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

College hoop information on hoops page………NBA stuff on hoops page. Baseball season starts in 10 days!!!

Monday’s 6-pack
Since 1985, North Carolina’s worst losses in NCAA tournament:
1990— Arkansas 96, North Carolina 73
2018— Texas A&M 86, North Carolina 65
1996— Texas Tech 92, North Carolina 73
2008— Kansas 84, North Carolina 66
1986— Louisville 94, North Carolina 79
2012— Kansas 80, North Carolina 67

In fairness, the Tar Heels’ NCAA record since 1985: 88-26.

Quote of the Day
“This is life. It can’t define you. You enjoy the good times and you gotta be able to take the bad times. When you step into the arena…the consequences can be historic losses…and you have to deal with it.”
Tony Bennett, after Friday night’s loss to UMBC

Monday’s quiz
Which retired NBA great once co-starred with Gabe Kaplan in the 1979 basketball movie Fast Break? 

Sunday’s quiz
Michigan coach John Beilein was the coach at West Virginia before Bob Huggins.

Saturday’s quiz
Comedian Bill Murray’s son is an assistant coach for Xavier.

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

13) Not the best day in the city of Cincinnati.

Florida State 75, Xavier 70— West #1-seed Musketeers blew a 12-point lead.
Nevada 75, Cincinnati 73— Southeast #2-seed Bearcats blew a 22-point lead.

12) From 2005-17, 46 of 52 #1-seeds made it to the Sweet 16. This year, Virginia/Xavier won’t be going, the 3rd time (2000, 2004) since 1985 that two #1-seeds got KO’d early.

11) Nevada was down 14 to Texas on Friday; they were down 22 in this game. Eric Musselman’s team is the mentally toughest team in America. Seriously— they only used six players in this game, and the same six guys played against Texas Friday.

— Musselman was an NBA head coach for three years, going 108-138 with Kings/Warriors.
— He has coached everywhere:
CBA— 270-122 with the Rapid City Thrillers
USBL— 53-3 with the Florida Sharks and Florida Beach Dogs
G-League— 77-30 with the Reno Bighorns and Los Angeles D-Fenders

— He played high school basketball with Tom Tupa, who went on to QB at Ohio State— Tupa scored the first 2-point conversion in NFL history.
— Musselman went to U of San Diego where his roommate was George Tarkanian, son of the late Jerry Tarkanian, the great coach at UNLV.

10) Nevada-Loyola game in Sweet 16 is the first #7-11 seed matchup in a regional semifinal since a George Mason-Wichita State game in 2006.

9) Jordan Caroline is one of Nevada’s best players; his dad is Simeon Rice, the old linebacker for the Tampa Bay Bucs. His grandfather is JC Caroline, who played 10 years in the NFL— he picked off Johnny Unitas’ first-ever NFL pass and ran it back for a touchdown. JC Caroline is in the College Football Hall of Fame.

8) Syracuse 55, Michigan State 53—Over the last ten years, #11 or lower seeds in regional semifinal games are 3-14 SU but 9-8 vs spread- since 2012, they’re 7-2 vs spread.

7) Texas A&M 86, North Carolina 65— Tar Heels played in national title game last two years, but they got bamboozled here. UNC was 6-31 on arc, A&M was 10-24.

6) Purdue 76, Butler 73— Boilermakers won despite not having their big man Haas, who broke his elbow Friday. Purdue scored 1.27 ppp, making 11-24 on the arc.

5) Clemson 84, Auburn 53— Epic tank job by Auburn had Charles Barkley congratulating Clemson during the halftime studio show. Clemson is in Sweet 16 for first time since 1997, when they lost in double overtime to Minnesota.

4) Gonzaga coach Mark Few stood on his hands in the locker room Saturday after his Zags held off Ohio State to reach the Sweet 16. Coach Few is 55; I am three years older— I’m lucky I can stand on my feet.

3) Kansas State 50, UMBC 43— In the 24 hours after they upset Virginia for the first 1-16 upset ever, UMBC sold more gear on their website than they had in the previous YEAR!!!!

2) Seton Hall’s Angel Delgado had 24 points, 23 rebounds in the Pirates’ loss to Kansas Saturday; he is the first player to grab 23+ rebounds in an NCAA tournament game since 1977, when Phil Hubbard did that for Michigan when they beat a Detroit team coached by Dick Vitale, 87-81.

1) For the first time ever, the Sweet 16 in a region won’t have any of the top four seeded teams in the region: the Southeast Region in Atlanta is: #5 Kentucky, #7 Nevada,#9 Kansas State, #11 Loyola.

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

13) Michigan 64, Houston 63— Cougars were leading 63-61 and were shooting two foul shots with 0:04 left; the Houston kid misses both shots, Michigan calls time-out. Houston doesn’t put a man on the inbounder (like Duke-Kentucky when Laettner hit that shot) and Jordan Poole, a 36.8% shooter on the arc, hit the walk-off 3-pointer to keep Michigan dancing.

This was the kind of game that if you’re wth the Houston team, you’ll think about it every day the rest of your life.

12) Loyola, Chi 63, Tennessee 62— Clayton Custer got a fortuitous bounce on his game-winning jumper with 0:03.6 left, as the Ramblers won a very exciting game. This is the time in 11 years Loyola had a winning conference record- they’ve won their last 12 games.

This is the 11th year in a row a team seeded 11th or worse makes it to the Sweet 16; Ramblers were ranked outside the top 100 in early January, but they’ve won 12 games in row now and will play the Cincinnati-Nevada in the Sweet 16.

11) Texas Tech 69, Florida 66— This was the best game of the day; Red Raiders hung on after nearly gagging away a 5-point lead in last 0:20. Tech goes to the Sweet 16 for 4th time- Chris Beard won a tournament game with Little Rock two years ago as a 12-seed, and now this. He’s a darned good coach.

10) Gonzaga 90, Ohio State 84— Zags ran out to a 15-0 lead, lost the lead, then pulled away down the stretch, as they advance to the Sweet 16 for the 4th year in a row. Gonzaga beat the Buckeyes by 27 in the PK80 tournament in November- this was way tougher.

9) You think you had a bad day? Thursday, a gambler at SouthPoint Casino in Las Vegas bet $10,000 on Arizona to win SU—- if the Wildcats won, he banked $2,000 for his trouble. If they lost, he was out the $10,000.

A 9-point favorite, Arizona lost by 21. Thats a bad day.

8) One of the truly weird things about being in Las Vegas during March Madness is that there is a wagering proposition: “Which team gets to 15 points first?”

First time I witnessed this was in 2010 at the MGM; I’m watching the first part of the first game, and these three guys start hugging each other as if they had just won the lottery. Score of the game was 15-12.

I actually asked one guy if that was his brother who had scored the last basket; he explained the betting prop to me. Lot of people bet on this, apparently.

7) Jets traded three 2nd round draft picks to Indianapolis Saturday to move up three spots in the draft, from #6 pick to #3. Wonder which quarterback they want? Great move by the Colts, who already have a QB and have many other needs.

