Monday’s Den: Wrapping up a busy weekend…….

— March Madness starts tonight, when the Atlantic Sun tournament tips off with a couple of games. Three other conferences start their tournaments Tuesday. One of the best times of the year; the next two weeks will be full of conference tournament games, with the Field of 68 announced March 17.

— March 2010, I’m at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for the NCAA Tournament; excellent sportsbook there. I’m watching a second round game with Northern Iowa-Kansas; there were lot of Jayhawk fans around- they were a #1-seed, with high expectations.

Early in the game, before the second TV timeout, kid on Northern Iowa makes a basket, and three young guys sitting next to me start hugging each other. I ask one of them if the kid who scored the basket was their brother or something…….

“No, they got to 15 first!!! We had Northern Iowa to be the first team to 15!!!”

This was the first NCAA Tournament I had seen in Las Vegas, I had no idea you could bet on which team got to 15 points first.

You learn something new every day.

— Memphis 106, UAB 87
UAB led this game 61-46…….at halftime.
Memphis was +9 in turnovers; they scored 1.39 points/possession.
Tigers have won seven of their last nine games.

— Indiana State 89, Murray State 77
Sycamores win MVC regular season title for first time since 2000.
Indiana State is shooting 62.1% inside arc, #2 in country.
Indiana State is #359 in bench minutes; could be tough for them in MVC tournament when they have to win three games in three days to win the title.

— Drake 74, Bradley 66
Darian DeVries has been Drake’s coach for six years; Bulldogs are 147-54 under DeVries, 79-33 in MVC games, with two NCAA appearances.

Drake’s best player is Tucker DeVries, the coach’s son, who is a junior; will he come back for his senior season, and if not, will his dad bolt for a job in a bigger conference? 

— Indiana 83, Maryland 78
Hoosiers trailed 51-35 early in the second half.
Indiana shot 61.9% inside the arc.
Maryland lost seven of its last nine games.

Movie of the Day: The Client (1994)- A young boy who witnessed the suicide of a mafia lawyer hires an attorney to protect him when the District Attorney tries to use him to take down a mob family.

Great cast; Susan Sarandon becomes the boy’s lawyer, Tommy Lee Jones is the District Attorney, Anthony LaPaglia is a mobster.

William H Macy, Mary Louise Parker, JT Walsh Anthony Edwards and Bradley Whitford are all in this movie, adapted from one of John Grisham’s books.

— San Francisco Giants signed 3B Matt Chapman, for three years, $54M.

— Arizona Diamondbacks signed SS Elvis Andrus to a minor league deal; he hit .251 with six HRs, 44 RBIs for the White Sox last year. 35-year old Andrus has 2,091 career hits; Arizona will be his fourth MLB team.

— Saturday night, Lebron James became the first NBA player to score 40,000 career points; he scored 26 points in the Lakers’ 124-114 loss to Denver.

— Luka Doncic has 14 technical fouls this season, most in the NBA.

— NBA unders went 8-0 Sunday night, are now 61-25-1 since the All-Star break

Famous birthdays on March 4th:
Patricia Heaton, 66
Steven Weber, 63
Draymond Green, 34
Nick Castellanos, 32

— There are murmurs that the NFL is going to go to an 18-game schedule when the next TV contract comes up, which would put the Super Bowl on Presidents’ Day weekend.

— San Francisco 49ers hired former Chargers’ coach coach Brandon Staley as assistant head coach; they also named Nick Sorensen their new defensive coordinator.

— Bill Vinovich was the referee at the Super Bowl February 11th in Las Vegas; two nights later, he worked a Colorado State-San Diego State basketball game. He’s worked six other basketball games since then, including another visit to Las Vegas Saturday, when the Rebels beat San Jose State.

Vinovich has worked 26 basketball games this season, in addition to his NFL games. Busy guy.

— RIP to ESPN reporter Chris Mortensen,, who passed away this week at age 72; the tributes he’s gotten tonight from friends/co-workers at ESPN tell you what a good guy he was.

Mortensen joined ESPN in 1991 and was a regular contributor to the network’s NFL shows for 30 years; in 2016, he received the Pro Football Writers of America’s Dick McCann Award and was honored during the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s enshrinement ceremony.

RIP, sir. 

Author: Armadillo Sports

I've been involved in sports my whole life, now just write about them. I like to travel, mostly to Las Vegas- they have gambling there.