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

13) Baseball is going to experiment with a rule in the low minor leagues where teams start extra innings with a runner on second base; this is when you know idiots are taking over at the top of the sport.

If you really need to shorten/quicken baseball games, here are some ideas that would work, without making the major leagues look like girls’ softball:

— Make a pitcher have to face at least two batters in every appearance; would result in way fewer pitching changes, each of which is 5-6 minutes in length.
— Pitching changes are subbed in, just like basketball. You call time, the guy jogs in from the bullpen and the game resumes. No conferences on the mound, which leads us to……
— No visits to the mound by any coach/manager. Ever. If a coach comes to the mound because of an injury to the pitcher, the pitcher has to leave the game.
— Get rid of the DH; then, more pitching changes would happen via pinch-hitting and you’d have less pitching changes within the half-inning.
— If you hate extra inning games so much (I love them myself), then instead of cheapening the game by having runners start the inning on base, just have tie games, like they do in Japan. If the game is tied after 10 or 11 innings, it ends.

I’m not in favor of this; extra inning games create some unique happenings that make the game great fun but better tie games than starting an inning with men on base.

— Eliminating replay reviews would be useless, because managers’ arguments with umpires took up just as much time as replay reviews and with far fewer benefits.

The thing is, MLB is harping on this issue because games are 8-10 minutes longer than they used to be; 8-10 minutes!!!! Who cares? The game is fine the way it is; people who don’t like baseball have way too much influence over the game’s decision makers.

12) Jeffrey Loria supposedly has reached an agreement to sell the Miami Marlins for $1.6B to a guy in NYC, but the guy (a real estate magnate) doesn’t have enough cash on hand- his wealth is tied up in real estate, so it is unclear if MLB would approve the sale. Baseball would be better off to get rid of Loria, though.

Kicker is, the real estate guy who wants to buy the Marlins is Ivanka Trump’s brother-in-law; how much money do these people have?

11) Tough break for the Milwaukee Bucks; Jabari Parker tore an ACL, is done for the season. Portland loses Evan Turner for 5-6 weeks with a broken hand.

10) Jordan Spieth got into a verbal spat with professional autograph collectors/sellers this week, saying that “….they should get a job” instead of selling his signature on the Interweb. Actually, selling autographs, memorabilia is a job.

I’ve seen NFL players bark at collectors too; Torry Holt for one, at the Football Hall of Fame in 2001 when I was watching the Rams practice before the Hall of Fame Game. Guys with thick binders filled with pictures are guys who collect signed stuff and sell them. Players are very cool with kids; they sign a lot and willingly. With collectors, they have way less patience.

It is the American way, I guess; make money any legal way you can.

9) Houston Astros players lost only 413 days to the disabled list last year, least in the major leagues; Oakland A’s lost the most, with 1,966 player days on the DL.

8) Just when Northwestern looked headed to their first NCAA tourney, their best player gets mono and the Wildcats lose their next two games. Their non-conference schedule was so weak, their margin for error is less than most teams.

7) Central Michigan beat Ohio U 97-87 Tuesday night; the two teams combined to take 72 3’s, 60 2-point shots and only 43 foul shots. Basketball is trending that way, for better or worse.

6) Apparently, Michael Buffer got paid $10,000 to do his shtick introducing the starting lineups at the UNLV-Nevada game in Reno Wednesday night. He did the same thing at a Kentucky game couple of weeks ago. Now thats a good gig.

5) Saint Louis Billikens lost at St Bonaventure Wednesday night; afterwards, they couldn’t find the team bus. Turns out the bus driver was drunk and she took off without any passengers- she and the bus were found 40 miles away, because coach Travis Ford’s I-Pad was on the bus and he could locate it with his IPhone. Oy.

its been a bad season for the Billikens but at least that provided some comic relief, once they got on the chartered plane back home.

4) RIP Mr Mike Ilitch, 87, who owned the Little Ceasar’s pizza chain, as well as the Red Wings and the Tigers. He won four Stanley Cups as owner of the Red Wings, who had a farm club in Glens Falls for many years

3) Louisville will be back at full strength for Saturday’s game with Miami; PG Snider is healthy again and the two late-night partiers are back in good graces after being suspended for the game at Virginia, after they missed curfews (supposedly by four hours).

2) Atlanta Falcons had a great season, right? Well, they fired their defensive coordinator and their defensive line coach, so they’ll have two new coordinators next season. Unusual to fire assistant coaches after you came so close to winning a championship.

1— It hadn’t dawned on me until I just heard it on TV: the 49ers will have their 4th different head coach in four years next season, and that doesn’t include interim coaches. That would indicate the problem may be the owner, since he is the only decision maker who has been there the whole time.

Friday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a Thursday night of hoops

13) Before I start in on Thursday’s college games, there was a high school game this week in California that ended 146-123. A 32:00 high school game ended 146-123. No bueno.

Lonzo Ball’s (PG at UCLA) brother is in 10th grade; he scored 92 points in this game for the winning team, 41 in the 4th quarter, but he rarely crossed half court to defend in the second half. All of this raises numerous questions.

— What coach allows their players not to play defense, just so he can show off?
— What parent is OK with their son and his team embarrassing an opponent? The winning team was fouling on purpose, just to get the ball back— this is OK?
— Who coaches the other team? You have to double or triple-team the kid, just so he can’t make fools out of your players. Thats the least you need to do.
— Refs are probably relieved that no one on the losing team tried to put the kid into a wall for being a self-absorbed human being.
— The kid is an outstanding player, already committed to UCLA, and he is only in 10th grade, so this is likely to be repeated at times over the next two years.

12) Duke 86, North Carolina 78— Sorry to disagree with Duke alum Jay Bilas, but Auburn-Alabama football is a much bigger rivalry than this game; I mean, someone poisoned a tree over the Iron Bowl. I didn’t even know it was possible to poison a tree. Duke was 13-27 on the arc.

Weird fact; these teams have met only once in last 12 ACC tournaments. Surprising.

If I’m running ESPN, I bring in UNC alum Brad Daugherty for a 3-man booth for these rivalry games, with Dan Shulman and Bilas. Too may Dukies on network TV.

11) Wofford 131, Samford 127, 4OT— This is the third night in a row a game went four OT’s. Samford led by 6 at the half, made 14-27 on the arc but lost.

10) Purdue 69, Indiana 64— Swanigan had 16 points, 14 boards and I thought he got by far the worst of the officiating- couple fouls against him were total home court calls. . Swanigan has improved his draft stock by staying in college this year. Indiana is 15-10, 5-7 in the Big 14; they need to start winning some games, so Selection Sunday isn’t a very long day.

9) Northeastern 73, Charleston 72— Kid on Northeastern grabbed an airball, tossed up an underhanded flip at the buzzer and it went in, giving Huskies an unlikely win in a game they trailed by 16 at the half. Cougars fall out of a tie for first place in the CAA.

8) Furman 60, Chattanooga 56— Paladins are in first place in an improved Southern Conference; well-balanced Paladins start three juniors and a senior- no one on Furman scored more than 13 points in this game. Chattanooga is 2-3 in its last five games.

