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Another Dark Day for College Hoops
[Posted Monday morning]
College Hoops Quiz: Name the five schools that Rick Pitino coached for. Answer below.
College Basketball Review
AP Poll (Feb. 19)
1. Virginia 24-2 (42)
2. Michigan State 26-3 (19)
3. Villanova 24-3 (4)
4. Xavier 24-4
5. Duke 22-5
T-6. Texas Tech 22-5
T-6. Gonzaga 25-4
8. Kansas 21-6
9. Purdue 24-5
10. North Carolina 21-7
13. Wichita State 21-5...more like it
18. Rhode Island 21-4
20. Nevada 23-5
23. Houston 21-5
24. Middle Tennessee State 22-5
--Monday, 8 Kansas then destroyed Oklahoma 104-74, dropping OU to 16-11, 6-9, six losses in a row, 9 of 11. Yet Sooners star Trae Young, who was awful again, 3 of 13 from the field, and now 38 of 113 (11 of 56 from three) during the six-game skid, said Oklahoma will be fine...as if they are still getting into the tournament. No way. What a choke job.
--Tuesday, no upsets. 2 Michigan State routed Illinois (13-16, 3-13) 81-61; 16 Ohio State (23-7, 14-3) whipped Rutgers (13-17, 3-14) 79-52.
18 Rhode Island hung on to beat LaSalle (11-17, 5-10) on the road in overtime, 95-93; 21 West Virginia (20-8, 9-6) got a needed win at Baylor (17-11, 7-8) 71-60.
And North Carolina State wrapped up an NCAA berth with an 82-66 win over Boston College (16-12, 6-9), the Wolfpack now 19-9, 9-6, and with some marquee wins during the season.
--But the other day I talked of more dark days ahead for college basketball and Tuesday the NCAA Division I Infractions Appeals upheld the ruling issued in June by the Committee on Infractions to strip Louisville of its 2013 national championship and 123 wins from 2012 through 2015, including two Final Four appearances. It is the first time in modern NCAA history that a Division I men’s basketball national championship has been vacated.
The decision stems from a 2015 investigation that found members of the coaching staff arranged for prostitutes and strippers for players and recruits.
Louisville also must pay the NCAA $600,000 in fines, interim university president Greg Postel said at a news conference announcing the ruling.
“We’ll find the money. Money’s replaceable. The other things aren’t,” Postel said.
Louisville had argued the penalties imposed by the NCAA were excessive and that the infractions committee did not consider the university’s cooperation with the investigation, which normally under NCAA rules, mitigates punishment.
“I cannot say this strongly enough: We believe the NCAA is simply wrong to have made this decision,” Postel said.
Interim athletic director Vince Trya said: “During this whole process, my emotions go from mad to sad,” adding, “We’ll remove the official recognition, but it won’t remove it from our hearts and minds. It brings closure to one of these situations. It’s not going to bring closure to the successes and memories our teams had. I’m sad for our players and certainly our staff members.”
The appeals committee cited four years of rules and ethics violations in upholding the penalties.
Former coach Rick Pitino denied knowledge of the parties and of what former Louisville staffer Andre McGee was doing in paying Katina Powell, a self-described former escort, $10,000 for 22 shows at the Cardinals' dormitory from 2010 to 2014.
The thing is, the NCAA decision is unrelated to the ongoing FBI investigation that by all reports is about to explode all over again. It was this corruption probe of college hoops programs that led to the firing of Pitino and athletics director Tom Jurich, both of whom held their positions at the time of the escort scandal.
The Louisville Courier-Journal reported last year that Pitino received 98 percent of the $39 million the Cardinals were owed from the sponsorship deal with Adidas that is central to the FBI corruption case.
Luke Hancock, the 2013 Final Four Most Outstanding Player, told ESPN Tuesday, “I don’t care that much about the perception. And I don’t think it changes that much. We won those games. It’s not like that never happened.”
Former player Kevin Ware added: “It’s dumb. At the end of the day, the mistakes that Andre McGee made didn’t have to do with us. The NCAA is a joke.”
