Thursday’s List of 13: Happy Opening Day, everyone!!!!

13) So far this spring. UNLV fired Marvin Menzies and Vanderbilt fired Bryce Drew, both after their third season at that school, after seasons where their best player didn’t play after Christmas. Here are the details:

— Menzies was 48-52 in three years at UNLV, 23-31 in Mountain West.
— Drew was 40-59 in three years at Vanderbilt, 16-38 in SEC.

By way of comparison, here is how another coach did in his first three years at his current job:

— Unnamed coach: 38-47 at School A, 13-29 in conference games.

In other words, if Duke had hired Mike Krzyzewski three years ago, he’d be fired by now. 

12) A person who has money to burn bet $500 on the Baltimore Orioles to win the World Series this year at 1,000-1 odds. Orioles were 47-115 last year, so good luck with that.

11) How is it Opening Day and Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel are still free agents? 

10) Coaching carousel:
— Alabama hired hoop coach Nate Oats, who 13 days ago signed an extension with Buffalo.
— Stetson hired former UCF head coach Donnie Jones.
— UNLV hired South Dakota State coach TJ Otzenberger.
— Jackrabbits then replaced Otzenberger with assistant coach Eric Henderson
— San Francisco promoted assistant Todd Golden to replace Kyle Smith as HC. 

9) Alabama guards John Petty, Kira Lewis, Jr. and Dazon Ingram all announced that they’re transferring out of Alabama’s program; this was before the Crimson Tide hired Oats.

8) Eight different major league teams used a 4-man outfield at least once LY, all against left-handed hitters. Hitters that saw it the most? Lucas Duda and Joey Gallo (7 games). Overall, hitters were 10-37 (.270) when the defense had four OF’s. 

7) Last year, 42 different major league players played 5+ different positions. 

6) Random golf stat: 2018 European Ryder Cup golf team went 11-1 Thursday in the Match Play tournament in Texas. The guys on the American team went 4-5-2 (Rickie Fowler isn’t playing this week). 

5) Teams with best win %age in Sweet 16 games (minimum 12 games):
— Michigan 13-3, last in 2018
— Oklahoma State 11-3, last in 2005
— North Carolina 27-8, last in 2017

— Kentucky 36-12, last in 2-18

4) Charlotte Hornets were 2-0 against the Spurs this season, first time they swept the season series with San Antonio since 1996-97. 

3) Oakland A’s traded minor league IF Jesus Lopez, international signing bonus pool space to Toronto for 1B/DH Kendrys Morales. 

2) Fernando Tatis Jr. will be 20 years, 85 days old on Opening Day; if he plays, he will be the youngest player to play on Opening Day since Adrian Beltre in 1999. 

1) Today is Opening Day in baseball, always a day full of optimism- if you can’t be optimistic when you’re 0-0, when can you be? Not every team has realistic hopes of making the playoffs this year, but you never know. At this time last year, I had zero hope of the A’s making the playoffs, but they wound up winning 97 games!!! Enjoy the season. 

Saturday’s Den: Wrapping up a full Friday of hoops

Cal-Irvine 70, Kansas State 64— Anteaters’ first-ever NCAA tournament win; they’ve won 17 games in a row, have wins this year at Saint Mary’s, Texas A&M. Very good defensive team. 

Disappointing loss for a veteran K-State team, which made the Elite 8 last year. 

Iowa 79, Cincinnati 72— Bearcats led by 13 early on, but Iowa made 11-22 on arc, shot 58% inside arc and won a game where most of the crowd in Columbus was pulling for Cincinnati. 

Last seven years, Bearcats are 183-59, 95-31 in conference games, but only 3-7 in NCAA tournament games. Three years ago, Mick Cronin pretended he was interested in the UNLV job so he could get financial concessions from the Cincinnati administration. I’m guessing there is a lot of grumbling going on today in Cincinnati. 

Oklahoma 95, Ole Miss 72— Sooners made their first eight shots, led 12-0 quickly and jogged home from there. Oklahoma was just stronger, tougher than the Rebels, 

Lon Kruger is the only coach to win an NCAA tournament for five different schools; UNLV, Kansas State, Illinois, Florida, Oklahoma. He also coached the Atlanta Hawks for three years. 

Texas Tech 72, Northern Kentucky 57— Horizon League teams lost their last eight first round games; their last win was when Brad Stevens was coaching Butler and they made the national title game two years in a row. 