6) Few years ago, I was at the Wendy’s near my house, in line behind a basketball team- it was this time of year and the America East tournament was at UAlbany.

It was the UMBC Retrievers, who weren’t very good back then, but they were a good group of guys, patient and respectful in line.

Friday, a guy at the Venetian in Las Vegas put $800 of his hard-earned dollars on UMBC on the money line; he got $16,000 back for his trouble. It takes onions to put $800 on a 16-seed, when in the history of the tournament, no 16-seed had ever beaten a #1-seed (0-135).

5) Jarius Lyles was the star of the show for UMBC Friday; both his parents went to Virginia.  UMBC is his third college, after pit stops at VCU, Robert Morris. Kid played high school ball at DeMatha in Washington DC, one of the best basketball high schools in the country.

4) Kirk Cousins’ agent is Mike McCartney, whose dad Bill was a really good football coach for the Colorado Buffaloes, winning a national title in Boulder.

3) Obscure baseball trivia: The first time Hank Aaron played for the Braves in a spring training game was in 1954, when he took the place of Bobby Thomson, who broke his ankle sliding into second base. Yes, the same Bobby Thomson who three years earlier hit a walk-off homer to give the New York Giants the NL pennant.

2) Tampa Bay Bucs signed C Ryan Jensen to a four-year, $42 million deal with $22M guaranteed that makes him the highest-paid center in the NFL.

1) Georgia hired Tom Crean as its new basketball coach, after Thad Matta turned them down.

Saturday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a full Friday of hoop

Night Games
16) UMBC 74, Virginia 54— The good news: Retrievers from the America East Conference are first #16-seed EVER to beat a #1-seed. And they won easily.

The bad news: UMBC will need a new coach in a couple weeks. Wins like this make coaches wealthy. Ryan Odom’s dad is Dave Odom, who was Tim Duncan’s coach at Wake Forest.

On January 21, UMBC lost 83-39 to the Albany Great Danes. They’ve improved.

UMBC was a 20.5-point underdog, but pointspread-wise, Norfolk State (+21.5) over Missouri in 2012 was a bigger upset than this, a 2-15 game.

15) Kansas State 69, Creighton 59— Bluejays went 3-7 in their last ten games- they really missed 6-9 Krampelj, who got hurt on January 17. Creighton was never the same after that.

How excited is the K-State traveling party tonight? A 9-seed that’ll be a double digit favorite on Sunday— first time that’ll happen, too.

14) Auburn 62, Charleston 58— Auburn’s point guard got two fouls in the first 2:00 so to make up for it, the refs screwed Charleston over the rest of the game. Auburn was 15-32 on foul line, Cougars were 7-14- their point guard fouled out with 5:46 left.

Charleston kid got hit on the elbow as he tried game-tying 3-ball in last minute, but it wasn’t called.

13) Florida State 67, Missouri 54— This game was 42-20 at the half; Mizzou had a senior player suspended after a DUI last weekend- their supposed star recruit has only played two games because he’s hurt- he was 4-12 from floor, scored 16 points but he isn’t in game shape. Will be interesting to see where he goes in the NBA Draft. Someone is going to have to take a leap of faith on him.

12) Clemson 79, New Mexico State 68— WAC team hasn’t won a tournament game since Nevada won as a 7-seed in 2007. Aggies won this league for 6th time in last seven years- maybe they should jump to the Big West, a better league. Even the Big Sky would be an improvement.

11) Xavier 102, Texas Southern 83— Couple years ago in July, I was watching AAU games in Las Vegas and Xavier coach Chris Mack was there with his daughter, who was probably 9 or 10 at the time. She was in the bleachers, watching games and playing with whatever electronic device she had. I’m pretty sure Coach Mack coaches her grade school basketball team. Good guy.

10) Michigan State 82, Bucknell 78— Spartans led by 16 with 2:56 left, Bucknell fought till the end and made the score look closer than the game actually was- they made 11-20 on the arc.

9) Syracuse 57, TCU 52— Once again. Syracuse doesn’t deserve to get in the tournament, then they win two games when they get there. Orange made the Final Four as a 10-seed couple years ago- their zone defense is tough to prepare for. TCU is 45-26 in Jamie Dixon’s first two years, but this loss will sting.

Day Games
1) Nevada 87, Texas 83 OT— By far best game of the afternoon; Wolf Pack was dead in this game, down 14 with 18:40 left- they looked like a goner, but Josh Hall scored 15 points off the bench— he was the only sub Nevada used the whole game.

In 2011, Shaka Smart took VCU on a Cinderella run from the play-in game to the Final Four, winning five of six NCAA tournament games. The last five years, Smart is 0-4 in NCAA tourney games, with three of the four losses in overtime.

2) Marshall 81, Wichita State 75— Wichita took 17 foul shots in this game; Marshall’s star guard Elmore took 15, all by himself, as the Thundering Herd post a big upset.

This is first time in 10 years that two #13-seeds won their first round game.

Up next for Marshall are the West Virginia Mountaineers; these teams used to play once a year in December until two years ago, but I’m assuming West Virginia cancelled it- no way Marshall cancelled it. Now they lay for the right to go to the Sweet 16.

Dan Muller, the coach at Illinois State took a shot at former MVC rival Wichita State on Twitter after the Shockers lost this game:

“I guess switching conferences doesn’t magically make things better. Valley teams advance in the Dance”

3) Purdue 74, Cal State-Fullerton 48— This was an easy but costly win for the Boilermakers, who were just too big for Fullerton. Isaac Haas broke his elbow with about 6:00 left when he fell backwards, hit his elbow on the floor- he is done for the season.

4) Texas A&M 73, Providence 69— Aggies led by 11 with 0:29 left, gave their backers a scare by giving up eight points in last 0:29, but they hung on and covered.

A&M looked like a Final Four team back in November, then injuries/suspensions derailed their season- they play North Carolina in Charlotte Sunday.

5) Butler 79, Arkansas 62— Butler led this game 21-2 out of the gate, then it was 29-29; would like to see the plus/minus charts. This was first loss for the SEC in six tournament games.

Bulldogs play Haas-less Purdue Sunday; they lost by 15 to the Boilermakers on a neutral court back in December, when Haas scored 15 points but played only 16:00 due to foul trouble.

6) Cincinnati 68, Georgia State 53— Bearcats win their 8th straight game, in a brickfest where teams combined to go 17-57 on arc. Sun Belt teams had posted a first round upset two of last three years, but this Cincinnati squad was too athletic for the scrappy Panthers.

7) North Carolina 84, Lipscomb 66— This was first NCAA tournament appearance foe the Bisons; getting assigned to play the Tar Heels in Charlotte assured that it would be a short stay. Atlantic Sun rep covered their first tourney game for fifth time in last six years.

8) West Virginia 85, Murray State 68— Racers’ really good senior guard Stark ended his career with a 1-12 shooting day against a Mountaineer squad that has two good senior guards. OVC plays entertaining ball, but they haven’t won a tournament game since 2012- they’re 3-15 in first round games the last 18 years.

