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

We have basketball info every day……..Week 7 AAF knowledge is now posted.

Thursday’s 6-pack
Favorites to win each region:
— East: Duke 9-5, Michigan State +$275, Virginia Tech 11-1
— South: Virginia even, Tennessee +$325, Purdue 7-2
— Midwest: North Carolina 9-5, Kentucky 2-1, Houston 5-1
— West: Gonzaga 3-1, Michigan +$375, Texas Tech 9-2

— Over/under for wins by ACC teams in NCAA’s: 15
— Over/under for wins by Big 14 teams: 10.5                                                             

Tweet of the Day
“Most people come in groups of two to six. I always feel bad for that one guy who brings his girlfriend. There’s always that one guy who has to say, ‘Talk to you guys later, I’m going to the Forum shops.’”
Westgate SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay, talking about March Madness in Las Vegas

Thursday’s quiz
Remember the final basketball scenes in the movie Hoosiers? Which college still plays its home games in that arena? 

Wednesday’s quiz
Philadelphia Eagles have played in three Super Bowls; Ron Jaworski, Donovan McNabb, Nick Foles started those games at QB for the Eagles. 

Tuesday’s quiz
Penguins are the NHL team that has the longest active streak of consecutive years in the playoffs, making it the last dozen seasons. 

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. 

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. 

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

13) I’m not a New Jersey Giants’ fan, I’m a Ram fan who spends way too much time handicapping sports. Not really sure what the Giants are thinking when they trade Odell Beckham but keep their 38-year old QB. They also dumped Vernon/Collins, so their defense has been depleted.

Peter King wrote that the Giants “…..are an expansion team with a 38-year old QB.”

Better hit a home run with those two draft picks they got from Cleveland. Giants have three of the first 37 picks in the draft, so there is opportunity there. 

In fairness to the Giants, the last two Decembers, Beckham played one game, and caught three passes for 35 yards in that game. I’m not saying what they did was wrong, I’m just saying that what they’re doing confuses me. Why not go young at quarterback, too? 

This is the first time since 1984 the Giants have two 1st-round picks in a draft. That year, they took LB Carl Banks and OL William Roberts.

12) Westgate SuperBook dropped Cleveland from 25-1 to 14-1 to win the Super Bowl; William Hill books lowered them from 25-1 to 18-1. 

Giants went from 40-1 to 80-1 to win the Super Bowl, which seems a bit excessive. Maybe it is more accurate to say that 40-1 was too low to begin with. 

11) Le’Veon Bell gets $52.5M, four years from the Jets. I’m curious how many of these contracts are affecting the NFL’s primetime schedule for this coming season. 

Terrell Suggs played 16 years for the Ravens but is now on Arizona; that would be an interesting Monday night game.

Do the Steelers play the Jets this year? 

Earl Thomas signed with the Ravens Wednesday; another potential 2019 primetime matchup.

10) No matter what, the NFL continues their amazing ability to stay in the headlines 12 months a year. After the NCAA’s, the NFL schedule will come out next month, then the draft is late next month. Always something going on.

9) Iona has won the MAAC tournament four years in a row; here is how they did in the NCAA’s the last three years:
— 2018, lost 89-67 to Duke (+20)
— 2017, lost 93-77 to Oregon (+15.5)
— 2016, lost 94-81 to Iowa State (+7.5)

Something tells me the Gaels might be heading to Dayton next week. 

8) Saint Mary’s 60, Gonzaga 47— After the brackets come out Sunday night, it’ll be fun to try and figure out which team got KO’d from the tournament because Saint Mary’s won this game. Gonzaga hadn’t lost a conference tournament game since 2012. 

7) William & Mary fired coach Tony Shaver Wednesday; the Tribe has never made the NCAA tournament, which is obviously a sticking point, but the last six years, W&M was 64-42 in CAA games, with all six seasons above .500 in conference play. 

Last six years, Tribe was 6-6 in CAA tourney, losing in finals in both 2014, 2015- they lost to Delaware by a point in ’14. There is no guarantee the new coach will be a better coach than Shaver— JMU fired Matt Brady three years ago and is 19-35 in CAA games since then. 

6) Was odd seeing Magic Johnson at the OVC tournament, watching Ja Morant play; you don’t expect to see an NBA legend courtside when you’re watching a Belmont-Murray State game.  Magic was at the ACC tournament in Charlotte Wednesday. 

