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

NFL stuff is posted on NFL page
NBA, college hoop information is posted daily

Thursday’s 6-pack
— Purdue 69, Virginia 40— Cavaliers missing Braxton Key is a big deal.
— New Mexico 80, Boise State 78— Lobos win their conference opener.
— San Diego State 79, Colorado State 57— Aztecs, Utah State are best teams in Mountain West.
— Georgetown 81, Oklahoma State 74— Big road win for Patrick Ewing after a tough few days off the floor.
— Yale 61, Albany 52— James Jones wins a game at his alma mater.
— Villanova 80, Penn 69— Final is misleading; this was a pretty close game. 

Quote of the Day:
“A lot of times when you’re playing, you have a million different things you’re having to focus in on and you can lose some of the smaller stuff. When you’re out of that [starting] role, you can kind of step back and see the little details. Watching Nick (Foles) was a great opportunity to learn.”
Jaguars’ QB Gardner Minshew

Thursday’s quiz
Who was the Chicago Bears’ coach the last time they played in a Super Bowl? 

Wednesday’s quiz
14 Vice-Presidents later became President of the United States. 

Tuesday’s quiz
Baltimore Ravens were last Super Bowl champ that wasn’t either the #1 or #2 seed in their conference; they were the #4 seed in AFC when they won Super Bowl XLVII. 

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

13) If you’re a Mets’ fan, this could be like Christmas, New Year’s, your birthday and Hannukah, all wrapped into one. This, from ESPN:

“Steve Cohen, a billionaire who owns a small percentage of the Mets, is negotiating an agreement to increase his investment, a move that could signal that Fred/Jeff Wilpon’s longtime control of the franchise will be over within five years.

Bloomberg reported that Cohen is in talks to acquire up to 80% of the team, which would be valued at $2.6B.”

All of this is great news for Mets fans, if it turns out to be true. The Wilpons are horrendous owners; the sooner they’re gone, the better. 

12) New Jersey Giants’ QB Daniel Jones has a sprained ankle, is in a walking boot; sounds like Eli Manning will get the nod for Big Blue in their game at Philly Monday nite. 

11) DePaul 63, Texas Tech 60 OT— Blue Demons stay unbeaten, but they trailed for most of this game, and Tech played without Ramsey, one of their best guys. 

This is DePaul’s first 9-game win streak since the 1993-94 season.

10) Utah 102, BYU 95 OT— Utes outscored BYU 24-13 on foul line, offsetting BYU’s 12-24 shooting on the arc. BYU led this game by 16 with 13:25 left. 

9) San Francisco 49ers played in Baltimore LW, are playing in New Orleans this Sunday; they’re practicing this week at IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL.

8) South Carolina QB Jake Bentley will transfer after missing almost all of this season with an injury; freshman Ryan Hilinski has played well, so Bentley, a 3-year starter, will finish his college career somewhere else.

7) USC will bring football coach Clay Helton back next year; the promising performance of freshman QB Slovis undoubtedly had a lot to do with that. New coach, new AD, and to be fair, Urban Meyer probably told USC he wasn’t interested in the job.

6) Colorado State fired football coach Mike Bobo, who went 28-35 as coach in Fort Collins. 

5) Philadelphia Phillies gave 29-year old P Zack Wheeler a 5-year, $118M deal; Wheeler was 11-8, 3.96 in 31 starts LY, is 44-38, 3.77 in 126 career starts- he’s been hurt a lot.

Wheeler apparently turned down a bigger offer from the White Sox; when guys turn down more money to play somewhere else, thats a pretty big kick in the teeth. 

4) Atlanta Braves signed soon-to-be 36-year old lefty P Cole Hamels to a 1-year, $18M deal; Hamels was 7-7, 3.81 in 27 starts for the Cubs last year.

3) Orioles traded 27-year old P Dylan Bundy to the Angels for four minor leaguers. Bundy was 7-14, 4.79 in 30 starts for a dreadful Baltimore team LY.

Angels also made a deal this week to stay in Anaheim thru 2050; the team will buy Angel Stadium and the 133 acres of surrounding land for $325M

2) Miami Marlins acquired IF Jonathan Villar from the Orioles for minor league P Easton Lucas; they also claimed 1B Jesus Aguilar off waivers from Tampa Bay.

1) NC State 69, Wisconsin 54— Badgers lost their last three games, are struggling at 4-4. 

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

13) Carolina Panthers fired coach Ron Rivera Tuesday; Rivera was 76-63-1 as Carolina’s coach, 3-4 in playoff games, making playoffs four times in nine years, but going 12-16 the last two years, which happens to be coincide with Carolina changing owners.

Carolina owner David Tepper is a really rich hedge fund guy, worth $11.6B. Really rich people aren’t very patient. Because of that, the Panthers will have a new coach next year. 

Tepper Trivia (from Wikipedia): “Tepper keeps a pair of brass testicles in a prominent spot on his desk, a present from former employees. He rubs them for luck during the trading day to get a laugh out of colleagues.”

12) Big snowstorm here this week; snowed for roughly 38 straight hours, which is unusual, and left quite a mess behind. Just about everything was closed here Monday, even the mall. 

Frustrating part for me is, because I still have a gas bubble in my eye as my detached retina heals, can’t do any snow shoveling, so was stuck in the house here. Things got worse when my DirecTV went out because of the snow with 7:00 left in the Monday night game- caught the end of the game on my laptop. 

Finally, Tuesday morning, the plow guy did a great job on my driveway, the sun melted the slush off my satellite dish, but I had to brush two feet of snow off my Nissan Rogue. The driveway is a mess but driveable, my TV works, the car is running and things got back to normal, kind of. 

11) Tuesday was the 6-week anniversary of my retina operation; they originally told me the gas bubble in my eye would be gone in six weeks; while it has gotten a lot smaller, the bubble is still there. I appreciate all the work the people at Retina Care Centers have done for me, but it’ll be an excellent day when the bubble goes away. 

Woman on the Today Show, think her name is Savannah Guthrie, she tore her retina when she got drilled in the eye with a toy train that her 2-year old son hit her with. 

“Torn retina” sounds worse than “detached retina”, but apparently it isn’t, since she avoided the surgery that I had. Was interesting to listen to her doctor talk about retina surgery on TV the other day. Learned a lot.

10) Louisville 58, Michigan 43- Wolverines shot 25.9% from floor as they lose for first time in eight games. Ugly game. 

9) Duke 87, Michigan State 75- Spartans don’t often give up 80+ points at home; Tom Izzo is 2-12 SU in his career against Duke. 

