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

College hoop information on hoops page………NHL info on hockey page…..NBA stuff on hoops page

Happy birthday to my dad, who would’ve turned 92 today. I miss him every day.

Thursday’s 6-pack
Six top prospects for the Arizona Diamondbacks:
1) Jon Duplantier, P— Rice alum has a 1.38 ERA in 24 Class A starts.
3) Pavin Smith, 1B— Virginia alum hit .318 in his first 51 minor league games.
5) Daulton Varsho, C— His dad played in big leagues; is named after Darren Daulton.
8) Taylor Clarke, P— Charleston alum already has thrown 315 minor league innings.
14) Jimmie Sherfy, P— Didn’t allow an earned run in 11 big league innings LY.
22) Kevin Cron, 1B— Older brother CJ just got traded to Tampa Bay.

Quote of the Day
“Oh, [surgery] is not an option for me right now. I feel very, very good about where I am. So that ship has sailed in my mind, which is also a bit of a relief. I’m not going to lie.It’s been a long journey to this point, and it’ll still be a long journey until hopefully we get what we need to get done in Indianapolis.

The rehab has been hard at times. The one thing I know in my heart is that I am getting better, and I’m feeling great. I’m extremely optimistic. It’s been fun to see myself improve, so really I couldn’t be more excited for this offseason and for our new coach — everything that’s happening — and where the direction of the team is going.”
Colts’ QB Andrew Luck

Thursday’s quiz
Of the ten teams currently in the Big East, what is the only team that hasn’t won a game in the last four Big East tournaments?

Wednesday’s quiz
In the 70’s, Chicago White Sox had an artificial turf infield and a grass outfield at Comiskey Park.

Tuesday’s quiz
There are five major league teams in California: A’s, Giants, Angels, Dodgers, Padres.

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

13) Seton Hall @ Providence— Pirates led 56-47 with 13:03 left when condensation on the court forced officials to suspend this game until Thursday afternoon. It was very warm Wednesday in New England, and the hockey ice under the basketball floor caused the problems.

12) San Antonio Spurs are paying Kawhi Leonard $18,868,625 this season, which puts him over the $60M mark in career earnings, all from the Spurs, but Leonard has played in only nine games this season, because of a right quad tendinopathy injury.

Spurs’ doctors have cleared him to return to play, but Leonard has decided he isn’t ready to play yet. Leonard will be a free agent after next season; wonder how much he’ll play next season?

11) North Carolina 78, Syracuse 74— UNC wins its sixth game in row, shooting 8-22 in Carrier Dome, a tough place to shoot. Tar Heels are shooting 37.2% behind the arc this season, their best mark in five years. Three Syracuse players went the whole 40:00.

10) Duke 82, Louisville 56— What will Louisville do this spring? Will they keep interim coach David Padgett, or will they try and attract a big-name coach to carry on the school’s tradition, which could be difficult, seeing as probation is likely in the program’s future.

9) Stephen F Austin 97, Central Arkansas 62— Lumberjacks are 23-5, 12-3 in Southland, but how good are they? They lost by 5 at Mississippi State, lost by 1 at Missouri, won by 1 at LSU, so they’re good enough to hang middle-rung SEC teams, so they’re probably good enough to compete with a big-name school next month. SFA forces turnovers on 26.9% of its opponents’ possessions, tops in America, so you better have experienced guards against them.

8) Auburn 90, Alabama 71— Tigers avenged an earlier loss in Tuscaloosa; Auburn is down to seven rotation guys, thanks to injury/eligibility issues- none of those seven guys are seniors. Both teams took the exact same number of 3-point shots as 2-point shots.

7) There was a 3-way trade in baseball Tuesday; it went this way:
Tampa Bay got P Anthony Banda and three other minor leaguers
Arizona got OF Steven Souza Jr
Bronx Bombers got 3B/2B Brandon Drury

6) Upsets of the Night:
George Mason (+8) 79, St Joe’s 76
Bradley (+6) 82, Missouri State 78
Cal-Riverside (+4) 69, Cal-Fullerton 65
Oklahoma State (+3) 79, Texas Tech 71
Michigan (+3) 72, Penn State 63

5) Grand Canyon University in Phoenix is the only Division I basketball program that is attached to a for-profit university. This is the first year the Antelopes are eligible for the NCAA’s; they’re 17-10 right now, 6-5 in the WAC, in 4th place in the 8-team league.

From espn.com: “More than 19,000 students attend the GCU campus, and another 70,000 students pursue degrees online, which creates a fruitful revenue stream — the school generated $218 million in the second quarter of 2017 alone, $4 million more than professional wrestling giant WWE’s earnings in the same period — for a school that earns 79 percent of its revenue from federal student financial aid, per azcentral.com

4) NBA fined Mark Cuban $600,000 for talking about his Mavericks tanking games, which he probably did to distract attention from the Sports Illustrated story that talked about a couple of bad guys who worked for the Mavericks on the business side of things.

3) Eagles’ WR Alshon Jeffery played the whole NFL season with a torn rotator cuff in his shoulder. Jeffery caught 57 passes for 789 yards and nine TD’s this past season, and helped the Eagles win their first Super Bowl title.

2) Oklahoma State 79, Texas Tech 71— Kansas is back in first place in Big X; they visit Lubbock Saturday, for a first-place showdown with the Red Raiders.

1) Fairfield 70, Siena 69— Three of Saints’ last four games were decided by one point or in OT; they’re 8-22, 4-13 in MAAC, turning ball over 22.1% of time with the 8th-least experienced team in the country.