Friday’s Den: Wrapping up a basketball Thursday

Night Games
16) Buffalo 89, Arizona 68— Complete ass-kicking; Bulls outhustled Arizona, they made 15-30 on the arc and they looked like the better team. Arizona kids quit in the last 10:00.

This is first time since 2012 a MAC team won an NCAA tournament game; it is only the second time in last eight years Arizona didn’t make the Sweet 16. With all their legal issues, could be a long time before they get there again.

15) Houston 67, San Diego State 65— Rob Gray scored 39 of Houston’s 67 points, including the game-winner with 0:01 left; I don’t want to say he’s a ballhog, but he took 25 shots, 15 more foul shots and he had zero assists. It is amazing how much he dominates the ball, but he made 12-25 from the floor and the Cougars advance.

14) Alabama 86, Virginia Tech 81— Pet Peeve of the Day; calling a flagrant foul when a defender intrudes the space of the guy with the ball, and the offensive player swings the ball to create space and plugs the defender in the face with the ball or his elbow. Whats he supposed to do?

20 years ago, we used to teach this about rebounding: “Catch-Tuck-Swing” the ball, and if the guy on the other team didn’t want to get drilled in the face, he’d move his face. Now in our soft society, that would be a foul on the guy with the ball, maybe a flagrant foul. It shouldn’t be.

13) Kentucky 78, Davidson 73— Davidson hit a 3-ball with 0:00.6 to cover the spread, but now Kentucky plays Buffalo Saturday for a spot in the Sweet 16.

Kentucky went 0-for-6 outside the arc against Davidson, which ended a 1,047-game streak in which Kentucky made at least one 3-pointer. It was the longest active streak in the country, dating back to November 26, 1988.

12) Texas Tech 70, Stephen F Austin 60— Lumberjacks led by 3 at the half; but Keenan Evans scored 23 points for the Red Raiders and Tech gets their first NCAA tournament win since 2005.

11) Michigan 61, Montana 47— Griz led this game 10-0 early, but Big Sky teams haven’t won a tournament game since 2006- they’re just not good enough to beat a top 20 opponent.

10) Florida 77, St Bonaventure 62— Bonnies made tournament for first time since 2012, beat UCLA Tuesday, but ran out of gas here and got drilled by the Gators, who now play Texas Tech.

I’m still amazed one of the genius AD’s at the big money schools hasn’t scooped up Bonnies’ coach Mark Schmidt— he is a very good coach. Ain’t easy to recruit players to Olean, NY.

9) Villanova 87, Radford 61— Worst game of the day, a total mismatch; now the Wildcats face their bugaboo, the second round of the tournament.

Since 2010, Villanova is 1-4 in the second round of the NCAA’s, losing two of last three years in 2nd round as a #1-seed; the one time they won was two years ago, when they went on to win the national title. Villanova plays Virginia Tech Saturday.

Day games
1) Rhode Island 83, Oklahoma 78 OT— First game of the tournament was terrific; Sooners led by 8 late in first half, then trailed by 6 with 4:10 left in regulation, before URI missed a point-blank putback at the buzzer to force OT, where the Rams prevailed.

Oklahoma winds up losing 12 of its last 16 games. URI moves on to play Duke.

2) Loyola Chi 64, Miami FL 62— Donte Ingram stuck a 3-ball with 0:00.3 left to send Ramblers on to the next round in their first NCAA appearance since 1985. Loyola outscored Miami 8-2 over the last 2:47; they were +6 in turnovers (16-10) for the game.

This is the 14th consecutive year that a #11 seed beat a #6 seed

3) Gonzaga 68, NC-Greensboro 64— Games like this are what make the NCAA tournament great. Condescending jerks like Jay Bilas think the NCAA’s should be the best 68 teams in country, rather than the champs from all 32 D-I leagues, but if that were the case, the Spartans wouldn’t have been invited— we’d get the 13th place team in the ACC.

Zags led by 12 with 16:00 left, but UNCG took a 64-62 lead with 1:46 to play- Gonzaga scored the last six points of the game. Exciting game, for sure.

4) Ohio State 81, South Dakota State 73— This game was 70-70 with 1:53 left, but then SD State fouled the 3-point shooter on the next two trips and that was that. Jackrabbits dared Ohio State to shoot 3-pointers; OSU was 12-40 outside the arc, 15-32 inside arc.

South Dakota State’s Mike Daum is an NBA player; he is a sturdy 6-8 guy with 3-point range; he had 27 in this game, and star freshman Jenkins had 16. If those two guys are back in school next year, the Jackrabbits should go dancing again.

5) Duke 89, Iona 67— Gaels shot 38.3% on arc for season; they were 5-24 in this game, as Duke ran out to a 53-39 halftime lead and coasted home from there.

6) Seton Hall 94, NC State 83— Pirates are #55 experience team in country, NC State is #179, which explains this result. Seton Hall led 51-41 at the half and held the Wolfpack off in a game with lot of fouls. Solid first season for Kevin Keatts with NC State, finishing at 21-12. ACC lost two teams already; Wolfpack and Miami.

7) Kansas 76, Penn 60— Quakers led 21-11 early, then reality set in. Penn had a senior named Caleb Wood, only senior in their rotation. He was 4-12 behind the arc in this game, only 12 shots he took all day. He shot 38% behind arc for the year; thats a good gig, just shooting 3’s.

Penn was first Ivy League team to be a 16-seed since Princeton in 1989.

8) Tennessee 73, Wright State 47— Total mismatch, other than first 2:00, when Raiders led 2-0. Vols are just so much more athletic than Wright State. Tennessee has all five of its starters back next year, so they should be even better. Wright State’s only senior starter was Grant Benzinger, son of former major leaguer Todd Benzinger— he was 2-16 from floor in this game.

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

13) USC star Chimezie Metu sat out the Trojans’ NIT game Tuesday, because he doesn’t want to get hurt before the NBA Draft, which is in late June. This ignited a heated Twitter debate.

I’ll say this: Metu has the right to do as he pleases, it is a free country. But…….

In 2000, Kenyon Martin was the star of a Cincinnati team that was going to be a #1-seed in the NCAA’s, but in the first round of the C-USA tournament, he broke his leg and also injured knee ligaments, the kind of disastrous injury that Metu obviously fears now.

Long story short: Martin was still picked 1st in the NBA Draft that year; he played 15 years in the NBA, scored over 9,200 points and earned $113M in his career.

My opinion is that you should finish what you start, but thats just my opinion.

12) Klay Thompson has apparently broken his right thumb, will miss at least four games; he hasn’t missed more than five games in a season since he became a full-time starter.

11) Stupid new baseball rule: In minor league baseball this year, all extra innings will start with a runner on second base. I’m beginning to think the people who run baseball don’t like baseball.

10) Patrick Beilein is the 34-year old coach at LeMoyne, a D-II school in Syracuse; he is the son of Michigan coach John Beilein. It has been rumored that Patrick Beilein has already gotten three job offers from D-I schools this spring.

