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

13) New York Knicks traded Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas Thursday, in a surprising trade that results in New York having around $75M in cap space this summer, when the following players will be free agents: 

Durant, Irving, Klay Thompson, Kemba Walker, Cousins, Jimmy Butler. 

Knicks would conceivably have room for two max contract players, but the question is this: Who the hell wants to play for one of the most dysfunctional franchises in sports? 

12) Knicks sent Porzingis, Courtney Lee, Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr to Dallas for DeAndre Jordan, Dennis Smith, Wesley Matthews and two first round picks. 

11) Mark Cuban has seen the light; he has Luca Doncic and Porzingis now, following in the footsteps of Dirk Nowitzki. He still has to get Porzingis to commit longterm to the Mavericks. 

Cuban isn’t fond of the grassroots basketball system in this country and believes that kids from other countries, generally speaking, work harder and are more coachable. 

Look at the Spurs; during their run of five NBA titles, they often had a majority of foreign players on their roster. 

10) There are only two D-I college basketball teams with two players averaging 20+ points/game this season; Duke and………Cal State-Northridge. 

Duke: RJ Barrett 23.9 ppg, Zion Williamson 21.7
Northridge: Lamine Diane 23.5 ppg, Terrell Gomez 20.1

Three of those four players are freshmen. 

9) Mississippi State DT Jeffrey Simmons won’t be invited to the NFL Combine, even though he is a projected top 10 pick in the draft. Simmons doesn’t meet the criteria under the NFL’s policy about past issues involving violence; he was seen on video in 2016 striking a woman. 

8) Sacramento Kings won their last five home games, first time they’ve done that since 2008. 

7) Twitter can be a lot of fun when people aren’t so serious; someone posted a quiz the other night on which movie people preferred, Forrest Gump or Road House? Reading the various responses made me laugh for a while. 

I chose Road House, by the way, even though Tom Hanks was a soda vendor at the Oakland A’s games in the Coliseum when he was 14 years old, back in the early 70’s.  

6) Hofstra of the CAA has college basketball’s longest current win streak, winning their last 16 games. 

5) Is Kevin Garnett the Bobby Bonilla of the NBA? Garnett is still making money from his Celtics contract, banking $5M a year until 2024. 

4) You know your college is having a cruddy sports year when NCAA puts your school’s girls’ softball team on probation. 

Missouri’s football, baseball, softball teams all were fingered by the NCAA, which put the athletics department on three years of probation as a result of academic fraud.

3) Nolan Arenado and the Colorado Rockies agreed on a one-year, $26M contract as he begins what is likely his last year with the Rockies. Arenado will be a highly sought after free agent next winter. 

2) Arizona State 95, Arizona 88 OT— Bad beat if you had the Wildcats +5.5; ASU get its first win in last seven tries against its in-state conference rival. 

1) Georgetown 80, Xavier 73— James Akinjo scored 23 points for the Hoyas, all after halftime. 

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

13) It was so cold in Chicago, work crews had to set fire to commuter rail tracks to keep the trains moving smoothly. That doesn’t sound that safe, but in the midwest this week, it is colder than in some parts of Antartica. 

It was 35 below zero in Winnipeg Tuesday night, minus-49 with the wind. Yuk.

12) In his first eight years in the NBA, all with the Nets, Milwaukee Bucks’ center Brook Lopez was a combined 3-31 shooting behind the arc, while scoring around 17 points/game. He just didn’t shoot from the outside, it wasn’t a part of his game. 

The last three years, playing for three different teams (Nets-Lakers-Bucks), Lopez has made 371 of 1,032 three-pointers (35.9%), an amazing transformation of his game. 

Goes to show you that if you work at your game, you can improve drastically. 

11) Roger Goodell makes around $32M a year to be the NFL’s commissioner; his one-hour press conference during Super Bowl week is probably the worst hour of that year every year. 🙂

 10) Part of being a good coach is making in-season adjustments. Missouri State’s new coach is Dana Ford, who came over from Tennessee State; he wanted his Bears to play fast, but then Missouri State started the season 8-11, 2-4 in conference. Changes were made. 

In their last three games, Missouri State played a much slower tempo, with fewer than 60 possessions in regulation of all three games, which the Bears won. Its easier to recruit when you play fast, but its easier to keep your job when you win, and once he recruits some more of his players into the program, Ford’s team will play fast again. Just not this year.  

9) After standing in front of the Hard Rock Cafe for 28 years, the guitar-shaped sign that welcomed people to the Hard Rock has come down and can now be seen at the Neon Museum in downtown Las Vegas, where they have lot of cool old signs from Las Vegas’ past.

8) Arizona Diamondbacks gave manager Torey Lovullo a contract extension thru 2022; team traded Paul Goldschmidt this winter, they’re going to re-boot/rebuild which means they’re probably going to suck this year, so they gave the manager more job security. 

7) When you hear an NBA announcer say: “Player A ‘Eurosteps’ to the hoop” thats a euphemism for “He walked, but they don’t call those kind of walks in the NBA.”

6) ESPN’s Adrian Branch said on air Tuesday night that Tennessee’s Grant Williams reminds him of former NBA star Adrian Dantley. Seeing how Dantley scored 23,177 points in his career, averaging 24.3 ppg, thats a pretty big compliment. 

5) Florida Atlantic football coach Lane Kiffin made an unusual recruiting stop Wednesday; he stopped by the maternity ward of a hospital in north central Florida to visit a prospect who had recently become a father. 

When you coach a mid-major team, you do what you have to do to get players.

4) Lincoln Riley got a contract extension from Oklahoma, will now make $6M a year. He doesn’t have to visit maternity wards to get players. 

3) Oklahoma State’s football team hired Princeton’s Sean Gleeson as offensive coordinator; Gleeson’s offense at Princeton scored 470 points LY, an Ivy League record. Tigers averaged 36.9 ppg during Gleeson’s six seasons on staff. 

2) Happy 89th birthday to the great actor Gene Hackman, even though in Hoosiers, his character (coach Norman Dale) didn’t know enough to give Jimmy Chitwood the ball every time Hickory High needed a basket. My favorite Hackman movies:
a) Hoosiers, b) Runaway Jury c) The Replacements

1) Someone on Twitter suggested replacing the Pro Bowl with a game between the two worst teams in the NFL playing, with the winner getting the first pick in the draft. Only problem with that is if a draft pick is traded, and the team holding that pick is a playoff team. Then what?

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

13) Over the last ten years, of the 40 teams that made the Final Four, 39 of them were in the top 50 in country in defensive efficiency; VCU in 2011 was the exception. 

Last three years, all 12 Final Four teams were in the top 30 in defensive efficiency, and 11 of those were in the top 20. 