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

13) Last time an NFL team was sold, the Buffalo Bills went for $1.4B; when the Carolina Panthers are sold, they’re expected to go for around $2B.

A billionaire hedge fund trader who currently owns 5% of the Pittsburgh Steelers is the favorite to buy the Carolina team.

12) Josh Donaldson is a free agent after this season and he naturally wants a long-term deal from Toronto, but he’ll be 33 in December and he ain’t going to get one. Teams are looking at back-loaded deals that ARod, Ryan Howard, Albert Pujols got and they’re not going to be tossing that kind of money around anymore.

11) Gonzaga won its last nine first round games in the NCAA tournament; last time they lost a first round game? To Davidson in 2008; Davidson had a pretty good guard named Curry.

10) Big 14 tournament is a week earlier than normal this year because it is in New York City, so those teams that make the NCAA’s will have an extra week before the tournament begins. Will it be an advantage to have that extra week off? Gonzaga coach Mark Few says that it is good for his team to have some time off before the NCAA’s.

9) Middle Tennessee State’s basketball team is ranked in the top 25 for the first time ever.

8) Los Angeles Angels lowered their fence in right-center field from 18 feet to 8 feet high.

7) Kentucky 87, Arkansas 72— Razorbacks jumped out to an 11-0 lead, but Kentucky rallied for a solid road win.

6) Citadel 84, East Tennessee State 82— Not often a 20-point underdog wins, but it happened here.

5) Ole Miss 90, Missouri 87— Mizzou was favored by 9.5 points, first time in four years they were favored by 9+ points in a conference game. It didn’t go well against an Ole Miss squad that had lost seven games in a row coming in.

4) New Mexico 119, Wyoming 114— Zero defense was played in this game, but there was a lot of fouling— 81 free throws were taken in this game.

3) This is first time since 2011 there will be no teams who go unbeaten in conference play.

2) With spring training starting, that also means fantasy baseball season is underway. I’ve had Giancarlo Stanton on my dynasty league team since he was an 18-year old in the Florida State League. I got a trade offer this week; two minor leaguers for Stanton, who hit 59 HR’s last year.

Oy.

1) With March Madness around he corner, it bears repeating that the last five college basketball national championship games were all decided by 6 or fewer points.

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

13) NBA should have an “ABA Day” once a year, a Friday night with a full schedule where all the games are played with red, white and blue basketballs and the four teams who came from the ABA (Nets-Pacers-Spurs-Nuggets) wear throwback uniforms from the mid-70’s.

12) One thing I saw on the Interweb when I was in Las Vegas but forgot to mention here; when the Eagles had their victory parade after winning the Super Bowl, a guy named Dennis who was 50 or so was there watching the parade while holding a metal urn.

Turns out the urn held the ashes of Dennis’ late wife, who was an avid Eagle fan.

“She was a diehard Eagles fan. I had to make sure she was here for this.” Pretty cool.

11) Pretty good weekend for golfer Bubba Watson; he played in the celebrity basketball game at the All-Star Game Friday night, then won the Genesis Open Sunday, his 10th PGA Tour win. Watson joins Phil Mickelson as the only lefties with 10+ Tour wins.

Watson’s wife played in the WNBA, therefore the connection to basketball; he lost 45 pounds last year with an undisclosed illness, dropped out of the top 100 ranking but obviously is doing better this year.

10) Bill Walton was saying on ESPN Saturday night that 27,000 people apply for the 800 spots in UCLA’s School of Engineering; you have to have a perfect 4.0 GPA to have a shot to get in.

9) St Mary’s PG Emmett Naar sprained his ankle in Portland Saturday night, didn’t play in the second half. If he cannot play, Gaels will have a short March, but one thing in their favor is the two weeks off they’ll have between the WCC tourney and the NCAA’s.

8) This from ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian:
Hank Aaron his 755 home runs but never hit 50 in a season.
Eddie Murray hit 504 homers but never hit 40 in a season.
Al Kaline hit 399 homers but never hit 30 in a season.
Ron Fairly hit 215 homers but never hit 20 in a season.

7) Memphis Tigers are last team to go undefeated in conference play two seasons in a row; they did it from 2007-09.

6) Looks like Seattle is going to get an NHL franchise; they never should’ve lost their NBA team, they got screwed over by the league because they wouldn’t be extorted into building a new arena, so the team moved to Oklahoma.

5) Six top 10 college basketball teams lost to unranked teams this past weekend. Strange season.

4) JD Martinez finally signs with the Red Sox for $22M a year for five years. Hope he can get by on that paltry sum.

3) Good news: there is spring training baseball on TV Friday. In three days.

2) How great a job is NBA commish Adam Silver doing? With all the issues the NFL had with national anthem-related issues, somehow the NBA kept all that under wraps and dodged that controversy. Has to be an interesting story behind how he did all that.

1— There are people on the Interweb who want teachers to carry guns: in 10th grade, I had a biology teacher who threw erasers at kids who weren’t paying attention (I’m old enough that I went to school when chalkboards were still a thing).

One day, the teacher throws an eraser at a kid named Nick who was screwing around, but instead he drills the girl sitting next to him, who breaks into tears as everyone else either laughed or stared in disbelief.

Would I have wanted this genius to have been packing heat? Ummmm……no.