9) Ole Miss is going to hire Middle Tennessee State coach Kermit Davis, whose dad used to be the coach at Mississippi State. Rough couple weeks for the Blue Raiders, who got screwed out of an NCAA tournament bid and now are losing their coach of the last 16 years.

8) Memphis went 21-13 this year, but apparently they fired Tubby Smith this week and will hire Anfernee Hardaway as his replacement. John Calipari spoiled this fanbase forever; they ran Josh Pastner out of town after he went 166-73 with the Tigers and now they got rid of Tubby, whose career record is 597-302. Tough town.

7) Evansville fired Marty Simmons after 11 years and zero NCAA tournament bids; he went 25-9, 24-12 two and three years ago, but didn’t win Arch Madness so now he is unemployed.

6) Arizona Cardinals signed Mike Glennon as their backup QB, which is a good thing if they’re going to start Sam Bradford at QB this fall.

Bradford has a 34-45-1 W-L record in NFL, missing 48 games in his eight NFL seasons. He has a very bad knee that Mike Zimmer recently called “degenerative.” He is not dependable.

5) There are 11 teams in this year’s NIT that would be favored over Syracuse on a neutral floor.

4) Toys ‘r Us is closing its 800 stores in this country; that just sounds kind of sad.

3) Cleveland Browns’ tackle Joe Thomas retired this week; the man played 10,363 consecutive snaps in the NFL without missing a play, which is astounding for an offensive lineman.

2) Saw a baseball shift this week I’ve never seen before; Kris Bryant is batting for the Cubs with a man on 3rd. San Diego put three infielders on the left side of the infield, and the 1B almost halfway to 2B. If Bryant hits the ball to the right side of the infield, not sure how they get him out, unless he hits it hard right at the first baseman.

1— Dee Gordon is playing centerfield for the Mariners this spring, at least he was until Robinson Cano strained a hamstring. Seattle’s TV guys were bragging on the Mariners’ bullpen, so we’ll see how well they do this season.

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

13) Minnesota Vikings made their decision; they give Kirk Cousins $84M for three years, all fully guaranteed, to be their QB. Cousins has a 26-30-1 career W-L record, 0-1 in playoffs.

12) Minnesota went 11-3 with Case Keenum at QB LY; Keenum signed with the Broncos on Monday; he threw for 3,547 yards and 22 TD’s last season.

11) Drew Brees re-signed with the Saints; he turned down $60M guaranteed from someone else (Cardinals? Vikings?) before deciding to stay in New Orleans.

10) Cardinals gave oft-injured QB Sam Bradford $20 ($15M guaranteed) for one year. As a long-time Ram fan, I endorse the Keenum signing; the Bradford signing? Not so much.

9) Jets signed Teddy Bridgewater and re-signed Josh McCown, meaning they probably ain’t drafting another quarterback next month.

8) Gonzaga lost the national title game 71-65 last April, ending an odd run to the Final Four- they were 1-4-1 vs spread in their NCAA tournament games last spring.

7) Florida made the Elite 8 in each of its last five NCAA tournaments- hard to do that.

6) Since 2010, Villanova is 5-2 in its first-round games, 1-4 in second round games; the one time they won in second round, they won national title two years ago.

5) Arkansas is probably glad just to be in a different region than North Carolina this year; last three times the Razorbacks made the NCAA’s, they lost to the Tar Heels in the second round. If they play UNC in this year’s tournament, it’ll be in the Final Four.

4) Why gambling on NIT/CBI/CIT games can be dicey; USC star Chimezie Metu sat out Trojans’ NIT game Tuesday, for no reason except he didn’t want to get hurt. Not sure that Metu will get picked in the first round of the NBA Draft— he is a junior, so if he got hurt, he could come back to school next year, but it is a free country, and he chose not to play.

Late night update: With Metu sitting on bench, NC-Asheville played its heart out but fell short, losing 103-98 in double OT at USC- they led by six points in overtime.

3) Virginia loses its best guy off the bench, DeAndre Hunter for the season with a broken wrist.

2) Radford 71, LIU 61— Radford advances to play Villanova Thursday; no 16-seed has ever beaten a #1-seed. Last nine years, #16-seeds who won the play-in game are 7-11 vs spread in their next game, against a #1-seed.

1— St Bonaventure 65, UCLA 58— Season that started with shoplifting in China ended with an ugly loss on a Tuesday night in Dayton. Bruins turned ball over 20 times (-14), shot 10-30 on arc. Bonnies’ Stocker was doubtful to play, then played all 40:00, scored 26 points- they won despite star Adams going 2-16 from the floor.

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

13) Been a rough sports year for the Pac-12; they went 1-8 in bowl games last fall, and now got only three teams in March Madness, two of them in play-in games. USC was shunned, but maybe that was because of the FBI stuff.

Maybe if more people could watch the Pac-12 Network (hint, hint), they’d get screwed over less on Selection Sunday.

12) Creighton-Kansas State is really interesting, because the Bluejays’ best player is Marcus Foster, who played the first two years of his college career at…….Kansas State.

11) Did agent Scott Boras cost Royals’ 3B Mike Moustakas $38.5M this winter?

There are stories on the Interweb that Boras turned down a 3-year, $45M deal with the Angels, who later signed Zach Cosart instead. Moustakas, who also turned down the $17.5M qualifying offer from the Royals, wound up signing back with Kansas City for $6.5M for 2018.


10) College basketball coaching carousel:
— Lorenzo Romar returns to Pepperdine; he coached the Waves from 1996-99.
— Cal-Northridge hires former NC State coach Mark Gottfried.

9) Goalie Alex Nedeljkovic became only the 13th goalie in AHL history to score a goal when he found an empty net in Charlotte’s 7-3 win over Hartford last week.

8) When Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield went to the NFL Combine, he was interviewed by 11 different teams (15:00 each). Would be curious how similar the interviews were.

7) When Richard Sherman signed with the 49ers over the weekend, he represented himself, saving the 3% agents normally get. Sherman saved roughly $210,000 by doing that, but did he get himself the best deal possible?

Writer Mke Florio points out that if he signed the same deal with the Lions as he did with the 49ers, Sherman would’ve paid $1,176,500 less in state taxes. Maybe he wanted to stay in the NFC West; only he knows for sure.

6) Basketball teams that run the Princeton offense generally practice all different kinds of layups for eight minutes in every practice; why doesn’t everyone do this?

Seems like that would be an important skill to have, to be creative close to the basket.

5) Providence lost in the Big East finals Saturday night; all three of their tournament games went to overtime, which doesn’t happen very often.

4) Good grief, I’m tired of the Masters commercials; they started in freakin’ January, before the Super Bowl. Its a golf tournament on a really nice course, we get it. Enough already.

3) Listening to Nevada coach Eric Musselman Sunday night, he kind of threw St Mary’s under the bus as far as scheduling goes.

Nevada added four games to their schedule as late as August (URI, Texas Tech, TCU, Davidson) after Musselman read how the Selection Committee would stress road games this season. Wolf Pack didn’t win the Mountain West tournament, but they did get the league’s first at-large bid since 2015.