Think about that accomplishment; a team from the Horizon League made the national title game two years in a row!!! No wonder the guy is coaching in the NBA now. 

Tennessee 77, Colgate 70— Colgate has a kid named Jordan Burns who was told by his HS football coach that he would never play college basketball— he scored 32 points in this game, as Red Raiders gave Tennessee quite a scare. 

One of Colgate’s best players, Rapolas Ivanauskas had pink-eye and didn’t play in the second half. Red Raiders made 15-29 on the arc in a strong performance. 

Virginia 71, Gardner-Webb 56— Cavaliers were down 14 in first half of this game, as flashbacks from LY’s loss to UMBC were in everyone’s head. 

Reality set in after halftime, when Gardner-Webb led by 6. Has to be a tremendous sigh of relief for Virginia- they play Oklahoma Sunday. 

Gardner-Webb won games at Georgia Tech, Wake Forest; they were a pretty strong 16-seed. 

Buffalo 91, Arizona State 74— Less than six years ago, Buffalo coach Nate Oats was teaching five math classes a day – algebra, geometry and statistics – at Romulus HS in Michigan. Now he is coaching a top 25 college team and making a boatload of money. He s very good at his job, but how long will he stay in Buffalo? 

Buffalo hammered Arizona in the tournament LY, now this; their game with Texas Tech Sunday will be very good. 

None of the play-in game winners won their first round game, which is unusual, first time in nine years. 

Oregon 72, Wisconsin 54— Wooten has developed into an elite rim protector for the Ducks, who have won nine games in a row. They play #13-seed Cal-Irvine next. 

This will be the 13th 2nd round game between a 12 and 13-seed; favorites went 9-3 vs spread in the first 12. 

As of right now, the Big 14 is 6-1 in this tournament, pretty strong showing. 

Washington 78, Utah State 61— Rough week for the Mountain West, with Nevada/Utah State going down meekly. Last three years, Mountain West teams are 1-5 in first round games. 

Great year for the Aggies, though who went 28-7, winning 17 of their last 19 games. It was their first 20+-win season since 2013. 

Duke 85, North Dakota State 62— Friday, a guy with too much money at a Caesars sportsbook placed a $150 money-line bet on Duke at -$15,000. When the Blue Devils won, his profit was $1. One American dollar. 

Watching games all day Thursday, think I only heard Zion Williamson’s name once all day; once you get away from ESPN, coverage of Duke is a little more even-handed. 

Houston 84, Georgia State 55— This game was 15-3 early; teams combined to go 14-52 on the arc. Cougars shot 71.4% inside the arc; last year, Houston lost 64-63 to Michigan in the second round. Now, they play another Big 14 team (Ohio State) in second round Sunday. 

Liberty 80, Mississippi State 76— Bulldogs missed their last eight shots from floor, as Liberty wins its first NCAA tournament game. This is first non-play-in win for the Atlantic Sun since Florida Gulf Coast made the Sweet 16 six years ago. 

This is 5th time that the #12 seeds went 3-1 in the first round, first time since 2014. The four #5-seeds played a total of six non-conference road games during the regular season. 

North Carolina 88, Iona 73— Gaels led this game 38-33 at halftime, little bit of a red flag for the Tar Heels. 

Iona has lost 13 straight NCAA tournament games; last time they got out of the first round was 1980, when their coach was Jim Valvano.

Central Florida 73, VCU 58— At first TV timeout, teams were combined 1-16 from floor; VCU led 3-0. UCF missed its first ten shots from floor, then made their next ten. VCU went over 10:00 without scoring a point midway thru game. 

This is the first time since 2001 that all four #9-seeds beat the #8-seeds.

Ohio State 62, Iowa State 59— Cyclones lost six of last eight regular season games, then won the Big X tournament last weekend, then laid an egg here. Teams combined to make 11-42 on the arc; five of the ten starters in this game played 38:00+.

Virginia Tech 66, Saint Louis 52— First NCAA tournament win in dozen years for the Hokies; check status of PG Robinson, who played in this game but may have tweaked a leg when he slipped on a wet spot on the floor in second half.

Billikens turned ball over 18 times (-7), made 4-23 on the arc; their bench was 0-7 from the floor. 

Friday’s Den: Wrapping up the first day of March Madness…….

