Monday’s List of 13: Happy April Fools’ Day

13) Auburn 77, Kentucky 71 OT— Last time they played, Kentucky beat Auburn by 27. Not this time, and Charles Barkley’s alma mater is going to the Final Four for the first time. Auburn beat Kansas, North Carolina and Kentucky in its last three games; not bad. 

Kentucky poached Stanford’s best player (a senior) and surrounded him with three freshmen and a sophomore; college basketball has become more like baseball, where kids jump to where they think the grass is greener, trying to get to the NBA. 

Sometimes that grass is greener, sometimes it isn’t. You can get to the NBA from anywhere.

12) Nine of the 16 coaches in the Sweet 16 had already been to a Final Four. Chris Beard, Bruce Pearl and Tony Bennett will all be going to their first one.

11) Michigan State 68, Duke 67— Spartans trailed by 9 in first half, by 3 with 1:51 left, but survived 2-6 shooting on the foul line to get their first Final Four since 2015. 

Final Four is a #1-seed, #2-seed, #3-seed, #5-seed. 

10) San Francisco 49ers sold two seats inside their War Room on draft night to two people who paid $11,000 each for that experience. The $22,000 will supposedly go to a charity. 

9) SI.com did a survey of NFL scouts about which colleges are the best ones to visit when they evaluate players, and Alabama was far and away chosen as the most accommodating. 

On Alabama’s 2012 team, all 22 starters played in the NFL. I’m guessing that hasn’t happened much. It also helps recruiting.

8) West Virginia F Lamont West is transferring to Missouri State, which is not a step up or even a lateral move, but he should score more than the 12.1 ppg he averaged LY, starting 20 of the 36 Mountaineer games. 

7) Over half the NFL owners (17 of 32) inherited their teams. Only seven of 30 NBA owners inherited their team. 

6) In 20 games for Milwaukee against the Cardinals. Christian Yelich has 10 homers, 23 RBI and 22 runs scored. 

5) If I’m a Philadelphia Eagles fan, and I hear coach Doug Pederson say “Carson Wentz has it in him to be a better teammate” well, that would worry me. The last thing you should be worrying about is if your quarterback is a good teammate. 

4) Dodgers 18, Diamondbacks 5— Third game of the season Saturday night, and Arizona used a catcher to pitch the 7th/8th innings. Seriously, in the third game of the year? 

Then the Dodgers let catcher Russell Martin pitch the 9th inning, when they were winning, albeit 18-5. When was last time both teams used a position player to pitch in same game?

3) Minnesota Twins’ starters Berrios/Odorizzi both struck out 10+ guys in their first start, just 2nd time EVER a team had that happen in their first two games of a season. Diamondbacks in 2001 also did it, with Randy Johnson/Curt Schilling. 

2) San Diego Padres’ rookie pitcher Chris Paddack was thrown out at first base by the RF on what appeared to be a sharp single to right in his first MLB at-bat, with the bases loaded. I’m guessing that hasn’t happened very often. 

1) Orlando 34, Memphis 31— Memphis was up 31-28 with 2:40 left on a rainy day; the snap goes right through the punter’s hands, and Orlando gets the wet ball on the 26-yard line and wins the game. 

Refs missed a delay of game penalty on Orlando on the last play before the 2:00 warning, and Mike Singletary went off, getting two unsportsmanlike penalties during the 2:00 warning. Had the feel of a semi-pro game, which isn’t a good look for a new league.

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

13) Texas Tech 75, Gonzaga 69— Red Raiders make their first-ever trip to the Final Four. Gonzaga was in Elite 8 for third time in five years; they’re 1-2 in Elite 8 games. 

It is easy to sit here and say that Texas Tech was toughened up by playing in a better league than Gonzaga plays in— Zags thrash everyone in their league every year. Not sure thats why Tech won this game, but they’re athletic as hell and they play very good defense. 

Red Raiders also lost five of their top seven players from last year’s team; to make the Final Four with that much turnover on your roster is very impressive. 

12) This trend has legs, but I’m not sure why. Over the last 22 years, underdogs are now 18-4 vs spread in the final of the West Region, 13-9 SU. 

11) Virginia 80, Purdue 75 OT— Tremendous game. Damn shame someone had to lose. 

Purdue’s Carsen Edwards scored 42 points, with no assists; not sure why he passed the ball on their last possession, but he threw the ball away. Amazing shooting performance. 

Over the last 40 years, Purdue has had only two basketball coaches, Gene Keady, Matt Painter; Drake and Siena have had three coaches the last three years. 

Solid lookalike submitted by The Professor: Matt Painter and WWE’s Shane McMahon. 

10) Auburn F Chuma Okeke tore his ACL, is having surgery Tuesday, very bad news for Auburn’s hopes of going to the Final Four. 

9) When the 3-point shot became a thing in the NBA for the 1979-80 season, there were players in the NBA who believed that 3-pointers should only be allowed in the 4th quarter, and kind of a come-from-behind gimmick. 