St Mary’s apparently refused to schedule better teams, even turning down home/home series. Sunday, they paid for it.

2) San Diego Padres have a shortstop prospect named Fernando Tatis Jr who they’re very high on; his dad Fernando Tatis is famous for one thing— on April 23, 1999, he hit two grand slams in the same inning, for the Cardinals in Dodger Stadium.

Not only that, but both grand slams were against the same pitcher- Chan Ho Park. Eight RBI in one inning is a record that likely will never be broken.

1— Doug Gottlieb tweeted this Sunday night, about the St Mary’s snub:

“St Mary’s not getting in is the reason Gonzaga will leave the WCC”

Gonzaga is likely to bolt the WCC soon, much like Wichita State left the MVC last summer. But where will the Zags go? Please don’t tell me the Big East.

Gonzaga is located in Spokane, WA, which is roughly 30 miles from the Idaho border. How in the name of Rand McNally can a school 30 miles from Idaho be in the freakin’ Big East???

Monday’s List of 13: Initial thoughts on the field of 68

13) When I first saw the brackets, it upset me that USC was left out; they’re a very good team and surely deserved to get in, right? Same with Oklahoma State and to a lesser extent, Louisville.

Then I read something Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports posted on Twitter:

“Louisville out. USC out. Oklahoma State out. What do they have in common? Part of the federal investigation of college hoops.”

That actually made me feel better, that there was a reason those teams got left out, but still don’t think Syracuse belonged in, but they are in, so we move on despite that.

12) Turns out Davidson’s win over Rhode Island knocked Notre Dame out of the field of 68.

11) Middle Tennessee State won Conference USA, the #12 league in country, but lost in their conference tournament; the Blue Raiders played #13 non-conference schedule in the country, losing to USC by 5, Miami by 3- they beat Vandy, Ole Miss, Murray State, but they get left home.

10) Texas Southern deserves special mention; coached by Mike Davis, who replaced Bob Knight at Indiana, the Tigers won the SWAC tourney, after starting this season 0-13.

In November/December, Texas Southern played guarantee games at:
Gonzaga-Ohio St-Syracuse-Kansas-Clemson-Oregon-Baylor-Wyoming-TCU-BYU

Texas Southern may not be a great team, but their players probably pack really well, and their accountants are really happy, because all those guarantee games pay a lot of bills.

9) Something to ponder when the Sweet 16 rolls around: looking back over the last 12 NCAA tournaments, the eventual national champ went 21-3 vs spread on the first weekend, so look for teams who were impressive on the first weekend to maintain that momentum.

8) Since 2006, 46 of 52 #1-seeds got to the Sweet 16, so if you’re filling out a bracket and are tempted to predict an early out for a #1 seed, please don’t do it. For your own good.

7) Last three years, #1-seeds are 7-5 vs spread in the first round.
Last four years, #2-seeds are 9-7 vs spread in the first round.
Last three years, #3-seeds are 4-8 vs spread in the first round.

6) Penn is a 16-seed, the first time since at least 2002 the Ivy League champ is a 16-seed; they were a 15-seed only once in last 15 tournaments, back in ’06.

Over the last eight years, Ivy League teams are 7-1 vs spread in NCAA first round games.

5) Since 2003, only 8 of 60 Final Four teams lost their first conference tourney game: Here are those teams:

2003— Marquette, Texas
2005— Michigan State
2007— UCLA
2009— UConn
2010— Michigan State (only team to do it twice)
2016— Syracuse
2017— South Carolina

4) Over the last 15 years, of the 60 teams who made the Final Four, 26 won their conference tournament. Over last six years, only 7 of 24 Final Four teams won their conference tourney; from 2004-11, 19 of 32 Final Four teams did.

7 of the last 15 national champs won their conference tourney, but only one of the last six.

3) Since the NCAA tournament went to 64, and then 68 teams, #2 seeds are 124-8 in their first round tournament games; here are the eight #2 seeds who lost in the first round:

1990— Richmond (+9) 73, Syracuse 69
1993— Santa Clara (+20) 64, Arizona 61
1997— Coppin State (+17) 78, South Carolina 65
2001— Hampton (+17.5) 58, Iowa State 57
2012— Lehigh (+12) 75, Duke 70
2012— Norfolk State (+21.5) 86, Missouri 84
2013— Florida Gulf Coast (+13.5) 78, Georgetown 68
2016— Middle Tennessee State (+18) 90, Michigan State 81

2) First Four point spreads for Tuesday/Wednesday games:

Tuesday: Radford -3.5 vs LIU; UCLA -3 vs St Bonaventure
Wednesday: Texas Southern -4.5 vs NC Central; Arizona State -1 vs Syracuse

1— Must be nice to have lot of money: Michigan State’s basketball team spent couple of days in Chicago last week, practiced in the Chicago Bulls’ practice facility, just to get away from campus.

Big 14 teams have extra time to prepare for the NCAA’s this year, because the Big 14 tournament was a week earlier than usual. Lot of people think the layoff will make those teams fresher.

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

13) Basketball trivia: a regulation hoop is exactly two basketballs wide. Its a pretty good coaching point to show that to kids- the hoop looks smaller because it is ten feet up in the air, but if you show kids that two basketballs can fit in a rim, it can help their confidence.

12) Arizona 75, USC 61— If you made me tell you who the best team in the country is, I’d tell you Arizona, though Virginia is close. All the chaos at Arizona this season may help them this month, since they’re used to the limelight- it may have brought the team closer together.

Pac-12 will have an interesting day, with UCLA/Arizona State on the bubble. It is possible that the AAC gets more teams in the tournament than the Pac-12.

11) UMBC 65, Vermont 62— Retrievers win the America East title- this was a great game. This league has found a niche with the 11am Saturday slot in Champ Week. No matter where their championship game is played, the gym is always packed.

Senior guard Jairus Lyles drained a straight-away 3-pointer with 0:00.6 left to give UMBC its first NCAA berth since 2008. This was UMBC’s first win over Vermont in their last 24 meetings.

Ryan Odom is UMBC’s coach; his dad is Dave Odom, who was Tim Duncan’s coach at Wake Forest.

10) How great was Pistol Pete Maravich? He played at LSU from 1967-70, long time ago, but there are still eight college gyms in this country where Maravich holds the scoring record for a visiting player. Pistol Pete scored 44.2 ppg in his three-year varsity career, and that was before 3-pointers were in the game.

9) Marshall 67, Western Kentucky 66- Thundering Herd is in NCAAs for first time since 1987; they’re coached by Dan D’Antoni, Mike’s brother.

8) LIU won the NEC tournament this week; they’re 18-16 this year, against the #335 schedule in the country (out of 351). Only 5 of their 34 games were against teams ranked in the top 200.

7) Coaching carousel: UConn fired Kevin Ollie, Georgia fired Mark Fox.

UConn won the national championship four years ago, but in this “What have you done for me lately?” world, they’re 30-35 the last two years, so Ollie was told to take a hike.