Michigan State retired Draymond Green’s number at halftime of this game; lot of the Golden State Warriors were there to support Green- they play in Charlotte tonite. 

8) In their last five games, Baltimore Ravens scored 22 TD’s on 40 drives, with four of the five opponents having winning records. 

7) Surprising stat: Cincinnati Bengals are 10-3 ATS in last 13 games as a road underdog,

6) Great dialogue from the movie Oceans Eleven:
Julia Roberts: “You’re a liar and a thief.”

George Clooney: “I only lied about being a thief.”

I’ve seen Oceans Thirteen a few times, but saw Oceans Eleven for the first time last night. Excellent movie. 

5) New England cut K Kai Forbath after one game where he missed a PAT; the guy who replaces him will be the Patriots’ fifth kicker this year.

4) Eagles’ backup QB Josh McCown is QB coach for Myers Park HS in Charlotte, where his sons Owen and Aiden play; he had retired from the NFL when he took the coaching job, but when the Eagles called this summer, McCown un-retired. 

With the Eagles’ blessing, McCown flies back to Charlotte on Mondays, to be there as the quarterbacks coach for high school practice when the game plan is installed for the week, and then again on Fridays for games.

In case you were wondering, Atlantic Aviation offers light jets for about $13,000-$14,000 per round trip from Philadelphia to Charlotte, though there are discounts for regular customers. McCown pays for all the plane trips.

ESPN.com has an interesting story today on McCown’s coaching. 

3) Miami 81, Illinois 79— This game, played Monday night, had Illinois coach Underwood so annoyed that he used all four of his timeouts in the first half. At one point, Miami led 45-18 with 4:33 left in the first half- it was 50-31 at the half. 

lllinois stormed back in the 2nd half, but fell short. 

2) Mountain West has a full schedule of conference games tonight, something different for December 4th. San Diego State at New Mexico is probably the best of the five games. 

1) There is the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA, and then there is the relatively-new College Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City, which has credibility issues. 

Norm Stewart went 634-333 in 32 years as Missouri’s coach; he went 12-16 in NCAA tournament games, going 0-2 in regional final games. Nice resume; he was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame n 2007, the second year the Hall of Fame existed. 

Jerry Tarkanian went 761-202 in 30 years as a coach at UNLV, Long Beach State, Fresno State; he went 38-18 in NCAA tournament games, making four Final Fours, winning the 1990 national title. Tarkanian is in the Naismith HOF, but not the Collegiate Hall of Fame; why? How? 

If you bring up Tarkanian’s issues with the NCAA and its rules, I’ll point out that Eddie Sutton was a 2011 inductee, which eliminates that issue.

If you tell me that Norm Stewart was a better coach than Tarkanian, well, you would leave me speechless, because you’re smarter than that. 

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

NFL stuff will be posted soon on NFL page
NBA, college hoop information is posted daily

Tuesday’s 6-pack
Spreads for conference title games this weekend:
— Pac-12: Utah (-6.5, 48.5) vs Oregon
— Big X: Oklahoma (-8.5, 62.5) vs Oklahoma
— Memphis (-9.5, 57.5) vs Cincinnati
— SEC: LSU (-7, 55) vs Georgia
— Ohio State (-16, 56) vs Wisconsin
— Clemson (-29, 54) vs Virginia

Quote of the Day
“I’ve been drunk for a month.”
Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo, who got married in Jamaica after the World Series

Tuesday’s quiz
What team was last Super Bowl champ that wasn’t either the #1 or #2 seed in their conference?

Monday’s quiz
Arizona Cardinals called St Louis home, before they moved to Arizona- they played in Chicago a long time ago, before moving to St Louis. 

Sunday’s quiz
Arizona State football coach Herm Edwards played nine of his ten years in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles. 

Tuesday’s Den: Nobody asked me, but……

13) Seahawks 34, Vikings 30:
— Seattle outscored Vikings 24-0 during a 10:32 span of 2nd half.
— Seahawks ran ball for 218 yards, getting 29 on a fake punt to extend one drive.
— Kirk Cousins is now 0-8 on Monday Night Football.
— Only four penalties were called; should be more games like that. 

12) 55-year old Chris Petersen is stepping down as Washington’s football coach, citing the need to “re-charge”.

Coaching a big time program like that takes its toll, and with guys making so much money, guys are retiring earlier- Bob Stoops, Urban Meyer and now Petersen have all walked away in the last few years.
 
11) Michigan plays Louisville tonight in the Yum! Center; Wolverines went from unranked to #4 in country in this week’s top 25. Louisville is the 4th team to be ranked #1 this season.

10) Bad news for Georgetown basketball; their 2nd and 5th-leading scorers are both going to transfer.James Akinjo and Josh LeBlanc. Akinjo was the Hoyas’ point guard; LaPhonso Ellis said in the ESPN studio Monday night that Georgetown now “has no chance to make NCAAs”

9) Other news on college football coaching carousel:
— Boston College fired coach Steve Addazio.
— Rutgers re-hired Greg Schiano as coach; he was their coach from 2001-11.
— Ole Miss fired coach Matt Luke; the players aren’t happy.
— South Florida fired Charlie Strong.
— Old Dominion coach Bobby Wilder left ODU after a 1-11 season.
— Texas Longhorns fired both their coordinators.

8) Random thought: Why is Creighton in the Big East? The school is in freakin’ Omaha, which is in Nebraska, which is pretty much in the middle of the country. I mean, Omaha is in eastern Nebraska, but Nebraska is directly below South Dakota- Creighton shouldn’t be in the Big East. 

7) Virginia Commonwealth has had three basketball coaches in six years; they’ve sold out 140 consecutive home games. It is a very good job, it pays $1.2M a year, but they have trouble keeping guys there. Mark Few makes $1.78M a year at Gonzaga; at some point, you’d think someone would settle down there. I wonder if Shaka Smart regrets leaving?

6) So far this college basketball season, Ivy League underdogs are 13-6 ATS; league is getting better. 

5) Disney/Apple hit home runs with the Christmas commercials they’re running during football games; the Apple commercial shows a couple of young girls using a tablet computer to make a video, featuring their grandfather and their late grandmother, using old photographs. 

The Disney commercial shows a father and his daughter, as she prepares to leave for college; he relives their trips to Disney, back when she was a little girl. Two very good commercials. 

4) Weird scheduling: these division rivals haven’t played each other yet this season, will play twice in last four weeks of season:

Titans-Texans, Eagles-Giants, Browns-Bengals. 