What I’m saying is this: When I fill out my bracket, I’m noting each team’s defensive efficiency next to their name, and will use that to help advance teams on my bracket. 

Villanova is #83 in defensive efficiency this year; the last three years, the Wildcats were 5th, 11th, 12th- big difference.

12) Playing a fast tempo hasn’t been a trait of many Finals Four teams; only 8 of the last 40 Final Four teams were in the top 100 that year in tempo. 

11) Talent means more than experience. Last four years, only 2 of 16 Final Four teams were in the top 100 in experience. 

10) ESPN announced the end of Baseball Tonight, their nightly in-season highlight show. 

Not really sure what direction ESPN is heading in here; there is already an NBA Network- they dropped the NHL a few years ago, their daytime programming is terrible. If you’re paying Mike Greenberg and Stephen A Smith serious money to babble on during the day but drop Baseball Tonight, its almost like you want to become a running joke.

9) Les Miles is in a new movie. This could be excellent.

Kansas’ new football coach has a role in a movie about the Challenger shuttle disaster with an unoriginal title: “The Challenger Disaster”. Miles plays one of the NASA chiefs. 

My one memory of the Challenger mishap 33 years ago; my parents got a new TV that day, and when they turned it on for the first time, a replay of the Challenger exploding was the first thing we saw. Sad day.

8) Anthony Davis wants off the New Orleans Pelicans, because no NBA stars are content with being really, really rich, unless they can be placed on an already-contending team, too. 

If the Pelicans do not trade Davis, he can’t get a max contract, but he’d still be really, really rich, and also the Pelicans would take a huge loss, personnel-wise. The question, what can they get in a trade for Davis?

7) USC hired North Texas OC Graham Harrell as its new offensive coordinator/QB coach; Harrell replaces Kliff Kingsbury, who he also replaced as Texas Tech’s QB back in his playing days. Kingsbury left USC after only 34 days, to become head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.

6) Toronto Blue Jays signed former Philly/Padre SS Freddy Galvis to a $4M, one-year deal with a club option for 2020.

5) At halftime buzzer of their game Saturday, kid on Hofstra made a shot from behind the opposite foul line; they measured the shot Monday, and it was officially 82 feet. Quite a toss.

4) Looks like Redskins’ QB Alex Smith is out for all of 2019 after breaking his leg, so seeing how Smith will be 35 in May and 36 in May 2020, seems like Washington will be looking a for a new QB this spring.

3) Three people I’d like to meet someday:
— Steve Martin, the great comedian
— Bill James, the father of baseball Sabermetrics
— A’s equipment manager Steve Vucinich, who has worked for the A’s for over 50 years.

2) Monday morning in Texas, thousands of people streamed into the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Killeen to pay their final respects to Air Force veteran Joseph Walker, after it was reported that Mr Walker was going to be buried with no family present. 

It was posted on Facebook that Mr Walker was going to be buried with no family/friends there, but what wound up happening instead was roughly 5,000 cars coming to thank Mr Walker for his service to our country— he served from 1964-68.

1) Doug Sirmons is a college basketball referee; here is his schedule from Jan 19-28. College basketball refs make a lot of money, and unlike NBA players, they’re obviously not averse to back-to-backs. Plus, they earn a lot of airline/rental car miles.

January 19: Kansas @ West Virginia
January 20: Duquesne @ George Washington
January 21: Marshall @ Western Kentucky
January 22: Texas Tech @ Kansas
January 23: Texas @ TCU
January 24: Tulsa @ Cincinnati
January 26: West Virginia @ Tennessee
January 27: Central Florida @ Memphis
January 28: Duke @ Notre Dame

Tuesday’s List of 13: Quick look at some Super Bowl prop bets

13) How long will it take Gladys Knight to sing the national anthem?
Over 105 seconds -140, Under 105 seconds +100

12) Which will be higher?
Kyrie Irving total points on Sunday, -115, Jared Goff pass completions -115

11) Which will be higher?
Thunder total points vs. Celtics -150, Todd Gurley rushing/receiving yards +120

10) Which will be higher?
Celtics total points vs. Thunder -220, Brandin Cooks receiving yards +160

9) Which NCAA conference four-player group will have more total yards? 
SEC: (Gurley, Michel, Reynolds, Patterson) +120
Pac-12: (Anderson, Woods, Cooks, Gronkowski) -150

8) Will “Dilly Dilly” be said during a Bud Light commercial? Yes -200, No +150

7) Will Adam Levine be wearing a hat at the start of the halftime show? Yes -110, No -130

6) Total times Roger Goodell will be shown on air during the game: Over/under 1.5

5) How many commercials will have a dog in it? Over/under 5.5

4) Will it be mentioned on the CBS broadcast that Todd Gurley and Sony Michel were teammates at Georgia? Yes +130, No -160

3) Which will be higher?
Jon Rahm total birdies Sunday -110, Jared Goff rushing yards -120
(If Rahm misses cut in Phoenix, there is no action)

2) Will either kicker hit the upright or crossbar on a missed field goal or extra point attempt? Yes +375, No -650

1) Will a non-QB throw a touchdown? Yes +350, No -600
(Detroit, coached by former Patriots’ assistant Matt Patricia, had an offensive lineman throw a TD pass against the Rams this season)

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

13) Quick story to start this week off: 

Long, long time ago, my junior year in high school, we had a good basketball team. Third or fourth game of the year, we play a rival school that is also supposed to be really good, but with 2:00 left in the first half, we led 33-4. It was tremendous. 33. to. 4. 

Other team scores last seven points of the half; we’re up 33-11 in a game with no shot clock and no 3-pointers— it is December, 1975. Our coach was NOT happy. 

The guy spent the whole halftime screaming about those seven points; if I remember right, the final was 68-44, something like that. An easy win; halftime should’ve been a positive time. 

We wound up winning the league in miraculous fashion on the last day of the season, but on that December night, I learned a lot about coaching, about how being too negative can turn kids off pretty quickly. Two of the juniors on that team wouldn’t play the next year, when they would’ve been starters. Finished 8-11 the next season. No bueno. 

12) Really good article on ESPN.com about the Cleveland Browns’ front office and how messed up it has been since Jimmy Haslam bought the team. Go read it; long article, but interesting. 

Trivia: Haslam and former senator Bob Corker were roommates at U of Tennessee. 

11) Sometimes things that help teams win are things that have NOTHING to do with that team. 

For instance, the Cleveland Browns drafted Johnny Manziel because thats who Haslam wanted them to draft; the GM wanted Oregon State WR Brandin Cooks. 

Cooks play WR for the Rams now, will play in the Super Bowl Sunday, all because the Browns’ owner meddled and demanded they take Manziel.