5) NC State 59, Clemson 58— Tigers led by 18, but lost; they’re 18-13, and probably headed to the NIT. Here are some of the reasons they didn’t win 20 games:

— Nov 26, lost 68-66 to Nebraska
— Jan 26, lost 69-67 at NC State
— Feb 13, lost 65-64 at Miami
— Feb 16, lost 56-55 at Louisville
— March 2, lost 81-79 to North Carolina
— March 13, lost 59-58 to NC State

4) Ted Valentine did the Clemson-NC State noon game in Charlotte; wouldn’t have been the least bit surprised if he had showed up somewhere else on TV, reffing a night game. When was last time a ref worked two games in the same day? Has it ever happened at that level?

3) Big Sky tournament: 3-point shooting decided the first two games:
— Saacramento State 72, Northern Arizona 60— Hornets were 12-20 on the arc.
— Southern Utah 94, Idaho State 80— Thunderbirds were 11-15 on the arc.

2) West Virginia 72, Oklahoma 71— Kid on Oklahoma swished what looked like a game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer, but his toes were on the line, so it was only a 2-point shot and the Sooners head to the bubble- their next four days will be agonizing, waiting to hear their fate Sunday. 

1) Cleveland Browns were going to sign WR Breshad Perriman, but when they traded for Beckham, that ship sailed, so Perriman signed a one-year, $4M deal with Tampa Bay instead. 

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

13) Giants traded Odell Beckham Jr to Cleveland last night; I’m guessing Odell might not enjoy December by Lake Erie, but while the Ravens/Steelers lose players this month and the Bengals pretty much stand still. are the Browns a playoff contender now? 

Giants got Jabril Peppers, plus draft picks in 1st and 3rd rounds. 

12) Are there any other honest people left? Parents paying off people so their kids can go to fancy colleges. Oy. Just send the kid to a damn state college and tell him/her to study.

Jerome Allen is an assistant coach with the Celtics; he used to work at Penn, and admitted to taking $300K to designate a kid as a basketball recruit at Penn, so the kid could get into an Ivy League school.

The three smartest (whether book smart or street smart) people I know went to these colleges, and I’m posting the colleges in alphabetical order, not in order of how smart those people are:

Albany, Northeastern, St Francis NY

Not a lot of “elite” colleges on that list. Smart people come from all kinds of schools. 

USC’s senior associate athletic director, Donna Heinel, apparently received more than $1.3M in bribe payments to fabricate athletic credentials for prospective students. 

Tremendous. Just awesome. Ms Heinel has already been fired, by the way. 

11) Monday at the MGM in Las Vegas, a courageous soul made a $310,000 money-line bet on the Raptors (-$420) to win in Cleveland; they lost by 25. Had Toronto won, the bettor would’ve banked a little over $73,800. Tough way to start the week.

10) At the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas, Detroit Lions dropped from 100-1 to 60-1 to win the Super Bowl, after their four free agent signings. 

9) Teddy Bridgewater is taking less money to be the Saints’ backup QB, instead of being the starter with the Dolphins? What does that say about Miami?  

8) Monday night in LA, Lou Williams of the Clippers set the NBA’s all-time record for most points scored off the bench, passing Dell Curry. Williams has scored 13,037 points in the NBA, but has started only 11.8% of his 923 career games. 

Remember seeing Williams play in an AAU tournament in Orlando back when he was in high school; if I remember right, he played for the Atlanta Celtics’ AAU team- they were excellent. 

7) Bradley’s path to winning the MVC tournament:
— beat Missouri State by 3; trailed by 7 early in 2nd half.
— beat Loyola, Chi by 2; trailed by 4 with 12:11 left.
— beat Northern Iowa by 3; trailed by 18 with 17:07 left. 

6) Texas PG Kerwin Roach will play for the Longhorns in the Big 12 tournament this week, so whatever offense he committed to get suspended for the last five games is forgiven. 

Ohio State’s Kaleb Wesson will also be back for the Big 14 tournament; he was suspended for the last three games. 

Funny how conference tournaments make suspensions go away. 

5) Five years ago, Mercer won the Atlantic Sun tourney, then beat Duke in the first round of the NCAA’s, before losing to Tennessee in the 2nd round. Mercer beat Duke as a 14-seed. In the last 20 years, #14-seeds are 8-72 in the first round of the NCAA tournament- Mercer’s win was a very big deal. 