7) Rice 89, FIU 78— 16-8 Owls are headed for only their second winning season since 2005; they’re 7-5 in Conference USA.

6) Colorado 81, Washington 66— Huskies’ star freshman Markelle Futlz didn’t play because of a sore knee, which should raise red flags in front offices all over the bottom half of the NBA. Buffs are now 4-8 in Pac-12, after starting out 0-7 in conference games.

5) Wisconsin 70, Nebraska 69 OT— Nigel Hayes tore the Cornhuskers’ hearts out with a 3-pointer with 0:18.4 left in OT, after Nebraska had tied the game with a 3-ball at buzzer of regulation. Nebraska has now lost eight of its last nine games.

4) Cal State-Bakersfield 72, New Mexico State 53— Roadrunners hand NM State their first loss in WAC, are now tied with Aggies in loss column for first place.

3) Liberty 92, Gardner-Webb 87, 2OT
NC-Asheville 104, Winthrop 101, 2OT— Both winners are 11-2 and tied for first place in the Big South, but they both were fully extended here.

2) UCLA 82, Oregon 79— Highly entertaining two hours; Ducks controlled the game early, led by 9 at the half, by 13 with 12:00 left, but then UCLA got momentum in the second half and surged to a win that avenged their 89-87 loss in Eugene back in December.

1— St Mary’s and Gonzaga both won their games vs inferior opponents last night, setting up Saturday’s showdown in Moraga. Gonzaga won first meeting with St Mary’s 79-56 at home Jan 14.

Thursday’s List of 13: Wrapping up an evening of basketball

13) VCU 54, George Washington 53— VCU pulled a successful scam; down a point with 0:00.4 left, the inbounder runs the baseline, the GW guy ran with him on the baseline and another VCU guy comes up and sets a screen, gets run over by the GW guy and the ref calls a foul!!!!

VCU hits the foul shots and wins by a point, second time in five days they won a road game they were trailing in with less than a second to play. That doesn’t happen a lot.

12) Minnesota 101, Iowa 89 2OT— Gophers led this game 40-29 at the half; they really needed this win, just their second in their last seven games. Mason had 25 points with only one turnover for Minnesota in a hectic game.

If you laid seven points with the Gophers, someone was smiling down on you.

12a) Wyoming 102, Fresno State 100, 4OT— Not sure why Wyoming brings two of its better players off the bench, but they do. Cowboys’ McManamen hit his first seven 3’s in this game, then missed his last six. Dalton had 21 points, 20 boards off the bench for Wyoming.

They had 11,841 fans at the UNLV-Nevada game, biggest crowd in Reno history.

11) Wizards 114, Nets 110 OT— Brooklyn has lost 11 in a row overall, 13 in a row at home, and they want to kick the Islanders out of the Barclays Center? Oy.

10) Seton Hall 72, Providence 70 OT— Game was 41-36 at the half; for people who played the over (135.5), second half of this game was nauseating. The overtime was more uplifting.

Both of these teams are on NCAA bubble or just off it; this really did have feel of a tournament game, albeit a bad tournament game. Providence led by 15 in the first half.

9) Tennessee 75, Ole Miss 66— Vols ended game on a 17-2 run; Rebels didn’t score a basket for last 3:55 of game; they led 64-58 when they scored with 3:56 left to play.

8) Baylor 72, Oklahoma State 69— Bears led this game 70-57 with 4:14 left, then didn’t score for next four minutes. The Big X is a brutal league; there are no bad teams. None.

Baylor did a great job in last 0:10 when OSU had the ball down 3- they defended the arc really well. They didn’t so such a great job in the 4:00 before that, as far as scoring points.

7) This game was Tuesday, but it was an exceptional game……..
Alabama 90, South Carolina 86 4OT’s— Gamecocks were 3-30 in the first half. 3 for 30!!!! They were +10 in turnovers, made 35-50 on the foul line but still lost. Alabama is quietly 7-4 in SEC with four road wins.

6) Morehead State 101, Murray State 100 OT— Belmont’s two main challengers in OVC played an extra 5:00 here. Morehead led by 12 at half, has now won six of its last seven games. Murray was 13-23 on the arc, was +5 in turnovers but still lost.

5) Pittsburgh 83, Boston College 72— Panthers break their 8-game losing streak; five of those eight losses were by 8 or less points. Wonder if Kevin Stallings wishes he was back in the SEC?

4) Spurs 111, 76ers 103— Philly is 13-18 when Joel Embiid plays, 5-16 when he does not.

3) UConn 97, South Florida 51— USF needs a coach for next year; two years ago, they wanted to hire Manhattan’s Steve Masiello but didn’t because of concerns about his resume. Those concerns have been dealt with, but Manhattan hasn’t won much since then. Still think he would be a good fit for the Bulls.

2) Heat 106, Bucks 88— Miami was 11-30 at the halfway point of the season; since then, they are 12-0, and are only a couple games out of a playoff berth. Erik Spoelstra can really coach.

1— Clippers 119, Knicks 115— Former NBA star Charles Oakley had an incident at this game and was escorted out by the police; hope it is nothing serious. About ten years ago, I was in Orlando watching AAU games in the summer, and Oakley was there with Michael Jordan watching Jordan’s sons play.

Charles Oakley is a HUGE man; he would be very high on the list of people I wouldn’t want to be mad at me. Ever.

According to the NYPD, Oakley was charged with three misdemeanor counts of assault for hitting security guards and criminal trespassing.

Wednesday’s List of 13: Mid-week musings

13) Betting handle on the Super Bowl in Las Vegas was $138.5M; hard to believe that sports betting won’t be legal everywhere in this country before too long.

If you care about such things, Vegas books made over $10M profit on that $138.5M handle.

12) Falcons hired Steve Sarkisian as its new OC, meaning Alabama will soon have its third OC of 2017, probably before Presidents’ Day.

Alabama got to the national title game with freshman Jalen Hurts at QB, but Hurts isn’t a good passer; Crimson Tide signed two freshman QB’s- that could be a contentious situation for the guy who winds up as the offensive coordinator- that guy will be Saban’s 6th OC in his ten years as Alabama’s head coach.

11) LSU football coach Ed Orgeron has himself a problem; after Signing Day, he demoted an assistant coach who was a prime recruiter in the talent-rich New Orleans area and now the HS coaches there are organizing a boycott of the LSU program. No bueno.

The assistant who was demoted has since bolted to Texas Tech.

10) Sam Vecenie covers basketball for The Sporting News; he knows his stuff. Of his top 16 prospects for the NBA Draft, 13 are college freshmen, three are foreign kids. This is part of why handicapping college basketball has gotten a lot harder: the best players are less dependable.

So the 13 best college basketball players this season were in high school LY; how many of them already have one foot in the NBA, and could care less about college? Maybe all, maybe none, but it is probably in middle somewhere. You think Ben Simmons cared about making the NCAA’s last season?

Used to be that high-level teams with lot of juniors/seniors were teams to focus on; now those kids are suspects, not good enough to move up to the next level. The most talented teams are also the least mature.

9) Friend of mine sent me some message boards from Kentucky/Louisville fans Monday; damn, those people are harsh!!! Lot of negativity- their basketball teams are really good.