10) Iowa State has come a long way this season; they’re 15-5, 4-3 in the Big X; last year, Cyclones went 13-18, 4-14 in league- they weren’t favored in any of their Big X games last year. None. 

9) Home teams won nine of ten games in the SEC-Big X challenge; Iowa State was only road team to win- they won at Ole Miss. 

They extended the SEC-Big X challenge six years, so it must get good TV ratings. 

8) Cincinnati 72, Temple 68— Bearcats were down 35-25 at halftime, then by 14 in second half, but rallied to win and move to 7-1 in AAC. 

7) Georgetown 89, St John’s 78— Patrick Ewing was a great defensive player, but his Hoya teams play fast, are fun to watch. Average total in Georgetown’s Big East games is 169; now all Ewing has to do is win (3-4) some more of those games. 

6) Purdue 73, Michigan State 63— Boilermakers never trailed; they won’t play a better game this season, ending Michigan State’s 22-game Big 14 win streak.

5) No idea who the guy is, but the analyst on the Indiana State-Illinois State game Sunday went on a brief rant near the end of the game, about how “….if we put a man on the moon, how come we can’t grow hair on a bald man’s head?” Briefly stunning, kind of funny and a fair question. 

Turns out the guy’s name is Doyle; hope CBS moves him up in the analyst hierarchy. 

4) Kirk Cousins makes $28M a year; Tom Brady makes $20.5M; either Robert Kraft is paying Brady off under the table, circumventing the salary cap, or Brady’s agent is the dumbest person in New England. How is Brady not one of the top five highest-paid QB’s? 

3) Sunday of President’s Day weekend should be fun; college hoop, Daytona 500 and the NBA All-Star Game. That covers the demographics of just about everyone in America, right? 

In case you’re wondering, first spring training baseball game is February 21; the first full day of games is February 23. 

2) I watch a ton of sports on TV; basketball, baseball, football. Can’t remember the last time I watched the Pro Bowl, except a few minutes in a bar last year because Jared Goff was playing. Understood that people bet on the game and therefore have an interest, but there is nothing in sports that interests me less than the Pro Bowl, except soccer. Don’t like soccer. 

1) Tip of the cap to my mailman, who trudged through snowy lawns all week delivering the mail to our neighborhood. Job can’t be much fun in the winter; cold as hell, windy, lot of snow on the ground, but his work is appreciated. 

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

13) Noon-2pm:
— Davidson 54, Saint Louis 53— Billikens missed two FT’s with 0:00 on the clock.
— Illinois 78, Maryland 67— Why did these teams play in Madison Square Garden?
— Iowa State 87, Ole Miss 73— Impressive road win for the Cyclones.  

12) 2-4pm:
— NC State 69, Clemson 67— Tigers led by 6 with 0:30 left, gagged the game away.
— Marquette 87, Xavier 82— Marquette was down 11, made 14 of 25 3-pointers. Xavier’s coach got a technical with 3:54 left, when it was a 2-point game.
— Texas A&M 65, Kansas State 53— Wildcats had won their last five games. 

11) 4-6pm:
— Colorado State 74, Fresno State 65— Pretty big upset in Mountain West.
— Washington 79, Oregon State 69— Huskies are 7-0 in the Pac-12.
— Utah State 68, New Mexico 66— Walk-on Abel Porter nailed a 3-pointer with 0:01.8 left for the win. Lobos got hosed by a bogus backcourt violation called against them earlier. 

10) 6-8pm:
— UConn 80, Wichita State 60- 2nd game in row Wichita didn’t score before first TV timeout.
— Kentucky 71, Kansas 63— Jayhawks shot 35% inside arc; they’re 4-3 in last seven games.
— LSU 86, Missouri 80 (OT)— LSU was down 14, ended game on 30-10 run. Horrendous beat if you had Mizzou +4; LSU missed one of two FT’s with 0:02 left to force OT. 

9) 8-10pm:
— Virginia Tech 78, Syracuse 56— Hokies made 14-30 on arc in a surprisingly easy win.
— USC 69, Arizona State 67— Trojans hit a 3-pointer with 0:11 left to win a fun game.
— San Diego State 94, UNLV 77— Rebels had to bus back to Las Vegas; UNLV’s charter jet was grounded because of technical difficulties. Reportedly, there was a break-in; someone damaged the cockpit in the plane.

8) 10pm-12
— Mississippi State 92, Auburn 84— Tigers made 11-21 on arc, still lost by 8.
— UCLA 87, Arizona 69— Worst weekend Arizona hoops has had in long time.
— San Diego 67, San Francisco 63— Dons were up 11 at the half; damaging loss. 

7) Upsets of the Day:
— Illinois (+10) 78, Maryland 67
— Elon (+9.5) 89, NC-Wilmington 82
— Samford (+9) 75, Furman 73
— South Alabama (+8.5) 78, UL-Monroe 72
— Pepperdine (+8.5) 84, Saint Mary’s 75 OT
— Rutgers (+7.5) 64, Penn State 60
— Colorado State (+7) 74, Fresno State 65
— Western Illinois (+7) 65, South Dakota 59

6) From Justin Ray: Since 2013, %age of 3rd round leaders that won on PGA Tour:
Led by 1 shot – won tournament 25.9% of time
2 shots – 40.0%
3 shots – 40.6%
4+ shots – 82.5%

5) Tex-San Antonio 74, Old Dominion 73— Monarchs led 69-55 with 2:10 left to play but went home a loser. Giving up 19 points in 2:10 isn’t that easy to do. 

4) Missouri State 55, Bradley 37— In its last two games, Missouri State allowed 11-14 points in the first half. Bears are 4-4 in the MVC, much improved under new coach Dana Ford. 

3) James Harden went 15-15 on the foul line Friday night, the 10th time in his career he has made 15+ free throws without a miss in a game, which ties Oscar Robertson for the most such games in NBA history.

2) It is funny, TV announcers whine like babies about how long instant replay reviews take, but then they want one of the refs to come over and explain the call, like that doesn’t take extra time. 

1) Happy birthday to the great Bob Uecker, who turned 85 on Saturday!!! 

Saturday’s List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind…….

13) If you have a little kid who is about to start Little League, might be a good idea to teach him to throw left-handed. Could pay off big some day. 

Oliver Perez is 37 years old; he hasn’t been great, but he is lefty, and his delivery is quirky, so he has banked $62.5M in his career, which means he’s had a great career, at least financially. 

Perez went 15-10 for the ’07 Mets, the only time in his career he won more than 12 games, so when you buy little Johnny his first baseball glove, make it a lefty glove. 