Of course you know I agree with Kevin Ware. The games have been played, and it’s not like Louisville was playing with ineligible players. It’s absurd.
But, that said, I like what Andrea Adelson wrote for ESPN.com:
“(The) NCAA’s decision to uphold the penalties handed down by the committee on infractions comes one step closer to closing the sordid, scandalous chapter that Pitino authored as Louisville basketball coach.
“There can be no other way to view his 16 years with the Cardinals, no matter how vehemently both he and his defenders scream that he has been vilified and misjudged. Pitino harmed Louisville in many ways, staining its reputation, triggering multiple investigations and now this: a national title and 2012 Final Four appearance stricken from the record books.
“A quick look back at his career there shows:
“Pitino’s adulterous sex scandal;
“ A sex scandal in the program that led the NCAA to vacate a college basketball title for the first time in history;
“A recruiting scandal that led to his departure, after an FBI investigation into bribery and fraud in college basketball implicated Louisville.
“Pitino has not once taken responsibility for the sex parties that happened during recruiting visits and drew the NCAA to investigate. He also has denied any knowledge in the recruiting scandal that cost him his job. In fact, Pitino is suing the University of Louisville Athletic Association for $37.6 million for breach of contract after he was fired in October....
“Some may wonder what purpose vacating wins, and ultimately a championship, serves. After all, the game did happen: Louisville did beat Michigan in the title game and Luke Hancock did win MVP honors. The celebration, the tears, the joy, all those memories will endure even after the banner goes.
“But the NCAA views vacating wins a completely different way. Forcing a program to strip a beloved championship feels more like a shiv to the heart, and that is the point. It should hurt, and it should serve as a reminder to anyone who looks up into the rafters at a suddenly blank space: Cheaters must face the consequences. Just ask the USC football program.”
There are other very harsh penalties you can impose, like suspending the program for a year and then making the hoops program restart with two scholarships, then three, then four...something like that.
But what do I know, except that Rick Pitino was one of the great dirtballs in college sports.
--AP Women’s Poll
1. UConn 26-0 (32 )...I’m shocked!
2. Mississippi State 28-0
3. Baylor 25-1
4. Louisville 27-2
5. Notre Dame 25-2
--Lindsey Vonn needed to do well in the downhill Wednesday (Tues. night) and she came through, taking the bronze (Italy’s Sofia Goggia won gold, Norway’s Ragnhild Mowinckel silver). It was Vonn’s third Olympic medal and in what is undoubtedly her last Olympics, her career deserves to be celebrated. The greatest American female athlete of all time, save for track and field, in my opinion. With all her injuries, as she put it last night, she “worked her butt off.”
She still has a big goal left on the World Cup circuit, besting Ingemar Stenmark’s all-time win total of 86. [Vonn with 81]
Mikaela Shiffrin had been forced to skip the downhill after the Alpine combined was moved to Thursday because strong winds were expected Friday, when the combined was originally to be held.
I totally understand her thinking. “As much as I wanted to compete in the Olympic downhill, with the schedule change it’s important for me to focus my energy on preparing for the combined,” Shiffrin said in a statement.
The wind had postponed both the giant slalom and slalom last week, screwing up the schedule royally, and Shiffrin, having won gold in the GS on Thursday, then had that disappointing fourth in the slalom the next day, and there was no way she could do the Super-G on Saturday.
--It certainly appears that the U.S. men will go without a single Alpine medal for the first time since 1998, with just the slalom remaining.
--The U.S. men’s hockey team was eliminated in the quarterfinals in a shootout with the Czech Republic. The Czechs were fresher, having received a bye for winning their group, while the U.S. had played Slovakia the day before to qualify for the quarters.
--In the ice dance competition, French figure skater Gabriella Papadakis started her short dance routine Monday when her dress came undone, leaving her breast exposed.
Papadakis “felt it right away and prayed,” continuing her routine with partner Guillaume Cizeron to deliver a performance that left them in second heading into Tuesday’s free dance.