Minnesota 86, Louisville 76— Coming into this game, Gophers scored 22.2% of their points behind arc, 4th-least in country; they were 11-27 on arc in this game, scoring 38.4% of their points behind arc, and that is how upsets happen. 

Bill Murray’s son Luke is an assistant coach for Louisville; his team lost to the Gophers, a bitter pill for Carl Spackler (Caddyshack reference) to swallow. Bill Murray was at this game, too. 

LSU 79, Yale 74— LSU jumped out to a quick 9-0 lead, was up 16 at the half, then held for dear life as the gritty Bulldogs fought hard until the end. Yale was only 8-37 on the arc, but four of the makes came near the end, as Yale covered thru the backdoor- they got within 77-74 in last 0:30. 

Auburn 79, New Mexico State 78— Auburn got really lucky here; leading by 3 at the end, they fouled a 3-point shooter with 0:01.7 left, but the kid missed two of three FT’s, then the Aggies missed an open 3-pointer at the buzzer. Huge sigh of relief for the Tigers. 

Tigers led this game 65-52 with 7:54 left; they made only six of their last 13 foul shots. Auburn didn’t handle time/score situations well at all- their point guard fouled on purpose when he didn’t know he had four fouls. No bueno.

Florida State 76, Vermont 69— Spunky effort by the Catamounts falls short; Florida State has won 15 of its last 17 games. If you laid 8.5 points with the Seminoles, it was a bad beat- kid on FSU had the ball by himself under the basket with 0:06 left but dribbled out the clock instead. Vermont made 16-32 on the arc; not many teams shoot that well from the arc and lose. 

Last spring, Seminoles poached grad transfer David Nichols from Albany of America East; kid gets to the NCAA’s and plays against the Catamounts, America East’s best team. Now he and his teammates move on to play Murray State Saturday. 

Michigan State 76, Bradley 65— Final score is misleading; three Spartans played 38:00+, thats how tough this was for Izzo’s team. Bradley led by a point with 6:47 left. Since 2012, MVC teams are 9-2-1 vs spread in first round games. 

Maryland 79, Belmont 77— Its been seven years since an OVC team won a first round game, but since 2005, they’re 11-4 vs spread in this round. Belmont was up 40-34 at halftime, was up six with 6:36 left. 

Kansas 87, Northeastern 53— Except for the championship game, each NCAA tournament win this year will be worth $1.81M to the conference of the school that wins it. The money gets divided up amongst the league’s schools, with team that wins the game getting more $$$ than the other schools.

Murray State 83, Marquette 64— Complete ass-kicking; Marquette didn’t even try to press in the second half, thats how thoroughly beaten they were. Golden Eagles wound up losing six of their last seven games, as Wojciechowski is proving to be a fraud of a coach who got this job because he sat next to Mike Krzyzewski for a few years.

Five years at Marquette, and two NCAA games; losses by 20, 19 points.

Ja Morant had the first triple double by a guard in the NCAA’s since Dwyane Wade. 

Kentucky 79, Abilene Christian 44— ACU threw two starters off the team last month, one was their leading scorer; not sure why they weren’t in a play-in game. This game was awful.

Gonzaga 87, FDU 49— When Gonzaga practices tomorrow, it’ll be more competitive than this was. Zags advance to play Baylor Saturday. 

Is it possible that losing the WCC final to St Mary’s was a good thing? Probably not, but sometimes as a coach, it is easier to teach after a loss- the players are more receptive to knowledge after they’ve been humbled a little bit. 

Florida 70, Nevada 61— Eric Musselman has been in Reno for four years, done a great job with a 110-34 record, but losing this game with five senior starters has to sting. After starting season 24-1, Wolf Pack didn’t play well down stretch, going 5-4 in last nine games. Not really sure why. 

I’ll say this; down 18 in second half, Nevada started pressing and they COMPETED, and got the lead down to one, before falling short. Unlike Marquette, which fell back to a 2-3 zone when they were down 18, instead of pressing- they quit like dogs. 

Next question is this: if the people at UCLA have half a brain, they give Musselman a call, and ask him to revitalize their basketball program. If they call, will he leave Reno? 

Villanova 61, Saint Mary’s 57— Only 15 foul shots total in this game; Gaels led by a hoop at the half. Villanova basically played six kids in this game; a 7th player played only 3:00. 