Was funny reading that this week, seeing how prominent 3-pointers have become in both pro and college basketball.

8) Regional finals with teams from same league, last 10 years:
2017: South Carolina (+3) 77, Florida 70
2016: North Carolina (-6.5) 88, Notre Dame 74
            Syracuse (+6.5) 68, Virginia 62
2013: Syracuse (-2.5) 55, Providence 39

Auburn-Kentucky play in a regional final today. 

7) Nebraska hired Fred Hoiberg as basketball coach, will pay him $3.57M a year, thats 3rd-highest salary in Big 14, 11th-highest in country. 

6) Lakers will sit Lebron James down for the last six games of what has been a forgettable 34-42 season. 

LA Clippers are 12-2 in March, the NBA’s best record this month.

5) Detroit Tigers lost 3-0 Saturday; they’ve lost two of their first three games, with only runs they’ve scored so far this week in 10th inning Thursday. So in three games, Detroit hasn’t scored yet in innings 1-9. Oy. 

4) There is a gambling thing in Las Vegas that is a little weird; in NCAA tourney games, you can bet on which team will get to 15 points first. Random wager to create more action. 

I was at the MGM Grand for the 2010 NCAA’s, and I’m watching Northern Iowa, and some kid makes a basket- the three young guys next to me start jumping up and down and hugging each other. I actually asked them if the kid that scored was their brother. 

They explained that they won their “first to 15” bet. Had never heard of it before. If you had a lot of extra time, you could research all that, but not even I would enjoy researching all that. 

3) When Jacob deGrom/Max Scherzer both struck out 10+ guys Thursday, it was only the second time EVER that both starters struck out 10+ on Opening Day. 

Back in 1970 in an Orioles-Indians opener, Dave McNally and Sam McDowell both struck out 10+, and McNally wasn’t a big strikeout guy. 

2) Crowds at Rockies-Marlins in Miami? 6,503 Friday, 7,642 Saturday. 

Colorado’s Daniel Murphy broke a finger on his left hand Friday, is going on the DL. 

1) Diamondbacks 5, Dodgers 4 (13)— This Friday night game lasted until 4:13am Saturday morning; at one point, the home plate ump got drilled in the mask by a pitch that totally crossed up the catcher- he left the game couple innings later, after the 11th inning. 

This was longest regular season game, in terms of time, in Dodger Stadium history.

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

13) Auburn 97, North Carolina 80— Didn’t see this coming. Since 1993, Tar Heels were 13-1 in this round; not sure if Nassir Little’s illness was a factor, but the whole team looked sick and kind of lackluster. 

NCAA enforcement people must be thrilled; Auburn had one assistant coach indicted last year, another one has been suspended as part of the adidas payoff scandal. Now the Tigers are in the Elite 8 for only the second time (1986). Go figure. 

Bad news for Auburn; they lost F Chuma Okeke with a knee injury that the Auburn people said was likely a serious one.

12) Duke 75, Virginia Tech 73— Understood that this is irrelevent, but Duke is 0-3 vs spread in this tournament, 3-12 vs spread in their last 15 games. Tre Jones was shooting 23.2% on the arc before this game; he went 5-7 Friday and saved the Blue Devils’ butts. 

Buzz Williams is supposedly off to Texas A&M next season; if he doesn’t already have a deal with the Aggies, his price tag probably went up a little during this game. 

11) Michigan State 80, LSU 63— Spartans get to the Elite 8 for first time in four years; since 2005, Izzo is 4-1 in Elite 8 games. As for LSU, their search for a new coach heads into high gear, since HC Will Wade is also part of the adidas debacle. 

10) Kentucky 62, Houston 58— Tyler Herro scored the last five points of the game; Kentucky will play SEC rival Auburn in the regional final Sunday. 

9) Cardinals 9, Brewers 5— In his second game for the Cardinals, Paul Goldschmidt hit three home runs. 

8) Opening Day rosters in the major leagues have 251 players who were born outside this country, representing 20 different countries and territories. 

7) Coaching carousel:
— Cal Bears hired former Nevada/Georgia coach Mark Fox. 

6) Brewers closer Corey Knebel will undergo Tommy John surgery next week; Josh Hader is expected to do most of the closing for Milwaukee. 

5) Angels OF Justin Upton will be out 8-12 weeks (turf toe). 

4) West Virginia could have eight returning basketball players next season, but four of them put their names in the transfer portal, which means they might transfer. They don’t have to, but obviously they’re looking into it. Mountaineers could have as many as nine scholarships open. 

3) This was Virginia’s third Sweet 16 in the last six years; it is their second Elite 8. In the 13 years before Tony Bennett got to Charlottesville, Virginia won a total of one NCAA tournament game.