12) Toronto Raptor fans may have been alarmed when it was reported this week that Kawhi Leonard bought a house in Racho Santa Fe, CA, for a mere $13.3M, figuring it means he’ll be playing ball in Los Angeles next season. 

Not so fast. Turns out Rancho Santa Fe is 109 miles from Staples Center, so maybe he is just buying a really nice place to spend his summers. 109 miles is kind of a long commute, especially in an area where traffic jams are pretty common. 

11) Speaking of the Lakers, they’re 5-10 in their games without Lebron James this season. 

10) If you ran an NFL team and needed a franchise QB, would you seriously consider a kid who skipped his team’s bowl game his last season? 

West Virginia’s Will Grier transferred from Florida to West Virginia when he wasn’t starting anymore, which is common these days, but a QUARTERBACK skipping a bowl game, to me, would take him off my draft board. Great quarterbacks are gym rats, they don’t skip games. 

Not mention he was suspended at Florida for using PED’s and you have your choice of red flags, not to mention he is already 23 years old. 

9) There were 42 NBA scouts at the Belmont-Murray State game Thursday night, mostly to see Murray’s guard Ja Morant, who is climbing a lot of draft boards. 

8) Denver was -15 over the Suns Friday night; biggest spreads in any NBA game this season where when the Nuggets were -18 over Cleveland, and the Warriors were -17 over New York. Both big favorites covered those two games. 

7) Bill Vinovich was the referee for the NFC championship game Sunday; Thursday night he was in Provo, one of the refs for the Saint Mary’s-BYU college basketball game.

6) Kansas City Chiefs replaced defensive coordinator Bob Sutton with Steve Spagnuolo, which is basically change for the sake of change.

Some college basketball trends for the season so far……
5) Double digit home favorites are 64-86-5 vs spread in conference games this season. 

Double digit road favorites are 19-13. 

4) Home favorites in Big X games are 5-16-3 vs spread so far this season. 

3) Favorites of any kind are 27-11 vs spread in Big Sky games; 17-9 at home, 10-2 on road. 

2) Underdogs are 22-13-1 vs spread in MAC games; 5-3 at home, 17-10-1 on road. 

1) Road teams are 19-11-1 vs spread in Big East games. 

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

13) Jets’ safety Jamal Adams was signing autographs at a Pro Bowl practice when he saw the New England Patriots’ mascot. Adams said “I’m fixing to go knock this mascot out!”  and then ran over and decked the mascot with a flying tackle. It looked like a pre-planned stunt; it wasn’t. 

Apparently the guy inside the mascot costume wound up in the hospital; a Patriots’ spokesman actually put out a statement that said the mascot is “sore”. The mascot himself posted something on social media that indicated the injury wasn’t too bad. 

Oy. 

12) Sign of the Times: USC signed a football recruit from Mater Dei HS on December 19, a wide receiver; the kid bolts high school early, enrolls in USC for the spring semester, but now that USC’s new OC Kliff Kingsbury jumped to the Arizona Cardinals, the kid has already decided to transfer. He’s supposed to still be in high school, for Pete’s sake, and he’s already transferred. 

USC still hasn’t named a replacement for Kingsbury; Signing Day for college football is coming up in 12 days or so. 

11) Brooklyn Nets G Spencer Dinwiddie has torn ligaments in his right thumb, is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. He was averaging 17.2 ppg, 5.0 assists per game for the 26-23 Nets, who lost Caris LaVert to a dislocated ankle in November. 

Pacers’ star Victor Oladipo has a ruptured quad tendon in his right knee and will miss the rest of the season.

10) AJ Pollock signed a 4-year deal with the Dodgers for roughly $55M, giving LA another right-handed bat. 

9) When Kyler Murray makes his decision between football and baseball, he better study the case of former Michigan QB Drew Henson, who picked baseball but washed out after six years, then went to the NFL, where he bounced around for a few more years. 

Henson played in one more NFL game (9) than major league games (8).  

If Murray is going to be a first-round pick in the NFL, he pretty much has to go that route, there is too much money on the table in football. Lamar Jackson was the last pick in the first round last April, and signed a four-year, $7.6M contract, which is $3M more than the bonus Murray would get from Oakland if he sticks with baseball. 

8) It is January 25 and the Oakland A’s don’t have a radio deal for this coming season yet; they made the playoffs last year, you think this wouldn’t be hard to find. No bueno.

7) Upsets of the Night:
— Tex-Arlington (+9.5) 72, Georgia Southern 67
— Towson State (+9) 75, Northeastern 72
— UAB (+6.5) 52, North Texas 49
— Eastern Kentucky (+4.5) 88, Jacksonville State 70
— Belmont (+4.5) 79, Murray State 66

6) In 2017, there were 702 times a baseball player was put on the DL, another 737 in 2018, blamed in part on the new 10-day disabled list, which is why MLB may go back to a 15-day DL, to discourage teams from abusing the DL. 

5) Panthers’ QB Cam Newton had his throwing shoulder scoped this week; no one is saying when Newton will be back throwing a football. 

4) Wofford 107, Samford 106, OT— Kid on Wofford hit a 17-foot fadeaway at the buzzer for the win. Terriers are now 8-0 in the Southern Conference. Pretty sure I had the under in this game.

3) Wilt Chamberlain holds a lot of NBA records; one of the most impressive is that he once had 55 rebounds in a game, on November 24, 1960, against the Celtics. 

2) Pretty good night for basketball fans in Los Angeles; the Lakers, UCLA and USC all played at home. So did Cal State-Fullerton. Lot of solid entertainment in Tinseltown. 

1) ESPN came up with some old video Thursday from 2007, of a Kent State-Miami OH football game, where Kent’s QB was Julian Edelman, while Miami had a WR named Sean McVay.

In 2007, Rams were in first year of a 3-year stretch where they went 6-42; who would’ve thought that the guy who would eventually fix that mess was that WR at Miami? Life is funny sometimes. 

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

13) Tennessee 88, Vanderbilt 83 OT— Eleven years ago, Tennessee became #1 in the country for the first time ever, then 48 hours later went to Vanderbilt and got upset. 

Monday, Tennessee became #1 in the country for the second time ever; 48 hours later, they went to Vanderbilt, were down 6 with 1:25 left, but rallied to force OT, where the Vols survived to win an excellent game. Vandy is 0-6 in the SEC, but they fought like hell in this rivalry game. 

Tennessee’s Grant Williams was 23-23 on the foul line. 

12) LSU 92, Georgia 82— LSU (-11.5) is up 12 with the ball in the last 0:20; they have a 3-1 break for a layup, but the dribbler throws a lob pass off the backboard, trying for a dunk, which fails badly, and Georgia goes down and nails to a 3-pointer for the backdoor cover.