As another friend of mine likes to say, “We’re with you win or tie, but we’re not crazy about tie.”

8) Kyle Shanahan’s hiring in San Francisco makes the Shanahans the 7th father/son head coaching combo in the NFL; the other 6?


Shanahan, by the way, will have control of the 53-man roster.

7) NHL’s Boston Bruins fired coach Claude Julien, kind of a gutless day to do it, with the victory parade for the Patriots burying hockey news in Wednesday’s papers.

Julien was 419-246 as Bruins’ coach; he won the Stanley Cup in 2011, lost in Finals two years later. He didn’t suddenly get stupid; the front office has done a cruddy job and Julien is the fall guy for that. He won’t be out of work long, if he doesn’t want to be.

6) Guy named Sports Dude on Twitter (@GSWahooFalcons) grew up in Cleveland, was born in Atlanta, lives in Oakland. Roots for Indians-Warriors-Falcons. Been a rough year for the man.

5) There are rumors that UConn may bolt the AAC to go the Big East for basketball next year, if they can find a landing spot for their football program. What they really need are healthy players; the AAC is a good enough league.

4) Timing is everything in life: Baylor hired a new football coach, because of a sex scandal that was overlooked by the previous coaching staff- the new football coach brought a strength coach in with him from Temple. Baylor football is trying to start over and remake is image.

In the history of bad timing, with people screaming at Baylor over the behavior of its players, it wasn’t good when the strength coach got busted in a prostitution sting over the weekend. The guy got fired immediately, even though his charge was only a Class B misdemeanor. One of the most expensive Class B misdemeanors ever.

3) DeMarcus Cousins got his 15th/16th technical fouls of the season Monday night; he gets an automatic one-game suspension for Wednesday’s game with Boston. Very talented player, but Cousins hurts himself with outbursts of anger directed towards the officials.

2) Kind of funny listening to people whine about the overtime rules in the NFL, when they had no idea what the rules were until Sunday night. Some people just like to complain.

1— Surprising fact: over the last five years, Baltimore Orioles are winningest team in the American League- they’ve outplayed their preseason projections by 14 games a year during that time. Not sure what he makes, but Buck Showalter is underpaid.

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

13) Looking back on Sunday night’s Super Bowl you have to tip your hat to Tom Brady; he is a great leader who finds a way to win. He has a tremendous will to win and that is obviously very important. It is also difficult to measure beforehand.

The Scouting Combine is March 3-6; kids will run the 40, lift weights, do lot of measurable things that scouts will use to justify draft picks. There is no metric to measure heart or desire and until there is, scouting will continue to be an inexact science.

Brady? 6th round pick
Russell Wilson and Joe Montana? 3rd round picks
Kurt Warner? Wasn’t even drafted
Akili Smith, Ryan Leaf, Joey Harrington, JaMarcus Russell; all first round picks.

12) Is Brady the greatest QB ever? He is right up there with Elway-Marino-Montana-Fouts-Kelly, and his five Super Bowl rings are tops in the game. He is still going strong at age 39, so his resume isn’t complete yet. His WR’s have been some unusual guys; no Jerry Rice in the group, which makes him look even better.

11) As for the Falcons, they lost OC Kyle Shanahan to the 49ers, and now they have to pick up the pieces from the biggest collapse in NFL history. You look back on the past and it says teams who lose Super Bowls suffer a hangover— this hangover could also be the worst one yet.

I’m serious; only four teams in any NFL game ever have won after trailing by more than 25 points, and two of those were playoff games. This was the freakin’ Super Bowl.

Only four comebacks that were bigger than Super Bowl LI:
— 1/3/93— Oilers led 35-3, lost 41-38 in Buffalo (playoff game)
— 12/7/80— Saints led 35-7, lost 38-35 in San Francisco
— 1/4/14— Chiefs led 38-10, lost 45-44 in Indianapolis (playoff game)
— 9/21/97— Colts led 26-0, lost 37-35 in Buffalo

10) Pirates announced that Andrew McCutchen will move from center to right field this year, to improve the Pittsburgh defense.

9) Pitcher Jason Hammel gets $16M for two years from the Kansas City Royals.

8) Houston Rockets retired Yao Ming’s #11 last week; I’m thinking a lot of basketball fans in this country (myself included) don’t fully realize the impact Yao has had in promoting basketball around the world, especially in Asia. In other words, he helped make the Rockets and the NBA a freakin’ fortune.

7) Yogi Ferrell did so well on his 10-day contract with the Dallas Mavericks that they gave him a 2-year contract. He scored 30-something in Portland the other night, got paid the next day.

6) UTEP coach Tim Floyd’s first year as a head coach was 1986 at Idaho; his three assistant coaches that year were Larry Eustachy, now head coach at Colorado State, Kermit Davis, the head coach at Middle Tennessee State and Randy Bennett, the head coach at St Mary’s. Thats a really good coaching staff.

5) Oakland A’s are going to name the ballfield at the Oakland Coliseum “Rickey Henderson Field” to honor one of their great players who is also an Oakland native.


This is a great article written by Baxter Holmes about Luke Walton and how his love of basketball came to be as a young kid. Well worth your time to read.

3) Good to read no bad comments about Houston as a host city for the Super Bowl. Everyone said the same thing— they crushed it!!! If the media doesn’t complain, you know its good.

2) When the Cleveland Browns had their expansion draft in 1998, they passed on selecting a quarterback the Rams left unprotected. Bad move; guy was Kurt Warner, who is now a Hall of Famer. Warner backed up Tony Banks in ’98, which wasn’t a fun year. Nick Saban actually won a lot of games with Banks as his QB at Michigan State. Not easy.

1999 was more fun, a hell of a lot more fun.

1— First spring training baseball games are Friday, February 24. Things ramp up a little early this year because of the World Baseball Classic. Training camps open next week.

My running diary of Super Bowl LI……..

After an interminable pre-game show, they’re actually going to play the Super Bowl. Here are some of my thoughts as I watch the game……….
6:25— Luke Bryan cranks out the National Anthem in 2:04; if you bet the under, go cash your ticket.

6:30— There is a golf playoff going on at the Phoenix Open; Webb Simpson and Hideki Matsuyama. Good competition, but am I the only person watching this?

6:33— President George H Bush (41) is flipping the coin; no matter what your politics, have to have lot of respect for this man, who went skydiving on his 75th birthday. A great American and a very tough guy— he was shot down while flying as a Navy pilot in the war.

6:38— While Atlanta won the coin toss, Simpson just left the winning putt about an inch short, just like Matsuyama did on the 18th hole. The playoff continues but now no one is watching.

6:41— An argument for Brady as the all-time best QB is that New England rarely has had a great WR; Julian Edelman was a QB in college at Kent State.

6:42— Patriots go 3-and-out; this is where I mention that in six Super Bowls, Brady-led offenses have scored zero first quarter points.

6:45— Falcons get a long run but wind up punting, first time in nine games they didn’t score a TD on their opening drive.

6:53— Budweiser had the option to have the first commercial, but turned it down- their research says commercials are better off run later in the game. Google had the first commercial instead.