3) Cincinnati Reds gave 3B Mike Moustakas a 4-year, $64M contract. 

2) Memphis Tigers beat Cincinnati 34-24 in their regular season finale Saturday; the teams meet again this Saturday in the Conference USA title game, also in Memphis. Unusual. 

1) We had around 18 inches of snow here in beautiful upstate New York the last couple days, depending on which town you live in, so here is a warm thought:

Baseball’s winter meetings start Monday in San Diego. 

Monday’s Den: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday……

Ravens 20, 49ers 17:
— 49ers will tied for 1st in NFC West if Seattle wins Monday.
— Ravens won field position by ten yards in this game.
— Both teams ran ball for 170+ yards on a very rainy day. 

— Tucker kicked GW 49-yard FG at the gun, for the win.
— Baltimore won its 8th game in a row (5-1 ATS in last six).
— Ravens are only 4-9 ATS in last 13 games as a home favorite. 

Broncos 23, Chargers 20:
— Chargers lost despite outgaining Denver, 359-218.
— Chargers are 1-4 TY in games decided by 3 or fewer points.
— In its last three games, LA has a minus-6 turnover ratio. 

— McManus hit a 53-yard FG at gun, after Chargers committed a 34-yard PI penalty on the previous play to put Denver into FG range.
— Chargers scored in last minute of each half, but it wasn’t enough.
— Drew Lock is 11th QB to make his NFL debut TY; they’re 4-6-1 SU, 9-2 ATS.

Dolphins 37, Eagles 31:
— Dolphins’ first three drives: 7 plays, 6 yards, 1 first down, no points.
— Dolphins’ last seven drives: 56 plays, 403 yards, 25 first downs, 37 points.
— Eagles lost their last three games, by 7-8-6 points. 

— DeVante Parker caught seven passes for 159 yards, two TD’s.
— Miami scored TD on a fake FG; punter passed to the kicker.
— Last NFL kicker to score a TD: Denver’s Jim Turner, back in 1977. 

Packers 31, Giants 13:
— Green Bay’s first two drives: 12 plays, 138 yards, two TD’s.
— Over last 11 years, GB is 29-22-1 ATS coming off a loss, 3-0 TY.
— Packers won field position by 13 yards in this game.

— Under Shurmur, Giants are 1-9 ATS as a home underdog, 0-4 TY.
— Giants lost last eight games, outscored 117-53 in second half.
— Perils of playing a rookie QB: Giants are minus-13 in turnovers this year. 

Redskins 29, Panthers 21:
— Washington ran ball for 248 yards, outgained Carolina by 84 yards.
— Redskins had a 9-yard advantage in field position.
— Washington won its second game in a row after a 1-9 start. 

— Carolina is 1-6 TY when it scores less than 30 points; they’ve got a -10 TO ratio in their last six games.
— Panthers lost their last four games, allowing 29 ppg.
— Six of Carolina’s last eight games went over the total.

Titans 31, Colts 17:
— Titans ran blocked FG back for game-winning TD with 5:02 left.
— Tennessee scored 106 points in its last three games, scoring 13 TD’s on 32 drives.
— Titans scored 29.7 ppg in Tannehill’s six starts (5-1). 

—  Colts lost four of their last five games.
— Indy missed two of three FG’s; two of them were blocked.
— Only 4th win for Tennessee in last 23 games with Indy.

Chiefs 40, Raiders 9:
— Oakland lost its last two games by combined score of 74-12.
— Chiefs swept Raiders TY by combined score of 68-19.
— Raiders lost their last seven visits to Arrowhead (1-6 ATS)

— Chiefs converted 7-11 on third down, also scored a defensive TD.
— KC has seven takeaways in its last two games (+6); they had 12 takeaways in their first ten games.
— Chiefs won 12 of their last 14 games with Oakland. 

Buccaneers 28, Jaguars 11:
— Bucs’ first three drives: 25 plays, 186 yards, 14 points.
— Tampa Bay won four of seven true road games SU.
— Bucs average 32.4 ppg in seven games with 2 or fewer turnovers; they average 22.6 ppg in their five games with 3+ turnovers. . 

— Jaguars in first half: 6 drives: 27 plays, 91 yards, 5 first downs, 3 turnovers.
— Jaguars benched Nick Foles for Gardnew Minshew at halftime.
—  Jaguars are 11-23-1 ATS in last 35 games where spread was 3 or fewer points

Bengals 22, Jets 6:
— There were no plays longer than 20 yards by either team in this game.
— Jets are 9-18-2 ATS in last 29 road games
— Jets in 2nd half: 6 drives, 32 plays- 71 yards, outscored 5-0. 

— Cincy gets its first win; they’re still in position for #1 pick in draft.
— Dalton threw for 243 yards in his return to the starting lineup.
— Bengals won field position by 18 yards in this game. 

Rams 34, Cardinals 7:
— Goff threw for 323 yards…..in the first half.
— Total yardage: Rams 549, Cardinals 198
— LA is 10-54 on 3rd down in their losses, 46-98 in its wins.

— In their last five games, Cardinals converted only 10-53 third down plays.
— Arizona lost its last five games, but covered six of last eight games.
— Rams won last five trips to Arizona, last three by combined score of 101-7. 

Steelers 20, Browns 17:
— Cleveland in 2nd half: 5 drives, 26 plays, 96 yards, 2 turnovers, 3 points.
— Browns lost their last 16 visits to Heinz Field (6-7 ATS in last 13)
— Cleveland was favored in Pittsburgh for first time since 1989.

— Steelers are 9-1-1 SU in last 11 series games.
— Pitt won six of last seven games after a 1-4 start.
— Steelers are 6-0 when they allow less than 20 points, 1-5 when they allow more. 

Texans 28, Patriots 22:
— Baltimore is now the #1 seed in the AFC.
— Patriots gained 244 yards on last three drives, 204 on first seven drives.
— Prior to those three 2nd half TD’s, Patriots had scored only two TD’s on their previous 30 drives. 

— Texans won five of their six home games this year.
— Houston had 11-yard edge in field position, only 2nd time this year New England lost field position battle.
— Texans snapped a 6-game series skid against New England. 

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

13) Auburn 48, Alabama 45— There were five TD’s scored in a 5:03 span of this game, late in 2nd quarter. Score was 31-27 Alabama at halftime. Total in the game was 50.5. 