Funny thing about that 7th kid; he is a grad transfer from Albany, who might’ve wound up as the Great Danes’ all-time leading scorer had he stuck around for his senior year, but he decided to play in the “big-time” and chose Villanova as his new school. Kid said he wanted to play in the NCAA tournament, which he had never done. 

He played 15-18:00 a game most of the season, but when the chips were down, in Big East tournament and NCAA’s, he’s played 5-4-8-3 minutes. Not all decisions turn out well. 

Wofford 84, Seton Hall 68— Leading 67-66 late, Terriers went on a 17-0 run to salt the game away; they made 13-28 on the arc, have lot of guys who can shoot it. Wofford will be America’s Underdog when they play Kentucky Saturday. 

Fletcher Magee of Wofford has now made the most 3-pointers of any college player ever, an impressive accomplishment. 

Michigan 74, Montana 55— When you go 16-4 in the Big Sky Conference and then win the postseason tournament, you need to enjoy Selection Sunday as much as possible, because teams that lose four games in the Big Sky aren’t going to fare too well against Michigan. 

Baylor 78, Syracuse 69— When your point guard gets suspended the day before the game, bad things usually follow; Syracuse had won its last eight first round games, but that ended here. 

Baylor was 16-34 on the arc, took only 18 two-point shots against the Syracuse zone. 

Purdue 61, Old Dominion 48— Predictably ugly game, with two low tempo teams slugging it out. Monarchs shot 28.6% inside arc, 6-25 on arc, took only six foul shots. They win in C-USA because they play the best defense there, but they can’t score when they move up in class. 

Bonus List of 13: College basketball prop bets

13) Will Auburn make the Sweet 16: No -$130, Yes even

12) Will Texas Tech make the Sweet 16: Yes -$180, No +$150

11) Will Buffalo make the Sweet 16: Yes +$220, No -$300

10) Will Villanova make the Sweet 16: Yes +$170, No -$200

9) Will Houston make the Sweet 16: Yes -$115, No -$115

8) Will Virginia Tech make the Sweet 16: Yes -$145, No +$115

7) Will Iowa State make the Sweet 16: Yes +$160, No -$190

6) Will Marquette make the Sweet 16: Yes +$230, No -$310

5) Will Purdue make the Sweet 16: Yes -$135, No +$105

4) #1-seeds to make Final Four: over/under 1.5: Over -$190, Under +$160

3) Will a Big 14 team win the national title? Yes +$325, No -$450

2) Will a #2-seed win the national title? Yes +$325, No -$450

1) Will a #1 seed win the national title? Yes -$170, No +$140

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

13) If you look at the last 13 national champs, those teams went 12-1 against the spread in their first round tournament game. Only exception was Kentucky in 2012, who won 81-66 (-26). UConn won its first round game in OT in 2014, but covered 89-81 (-5). 

12) Bobby Hurley coached Buffalo for two years (42-20), then bolted western NY for Arizona State; his Sun Devils have to beat St John’s in Dayton, and if they do, Hurley and Buffalo will be re-united Friday in Tulsa. Buffalo spanked ASU’s rival Arizona by 21 in first round last year. 

Since replacing Hurley, Nate Oats is 95-42 in four years at Buffalo, but before the Bulls get to play Arizona State, the Sun Devils still have to beat St John’s. 

11) Richard Pitino’s Minnesota Gophers playing Louisville, the school that ran his father out of town two years ago, is classic sidebar material. Rick Pitino won the national title with Louisville six short years ago. Lot of stuff has happened since then. 

Rick Pitino is coaching pro ball in Greece now; UCLA, UNLV have jobs open, which lends itself to speculation, but for now Richard’s Gophers vs Louisville is the main event. 

10) Tennessee Volunteers are a #2-seed in the South Region, but they can’t be very happy about the prospects of a second round game against Cincinnati………in Columbus, OHIO. 

9) Montana-Michigan play in the first round for the second year in a row; I’m thinking that could’ve been avoided. 

8) Clemson, NC State and Texas are the highest-rated teams that didn’t get in the NCAA’s; Lipscomb, Furman and NC-Greensboro also have to be pretty disappointed. 

7) No team has ever lost its first conference tournament game, and then gone on to win the national championship. Texas Tech, LSU, Purdue, Maryland fall into that category. 