2) Colorado 6, Miami 1— CF Ian Desmond robbed Lewis Brinson of a game-tying homer in the 8th inning, then the Rockies tacked on four runs in the ninth. Strong outing for Colorado P Marquez, who is very good away from Coors Field. 

1) Memo to directors of televised baseball games; on fly balls, show the outfielder, not the ball. The outfielder(s) will tell you where the ball is going. Showing the ball in the air is useless. 

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

13) Purdue 99, Tennessee 94 OT— Vols trailed by 12 at the half; they were 4-13 on the foul line in the first half, 7-9 in the second, 3-6 in OT. Purdue was 16-33 on the foul line. 

Second half of this game was outstanding, exciting basketball. Ryan Cline made 7-10 shots behind the arc; Tennessee was 12-24 on the arc, but made only one of last five. Wild game. 

2011 Florida Gators were last team to play consecutive OT games in NCAA’s; Gators beat BYU in the Sweet 16, then lost to Butler in the Elite 8. Same results for Tennessee here. 

12) Virginia 53, Oregon 49— Teams combined to go 18-58 on arc; Virginia led 30-22 at the half, but were down 3 with 5:30 left. Ducks scored only four points in last 5:44 of this game. 

Virginia’s Kyle Guy was shooting 43.9% on arc coming into this game, but he was 2-11 here, and is now 5 for his last 31 over the last four games. They’ll need more from him Saturday. 

11) Gonzaga 72, Florida State 58— Seminoles went 3-20 on the arc, were out-rebounded 45-36 and went down fairly meekly. 

10) Texas Tech 63, Michigan 44— Not even close; Red Raiders thrashed Michigan here, holding Wolverines to 1-19 shooting on arc (starters were 0-14). Tech won 12 of its last 13 games; their next game is Saturday against Gonzaga. 

9) Brewers 5, Cardinals 4— Lorenzo Cain ended the game by robbing Jose Martinez of a game-tying home run. Excellent catch. 

If you like to play over/under on first five innings of a game, Thursday’s results: 8-7 under. 

8) Dodgers 12, Diamondbacks 5— Dodgers hit eight home runs, a record for Opening Day.

7) Coaching carousel:
— Niagara hired Patrick Beilein (John’s son) as its coach.
— Southern Illinois promoted assistant Bryan Mullins to head coach.
— Appalachian State named Dustin Kerns coach. 

6) Astros 5, Rays 1— George Springer homered on Opening Day for the third year in a row. 

5) Teams with five different Opening Day starting pitchers the last five years:
White Sox, Reds, Brewers, Padres. 

4) Tigers 2, Blue Jays 0 (10)— Excellent pitching duel between Zimmerman/Stroman was decided in extra innings when Christin Stewart homered for Detroit. 

3) Mets 2, Nationals 0— Robinson Cano drove in both runs to back up  a brilliant six innings tossed by Jacob deGrom. 

2) Mariners 12, Red Sox 4— Seattle treated Chris Sale like a piñata, getting seven runs in three innings against him. Mariners won two games in Japan, are off to a 3-0 start. 

Edgar Martinez was in the ESPN booth for part of this game and Alex Rodriguez did a great job of picking his brain about hitting-related things. Obviously they played together for several years and A-Rod has a lot of respect for a guy who was a seriously tremendous hitter. 

1) Reds 5, Pirates 3— Derek Dietrich hit a pinch-hit, 3-run homer in the 7th inning, as Cincinnati came from behind and won its opener. 

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. 

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

13) Bad news for the Arizona Diamondbacks; Steven Souza Jr. has an ACL tear, LCL tear, partial PCL tear, and posterior lateral capsule tear in his left knee. He is done for this season.

12) Milwaukee’s Mike Moustakas led off the bottom of the 2nd vs Toronto Tuesday by bunting to third base for an easy hit against the shift. What pitcher will be the first one to snap over giving up hits to batters who are smart enough to just bunt the ball where no one is? 

You know some pitchers have to hate the shift, especially when it doesn’t help them. 

11) Dodgers shifted against Angels’ 2B David Fletcher early Monday night, but he just poked a grounder thru the right side for an easy hit. Fletcher has no power, but he does control the bat well; it is bleeping stupid to over-shift against him. This is analytics gone wild.

10) Random stat of the day; in his last 11 NCAA tournament games, Rick Barnes’ teams are 1-9-1 against the spread. Since 2002, Barnes is 3-2 SU in Sweet 16 games; his last one was in 2008. 

9) Bruce Pearl’s comment about his Auburn team playing North Carolina this week: 

“Take the over.” 

Over in this game is 164, which is pretty steep.

8) Coaching carousel:
— BYU told coach Dave Rose to take a hike after 14 years with the Cougars.
— Arkansas fired coach Mike Anderson after eight years.
— Nebraska fired Tim Miles; his likely replacement is Fred Hoiberg.
— Washington State hired San Francisco coach Kyle Smith.
— Cal Poly hired former Riverside CC coach/Fullerton assistant John Smith.
— UMKC hired former Wright State coach Billy Donlon.
— Mercer is going to hire Purdue assistant Greg Gary.
— Former Tex-Arlington coach Scott Cross is back in Sun Belt; he is the new coach at Troy.