The next year, Mercer moved up to the Southern Conference and in five years since then, Bears went 83-83, 46-46 in conference games. Thats a .500 record in a better league, but Monday, they fired coach Bob Hoffman, the same guy who coached the team when they beat Duke. 

Who made this decision? This isn’t UCLA or some other big-money school that expects to make the tournament every year to appease its big-money boosters. It is freakin’ Mercer. If you’re Mercer and the guy beats Duke, you give him a 10-year contract and pray he doesn’t bolt your school for green$r pa$ture$.

4) If you care about such things, you can wager on next year’s Super Bowl right now; AFC is favored by 2.5 points, with a total of 57.

3) Oakland Grizzlies basketball coach Greg Kampe played football in college at Bowling Green, graduating in 1978— one of his coaches was Don Nehlen, who went on to an excellent career coaching West Virginia. Kampe was a cornerback, who also kicked/punted. 

2) Chris Woodward is the new manager of the Texas Rangers; he went on live TV for a half-inning with the Rangers’ TV guys during an exhibition game the other night and he was great. Best one of those interviews I’ve seen. He talked about how a lot of players don’t know all the rules, and how the bench coach for the Dodgers (Bob Geren) “….is obsessed with rules.” Was interesting to listen to. 

1) A’s play Seattle over in Japan in games that count, starting at 5:30am here in New York on both March 20th and 21st; the NCAA tournament starts at noon on the 21st. When the hell am I supposed to sleep?

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

13) ESPN News started a new show Monday, from 6-7pm: Daily Wager. It looks pretty good, an information-driven program that follows gambling-related and daily fantasy stuff. 

12) Phoenix Suns closed as a 17-point underdog against Warriors Sunday night, then won. It is the largest upset in an NBA game since March 6, 2016 when the Lakers upset Golden State as a 17.5-point underdog.

11) Detroit Tigers’ 1B Miguel Cabrera pulled the hidden ball trick on a runner Monday. What do you say to a major leaguer who falls for that?  

10) Since 2009, when one team beats another twice during the regular season and then meets them again in a conference tournament, they complete the 3-game sweep 72% of the time.

9) Toronto Blue Jays used a 4-man outfield against Bryce Harper over the weekend, with no third baseman; will that be a trend this season? Turns out it didn’t matter where the fielders were, since they walked Harper both times he came to bat. 

Tampa Bay used the 4-man outfield against Harper on Monday, too. 

8) After trading Antonio Brown over the weekend, Steelers have a cap hit of $21M for his contract this year, which isn’t good. 

Over the last seven years, of the 14 NFL teams that had a WR with a cap hit of $15M+, only one of those 14 teams made the playoffs, the 2016 Falcons, and they at least had Julio Jones on their team that year. Brown is a huge cap hit, and he’s playing for Oakland.

7) Detroit Lions signed four players Monday, three of whom are ex-Patriots. Problem is, none of them is Tom Brady, so not sure how much they’ll help. 

6) OT Trent Brown bolted New England and will sign a four-year, $66M contract that includes $36.75M in guarantees with the Raiders, making him highest paid OL in NFL history.

5) Landon Collins signs with the Redskins, gets $84M for six years, $45M of it guaranteed. 

4) Nick Foles get $88M to QB the Jaguars for four years. 

3) College basketball teams that have fired their coach:
— Fairfield, Niagara in the MAAC
— Southern Illinois
— SIU-Edwardsville, Tennessee Tech in the OVC
— Mercer
— Troy State
— Kennesaw State, Stetson in the A-Sun
— Cal Poly
— UCLA
— Temple (technically he is retiring, but they forced him out)

Bottom line on coaches getting fired is this: Bracket Week and the NCAA tournament are great fun for us, but if you’re a coach and you don’t make the NCAA’s, your job is in real jeopardy. 

2) Duke’s Marques Bolden, averaging 19.5 mpg, is out for the ACC tournament. 

1) FOX is making a big deal about signing Urban Meyer to its college football coverage, but Meyer has been on TV before, and he wasn’t good. Meyer was humorless doing games on ESPN, I almost felt bad for the guy. Not sure how coaching at Ohio State changed any of that. 

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

13) Houston 85, Cincinnati 69— Cougars were very impressive in second half; they’re 29-2 now and will be a popular sleeper to make the Final Four. Not even sure they would qualify as a sleeper— Joe Lunardi has them listed as a #3-seed in his last listing. 