6) Virginia Tech’s star PG Justin Robinson missed the last 12 games with a foot injury, but he’ll be back for the NCAA tournament. Hokies play Saint Louis in the first round Friday. 

5) If you care about such things, over the last five years, the underdog is 12-8 vs spread in first round 4-13 games. Over last six years, underdogs are 14-10 vs spread in 3-14 games. 

4) Last four years, the 11-seed is 7-5 SU in the first round against the 6-seed; the 11-seed was the underdog in all seven of their wins. 

3) Over the last 23 years, in the West Region final, the underdog is 17-6 against the spread. During that time, when the #1-seed in the West got to the regional final, they’re 4-8 SU in that regional final. 

2) Over the last 16 years, in the Midwest Region final, the underdog is 12-4 against the spread. #1-seeds have fared better in this regional final, going 10-7 SU in their last 17 tries. 

1) My pick for the national title? I’ll take Virginia. 

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

13) I’m watching the Seton Hall-Marquette game Friday night, and it dawned on me; half the league has to travel halfway cross the country for the conference tournament every year, while the other half of the league? Their fans can drive or take the train to Madison Square Garden. 

This is the sixth year of the “new” Big East; during that time, the midwestern part of the league is 8-19 SU against the eastern part in the conference tournament. 

Creighton lost in finals of the tournament twice, Xavier once, but no midwestern team has won it, and this year is no different. Something to think about going forward. 

12) Houston 61, Memphis 58— This is going to be the last year in the foreseeable future where Memphis won’t go to the NCAA’s; Penny Hardaway did a good job in his first season, and he is crushing it on the recruiting trail. Memphis has a lot of high school talent. 

11) Tennessee 82, Kentucky 78— This is Wildcats’ first loss in SEC tourney since a 61-60 loss to Florida in the finals of the 2014 tournament. Tennessee plays Sunday for its first tournament title since 1979. 

Both of these teams are really good and either could win the NCAA title.

Sometimes it is better to lose in the semi-final of the tourneys that play their final on Sunday; one thing you do NOT want is to play on Sunday, then draw a Thursday game in the NCAA’s, especially if it is Thursday afternoon— not lot of prep time. 

10) Michigan 76, Minnesota 49— Wolverines got swept by rival Michigan State this season; now the teams meet a third time, for the Big 14 title.

9) Utah State 64, San Diego State 57— You could make a legit argument for Chris Smith to be national Coach of the Year. Last three years, Aggies were 22-32 in Big West games; this year, in his first season in Logan, Utah State is 27-6, 18-3 in conference. 

8) Iowa State 78, Kansas 66— Cyclones won Big X tournament for 4th time in last six years; this year, they came into the tournament on a 2-6 skid, but they seem to like Kansas City. 

7) Villanova 74, Seton Hall 72— Wildcats win Big East tournament for fourth time in last five years. For the season, 54% of Villanova’s shots were 3-pointers; thats unusual for a good team. 

6) Oregon 68, Washington 48— Huskies laid an egg here; they scored two points in first 9:30 of second half. Washington is 5-4 in its last nine games, after starting season 19-4.   

5) Chargers signed QB Tyrod Taylor this week, an excellent signing by a team in desperate need of a backup for aging Philip Rivers, who will be 38 in December. Last year’s Chargers’ backup QB’s were Geno Smith and Cardale Jones; Taylor is a huge upgrade from those two.

4) Cleveland Browns’ QB Baker Mayfield took batting practice and then coached first base for the Milwaukee Brewers Saturday. Apparently Mayfield is buddies with Christian Yelich; he hit a foul ball into the stands that broke a woman’s watch.

3) Pittsburgh Pirates honored TV analyst Steve Blass this weekend in Florida, naming the press box in Bradenton after him. Blass has been on TV for the Pirates for the last 34 years- he also pitched for the Pirates for a decade, helping them win the 1971 World Series. 

in 2009, Blass recorded two hole-in-ones in the same round of golf, a pretty cool feat.

2) During that same game, Pirates’ TV guys were insisting that Starling Marte has as much talent as Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, an interesting claim.

1) Way back in 1963, the San Francisco Giants had three Alou brothers on their team: Matty, Felipe and Jesus. All three could hit;
— Matty wound up with a .307 career batting average over 15 years,
— Felipe wound up being a manager, winning more games than he lost over 14 years.
— Jesus hit .280 in 15 major league seasons, winning two World Series rings with the A’s. 