Kudos to CBS sideline reporter Jame Erdahl, who had the unenviable task of Interviewing Nick Saban at halftime, when he…….wasn’t happy after Auburn kicked a last second FG. When I say he wasn’t happy, thats a gross understatement.


— Auburn had two pick-6’s, one a 100-yarder that put Tigers up, 37-31.
— Alabama ran the kickoff after the first pick-6 back 100 yards for a TD.
— Alabama outgained Auburn 515-354.
— Penalties: Alabama 13-96; Auburn 9-60.
— Alabama missed the tying 30-yard FG off the left upright with 2:00 left. 

12) Indiana 44, Purdue 41 OT— Hoosiers’ QB Ramsey started for Indiana the last two years, then lost his starting job this offseason; instead of transferring, like so many college QB’s do when they lose their starting job, Ramsey stayed at Indiana because likes his teammates. The other QB got hurt, and Ramsey made the most out of getting his job back. 

Indiana winds up wth a winning record in conference play for first time since 1993. 

Purdue QB O’Connell is a walk-on who started this season as the 4th-stringer; he threw for 408 yards, three TD’s in a losing cause.

11) Ohio State 56, Michigan 27— Buckeyes win this rivalry game for 8th year in row (4-4 ATS); they’ve scored 118 points in last two meetings, 30+ points in last seven. 

10) Syracuse 39, Wake Forest 30 OT— From all we can tell, Orangemen are only 2nd team to score a defensive TD in OT while they were protecting a lead; Arizona State did it against USC 20 or so years ago. 

9) Duke 27, Miami 17/Florida 40, Florida State 17:

Miami and Florida State are both 6-6, which is both disappointing and surprising; they’ve got to recruit their home state better. Lot of good high school players in Florida, but everyone recruits the Sunshine State, and hard. 

8) Missouri fired football coach Barry Odom, who went 50-50 in four years in Columbia, but lost five of his last six games this season. Still not sure why Missouri left the Big X for the SEC— lack of playing longtime rivals like Kansas/Nebraska has hurt their attendance.

7) Football upsets:
— West Virginia (+13.5) 20, TCU 17
— South Alabama (+10.5) 34, Arkansas State 30
— Duke (+8.5) 27, Miami 17
— Boston College (+8) 26, Pittsburgh 19
— UNLV (+7) 33, Nevada 30 OT
— Northwestern (+7) 29, Illinois 10

6) Cincinnati 72, UNLV 65 OT— Bearcats played their 3rd straight OT game, rallying back from down 33-24 at the half. UNLV was 0-3 in OT games in November; they had four guys play 36:00+.

5) Ohio U 91, Detroit 81— Detroit G Brad Calipari sat out LY, after sitting on his dad’s bench at Kentucky the two years before that. He wanted to play, so he transferred to Detroit, where he is playing 22.2 mpg, scoring 6.2 ppg, making 40.7% of his 3’s. 

4) Florida State 63, Purdue 60 OT— Seminoles win Emerald Coast Classic, winning both games this weekend by 3 points. FSU has won seven games in a row since losing their opener at Pitt. 

3) Basketball upsets:
— North Dakota (+10.5) 80, Georgia Southern 68
— Prairie View (+8.5) 79, UTSA 72
— Cal-Northridge (+7.5) 73, Fresno State 72
— Navy (+7) 76, Brown 56
— Fort Wayne (+6.5) 71, Grand Canyon 60
— St Francis PA (+6.5) 79, St Joe’s 63
— Northern Arizona (+6) 76, South Dakota 72
— NC-Greensboro (+6) 65, Georgetown 61

2) Richmond 64, Boston College 44— Spiders won six of their first seven games after going 25-40 the last two years; they’ve got wins over Wisconsin, Vandy, BC, power-5 wins. 

1) They may have played schedule #350 so far (out of 353), but Liberty is one of only 20 unbeaten teams left in the country, and that is surprising. Flames are 9-0 already. 

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

13) Virginia 39, Virginia Tech 30— Cavaliers go to ACC championship game for first time, while ending a 15-game losing streak to their in-state rivals. 

12)  Michigan 82, Gonzaga 64— Wolverines win the Battle of Atlantis, as Juwan Howard begins his head coaching career by winning his first seven games. Thursday’s OT win over Oregon probably took a lot out of the Zags. 

11) Marquette 101, USC 79— Markus Howard scored 51 points, his teammates scored 50 as the whole team advances to play Maryland in the finals of the Orlando tournament Sunday. This game was 57-36 at the half; Trojans beat Fairfield 57-48 the day before. 

10) Penn State 85, Syracuse 64— ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla basically said without saying the exact words that this is the least talented Syracuse team in decades. Orange are 4-3, with all three losses by 14+ points- their best win is over Colgate.

9) Wake Forest 88, Long Beach State 75— Danny Manning’s Deacons move on to the finals of the Wooden Legacy, will play Arizona in the final Sunday. 

Early in this game, kid on Long Beach hits a 3-pointer in front of the Wake Forest bench, and gets a technical for woofing at someone on the bench. Long Beach takes the kid out; the head coach snaps at him a little, then the assistant coach goes over and smooths things over, getting him ready to go back in the game. 

8) San Diego State 83, Iowa 73— Aztecs trailed by 17 at one point, improve to 8-0, winning tournament at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. 

7) Through Week 12, NFL teams with most plays of 20+ yards:
Cowboys 58 (before the Buffalo game), Lions 57

Through Week 12, NFL teams with least plays of 20+ yards:
Dolphins 27, Redskins 29, Bears 31 (before Thursday)

6) Through Week 12, NFL teams that allowed most plays of 20+ yards:
Bengals 69, Raiders 66, Arizona/Miami 58

Through Week 12, NFL teams that allowed fewest plays of 20+ yards:
Patriots/Rams/49ers, all 29

5) Iowa 27, Nebraska 24— Hawkeyes kicked a FG with 0:01 left to end Nebraska’s season at 5-7; this is third year in row that Cornhuskers won’t go bowling. 

4) West Virginia 20, TCU 17— Horned Frogs lose as a 13-point home favorite and don’t become bowl eligible. Sad way to end the season. 

3) Patriots kicker Nick Folk had an appendectomy, was going miss this week’s game in Houston and then come back, but New England cut him Friday; former Redskins kicker Kai Forbath will be his replacement. 

Moral of the story: Don’t have an appendectomy during the season. 

2) Philadelphia Eagles signed OT Lane Johnson to a 4-year contract extension worth $72M, with $54.595M of that guaranteed.  