6:55— Hideki Matsuyama makes a pretty long putt, wins the Phoenix Open for the second year in a row, and I put my remote away for the next three hours.

5:08 left in first quarter, 0-0. That total of 59 looks pretty daunting right now.

7:05— Scoreless first quarter. Weird stat that Brady has put up zero first quarter points out in the first quarter of his seven Super Bowls, yet won four of the first six.

7:07— New England fumbles, Falcons recover at the Atlanta 29. America cheers.

7:16— Devonte Freeman scores the first TD of the game; Atlanta is running ball down New England’s throat. 12:15 left in the half. Falcons 7-nil. Atlanta is 9-1 this year when they score first.

Referee Gene Steratore worked the Nebraska-Iowa basketball game today; someday I hope he gets to work a Super Bowl.

Good Honda commercial with some famous people talking over their high school yearbook pictures. It would take an enormous amount of money for me to show anyone my senior picture from way back when. Uh uh, no thanks.

Oh by the way, Falcons’ center Alex Mack is playing this game with a broken leg. In an age where NBA players now routinely take “maintenance days” just to rest up, a guy is playing on the offensive line with a freakin’ broken leg.

7:21— I’m still an advocate of throwing long passes towards YOUR SIDELINE; think you get an extra interference call or two a game that way.

7:28— Austin Hooper catches a TD pass from Ryan and Kyle Shanahan’s agent is doing backflips, whoever/wherever he is. Young Shanahan’s price tag is going up by the second here. 14-0 Atlanta with 8:48 left in the half.

Roger Staubach/Hank Aaron both had birthdays today; couple of pretty good ballplayers.

7:32— Total yards so far: 189-111, Falcons. Joe Buck informs me that no team has won a Super Bowl after trailing by more than ten points. Thanks, Joe.

Falcons traded five draft picks to Cleveland so they could draft Julio Jones; none of those five players is still in the NFL.

7:38— New England is dying here, but refs have called two defensive holding penalties on Atlanta on this drive. Falcons have allowed 30+ points six times this year, although only once since Halloween. Their tackling so far has been tremendous.

Lady Gaga is wearing sunglasses in an indoor stadium. With the roof closed.

Three defensive holding penalties on this drive; where were these guys when the Rams played New England in the Super Bowl?

7:45— Robert Alford picks off a pass and scores an 82-yard TD for the Falcons. Wow. Arthur Blank is looking for people to high-5 in his box. Alford showboats for the last 20 yards but for the love of God, this is a shocking result. 21-nil Falcons.

One of Mr Blank’s sons is named Max. Max Blank; is that a tremendous name or what? You could imagine a movie with a private eye named Max Blank.

Atlanta’s defensive coordinator is Richard Smith, working for his 8th NFL team in 28 years. His heartbeat has to be pretty high right now; his defense is playing its ass off!!!!

One of the endless list of prop bets was over 49.5 yards for the longest touchdown of the game, so if you had over, go cash your ticket.

7:55— Is Tom Brady the only NFL quarterback who makes less money than his wife?

A ticket to the first Super Bowl cost $12. A souvenir soda at this Super Bowl costs $11.

8:02— Troy Aikman kills Josh McDaniels’ play selection after a screen pass on 3rd down falls flat. New England kicks a field goal and it is 21-3 Falcons at halftime. I am stunned.

Time to hit the mens’ room and get some food!!!!

They opened the roof for the halftime show; seems like a good time to see what is on other channels:
— ESPN has a 30 for 30 on Allen Iverson
— ESPNU has a Memphis-USF womens’ basketball game. Do people bet on this?
— ESPN2 has the Harlem Globetrotters playing on an outdoor court.
— FX1 has motorcycle racing.
— NBC Sports Network has curling on (China 6-3 over US at the half)
— CBS Sports Network has poker on; Phil Hellmuth is playing with an Aria hat on that I declined to buy when I stayed there in December. For what I spent there, they should’ve thrown in a free hat.

8:35— Falcon offense went 68 minutes between drives; they get the second half kickoff.

Teams leading the Super Bowl at halftime are 37-10 (three games were tied).

8:47— Neither team scored on their first drive of second half; now Martha Stewart is on a commercial with Snoop Dawg. Another $5M down the drain.

8:55- Atlanta scores another touchdown; Arthur Blank is dancing again. Falcons just seem like the faster team across the board. 28-3 Atlanta; can we see Robert Kraft? Please?????

Right on cue, FOX shows Kraft and his hideous son Jonathan, who mocked Colts GM Ryan Grigson after he was fired. I understand why he would enjoy Grigson getting canned, since he helped instigate DeflateGate, but be a bigger person and keep it to yourself.

9:00— I’m in my late 50’s; right now I’m thinking of someone who is my age who became a Falcons’ fan as a little kid and has lived/died with every game of theirs since then. They must be SO EXCITED and that clock must be going so slowly for them.

Meanwhile, the Falcons have a new domed stadium opening next year; pretty good time to be selling luxury boxes/PSL’s for the new ballpark, eh?

9:05— Brady just ran for 15 yards, winning somebody a prop bet on his rushing yardage.

9:07— New England scores on a TD pass to White; time-consuming drive, and now the score is only 28-9 as Gostkowski clanks the PAT off the right upright.

Caesar’s Palace offered a prop on: “Will a PAT/FG hit the goal post?” The line was -$600 and of the $20,250 wagered, $20,o00 of it was on “No”. Whoops.

Mike Pence is sitting with Texans’ owner Robert McNair; when he was watching the Super Bowl at this time last year, Mr Pence had zero idea how much his life would change in a year. It won’t happen, but what a book he’ll be able to write if he ever wanted to.

If you had 8-0 in a square pool, you just threw something; if you had 8-9, you’re damn happy.

9:10— Onside kick fails miserably. Falcons take over at New England’s 45 with 2:06 left in the third quarter. If you’re an Atlanta fan, that clock can’t move fast enough.

17 years ago, the Rams led Tennessee 16-0 in the third quarter; a game that seemed over soon got very dicey. That freakin’ clock went so slow. Atlanta fans are not resting easily yet.

9:18— Third quarter is over. 28-9 Atlanta.

9:20— Arizona CB Tyrann Mathieu just tweeted this: “NE should have played Mike Floyd. They have no deep threats… ATL LBs too good. They aren’t any mis matches”

In NFL history, teams leading by 19+ points after third quarter in playoff games are 94-0.

9:27— New England is driving again, but Grady Jarrett (#97 on the Falcons) is having a big game; he has just tossed a few guys out of his way tonight. If you’re thinking (too early) about an MVP for this game, Jarrett deserves consideration.

Jarrett’s dad, by the way, is former Falcon linebacker Jesse Tuggle.

9:29— Patriots kick a field goal; game is 28-12 Atlanta with 9:44 left. If you’re a Falcon fan, that damn clock needs to start moving a little faster. Couple of first downs wouldn’t hurt, either.

Ryan is 7-7 for 121 yards on passes thrown in the middle third of the field. Atlanta’s offense has done very little in this game, but they have run the ball for 6.8 yards/attempt.