This is the kind of shenanigans which makes you not want to pick games; LSU is a winner here, but the kid was a jackass so if you laid 11 points with LSU, thats a losing ticket. 

11) Unfortunately, Indiana Pacers’ star Victor Oladipo messed up his knee Wednesday night and is likely out of the season. Oladipo was scoring 19 ppg for the Pacers.

10) Rockets 114, Knicks 110— James Harden scored 61 points, and he was only 5-20 on the arc; he took 38 shots from floor, was 22-25 on foul line. Houston was +19 with Harden on the floor, -15 when he was off the floor, and he was only off for 8:00. 

Harden is first player in NBA history to take 20 3-pointers and 20 foul shots in same game. 

9) How are totals affected when NBA teams are playing for a second consecutive night?
— Road team that was at home the night before: over 22-20
— Road team that was on road the night before: over 41-36
— Home team that was at home the night before: over 17-12
— Home team that was on road the night before: under 23-19

8) Good news for Arizona Cardinals and their young QB Josh Rosen; WR Larry Fitzgerald is coming back for his 16th season next year. There had been lot of thought last month that this season might have been the future Hall of Famer’s last one. 

7) NHL’s Edmonton Oilers fired their GM Peter Chiarelli Tuesday night in between periods of a home game, so that he could leave the Oilers’ arena quietly. Chiarelli was Edmonton’s GM for the last 3.5 years. 

6) Oklahoma 70, Oklahoma State 61— Sooners’ 6-4 freshman Jamal Bienemy is the nephew of Chiefs’ OC Eric Bienemy; he scored a career-high 17 points in this game. OSU didn’t score for the last 5:00; Sooners ended the game on a 10-0 run. 

5) Virginia Tech QB Josh Jackson is leaving the program, the 4th Hokie to announce that he is transferring this week. Jackson was hurt in the third game this past season and missed the rest of the year. He will be eligible immediately as a graduate transfer. 

4) Alabama has a basketball player named Kira Lewis who basically skipped his senior year in high school to get a head start on playing college ball. It is January 24, and Lewis is still only 17 years old, and to me, that is too young. Kid is a good ballplayer, not saying that, just saying that in other ways, being a 17-year old college student might not be the best idea. 

Marquette’s Markus Howard did the same thing and is playing really well, but he has injury problems. There is only so much pounding a body can take, and the less mature that body is, the harder it is for that person to bounce back from them.  

3) ESPN’s Rece Davis probably annoyed some people Tuesday night when he said that Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, KS is the best place in the country to watch a college basketball game. People get territorial about stuff like that.  

2) Saturday’s big thing in college basketball will be the SEC-Big X challenge, with ten games in a made-for-TV event. Lot of interesting games between two of the best leagues in the country. 

Kentucky-Kansas is the marquee matchup; Jayhawks are 6-3 in their last nine games with Kentucky. 

1) One thing for sure, I’m not flying anywhere until the air traffic controllers have all their money back. These people are stressed out on a good day- it is a very difficult job. 

Not paying them while they’re still having to work their stressful job is an invitation to a horrific accident that will cost lives, and whose fault will that be?

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

13) Glad to see Edgar Martinez get elected to the baseball Hall of Fame Tuesday; he joins Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay and Mike Mussina as new inductees, with Rivera the first guy to get elected unanimously to the Hall. 

I have no problem with Rivera being voted in unanimously; I have a HUGE problem with none of THESE great players being voted in unanimously: 

Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Ken Griffey Jr, Johnny Bench, George Brett, Bob Gibson, Mike Schmidt, among others. Who would vote against any of them? 

If Hank Aaron or Willie Mays wasn’t voted in unanimously, why should Rivera be? Doesn’t really matter, but if Rivera had the exact same career for the Padres or Mariners, no way is he a unanimous selection.

12) Atlanta Braves re-signed OF Nick Markakis to a one-year deal. Markakis made the All-Star Game for the first time LY at age 34; he hit only .258 after the All-Star break, after hitting .323 prior to the mid-summer classic. 

11) Vanderbilt freshman PG Darius Garland is out for the year with an injury; he left school and will prepare for the NBA Draft, not surprising. I’m pretty adamant that kids should be able to go right from high school to the NBA; going to college for a year is a farce.

Garland scored 16.2 ppg in five games for the Commodores, before he got hurt. 

10) Speaking of freshman guards, how is it that Russell Westbrook played only 9 minutes a game as a freshman at UCLA? He was a dominant figure the next year, then bolted to the NBA, where he’s become a big star, but he scored only 122 points in 36 games in 2006-07. 

9) Kentucky 76, Mississippi State 55— Someone on the MSU staff checked off a wrong starter in the scorebook, so the Bulldogs’ point guard didn’t start the game- Miss State led 4-0 early, so it wasn’t a disaster, just a little embarrassing. 

Flashback to December, 1981: I was the student manager at UAlbany, and part of my job was to fill out the names in the scorebook. We had a player quit the team, and the next day I mistakenly put his name in the book, omitting someone else’s name, although I had the omitted player’s number written in the book. 

As luck would have it, the omitted player has the best game of his career, but the PA guy kept announcing the name of the player who had quit; not good for me, when they discovered the mistake. The ref saved my butt by not accessing a technical, since the number was correct, but we lost the game, and I was in the doghouse for a while. 

8) Looking at game experience in college basketball, out of 32 D-I leagues in the country, the A-14 and Pac-12 are the two leagues whose players have the least actual game experience. 

7) Part of the reason that Cincinnati traded for Sonny Gray is that he is close with Reds pitching coach Derek Johnson, who was his pitching coach in college at Vanderbilt. 

6) Arizona Diamondbacks will have four of the first 34 picks in the 2019 draft if AJ Pollock signs with another team for more than $50M, which is expected to happen.

5) 76ers 121, Rockets 93— Over/under for James Harden’s scoring in this game Monday night was 41.5; he had 37 thru three quarters, but sat the 4th quarter out because the Rockets were getting killed. 

4) Something to think about in March/April: Cleveland Browns have more than $80M in salary cap space to use; they have eight picks in the first five rounds of the 2019 draft.

3) Different ways to skin a cat, from Rufus Peabody: This season, NFL teams went for it 62% of time on 4th and less than 2 in enemy territory. Rams went for it only 6-of-19 times. Eagles, who make much more analytically-driven decisions, went for it 15-of-18 times.

2) NFL defensive line prospect Rashan Gary is the founder and CEO of his own sports agency; his mother is the president of the five-person agency- certified agent Ian Clarke will negotiate Gary’s NFL contract, but as an employee of Gary’s agency, instead of getting a percentage. 

