Thursday’s Den: Doing some thinking out loud…….

13) Big news Wednesday night; Jay Wright has retired as Villanova’s basketball coach, after coaching the Wildcats for 21 years. He will replaced by Kyle Neptune, who went 16-16 in his one season coaching Fordham last year.

Wright is 60; he made four Final 4’s, won two national titles at Villanova. Neptune was an assistant at Villanova from 2013-21. 

12) In this weird world of ours, the announcement raises questions:
— Does Wright want to coach in the NBA?
— Is Wright going to grab a TV gig?
— Is Wright’s health OK?
— Has the fact that college basketball is becoming a glorified version of AAU soured Wright on coaching college ball?

We’ll see how this plays out, but the best basketball program in the Big East just took a big hit. 

11) Kentucky star Oscar Tshiebwe will be back in college next year, the first time since 2008 that the National Player of the Year returned to college the next season.

Tshiebwe scored 17.4 ppg, grabbed 15.1 rebounds/game last year, after transferring from West Virginia. There are rumblings on the Interweb that Tshiebwe’s NIL deal at Kentucky is worth around $2M, which would explain his decision to return. 

10) Cardinals 2, Marlins 0:
— Sandy Alcantara has started four games against St Louis, the team that traded him to Miami four years ago. In those games, Alcantara allowed three earned runs in 27.1 IP, but he didn’t get any wins, because the Marlins don’t score lot of runs for him.
— Nolan Arenado hit a 2-run homer in the 9th inning, after Alcantara left the game.
— Was happy to hear Tommy Hutton back in the Marlins’ broadcast booth.

9) Underrated baseball record: Ted Williams holds a record, reaching base in 84 consecutive games. No one ever talks about this, but that is over half a season. Impressive.

Since 2001, the longest such streak is 63 games, held by Orlando Cabrera, whose career on-base %age was only .321. Cabrera played 15 years in the majors for nine different teams.

Ted Williams’ career on-base %age was .482, which is freakin’ amazing. 

8) Diamondbacks 11, Nationals 2:
— Arizona scored 22 runs in their first 12 games; they broke thru here with a big night.
— Seth Beer went 3-4 with three RBI for Arizona.
— Merrill Kelly allowed one run in six IP. 

7) Celtics 114, Nets 107:
— Nets led by 17 at one point; they were outscored 59-42 in 2nd half.
— Celtics shot 63.6% inside the arc.
— Durant was 4-17 from floor, 18-20 on foul line.
— Boston leads series, 2-0. 

6) 76ers 104, Raptors 101, OT:
— Embiid hit a fadeaway 3-pointer from left wing for the win.
— Toronto was up by 10 at halftime.
— Embiid had 33 points, 13 rebounds.
— 76ers now lead series 3-0. 

5) Bulls 114, Bucks 110:
— Chicago led 63-49 at halftime.
— Caruso was +16 in 38:00; Bulls were minus-12 in 10:00 he sat out.
— All the subs in this game shot a combined 5-23 from the floor.
— Series heads to the Windy City 1-1. 

4) Baseball trade: Cubs acquired LHP Sean Newcomb from Atlanta for RHP Jesse Chavez and  cash. Newcomb has started 57 MLB games, none since 2020- he figures to start for the Cubs.

3) Pretty cool to see that Reds’ 1B Joey Votto, who was born in Toronto, became an American citizen this winter.

2) Elon hired Iowa assistant Billy Taylor as its new basketball coach; Taylor has previously been head coach at Lehigh (2002-07), Ball State (2007-13). 

1) Average starting field position in the NFL last year: 25.7 yard-line.
Average starting field position in Week 1 of the USFL: 32.7 yard-line.

In the USFL, they kick off from the 25-yard line, instead of the 35. Fewer touchbacks, better field position for the offense to start their drives.

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.