Monday’s Den: Conference tournament records, last 10 years

ACC
Duke 19-6 (four titles)
North Carolina 17-8 (two titles)
Louisville 15-5 (four titles, in Big East/AAC)
Notre Dame 13-9 (one title)
Miami 12-9 (one title)
Florida State 11-9 (one title)
Pittsburgh 9-9 (one title)
Virginia 8-9 (one title)
NC State 10-10 Syracuse 8-9
Virginia Tech 8-10 Georgia Tech 7-10
Boston College 5-10, Clemson 5-10, Wake Forest 2-10

Big East (only last 4 years, since they refigured)
Villanova 8-2 (two titles)
Seton Hall 6-3 (one title)
Providence 5-3 (one title)
Xavier 11-10 Creighton 5-4
Marquette 2-4 Georgetown 2-4
St John’s 1-4 DePaul 1-4 Butler 0-4

Big 14
Michigan State 17-7 (three titles)
Ohio State 17-7 (three titles)
Wisconsin 11-7 (two titles)
Michigan 15-9 (one title)
Purdue 8-9 (one title)
Minnesota 10-10 Illinois 9-10
Maryland 8-10 Penn State 8-10
Northwestern 5-10 Indiana 4-10 Nebraska 4-10
Rutgers 4-9 Iowa 2-10

Big X
Kansas 19-5 (five titles)
Iowa State 10-7 (three titles)
West Virginia 11-9 (won a Big East title)
Texas 11-10 Baylor 10-10 Oklahoma State 8-10
Kansas State 6-10 TCU 5-10
Oklahoma 4-10 Texas Tech 3-10

Big West
Cal-Santa Barbara 10-7 (two titles)
Cal-Irvine 13-9 (one title)
Long Beach State 12-9 (one title)
Cal-Davis 6-6 (one title)
Hawai’i 6-8 (one title)
Cal Poly 6-8 (one title)
Cal State-Fullerton 6-8 (one title)
Cal State Northridge 4-5 (one title)
Cal-Riverside 1-8 (only team in Big West without one)

Colonial
NC-Wilmington 9-7 (two titles)
Northeastern 9-9 (one title)
Delaware 8-9 (one title)
James Madison 6-9 (one title)
Charleston 14-10 Wm & Mary 12-10
Elon 9-9 (mostly in SoCon) Hofstra 7-10
Towson State 6-9 Drexel 4-10

Conference USA
Western Kentucky 21-6 (four titles)
Middle Tennessee 16-7 (three titles)
Old Dominion 12-7 (two titles)
North Texas 12-8 (one title)
Tex-San Antonio 8-9 (one title, in Southland)
UAB 7-9 (one title)
Southern Miss 10-8 UTEP 12-10 Marshall 9-10
Louisiana Tech 8-9 FIU 5-8 Charlotte 5-9
Rice 4-10 Florida Atlantic 2-9

MAAC
Iona 16-7 (three titles)
Siena 16-7 (three titles)
Manhattan 11-7 (two titles)
St Peter’s 7-9 (one title)
Monmouth 4-4 (in MAAC) Fairfield 9-10
Rider 8-10 Niagara 7-10 Canisius 6-9
Quinnipiac 6-10 Marist 5-10

MAC
Akron 24-7 (three titles)
Ohio 14-8 (two titles)
Kent State 11-8 (two titles)
Buffalo 11-8 (two titles)
Western Michigan 11-9 (one title)
Eastern Michigan 11-10 Toledo 6-9
Miami 6-10 Bowling Green 5-10
Central Michigan 4-10 Ball State 3-10 Northern Illinois 3-10

Mountain West
New Mexico 11-7 (three titles)
San Diego State 20-7 (two titles)
Utah State 10-8 (two titles)
UNLV 12-9 (one title)
Nevada 10-9 (one title)
Boise State 7-9 (one title)
Wyoming 5-8 (one title)
Colorado St 8-10 San Jose St 3-9 Air Force 3-10

Pac-12
Arizona 15-8 (two titles)
Oregon 14-8 (two titles)
UCLA 13-8 (two titles)
Washington 9-8 (two titles)
Colorado 13-9 (one title)
Utah 10-9 (one title)
USC 8-8 (one title)
Cal 8-10 Stanford 8-10 Arizona St 5-10
Oregon State 4-10 Washington State 2-10

SEC
Kentucky 20-5 (five titles)
Florida 12-9 (one title)
Georgia 12-9 (one title)
Missouri 10-7 (two titles, both in Big X)
Vanderbilt 11-9 (one title)
Mississippi State 10-9 (one title)
Ole Miss 8-9 (one title)
Tennessee 11-10 Alabama 9-10 Texas A&M 8-10
Arkansas 6-10 South Carolina 5-10
LSU 5-10 Auburn 4-10

WCC
Gonzaga 21-3 (seven titles)
St Mary’s 12-8 (two titles)
San Diego 8-9 (one title)
Pacific 6-8 (one title, in Big West)
BYU 13-10 LMU 8-10
San Francisco 6-10 Santa Clara 6-10
Pepperdine 5-10 Portland 5-10

Sunday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a college hoop Saturday

13) Kansas 77, West Virginia 69— Jayhawks were 26-35 on foul line, West Virginia was 1-2, in a game the Mountaineers led by 12 with 10:18 left. To say they got hosed is an understatement.

This is third straight series game Mountaineers had a double-digit lead over Kansas but lost.

12) Michigan State 66, Northwestern 60— Spartans were down 27 in first half, 22 at the half. This was one of those scores, when I saw it, thought it was a girls’ score or a mistake, but then State rallies for an unlikely win.

11) South Carolina 84, Auburn 75— Tigers split their last four games after a 21-2 start. Auburn lost 6-7 McLemore, a solid rebounder, with a severe leg injury.

10) Idaho 79, Montana 77 OT— Vandals made 12-19 on arc as Grizzlies went 0-2 this weekend after starting the week unbeaten in Big Sky play. Big Sky is ranked as the 18th-best conference this year, highest it has been rated since 2010- they were 25th or lower the last six years.