7) That means four of 14 SEC coaching jobs are open; considering that seven SEC teams made the NCAA’s, then South Carolina, Georgia, Missouri are only teams not to make NCAA’s that didn’t fire their coach. Georgia’s coach has been there one year, Missouri’s two years. 

6) One thing that bugs me about the NBA; why does the team’s star always HAVE TO take the last shot? Portland had the ball at the end of the first OT Monday night in a tie game and the Nets double-teamed Damian Lillard and he never passed the ball, taking a 35-footer. Why? 

5) Watched Dodgers-Angels exhibition game Monday night and it is weird watching the Angels and seeing someone other than Mike Scioscia managing the team. 

4) Guy in Ohio named Gregg Nigl has a perfect bracket thru the first two rounds, so he deserves to be congratulated. Well done sir!!!

3) Jason deGrom signed a 5-year, $137,5M extension with the Mets. 

2) Portland C Jusuf Nurkic suffered a compound fractures to the tibia and fibula of his lower left leg in the second OT of the Nets-Blazers game Monday night. The injury was so gruesome, guys on the Nets who were near Nurkic when he fell ran away from the area. 

1) Some day soon, when they make a movie about Michael Avenatti and the last year or so of his life, it is going to be a weird and fast-moving story. Avenatti has been all over TV for the last year or so, but now he is in big legal trouble in California, charged with wire fraud and extortion.

Just seems like sometimes people get famous quickly and the fame is addictive and it makes them do nutty things. Being obscure isn’t such a bad thing. 

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

13) Duke beat Central Florida by a point Sunday. In the 25:00 Tacko Fall played, UCF was +16; they were -17 in the 15:00 he didn’t play. Pretty telling stat. 

12) Denver Broncos suggested the NFL borrow the AAF’s version of onside kicks where a team can go for an “onside kick” by running a 4th-and-12 play from their own 28-yard line after a score, if they’re down by 17+ points, or trailing with 5:00 or less left in the game. 

After the 4th-and-12 play, the game just continues from there. 

NFL competition committee voted 7-1 in favor of this rule; Giants’ owner John Mara was the one vote against it, saying “What are we, the Arena Football League?”

24 of the 32 owners would have to vote “Yes” for it to become an actual rule. 

11) From MetsMerizedOnline.com:

Mets owner Fred Wilpon is buying back a 12% stake of the team for about $180M, which  values the Mets at about $1.5B, a lot less than the $2.1B Forbes magazine valued it at last year. If these numbers are right, thats a 28% decrease in value, in only one year. 

The Wilpons now own 68% of the team, which is bad news for Mets fans everywhere. 

10) Bears-Packers will be the Thursday night game in Week 1 of the NFL this season; this is the NFL’s 100th season, and Green Bay-Chicago is the league’s oldest rivalry. 

New England will open at home on Sunday Night Football. 

9) Milwaukee Brewers are playing couple of exhibition games against the Blue Jays in Montreal this week, but Ryan Braun forgot his passport, so he won’t be there. Whoops. 

8) Ron Darling was talking on the Mets’ game the other day about how the Seattle Mariners have it worse than any other baseball team, as far as travel goes, since Seattle is way up there in the Pacific Northwest, pretty far away from all their opponents, except Oakland. 

He was talking about Robinson Cano being 36 years old and how many games he will play this season. Darling said Cano should still be able to play 140 or so games, since the Mets’ travel will be a lot less arduous than the Mariners’ was. 

7) Showtime has a 4-part series called Action airing this month, about the growth of legalized gambling. In the first show, a well-known professional gambler named Bill Krackomberger is profiled; they show him betting thousands of dollars ($3,300 a game) on several NFL games, yet he says that he probably cannot name 15 players in the NFL. 

A friend in the same business confirmed that this is probably true. I’ve known of this guy for years as a sharp bettor; it is amazing to me that a guy can win betting the NFL but can’t at least name every starting QB in the league. 

6) Johnny Manziel made his AAF debut for Memphis Sunday, going 3-5 for 48 yards passing, and running ball twice for 20 yards in his backup role. Starter Brandon Silvers won the game for Memphis, though, leading the game-tying drive in the last minute of regulation, then leading another TD drive in overtime.

Silvers, who played college ball at Troy, was 24-35 for 266 yards and two TDs. 

That was the first overtime game in AAF history, by the way. 

5) One thing I won’t miss about spring training ending; games where both teams are wearing the same color jersey. 

4) When a player breaks his bat in a major league game, they actually sell the bat at concession stands in the stadium, and broken bats ain’t cheap. 

I was in Philadelphia couple years ago, and was looking at the game-used items they sell there; jerseys, baseballs, bats, bases. Made the mistake of grabbing a bat by the barrel and got pine tar all over my hands. Sticky stuff. 

