Archive for the 'Basketball' Category

March Madness Kicks Off, #16 Penn Gets High Praise, Benched Butler Signs With Titans

BASKETBALL

March Madness kicks off today, so if you haven’t set your brackets yet, you’ll need to do so before 12;15 ET. The most exciting part of the tournament is watching a “Cinderella” team rack up wins against higher seeds. Picking the “sleeper” is difficult but rewarding, and everyone has an opinion. Consider this statistic, “In the 33 years since the NCAA tournament’s expansion from 48 teams, No. 16 seeds have never won a game. They’ve rarely come close; the average margin has been about 25 points.” Even with that daunting prospect, many are touting the University of Pennsylvania Quakers and speculating whether they’ll be the first ever #16 seed to advance in the tourament. In order to do so, they’ll have to beat #1 seed Kansas. This game will air at 2:00 pm ET on TBS.

FOOTBALL

During this year’s Super Bowl, the Patriots star cornerback Malcolm Butler only took the field once for a special teams play. Butler’s lack of play still remains a mystery, as he was the cornerstone of their defense all season. After the fact, and now that he’s a free agent, Butler worried coach Belichick’s decision would affect his market value, but that was clearly not the case. Butler just signed a five year contract worth $61 million ($30 million guaranteed) with the Tennessee Titans.

 

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68 Teams Selected For March Madness, Sherman Snubs Seahawks And Signs W/49ers, Tiger Woods Back

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NCAA March Madness is officially here. With  68 teams selected and brackets set, the tournament begins March 15th and ends with a National Champion on April 2nd in San Antonio. For a rundown of every team and a look at which team(s) might have a chance of survival, click here. One of the best parts of the tournament, however, is spotting the team that defies odds and becomes a Cinderella story.  There were also many obvious snubs in the final selection. One of the most notable was USC not getting a bid. USC came in 2nd in the PAC 12 (a major conference), while other teams got bids playing in much less competitive conferences.

FOOTBALL

Former Seattle Seahawks cornerback, Richard Sherman, agreed to a deal worth (with incentives up to $39.5 million) with the San Francisco 49ers. Seattle fans weren’t too happy with Sherman signing with an NFC West rival, but according to the cornerback, he  didn’t abandon the team. He said, “People are out there burning my jersey. Come on.  I’m not the one who let me go. They let me go. I didn’t abandon anybody.” He also admitted signing with a rival was calculated and said, “I’m vengeful in that way.”

GOLF

A healthy Tiger Woods tied for second at the Valspar Championship over the weekend. Paul Casey took the prize, but Tiger wow’d the crowd and showed he’s healthy and back. He said, “As a whole, I felt very good about what I did this week. I believe my game is progressing.”

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Shaq’s Son Decommits Arizona & Commits To UCLA, LeBron’s New Greatness, Papa Johns And NFL Over

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The FBI has been on a two year investigation of corruption in college basketball recruiting.  Arizona is currently in the hot seat after a wiretap revealed the coach, Sean Miller, discussing a $100,000 payment to top high school prospect  Deandre Ayton.  The news kept getting worse for the school when Shaquille O’Neal’s son, Shareef, announced he decommitted from Arizona over the illegal recruiting scheme. Shareef committed to play for UCLA, and both Dad and Son posted his announcement on social media.

There’s no one who can dispute LeBron James greatness as a basketball star. And now he has added to that dominance by creating his own statistical category. On Tuesday night, LeBron became the only player in NBA history to record 30,000 points, 8,000 rebounds and 8,000 assists. LeBron reflected on this accomplishment by saying, “With the long list of so many great players that have come through this league, in the history of this league, for me to be the only [person] in a category, I think it’s pretty cool.” He went on to say, “I always wanted to be labeled as just an all-around basketball player; and I get more gratification out of the assists more than anything, because to get my guys great looks or they’re knocking down shots, that means a lot to me.”

FOOTBALL

Papa Johns Pizza and the NFL have mutually agreed to end their sponsorship relationship. Papa Johns made news a few months ago when the former CEO blamed declining sales on the NFL national anthem protests. The company said it will still work with specific teams in the League.