9) Marquette 90, Creighton 86— Marquette lost five of its last seven games; they allowed 85-86 points in the two wins. Not a strong defensive team.

8) Villanova 95, Xavier 79— Wildcats were only 3-5 on foul line, 16-34 on arc- this is not the way to get to a Final Four— you need some kind of inside presence and production. This is obviously a good win, but unless Villanova gets more scoring inside, they’ll have a short March.

7) Upsets of the Day:
Eastern Kentucky (+11.5) 72, Tennessee State 59
Santa Clara (+9) 72, Pacific 68
James Madison (+8) 69, Towson State 66
Marquette (+7.5) 90, Creighton 86
Cal-Davis (+7.5) 71, UCSB 54
VMI (+7) 75, Citadel 71
Texas (+6.5) 77, Oklahoma 66

6) UCLA 86, Oregon 78 OT— Tough weekend in LA for the Ducks, who lost at the buzzer at USC in last game Thursday. Bruins were 16-33 on the arc; they’re a surprising bubble team.

5) There was a triple OT game Thursday and one on Friday; if you wagered against all four teams in their next game Saturday, you would’ve won three of four bets.

4) A kid on Arizona State wore one maroon sneaker, one gold sneaker in the ASU-Arizona game Thursday. A player on Alabama wore one crimson sneaker, one white one in the Tide’s loss at Kentucky Saturday. Not sure if this is a growing trend, but if it is, you know each kid has another pair of sneakers at home, just like the mismatched pair.

3) Texas 77, Oklahoma 66— Sooners lost five in row, 8 of last 10 games, as the Trey Young bandwagon is stuck in reverse. ESPN’s hype machine did this to the Ben Simmons-LSU team couple years ago; they put a target on the kid’s back by talking about him endlessly, then looked on in wonderment when the team suffers.

2) Nebraska Cornhuskers won their last six games, covered 13 of their last 14 league games.

1— Shout out to the fine folks at Albany Park & Ride; when I go to Las Vegas, often leave my car there, and they shuttle me to the nearby airport. When I come back, they have the car waiting for me in their lot and it is all very convenient, especially in winter time. Good place.

Saturday’s List of 13: Random thoughts, mostly about Las Vegas

13) My favorite dinner place in Las Vegas is Battitsta’s, a hole-in-the-wall place behind the Cromwell and next to Bally’s. Very good Italian place; old school, with checked tablecloths and an older guy who walks around playing the accordion.

Runner up place to eat is the Mirage, where they have the Carnegie Deli, with the biggest sandwiches ever. I order extra bread and make two sandwiches out of it.

Another good restaurant is in the Stratosphere, but I can’t remember the name of it; it is an Italian place downstairs and it is really good- lighting is dark and reminds you of scenes in different movies.

12) If you like basketball, Las Vegas is a fun place to live; UNLV hoops are lot of fun to go to; they’re having a resurgent year this season- little disappointed the public hasn’t caught on to them that much yet, but part of that is how well the new hockey team is doing.

11) In July, NBA Summer League is at UNLV for a good part of the month; for $30, you can sit in an air conditioned arena all day long and watch guys try to make the NBA.

Later in July, the best high school players in the western US play in tournaments all over Las Vegas. All the college coaches you see on TV all winter are there at one time or another— lot of good basketball.

10) Then in March, the WCC, WAC, Mountain West and Pac-12 all have their conference tournaments in Las Vegas. Lot of good action to choose from.

9) There is a Pinball Museum on Flamingo Road; you can go in and play these old-time pinball machines for a quarter. its a quirky fun way to spend a couple of hours.

8) There is a never a shortage of shows, concerts to go to in Las Vegas; plus the Golden Knights have 41 home games a year now. Jewel is playing at the Wynn in late March; Donnie and Marie play in Vegas all the time. Carrot Top has his comedy act there all the time. Lot of stuff going on.

7) Best sportsbook in Las Vegas is definitely the Westgate, where I stayed the last 11 days; huge place, good bar, three food options, just by the sports book and tremendous TV screens to watch almost anything you want. On NFL Sundays, the Westgate opens their theater to show NFL games.

6) The Neon Museum downtown has a lot of old neon signs from old casinos that don’t exist anymore; its an oddly cool piece of history, especially at dusk, when they light some of the signs.

5) They play AAA baseball at Cashman Field downtown in the spring/summer; this will be the last year for the Mets’ AAA team in Las Vegas. They’re also building a new ballpark out in the northwest section of town, up in Summerlin. No word on whose AAA team will move in, with the Mets’ team moving to Syracuse in 2019.

4) One thing about the Las Vegas airport; people arriving at the airport most always look happier than people flying out of Las Vegas.

3) Had a 3.5-hour layover in Baltimore’s airport Friday night, which would’ve been lot more palatable if they had decent WiFi there. They do have Chick-fil-A though and Chick-fil-A is tremendous.

2) St Bonaventure 77, Rhode Island 74— Rams’ 16-game winning streak is over. Bonnies have won eight games in a row.

1) I’m back in my palatial suburban estate after 11 days in the desert; Las Vegas is great fun to visit- there was a magic convention at my hotel while I was there (no, things didn’t keep disappearing) and I went to a UNLV game (NHL tickets are too expensive since the Knights are doing so well). A full 11 days of fun, plus I missed a snowstorm. Worth it!!!!

Friday’s List of 13: Random stuff on a winter day

13) Arizona 77, Arizona State 70— Pretty intense rivalry game. An Arizona male cheerleader was tossed by the refs for taunting an ASU player.