1) Reds’ pitcher Trevor Bauer’s $300,000 McLaren sports car was totaled while it was being stored at a Houston McLaren dealership. On Tuesday, a tire fell off of a semi truck, rolled across six lanes of traffic on a Houston highway, struck a wall, and crashed thru a double-paned glass window at the dealership and wrecked Bauer’s car.

Thats an expensive day; luckily, no one was injured. 

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

13)  Buffalo 26, Dallas 15:
— 9-3 Bills might be the most unheralded 9-3 team ever.
— The next few weeks are going to be a good time for Lincoln Riley’s agent, because it is hard to believe that Jason Garrett will be the Cowboys’ coach next year. 

12) Saints 26, Falcons 18:
— New Orleans wins NFC South, is first team to qualify for playoffs.
— Atlanta outgained Saints, 348-280, but turned ball over three times in 2nd half. 
— Falcons recovered two onside kicks; before this week, NFL teams were 3-37 on onside kicks this season.

11)  Chicago 20, Detroit 17:
— Lions’ first two drives: 13 plays, 153 yards, two TD’s.
— Lions’ last eight drives: 54 plays, 211 yards, one FG. 

10) Lions are 9-18-1 under 2nd-year coach Matt Patricia, who got hired because he worked for New England- they win a lot. Problem is, Patricia didn’t bring Tom Brady with him to Detroit. 

Lions fired Jim Caldwell, who went 36-28 in four years with Detroit, making the playoffs twice in those four years. Still an interesting decision, two years later. 

9) Michigan 73, North Carolina 64— Wolverines went on a 19-0 run early in 2nd half; they made 11-26 on the arc, and are now 6-0 under rookie coach Juwan Howard. 

8) Long Beach State 66, Providence 65— 49ers were a 16.5-point underdog; they were down 17 early in second half. Friars turned ball over 21 times; this is a bad loss for then. 

7) Gonzaga 73, Oregon 72 OT— Zags led 24-7 early, but for second day in row, Oregon stormed back and erased a big lead- they led by 4 in OT, but Gonzaga ended game on a 7-2 spurt and will play Michigan in the Atlantis finals Friday afternoon. 

6) Marquette 73, Davidson 63— Wildcats had made a 3-pointer in 809 consecutive games, but went 0-15 in this game, which ends the streak. Markus Howard scored 40 for Mar quote, which made 27-38 on foul line (Davidson was 15-23). 

Rising star in TV business is former Cincinnati/Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy, who is working the Orlando tournament this weekend. Smart, funny and knows when to be quiet.

5) Harvard 62, Texas A&M 51— Crimson were a perfect 22-22 on foul line, offsetting their 6-29 day on the arc. Harvard moves on to play Maryland Friday. 

4) Virginia’s 2nd-leading scorer Braxton Key is out indefinitely after having wrist surgery this week. Cavaliers are 7-0 after smothering Maine 46-26 Wednesday.

3) Patriots kicker Nick Folk had an appendectomy, will miss this week’s game in Houston; former Redskins kicker Kai Forbath is expected to be his replacement. 

2) Mississippi State 21, Ole Miss 20— With 0:04 left in the Egg Bowl, Ole Miss WR Elijah Moore caught a 2-yard touchdown pass that cut Mississippi State’s lead to 21-20; the PAT would tie the game. 

After he scored, Moore lifted his leg like a dog and pretended to urinate after his score, and got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for excessive celebration, pushing the PAT back 15 yards. 

The kicker missed the PAT, Miss State won 21-20 and is now bowl eligible.

 1) Penn 68, Central Florida 67— Kid on UCF thought he hit the game-tying 3 at the buzzer, but he was standing behind the wrong arc, and was standing on the 3-point arc. With so many different 3-point lines, he got confused. Good day for the Ivy League. 

Thursday’s List of 13: Happy Thanksgiving, everyone……

13) Was going to do a list of things I’m thankful for, but decided that this year, the biggest thing I’m thankful for is that the guy who operated on my detached retina studied a lot in school and became an excellent surgeon. Thank you very much, Dr Mallick!!!! 

12) Kansas 90, Dayton 84 OT— Jayhawks win Maui Classic for third time in an exciting final; Dayton tied the game on a 3-pointer with 0:01.1 left in regulation. 

11) Michigan State 75, UCLA 63— Bruins go to Maui after losing at home to Hofstra and get one win, over D-II Chaminade, so they’ve lost their last three D-I games. UCLA is playing tempo #308; their fans aren’t going to like coach Mick Cronin any more than they liked Ben Howland or Steve Alford or Steve Lavin. 

Howland got fired by UCLA after a 3-year stretch where they went 37-17 in Pac-12 games, but only 1-2 in NCAA tournament games. Tough crowd. 

10) Over the last five seasons, 17 different college basketball teams have made the Final Four, from nine different conferences. 

Over the last seven NCAA tournaments, at last one team made the Final Four that was a #5 or lower seed in their region. 

9) Padres/Brewers made a 4-player trade Wednesday:
Milwaukee gets: IF Luis Urias, P Eric Lauer
San Diego gets: OF Trent Grisham, P Zach Davies. 

8) Pirates filled the last open manager’s spot by hiring 49-year old Derek Shelton as their new skipper. Shelton was Minnesota’s bench coach the last two years. 

7) Texas Rangers signed P Kyle Gibson to a 3-year deal worth $30M. 32-year old Gibson was 13-7, 4.84 ERA with a 1.44 WHIP LY, with 160 strikeouts in 160 IP. Rangers move into their new domed stadium this coming season. 

6) Ole Miss 74, Penn State 72— Rebels trailed 52-31 wth 16:23 left, by 14 wth 6:30 left- they rally to win their fifth game in six tries. Penn State won their last game by a hoop after trailing by 16 with 9:12 left- they returned the favor here.

5) The Cleveland Indians’ baseball cap that Charlie Sheen wore in the 1988 movie Major League is on the auction block; the largest bid, with eight days left to go in the auction, is $4,594. 

You could get a hat just like it for $40 on the Lids website, but someone bid $4,594 for a 31-year old baseball cap that might not even be your size. Go figure. 

4) Lakers 114, Pelicans 110— Anthony Davis scored 41 points in his return to New Orleans. 

3) Detroit Lions are starting rookie 3rd-string QB David Blough against the Bears today. He wasn’t drafted, but Blough played in 44 games at Purdue, throwing 1,429 passes. 

2) 76ers 97, Kings 91— Embiid scored 33 points, had 16 rebounds, after not scoring in his last game, in Toronto. 

