experienced Cyclone team here.

2) Richmond 70, St Joe’s 66— Spiders were 5-5 when they inserted freshman De’Monte Buckingham into the starting lineup; they’re 6-1 since, are 5-0 in A-14 with three road wins.

1— San Diego 88, BYU 75— BYU won here 69-67 LY; two nights later, the teams met again in Provo and BYU crushed the Toreros 91-33. 91-33, an ugly night.

Revenge was sweet last night, as an 11-point underdog San Diego squad that played seven guys; three freshmen, two sophs, a junior from Germany and a senior, beat the Cougars and evened their record at 9-9.

Saturday’s Den: Where NBA head coaches went to college…….

NBA head coaches come from surprisingly diverse backgrounds; 13 played in the NBA, 17 did not. Here is a quick look at where they went to college…….

Iowa State (2)— Fred Hoiberg (Bulls), Jeff Hornacek (Knicks)— Hoiberg played 11 years in the NBA, Hornacek 15. Hoiberg was coach at Iowa State until he left to coach the Bulls.

Arizona (2)— Luke Walton (Lakers), Steve Kerr (Warriors). Walton played 11 years in the NBA, Kerr played for 16 years.

Air Force Academy— Gregg Popovich (Spurs)

Appalachian State— Alvin Gentry (Pelicans)

Boston U— Brett Brown (76ers)

Brockport State— Stan Van Gundy (Pistons)— When I was in college, we played in a tournament at Brockport, where his dad Bill was the coach. He coached that weekend in a neck brace; had been in a car accident.

Cal-Irvine— Scott Brooks (Wizards). He played 11 years in the NBA also played in the CBA here in Albany for the Patroons.

California— Jason Kidd (Bucks). Kidd played 20 years in the NBA; of the current head coaches, he was the best player.

Concordia— Dave Joerger (Kings)— Came up to the NBA thru the D-League.

DePauw— Brad Stevens (Celtics)— Took Butler to the Final Four. Twice. Underrated feat.

Duke— Quin Snyder (Jazz)— Was also coach at U of Missouri and in the D-League.

Juaniata/Kentucky— Frank Vogel (Magic)— Was a starter at D-III Juniata, knew he wanted to be a coach, so he transferred to Kentucky, where he became a student manager. Good career move.

Kentucky— Dwane Casey (Raptors)

Loyola, MD— Mike Malone (Kings)— His dad was a longtime NBA assistant coach.

Maine-Farmington— Steve Clifford (Hornets)— Was an assistant coach at Siena for a year.

Maine/Virginia— Rick Carlisle (Mavericks)— Played six years in the NBA.

Marquette— Doc Rivers (Clippers)— Played 14 years in NBA, now coaches his son with the Clippers.

Marshall— Mike D’Antoni (Rockets)— Played three years in the NBA, then in Europe.

Nebraska— Tyronn Lue (Cavaliers)— Played 12 years in the NBA.

NC State— Nate McMillan (Pacers)— Played 13 years in the NBA; three of his NC State teammates also coached in either the NBA or big-time college ball.

Oklahoma— Terry Stotts (Trailblazers)

Pomona— Mike Budenholzer (Hawks)— Was an assistant coach with the Spurs.

Portland— Eric Spoelstra (Heat)— His dad was an executive with the Trailblazers.

Providence— Billy Donovan (Thunder)— Won two national titles in college at Florida.

Richmond— Kenny Atkinson (Nets)— Played in Europe for a long time.

Salem State— Tom Thibodeau (T’wolves)— Was an assistant coach for the Spurs during Jerry Tarkanian’s short tenure coaching in San Antonio.

San Diego— David Fizdale (Grizzlies)

UCLA— Earl Watson (Suns)— Played 14 years in the NBA, sponsored AAU teams for years.

Friday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a Thursday night of hoop

13) UCLA 104, Colorado 89— Buffs are now 0-4 in Pac-12. UCLA is an offensive juggernaut- they made 19-31 on the arc in this game. Bryce Alford might be a better shooter than his dad– he was 9-14.

You cannot play help defense against UCLA, because they can all shoot, even Ball (43% on arc). Giving up layups is better than giving up 3-pointers.

12) Utah 86, USC 64— Young Trojans lost three of last four games after a 14-0 start.

11) Belmont 84, Morehead State 78— Evan Bradds is Belmont’s best scorer; he had 31 points, 10 rebounds in this game, but at one point about 8:00 into the game, Bradds put his fist up, wanted a rest. His coach sent a sub to the table but Belmont had a pretty good run going, so the coach wouldn’t call timeout- the game went on for another 3:00 before there was a whistle.