Arizona coach Sean Miller sweated thru his suit jacket. Sweating thru your dress shirt is one thing, but if you sweat so much it soaks thru your suitcoat too, thats some serious stress.

Solid win for the Wildcats; ASU is now 7-7 and in 7th place in the Pac-12.

12) USC 72, Oregon 70— Trojans survived 5-12 shooting on foul line and snapped a 3-game skid, scoring on an alley-oop pass for the game-winner with 0:00.6 left.

11) Wichita State 93, Temple 86— Owls led 56-42 at the half, but scored only 30 points in the second half, as their 5-game win streak ended. Temple beat the Shockers in Philly, so Wichita might want to avoid the Owls in the A-14 tournament.

10) Houston 67, Cincinnati 62— Bearcats’ first loss since December 9 to Florida; I’m guessing on Selection Sunday, someone will interview a smiling Kelvin Sampson after his Cougars make the Field of 68— this win should get them in.

9) Pacers-Pelicans NBA game that was postponed last week because of a leaky roof in New Orleans has been rescheduled for March 21.

8) Seattle’s new 1B Ryon Healy has a real injury; he had an operation to have bone spurs taken out of his hand— he’ll be out 4-6 weeks.

7) Orioles signed pitcher Andrew Cashner for two years, $16M; he ain’t going to like the short dimensions at Camden Yards.

6) Wisconsin 57, Purdue 53— Badgers retired Frank Kaminsky’s number 44, and then went out and handed Purdue its third loss in a row. First half of this game was amazingly ugly.

5) Denver 134, Milwaukee 123— Nikola Jokic had a triple-double….in the first half!!!

4) Penn State 79, Ohio State 56— Nittany Lions were up 24 at the half. Impressive.

3) Bengals’ backup QB AJ McCarron won a grievance with the league, will become an unrestricted free agent next month, which means he’ll be really rich fairly soon.

2) Football players must hate baseball; Dodger pitcher Alex Wood “tweaked his ankle during calisthenics” Thursday, so he’ll be out a few days. Someone in the NFL “tweaks his ankle” and it doesn’t exactly make the injury report. Plus all baseball contracts are guaranteed.

I’m 58 years old; there’s a fair-to-midland chance I could get thru calisthenics without tweaking my ankle. As long as calisthenics didn’t include any running 🙂

1) Minnesota Timberwolves’ starting five players are all in the top 38 in the NBA in minutes played, which is part of why Minnesota is so improved this year (36-25).

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

13) 17 innocent people died Wednesday in Florida, in a school shooting. In this country so far in 2018, there have been 18 school shootings in 35 school days; something needs to be done about crazy people having assault rifles, which is what this lunatic had.

12) 50 years ago Wednesday was the first NBA game in the new Madison Square Garden in NYC; Knicks beat the San Diego Rockets 114-102. San Diego had a sub named Pat Riley who scored a basket off the bench; Knicks had a player named Phil Jackson score 14 points for them— wonder whatever happened to those two guys?

11) Wizards 118, Knicks 113— Washington trailed by 27 with 2:41 left in the first half, by 21 at the half, but they rallied for an unlikely win. Knicks have now lost eight games in a row.

10) Providence 76, Villanova 71— Wildcats lost for the second time in their last three games.

9) Former Florida coach Jim McElwain is the new offensive coordinator at Michigan.

8) Last four years, Oregon is 22-0 SU in Pac-12 regular season games, from Valentine’s Day until the end of the regular season.

7) North Texas hosts Western Kentucky in a Conference USA game tonight; Mean Green is 7-5 in C-USA this year, after being 30-60 the last five years. All 12 of North Texas’ conference games this season have been decided by seven or fewer points.

6) Scary car accident in Los Angeles Tuesday night, where a Ferrari clipped a SUV while apparently going very fast; the driver of the Ferrari died when the car overturned- his passenger was pro golfer Bill Haas, who is in serious but stable condition in the hospital. Actor Luke Wilson was driving the SUV; a woman passenger in one of the cars was injured.

5) If/when the Raiders cut Sebastian Janikowski in the next few days, Tom Brady would be the only NFL player drafted before 2003 who is still with the team that drafted him.

4) 16 of 30 NBA teams have a guy from Duke; 15 of 30 have a guy from Kentucky.

3) Last college player to shoot 40%+ from the arc and average 10+ rebounds a game was Kevin Durant; North Carolina’s Luke Maye has a chance to do that this season.

2) Auburn has trailed by double figures in eight games this season; they’re 5-3 in those games.

1) RIP Tito Francona, Terry Francona’s dad, who passed away at age 84. Tito Francona played in the majors for 15 years for nine teams, hitting .272 with a .343 on-base %age.

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

13) I came down to the casino floor Monday to go to the sports book here at the Westgate, and 3/4 of the casino floor is empty, including the carpet. They’re tearing up the old carpet and laying new carpet— they moved out all the slot machines and pushed the gaming tables over by the theater— it just looks weird. I’m guessing everything will be back in place by the weekend.

12) Auburn is an 8.5-point favorite over Kentucky tonight; when these teams met LY, Kentucky was a 24-point favorite. Bruce Pearl has to get lot of votes for national Coach of the Year.

11) Over the last six seasons, Kentucky has been a road underdog in ten SEC games; would you be surprised to know that they’re 1-8-1 against the spread in those games?

10) Georgetown 87, Butler 83— 11-point underdog Hoyas are 5-9 in the Big East after playing the easiest pre-conference schedule in the country. When Patrick Ewing pulled his team out of the PK80 tournament in November, it was assumed that the talent there was so awful that they didn’t want to get clobbered early in Ewing’s first season as a head coach.