3) In the last two weeks, Auburn won six games, counting the SEC tournament and then their two NCAA tournament wins. In the previous 13 years combined, Auburn had won a total of seven postseason games. 

2) Jazz 125, Suns 92— Devin Booker scored 59 points in this one-sided game; Jimmer Fredette went 1-10 in 14:00 off the bench in his first NBA game in three years. 

Booker stayed in the game in the last 0:20 with the Suns down 33, trying to get 60 points, but Utah fouled someone else intentionally so he couldn’t get the ball. 

1) If you follow comments that Celtics players/coaches have made this season, sounds like they’re all having a miserable season. Boston is 43-31, right now they’re the #5-seed in the East but you get the impression they won’t be too unhappy when the season ends, and they can all go their separate ways. 

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

13) Duke 77, Central Florida 76— When you lose a game like this and your season or career end, you will remember that game for the rest of your life. UCF played its hearts out, the game was there for them to take but it slipped away. Their effort was exceptional. 

Duke was 309th in country in 3-point %age before this game; they made 10-25 Sunday, and scored off a missed free throw with 0:09 left to win this interesting game. 

Aubrey Dawkins scored 32 points for UCF; this game had to be personal for him, living in Durham until he was 11 years old when his father was an assistant coach at Duke. He played at Michigan, then UCF; he was excellent in this game. 

12) This is the first time since the NCAA tournament went to 64 teams that every betting favorite won in the round of 32. Favorites were 12-4 vs spread Saturday/Sunday.

Tennessee 83, Iowa 77 OT— Volunteers led this game 44-19, so if you laid eight points, this was a sad ending. If you had the under, this was a sad ending. If you had Iowa and the over, then be thankful. Tennessee survived and it advances, and that is all that matters this time of year. 

For the first time since 1996 the SEC has four teams in the Sweet 16. Tennessee has zero points this season from freshmen, which in modern times is really unusual. 

CBS had the father of one of the Iowa players miked during this game; this is a bad idea. Parents should be seen and not heard during these games. Let the kids be the show. 

11) North Carolina 81, Washington 59— Tar Heels are in Sweet 16 for 4th time in five years; this wasn’t a good game. Huskies shot 36.7% from the floor. 

Washington is 48-21 in Mike Hopkins’ first two years as coach, so things are looking up for them, though they graduate three starters this spring. 

10) Texas Tech 78, Buffalo 58— Bulls hadn’t lost since February 1st; over last six years, they’re 138-62, 75-31 in MAC games. Five of their top seven players graduate; will coach Nate Oats leave for green$r pa$ture$? Now would be a good time. 

Texas Tech moves on to Anaheim, will play Michigan in the next round. 

9) Virginia Tech 67, Liberty 58— Hokies beat Duke 77-72 at home Feb 26; now they get another shot at the Blue Devils Friday night in Washington. Justin Robinson played 29:00 Sunday, so his foot must be OK. He looked a little gimpy late in Friday’s game. 

Liberty has a 5-9 freshman named Darius McGhee who played 27:00, and was 5-11 from floor, all 3-pointers, with no assists. Sounds like a good gig, take a 3-pointer every 2:00 or so. 

8) Virginia 63, Oklahoma 51—Starting center Jack Salt isn’t playing much; he has back/ankle issues. Cavaliers are basically playing six guys; Kyle Guy was 0-10 on the arc in this game but Virginia still covered a double digit spread. 

Oklahoma finished 20-14 this year, after going 18-14 LY, when they had Trae Young. Go figure. 

7) Houston 74, Ohio State 59— Cougars move on and play Kentucky Friday in Kansas City. Indiana fans who might be watching will be conflicted; they didn’t like Kelvin Sampson much when he was coach of the Hoosiers, but they really dislike Kentucky. 

6) Oregon 73, Cal-Irvine 54— Ducks are in Sweet 16 for third time in last four years; they missed their first ten shots of 2nd half as Irvine came back from down 12 at the half to the game, but Oregon pulled away late. Kenny Wooten had seven blocks; he is a force in the paint. 

5) Coaching carousel:
— Ron Hunter bolts Georgia State for Tulane. Interesting decision; his Georgia State team would’ve clobbered Tulane this year, but AAC is a step up from the Sun Belt.
— California fires Wyking Jones; Cal alum Jason Kidd is a possible replacement. 

4) Bryce Harper is from Las Vegas and goes to some UNLV basketball games in the winter; he has posted stuff on social media imploring UNLV to hire Memphis assistant coach Mike Miller as its new basketball coach. 

3) Two baseball players have had ten seasons with 20+ homers and 20+ stolen bases; they are father/son, Bobby and Barry Bonds. Bobby Abreu is next, with nine. 