“It was pretty distracting,” she said.
But the pair took the silver the next night, behind gold medal winners Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue of Canada, who set a record for most Olympic medals won in figure skating, this being their fifth.
Virtue and Moir won ice dance gold in 2010 and ice dance silver in 2014, in addition to contributing to Canada’s team silver medal in 2014 and team gold medal in PyeongChang.
The American brother and sister duo of Maia and Alex Shibutani took the bronze, thus becoming the first skaters of Asian descent to win an individual ice dance medal since the discipline was added to the Olympic program in 1976. Earlier they contributed to the U.S. team’s bronze-medal performance last week.
--In the ladies short program Wednesday, the American women had their worst performance ever, each of the three making a huge mistake on their opening jump or jump combination. When it was over, Mirai Nagasu, Karen Chen and Bradie Tennell finished ninth, 10th and 11th, respectively, way behind the leader, OAR’s Alina Zagitova.
--But the Americans won gold in the team sprint in cross-country Wednesday, just the second Olympic cross-country medal won by an American. Bill Koch was the first, at the 1976 Olympics. Boy, I still remember that one.
Jesse Diggins, 27, and Kikkan Randall, 35, made America proud in the sprint freestyle relay.
--And this just in...Elana Meyers Taylor and Lauren Gibbs just captured silver in the bobsled; Germany taking the gold, Canada bronze.
--American figure skater Adam Rippon decided not to take the NBC gig he had been offered for the second week because he “decided that he would rather remain as an Olympian,” USA TODAY’s Christine Brennan reported, citing a source “who would not speak publicly because of the sensitivity of the matter.” She said he did not “want to relinquish his official Olympic standing, give up credential, move out of Team USA housing and miss [the] closing ceremony.”
--A Russian curler and medalist, Aleksandr Krushelnitckii, who won bronze in mixed doubles with his wife last week, tested positive for a high dose of meldonium, a heart-disease medication, but because the dose of meldonium detected in Krushelnitckii’s urine sample was significantly higher than what would normally be read for a person treated with the drug, authorities are exploring the possibility that he was the victim of an act of sabotage, the person said.
I actually feel sorry for the guy, believing he’s innocent. The other curling athletes have rallied behind him, which tells you a lot. [The Russians then said the test could be accurate and they have no idea how Krushelnitckii would have been given such a dosage, and for only one time, which makes zero sense medically.]
After I wrote Sunday that Commissioner Rob Manfred was preparing to act unilaterally on some pace of play changes for this major league season, Monday he unveiled a series of initiatives, most notably a limitation on how often coaches and players can confer with the pitcher on the mound.
Starting this season, trips to the mound will be kept to six in a game’s first nine innings. That includes visits by coaches and other players; catchers may have brief discussions with pitchers above the limit in the case of confusion over signs, at the umpire’s discretion. (Other exceptions include mound visits because of a suspected injury or position players cleaning their spikes in rainy conditions.) One visit is added for every extra inning.
Pitchers will also no longer be guaranteed eight warm-up pitches between innings or upon entering the game as a reliever. Instead, umpires will signal for pitchers to throw their final warm-up with 25 seconds remaining on a timer, which will count down from 2:05 in locally televised games, 2:25 in games broadcast nationally and 2:55 in playoff or tiebreaker games. Pitchers failing to adhere to the timer won’t face any in-game action, but if they “consistently or flagrantly violate the time limits” they will be subject to discipline, like fines, MLB said.
The players may be happy about no pitch-clocks, but they have expressed concern over the limit of mound visits because of the increasing fear of sign-stealing causes extra mount visits.
The Cubs’ Willson (sic) Contreras said he’s not on board with the new rules. “I don’t even care,” Contreras said Tuesday. “If I have to go [out there] again and pay the price for my team I will.”
Contreras is a jerk. Also, if he gets into an argument with an umpire over the restriction during a game, he can be ejected.