Georgetown’s kids play very hard and fact is, they’re better than most people thought they would be. Moving on, recruiting will be a huge question for Ewing, since he’s never done it before.

9) Persistence is important in sports and in life. Golfer Ted Potter Jr won the Pebble Beach tournament Sunday and earned $1,506,517 for his second career win.

When Potter was first starting out as a pro golfer, he entered 24 events on the web.com Tour, and he missed the cut in all 24 tournaments. Can you imagine how awful that must have been, not to mention how expensive? But Potter stuck it out, and now he is a 2-time Tour winner.

8) Pepperdine fired basketball coach Marty Wilson; in seven years in Malibu, the Waves are 42-76 in WCC games under Wilson, 1-13 this year. Pepperdine went 10-8 in league two and also three years ago, but then they fell off the cliff.

This means that in a league dominated by Gonzaga/St Mary’s, with BYU a steady third, LMU coach Mike Dunlap is the 4th-longest tenured coach in the WCC and he is 21-47 in WCC games. Five of the ten WCC teams have fired their coach in the last three years- Pacific’s coach retired.

7) Looks like the Los Angeles Angels will use a 6-man pitching rotation, which is what teams in Japan do (teams generally have Monday off in Japan). Halos spent a ton of money when they signed Shohei Ohtani, and he is used to pitching once a week. This will be an interesting thing to follow— if it works for them, you know more teams will do it.

6) Isaiah Thomas is in his 7th year in the NBA and he is already on his fifth team; what does that tell you? He is a career 19 ppg scorer. I’m guessing he may not be America’s best teammate.

5) Arizona Cardinals gave GM Steve Keim a 4-year contract extension; now he has to get together with his new coach and figure out who the Cardinals’ QB will be going forward.

4) Nebraska 70, Maryland 66— Cornhuskers have 20 wins for the first time since 1993.

3) Rhode Island 85, Richmond 67— Rams won their 16th straight game, but EC Matthews hurt his left knee and was dragged off the court. URI seemed hopeful that the injury isn’t serious- they went 4-2 when Matthews broke his wrist earlier this season.

2) What in God’s name is former major league pitcher Esteban Loaiza thinking? The guy made over $43M in his playing career and now he gets busted with 44 pounds of cocaine, which is worth $500,000? Hard to have any sympathy for the guy.

1) If you want someone else to hold your money for the next 50 weeks, you can bet Super Bowl LIII today; AFC is a 1-point favorite, with a total of 52. Game is in Atlanta’s domed stadium.

Tuesday’s List of 13: Scanning college basketball conferences

13) AAC— Cincinnati is 12-0, has a 3-game lead over Wichita State/Houston; I’m thinking all three of these teams make the NCAA’s, but no one else from this league.

12) ACC— Virginia is 12-1, has a 2-game lead over Clemson; surprising. 2014 was last time neither Duke/North Carolina finished 1-2 in the ACC (Virginia/Syracuse). That is the only time since 2002 that has happened.

11) Atlantic 14— Rhode Island Rams are 12-0, have a 4-game lead over both St Bonaventure, Davidson; URI should be in the NCAA’s, but everyone else looks like a longshot to make the Field of 68. Richmond is 7-5 in the A-14, but only 9-15 overall.

10) Big 14— Surprising Ohio State leads Purdue/Michigan State, who were expected to be very good. Michigan should get in with a strong finish; upstarts Nebraska/Penn State are fighting to get off the bubble. OSU coach Holtmann might be national Coach of the Year.

9) Big X— Best league in the country; Texas Tech leads Kansas by a game, West Virginia by 1.5 games. Jayhawks won last 13 regular season titles, so Tech winning the league would be a huge upset. Seven of ten teams in this league are in KenPom’s top 50 in the country.

8) Big East— Xavier/Villanova are in a virtual tie for first place; Musketeers are 8-0 in Big East games decided by 7 or fewer points. Villanova has some injury issues right now, but hope to have everyone back for the postseason.

7) Big Sky— Montana is 13-0, leads Weber State by two games, which doesn’t mean a whole lot, since the conference tournament is on a neutral floor and only the tournament winner will get into the NCAA’s. 9-3 Idaho is 33-15 in conference games the last three seasons.

6) Big West— Cal-Santa Barbara leads Cal-Irvine by half a game; Anteaters were 5-11 when conference play started- they’re #299 experience team in country. UCSB was 6-22 last year; new coach Joe Pasternack has used transfers to get the Gauchos back on track.

5) Colonial— Charleston leads Northeastern by a game; Huskies just won the Beanpot hockey tourney for first time in 30 years- maybe this is their year. This is a one-bid league and their conference tournament will be really wide open.

4) Horizon— 26th-ranked league was 14th three years ago; defections of Loyola, Valparaiso have crippled league. Northern Kentucky leads way this year, with Wright State game behind and UIC game behind them. Another one-bid league.

3) MAAC— Rider/Canisius are tied for the top; Niagara is in 3rd place, Iona in 4th. Conference tournament is in beautiful downtown Albany, but Siena is awful so that shouldn’t matter much. Right now, the 4-5 game would be Iona-Manhattan, which would be very interesting.

2) MAC— Buffalo/Toledo have three less losses than anyone else in MAC and are only teams in league ranked higher than #168. Will be disappointing if they don’t meet in MAC title game.

1) Missouri Valley— Loyola-Chicago has 2-game lead over Southern Illinois, but Ramblers haven’t been in NCAA’s since 1985, so they’ll have lot of pressure on them in Arch Madness.