Gary played college ball at Michigan, is expected to be a top-10 pick in April’s draft. 

There is an old saying, “A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client,” but Gary isn’t a lawyer, he will be the boss of the lawyer who represents him. Innovative idea. 

1) Kansas City Chiefs fired defensive coordinator Bob Sutton, making him the scapegoat for the Chiefs’ loss to New England Sunday night.

Social media wasn’t kind to Sutton on his way out of town. Couple of people suggested that CBS analyst Tony Romo dictating everything New England was going to do before they did it, didn’t help Sutton’s situation any. 

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

13) Football players are really tough; Saints’ OT Andrus Peat played the last two weeks with a broken hand that he had operated on during the Saints’ bye week two weeks ago. Imagine a guy having to block Aaron Donald all day with a broken hand? Can’t be much fun. 

12) One of the best parts of Super Bowl week is when the Westgate SuperBook puts out its prop bets for the game- last year, it was a 42-page PDF document. You can get into a lot of trouble with a document that is filled with 42 pages of wagering opportunities. 

11) There are rumors that former Seahawks’ QB Jon Kitna will become the QB coach for the Cowboys; right now, he is offensive coordinator for the San Diego Fleet of the new AAF, where his boss is former Rams’ coach Mike Martz. 

The AAF starts play on February 9, the Saturday after the Super Bowl. 

10) Cincinnati Reds got P’s Sonny Gray, Reiver Sanmartin from Bronx in exchange for IF Shed Long and the Reds’ 2019 Competitive Balance Round A draft pick. Gray signed a contract thru the 2022 season; Gray will enjoy not facing the DH, but Cincinnati does have a small ballpark- over last five years, it ranks #11 out of 30 major league fields as a hitters’ ballpark. 

9) This is a good time to remind everyone that for whatever reason, Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft once met Vladimir Putin; during the meeting, as the story goes, Kraft takes off his Super Bowl ring and shows it to Putin, who stuck the ring in his pocket and walked away. 

That ring is still in Russia; Kraft appealed to the Obama administration, but was told to let it go. Why would Kraft be meeting Putin in the first place? 

8) NFL announced their international games for next season: 

Mexico City: Chiefs-Chargers
England: Panthers-Buccaneers, Bears-Raiders
Rams-Bengals, Texans-Jaguars

7) Danny the Glover checked in to let us know that this is the first time the same two cities have been opponents in the World Series/Super Bowl in same season since 1969, when Mets-Orioles met in the World Series, and Jets-Colts played in the Super Bowl.  

6) How bad do you have to be in order to be a home underdog to the Chicago Bulls? Bulls came into Monday’s game on a 9-game losing streak, but beat Cleveland 104-88 as a 2-point road favorite. It was the first time the Bulls were favored anywhere since November 21. 

5) NBA math; Houston Rockets are trading Carmelo Anthony (actually, his contract) and cash to Chicago but he’ll never play for the Bulls. Chicago will release him and he’ll be a free agent, if/when he clears waivers. 

4) I’ll say this about NFL officiating: Seems like there are lot fewer penalties called in playoff games than during the regular season- they should call fewer penalties all the time. 

3) Watching the Australian Open tennis tournament, they have a camera in the net at Rod Laver Arena, which gives them some cool replays. Kind of like the camera in the pylon by the goal line at football games, whoever decided that was a good idea deserves a raise. 

2) From Mike Teevan: Tom Brady was drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 18th round of the 1995 baseball draft; Jared Goff’s dad Jerry was a major league catcher for six years; he played 55 games for the Expos, in 1990, 92. 

1) Adam Long is a 31-year old golf journeyman who was making only his 6th PGA Tour start when he won the Desert Classic this past weekend, beating Phil Mickelson, Adam Hadwin by a stroke.

Getting your first PGA Tour win is a life-changing event; Long won $1,062,000 and now has a two-year exemption on the Tour. Huge day in his career.

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

13) My opinion is that I write better when I’m annoyed, so today’s article might be pretty terrible, because this was a great freakin’ weekend. 

— The weather here was awful all weekend, we had a foot of snow, but DirecTV never went out, except for a couple of the movie channels late Saturday night.
— My car started in 0 degree weather Sunday night, because I got a new battery Thursday.
— Watched a ton of basketball Saturday; seems like it was a week ago.
— Oh yeah, the Rams are going to the Super Bowl!!! Tremendous!!! 

12) Rams 26, Saints 23 OT— Not many games where the winning team led for 0:00 the whole game, except after the last play. This game turned on a fake punt by the Rams when they trailed 13-0 with 14:23 left in 2nd quarter- they looked like a dead team until then. 

Scouting is important in football; I had never heard of Missouri Western University until the Rams drafted a kicker from Missouri Western in the 6th round of the 2012 draft. Rams were in St Louis at the time; not sure if that helped them find Greg Zuerlein, but they did, and boy did that pay off Sunday night in the Superdome. 

Greg the Leg booted a 48-yard FG to tie the game, a 57-yard FG to win it as the Rams, who did not lead at any point in regulation, won their 4th NFC title, 26-23. 

11) I mention this every so often, but the NFL is awesome because the difference between the winning and losing teams is so often EXTREMELY thin. 

Go back to 2016, the Rams were 4-5 when they decided to give Jared Goff his first NFL start; they were playing Miami at home, and led 10-0 with 5:00 left. If they win the game, they’re 5-5, everyone is happy, and they probably finish 7-9 at worst- they have said since then if they had wound up 7-9 that year, they wouldn’t have fired Jeff Fisher. 

Miami won that game 13-10, the Rams didn’t win another game that season and a coaching change was made. And what a change it has been!!!

They wouldn’t have hired Sean McVay if they finished 7-9, so thank the good Lord they blew that 10-0 lead against the Dolphins. Or else today’s fun wouldn’t have happened. 

11) Patriots 37, Chiefs 31 OT— What a day for the NFL; two overtimes in conference title games when the weather in lot of the country was terrible. TV ratings have to be huge. Patriots head to their 11th Super Bowl. 

Tony Romo is amazingly good on TV, the best NFL TV analyst ever; he calls out plays before they happen, the way Hank Stram used to do working Monday night games on the radio. 

Tough night for the replay center; awful lot of close replay decisions in this game. 

10) SUNY-Morrisville plans to roll out a program next fall that will teach their students how to grow marijuana. Anticipation of a Cannabis Industry Minor is a result of the expectation that New York is expected to legalize recreational marijuana soon. 

9) Nick Foles came up four snaps short of a $1M bonus for playing in 33% of Philly’s snaps, but the Eagles did the right thing and gave Foles the $1M anyway. 