 

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NCAA Sends Louisville Message About Behavior, Vonn Earns Bronze Medal

BASKETBALL

Rick Pitino has been long gone as the head coach of the Louisville basketball team, but he will be forever remembered as shaming the institution while at the helm, especially now that the NCAA refused to appeal their decision to rescind their 2013 championship and 2012 Final Four appearance. Former director of basketball operations, Andre McGee, was the ringleader of many of the violations including rampant sex parties with prostitutes for the underage recruits. By pulling the team’s championship banner from the raftors of the basketball arena, the NCAA is sending a strong message they won’t tolerate this type of behavior from institutions.

OLYMPICS

Lindsay Vonn finished her ski career with a bronze medal at the Olympics. She has defined downhill skiing for years, with many saying she is the greatest female downhill skier in the world.  At 33 years old, she is the oldest female to win a medal in Alpine skiing. She holds three Olympic medals and has gained admirers over the years by her perseverance and attitude.

 

 

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Thomas Returns To Boston And Fans Cheer, Ball Family Lands In Lithuania

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Boston fans love their players, even their former players as evidenced by the reception Isaiah Thomas received on Wednesday night when the the Celtics hosted their eastern conference rivals, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Thomas (and a few other players) were dealt to the Cavs last summer in exchange for Kyrie Irving. Thomas didn’t suit up for the game, as he’s still recovering from a hip injury, but the fans still gave him a standing ovation. Thomas was moved and said, “But [the fans] showed their true colors, like they always do, and that’s — I keep saying it, but it’s genuine love on both sides. The fans are everything here.” The game didn’t match the hype of the rivalry and the Celtics put the Cavs away with a 102-88 win.

The Ball family has started a new season of their “reality” show. Dad LaVar and 18 year old LiAngelo Ball and 16 year old LaMelo Ball landed in Lithuania to a swarm of reporters and curious spectators. Playing in this European League will be an interesting and potentially punishing experiment for the boys, as the League is very physical.

 

 

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Rookie Kuzma Leads Lakers, Longoria Traded, Brady’s Trainer Causing Friction

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The Houston Rockets 14 game consecutive winning streak (the 4th longest in franchise history) ended Wednesday night in a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. James Harden did his best shooting 51 points and 9 assists, but Lakers’ rookie Kyle Kuzma was on fire with 38 points including seven 3-pointers. The rest of the team, including Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, came together to put on show and stop the mighty Rockets. Unfortunately for the Rockets, all-star Chris Paul left the game in the 4th quarter with a strained adductor. No word yet on the seriousness of the injury.  Lakers 122, Rockets 116.

BASEBALL

The San Francisco Giants made a big statement by trading to get star third baseman Evan Longoria from the Tampa Bay Rays. The Giants gave up one of their top prospects, infielder Christian Arroyo, in the trade. We’ll have to wait until next season to determine which team got the better deal.

FOOTBALL

Tom Brady’s trainer has reportedly caused some friction with coach Bill Belichick. Belichick apparently doesn’t like Alex Guerrero’s “non-traditional” training techniques and questionable medical background. Brady credits Guerrero for keeping him in such great shape and has even made Guerrero his son’s godfather. Belichick wants only his medical staff treating the players so has rescinded some of Guerrero’s perks like traveling with the team and enjoying a sideline pass during games.

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Dolphins Throwback Patriots, Ball Brothers To Play In Lithuania

FOOTBALL

The Miami Dolphins looked different on Monday Night Football, and it wasn’t just because they were wearing their throwback uniforms. In a matchup with the New England Patriots, the Dolphins held Tom Brady to one touchdown and two interceptions, while Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler threw for 263 yards and three touchdowns. The Patriots seemed flustered without star tight-end Rob Gronkowski (who was suspended for one game due a late hit last weekend). They will need to get their act together when they take on the Pittsburgh Steelers next weekend with home-field advantage in the AFC on the line.

BASKETBALL

Ball brothers, LiAngelo and LaMelo, are heading to Lithuania to play for professional Club, Prienu Vytautas. The brothers signed a one-year contract with the Club in the hopes (according to Vytautas) of bringing some publicity to the team. If you remember, LiAngelo was on the UCLA team, until he got suspended indefinitely for shoplifting while on a team trip to China, while LaMelo was taken out of China High School to be home-schooled by dad LaVar.

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Giants Coach McAdoo Fired, LiAngelo Ball Pulled Out Of UCLA

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As anticipated, the Giants head coach Ben McAdoo is out, and rumors are swirling for his replacement. The Giants’ general manager, Jerry Reese, has also been fired, and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is now the interim head coach. It’s likely Eli Manning will now return as the starting quarterback on Sunday when the Giants host the Dallas Cowboys.