At one point, Bradds had the ball with a pretty good chance to score, but he passed- he seemed not to want to shoot, so he didn’t have to run back down to the other end. It was kind of funny. When the game got up/down, it was too fast for Bradds, but when it slowed down, he was by far the best player on the court.

10) UTEP 88, Florida International 87, 2 OT’s— Miners snap a 12-game losing streak in dramatic fashion.

9) Upset of the Night: 11-point underdog LaSalle won 87-75 at Rhode Island.

8) Arizona 91, Arizona State 75, LaSalle 87, Rhode Island 75— Rough night for the Hurley brothers.

Herb Sendek couldn’t win a whole lot at ASU and Bobby Hurley isn’t nearly as good a coach as Sendek is. Hurley will have to be a monster recruiter to win in Tempe— there aren’t lot of great high school players in Arizona. I don’t think Sean Miller has an Arizona kid in his rotation.

7) This is part of why handicapping college basketball is becoming more difficult; Arizona State has seven eligible players right now, Arizona has eight. Some of it is injuries, some is transfers, but an awful lot of teams are playing with very short rotations these days and it makes injuries, suspensions and other attrition so much more important than in the past.

Men’s basketball teams are allowed to have 13 players on scholarship; only 15 of 26 scholarships were filled in the ASU game. Nevada has four D-I transfers on scholarship who are sitting out this season, so they’re shorthanded. There are 351 D-I teams, only so many really good players.

6) NC-Greensboro 83, East Tennessee State 79— This was a fierce, physical game, tough game to ref, lot of chirping and staredowns. Two good teams with lot of good athletes. Someone at ESPN needs to get some Southern League games on their airwaves. Good basketball.

Greensboro is 13-5; they haven’t had a winning season in nine years, but they’re having one now. Good team coached by Wes Miller, who was a scrub at North Carolina in his playing days.

5) Iowa 83, Purdue 78— They were saying on the Northwestern-Rutgers game that Joe Lunardi doesn’t have any Big 14 teams seeded higher than a #5 in his bracketology for the NCAA tournament. Lot of pretty good teams, no great teams in the league this season.

4) Middle Tennessee State 69, Marshall 57— You hold the Thundering Herd to 57 points, you can play good defense.  Marshall had been 42-94 on the arc in their last four games; they were 5-19 in this game.

3) St Mary’s 74, Portland 33— It is possible this was the worst basketball game ESPN has ever televised- it was 37-9 at the half. 37 to 9 and it was in Portland; team like the Pilots doesn’t get on ESPN very often— this was embarrassing.

I can’t remember a winning basketball team taking two foul shots in a game. St Mary’s was 2-2 on the line here; thats how little resistance they got in this game.

2) Gonzaga 93, LMU 55— Gonzaga-St Mary’s play Saturday night at 10 in the first of what should be three meetings this season between two very good teams.

1— Cincinnati 66, SMU 64— Bearcats are better shooting this team this year than they’ve been recently; they made 12-26 on arc in this game.

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

13) News came down little while ago that the Chargers will indeed move to LA and may even change their nickname a year from now. Sad day for people in San Diego, who supported this team for 50 years but in today’s society, greed trumps loyalty and that goes for the Rams’ owner, as well. It goes for the whole NFL, but they’re rich people and I’m not, so I’ll shut up.

I’ll just say this; at some point, teams will stop moving and governments will stop shelling out ridiculous sums of money for stadiums that aren’t needed.

Elsewhere in the world…….
12) All four NFL playoff games this weekend are rematches from regular season games, though I doubt Jacoby Brissett will play for the Patriots this week, like he did in Week 3 against Houston.

11) I’m wondering what Clemson’s windfall will be from apparel sales after they won the national title Monday night? Someone in the stadium’s gift shop said Tuesday’s business was similar to an actual game day as far as how much gear they sold. People love a winner.

10) Denver Broncos hired Vance Joseph, Buffalo Bills hired Sean McDermott as their new head coaches, so Panthers, Bills are looking for new defensive coordinators.

9) I didn’t know that Wyoming is the least populated state in the country. Now I do.

8) Speaking of Wyoming, their former star basketball player Josh Adams was in a severe car accident last spring and almost died, but he’s recovered enough that he flew to Russia yesterday to begin his pro basketball career, so that is very good news.

Adams is good enough that he’ll be on an NBA roster someday.

7) Chicago Cubs are visiting the White House Monday, unusually early for a World Series champ, but the outgoing President is from Chicago and the Cubs owner despises the President-elect, so guess it makes some sense.

Can’t wait until next spring’s NBA champ declines to visit the White House. It’ll happen.