2) They had 38,031 fans in Anaheim Stadium Sunday night for Dodgers-Angels exhibition game; they drew 23,967 in Oakland for a Giants-A’s game. Baseball season starts Thursday; we’ll have information every day from then until October. 

Russell Martin caught all eight innings for the Dodgers, which is really unusual for a spring training game. 

1) Cubs-Colorado exhibition game drew 14,022 fans Saturday night in Arizona. These games are more affordable and to lot of people, their best chance to see big league baseball. 

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

13) Thursday in Las Vegas, a courageous human wagered $500,000 on Michigan on the money line, which means all they have to do is win, no point spread; when Wolverines beat Montana, he banked $27,777.  

On Friday, he took that $527,777 and put it all on Texas Tech on the money line, where he collected $37,698. Didn’t have to sweat in either game, either. 

12) LSU 69, Maryland 67— Tony Benford is the interim coach at LSU; he was coach at North Texas for five years, going 62-95, 30-60 in conference games. 

He looks a lot smarter coaching the players he recruited for LSU. Let’s say the Tigers make a run to the Final Four; would Benford become this generation’s Steve Fisher? Fisher took over the Michigan squad just before the NCAA’s in 1989 and won the national title with them, getting himself the full-time job the next year. 

11) Kentucky 62, Wofford 56— You look at Wofford’s success this year, and fact that Furman, NC-Greensboro and East Tennessee State are all solid programs, and you’d wish ESPN would show some SoCon games on national TV during the winter. 

I know the games are all on ESPN+, but they deserve national recognition.

Wofford’s best 3-point shooter is Fletcher Magee; he made more 3-pointers than anyone ever in college ball, but he was 0-12 behind the arc in this game. He was 7-12 against Seton Hall. 

10) Michigan 64, Florida 49— When you take 26 3-pointers and two foul shots, it is really hard to win. Have to make an awful lot of those 3’s. Gators were 9-26 on arc, 2-2 on foul line. 

Teams that advance deep into the tournament often get some help along the way; Florida beat Nevada in first round, giving Michigan an easier 2nd round opponent. 

9) Florida State 90, Murray State 62— Seminoles are deep, athletic and on a mission, after one of their teammates lost his dad this week. FSU won 16 of its last 18 games- their next game vs Gonzaga will be very interesting. 

Ja Morant is about to become really rich; Murray State had a great 28-5 season. Racers went 54-11 in Morant’s two seasons; they were 33-31 in the two seasons before he got there. 

8) Gonzaga 83, Baylor 71— Zags are in Sweet 16 for fifth year in a row; they’re this generation’s version of Jerry Tarkanian’s UNLV teams— they dominate a cruddy league, and play well on the national stage in pre-conference games and in March. They also get a lot of transfers, because kids don’t want to play on losing teams. 

End of a unique college career for Baylor’s Makai Mason, who played in NCAA’s for two teams, Yale/Baylor. When he was at Yale, he scored 31 points AGAINST Baylor when the Bulldogs upset Baylor in an NCAA tournament game in 2016. 

7) Michigan State 70, Minnesota 50— Another case where a first round upset gave the favorite in the second round an easier game. Gophers went 2-22 on the arc, didn’t offer much resistance. 

I would be in favor of a rule where only eight teams from any conference can make the NCAA’s; if you can’t finish 8th in your league, how can you be allowed to play for a national title? This will never happen, because the big $$$ leagues have clout, but it would be a good idea. 

6) Purdue 87, Villanova 61— Boilermakers have two guards who take a ton of 3’s; Carson Edwards has taken 347 3’s (34.6%), Ryan Cline has taken 251 (40.6%). They combined to make 13-24 in this game, a surprisingly easy win. 

Major tank job by Villanova; Purdue opened 2nd half on a 16-0 run. Wildcats won two of last three national titles, but other than those two years, they’ve lost their last five second round games. Big East has been mercifully eliminated from this tournament. 

5) Auburn 89, Kansas 75— Tigers scored 28 points in first 7:57 of this game, made Charles Barkley’s night by whipping the Jayhawks. This game was 51-25 at halftime!!!!

There are rumors that Bill Self is going to try his hand in the NBA next season, especially if the NCAA is nipping at Kansas’ heels. 

4) Justin Verlander got a 2-year, $66M extension from the Astros Saturday, so it was a good day for him and his wife, Kate Upton. 

3) After the first round of the NCAA’s, there were only nine perfect brackets on ESPN’s contest, out of 17.2 million entries. 

2) A’s-Mariners played 12 innings in Tokyo Thursday; Japanese pro baseball has tie games- wonder what the Japanese fans think about playing games until there is a winner, the way it is done here?

1) The 68 teams in the NCAA tournament represent 37 different states.

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. 

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

13) I’m not fond of the baseball season starting at 5:30am on another continent. 

If it wasn’t the A’s playing, I’d just sleep thru it and watch the replay later on. Only positive note about all this is that the last time Oakland played over in Japan, they wound up winning their division that year (2012). 