This year, Vermont has three brothers on its team this year; the Duncans- Ernie, Robin and Everett. Never heard of three brothers on the same basketball team before. Now they’re all going to March Madness together, which is pretty cool.

Saturday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a frenetic Friday…..

13) Duke 74, North Carolina 73— Tar Heels were 4-27 on the arc, and lost by a point. 

12) Seton Hall 81, Marquette 79— Three players were ejected after a pushing/shoving thing early in second half. Seton Hall player also got a technical with 1:58 left; for the game, Pirates were 26-44 on foul line, Marquette 29-41. Tough game to officiate; very physical. 

Markus Howard was shooting 90.7% on the foul line before this game; he was 18-24 here, and was 1-15 from the floor. 

All in all, seven players either fouled out or were ejected. 

11) Southern Miss basketball coach Doc Sadler coaches in sweats, which is a good thing, just a much different thing than most college coaches. I’m sitting on my couch Friday watching his team play, having lunch I bought at Wendy’s and I’m dressed better than he is, and I don’t dress well. Go figure. 

10) Memphis 79, UCF 55— Its good to play the conference tournament on your home court. Tigers host top-seeded Houston today. Bubble teams are rooting for Houston. 

9) Former NFL QB JP Losman is 38 now and is an assistant coach at Clemson; he threw the ball so well at the school’s Pro Day, throwing to WR’s/DB’s, that an NFL team asked Losman if he was interested in coming back to the NFL. Losman hasn’t played in the league since 2011- he declined. 

8) Rhode Island 75, VCU 70— #1-seed goes down in the A-14; VCU’s best player Marcus Evans got hurt while VCU had a decent lead in the first half- they went in the dumper after that. 

7) There was a clip on Twitter Friday of Rockies’ 3B Nolan Arenado shooting hoops outside Colorado’s spring training facility, and his teammates react when he makes a couple of 3-pointers in a row, but the unusual thing is, Arenado shoots the ball left-handed. He plays baseball right-handed. 

6) One of my favorite NBA players to watch is Montrezl Harrell of the Clippers; he works so hard, gives great effort. In four years in the NBA, he’s worked his way up from 3.6 ppg three years ago to 16.2 ppg this year. Not the most skilled player, but he works his butt off, and lot of time, great effort means more than skill. 

Another player like that is Steven Adams of the Thunder; its fun to watch guys play hard. 

5) Detroit Tigers met with Players’ Union reps this week, but they insisted on having the meeting outside on a ballfield, instead of in the clubhouse. Players are apparently concerned that their clubhouse would be bugged for the meeting. Not a lot of trust for the front office there. 

4) In case you were wondering (you weren’t), Jerry Blevins had 20 appearances LY where he faced only one batter, most in the major leagues. MLB-wide, only seven relievers had 15+ one-batter appearances. 

3) Winner of the Home Run Derby gets $1 million now? No pressure on the guy who is throwing the pitches. Hopefully the pitcher will get at least 10% of the winner’s share.

2) Coaching carousel:
— George Washington fired coach Maurice Joseph.
— Appalachian State fired coach Jim Fox.
— Texas A&M fired Billy Kennedy; he was in Sweet 16 two years ago.
— UNLV fired Marvin Menzies; he really didn’t get a fair shake there. He inherited two players his first year, and this year, his 3rd year, their best player got hurt and didn’t play. 

1) I respect the job ESPN’s Joe Lunardi does with Bracketology, but I try not to look at it that often, because he isn’t the committee. We’ll find out the brackets Sunday night. Until then, just need to sort out all the teams that are earning their way into the tournament. 

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

Recapping the busiest basketball day of the year:
13) Noon-2pm:
— Virginia 76, NC State 56— Going to be a long 72 hours for the Wolfpack.
— Ohio State 79, Indiana 75— Hopefully this pops the Hoosiers’ bubble; they tied for 8th in a 14-team league, then lost their first conference tourney game- take a hike.
— Villanova 73, Providence 62— Wildcats are 12-1 in last 13 Big East tourney games. 

12) 2-4pm:
— Florida State 65, Virginia Tech 63, OT— Seminoles hit a 3-ball with 0:04 left to force OT, then hit a difficult, leaning shot on the baseline with 0:01.8 left for the win.
— Xavier 63, Creighton 61— Musketeers won seven of their last eight games.
— Nebraska 69, Maryland 61— Terps are 6-9 in last 15 games after a 7-1 start in Big 14. 