6) Upset of the Night: 15-point underdog Fordham won 60-54 at Davidson; with players from seven different countries, you think Davidson has chemistry issues? Seriously, has to be tough to get people from so many different cultures to pull together.

5) 23-year old OF Mallex Smith hit .238 in 72 games in his rookie year for the Braves LY; he was traded twice on Tuesday, first to Seattle, then quickly to Tampa Bay. Had to be a weird day for him.

4) Denver Nuggets-Indiana Pacers are playing a game in London Thursday. Remember that the Nuggets are owned by Stan Kroenke, who also owns the Rams, who get stuck playing a game in London every year. He also owns a soccer team in England. He is really rich.

3) Last night, Chris Paul became the 10th player with 15,000 points and 8,000 assists.

2) This is probably a stupid idea, but wouldn’t it be cool if a former President became a radio talk show host? He could have a studio built in his house and a couple days a week, take calls from ordinary Americans and explain to them why our government is so messed up, and how it could be better.

What better way to learn about government than to hear from a man who ran the country?

“Hello, it is 2:23 and it is 70 degrees in Washington. We’ve got Jane from Spokane on Line 3…..”

1— Hunter Renfrow was a walk-on football player at Clemson; Monday night, he caught 10 passes for 92 yards and scored two TDs for the Tigers. This kid was a 2-star recruit in HS; it is pretty rare for 2-star recruits to become such good players, but good for him.

Several times in the second half Monday night, when Clemson had big plays coming up, Boston College coach Steve Addazio said in the coaches’ studio on ESPNews, “…find number 13” and then Watson would throw him a pass.

There is not, hasn’t been and never will be a metric to measure someone’s heart, or desire, which is a big part of what makes sports great, even if the pro teams are mostly owned by greedy bastards.

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

13) Milwaukee Bucks came into the NBA in 1968; they went 27-55 in their first season, but 56-26 in their second season, then 68-16 with an NBA title in their third season.

This is fairly graphic evidence that Kareem Adbul-Jabbar is the greatest basketball player ever; they won a coin flip with the Phoenix Suns for the top pick in the ’69 draft and the right to select Kareem. Add in his 88-2 record as a college player, and you get the point.

They outlawed the dunk in college basketball because of Kareem.

No one dominated the sport like Abdul-Jabbar did, but because he has a surly personality, doesn’t do a lot of commercials, he fell out of public consciousness, unlike Michael Jordan, whose Jordan Brand shoes/apparel is still a huge money maker for Nike.

Then there is this: freshmen were ineligible to play college ball back then. UCLA won the national title when Kareem was a senior in high school— his freshman team beat the UCLA varsity by 20 that year, and the UCLA varsity was the defending national champs.

12) Underdogs were 25-15-1 vs spread in bowl games this season.

11) ACC went 9-3 in bowl games; they were underdog in seven of the 12 games.

10) Alabama RB Josh Scarbrough broke his leg in Monday night’s game, which no doubt will be brought up next year if/when a running back sits out a bowl game to keep himself healthy for the NFL Draft.

9) Wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if college football scrapped the rule that says the clock stops after every first down. National title game took over four hours to play and ratings were a bit down, even though it was a great game. Knee-jerk reaction will be to shorten games.

My theory on the ratings being down? Two teams from the south played; people in other regions of the country aren’t as interested if their teams aren’t playing.

8) College football coaches don’t go on vacation now that the games are over; National Signing Day is February 1, three weeks from today, so coaches will be working their butts off on the phone between now and then, recruiting players who will win games down the road.

Games that will be played from 2018-2021 will be partially determined by who signs where on February 1st. Football recruiting is a big. big business.

7) Giants’ DE Jason Pierre-Paul says he won’t sign a 1-year contract next season; what happens if no one offers him a multi-year deal? Will he retire?

6) March is going to feel a little different this year; the ACC tournament is in Brooklyn, for some reason. The Big 14 tourney is in Washington DC because of Maryland being in the league, but it doesn’t make much sense. Big 14 should have their tournament in the midwest; the ACC tourney should be somewhere on Tobacco Road.

5) I worked for New York State for 34 years in a mundane office job; if I needed a day off that I hadn’t asked for previously, had to call in sick and tell a person in charge that I wasn’t coming in that day. Failure to do so meant you went LWOP (Leave With-Out Pay), meaning there would be no pay for that day— I never did that once in 34 years.

My job wasn’t very important, certainly not as critical to my agency as a point guard is to an NBA team. Derrick Rose didn’t bother to call/text the Knicks Monday, when he flew to Chicago and missed their game; when they called him, he couldn’t be bothered to answer the phone.