1) Sad to report that the Arena Football League went out of business Wednesday; they had a team here in Albany in the late 90’s, and again the last couple years. Arenaball was great fun; thought it helped develop quarterbacks, because they had to make quick decisions, and really couldn’t run much.

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

13) Stephen F Austin 85, Duke 83 OT— March Madness comes 100 days early. Really a great game and a shocking upset; Duke was a 27.5-point favorite. 

Duke was 24-40 on the foul line, SFA 11-17; Lumberjacks were +6 (20-14) in turnovers. This was Duke’s first non-conference home loss since a 2000 game against St John’s. 19 years. 

12) ESPN had to be hoping for a Kansas-UCLA semifinal in the Maui Classic, and then the winner playing Michigan State in the final; problem is, Michigan State/UC:A both got beat in the first round, meaning they’ll play in the 5th place game on Wednesday instead. 

Big week of national TV exposure for Dayton, which whacked Georgia, Virginia Tech the last two days, and now gets a primetime game with Kansas in the Maui finals. 

11) Michigan State 93, Georgia 85— Spartans were up 61-33 with 16:26 left to play, but Georgia stormed back and got within a hoop behind Anthony Edwards, who scored 33 of his 37 points in the second half. 

Michigan State’s Cassius Winston is the first college basketball player since 2006 to make 1st team All-American one year and then return to college the next year (JJ Redick). 

10) Pittsburgh beat Kansas State 63-59 Monday night; Pitt was 18-21 on foul line, Wildcats were only 3-13. Big difference. Oddly, K-State was 10-20 on the arc, Panthers 1-16. Wildcats were also +7 in turnovers (21-14) but they shot only 34.2% inside the arc. 

9) Cleveland Browns are favored by two points in Pittsburgh this week; last time the Browns were favored in the Steel City was 1989, before the old Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens. 

Steelers made it official Tuesday; 3rd-stringer Devlin Hodges starts at QB this week.

8) Northwestern has a basketball player named Pat Spencer who is a grad transfer from Loyola, MD, where he was the best college lacrosse player in the country last year. Spencer scored 9 ppg in the Wildcats’ first five games this season. 

7) Good movie/TV trivia: Actress Kerris Dorsey plays the daughter in the great Showtime series Ray Donovan; she also played Billy Beane’s daughter in Moneyball

6) Colorado 71, Clemson 67— Buffaloes rally in 2nd half to win tourney at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas; Pac-12 is an improved league (57-14 out of conference) so far this month. 

5) Arizona State 67, Princeton 65— Sun Devils outscored Princeton 13-5 over the final 5:29 to pull out this road win. Princeton shot 64.5% inside the arc against ASU. 

4) 49ers are a 6-point underdog in Baltimore Sunday, the first 10-1 team to be an underdog of 6+ points since 2007, when the Packers (+7) lost 37-27 in Dallas. 

3) Arizona Diamondbacks signed lefty-hitting catcher Stephen Vogt to a 1-year deal, as catchers keep coming off the market. 

2) There are 78 available slots for bowl games this year; right now, only 73 teams are bowl eligible, with 10 more teams having a shot at getting to 6-6 this week (Ohio U got to 6-6 Tuesday night). If five of those teams don’t win this week, then teams with a 5-7 record will be “rewarded” with a bowl appearance.

Not great.

1) UCLA 74, Chaminade 48— Chaminade’s mascot is a silversword, which is a flowering plant endemic to Hawaiʻi that grows on volcanic cinder. 

Just thought you’d like to know.

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

13) All these ex-referees on football telecasts wouldn’t be so bad, if they didn’t constantly blindly congratulate officials on the field for always making good calls, because they don’t always make good calls. 

In Sunday’s Dallas-New England game, they called tripping on the Cowboys center in a big spot which was a horrendous call, yet FOX’s Mike Pereira went out of his way to say it was a good call. Troy Aikman called him out on it, which was good. 

If they’re not going to be critical when deserved, they shouldn’t be on TV. 

12) Detroit Lions wanted to sign journeyman QB Josh Johnson to back up Jeff Driskel with Matthew Stafford injured, but the XFL blocked the deal, since Johnson is already under contract to play for the Los Angeles Wildcats when the new league starts in February. 

33-year old Johnson can’t be happy about this; he’s been under contract with 15 different NFL teams in his career. You have to figure the XFL is going to be a lot like the AAF was last winter, as in, light years from NFL quality. 

11) Pretty cool moment at a I-AA game in Youngstown over the weekend; senior QB Nathan Mays injured his leg, but he suited up and a couple of his teammates carried him on the field so he could take the last snap of his career in victory formation. Then they carried him off the field, because he couldn’t walk on his own. 

For teammates to think so much of a guy that they would do that, it was a good moment. 

10) Winnipeg 33, Hamilton 12— Congrats to the Blue Bombers, who won their first Grey Cup title since 1990. 

9) Kansas 93, Chaminade 63— This was Bill Walton’s first ESPN broadcast of the season, so I learned something that has nothing to do with basketball. 

Because whales are an endangered (and therefore protected) species, the whale population has been growing worldwide, at the rate of roughly 7% each year. 

8) NFL favorites are 77-94-5 ATS this season. 

7) Ravens 45, Rams 6:
— Ravens won their last seven games, covered last five.
— Baltimore scored a touchdown the first six times they had the ball. 

6) Cincinnati Bengals came to their senses and will start Andy Dalton at QB Sunday, after rookie Ryan Finley started the last three games. 

5) Cleveland Browns won their last three games after a 2-6 start, are only a game out of the 2nd Wild Card slot in the AFC. Only one team, the 1970 Bengals, made the playoffs after starting a season 2-6. 

4) UNLV upset San Jose State 38-35 Saturday, in the last college football game at Sam Boyd Stadium- the Rebels move into brand-new Allegiant Stadium next year. 

Hasn’t been a good year for UNLV; they fired coach Tony Sanchez Monday. Also in the Mountain West, New Mexico fired coach Bob Davie Monday. 

3) Raptors 101, 76ers 96— Joel Embiid went scoreless for first time in his NBA career, going 0-11 from the floor, 0-3 on foul line in 32:00. 

2) Baseball stuff:
— Atlanta Braves gave C Travis d’arnaud a 2-year, $16M contract.
— Tampa Bay Rays replaced d’arnaud with former Seattle catcher Mike Zunino. 

1) Oregon Ducks have played 11 football games this year; five of them have come against teams who started freshman quarterbacks. 