--Boston and slugger J.D. Martinez agreed to terms, five years, $110 million, the Red Sox getting needed power source to compete with the Yankees in the A.L. East. Martinez hit .303 with 45 home runs and 104 RBI last season, being traded from Detroit to Arizona in late July. J.D. can opt out after year 2 or 3, after which he would have earned $50 million the first two years and $72 million through the first three.
So in the past week or so we’ve had the big free agent signings of Yu Darvish, Eric Hosmer and now Martinez. The market is very much open.
--The Yankees, still looking for infield help after trading Chase Headley and Starlin Castro, and not confident that super prospects Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar are quite ready to crack the starting lineup, picked up Arizona infielder Brandon Drury in a three-team trade that saw Tampa Bay send power-hitting outfielder Steven Souza Jr. (30 home runs for the Rays last year) to the Diamondbacks, the Rays receiving prospects from both New York and Arizona.
Drury is a nice player (13 HR, 63 RBI, .267). Good move for the Yanks, who didn’t lose one of their best prospects in the process.
--Bryce Harper told reporters on Monday that they are wasting their time if they think he will talk about free agency before next offseason. “I will not be discussing anything relative to 2019, at all. I’m focused on this year. I’m focused on winning and playing hard, like every single year.”
He directed business questions to his agent Scott Boras, who has signed some lucrative deals with the Nationals, giving hope to Washington fans looking to keep Harper.
But I told you last time I am now on record the Nats will not have serious discussions, at least not at the level Boras will want them, because of their stud waiting in the wings, Victor Robles.
As good as Harper has been, he has helped Washington zero when it comes to the postseason; four, first-round flameouts in which Harper has hit .211. Last October, with the potential tying run on in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 5, Harper struck out to end the season.
--Finally, on Feb. 21, 1974, the Mets signed Tom Seaver to a one-year deal worth $172,500, a record for a pitcher.
Seaver became one of about 40 players making more than $100,000 that season, topped by the White Sox’ Dick Allen at $250,000.
MLB players in 1974 were not the highest-paid among the four major team sports, with NBA stars such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain earning more than $300,000 per season. [Craig Muder / Baseball Hall of Fame]
--I forgot to mention that in winning at Riviera on Sunday, Bubba Watson joined Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan, Lloyd Mangrum and Macdonald Smith as a three-time winner there. Pretty amazing that five of Bubba’s ten wins are either Augusta or Riviera.
--The Genesis Open certainly had a world-class field, befitting its once-premier status. But there is talk of making it an “invitational” event as part of reducing the field from 144 to 120. Even with groups teeing off at 6:40 a.m. PT, 15 players didn’t finish Round 1 despite perfect weather. It’s a tough course and play is slower, plus it’s just too early in the year in terms of lots of daylight (which can be an issue with the first few Florida tournaments until we move the clocks forward in a few weeks).
--Johnny Miller had an interview in Links Magazine with Adam Schupak and we had this:
Q: What’s the worst thing about the current PGA Tour brand of golf?
Miller: Number one, the Tour has no guts to enforce slow play. I don’t think they’ve given out a two-stroke penalty, maybe a couple, in all the years I’ve done TV. The other thing, nobody can make a ruling on his own. That really drives me crazy. They have a sprinkler head and they can’t make a ruling, they have to call in an official.
Q: What was the dumbest career move you made?
Miller: Switching to Wilson Sporting Goods in 1975. Nicklaus, Weiskopf, and myself, we all played MacGregor and my manager convinced me there wasn’t room for the top three players in one company. I had a magical set of clubs. I should’ve never switched. It was just a nightmare.
Daytona 500, part II
I was shocked by the lack of coverage in some major newspapers Monday morning concerning Sunday’s race, which was certainly exciting. But the television ratings were awful, so I guess that’s part of the story. The race drew a 5.1 overnight rating on Fox, which Sports Business Daily’s Austin Karp reports is likely a record low, and it’s down 22 percent from the overnight rating scored by the 2017 edition, down 16 percent from 2016 and down 30 percent from 2015.