I’m very curious how much the team fined him, but no one is saying. Rose makes a little over $260,000 PER GAME- he is a free agent this summer. I’m curious where he’ll wind up.

4) Quick work-related story from my mediocre career with New York State- this happened back in the late 80’s. I was 28 or 29 at the time.

In mid-afternoon on a Thursday, this is in mid-October, my boss’ boss calls me into her office. She was kind of a stern woman, we had very little interaction, but she had a job for me to do.

“We need a World Series pool and I want you to run it. You think you can do that?”

I’m trying not to laugh as I sat there, but quickly agreed and went about my duty and we had a good World Series pool that year. Sometimes, working for the government was fun.

3) Tuesday’s college hoop:
— West Virginia 89, Baylor 68— Bears lasted one day at #1- they had 29 turnovers.
— Villanova 79, Xavier 54— Surprisingly easy win for the Wildcats.
— Kentucky 87, Vanderbilt 81— Commodores had their chances in last minute.
— Florida State 88, Duke 72– Seminoles are 4-0 in ACC for first time.

2) Oakland Raiders let OC Bill Musgrave walk after his contract expired, promoted QB coach Todd Downing to OC, telling the world they think Downing was more responsible for Derek Carr’s improved play than Musgrave was. Interesting decision.

1— Remember Warrick Dunn, the running back for the Buccaneers? His mom was a police officer who was killed in the line of duty, when Dunn was 18. He used her life insurance to buy a house for himself and four younger siblings- there was no father in the picture.

After Dunn became an NFL player, he started a charity that has put 152 families into affordable homes, just great work. If there was a People Hall of Fame, Dunn would be in it.

Back in 2006, one of the families Dunn’s charity gave a home to was Clemson QB Deshaun Watson’s family.

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

13) Clemson 35, Alabama 31— One of greatest college football games ever. Some quick thoughts:
— Clemson ran 98 plays from scrimmage, had 31 first downs. Against Alabama.
— Crimson Tide was just 2-15 on third down. Hard to win with a freshman QB, even if he is a really good freshman.
— Deshaun Watson threw for 420 yards; he threw for 405 vs Alabama LY. Can’t wait to see where he gets drafted in the NFL.
— Alabama led 24-14 after the third quarter; at that point, no one thought they were losing.
— I had great fun watching ESPNews, with six D-I coaches and Brian Griese watching the game. Three of the six happen to be ACC coaches. It was excellent TV.
— Boston College coach Steve Addazio was good in studio but he didn’t know the clock doesn’t run during a PAT, which seems strange.
— BYU coach Kilani Sitake had the line of the night, when coaches were busting his chops about his players going on Mormon missions: “If it was a great system to develop athletes, Alabama would be doing it.”
— Clemson’s last national title was in 1981; their coach then was Danny Ford, who just like Dabo Swinney, is an Alabama graduate.

12) This past weekend was first time in 15+ years that all four home favorites won/covered in the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs. All four favorites covered in 2012, but Seattle was a road favorite in Washington that year.

11) DeMarcus Cousins is a really good player, but has anger management issues; he already has 10 technical fouls this year. When he gets to 16, it is an automatic one-game suspension.

10) Valparaiso 81, Detroit 74— This game was Sunday; Crusaders were 33-42 on the foul line, the visiting Titans 4-9. In a 7-point game. Detroit got hosed.

9) Clippers/Lakers both played at home Sunday at Staples Center, the Clippers against Miami in the afternoon, Lakers against Orlando at night. Wonder how many people were at both games?

8) Over last three years, #1 seeds are 6-0SU in the divisional round (3-3 vs spread). Over last five years, underdogs are 11-7-1 vs spread in all games of the divisional round- 49ers-Panthers game was a pick ‘em in 2013.

7) Jacksonville promoted interim coach Doug Marrone to head coach, hired Tom Coughlin as an executive, and gave their GM a 2-year contract extension.

6) Branden Grace finished last at the SBS Tournament of Champions this weekend at Kapalua; he cashed a check for $61,000. Winning a PGA Tour event has many bonuses, this being one of them, a spot in the TOC that guarantees you a nice check for the next year.

5) I’d like to see an NBA team skip having gameday walk-thrus, see if it helped keep players fresher, both mentally/physically. Walk-thrus became a thing in the 70’s. Just wondering if the game would be crisper if players were only in the gym once a day on game day.

4) Minnesota Vikings fired QB coach Scott Turner, who is Norv Turner’s son. Norv may have to take another OC job in order to get his son another job.

3) Wake Forest has lost 25 ACC road games in a row. No bueno.