12) Bradley 57, Northern Iowa 54— Braves were down 18 early in second half, rallied to win first MVC title since 1988— they’re in NCAA’s for first time since 2006.

11) MAAC semis: It’ll be Monmouth vs Iona in the finals tonight. 

Iona won this tournament the last three years; Monmouth started this season 0-12, won their last pre-conference game, then went 10-8 in the MAAC, finishing in 6th place.

10) SoCon semis: It’ll be Wofford vs NC-Greensboro in the finals tonight. Wofford is now 20-0 in conference games this year. I’m thinking they’re in the NCAA’s no matter what, but for the sake of their nervous systems over the next week, winning tonight would be good. 

9) Gardner-Webb 76, Radford 65— Bulldogs are in NCAA’s for first time ever; they were a 7-point underdog in this game. Gardner-Webb is located in Boiling Springs, NC.

Gardner-Webb won at both Wake Forest, Georgia Tech this year; they lost by 12 at VCU, by 28 at Virginia Tech. 

8) Wisconsin 73, Ohio State 67 OT— Badgers led this game by 23, blew the lead, but survived and get the #4 seed in Big 14 tournament.

7) Suns 115, Warriors 111— Golden State lost and Kevin Durant hurt his ankle. Bad night. 

6) Sunday, the Tampa Bay Rays renewed the contract of ace and Cy Young winner Blake Snell; they will pay him $573,700 this coming season, not much above his $558,200 salary from last year. The minimum salary increased $10,000 to $555,000 this year, so Snell’s $15,500 raise is really only $5,500. 

5) Los Angeles Lakers have 156-320 record over the past six years, which is the worst record in the NBA during that time.

4) Former Wisconsin QB Alex Hornibrook transferred to Florida State; he was 26-6 in three seasons as the starter for the Badgers, leading them to the Orange Bowl following the 2017 season. Florida State finished 10th in the ACC last year in both passing efficiency at 125.77 and completion percentage at 57.1;

3) San Diego Padres attempted 36 stolen bases in their first 16 spring training games, so looks like the Friars will be running a lot more than they have recently. Orioles are second this spring, with 26 attempted steals. 

2) OF Adam Jones signed a one-year, $3M deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks. 

1) Shaka Smart’s four years at Texas:
— 66-65 record, 31-41 in Big X games
— 2-3 in Big X tournament, 0-2 in NCAA’s. 

Shaka Smart’s six years at VCU:
— 163-56 record, 74-30 in conference games
— 15-4 in conference tournament, 7-5 in NCAA’s. 

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

13) 12pm-2:00
— Auburn 87, Tennessee 83— Tigers were +8 in turnovers (13-5).
— Seton Hall 79, Villanova 75— Pirates’ bench outscored Villanova’s 17-0.
— Clemson 67, Syracuse 55— Tigers won four of their last five games. 

12) 2-4:00
— Texas Tech 80, Iowa State 73— Cyclones lost six of their last eight games.
— Mississippi State 92, Texas A&M 81— Kid on Aggies hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the backdoor cover.
— Kentucky 66, Florida 57— Gators lose last three games, finish 9-9 in SEC. 

11) 4-6:00
— Georgetown 86, Marquette 84— Golden Eagles head to NYC on a 4-game skid.
— Virginia 73, Louisville 68— Cavaliers are the #1 seed in ACC tournament.
— Oregon State 85, Washington State 77— Beavers finish 10-8 in Pac-12, their best record in conference play since 1990.  

10) 6-8:00
— North Carolina 79, Duke 70— Where do you seed Duke if Zion doesn’t come back?
— Arizona State 72, Arizona 64— Sun Devils swept Arizona, won five of last six overall.
— NC-Greensboro 77, Samford 70— Favored Spartans were down 12 at the half. 

9) 8-10:00
— Michigan State 75, Michigan 63— Spartans sweep season series with their rival.
— Murray State 77, Belmont 65— Racers win OVC title; will both teams get in NCAA’s?
— Western Illinois 79, South Dakota State 76— #1-seed goes down in Summit League.  Jackrabbits won their two regular season games with WIU by total of 62 points. 

8) 10pm-midnight
— Nevada 81, San Diego State 53— Big Senior Night for team with five 5th-year senior starters. Not the guttiest of efforts by the Aztecs.
— Pepperdine 89, San Francisco 72— Dons were 17-3 at one point, then went 4-7 in their last 11 games, losing last four in a row. 
— San Diego 80, BYU 57— Toreros jumped out to a 13-0 lead, led 46-19 to halftime. It is difficult to look worse than BYU did in this game.