12) Syracuse will be without starting PG Frank Howard when it plays Baylor Thursday; Howard was suspended for violating an athletic department policy. Howard scored 28 points against Duke in the ACC tournament last week.

11) Over/under betting line on largest margin of victory in first round of NCAA tournament Thursday/Friday: 37.5 points. 

10) North Dakota State 78, North Carolina Central 74— Both teams shot over 40% on arc in this game. Bison bench outscored NC Central’s 17-0, now advances to get crushed by Duke Friday.

9) Arizona State 74, St John’s 65— This was an awful game; Red Storm starts three juniors and a senior, but they’re not good- they went 9-13 in last 22 games, after going 12-0 vs non-conference schedule #327. Chris Mullin seems like a good guy, but is a suspect coach. 

Bobby Hurley continues to be an overbearing jerk on the sidelines; he got a technical near the end of the first half, when his team was up 15; you could tell the ref just got sick of listening to him carp constantly about everything. 

Then there is this; ASU gets 22.7% of its points on the foul line, which is #18 in country. Hurley wears down the officials and winds up getting calls for his team. ASU outscored St John’s 25-15 on foul line here.

8) Brooklyn Nets were down 25 in the 4th quarter Tuesday, rallied to win in Sacramento, just the 4th time in the shot clock era that has happened. 

7) Been a rough 14 months for former U of San Diego basketball coach Lamont Smith; last year, he got into a fracas with a girlfriend during a Toreros’ road trip, which isn’t so bad, except that he was married at the time. He was shown the door before the season ended. 

This week, Smith was named in that big college admissions scandal; now an assistant coach at UTEP, Smith resigned from that job Wednesday. 

6) Norfolk State 80, Alabama 79 OT— Big win for MEAC over an SEC team; Jamerson scored 25 points off the bench for the Spartans, making 7-13 behind the arc. 

5) Harvard 71, Georgetown 68— Hoyas played this game in McDonough Gym, an old gym on campus that looks like a pretty nice high school gym. Georgetown is 34-29 in two years under Patrick Ewing, 14-22 in Big East games. 

4) Happy birthday to the greatest defenseman ever, Bobby Orr, who turned 71 Wednesday. A friend of my parents gave me a subscription to Sports Illustrated for my 9th birthday, and the first issue that arrived had Bobby Orr on the cover, which made me a big Bruins fan. 

Bad knees shortened his career, but when he rushed the puck from behind the net, the crowd at Boston Garden would buzz. Bruins won the Stanley Cup in ’70 and ’72. Happy birthday!!!!

3) QB Tate Martell bolted from Ohio State to Miami, will be eligible this fall; kids who don’t start don’t stick around very much these days. 

2) White Sox signed OF prospect Eloy Jimenez to a 6-year, $43M contract, despite fact that Jimenez hasn’t played in a major league game yet. If he is as good as everyone says, this will wind up being a tremendous bargain for the Pale Hose. 

Tampa Bay signed utility guy Brandon Lowe to a 6-year deal with at least $24M; Lowe still qualifies as a rookie; he had 129 AB’s in 43 games last year, hitting .233 with six HR’s, six doubles, 25 RBIs. He made 24 starts at second base, 11 in center field and five in right field. 

1) Alex Bregman signed a 6-year, $100M extension with the Astros, as every AL West team but the A’s spends a load of cash. A’s used their first round pick last June on a quarterback, which would be great, if they were a football team.

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

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

13) Mike Trout signed a 12-year, $430M deal with the Angels; thats $35,833,333 per year, if you’re scoring at home. Big day for baseball players and their agents. 

The business of baseball myst be good; Artie Moreno bought the Angels for $184M in April, 2003; 16 years later, he pays one guy more than double that.

12) Question is, was this a good day for Angel fans? Halos are also paying Albert Pujols another $87M over the next three seasons. Neither one of those guys pitches, and pitching wins. 

11) Oakland A’s entire payroll last year was $65,985,833; now Trout/Pujols will be making $63.8M combined this year. Oakland won 17 more games than the Angels last year. 

10) St Joe’s fired coach Phil Martelli Tuesday after 24 years with the school; Hawks were 28-8 three short years ago, but then DeAndre’ Bembry left school a year early and things weren’t the same- St Joe’s went 41-55 the last three years, 20-34 in the A-14. 

St Joe’s brought in a new athletic director last year, and new AD’s usually don’t care too much about what happened before they got there, so now the Hawks are looking for a new coach. Martelli made the NCAA’s seven times in 24 years at St Joe’s; we live in a fickle society. 

9) Freshman Joel Ntambwe is transferring from UNLV, which is terrible news for Rebel fans and the new UNLV coach, whoever that turns out to be. Ntambwe averaged 11.8 ppg and 5.5 rpg this year- he shot 38.6% behind the arc. Really good player. 