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

13) I don’t like the Winter Olympics; I despise everything about winter except basketball, but there is this one weird sport where people ski around for a while, then they lay on the ground and fire a rifle at targets, and their skiing time gets penalized if they miss targets— then they get up, ski some more, and then shoot more targets.

Apparently it started out as a training exercise for soldiers in Norway or Finland, before it became an actual competition.

12) Pitt Panthers are 8-18 this year, 0-13 in the ACC; they’re starting four freshmen in a brutal league. Pitt fans ran former coach Jamie Dixon out of town after he went 40-32 in conference play his last four years at Pitt. Be careful what you wish for…….

11) Indianapolis Colts signed Frank Reich as their new coach, even running a pic of him signing his contract on Twitter, in a good-natured response to cynical fans on social media, after the debacle with Josh McDaniel weaseling out of his commitment to Indianapolis.

10) Chicago Cubs gave P Yu Darvish $126M for six years. Darvish was 10-12, 3.86 in 31 starts LY for Texas/Dodgers; he’s been an All-Star in four of his five big league seasons.

9) Good to see NASCAR races on TV Sunday; once you see NASCAR, that means spring training ain’t too far away.

8) California’s insurance commissioner has launched an investigation into Aetna after learning a former medical director for the insurer admitted under oath he never looked at patients’ records when deciding whether to approve or deny care.

Oy.

7) Arizona Cardinals’ WR Larry Fitzgerald teamed with pro Kevin Streelman to win the pro-am at the Pebble Beach golf tournament this weekend.

6) Cavaliers 121, Celtics 99— Its obviously way too early to grade the NBA trades made last week, but Cleveland has to be giddy about their first two games after the trades— Addition by Subtraction would be a good way to sum things up so far.

5) Jazz 115, Trailblazers 96— Utah won its last eight games, is now 1.5 games out of the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

4) Cincinnati 76, SMU 51— Mustangs got crushed and still only played seven guys- the 7th guy played only 8:00. Security at SMU games must be pretty tight; former President George Bush (43) sits at half court most games. Kind of like SMU’s version of Jack Nicholson or Billy Crystal.

3) I’m not a fan of these “mock brackets” being put out— in four weeks, we’ll have the real brackets and they’re the only ones that matter. I suppose it gets people talking about college basketball and thats good, but it is useless chatter. Upsets will happen, teams will slide or surge and the committee will most likely get the right 68 teams in.

2) Kentucky lost its last three games, first time that has happened in John Calipari’s tenure; no pundits will pick them to make the Final Four but no coaches will want to see the Wildcats in their bracket.

1— Happy birthday to Abraham Lincoln, who would’ve turned 209 years old today.

Sunday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a college basketball Saturday

13) Oregon State 97, Washington 94 2OT— Just when the Huskies were sneaking towards the bubble, Stephen Thompson Jr hit the game winner with 0:00.3 left. Thompson’s dad played for Syracuse, where he was a teammate of Washington coach Mike Hopkins.

12) Texas A&M 85, Kentucky 74— Wildcats lost their 3rd straight game; they’re 3-5 in last eight games- they’re shooting 28.7% on arc in SEC games. A&M won six of last eight games; they have an interesting resume; several quality wins, but also a 5-game losing streak in January.

11) Virginia Tech 61, Virginia 60 OT— Hokies won five of last six games; this win is especially important for them because their non-conference schedule was 341st in country, which means it was really weak. This was Virginia’s first loss since Dec 5 at West Virginia.

10) Upsets of the Day:
UL-Monroe (+13.5) 90, Georgia State 82 OT
Virginia Tech (+12) 61, Virginia 60 OT
Oklahoma State (+12) 88, West Virginia 85
Cal-Northridge (+11.5) 77, Hawai’i 71
DePaul (+9) 80, Providence 63
Northern Illinois (+8.5) 90, Buffalo 88 OT
Fordham (+8) 80, Duquesne 57

9) Baylor 80, Kansas 64— Right now, with six games left, Texas Tech is atop Big X at 9-3, with Jayhawks one game behind. Kansas won the last 13 Big X regular season titles.

8) Michigan State 68, Purdue 65— Rough week for the senior-laden Boilermakers, who lost to Buckeyes/Spartans by combined total of four points. Miles Bridges hit the game-winner with 0:03 left to send everyone home happy in East Lansing.

7) Xavier 72, Creighton 71— Controversial ending, with refs calling foul on the Bluejays with 0:00.3 left— marginal calls like that don’t often go against the home folks. Goodin scored a career-high 17 points for the Musketeers.

6) Boston College 72, Miami 70- Vastly-improved Eagles are 5-7 in ACC this year, after being 10-62 in ACC games the previous four years.

5) Colorado State 90, San Jose State 79— Rams suspended interim head coach Steve Barnes just before this game; a 30-year old assistant was named the newest interim coach. Apparently the players like this guy; they doused him with water bottles after this win snapped the Rams’ losing streak at seven games.

4) Arizona State 88, UCLA 79— Sun Devils got their first Pac-12 weekend sweep in three seasons under coach Bobby Hurley- they’re also over .500 (7-6) in Pac-12 for first time this season.

3) North Carolina 96, NC State 89— Since 2002, Tar Heels are now 13-0 in game following a win over Duke; you’d think that next game would be a trap game, but not for Carolina.

2) Montana 71, Sacramento State 69 OT— Griz is 13-0 in Big Sky, narrowly avoiding an upset loss here. Hornets led by 9 with 11:23 left, by 3 with 1:45 left.