9:38— Ryan is sacked/fumbles and New England recovers on the Atlanta 25; if you’re a lifelong Falcon fan, your blood pressure just went up. A lot. This will be the longest hour of your life.

Random baseball stat that I just saw on Twitter: Claudell Washington struck out 39 times against Nolan Ryan, the most of any player ever.

9:40— Danny Amendola just caught a TD pass from Brady and the score is 28-20 with 5:56 left. When Amendola played for the Rams, he got hurt on every other play. Now he’s Cal Ripken.

I’ve lived through a game just like this; if you’re an avid Falcon fan, life is standing still right now; you’re ignoring the commercials and praying for Ryan to hit Julio Jones a couple times. Nothing else matters; you’re not hungry, Arthur Blank isn’t dancing anymore and your team that has never won a Super Bowl is desperately holding on.

9:45— Ryan hits Freeman for a big gain and Atlanta has the ball at midfield. Clock is under 5:00 but one of the Atlanta linemenn just got hurt.

9:49— Julio Jones just made a great catch!!! Fantastic!!! First down and Atlanta is in field goal range. Clock is at 4:40, the ball is on the 22 and those five draft picks the Falcons traded to the Browns so they could draft Jones seems like a mere pittance.

9:53— Good God. The Falcons implode, wind up with a 4th-and-33 near midfield; they’re punting with 3:38 left and New England has two timeouts left.

I’m guessing this is getting big TV ratings.

10:00— Julian Edelman just made a great catch on a deflected pass; Atlanta wasted their last challenge— they’ll lose it. That catch will go down in history as a great play but by God Atlanta, make a play!!!!

10:02— New England is inside the Atlanta 25 and Falcon fans are promising to give up any bad habits they might have if just this one time, their team can win. Even if the Patriots score a TD, they need the 2-point conversion to tie the score.

How hard is Roger Goodell rooting for the Falcons right now?

10:06— White scores another TD. 28-26. High drama. Patriots have to go for 2- they make it, so now a game that was 28-9 after three quarters is 28-28. Kraft and his creepy son are hugging in their box. Aikman just called Brady the best QB ever. I have empathy for loyal Falcon fans.

0:57 left, the Falcons have no timeouts; if you bet the over, the only way you can lose in on a safety. If you took three points or money-lined Atlanta, you’re queasy.

10:10— I saw an article this week that said if the Patriots win 31-28, Vegas sports books would be refunding tickets for a week— so many wagers would be pushed.

10:14— First overtime in Super Bowl history. 28-28. FOX executives have to be thrilled.

10:18— Patriots are -$165 in OT; Atlanta is +$145. New England has the ball first.

During the week, odds on there being overtime was +$525.

10:23— Pass interference on Atlanta; ball is on the 2-yard line. TD wins the game; if they kick a FG, Falcons will get the ball for one possession.

10:24— New England scores, the Patriots win 34-28 and my condolences to Falcon fans.

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

13)  Oregon 85, Arizona 58— It isn’t that the Ducks won, its that they led 36-11, and then it got a lot worse for the Wildcats, who had won 15 games in a row coming in. Ugly game. Oregon made 16-25 3’s- they made 10 of their first 13 behind the arc.

12) Florida 88, Kentucky 66— Rick Barry’s son Canyon is Florida’s 6th man; he’s made 30 free throws in a row, and he shoots underhanded, like his Hall of Fame father did.

Dwight Howard has missed 3,492 foul shots in his career (56.8%) yet he’s never tried shooting them underhanded— he makes $23M a year. Oy.

11) Bad Beat of the Year/Decade/Century?— VCU led by a hoop at St Bonaventure but Bonnies hit a 3-pointer with 0:00.5 left, giving them a 1-point lead. VCU was favored by a point, so if you bet on St Bonaventure, you just won your bet right? Um, not so fast.

Nitwit students stormed the court, thinking the game was over and the Bonnies had won. It wasn’t over and they hadn’t won yet. Refs called a technical foul, VCU made the foul shot and the game went to overtime.

VCU won by 6 in overtime. Very tough loss for the home side.

10) Very upsetting day in the Big X:
Iowa State (+11) won 92-89 in OT at Kansas.
Kansas State (+8.5) won 56-54 at Baylor.
Oklahoma State (+11) won 82-75 at West Virginia.

9) Game of the Day: Eastern Washington 130, Portland State 124, in triple OT. Eagles led by 16 early in second half, before things got crazy.

EWU had two players score 45 points each, first time in eight years that any D-I college team had two kids score 40+ points in same game.

8) Syracuse 66, Virginia 62— Cavaliers were up 12 at the half, but scored only 28 points in second half as Orangemen improved to 6-0 at home in the ACC.

7) Ohio 85, Akron 70— Zips lost their first MAC game of season (9-1); they also had two kids wear one white sneaker, one dark blue sneaker in this game. Interesting fashion statement.

6) Rutgers 70, Penn State 68— Scarlet Knights are now 1-23 in Big 14 road games since joining the league.

5) St Mary’s 71, San Diego 27— Yikes. Toreros were down 32-9 at the half- they were 3-2o for the game, INSIDE the arc. Just a horrible performance.

4) Texas El-Paso 57, Middle Tennessee 54— Miners were an 11-point underdog but pulled the upset; UTEP has now won six of last seven games after starting the season 2-13. Tim Floyd can really coach- in their last four games, UTEP won as underdogs of 8/14/5.5/11 points.

3) Green Bay 86, Valparaiso 69— Upset win puts the Phoenix only a half-game out of first place in the Horizon League.

2) Yale-Cornell game was suspended until Sunday with the score 2-0 due to a power outage in Ithaca.

1— Virginia, Kansas, Middle Tennessee, Wm & Mary, Tennessee, Oral Roberts; they all had double digit halftime leads Saturday- they all lost. Its been an odd season- I can’t get a handle on it yet. Teams are incredibly erratic.

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

13) As I write this, Treasure Island is only sports book in Las Vegas that has the Falcons +3.5 for the Super Bowl; apparently they feel strongly about New England covering.

12) Atlanta scored a TD on the first drive of its last eight games; hard to do.

Odd stat: In Brady’s six Super Bowls, New England scored zero first quarter points.

11) JJ Watt, Jordy Nelson and Antonio Brown are all NFL stars; they were also all walk-ons to their college football teams.

10) Colts’ punter Pat McAfee retired at age 29; he’s had three knee operations in last four years, and could need more later on. McAfee is going to try and become a professional comedian. Seriously.

9) College of Charleston’s women basketball team lost two wins after it was discovered they used men’s basketballs during two recent games.

Men’s basketballs are larger than ones used in women’s games; players on other teams complained, but the refs said the balls were legit. Refs should be disciplined, too.

8) Ten kids from Bishop Gorman HS in Las Vegas got D-I football scholarships this week. Must’ve been a damn good high school team.

7) Ever hear of Hitch Moore or Doyeob Mun? Nah, me either.

Moore is the #665-ranked golfer in the world; Mun is #667.

Eldrick Woods is ranked #666.