Georgia is 58-50 in SEC games the last six years, but Dawgs only made the NCAAs twice in nine years under Fox. Some smart mid-major team will hire Fox and will be glad they did.

Also being rumored that Fresno State coach Rodney Terry will be leaving for the UTEP job, which I am told pays better than Fresno.

6) Mookie Betts started out spring training 0-16; I’ve always wondered if players get stressed out over spring training slumps. When Betts got his first hit of the spring the other day, an infield hit, he smiled and pointed to the skies, so apparently, the 0-16 start stressed him out.

5) Cal-Fullerton 71, Cal-Irvine 55— Big West has nine teams in it; the last eight years, 8 of those 9 teams won the Big West tournament once each, which may help explain why Cal-Riverside will be hiring a new coach this spring.

4) Houston 77, Wichita State 74— AAC semifinal was a terrific game; dawned me during second half that Jim Nantz went to college at Houston, but you’d never know it listening to him call the game. Nantz, Raftery and Grant Hill make a good broadcasting team.

3) Villanova 76, Providence 66 OT— Bubble teams everywhere exhale; Friars would’ve been a bid-stealer. Internet pundits keep speculating about Chris Mack or Ed Cooley leaving for other schools, but why would you leave a Big East job?

Not only is the Big East a really good league, there is no football involved at those schools, so your team is king at your school, and thats a big thing.

2) Every bubble team in the country will be rooting for Rhode Island against Davidson today; if Davidson wins, it knocks another team off the bubble. Nevada losing in the Mountain West already knocked one bubble team off.

1— Today is one of the longer days of the year, and not because we turned the clocks ahead an hour last night; NCAA brackets come out at 6:00 tonight. Once the brackets come out, then it is a full night of research and handicapping. Sleepy day, very busy night.

Saturday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a Friday of basketball

13) ACC— North Carolina 74, Duke 69— Carolina was the #6-seed in ACC tournament; must be a hell of a league. Tar Heels won nine of last 11 games overall; they’re 4-6 in last 10 games with Virginia, who they play for ACC title tonight.

Virginia 64, Clemson 58— Tigers have been in the ACC since the beginning; they’re 19-65 in the ACC tournament, with no titles, losing their only two finals appearances. In 65 years.

12) Big East— Providence 75, Xavier 72 OT— Musketeers led by 17 points but lost here and now every bubble team in America will be rooting against Providence in the Big East final Saturday, since a Friar win steals a bid from someone. Providence has won consecutive days in overtime; they used three players 41:00+ in this game.

11) San Diego State 90, Nevada 73— Wolf Pack has lot of injury issues, looked like a dead team here. Aztecs led this game 55-25 at halftime; they’ve won eight games in a row. Mountain West is going to get two teams in the NCAA’s, so another bubble team bites the dust.

10) Pac-12— Does anyone get the Pac-12 Network? I have DirecTV and they don’t carry it. What is the point of having all but two games of your conference tournament on a station that not so many people can watch?

Arizona 78, UCLA 67 OT— UCLA tied game in last 0:30; would’ve been nice to have been able to watch it. Bruins (+4.5) were a tough beat- they didn’t score in overtime.

9) AAC— Memphis 67, Tulsa 64— Memphis is 21-12, they’ve won seven of last eight games, amidst rumors that the school wants to fire Tubby Smith and hire Penny Hardaway.

Smith’s lawyer came out Friday and said Hardaway was keeping some of the city’s best recruits away from Memphis because he wants Smith’s job. Fightin’ words.

8) A-14— St Bonaventure 83, Richmond 77— Bonnies led by 17 with 6:25 left, hung on for dear life and move on to a Friday rematch with Davidson. On Feb 27, Bonnies beat Davidson 117-113 in triple OT, maybe the best college hoop game all season.

Davidson has walk-on guard named Cal Freundlich, who is the son of actress Julianne Moore.

7) Big Sky— Montana 91, Northern Colorado 89 OT— Top-seeded Griz survive and advance; not to assess blame, but a guy on Northern Colorado missed two FT’s with 0:01 left in regulation, when score was 80-80. The kid was 1-7 on the line for the night; he was a 62.1% shooter on the line coming into the game.

Eastern Washington has a player named Bogdan Bliznyuk who shoots 40.4% on the arc, 91.1% on the foul line. He is a 6-6 senior; will he make an NBA squad?

6) Big West— Cal-Fullerton 55, Cal-Davis 52— Davis missed three of four FT’s in last 0:05.7.  Fullerton rallied back from down 12 with 13:00 left; they committed an incredibly stupid foul with 0:01.2 left when they led by 2, but got away with it.

Wee Willie Weber should’ve reffed this game, it was like the WWE: teams don’t like each other. Ton of chirping, refs had their hands full. Physical, chippy game.

5) C-USA— Marshall 85, Southern Miss 75— Mike D’Antoni’s brother coaches Marshall, so you know they play real fast. Thundering Herd was 12-28 on arc in this game.

4) MAC— Buffalo 78, Kent State 61— Bulls are looking for 3rd MAC title in last four years; lower seeded team won last two MAC finals.

Toledo 64, Eastern Michigan 63— Top two seeds will meet in MAC final. Toledo’s best player hurt his knee 30 seconds into this game, didn’t return.

3) Big X— I’ve got nothing interesting to add on this league, so I’ll point out that the Rockets lost 108-105 in Toronto Friday night, ending Houston’s 17-game winning streak.

2) SEC— Alabama 81, Auburn 63— PG Collin Sexton is making himself a lot of money this week; he went for 31 in this game. It would be a big upset if he isn’t in the NBA next season.

1— Sun Belt— Tex-Arlington 84, Appalachian State 68— Mavericks start five seniors; three of their six subs are seniors- they’re the most experienced team in America, but they’ll be an underdog to UL-Lafayette in the Sun Belt semi-finals. Ragin’ Cajuns beat Arlington twice in the regular season, by 12-21 points, but this is the one that matters most.

Friday’s List of 13; Wrapping up a full day of hoop

13) C-USA— Southern Miss 71, Middle Tennessee 68 OT— Potentially bad news for bubble teams all over the country; Blue Raiders are 24-7; they lost to USC by 5, to Miami by 3- they don’t have any really great non-conference wins. the next 48-72 hours will be very long for them.

12) ACC— Virginia 75, Louisville 58— Cavaliers are 29-2 and they’re underrated; they don’t have any big stars for ESPN to over-hype, and they fly under the radar. Excellent team.

Duke 88, Notre Dame 70— Have the Irish done enough to make the NCAA’s? They’re 20-14, but Bonzie Colson missed 15 games; lot of teams have injuries, though. Duke won seven of its last eight games.

North Carolina 82, Miami 65— Miami started game on a 14-0 run, but trailed 32-31 at the half. Luke Maye had a weird game; he grabbed 13 rebounds, had a couple assists, but he was 1-15 from the floor, 0-5 on the arc. Tar Heels have rubber match with Duke in ACC semis tonight.

11) A-14— George Mason 80, UMass 75— Patriots beat UMass three times this year, twice in overtime. Mason won six of its last eight games; an improving young team.