Karp points out that the Olympics probably cannot be used as an excuse here, considering the race fared better the last time it went up against the Winter Games. Back then in 2014, the race scored 5.6, but that race was delayed 6 hours 22 minutes by rain, pushing it up against NBC’s coverage of the Olympic Closing Ceremonies.
By contrast, there was a time NASCAR was a ratings juggernaut, such as in 2006, when Daytona drew an 11.3 rating and 19.335 million viewers for NBC.
Last year, NASCAR for the season drew 42 percent less in ratings than ‘06
The NBA All-Star Game on TNT and TBS also drew a 5.1 rating Sunday, which in the past when they were on the same day, Daytona handily outdrew it.
NASCAR is definitely being hurt by the loss / retirement of big-name veteran drivers such as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards and Danica Patrick, and the young guns just haven’t caught on yet.
But I didn’t have time to note a few other things about the race. The oldest driver in the field, Mark Thompson, was also the oldest driver to ever start the 500. Thompson is 66! He first made his Cup debut at Pocono in 1992.
So how did he do? After starting last, 40th, he was one of 25 to finish, ending up 22nd, and running 203 of the 207 laps (the race having gone into overtime). Not too shabby. His car was from Richard Petty Motorsports and he said his goal was to stay out of the way of the leaders, which he did...nor was he collected up in any of the three major crashes.
In contrast to Thompson being 66, six of the first eight spots on the starting grid Sunday went to drivers under the age of 30.
Thanks to his Pocono race in 1992, at the 500 this year he was one of only three racers to have gone up against Dale Earnhardt – the others being Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman.
Monday he was back at his day job as a pilot for the Phoenix Air Group, which he founded in 1978 in Atlanta. His company helped with the transport of Ebola virus-infected patients from Monrovia, Liberia, in 2014 and returned imprisoned American student Otto Warmbier from North Korea last year.
Thompson said Sunday was his last race in any series.
Dave Marcis at 60, 11 months, had been the oldest driver to race in the Daytona 500 in 2002. Bobby Allison was 50 when he became the oldest 500 winner in history in 1988.
Thompson was an Army helicopter pilot in Vietnam from 1970 to 1972. In a story on him in the Washington Post, “He declined to discuss his experience.” Interesting.
Meanwhile, Danica Patrick, who got a ride for the 500, was caught up in a multi-car crash that ended her NASCAR career; Chase Elliot trying to make a move on race leader Ryan Blaney during Lap 101 triggered a collision that took out Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne and David Ragan; Blaney escaping it, but Patrick, who was racing her No. 7 car in the middle of the drafting pack, could not avoid a spinning Elliott.
Patrick ends her overall racing career at the Indy 500 in May. Her boyfriend, Aaron Rodgers, was in the pits at Daytona. That’s quite a power couple, though I’m not sure exactly what Patrick is going to do now. She can still do a ton of endorsements.
As for Darrell “Bubba” Wallace and his best-ever second-place finish Sunday, best for an African-American, besting Wendell Scott’s 13th-place finish in 1966, boy, when you see those ratings, NASCAR really needs him to perform to juice them and, hopefully, get some African-Americans going to the races.
In the media room after the race, Wallace’s mother ran up and hugged her son, the embrace continuing over a minute. Wallace said to his mother, “You act like I won the race.”
“We did,” she said.
Wallace talked about getting the call from Hank Aaron prior to the event.
“He said good luck, and just have a good race,” Wallace said. “He knew that we were pressed for time. That was cool.”
Lastly, Aric Almirola, the leader on the last lap who was bumped by winner Austin Dillon, pushing Almirola into the wall as he zoomed past, said after that he understood.
“It was the last lap and we’re all trying to win the Daytona 500. We were just racing aggressively. I put every move I knew to try and stay in the lead and, unfortunately, I just wasn’t able to hold on.”
Almirola was far more classy than social media, which apparently skewered Dillon.
“I don’t care, I won the Daytona 500,” Dillon said.
So I said I hadn’t watched a second of the NBA All-Star Game, let alone other festivities surrounding it, but all the articles I’ve read on the game say it was fairly entertaining, thanks to the new format; the final score being 148-145 in favor of Team LeBron over Team Stephen.