6) So I turn the Golf Channel on at 2:30am Thursday night to watch Eldrick Woods hack around the course at Dubai; at 2:32 they announce he withdrew. Did he get an appearance fee to go over there and if so, does he have to give part/all of it back?

5) Interesting conversation Friday afternoon on The Golf Channel with David Duval from the Phoenix Open, talking about what it is like when a great golfer loses his swing. Tough to imagine a champion golfer losing his confidence, but that is what Duval says happened to him. He stood on the tee and didn’t know if the ball was going to go 60 yards right or 70 yards left. Eye-opening stuff.

4) They were also telling a story about Jon Rahm, who got a golf scholarship to Arizona State, but when he got to Tempe, he didn’t know any English.

How the bleep do you get accepted into Arizona State (or any college in this country) if you don’t understand English? Had to be so difficult for him early on; can’t imagine living in an environment where I didn’t know the language.

Rahm made $1,004,035 on the PGA Tour last year, has already made more than that this season, so things are going well for him.

3) Notre Dame’s basketball team didn’t travel to North Carolina Friday, due to a water main break in the Chapel Hill area. Game was postponed, will now be played Sunday at 1:00 in Greensboro, instead of Saturday night at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill.

2) They had the ribbon cutting for the new VSIN radio studio in Las Vegas Friday, at the South Point Casino. Brent Musburger arrived on a stagecoach pulled by the Budweiser Clydesdales.

Looking forward to my next adventure in Las Vegas; as luck would have it, I’ll be at South Point.

1— I had forgotten about Dan Quayle, former Vice-President. He was honored at the Phoenix Open this weekend, becoming an honorary Thunderbird, a group that does a lot of charity stuff in the Phoenix area. Somehow his dad and son were already Thunderbirds but the former Vice-President wasn’t.

Random fact: While he was VP, Quayle visited 47 different countries.

Friday’s List of 13: College basketball thoughts

Thursday night’s card of college basketball wasn’t a good set of games. Here is some info from both Wednesday/Thursday’s college hoop games.

Late Update:
Most of Thursday’s best action was after midnight:
— UTEP 63, UAB 59— Other than Middle Tennessee State, C-USA isn’t very good.
— Cal Poly 74, Cal-Davis 70— Fairly big upset in the Big West.
— Oregon 71, Arizona State 70— Sun Devils played their hearts out, came up little short.
— St Mary’s 74, Pacific 70— Gaels got up 17 fairly early, then let gritty Pacific back in it.
— California 77, Utah 75, 2OT’s— Utah didn’t score in last 3:26 of regulation.
— Gonzaga 85, BYU 75— Zags remain undefeated; they’re 23-0, and haven’t trailed once in their last 13 games.

13) Belmont 81, Murray State 69— Bruins are now 11-0 in OVC; this was Rick Byrd’s first win at Murray State- tough place to play. Going forward, Belmont still has to win OVC tourney to get into the NCAA’s, so there will be pressure on them in the conference tournament, even though they’re unbeaten in league play.

12) TCU 86, Kansas State 80 OT— Horned Frogs are 4-5 in Big X, which doesn’t seem like much, until you realize that TCU was 8-64 in conference games the last four years. Jamie Dixon is in the chase for National Coach of the Year.

11) VCU 81, Richmond 74— This is a crosstown rivalry that is fun to watch; Spiders have closed the gap with VCU this year in terms of athleticism, but Spiders’ bounciest guys are freshmen. Rematch is February 17, a Friday night with no NBA games that night. Good TV exposure.

10) Florida 93, Missouri 54— Mizzou is awful, just a terrible team. Let me be the first person to promote NC-Wilmington coach Kevin Keatts for the Missouri job. He is a Pitino protege, and he has built UNCW up into a CAA power in only three years. Tigers need a new direction.

9) Charleston 67, NC-Wilmington 66- Speaking of which, Keatts’ Seahawks got beat last night, are now tied for first in CAA with Charleston.

8) Arizona 71, Oregon State 54— Beavers led by a hoop at halftime, but then reality set in. Sean Miller signed a contract extension thru 2022 this week, a reward for the great job he’s done this season. Oregon State needs to get healthier and more experienced.

7) Mike Krzyzewski will be back on the bench for Duke Saturday when the Blue Devils host the skidding Pitt Panthers. Duke was 4-3 in his absence.

6) Indiana 110, Penn State 102 3OT’s— You lose in triple OT and shoot 17-29 on foul line, you have no one to blame but yourself.

5) USC 82, Washington 74— Huskies ended first half on 15-0 run, led by 10 at half, but Trojans had solid comeback— this was an uplifting win for them. Washington is where LSU was LY; they have a great freshman but their team stinks and Fultz will be in the NBA at this time next season.

4) Syracuse 100, NC State 93 OT— John Gillon was 9-10 on arc, 14-14 on foul line; how good would Colorado State be if they had him this year? Gillon has 56 points in his last two games, going 27-28 on the charity stripe.

Gillon is on his third college, by the way; he played a year at Little Rock, two at Colorado State and now Syracuse. You have to wonder about guys like that- do they just bolt at the first sign of adversity? Katin Reinhardt is also a 3-school guy, playing for Marquette this season, after playing for UNLV/USC.

3) Kansas 73, Baylor 68— Game was 64-all with 2:40 left; Baylor is better than people think. Jayhawks are very hard to beat at home.

2) Game of the Night: Towson 104, Drexel 103, 2OT’s— Towson was 37-50 on the foul line; Davis had 19 points, 17 rebounds in 34 minutes and he didn’t start.

1— Nebraska retired Cavaliers’ coach Tyronn Lue’s #10 jersey at halftime of their game with Michigan State last night. Last 12 months have been pretty good for coach Lue.

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

13) Must admit, I watched some of the National Signing Day stuff on TV Wednesday and it is interesting, because the teams with the best players win, but when did self promotion become such a big deal? Have people (kids/parents alike) become such attention junkies that there has to be a news conference to announce where you’re going to college?

One kid had a Florida t-shirt on over a Florida State shirt over a USC shirt; it was like watching the old game show To Tell the Truth to see where he was going to college by what shirt was showing when he finally stopped undressing.

12) As one coach wrote in an article a few years back, “You have to recruit like hell to get them, but then when you get them, then you have to de-program them.” Most college football players sit out as redshirts their first year, they just practice and get more physically mature, so the kids we saw sign today, most of them won’t see game action until 2018.

11) This year in the NFL, 48 QB’s threw 50+ passes; New England faced only two of the top 15 in passer rating this season, Matt Moore (Miami’s backup) and Ben Roethlisberger.

10) Michael Bidwill, president of the Arizona Cardinals, was once a federal prosecutor for six years.

9) Julian Javier was a 2B for the St Louis Cardinals in the 60’s/early 70’s; decent player. He had a career batting mark of 2-16 against Nolan Ryan, which doesn’t sound like much until you realize that his 16 AB’s vs Ryan, with no strikeouts, are the most AB’s by any player EVER against Ryan with no strikeouts.

Javier’s son Stan won a World Series ring as an OF with the ’89 A’s.

8) Nevada sportsbooks made $219.1M last year, their 3rd-best year ever, but 5.4% down from LY.