2) Georgetown 83, St John’s 55— Red Storm are impossible to handicap; they get crushed in this game, after they won by 33 at Syracuse, and upset Butler. Hoyas won by 28, didn’t appear to play that well.

1— Pelicans 110, Knicks 96— So you want to be an NBA coach? Derrick Rose was a no-show and didn’t call; he had Knick officials concerned enough that they checked his apartment. Apparently he had a family issue and went back to Chicago.

I hope Rose and his family/friends are all healthy.

That said, Derrick Rose is making $21,323,250 this year, or $260,039.63 per game. In this day and age, if you cannot text/call a teammate, coach or the GM when you’re going to miss a game, then you shouldn’t be paid for that game. Its not that hard.

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

13) Cal Bears fired football coach Sonny Dykes Sunday, a very odd time for this to happen, setting the Interweb on fire with rumors that Chip Kelly will be coming to Berkeley.

Dykes gets roughly $3.5M to take a hike and shouldn’t be out of work for too long, if he doesn’t want to be. He would be an interesting guy to listen to on TV, seeing how his one winning season in his four years at Cal led to Jared Goff being drafted by the Rams.

12) Odd/surprising Fact of the Day: When the undefeated Dolphins beat Pittsburgh in the 1972 AFC title game, they had to do it in Three Rivers Stadium. How does an undefeated team have to go on the road for a conference championship game?????

11) When the Raiders drafted kicker/punter Janikowski/Lechler in the 4th/5th rounds of the 2000 Draft, they twice passed on Tom Brady. Oakland didn’t have a 6th round pick, which is where New England drafted Brady, 30 picks after the Saints took Marc Bulger.

10) Stumbled across an odd movie the other night: “Black and White” which had Robert Downey Jr, Claudia Schiffer and Marla Maples (Donald Trump’s ex-wife) in it. Made in 1999, Mike Tyson is also in the movie, as is former NBA star Allan Houston, who had a fairly big role.

I watched a few minutes of the movie and kept thinking “that guy looks like Allan Houston” until I looked it up and indeed, it was him.

9) On the heels of the Nevada-New Mexico game late Saturday, there was another epic comeback Sunday afternoon: Stony Brook outscored Albany 21-0 over the final 5:55 to win, 72-70. Albany is my alma mater, so this is bad news, but better now than in March.

8) Now that Gregg Williams is the new DC in Cleveland, I wonder if he’ll bring his son Blake along to work for him. Blake Williams was with the Rams with his father but got let go when he was DC during his father’s 1-year suspension- apparently the other coaches couldn’t stand him.

Jeff Fisher’s son Brandon (a DB coach) is expected to follow Williams to Cleveland.

7) Division I basketball teams have a scholarship limit of 13; Nevada has a starter injured and also has four transfers sitting out this year, meaning they only have 8 scholarship players right now, though the transfers can at least practice.

6) OK, I was surprised to learn this weekend that dolphins are actually not fish, they are aquatic mammals. I’m thinking I was much smarter as a teenager than I am now.

5) One of my all-time favorite stories is about Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft going to the Soviet Union on business and meeting Vladimir Putin; at some point, Kraft takes his Super Bowl ring off and shows it to Putin, actually handing it to him.

Putin takes the ring, puts it in his pocket and stalks off, with his henchmen protecting him. Kraft never saw the ring again— ha!!!!

Apparently Kraft appealed to the Obama administration to try and get the ring back, to which they replied, “Let it go.” Somehow, I’m sure he’ll blame that on Roger Goodell, too.

4) Baseball trivia: Padres’ lefty Brad Hand pitched on consecutive days 29 times last year, most of any big league pitcher. To me, the number is more interesting than who did it.

3) Steelers 30, Dolphins 12— Coaching malpractice 101— This game was over long before it actually ended, but Roethlisberger stayed in till the finish and took a big shot with 4:23 left and Steelers up 30-12. He was in a walking boot after the game. Why is he passing with an 18-point lead and 4:23 left???? Brilliant!!!!

2) Packers 38, Giants 13— Coaching malpractice 102— Green Bay is up 14-6 late in third quarter and gets stuffed on consecutive running plays, giving them 4th-and-1 around their own 40. With Vince Lombardi turning over in his grave, they went for it and didn’t make it. Giants scored a TD a few plays later to cut the lead to 14-13. This was really an amateurish decision.

Packers played really well after the Giants’ TD and won going away, but you have to wonder when the most important person in a $1B business makes a decision like that one.

1— Monday is Bart Starr’s 83rd birthday. Winning QB in the first two Super Bowls, he ruined my 8th birthday by beating the Rams in a divisional playoff game. Happy birthday anyway.