The changes were made after last year’s 192-182 fiasco, and give the league credit for collaborating with the NBA Players Association in deciding the blow up the East vs. West traditional format.
So LeBron and Steph drafted their own teams from the pool of players selected from each conference, and now the talk is that the draft, which wasn’t televised, probably will be next time, which I will concede could be worth a look-in...if there isn’t a great college hoops game taking place at the same time.
It also helped the winning team received $100,000 a player, with the league donating $500,000 to the charities of the two captains’ choosing, and put it all together, the players gave a more representative effort.
An example of the increased intensity was in the shooting percentages. Last year the two teams shot 58 and 56 percent, while this year team LeBron finished at 51.7 percent, while Team Stephen shot 44.4 percent.
But I thought the New York Times’ Marc Stein had a good idea. Why not make the All-Star Game U.S. vs. the World?
Granted, you could easily not have enough foreign players among the 24 All-Star spots, so it’s essentially a non-starter, but I like the ring of it, and that no doubt would be an intense game. Fisticuffs galore.
But for starters, the “World” squad this year would have begun with Kristaps Porzingis, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Joel Embiid., and next year you could have Nikola Jokic (Serbia) and Ben Simmons (Australia), and later Chicago rookie Lauri Markkanen (Finland). And wait till the Bahamas’ DeAndre Ayton hits the scene next year as well.
As for the pregame, I saw Fergie’s performance of the national anthem, twice, and it was indeed among the worst ever...and I like Fergie. She felt terrible after that she hadn’t performed it in perhaps a more traditional way, and she’s sincere. We have bigger fish to fry than her.
Back to the Laura Ingraham controversy, the Fox News host having blasted basketball players voicing their political opinions, “NBA on TNT” host Ernie Johnson said, “I was so stunned by the personal nature and kind of the closed-minded and condescending response that Laura Ingraham had. Everybody is like, ‘You got to believe what I believe and if you don’t I’m going to attack you.’ ...You can disagree with what Kevin Durant and LeBron James said, but you don’t have to make it that way. It was disgusting to me to watch that response.”
But as Johnson spoke about Ingraham’s comments, analyst Charles Barkley chuckled; Sir Charles being no stranger to voicing his political opinions, recently endorsing Alabama Senate candidate Democrat Doug Jones. Barkley said, “Ernie, don’t get emotional with Fox News. Fox News do what they do. Nobody pays attention to Fox News except people who voted for Donald Trump....
“First of all, LeBron James is LeBron James,” Barkley continued. “That would’ve been the first thing that I said. Who’s Laura Ingraham? If she was in this crowd right now we wouldn’t know her. If LeBron James walks around, these people be mobbing him, but Fox News do what they do. I laugh. Sometimes, when I want humor, I turn on Fox News.”
Johnson asked, “You didn’t find shut up and dribble offensive as it could possibly be?”
Barkley doubled down, saying that, “If someone is trying to make me mad, I’m not going to get mad. She did exactly what she wanted to do.”
Fellow analyst Kenny Smith sided with Johnson. “It was one of the dumbest statements I’ve heard. It actually contradicted everything that she was saying. She’s saying you shouldn’t be able to talk while she’s talking about it.”
--Odds where Kirk Cousins will land....
Broncos 4-5, Vikings 3-1, Jets 9-2
So I was surprised to read a piece in the Washington Post on Tuesday that said the Jets could be ready to back up the Brinks truck. Longtime ESPN Jets beat reporter Rich Cimini cited sources who told him the team is “willing to pay whatever it takes” to land the soon-to-be officially former Redskins QB.
Since Jimmy Garoppolo just signed a five-year, $137.5 million contract with the 49ers, that means if it’s the Jets, it could be $150 million over five years. The Jets have $77 million of cap space, fourth-most in the league.
Now I have no problem with Cousins, but the Jets pick sixth in the draft and a quality QB is still going to be available and I just wish we would go that route.