7) Upsets of the Day:
— Western Illinois (+15) 79, South Dakota State 76
— Northern Arizona (+13) 89, Northern Colorado 78 OT
— Troy State (+11) 74, Coastal Carolina 67
— Georgetown (+10) 86, Marquette 84
— Cal-Riverside (+9) 71, Cal-Davis 70
— TCU (+6) 69, Texas 56
— Pepperdine (+6) 89, San Francisco 72

6) Belmont star Dylan Windler fell thru the cracks of the recruiting system and wound up at Belmont mainly because he only played AAU ball for a little while.

Windler is a 1-handicapper on the golf course, so he was teeing it up in the summer instead of running around the AAU circuit, and he went largely unnoticed, because that is how recruiting works, for better or worse.

5) Lakers’ Brandon Ingram has a blood clot in his shoulder, is expected to miss the rest of this season. Lonzo Ball is also supposed to miss the rest of the season. 

4) Not sure why all the Antonio Brown news breaks after midnight, but looks like the unhappy WR is being dealt to the Raiders, for 3rd-round and 5th round draft picks. 

3) Oklahoma City Thunder’s last two opponents:
— Clippers 31-46 on foul line (OKC 17-26)
— Trailblazers 38-47 on foul line (OKC 25-32)

2) The last time a pitcher made his major league debut by starting on Opening Day was in 1943; San Diego’s Chris Paddack has a chance to do that later this month. 

1) Steve Wojciechowski’s five years as head coach at Marquette:
— 96-67 overall, 43-47 in Big East games.
— This will his 2nd trip to NCAA’s (lost by 20 in first round in ’17)
— Big East tournament record: 3-4
— Record in March: 10-11
— His team this year starts three juniors; time to put up or shut up. 

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

13) LSU suspended basketball coach Will Wade indefinitely, after he was caught on an FBI wiretap discussing payments to a recruit’s family. LSU is 25-5 this season 15-2 in the SEC.  

In a somewhat related event, Creighton assistant coach Preston Murphy has been placed on administrative leave by that school. 

12) We mentioned the other day about the Ravens releasing Eric Weddle; well he wasn’t a free agent for long. Weddle signed with the Los Angeles Rams on Friday, which is good news!!! 

11) Dodger manager Dave Roberts said pitcher Joe Kelly told him he hurt his back while standing too long while cooking Cajun food.

Football players resent that baseball guys have guaranteed money; they play thru separated shoulders and fairly severe injuries, while a pitcher gets hurt because he stood up for too long. 

10) Maryland senior Ivan Bender is from Europe; he used his Senior Night introduction as an opportunity to propose to his girlfriend at center court. Luckily for everyone, she said yes. 

9) The new Arena Football team in Atlantic City will be called the Blackjacks.

8) New Jersey Giants traded DE Olivier Vernon and a 4th-round pick to Cleveland for G Kevin Zeitler and a 5th-round pick. 

7) So far this week, under is 24-10 in NBA games. 

6) In the AAF, San Diego Fleet lost QB Philip Nelson for a month (broken clavicle). 

5) There was a film clip on Twitter this week of a Texas-Hawai’i football game in 1995, the first game Kirk Herbstreit worked on ESPN- he was the sideline reporter. 

— Referee for that game was Mike Pereira, who is now FOX’s instant replay guru.
— It was the first game at Texas for RB Ricky Williams, who went on to be a big star there.
— Play-by-play guy was DeWayne Staats, who now does Tampa Bay Rays games on TV; the analyst was former Raiders’ TE Todd Christensen. 

4) Kansas City Chiefs proposed a rule change this week that would give both teams at least one possession in overtime. 

3) Question to discuss for NFL fans: If your team needed a QB, would you rather they traded for Case Keenum or Josh Rosen?

2) Remember to push your clocks ahead an hour tonight; we “spring” ahead, “fall” back. 

1) Writer on ESPN.com did an article about how the Albany Great Danes basketball team has recruited a lot of Australian players. Here is how the guy described my hometown:

“Albany, New York; a small, riverside city located 220 kilometres north of New York City with a population of roughly 100,000 people. Not too much goes on here…..”

Made me laugh, thats all.