8) FDU 82, Prairie View 76— Prairie View made 8-12 on arc in first half, led 41-34 at the break; they made 15-29 on arc for the game, but FDU’s PG Jenkins scored 20 second half points and the Knights move on to play Gonzaga in Salt Lake City Thursday. Fun game to watch. 

7) Belmont 81, Temple 70— Belmont plays like the old Pete Carril/Princeton teams; they shoot the 3’s, they make backdoor cuts, they’re a unique team to play against. 

6) #8-seed in the NBA’s Western Conference are the Clippers, who are 41-30; a 41-30 team would be the 6th seed in the East. 

5) Rams signed Blake Bortles as their new backup QB; Bortles has started 73 NFL games, and was the Jaguars’ QB when they made the playoffs in 2017. 

4) I don’t understand why people bet on spring training baseball games; no one cares who wins, the pitchers might actually be working on one pitch and may stay away from his best stuff, but lines are posted every day, subs we’ve rarely heard of play the last half of the game and money changes hands. Go figure.

3) Wofford is a 3-point favorite over a Seton Hall team that went 9-9 in the Big East; that alone should get coach Mike Young into the top 3 in national Coach of the Year voting.

2) Damon Jones played 12 years in the NBA and was later an assistant coach with the Cavaliers when they won the 2016 NBA title. In his playing days, Jones played for 10 different teams in his dozen years in the league. This is a guy who should write a book.

1) Former NBA star Walt (Clyde) Frazier is 73 years old now: he is a New York City icon who led the Knicks to two NBA titles in the 70’s, and to this day he works Knicks’ games on MSG Network. He generally isn’t very controversial, but he does speak the truth. 

Sunday afternoon, when the Knicks played the Lakers, Frazier was critical of Lebron James because Lebron was sitting away from his teammates on the bench during a timeout near the end of a game the Lakers wound up losing by a point. Candid comments; good stuff. 

Monday night during the Knicks-Raptors game, Frazier told Mike Breen that he was surprised his comments got so much attention, but criticism is unusual to hear in these politically correct times, and it was great to hear, because it was warranted.

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

13) Zion Williamson sat out three weeks with a knee injury, then came back over the weekend and played three games in three nights, playing 35-36-40 minutes; how is that smart? The games weren’t critical to Duke’s season; if Williamson had gotten hurt again, then what? 

12) Meanwhile, Arkansas big man Daniel Gafford is bolting to the NBA after this, his sophomore season, and won’t play in the Razorbacks’ NIT game(s), because he could get hurt. 

Williamson plays 35-36-40 minutes on consecutive nights in a mostly meaningless ACC tournament, but this kid won’t play in an NIT game? Oy. 

11) San Francisco Dons were shunned by the NIT, then turned down both the CBI and CIT. Likewise for Texas-San Antonio and Jacksonville State.

10) Since 1985, 41 teams with a losing conference record have gotten an at-large bid to the NCAA’s; those teams went 20-21 in the first round, then 6-14 in the round of 32. 

Teams in this tournament who were under .500 in conference: 
St John’s, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Ohio State

9) Same day the Memphis Express signed Johnny Manziel, they lost QB Zach Mettenberger with an ankle injury, so Manziel is likely to play for Memphis this week.

8) 76-year old Jim Calhoun coached a D-III team in Connecticut this season; the coach was not only new, the team was- it was a men’s team in a school that previously had been an all-female school. 

St Joseph’s Bluejays went 16-12 this season, losing in finals of their conference tournament. 

7) Coaching carousel:
— Tulane fired coach Mike Dunleavy Sr
— Ohio U hired alum Jeff Boals as its new coach; Boals went 55-41 at Stony Brook, 31-17 in America East games. 

6) When the NFL Draft rolls around next month, Giants and Eagles will both make three picks before Dallas picks anyone; the Redskins will pick twice before the Cowboys pick once. 

5) Miami Dolphins signed Ryan Fitzpatrick Sunday; he was the 14th QB selected in the 2005 NFL Draft, and is going to become the first QB EVER to throw a pass for eight different NFL teams. 

Considering he went to college at Harvard, thats a pretty amazing career, playing 16 years in the NFL, when you didn’t even get a college football scholarship.

4) It turns out that lions are excellent nappers. They hunt mostly at night, and digesting large amounts of meat protein involves effort, so lions often spend as many as 20 hours a day resting.

We’re talking about real-life lions, not Detroit Lions or Nittany Lions.  

3) USC is raising its tuition 3.2% next year, up to $57,256 a year; not sure this week was the best time to announce that, after the scandal that broke last week about rich people making payoffs to get their under-qualified kids into these expensive schools, but thats what happened. 

2) ACC Network starts up in August, and DirecTV is gong to carry it, which makes me wonder why the hell they don’t carry the Pac-12 Network? 

1) Rumor mill has Nebraska firing basketball coach Tim Miles as soon as the Cornhuskers get KO’d from the NIT; Fred Hoiberg is listed as the #1 contender to be the new coach.