The question seems to be how much of the $150 million would the Jets be willing to guarantee, with Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio suggesting last weekend the Jets might be willing to guarantee it all.
But as you can see from the above, the Jets aren’t the only suitor for Cousins. Add Arizona and Buffalo, and possibly Jacksonville, to Denver and Minnesota.
--As for the draft, John Harris of the Washington Post, their in-house “expert,” has Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson, all 6-5, 331 pounds of him, as No. 1 in his Top 50. “Quite simply, Nelson is the best interior line prospect I’ve studied in a while. Hall of Fame finalist Alan Faneca was at the top of my list coming out of LSU in 1998, and Nelson is right there at that level.”
2. Minkah Fitzpatrick, S/Nickelback, Alabama
3. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
4. Bradley Chubb, Edge, N.C. State
5. Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
6. Sam Darnold, QB, USC. “Darnold has an icy demeanor and loves to have the ball in his hands in the clutch. Will he be the face of the Cleveland Browns for the next decade and finally be the guy that they’ve longed for?”
7. Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
8. Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
9. Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
10. Derwin James, S, Florida State
13. Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming. “Allen is the most polarizing prospect in this draft and teams seeking a quarterback are going to have heated discussions about him. I’ve been on NFL sidelines for four years and covered the NFL for 11; I’ve not seen a quarterback with a stronger arm. If that’s what it was all about, he’d be a lock as the first QB off the board. His accuracy and inconsistent ball placement scare every personnel staff in the league, though.”
15. Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville. “Some have already cast their lot with Jackson, saying he should be playing receiver. There couldn’t be anything further from the truth. He’s not a polished quarterback prospect, but with the ball in his hands 60-65 times a game, defenses will be more concerned about him than any other player in this draft class. I saw it with (Deshaun) Watson in his seven games this year; every defender’s eyes were on him every single play. That opened up things for everyone else on offense, and the Texans’ offense took off (finally). Jackson isn’t in Watson’s class as a thrower, but he doesn’t have to be perfect because his speed and running ability will create more passing openings for him to exploit.”
I have to admit, I hadn’t taken the time to analyze Jackson in this fashion, but it makes a ton of sense.
16. Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA. “He looks like a traditional drop-back NFL quarterback; unfortunately, that’s not as valued as it once was, as more teams are utilizing mobile quarterbacks.”
--Here I was talking about the FA Cup last chat and how the Premier League almost always ends up taking it, and then on Monday, League One (third-division) Wigan pulled off a shocking 1-0 upset of Manchester City in the fifth round, Wigan thus advancing to the quarterfinals.
Man City picked up a controversial red card to Fabian Delph, and Wigan’s Will Grigg scored a stunning, breakaway goal in the 79th minute as the club repeated their surprise 2013 final victory over City in the FA Cup. But back then, Wigan was in the Premier League, but after being relegated (twice) since 2013, they’ve plummeted further.
City wasn’t just resting its stars for Premier League and Champions League competitions. They had more than enough firepower, led by Sergio Aguero and David Silva.
I imagine Wigan fans partied allllll night.
Top 3 songs for the week 2/24/68: #1 “Love Is Blue” (Paul Mauriat) #2 “(Theme From) Valley of the Dolls” (Dionne Warwick) #3 “Spooky” (Classics IV)...and...#4 “I Wish It Would Rain” (The Temptations) #5 “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” (Otis Redding) #6 “Simon Says” (1910 Fruitgum Co.) #7 “Green Tambourine” (The Lemon Pipers) #8 “I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonite” (Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart) #9 “Goin’ Out Of My Head / Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” (The Lettermen) #10 “Nobody But Me” (The Human Beinz)
College Hoops Quiz: Five schools Rick Pitino coached for....
Hawaii (1975-76) 2-4
Boston University (1978-83) 91-51
Providence (1985-87) 42-23
Kentucky (1989-97) 219-50
Louisville (2004-17) 416-143
Pitino is No. 12 on the all-time wins list with this 770-271, .740 mark.
Next Bar Chat, Monday.