8) Only four of the first 29 Mountain West basketball games were decided by fewer than ten points. League has slipped a decent amount the last couple years. 

7) Providence 79, Marquette 68— Marquette retired Dwyane Wade’s #3 jersey at halftime of this game. Not sure what took them so long, but better late than never. 

6) Boston College 87, Florida State 82— Sometimes you lose a game and it comes with a hangover; Seminoles lost at home to Duke by a hoop, then went on road and lost at both Pitt and Boston College. FSU was 12-1 vs non-conference schedule #113, but is 1-4 in the ACC. 

Speaking of which……..

5) Monmouth 83, Iona 81— Hawks are 5-2 in the MAAC, after going 1-12 in pre-conference games; Iona is 4-2 in the MAAC, after going 2-9 in pre-conference games. 

In other words, the MAAC sucks this year. 

4) Very interesting conversation during the Kansas-West Virginia game Saturday, with Fran Fraschilla giving two solid reasons why Canada is producing more and more top college hoop prospects.

a) Vince Carter and the Toronto Raptors inspired a lot of Canadians to enjoy basketball more, hoops has become a bigger part of the culture north of the border.

b) Canada’s more liberal immigration laws have resulted in more people from the Caribbean and Africa winding up in Canada.

3) Timberwolves 116, Suns 114— Minnesota wins on a fadeaway jumper by Derrick Rose with 0:00.6 left; Wolves are being coached by Flip Saunders’ 32-year old son now- they’ve played lot of high-scoring games since he took over from Tom Thibodeau. 

2) Basketball player named Isaiah Stewart from Rochester chose Washington over Duke, as Mike Hopkins’ connections to central New York pay off again. 

1) Rams opened as a 1-point favorite in the Super Bowl, but professional bettors dumped a lot of money on New England, so now the Patriots are -2 as I type this late Sunday night. The total is 59. Lets hope those pros are wrong with their bets 🙂

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

13) Kentucky 82, Auburn 80— Wildcats led this game 58-41 with 17:00 left; Auburn took the lead 80-79 with 0:32 left, but Kentucky scored with 0:24 left, then Auburn never got the ball to their best player on their last possession and that was that. 

Auburn alum Charles Barkley was on ESPN for a segment of this game and he ripped the current NBA product, which I’m sure didn’t thrill his bosses at Turner Broadcasting very much. Barkley complained about the amount of 3-pointers being taken by NBA teams.

It is getting harder to listen to Dick Vitale on the air; he launched into a rant every time the refs went for a replay review. Sounded like he had a plane to catch after the game. 

12) Duke 72, Virginia 70— Cavaliers hit a jumper at the buzzer for the back-door cover, but they lose to a Duke team playing without their point guard. 

Mike Krzyzewski is only college basketball coach that doesn’t do halftime interviews, yet his son-in-law (Chris Spatola) works for ESPN. Whats up with that? Is it that hard to answer two softball ?’s on way to locker room? 

11) Are ESPN’s announcers required to mention Zion Williamson EVERY TIME they promo a Duke game, because they do mention his name EVERY TIME they read a Duke promo. You would think if it wasn’t mandated someone wouldn’t do it. 

10) James Nunnally is a sub for the Houston Rockets; he is 28 years old, played four years at Cal-Santa Barbara. Here are the professional teams he’s played for: 

2012: Kavala, in Greece
2012-14: Bakersfield Jam in the D-League
2014: Texas Legends in the D-League
2014: Hawks, 76ers in the NBA
2014: Santurce in Puerto Rico
2014: Estudiantes in Spain
2014-15: Maccabi Ashdod in Israel
2015-16: Sidigas Avellino in Italy
2016-18: Fenerbahce in Turkey
2018-19: Timberwolves, Rockets in the NBA

Imagine the book this guy could write???? 

9) Rockets 138, Lakers 134 OT— ESPN had quite a day; big college games at Auburn, Duke were both decided by a hoop, then this game on ABC went OT. James Harden scored 48 points for the Rockets, which these days seems commonplace. 

8) Drexel 73, James Madison 68— Dukes led this game 22-4 early, but went 3-12 on foul line and were behind by halftime. Drexel outscored JMU 18-3 on the foul line. 

7) Upsets of the Day:
— Elon (+12.5) 76, Wm & Mary 71
— DePaul (+9) 97, Seton Hall 93
— Penn (+9) 77, Temple 70
— Charlotte (+7.5) 55, Louisiana Tech 40— Tech was 1-23 on the arc.
— Towson State (+7) 64, Delaware 63— Towson was down 15 at the half.
— Eastern Illinois (+6.5) 85, Austin Peay 83
— West Virginia (+5.5) 65, Kansas 64
— Niagara (+5.5) 75, Quinnipiac 72
— Missouri (+5.5) 66, Texas A&M 43

6) One college that lost out big-time with all the conference changes a few years ago was UConn, whose sports program has a $40M shortfall this year. Huskies’ terrible football team lost $8.7M, their basketball team $5M and women’s basketball team lost $3M. 

Big 14 screwed up (in my opinion) when they took Rutgers over UConn, but they care more about football than hoops. Would the Huskies be better off as an independent in football, and a Big East member in basketball? 

5) Cal-Irvine 74, Cal State-Northridge 68— Anteaters were down 47-31 at the half, but rallied to avoid this road upset. Mark Gottfried is doing a nice job rebuilding the Northridge program. 

4) Nets 145, Rockets 142 OT— This game was Wednesday but it was odd; here is a breakdown of Houston’s shot selection in that game: 

3-point shots: 23-70, 32.9%, 69 points
2-point shots: 22-35, 62.9%, 44 points
foul shots: 29-34, 85.3%, 29 points. 

Rockets took twice as many 3-point shots as 2-point shots, but they also lost. Gerald Green played 41:00 in this game, was 5-15 from floor, all 3-point shots. 

3) When James Harden scored 115 points in consecutive games during the week, none of the 33 baskets he scored in those games were assisted. Lot of holding the ball, 1-on-1 play. Last time Harden scored less than 30 points in a game was December 11, vs Portland. Rockets are 14-5 in 19 games since that night. 

2) This made me feel old; there is a high school game on ESPNU Monday, with Sierra Canyon HS in the LA area; Kenyon Martin Jr is a senior on that team. It seems like 2 or 3 years ago that Martin was playing ball at Cincinnati, and then in the NBA. Good luck to the young man. 

1) ESPN’s Joe Lunardi does his Bracketology thing for the NCAA tournament every day; he came up with teams from these conferences: Big 14 (10), ACC (8), Big X (7), SEC (6), Big East (5), American (4), A-14 (2), Pac-12 (2).