1— UNLV 85, Wyoming 70— I had fun watching this game in person; Rebels jumped out to 19-2 lead, then the natives got restless when Cowboys briefly grabbed lead in second half. UNLV held Wyoming star James to 6-23 shooting— he is 15-45 from floor since the Cowboys played three consecutive OT games Jan 24-27-31.

Saturday’s List of 13: In a perfect world, where I made the decisions……

13) Every kid would learn basic life skills in high school: cooking, laundry, how to write a check, how to do a budget, the divorce laws.

12) We’d get rid of the designated hitter, once and for all.

11) NFL players wouldn’t have radios in their helmets; coaches have six days to prepare the players. Sunday should be the players’ day to play.

10) Speaking of which, no Thursday NFL games, except for Week 1 and Thanksgiving Day.

9) Get rid of the electoral college; whichever presidential candidate gets the most votes, they win the election. Seems simple enough. I’ve felt this way about the electoral college since I was in high school, a very long time ago.

8) Kids could go straight from high school to the NBA or G-League, but if you go to college to play ball, then you’re not eligible for the draft for two years.

7) Major leagues would have a salary floor and a salary cap; none of this BS the Marlins are doing, dumping all your good players, insuring a 100-loss seasons not only this year but for the foreseeable future.

6) NBA playoff series would be two out of three until the Finals, which would be best-of-5. the way the NBA is now, the playoffs suck; who can beat Golden State four out of seven games?

5) Relief pitchers have to face at least two batters when they come in, instead of one; if MLB is really concerned about pace of play, nothing drags it down like left/right pitching changes. if a lefty reliever can’t get righty hitters out, then they shouldn’t be in the big leagues.

4) I’d be in favor of college basketball adopting the NBA’s 8-second rule for getting the ball over halfcourt; most anything that encourages pressing and a faster-paced game is a good thing.

3) I’d make cigarettes illegal; they’re known to cause cancer. What is good about them?

2) I’d make sure DirecTV picked up the Pac-12 Network. Its not too much to ask.

1— One news item:

Bad times at Colorado State: on Thursday, the basketball team boycotted practice because of growing frustration over lack of communication from the school about an investigation into coach Larry Eustachy’s treatment of players/staff.

Apparently the school wants to fire Eustachy, who makes around $950K a year; I’m guessing the delay is they’re making damn sure they can fire him for cause and not have to pay him.

Friday’s List of 13: Random thoughts from the desert……

13) One of things that I like about is Las Vegas is sitting in the sportsbook, watching games, and thinking…….last night, I was thinking about how this website can improve.

Came up with couple of ideas, one of which will start in April— I think you’ll enjoy it, and one will take place next fall— some people might not like this one as much, but hopefully it’ll make this site a better one to read and one you can profit more from reading.

12) Cleveland Cavaliers made three trades Thursday; they dealt six players, acquired four, and hopefully improved their team.

11) Someone on ESPN Thursday afternoon casually mentioned that “Isaiah Thomas might come off the bench for the Lakers.” Not long after, a message appeared on ESPN’s crawl that Thomas’ agent had texted someone at ESPN, saying “Thomas WILL NOT COME OFF THE BENCH for the Lakers.” Apparently someone is really sensitive about what he hears on TV.

10) I’ve spent 17 years of my life involved with basketball teams- I did a lot with analytics and numbers to help the head coach make decisions.

If I ever got back into this, one of things I’d change is making sure a player who assisted on a 3-point shot would get credit for 1.5 assists— would have to make a new category, but you get my point. Passing for a foul shot or 3-point basket needs to be recognized, not just 2-point baskets.

9) Upsets of the Night:
UL-Monroe (+12) 66, Georgia Southern 64
North Texas (+10) 67, UAB 60
UCLA (+9) 82, Arizona 74
Monmouth (+8.5) 72, Iona 50
Tennessee State (+7.5) 64, Belmont 56
Wisconsin (+5.5) 78, Illinois 69

8) One of the new and not necessarily better features of the Westgate sportsbook is an increased interest in hockey- they had the volume up on the hometown Golden Knights’ game Thursday night, instead of UCLA-Arizona, with Pasch/Walton on the mike. No bueno.

7) Question of the Day: What would you do if you were worth $10 billion? I was watching a movie on TV last week about the guy who founded Facebook- he has to be pretty damn rich now, right? He is 33 years old and is worth $73 billion, 73 freakin’ billion dollars.

What does he do every day that keeps him interested? Having a sick amount of money is great, but you have to have something that makes you jump out of bed in the morning. I wonder how the really rich people stay motivated? What makes them get up in the morning?

6) Dodger pitcher Ross Stripling went to seven weddings this offseason, including his own; five of the seven were guys on the Dodgers getting married.

5) Manhattan College is in the Bronx, not Manhattan; Long Island University is in Brooklyn, not on Long Island.

4) Toronto Raptors’ guard Kyle Lowry gave $1M to his alma mater Villanova, so they can re-do the locker room facilities in their fieldhouse.

Seems like a lot of cash, but Lowry has struck gold in the NBA- he has a 3-year, $90M contract, so giving away $1M of it ain’t such a big deal, but its a big deal to Villanova— it is the largest gift they’ve ever gotten from a former athlete.

3) Portland Trailblazers hired former referee Don Vaden, to serve as a consultant who offers advice on league rules, background on referee personalities and tendencies, and knowledge on how to avoid or draw fouls. Good idea.

2) 49ers gave QB Jimmy Garoppolo a 5-year, $137.5M contract, which is a lot of cabbage for a guy with seven NFL starts— he did win all seven of them.

1— Why do college basketball teams have timeouts on the court while NBA teams have them on the bench, where they’re supposed to be?