11) 4-6pm:
— Nevada 77, Boise State 69— Wolf Pack takes lot of bad shots for a good team.
— Auburn 81, Missouri 71— Tigers move on to play South Carolina next.
— Washington 78, USC 75— Tough week for Trojans, on and off the court. 

10) 6-8pm:
— Marquette 86, St John’s 54— Golden Eagles avenge couple of losses during regular season.
— Cal-Fullerton 75, Cal-Davis 71 OT— Titans outscored Davis 23-4 on foul line.
— Alabama 62, Ole Miss 57— Crimson Tide was down 14 at the half; held Ole Miss to 19 points in second half. 

9) 8-10pm
— West Virginia 79, Texas Tech 74— #10-seed is in Big X semis for first time since 1998.
— Minnesota 77, Penn State 72 OT— Nittany Lions led by 8 with 4:57 left.
— Southern Miss 82, Marshall 73— Golden Eagles won nine of their last 11 games. 

8) 10pm-midnight
— Utah State 91, New Mexico 83— Aggies survived 24 turnovers; game was tied at half.
— Arizona State 83, UCLA 72— Bruins’ coaching search will be very interesting.
— Seton Hall 73, Georgetown 57— This game was 53-28 at the half; Pirates won last three games, beating Villanova/Marquette last week- they play Marquette again tonight. 

7) Upsets of the Day:
— West Virginia (+13) 79, Texas Tech 74
— Southern Utah (+7.5) 83, Northern Colorado 64
— Northern Illinois (+6.5) 80, Toledo 76
— Nebraska (+5.5) 69, Maryland 61

6) Wow, the announcers on the Big 14 Network are incredible shills; every game is great, every kid is wonderful, never is heard a discouraging word. 

Near the end of the Penn State-Minnesota game, couple kids start jawing at each other, and one of Penn State’s subs walks off the bench to join the fray. He winds up getting tossed out of the game for it, but the TV analyst is defending the kid. Seriously. 

5) Marquette’s Markus Howard scored 30 points against St John’s Thursday; it was his 6th career game against the Johnnies. In the first five games:
— He was 5-34 inside the arc.
— He was 12-31 on the arc
— He scored a total of 55 points (11 ppg) in those games.
— This game was a whole lot better. 

4) Washington State fired basketball coach Ernie Kent Thursday. Here is the record of the last few Cougar basketball coaches:
— 1999-2003: Paul Graham 31-79
— 2003-06: Dick Bennett 36-49
— 2006-09: Tony Bennett 69-33
— 2009-14: Ken Bone 80-86
— 2014-19: Ernie Kent 58-98

If that doesn’t prove that Tony Bennett is a great freakin’ coach, not sure what does. 

3) Bowling Green 99, Ball State 86— This game was 54-51 at the half; you don’t see that much, a game where both teams have 50+ at halftime. 

2) San Diego State 63, UNLV 55— Since 2006, Aztecs are 8-0 vs UNLV in the Mountain West tournament; seeing how the tournament is almost always in Las Vegas, thats quite a streak. 

1) Utah State-Fresno State figures to be a very good game in the Mountain West semi-finals tonight; teams split a pair of one-point decisions this season, with road team winning both of them. 

Saturday’s List of 13: Questions to ponder on a winter day……

13) If you got to pick an all-time starting five to win one basketball game, which five guys would you choose? 

12) If you could go to one regular season college basketball game, which arena would you want to go to? 

11) If you could go to any college basketball conference tournament, which one would you pick? 

10) If you could go for free anywhere in the world where you’ve never been before, where would you want to go? 

9) You’re coaching a football team; game is tied with 2:00 to go. Your team has the ball on its own 25-yard line. Who would you want the quarterback to be? 

8) If you could go to one regular season college football game, which stadium would you want to go to?

7) Which Super Bowl was your favorite? 

6) Who is your all-time favorite musician?

5) You’re managing a baseball team; bases loaded, two out, bottom of 9th, tie game. Your team is up; what hitter would you want at the plate? 

4) If the other team was up, what pitcher would you want on the mound for your team? 

3) If you could go to one baseball game, which stadium would you want to go to?

2) Who is favorite all-time actor? Actress? 

1) Which sport is your favorite?