All the other leagues, the conference tournament will be the deciding factor, unless Nevada loses in the Mountain West, then they would get two teams. 

Saturday’s List of 13; Clearing out a cluttered mind…….

13) A quick story from my college days: 

At U of Albany, or whatever it was called back then, we would make our own class schedule, but as an English major, I had to have an English professor sign off on the schedule, so off I went to get my last semester of college approved. This was November, 1981. 

Not being a good student, doing the exact minimum to get by, the professor was unimpressed as she looked over my transcript. “You’ve never taken any olde English classes. No Shakespeare, what do you think of Dryden?,” referring to John Dryden, the English poet/playwright. 

I was a big hockey fan back then, so for some unknown reason, I say, “I’m glad he retired; the Bruins could never beat him,” referring to Ken Dryden, the retired goalie from the Montreal Canadiens. Timing wasn’t my forte. 

The professor glared at me a little, reluctantly signed off on my schedule, and I was outta there. On my down the hall, I pass an office door that said “Dr Anne Weinberg, Head of English Dept”

Whoops, but I still somehow got my diploma. Later on I found out they changed the requirements for future English majors, to include olde English classes. Glad I could help!!!! 

12) If I had to do it all over again, would’ve gone to college at Cal-Santa Barbara or Pepperdine, a a place where I’d never be cold. UNLV would’ve been a complete disaster, would’ve been back home within a year 🙂

Hell, I was lucky to graduate from a school in the frozen northeast. 

11) This, from an excellent article on Alabama football by Bruce Feldman in The Athletic:

“The reality is there is more of a grind coaching at the college level than in the NFL, which does not tie its coaches to recruiting 52 weeks of the year.”

10) Mel Kiper Jr’s latest mock draft on ESPN.com had the Miami Dolphins taking QB Kyler Murray with the 13th pick in the first round.

9) Dallas Cowboys told offensive coordinator Scott Linehan to take a hike Friday; they fired their offensive line coach during the season, now this. From the statement Jason Garrett put out that praised Linehan, I’m guessing this was the front office’s decision, not Garrett’s. 

8) My three favorite Susan Sarandon movies:
a) Bull Durham b) White Palace c) The Client

7) When Washington Huskies swept their Utah/Colorado road trip last week, it was first time in six years the Huskies swept a 2-game Pac-12 road swing. Mike Hopkins is building a solid program in the Pacific northwest.

6) Trent Dilfer played in the NFL for 14 years in the NFL, winning Super Bowl XXXV with the Ravens; he was on ESPN for nine years after that, but got laid off two years ago. Now Dilfer is the new football coach at Lipscomb Academy in Nashville. Not too many high schools have a former NFL quarterback as their football coach. 

5) Pat Sajak was a TV weatherman in Los Angeles for five years before becoming the host of Wheel of Fortune, where I’m guessing he makes a little more money than he did while doing the weather.

4) Surprising stat: Miami Hurricanes are 7-6 in their last 13 games against North Carolina.

3) Non-basketball thing I learned from listening to Bill Walton call the Oregon-Arizona game Thursday: the Nile River flows through 11 different countries in northeast Africa. 

By the way, at halftime of this game, there was a guy on the court, balancing a large ladder on his chin. 

Why does someone start doing that?
How many times did the ladder fall and hit him on the face, before he mastered his craft?
Is balancing a ladder on your chin a craft? 

2) Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald shot a hole-in-one Friday while playing golf with former president Obama at Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, FL. He hit an 8-iron from 162 yards on the 13th hole; the ace was witnessed by Tim Rosaforte of the Golf Channel. 

1) The Bodyguard is an old Kevin Costner movie where he is a retired Secret Service agent who protects a singer (Whitney Houston) who has received death threats; the movie is 2 hours, 9 minutes long, but when it showed up on channel 330 on DirecTV this week, it was put into a 3 hour, 30 minute window. That adds up to 129 minutes of movie, 81 minutes of commercials. 

No bueno.

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

13) Not that I’m paranoid or anything, but since 2012, Rams are 0-8 (0-2 this year) when Bill Vinovich’s crew referees their games (Saints are 5-3). 

Vinovich is a good official (he’s also done the Final Four in college hoop) but would it kill the NFL to send him to the AFC game?

 12) Those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it: FOX signed Urban Meyer to be a college football analyst next season. 

Meyer was an analyst on ESPN for a year before he went to Ohio State, and he was incapable of humor or laughter- I actually felt bad for the guy. We’ll see next fall if he’s lightened up at all. 

11) Thursday night’s college hoop upsets:
— FIU (+12.5) 77, Western Kentucky 76
— Manhattan (+6) 58, St Peter’s 56
— Oregon (+4.5) 59, Arizona 54

10) Bill Belichick’s first NFL coaching job (assistant special teams coach) was with the Detroit Lions, in 1976; Also on that staff? Jerry Glanville, who went on to coach the Oilers/Falcons, one of the all-time great characters. Hard to imagine both of those guys in the same meeting. 

Belichick was a special assistant with the ’75 Colts, but technically was not a member of the coaching staff. 

9) For some reason, I became curious about this yesterday, so I looked it up. Last year, the average WNBA salary was $71,635, and this year will be closer to $75,000. The maximum veteran salary is $113,500.

8) Reason why VCU is a better college basketball job than most mid-majors: Rams have had 126 consecutive sellouts at home. Basketball is sports priority #1 at VCU, by far. 

7) Sounds like Cam Newton has a chance to miss all of 2019 with shoulder issues, much like Andrew Luck missed all of 2017. If so, where do the Panthers turn for a new QB?

6) Former Alabama QB Jalen Hurts is taking his 26-2 record as a starting QB to Oklahoma, which should prove to be very interesting. 

5) Once Oklahoma signed up Hurts, they released backup QB Austin Kendall, who quickly bolted to West Virginia, where he will play against the Sooners next year.

4) Speaking of Alabama’s football team, five of their assistant coaches from this past season have already found new jobs; was reading an article during bowl season- pro scouts were saying that this was Saban’s worst coaching staff in his many years with the Crimson Tide, so you wonder if guys jumped ship or got pushed overboard? 

3) Jets’ DC Gregg Williams is now working for his ninth NFL team; he could write one hell of a book someday.

2) Michigan Wolverines offered a college scholarship to a 7th grade QB in Michigan, which is highly unusual and even a little weird. What are the odds that Jim Harbaugh is still coaching there when the kid graduates from high school, five years from now? 

1) Cincinnati basketball coach Mick Cronin got tossed from a game Tuesday when his team was winning; not sure I’ve ever seen that before. AAC had a rough week with its refs; Tulsa/UConn game the next night saw both head coaches get tossed at the same time, even stranger.