Some highlights from last night’s Nevada-New Mexico finish

Some highlights from Nevada’s wild 105-104 OT win at New Mexico late Saturday night:

— Nevada trailed by 13 at the half, by 25 with 11:00 to go.
— Nevada trailed by 17 with 2:42 left in the game.
— With 1:10 left, New Mexico was up 14 and HAD THE BALL
— With 1:03 left, a walk-on named Charlie Tooley hit a 3, his first-ever college basket.
— With 0:52 left, Marcus Marshall hit a 3 to make score 90-82
— With 0:40 left, Marshall hit another 3-ball; 91-85 Lobos.
— With 0:28 left, Jordan Caroline hit a 3-pointer; 92-88 Lobos.
— With 0:18 left, Marshall banked in a 3-pointer; 94-91 Lobos.
— With 0:07 left, Marshall banked in the game-tying 3-pointer.

In overtime…………
— New Mexico led by 5 with 2:52 left in overtime.
— Down 104-102 with 0:02 left, Caroline nailed a 3-pointer to win the game, one of the strangest, wildest endings to any game I’ve ever seen. Ever.
— Caroline was 5-8 behind the arc, after being 7-25 for the season coming in. He scored 45 points; he was averaging 12.7 pts/game coming into the game.

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

13) Texans 27, Raiders 14— Oakland was having such a great season until Derek Carr broke his leg, then the whole fell apart very quickly. Raiders were also without their LT, center and backup QB in this game, as Houston advances to play the Patriots in Foxboro next week.

Back in Week 3, Texans were actually favored (-1) in Foxboro, but the Jacoby Brissett-led Patriots smoked Houston 27-0. New England will have a better QB playing next week.

12) Seahawks 26, Lions 6— Detroit wound up 0-4 in outdoor games this season, scoring 13.3 pts/game in those four; they haven’t won a playoff game since 1991 and before that, 1957.

Overall, Lions have lost nine straight playoff games, an NFL record; their last road playoff win was when Dwight Eisenhower was President. Oy.

Cris Collinsworth was saying how the Lions “have something going now”, referring to their long-term contention, but they also trailed in 4th quarter in 16 of 17 games this season, so they conceivably could’ve been a 1-15 team, instead of a playoff team.

11) Mississippi State 95, LSU 78— There was wintry weather in the south this weekend, so Miss State took a bus to Baton Rouge, rather than flying. On their way, they saw a car skid on the ice and turn over off the side of the road.

Miss State coaches/trainers got an unconscious woman out of the car and she is reportedly doing well in the hospital. Then the Bulldogs went to LSU and drilled the Tigers, their best win of the year. Hopefully everyone got home safely.

10) Baylor 61, Oklahoma State 57— Monday morning the Bears will be #1 in the country for the first time; they were lucky in this game— Oklahoma State was only 11-20 on the foul line. Baylor isn’t the best team in the country, but they’re having a surprisingly good season and figure to be a top 4 seed in the NCAA’s, as long as they stay healthy.

9) Notre Dame 75, Clemson 70— Irish were 15-32 on the arc as the better team lost this game. Clemson was up 7 at the half but lost their second straight nailbiter. There were a total of only 14 foul shots taken in this whole game.

Game was 70-70 with 1:10 left, so if you took 4 points with Clemson, this was a bad beat.

8) Villanova 93, Marquette 81— Wildcats were a ridiculous 14-23 on the arc; Marquette was 14-31. Wildcats shot 69% inside the arc, scored 1.43 pts/possession, which is really good.

7) Upset of the Day: Tex-San Antonio 69, Louisiana Tech 68— Roadrunners were a 16-point underdog; they trailed by 10 at the half.

6) Weber State at Idaho State— Weber State led 13-2 less than 5:00 into the game, but then the game was suspended due to a leaky roof in Idaho State’s gym.

5) Nevada coach Eric Musselman once coached the Rapid City Thrillers in the old CBA, which basically was the D-League before the D-League existed. One of his players in Rapid City was current Mew Mexico coach Craig Neal, who is 4-5 years older than Musselman.

Now the two are Mountain West coaching rivals.

4) NC State-North Carolina, Gonzaga-Portland and Wofford-Samford games were postponed  and will be played today. There was cruddy weather all over the country Saturday.

3) Butler 85, Georgetown 76 OT— Bulldogs were little flat with noon tipoff three days after they knocked off Villanova, but they shot 10-20 on the arc and survived a stunningly-soft Georgetown team that is now 0-4 in the Big East.

Bulldogs never got on their flight home; the plane had mechanical issues, second road game in a row Butler had airplane issues trying to get back to Indianapolis.