Monday’s Den; Wrapping up an NFL Sunday

Browns 41, Dolphins 24:
— Dolphins had 8 penalties for 94 yards; they had been the least penalized team in league.
— Fitzpatrick turned 37 Sunday; how does it help Miami for him to play?
— Dolphins are 7-14 ATS in last 21 road games, 3-2 TY.

— Former Dolphin Landry caught 10 balls for 148 yards, two TD’s.
— Cleveland’s first five drives: 34 plays, 264 yards, four TD’s.
— Browns won their last three games after a 2-6 start.

Bills 20, Broncos 3:
— Broncos’ first five drives: 30 plays, 127 yards, nine first downs, 3 points.
— Broncos’ last five drives: 15 plays, 2 yards, no first downs, no points.
— Denver lost four of its last five games; they’ve converted only 18 of last 88 3rd down plays..

— Buffalo is 8-0 TY when it scores 17+ points, 0-3 when it doesn’t.
— Bills outgained Denver 424-134; they ran ball for 244 yards.
— Under is 8-3 in Buffalo games TY.

Steelers 16, Bengals 10:
— Steelers benched QB Rudolph at halftime; 3rd-stringer Devlin played 2nd half.
— Pitt won five of its last six game, after a 1-4 start.
— Steelers are 3-9 ATS  in last 12 games as a road favorite (0-1 TY)

— Winless Bengals are 0-5 SU at home, with three losses by 10+ points.
— Cincy scored three TD’s on 33 drives in Finley’s three starts
— Under is 6-2-1 in their last nine games.

Bears 19, Giants 14:
— Giants lost their last seven games (2-5 ATS).
— Giants started three drives in row in 2nd quarter in Chicago territory, went TD/MFG/MFG, missing 42-43 yard field goals.
— Big Blue threw for 134 yards, averaging 3.6 yards/pass attempt. 

— Bears are 4-0 when they allow 15 or fewer points, 0-6 when they allow more.
— Five of Bears’ six home games, and last five games overall, stayed under total.
— Trubisky threw for 278 yards; the hip pointer he had last week healed pretty quickly.  

Jets 34, Raiders 3:
— Didn’t see this coming; Jets outgained Raiders, 401-208.
— Oakland has lost four of five true road games this year.
— Darnold averaged 10.4 yards/pass attempt against the Raider defense.

— Jets won their last three games, scoring 34-34-34 points.
— NYJ’s first six drives: 44 plays, 330 yards, 18 first downs, 3 TD’s, 2 FG’s, one missed FG.
— Jets are 13-8-2 ATS in last 23 games as a home underdog.

Saints 34, Panthers 31:
— Carolina missed a PAT, and a 28-yard FG with 1:56 left, with score tied.
— Panthers lost four of last five games after a 4-2 start.
— Carolina is 25-13 ATS in last 38 games as a road underdog, 3-2 TY.

— Saints won eight of their last nine games (7-2 ATS).
— New Orleans scored 31+ points in five of last seven games.
— Underdogs covered nine of last ten Panther-Saint games. 

Bucs 35, Falcons 16:
— Tampa Bay averaged 11.2 yards/pass attempt; Godwin caught 7 balls for 184 yards, two TD’s.
— Bucs are 3-3 when they’re even/positive in turnovers; 1-4 otherwise.
— Tampa Bay turned it over twice; thats 27 turnovers for season (-10). 

— Under Quinn, Atlanta is 11-20 ATS as a home favorite, 0-2 TY.
— Falcons lost their last four home games, giving up 30.8 ppg.
— Atlanta scored only one TD, kicked three FG’s in four red zone drives.

Redskins 19, Lions 16:
— Detroit outgained Redskins 364-230, but turned ball over four times (-2).
— Lions scored only 13 points on three trips to red zone.
— Detroit lost four games in row, seven of last eight.

— Washington’s only TD was a 91-yard kick return in second quarter.
— Redskins scored two TD’s on their last 46 drives.
— Six of Redskins’ last eight games stayed under the total.

Seahawks 17, Eagles 9:
— Seattle is 9-2 with one win by more than eight points.
— Seahawks covered seven of last ten post-bye games.
— Seahawks are 6-0 SU on road TY, giving up 19.5 ppg; they’re 5-3-1 ATS in last nine games as a road favorite, 2-1 TY.

— Eagles went 21 drives between touchdowns, scoring one here with 0:20 left.
— Hard to win when you turn ball over five times on 12 drives (-3). 
— Four of Philly’s last five games stayed under the total. 

Titans 42, Jaguars 20:
— Jacksonville was outscored 101-36 in losing its last three games.
— Jax is 11-21-1 ATS in last 33 games where spread was 3 or fewer points
— Jaguars allowed 13.3 yards/pass attempt vs Ryan Tannehill. 

— Tennessee scored 29.4 ppg in winning four of Tannehill’s first five starts.
— Titans’ first four drives of 2nd half: 9 plays, 225 yards, 8 first downs, 4 TD’s.
— Tennessee won last four home games; their last five games went over.

Patriots 13, Cowboys 9:
— Cowboys lost field position by 20 yards in this game.
— Dallas lost five of its last eight games after a 3-0 start.
— Dallas missed a FG off the upright, had punt blocked on next series. 

— New England scored one TD, on a 12-yard drive.
— Patriots are 24-9-2 ATS in last 35 games as a home favorite.
— New England won all five home games TY by average score of 27-11

49ers 37, Packers 8:
— Green Bay converted 1-15 on 3rd down, averaged 1.9 yards/pass attempt.
— Packers won five of last seven games, with both losses in California. 
— Green Bay/Minnesota are tied for first place in NFC North. 

— 49ers outscored last five opponents 91-33 n first half.
— Garoppolo averaged 9.9 yards/pass attempt.
— This was fourth time this season 49ers held an opponent under 200 yards. 

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

13) Ohio State 28, Penn State 17— Buckeye coach Ryan Day was complaining at halftime because his team (which was up 14-0) wasn’t up 34-0. Wonder how his mood was when Penn State closed the gap to 21-17. 

Buckeyes outgained Penn State 417-227; playing in a competitive game should help them down the road. Nittany Lions got a 3rd quarter boost from freshman backup QB Will Lewis, but they came up short. 

Penn State coach James Franklin is 54-23 in Happy Valley, 33-18 in conference games, 2-3 in bowls; before that, he was 24-15 in three years at Vanderbilt, 11-13 in SEC games, 2-1 in bowl games. Winning at Vanderbilt is no small feat. 