7) Raiders-Patriots will be playing a regular season game in Mexico City next season.

6) Irony; back in 1998, it looked like the Patriots were moving to Hartford, CT, but one of the main people involved in getting them a new stadium in Foxboro was an NFL employee not too many football fans knew about back then. Without this guy, the Patriots would be in the Nutmeg State.

That guy was Roger Goodell.

5) Sitting court side at the Mississippi State-Ole Miss Tuesday night? The great actor Morgan Freeman, who apparently goes to a lot of Ole Miss games.

4) Alabama signed two QB’s Wednesday; they just came thisclose to winning a national title with a freshman QB playing the whole season. Granted the incumbent QB isn’t a good passer yet, but he is a leader and he won a lot of games this year- why would a top prospect go there, when you know pretty much you might not start until 2020?

The incumbent QB sure as hell won’t be going to the NFL early, so the new kids will have to beat him out. Good luck there.

3) Colorado’s football coaches were sitting around a big table in their conference room, when this young lady comes sprinting into the room with a signed NLI in her hand— she gives it to Coach MacIntyre and he hi-5’s her and she sprints out. She had an Olympic medal around her neck.

Turns out the young lady won a bronze medal in track at the Olympics; pretty good gimmick for the Buffaloes on live TV.

2) Clemson’s new football facility opened the day before Signing Day, complete with a bowling alley, a barber shop and a nap area that resembles sleeping cars you see on a train.

1— One poor kid wanted to go to Alabama; he verbally committed, but the school doesn’t have a scholarship for him, so he is in limbo and may “grayshirt” which means he does nothing next fall, enters Alabama in January of 2018  and is a freshman-eligibility wise in the fall of 2018.

I would advise a recruit to “go where you are wanted” and it doesn’t sound like Alabama wants this kid that much. Hope things work out for him.

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

13) In mid-September, the Atlanta Falcons were 100-1 to win the Super Bowl.

12) Matt Ryan was the 25th-rated QB in the high school class of 2003. One of the QB’s ranked ahead of him was Clayton Richard, who pitched for the Cubs/Padres last year- he’s spent eight years in the major leagues. Richard was a backup QB at Michigan for a while in college.

11) Speaking of the Padres, they’ll be paying a lot of money this season to BJ Upton, James Shields and Hector Olivera, none of whom are Padres anymore.

No one on the current San Diego roster will earn as much money as any of those three guys this year.

10) St Louis Cardinals’ first pick in the June amateur draft will be the 94th pick in the draft.

9) ESPN hired David Ross (baseball), Rex Ryan (NFL) as analysts. Ryan should be TV gold, unless he wants to coach again and watches his words, which has never happened before.

8) Barclays Center in Brooklyn is booting the NHL’s Islanders out, saying they could make more money if they just had concerts and the Nets there.

Where will the Islanders go? Here is a novel idea: how about moving the team to Canada, where I’m told that hockey is very popular? Quebec City, Hamilton, Saskatoon; I’m sure they would all love to have an NHL franchise of their own.

7) Take the Power 6 college basketball conferences (ACC, Big X, Big 14, SEC, Pac-12, Big East); this year, those teams are averaging 73.3 pts/game, compared to 71.7 LY and 66.2 the year before, so thats a good trend.

Imagine if they let refs call continuation on drives to the basket; would increase scoring even more.

6) In 1992, the Florida Marlins drafted a pitcher from Stanford in the 2nd round, kid named John Lynch— he pitched two years in the NY-Penn League, then dedicated himself to football, where he was a great player. Now Lynch is the GM of the 49ers, despite having no experience in the front office. Will be interesting to see how he does.

I’ll say this: as a Ram fan, I can’t root for Lynch to succeed, but he’ll be missed on TV. He was smart and fair and teamed up well with FOX’s Kevin Burkhardt.

5) There have been 94 Kentucky players who played in the NBA, 88 from UCLA; they were talking about that on the Memphis-Phoenix NBA game Monday night.

4) Northwestern is going to make the NCAA’s this year for the first time; one of their best players is Bryant McIntosh, who is from Greensburg, IN. He was saying last week how Indiana Hoosiers recruit nationally more than they do in Indiana, so they weren’t so interested in him, but now he is helping put the Wildcats on the national map for the first time. Good for him.

3) You look at Gonzaga as a #1 seed that has never been to a Final Four; they’ll be the #1 seed out west if they wind up as a #1— now you look at Bracketology to see who they could possibly face in a second round game, just to get to the Sweet 16. They’ll have lot of pressure on them.

Here are the 8-9 seed matchups that ESPN has up right now; I know it is still early, but it gives you a little bit of an idea what could be ahead for Gonzaga.

USC-Indiana…..Marquette-Arkansas……Va Tech-Kansas State…….Michigan St-Dayton

Wow, being a #1 seed and playing a Michigan St-Dayton winner would be a really hard second round game. We’re 5.5 weeks away from all that, but it is food for thought.

2) Carroll Hardy played eight years in the majors, from 1958-67; he hit .225 with 17 career HR’s. His claim to fame is that he is the only player who ever pinch-hit for Ted Williams.

Hardy also played 10 games for the 49ers in 1955; he caught 12 passes, four for TD’s. After his playing days, he became player personnel director for the Denver Broncos in the 70’s. Interesting career.

1— Next four Super Bowl sites: Minnesota-Atlanta-Miami-Los Angeles, with three of those four coming in very new stadiums. Wonder if there will be a Super Bowl in Las Vegas someday.

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

13) St Louis Cardinals have to send the Astros $2M and two draft picks as payment for the hacking scandal that saw one of their employees hit with criminal charges.

12) Kid named Mathias on Purdue makes 49% (49-100) of his 3-pointers, a superior shooter. Was very frustrating watching the Boilermakers play at Nebraska Sunday and the kid who is guarding Mathias would leave him to help out on dribble penetration. No!!!!!

A 49% 3-point shooter is like a 73.5% 2-point shooter; you never leave a guy like that, but the old school “help defense” school of thinking says you should. No bueno. Mathias had 19 points but Nebraska pulled the upset anyway. Never leave a great 3-point shooter.

11) These teams had the most turnovers in any college hoop game this season: Manhattan 40, Western Carolina 34, New Hampshire 34.

The common thread of those three games? They all came against West Virginia.

10) Joel Embiid played less than one year (23 games) in college at Kansas, scoring 11.2 pts/game in 23.2 mpg; he then missed two full seasons because of injury. Now he has emerged as a force in the NBA, scoring 20.3 pts/game in 25.4 mpg in 31 games for the 76ers.

Both very impressive and very surprising.

9) Kenny Smith took a night off from the TNT studios last week and the result was a great debate between Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal on whether the Cavaliers need more help to defend their championship. Good spirited debate; less people makes for better TV.

8) Employees at the Albany Times-Union, the main newspaper in my hometown, haven’t had a raise in 3,376 days, or 9.25 years. Long time.

7) What four colleges have the most players in this year’s Super Bowl?

Alabama, LSU, Stanford aren’t surprising, but Rutgers having four guys in it is.