2) Georgia 71, Missouri 66— Assistant coaches from both sides got into a little fracas as the end of the first half. Players were milling around, but the coaches were more fired up than they were. I’m guessing there will be fines. Mizzou was 6-36 on the arc in this game; they’re not very good.

1— Kid named Sam Cunliffe transferred from Arizona State after his first semester of college; think he scored 9.5 pts/game for ASU but now will be going to Kansas, where he’ll be eligible at this time next year.

This transferring is getting ridiculous; an AVERAGE of two kids per team transferred after last year and there are 351 Division I teams. Teams are basically getting rebuilt on the fly, like an expansion team in pro sports.

UNLV, Delaware basically had to cob together teams wherever they could find players last April/May after coaching changes and player defections. Hurts the quality of the product, for sure.

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

13) Apparently George Karl had some juicy stuff in his new book about his time with the Kings in Sacramento, but that part of the book had to be removed because his going-away gift from the Kings had a clause in it that didn’t allow him to tell any stories from his time in Sacramento.

12) Clippers TV voice Ralph Lawler called DeMarcus Cousins “a coach-killer” on the air Friday nite, strong words. Cousins has played for six coaches in his seven years with the Kings, so hard to argue with Mr Lawler, but it sure as hell ain’t all Cousins’ fault.

11) Consider that Sacramento drafted Jimmer Fredette, when Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard were still on the board— can’t blame that blunder on Cousins and there are numerous other drafting miscues that have set Sacramento’s franchise way behind in the west.

10) Odd Stat of the Day: Notre Dame is shooting 84.4% on the foul line, best in country, but their opponents shoot 78.5% against them, best %age against any team in the country.

9) Seattle Mariners made couple of trades Friday, trading Seth Smith/Nathan Karns to different teams; they get Jarrod Dyson/Yovani Gallardo back. Orioles saved $4M by dealing Gallardo. Seth Smith is going to love Camden Yards.

8) Minnesota Gophers quickly signed up coach PJ Fleck from Western Michigan, making me think they used the players’ boycott from last month as an excuse to dump Tracy Claeys to add a coach they think is better. If thats true, karma is going to kick them in the butt.

7) Indianapolis Colts are keeping Chuck Pagano as coach and also keeping their GM, in an odd bit of stability that wasn’t expected. Colts have been 11-5/11-5/11-5/8-8/8-8 in Pagano’s five years, but thats in a weak division when they have Andrew Luck at QB. We’ll see how this works out for them- they did have three rookie starters on the OL this year.

6) Michigan State is playing Penn State today, but at the Palestra in Philly, not in Happy Valley, which is roughly 200 miles away. Giving away your home court edge isn’t a great idea.

5) Miami Dolphins prepped for their playoff game with the Steelers Sunday by using footballs that were stored in a freezer. Matt Moore went to Oregon State, so he’s played in crummy weather before, not sure if he has ever played in frigid weather.

4) Oakland Raiders are playing in the playoffs tomorrow for the first time since 2002; their last road playoff win was in 1980, when I was a junior in college and had a full head of hair.

3) Seems unfair to me that the Eagles denied the Jets permission to interview their QB coach John DeFillippo to be the Jets’ new OC. If you’re moving up to be a coordinator or a head coach, you should be free to interview with whomever you like— I would understand denying a team if the coach is only making a lateral move.

2) You look at the start of conference play in college basketball and Indiana-San Diego State-Georgetown-Louisville, teams that are most always in the NCAAs, are a combined 0-9 already in conference games. Go figure.

1— Lebron James says the Cavaliers still need a point guard, which tells me that pretty soon, Cleveland will be making a trade.

For a point guard.

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

13) Nebraska 93, Iowa 90, 2OT— Cornhuskers almost gagged game away (19-35) on foul line, but they won and are 3-0 in conference play for first time since joining the Big 14. Glynn Watson had been averaging 13.9 pts/game; he had 34 in this game.

12) Purdue 76, Ohio State 75— Is it me or have their been an incredible amount of close games in first 7-10 days of conference play? I don’t trust Matt Painter teams in close games, but Boilers got a solid road win here, while Ohio State is 0-2 in league, with losses by 1-5 points.

11) Minnesota 70, Northwestern 66— This was a damn good game, almost felt like a play-in game for the NCAA’s. Gophers had their hearts ripped out by Michigan State in Big 14 opener last week, but rallied for wins at Purdue and here- they’re 14-2 vs schedule #69, which means they’re headed for March Madness.

10) Fairfield 97, Manhattan 79— Curtis Cobb is a 6-3 soph who was averaging 14.8 pts/game; then he went for 46 here as Stags are now tied for first in the wide-open MAAC.