Saint Louis 70, George Washington 63— Billikens were down 11 at the half; they’re 17-15 and getting better under Travis Ford.

10) Big X— Kansas State 66, TCU 64 OT— Kid on TCU hit a 3 at the buzzer to force OT, but a shaky instant replay reversal gave K-State the last possession in overtime, and they cashed it in.

Kansas 82, Oklahoma State 68— Jayhawks are 26-5 in last 31 Big X tourney games. Cowboys are on the bubble, and most people don’t think they should be.

9) Big East— Butler 75, Seton Hall 74— Bulldogs get first Big East tourney win in five tries, scoring with 0:03.6 left in a wild final 0:30. Butler-Villanova in the semis tomorrow night.

Providence 72, Creighton 68 OT— You wonder how these teams from the midwest like trudging to Manhattan every March for their conference tournament. Long trip after a long season, especially when Bluejays already have their NCAA bid in order, despite going 3-6 in their last nine D-I games.

8) Big Sky— Southern Utah 92, Idaho 78— 10th-seed Thunderbirds are in Big Sky semis; they eliminated an Idaho team here that is the 2nd-most experienced team in country.

Montana 84, North Dakota 76— Top-seed has won last seven Big Sky tournaments, but Griz trailed by 6 with 15:48 left, before restoring order down the stretch. Montana will play Northern Colorado in the semis; the Bears crushed Weber State 80-55.

7) Sounds like Mike Moustakas will return to the Royals and Carlos Gonzalez will go back to Colorado, which is bad news for my fantasy team, and bad news for those two guys’ wallets. Not a lot of appetite for teams to spend big money on 30-ish free agents.

6) Big West— Fullerton 76, Long Beach 74— Tough game to ref; very physical. Allman played whole game for the Titans- they need to win next two days to win the tournament. He’ll need some rest eventually.

Fullerton-Davis play in semis Friday; Titans won both meetings during season. Head coaches had words after the first meeting; Fullerton coach Taylor is a Cal-Davis alum.

5) AAC— None of the eight AAC teams who played today will make the NCAA’s unless they win this AAC tournament. Scanning Twitter this week, it is amazing how many people put up their fields of 68 online, as if any of that means anything. Only thing that matters is what we see at 6:00 Sunday on TBS.

Memphis has quietly won six of its last seven games, as rumors about Penny Hardaway being the next Tigers’ coach float around. Memphis is 20-12 and plays Tulsa on Friday.

4) MAC— Buffalo signed coach Nate Oats to a 5-year contract extension; good for him. Bulls are 61-38 under Oats, 36-18 in conference games.

Toledo 71, Miami 69— Rockets avoid an upset here, surviving 4-23 shooting on the arc.

3) Mountain West— Utah State 78, Boise State 75— Big upset puts Broncos on the bubble and maybe in the NIT. Boise does have a win at Oregon, but not much else on its resume.

Nevada 79, UNLV 74— Wolf Pack have lot of injury issues, but they shot 12-25 on arc in this game and came back from 12 down in second half. UNLV PG Johnson got his 4th foul early in second half and Wolf Pack went on a run after that.

2) Pac-12— Arizona-UCLA play in Pac-12 semis Friday; teams met only once this season, with Bruins winning 82-74 in Tucson. Does UCLA need a win to make the NCAA’s?

1) SEC— Alabama 71, Texas A&M 70— Collin Sexton went length of court and hit a runner at the buzzer for the walk-off game-winner. Back in December, Aggies were thought to be Final Four caliber; they were 11-1 at Christmas, but finish 20-12. Could they be going to Dayton? Aggies’ last three games were decided by total of four points.

Georgia 62, Missouri 60— Star freshman Michael Porter Jr played in this game, after missing the whole season except for the first 2:00. Porter was 5-17 from floor in 23:00, which is an awful lot of shots for a kid who hasn’t played since November. You wonder how his presence affected team chemistry.

Thursday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a winter Wednesday

13) ACC— Louisville 82, Florida State 74— Louisville’s interim coach David Padgett turned 33 last month; I’m guessing the last five months have been a blur for him, but his Cardinals played a great first half, leading 41-22 before hanging on at the end for their 20th win. Louisville will likely go on probation; has Padgett does enough to earn the full-time coaching gig?

Boston College upset NC State 91-87; they play Clemson Thursday.

12) Pac-12— Colorado 97, Arizona State 85— Sun Devils beat Xavier, Kansas before Christmas, were ranked 3rd in country at one point, but they lost five of their last six games, went 8-11 in Pac-12 play, and have zero right to bitch if they get left out of the Field of 68. Their RPI was 65 after this loss to Colorado, which made 13-21 3-pointers in this game.

Oregon State and Oregon both advanced with overtime wins; Beavers’ three games with Washington this season were decided by total of 8 points.

11) A-14— UMass upset LaSalle 69-67; Explorers were 1-16 on arc, Minutemen 10-23.

10) Big X— Oklahoma State 71, Oklahoma 60— Sooners lost eight of their last 10 games, losing their last 10 games away from Norman. Bracketology people still have Oklahoma in the field of 68, but they’re not a very good team right now.

9) Mountain West— UNLV 97, Air Force 90 OT— Huge sigh of relief from the desert, as Rebels snap a 5-game losing skid and get their 20th win of the season. UNLV-Nevada Thursday; Wolf Pack crushed UNLV 101-75 in Las Vegas last week, but the Rebels won earlier in Reno.

8) Kansas center Udoka Azubuike won’t play in this week’s Big 12 tournament in Kansas City after he sprained the MCL in his left knee during practice Tuesday.

7) Los Angeles Rams are having an interesting offseason; they traded MLB Alec Ogletree to the Giants Wednesday for 4th and 6th-round draft picks- the move clears $5M in cap room, which begs the question as to just how much money they’re going to pay Aaron Donald this spring.

Ogletree was the quarterback of the defense, so it’ll be interesting to see who the new MLB will be and where that $5M in cap space is used. I’m pretty sure the Rams have five picks in the 6th round of the draft— they must think this draft is deep with talented players.

6) Missouri’s star recruit Michael Porter Jr was supposed to be America’s best freshman, but he played 2:00 in the season opener, then left with a back injury, hasn’t played since. He returns today in St Louis for the SEC tournament; how will his presence change the Tigers’ chemistry?

5) Big East— St John’s 88, Georgetown 77— Hoyas beat St John’s twice during the season, but Red Storm shot 67% inside arc in this game and move on to play top-seeded Xavier Thursday. Hoyas lost their last five games; they took 32 3’s, only 30 2-point shots in this game.

4) C-USA— Tex-San Antonio 71, UTEP 58— Roadrunners went 11-7 in C-USA this year, after going 26-61 the previous five years; they’re 9-2 in last 11 games and play Marshall today.

3) SEC— South Carolina 85, Ole Miss 84— Gamecocks made 12-21 on arc, only 19-34 on foul line. Ole Miss buried a 3 from deep in left corner to cover the spread at the buzzer.