12) Florida International 30, Miami 24— Panthers become bowl eligible with this stunning upset, which happened at Marlins’ Park, which was built on the spot where the old Orange Bowl used to be. The Orange Bowl was Miami’s home stadium. 

Former Miami coach Butch Davis is FIU’s coach; all of FIU’s players probably grew up wanting to play for Miami. Hard to underestimate how much this win means for the FIU program. 

11) USC 52, UCLA 35— Trojans finish their regular season 8-4 after using three different QB’s due to injuries; the kid who emerges as the #1 QB is a true freshman who threw for 515 yards and four TD’s. The new USC athletic director has an interesting decision; do you bring in a new coach, or give Clay Helton another chance? 

To be clear here, lot of rich boosters aren’t all that excited by an 8-4 record. 

10) Arizona State 31, Oregon 28— Sun Devils become bowl eligible while they knock Oregon out of the national title picture. In his two years at ASU, Herm Edwards is 2-7 ATS when ASU is favored, 8-4 when they’re the underdog. 

9) SouthPoint Casino in Las Vegas has a fun prop bet every week; which team will score the first touchdown of the day? Lowly UConn (25-1) was this week’s winner.   

8) Washington State 54, Oregon State 53— Coogs scored two TD’s in last 2:10 to stave off the surging Beavers, who now have to upset Oregon next week to become bowl eligible. 

Wazzu started this season 3-0, then blew a 49-17 3rd quarter lead and lost 67-63 to UCLA- they fired their defensive coordinator and limp into the Apple Cup with a 6-5 record. 

Coogs’ QB Gordon threw for 606 yards, with three INTs. 

7) College football upsets:
— Florida International (+20.5) 30, Miami 24
— Colorado (+14) 20, Washington 14
— Arizona State (+14) 31, Oregon 28
— Nevada (+13.5) 35, Fresno State 28
— Charlotte (+7) 24, Marshall 13
— UNLV (+7) 38, San Jose State 35

6) Charlotte 24, Marshall 13— 49ers upset the Thundering Herd on a rainy night, becoming bowl eligible for the first time in their five years of I-A football. 

5) Tennessee 24, Missouri 20— Vols win their 4th game in a row, becoming bowl eligible for the first time in three years. Solid coaching job by Jeremy Pruitt. 

4) College basketball upsets:
— Penn (+13.5) 81, Providence 75
— Sacramento State (+12) 77, Pepperdine 72
— NC-Wilmingtonn (+10) 66, FIU 63
— Cleveland State (+7) 65, Eastern Kentucky 51
— George Washington (+7) 78, Evansville 70
— Utah Valley (+6) 68, North Dakota State 62

3) College basketball games of the day:
Boise State 82, Pacific 76, 3OT— Broncos won second consecutive OT game; they made 11-23 on arc, Pacific 3-12. 

Memphis 87, Ole Miss 86— Rebels were down 16 in 2nd half, but drained 12-27 on arc and made it a ballgame. Both teams took 30+ foul shots in what is a regional rivalry game. 

2) I enjoy SEC football, but this shouldn’t happen on November 23:
— Alabama 66, Western Carolina 3
— Auburn 52, Samford 0
— Kentucky 50, UT-Martin 7
— Vanderbilt 38, East Tennessee State 0
— Mississippi State 45, Abilene Christian 7

It is embarrassing to brag that you’re the best league in the country, then play I-AA teams the week before Thanksgiving. There are plenty of bad I-A teams (UMass, New Mexico State, MAC, Sun Belt teams) who could use a payday. Charging people to watch Alabama play a I-AA team is theft.

In the ACC, North Carolina/Virginia also played I-AA teams this week. Not good.

1) Arkansas State 38, Georgia Southern 33— Great coaching job this season by ASU coach Blake Anderson, whose wife passed away just before this season started. Red Wolves are 7-4 and will go to a bowl, putting a cap on what has had to be a very emotional season.

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

13) Xavier 75, UConn 74 2OT— Best college hoop game of the young season; six guys fouled out, three for both teams, who will be Big East rivals starting next season. 

Xavier won despite going 16-26 on foul line; UConn was 25-27. 

Musketeers will play Florida in the finals of the Charleston Classic Sunday night. 

12) Duke 81, Georgetown 73— It is usually pretty fun to watch a coach go against Duke for the first time, how he handles getting screwed over in key situations. Patrick Ewing was a great player, but he is a young coach, and he didn’t enjoy this game very much. 

Duke was 21-29 on the foul line, Georgetown 11-18. Go figure. 

11) Temple 70, USC 61— Nice win for the AAC, and Temple’s rookie coach Aaron McKie. 

10) Clippers 122, Rockets 119— Wouldn’t mind if these teams hooked up for a best-of-7 playoff series next spring. Lou Williams scored 26 points in the 2nd half, after not scoring in the first. 

9) Myrtle Beach tournament:
— Villanova beat Mississippi State 83-76. High level game.
— Baylor beat Coastal Carolina 77-65; Coastal’s best guard hurt his knee in this game. 

Villanova-Baylor is an interesting game Sunday, in the tournament final. 

8) Utah State 80, LSU 78— Aggies were down 19 with 16:32 left; big win for the Mountain West Conference, which could use some quality wins. 

7) NFL stuff:
— Bears’ QB Mitchell Trubisky will start Sunday.
— Lions’ QB Matthew Stafford (back) will miss his 3rd straight game. 

6) Seattle Mariners agreed to a six-year, $24M contract with first baseman/prospect Evan White, who spent last season with the Double-A Arkansas Travelers, where he hit 18 HRs with 55 RBI in 92 games last year. 

White is the first player ever at the AA level to get a long-term extension.

5) White Sox gave 1B/DH Jose Abreu a 3-year, $50M contract extension; somehow Abreu will make less money than C Yasmani Grandal, who signed with the Pale Hose this week, getting $73M for four years. 

4) Missouri State 71, St Joe’s 69— Nice win for the Bears, who’ve used transfers to elevate their talent level; Lamont West played 110 games for West Virginia. Missouri State figures to contend in the Missouri Valley Conference this winter. 

3) 76ers 115, Spurs 104— San Antonio has lost eight games in a row. 

2) Cleveland State 47, NC-Wilmington 46— Vikings were ravaged by transfers after their coaching change; this was their first D-I win this season, five tries. 

1) Nuggets 96, Celtics 92— Big week for Denver, beating the Rockets/Celtics at home.