6) FOX Sports’ Steve Lavin compared Utah hoop coach Larry Krystkowiak’s coaching style to Robert Duvall in The Great Santini, where Duvall was a military parent who used tough love in raising his kids. Lavin is great with movie references but not sure that was a compliment.

5) If you care about such things, Eastern Washington is 8-1 vs spread in Big Sky games this season.

4) Someone on MLB Network was touting Dwight Evans as a Hall of Fame over the weekend; ugh. Evans is like Keith Hernandez; an outstanding defensive player who wasn’t a great player, but was a really, really good player on very good teams. I’d vote Hernandez for the HOF before I’d vote for Evans and I wouldn’t vote for Hernandez.

3) More bad injury news from the Big East: Xavier loses PG Edmond Sumner for the season with a torn ACL, joining Creighton’s Maurice Watson on the sidelines with a knee injury.

2) This is a quote in the Blue Ribbon Basketball Yearbook, a preseason hoop guide, from Arizona coach Sean Miller:

“Allonzo Trier has been in the gym more this summer than some guys who consider themselves hard workers would’ve done over two summers………..his body, his waist, his body fat— he looks like a different person and that’s through hard work. It is an obsession for him to become a great player and it’s so fun to be around him because he is maturing.”

Consider then, that Trier was later declared ineligible for most of the season due to having PED’s in his system. Maybe he really did get in a car accident and maybe a relative did give him PED’s to recover, but in today’s world, it isn’t difficult to be cynical.

1— Speaking of Arizona, the road team is 9-0-2 vs spread in Arizona’s Pac-12 games so far this season. With Trier eligible again, the Wildcats are going to be a fashionable Final Four pick.

NHL teams’ records on back end of back/back games

NHL teams’ records on the second night of back/back games:

Anaheim Ducks 3-6……….Arizona Coyotes 2-6
Boston Bruins 1-7…………Buffalo Sabres 3-5
Calgary Flames 3-7……….Carolina Hurricanes 6-4
Chicago Blackhawks 6-3…Colorado Avalanche 3-2
Columbus Blue Jackets 6-5……Dallas Stars 2-4
Detroit Red Wings 3-3…….Edmonton Oilers 3-3
Florida Panthers 4-6………Los Angeles Kings 4-4
Minnesota Wild 4-3………..Montreal Canadiens 6-4
Nashville Predators 3-4…..New Jersey Devils 6-5
New York Islanders 1-6……New York Rangers 8-1
Ottawa Senators 5-2………Philadelphia Flyers 8-5
Pittsburgh Penguins 4-5…..St Louis Blues 5-2
San Jose Sharks 6-3………Tampa Bay Lightning 1-8
Toronto Maple Leafs 2-7…..Vancouver Canucks 4-7
Washington Capitals 2-5…..Winnipeg Jets 4-5

Monday’s List of 13: More Super Bowl prop bets……

More prop bets for this weekend’s Super Bowl from the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas:
13) Distance of first made field goal of game:
over 34.5 yards, -$130, under 34.5 yards, +$110

12) Total touchdowns by both teams:
over 6.5, -$150, under +$130

11) Largest lead of the game by either team:
over 16.5 points, -$130, under 16.5 points, +$110

10) Will the team that scores first win the game? yes, -$175, no +$155

9) Will there be a TD scored by the defense or special teams?
yes, +$145, no -$165

8) Which team will score last? Patriots -$130, Falcons +$110

7) Will there be a lead change in 4th quarter? yes +330, no -$400

6) Total passing yards for Tom Brady:
over 300.5 yards, -$110, under 300.5 yards, -$110

5) Total passing yards for Matt Ryan:
over 320.5 yards, -$110, under 320.5 yards, -$110

4) Total receiving yards by Julian Edelman:
over 100.5 yards, -$110, under 100.5 yards, -$110

3) Total points scored by the Falcons:
over 28, -$110, under 28, -$110

2) Total first downs by New England: over 23.5, -$110, under 23.5, -$110

1— What will happen first?
Falcons score, -$135, Falcons punt, +$115

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

13) Kansas 79, Kentucky 73— Michael Buffer announced the starting lineups, but Jayhawks KO’d the home team, handing Kentucky its second loss in a row.

12) Miami 77, North Carolina 62— Tar Heels jumped out to an 11-2 lead, then got their butts kicked by a Miami team that had been struggling the last couple of weeks. Playing Thursday, then again at 1pm on Saturday is an issue for college teams.

11) Duke 85, Wake Forest 83— Kennard scored 34 points, 30 in the second half, as Duke tore the Demon Deacons’ hearts out with a late comeback. Before scoring the GW basket, Duke’s last lead was 18-17- Wake Forest led by 10 at the half.

Danny Manning has his work cut out for him, pasting back together his team’s psyche; this was the first home sellout in eight years for Wake Forest- they went all-in and then had the game taken away from them. Curious to see how a young team responds to that.

10) Georgia Tech 62, Notre Dame 60— Yellow Jackets are 5-4 in ACC; they were picked to finish last by EVERYBODY. Assistant coach Eric Reveno has worked wonders with Lammers, the big kid inside— he’s been a force for Tech.

9) Wisconsin 61, Rutgers 54 OT— Scarlet Knights led by 9 with 3:15 left at Madison Square Garden, had an upset in their reach, but let it slip away.

8) San Diego 68, Portland 50— Cameron Neubauer is a sturdy forward for the Toreros, a very effective player— his grandfather Bob Fry was an offensive lineman in the NFL for 10 years, with the Rams/Cowboys, after he played for Bear Bryant at Kentucky.

San Diego is a well-coached team that needs another player or two so it has enough depth to compete with the big boys in the WCC.

7) Warriors 144, Clippers 98— Not exactly what ESPN had in mind for Saturday night entertainment. Who would watch this?

6) Upsets of the Day:
— UTEP (+15.5) 91, Marshall 68— Miners scored 91 points despite going 1-9 on the arc; Tim Floyd was an NBA coach- he’s very good. UTEP won four of its last five games after a rough start to the season.
— Georgetown (+11.5) 85, Butler 81
— Auburn (+9) 88, TCU 80
— Northern Arizona (+9) 68, North Dakota 67

5) Maryland 85, Minnesota 78— Terps are now 11-1 this season in games decided by 8 or less points. Minnesota lost its poise in last couple of minutes; they’ve lost five games in a row after a 15-2 start, with last four losses all by 7 or less points.

4) Wm & Mary 96, NC-Wilmington 78— First CAA loss for the Seahawks, who beat W&M by 24 in their first meeting this season.

3) Cal-Davis 74, Cal-Irvine 65— Home team was 35-46 on the foul line; road team was 11-16. Coach of the road team wasn’t happy. Irvine has a very young team; they’re going to be very good in the Big West next year and the year after.

2) Colorado 74, Oregon 65— Huge win for Buffs, who started season 0-7 in Pac-12 but won couple of home games this week. Loss was first for Oregon since mid-November.

1— Central Michigan 105, Kent State 98 OT— Chippewas are unusual; their two best scorers are both 5-9 guards, so they play fast. CMU was 14-36 on the arc; their two guards combined to score 67 points in a game Kent led by 5 at the half.