2) Sun Belt— Texas State 73, Coastal Carolina 66— Bobcats snapped a 9-game losing skid with win here; six of those nine losses were by 4 or fewer points or in OT.

1) For me, today and tomorrow are just as much fun as the first round of the NCAA tournament; dozens of games all over the country, teams either positioning for seeding next week, or trying to shock the world and get in the field of 68.

Today is 14 or 15 hours of great action; enjoy!!!

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

13) One of the most underestimated facts in sports; over the last five years, Tom Brady has earned $74,784,964, “only” $14,956,993 a year. That allows New England more flexibility in paying other players. Not many quarterbacks or any athlete would willingly take less money to help the ballclub win— you think a member of the Manning family would do that?

Since 2013, Eli Manning has earned $97,660,004, 3rd-most in NFL.

Lot of people think Brady is the best quarterback ever; for him to be in the middle of the pack salary-wise is ludicrous and absurd.

12) Since 2013, Baltimore Ravens have spent $119,584,094 on the QB position, most in the NFL; Tennessee Titans have spent $38,280,713, the least.

11) Matthew Stafford has earned $111,008,969 over the last five years; he has an 0-3 career record in playoff games, which is part of why the Lions changed coaches this winter.

10) St Mary’s lost in the WCC tourney and their non-conference strength of schedule is #290; I don’t know if they’re getting in NCAA’s or not, but I do know this will be the longest week of their lives, as they wait for 6:00 Sunday night, to see if their season is a success or a failure.

9) Maine fired its basketball Monday and hired the former women’s coach, who sat out last year on medical leave. Then Maine’s best player announced he would transfer; Aaron Calixte scored 17 points a game this season. New coach’s job just got a little tougher.

8) Random baseball fact: last year, Joey Votto had a streak of 20 games in a row where he reached base 2+ times. That is the longest such streak since 1981. Barry Bonds had a 19-game streak in 2004.

7) Ed Hochuli retired as an NFL referee; he gave the best explanations for penalties. Long time ago, Hochuli was a linebacker at Texas-El Paso. Hochuli’s son Shawn is one of two new NFL refs, replacing his dad and Jeff Triplette, who also retired.

6) Charleston 83, Northeastern 76 OT— CAA final was one of best games of Champ Week so far. Huskies led by as many as 17 points in second half. This tournament is usually played in Richmond, but has been in Charleston last couple years- that sure helped the Cougars in this game. Charleston is in NCAA’s for first time since 1999.

Northeastern +2.5 is a very tough beat.

5) Wow. University of Memphis is seriously considering firing Tubby Smith and replacing him with Memphis legend Anfernee Hardaway, who is currently a high school coach in Memphis.

Rumors are that Hardaway would bring Larry Brown in as an assistant coach. Brown will be 78 in September; he is the only coach ever to win an NBA title and an NCAA national title.

4) Arizona Diamondbacks are bringing the bullpen cart back for this year; not sure if it’ll help pace of play at all, but bullpen carts are very cool. Now that just about all the bullpens are off the field and behind the OF fence, you might see more teams do this.

3) Gonzaga 74, BYU 54— Orleans Arena in Las Vegas has a great coffee shop; am guessing it is filled with happy Gonzaga fans after this rout of a BYU team that emptied its bucket when they upset St Mary’s Monday nite.

There is talk of Gonzaga moving to a better basketball league; that would be a really interesting decision. Gonzaga is kind of like UNLV was in the late 80’s when they ruled the Big West, but once they moved to the Mountain West, things haven’t been as good for the Rebels. Sometimes it is better to be the big fish in a smaller pond.

2) South Dakota 97, South Dakota 87— Jackrabbits are headed to NCAA’s for 3rd year in row and fifth time overall. They have a 6-8 kid named Daum who is an NBA player- he can shoot the 3-ball (42.8%) but when he got in foul trouble in this game, they still stretched out their lead- their freshman Jenkins is also a really good player.

1— In 1985, Mike Schmidt was the highest paid baseball player, at $3,125,000 a year.

This year, even a cheapskate team like my Oakland A’s have six guys who make that much. Trust me, none of those six guys could touch Mike Schmidt’s shoelaces. If Schmidt was playing today, you’d have to add on a zero to the end of that $3,125,000 to pay his tab.

Tuesday’s List of 13: Some college knowledge…….

13) Over the last 15 years, of the 60 teams who made the Final Four, 26 won their conference tournament. Over last six years, only 7 of 24 Final Four teams won their conference tourney; from 2004-11, 19 of 32 Final Four teams did.

12) 7 of the last 15 national champs won their conference tourney, but only one of the last six.

11) Since 2003, only 8 of 60 Final Four teams lost their first conference tourney game: Here are those teams:
2003— Marquette, Texas
2005— Michigan State
2007— UCLA
2009— UConn
2010— Michigan State (only team to do it twice)
2016— Syracuse
2017— South Carolina

10) Since 2006, two CAA teams have made the Final Four; George Mason in ’06 and VCU five years later. Weird thing is that neither of those teams won the CAA tournament that year. CAA ain’t getting more than one team in NCAA’s anymore, but they did as recently as 2011.

9) In 2011, UConn did something that will never be surpassed; not only did they win the NCAA tournament, winning six games, they had to win another five games to win the Big East tournament— they weren’t getting into the NCAA’s unless they won that tournament.

8) In 2006 and 2007, Florida finished the season by winning both the SEC tournament and the NCAA tournament— thats a very underrated accomplishment- 9-0 finishes both years.

7) In the last 15 years, 2008 was the only Final Four where all four teams won their conference tournament; in 2003 and 2009, none of the Final Four teams won their tournament.

6) Not putting pressure on Montana or anything, but the #1 seed won the last seven Big Sky tournaments. Most of those were at the home court of the #1 seed; they play the tournament on a neutral floor in Reno these days, but still…….

5) Fairfield has basketball players from nine different countries, plus Puerto Rico.

4) Eastern Washington’s Bogdan Bliznyuk has made 74 foul shots in a row, which is an NCAA single-season record.

3) Since the NCAA tournament went to 64, and then 68 teams, #2 seeds are 124-8 in their first round tournament games; here are the eight #2 seeds who lost in the first round:

1990— Richmond (+9) 73, Syracuse 69
1993— Santa Clara (+20) 64, Arizona 61
1997— Coppin State (+17) 78, South Carolina 65
2001— Hampton (+17.5) 58, Iowa State 57
2012— Lehigh (+12) 75, Duke 70
2012— Norfolk State (+21.5) 86, Missouri 84
2013— Florida Gulf Coast (+13.5) 78, Georgetown 68
2016— Middle Tennessee State (+18) 90, Michigan State 81

2) Since 2003, Big Sky teams are 1-14 in first round NCAA tourney games; over the last 11 years, they’re 2-8-1 vs spread in first round games.

1— Big West teams have also had problems in the NCAA’s recently; since 2006, Big West teams are 2-0 in play-in games,  but are 1-11 in first round games, 4-8 vs spread.