9) Rockets 118, Thunder 116— Russell Westbrook scored 49 as Oklahoma City rallied  back from down 18, but it wasn’t enough. Houston is 28-9 and Mike D’Antoni is Coach of the First Half of the Year.

On the UCLA-Cal broadcast, ESPN’s Dave Pasch was saying that Billy Donovan told him that Westbrook was basically an unknown coming out of high school. Florida’s coaches didn’t have him on their radar at all. He’s been a much better pro than he was a college player.

8) UCLA 81, California 71— Bruins are this year’s Most Fun Team to Watch; they run like crazy and most of them can shoot and they don’t defend much. Problem is, Lonzo Ball will be in the NBA next year and they’ll be starting all over again. Enjoy it while you can.

7) Of the 14 basketball coaches in the Big 14, 10 of them have been in their current job for at least five years, which struck me as odd. Thought there would be more turnover than that.

6) More on football coaches as nomads: Jedd Fisch jumps from Michigan to UCLA, which will have its third offensive coordinator in three years. They also have a junior QB who will be playing for his third OC in three years. Not the best situation.

5) Washington Redskins fired four defensive coaches, New Orleans Saints fired five coaches, none from the offensive side of the ball. I’m guessing a lot of former Ram defensive coaches will wind up on those two staffs.

4) Houston Texans were penalized only 87 times this year, Oakland Raiders 147 times, which makes this week’s playoff game a little more interesting.

3) Dallas defensive lineman Randy Gregory was suspended again by the NFL, this time for a full year, which means he is out for the playoffs that for the Cowboys start next week.

2) Apparently Reds 2B Brandon Phillip blocked another off-season trade, this one to Atlanta. Last year, he vetoed a trade to Washington, which means he doesn’t care about winning, since the Nationals are really good and Cincinnati isn’t. Great guy to pay a lot of money to.

1— Georgia Tech’s first three ACC basketball games: North Carolina-Duke-Louisville, with Duke and the Cardinals both coming off losses. After Saturday, it’ll only get easier for Josh Pastner’s Yellow Jackets.

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

13) When he starts Saturday’s playoff game in Houston, Oakland’s Connor Cook becomes first-ever NFL QB whose first career start came in a playoff game.

Funny thinking about it now; the biggest question about Cook coming out of Michigan State last spring was that his teammates did not vote him in as a captain as a senior, rare for a multi-year starting QB. Some teams were turned off on him because of that.

12) With Tom Savage in concussion protocol, Houston’s backup QB against the Raiders will be Brandon Weeden.

11) Reading into Mike Zimmer’s comments that Sam Bradford “….has earned the right to be the starting QB” next season, that tells me the Vikings don’t think Teddy Bridgewater will be healthy for the start of next season.

10) For what it is worth (apparently not much) Buffalo Bills were 14-2 in the coin toss this year.

9) At one point this season. Green Bay allowed 153 points in losing four straight games and stood at 4-6; everyone had them dead and buried. Since then, they’ve won six games in a row, and they’ve played pretty good defense. It is strange how quickly they turned things around.

8) Nathan Hale HS in Seattle was 3-18 LY; now they’re 9-0 and one service has them ranked as the best high school team in the country. Team is coached by former Portland Trailblazers star Brandon Roy.

7) When I was a kid, every high school team played zone defense on out-of-bounds under plays; it was an automatic thing. Now it is just the opposite; no one does.

6) Colorado State will lose three of its ten eligible basketball players when spring semester starts January 17; despite fact that everyone knows the kids will be ineligible then, they played last night in a win at San Jose State. Curious if they will recruit a couple of football players to fill out the roster— hard to practice well with seven players.

5) Grayson Allen’s suspension turned out to be one game- big deal. Duke killed Georgia Tech last night and now Mike Krzyzewski begins a leave of absence to get his back operated on.

This will be Krzyzewski’s 4th operation in the last ten months; he turns 70 on February 13. Wouldn’t surprise me a whole lot if this was it for him. The body can only take so much.

4) During/after his playing career, Bill Walton had 37 orthopedic operations. Thats a lot.

3) I’d be in favor of college basketball putting in the NBA’s 8-second to cross half court rule. Would encourage teams to press and make the game a little faster.

2) Russell Westbrook was 10-31 from floor in Oklahoma City’s loss in Charlotte last night; there have been six games this year where a player missed 20+ shots from the floor. Westbrook has four of those six games.

1) ESPN should most definitely hire Lane Kiffin as an analyst for Monday night’s national title game. He would get 3-4 hours of free advertising for his new team at FAU, fans would get some insight into the Alabama offense and into what makes Kiffin such a polarizing figure.