BASKETBALL

LiAngelo Ball (one of the UCLA players arrested in China for shoplifting) was suspended from the team and hasn’t played a game yet in his college career. Clearly not happy with how his son has been treated since his return to the states, LaVar Ball announced he’s taking LiAngelo out of UCLA and will train him to be ready for the NBA draft. LaVar told ESPN, “I’m going to make him way better for the draft than UCLA ever could have.  He’s not transferring to another school. The plan is now to get Gelo ready for the NBA draft.” The youngest son, LaMelo is still committed to UCLA in 2 years, but it’s unclear now whether LaVar will let that happen.

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Auburn Upsets Alabama, Miami Falls, Schiano Deal Done, Crabtree/Talib Ejected, Alabama Plays With Only 3

FOOTBALL

In the college football world where the top teams are vying for divisional playoffs and bowl games, Saturday’s games were intense. The biggest upset of the day came in the Iron Bowl where the Auburn Tigers beat the Alabama Crimson Tide. It was the second time in 3 weeks the Tigers beat #1 ranked teams.  Auburn is now in the running for a bid for the College Football Playoffs. The #2 ranked team, Miami, also fell this weekend to Pittsburgh leaving the College Football Selection Committee in a tailspin.  The new top 25 in the College Football Poll will be announced Tuesday evening.

In other big college football news, the Tennessee Titans backed out of a deal to bring Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano to Tennessee as their head coach. The deal appeared to be final until the social media universe blew up with criticism of Schiano’s ties to Penn State and Jerry Sandusky. Schiano has always claimed he knew nothing of Sandusky’s abuse of children, but Tennessee now looks like it will go in a different direction.

In the NFL, one of the most frustrating plays of the day (frustrating if you have Crabtree on your fantasy team like me) came when Oakland Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree got into a brawl with the Denver Broncos Aqib Talib on the second offensive possession of the game. Crabtree was getting back at Talib for snatching his chain during a game last year. Both players were ejected and will certainly expect to hear from the League with more punishments on the way. For more NFL news, click here.

BASKETBALL

#25 Alabama and #16 Minnesota played one of the craziest college basketball games on Saturday. During the second half, a fight broke out, and all five of the Alabama players left the bench and were immediately ejected (rules state players are never allowed to leave the bench area when there’s a situation on the court). Shortly after, another Alabama player fouled out and then another hurt his ankle, leaving on 3 players on the court for the final 10 minutes of the game. The Crimson Tide actually made a game of it and came close to winning, but ultimately couldn’t hold on, and Minnesota  went on to win 89-84.

 

 

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Bills’ QB Situation, Belichick Third Most Wins By Head Coach, Trump Tweets Agst Lynch & LaVar

FOOTBALL

The Buffalo Bills will be re-evaluating their quarterback situation this week. Coach Sean McDermott benched their starting QB Tyrod Taylor for rookie 5th round pick Nathan Peterman in Sunday’s 54-24 loss to the Los Angles Chargers. Peterman had a disastrous debut with five interceptions in just the first half, the first QB since the 1970 AFL/NFL merger to throw five picks in the first half of a game. Peterman had a good attitude after the game saying, “Coach always says, ‘We never lose, we learn,’ and that will definitely be my mindset moving forward. I’m going to learn a lot from this and make sure it never happens again.”

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick notches another accolade in his legendary carreer. With the Patriots’ win over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, Belichick passed the former Hall of Fame Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry for third most wins of an NFL Head Coach. Belichick gives credit to his arsenal of great players, but according to his players and owner Robert Kraft, Belichick works tirelessly to get his team prepared and comfortable before games.

Fewer players sat for the National Anthem this week, but one player in particular received the tweeting wrath of President Trump. Oakland Raiders’ running back Marshawn Lynch sat during the National Anthem during their game against the Patriots in Mexico but then stood for the Mexican anthem. Trump tweeted, “Great disrespect! Next time NFL should suspend him for the remainder of season. Attendance and ratings way down.”

BASKETBALL

President Trump also used his twitter feed to respond to LaVar Ball, father of the recently released LiAngelo Ball from China for shoplifting.  Trump, as well as high powered executives including Joe Tsai (who recently bought 49% of the Brooklyn Nets), worked behind the scenes to release the three UCLA players. LaVar downplayed the role Trump played and said the shoplifting charge was “no big deal”. Trump did not take that so well and tweeted, “Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal.”

 

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