— Armadillo World HQ had a small crisis Thursday; my modem crashed, which meant no Internet, no TV (I have YouTube TV now). After over an hour on the phone with Spectrum customer service, I dashed off to the Spectrum store in the mall near my house, and after 3.5 hours of chaos, I had a new modem, Internet service and things were good again.
Kudos to the Spectrum people for good customer service, and for restoring my sanity.
— NFL named this year’s Hall of Famers:
Happy for Don Coryell, whose offenses changed the game; very disappointed that Torry Holt didn’t get in, but no receivers got in this year. Holt will get into the HOF, hopefully soon.
With Klecko/Revis getting in, have to think Jets are playing in the Hall of Fame Game.
— Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are making a movie dealing Nike’s pursuit of Michael Jordan; Affleck is playing Phil Knight, which is fine. Damon is playing Sonny Vaccaro, which is going to be hard to process.
Vaccaro kind of looks like Jerry Tarkanian did, a balding older guy who looked nothing like any movie star, except Joe Pesci.
— San Diego Padres signed P Yu Darvish to a 6-year, $108M contract extension. Ownership in San Diego is serious about winning.
— Only 82 college football players declared to leave school early for the NFL Draft, down 40% from only three years ago; are NIL payments keeping players in college longer?
— They played the semi-finals of the Caribbean Baseball Series Thursday:
Dominican Republic 8, Mexico 3
Venezuela 7, Colombia 5
Robinson Cano bats second for the DR squad; they play the host team Venezuela for the title Friday night at 6:30 on ESPN+.
— NBA trade deadline passed Thursday afternoon; it is smart that they have their All-Star break the week after the trade deadline, giving teams and coaches time to regroup after re-shuffling their rosters.
An anonymous league executive called Russell Westbrook “a locker room vampire” which is a pretty big indictment of him. Having talented players is important, but cohesiveness is also a big deal. I’ve never associated vampires with good chemistry.
San Antonio Spurs are having their 4th straight losing season; they’re 14-41 this year. At what point is it time to move on from Gregg Popovich? He is 74 years old, his team shows very little chance for improvement in the near future.
Golden State traded C James Wiseman to Detroit; they got Kevin Knox and five 2nd round draft picks in return. Warriors also acquired Gary Payton in exchange for five 2nd round picks.
2nd round draft picks got shuffled around like beaded necklaces during Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Popped into my head that Manu Ginobili was a 2nd round pick— he turned out OK.
— Oklahoma/Texas are going to play one more season in the Big X, before they bolt for the bigger bucks of the SEC.
There are rumors that the Pac-12 is looking to add SMU, because SMU is in Dallas, which has a big TV market. You figure San Diego State would also join the Pac-12; would they poach Boise State and UNLV too?
— Way back when ESPN first started, one of the first conferences to let ESPN air their games was the Sun Belt. Was watching Louisiana-Southern Miss Thursday night; pretty good league, good guards. ESPN should give the league one game a week on ESPNU or ESPN2.
— Oral Roberts 95, St Thomas 88— Tommies were up 10 in first half; they made 16-39 on arc, but fall to 16-11, 7-7 in Summit League, while Oral Roberts is 13-0 in conference play. ORU is starting four seniors and a junior; they’re probably going to win a game in the NCAA tourney.
— Purdue 87, Iowa 73— 7-foot-4 Zach Edey only took 7 shots for Purdue; they’re going to have a game in NCAA’s where they’re struggling and they’re going to need someone to point out that Edey needs to assert himself, because he is 7-4 and can be unstoppable, when he puts his mind to it. He’s a good kid; would he speak up when the time comes?
It wouldn’t make Edey selfish; it would be Edey doing his job, being a dominant freakin’ player when that is what his team is going to need to get through a difficult game.
— North Texas 82, UAB 79, 2OT— Fierce struggle between evenly-matched league rivals; UNT was 23-25 on foul line, UAB 5-10, Referees let the kids play in this game, which understates how much they swallowed their whistles. As the season goes on and on, players will need to play through contact more and more.
— LMU 78, Saint Mary’s 74 OT— Gaels jumped out to a 16-0 lead; they led by 5 with 0:45 left in regulation, but lost this road game, right after they had beaten Gonzaga and opened a 2-game lead in WCC. LMU made 10-19 on the arc; they’ve won five of their last seven games.
— UCSB 75, Long Beach State 72— UCSB starts four seniors; Long Beach doesn’t play any seniors. Santa Barbara shot 59.5% inside arc; they trailed by 5 early in second half- they lead Cal-Irvine by a game atop the Big West standings.
— Our update on college basketball referee John Higgins:
January 24— Penn State @ Rutgers
January 25— Utah State @ San Diego State— Long plane ride for a back/back
January 26— Utah @ Oregon State
January 28— California @ Stanford
January 29— Michigan State @ Purdue— Day game after long plane ride.
January 30— Baylor @ Texas
January 31— Kansas State @ Kansas
February 1— Northern Iowa @ Drake- A double overtime game!!! Eight games in nine nights, and a double overtime game on the 9th night.
February 2— Wisconsin @ Ohio State— Ohio State coach Holtmann was ejected with 0:27 left in first half, after a charging call. Buckeyes have lost eight of their last nine games; tensions are running high.
February 4— Oklahoma @ West Virginia
February 5— Penn State @ Nebraska
February 7— Nevada @ New Mexico
February 8— San Diego State @ Utah State
February 9— USC at Oregon
He’s worked 14 games in 17 days, 69 games since November 7, which is 69 games in 96 days. He is 54-years old.