|Articles||Go Fund Me||All-Species List||Hot Spots||Go Fund Me|
|Web Epoch NJ Web Design | (c) Copyright 2016 StocksandNews.com, LLC.|
It's Now Time to Play the Games
[Posted Sunday p.m.]
NCAA Basketball Quiz: Name the six to play 20 minutes a game for the national champion 1983-84 Georgetown Hoyas that defeated Houston for the title. Answer below.
College Basketball...let the Madness begin....
East Region 1. Villanova 2. Purdue
Midwest Region 1. Kansas 2. Duke
South Region 1. Virginia 2. Cincinnati
West Region 1. Xavier 2. North Carolina
8 Seton Hall takes on 9 North Carolina State in the Midwest.
4 Wichita State goes up against 13 Marshall in the East.
Far more on the tournament next chat, including your EXCLUSIVE first-round upsets, but for now it is outrageous that Oklahoma got in over the likes of Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Middle Tennessee State. Well at least the first two. And the Sooners were inexplicably given a 10 seed! Geezuz.
Notre Dame, we learned, was the victim of Davidson’s win in the A 10 tournament final.
The ACC leads the way with nine teams, followed by the SEC’s eight. But I would be shocked if the ACC gets more than two to the Elite Eight.
Embarrassingly, the Pac-12 received just three! My man Bill Walton must be apoplectic, though UCLA got in.
--Saturday, No. 1 Virginia defeated 12 North Carolina for the ACC title, 71-63, the Cavaliers now 31-2. This team really grows on you...and love watching Kyle Guy.
2 Villanova took the Big East crown, 76-66 over Providence, the Wildcats advancing to 30-4.
Your official Bar Chat “Pick to Click” to win it all, 11 Wichita State, fell in the American Athletic Conference semifinals to Houston (26-6), 77-74, the Shockers now 25-7.
15 Arizona (27-7) took the Pac-12 title with a 75-61 win over USC.
Then on Sunday, aforementioned Davidson (21-11) stole a bid with a 58-57 win over 25 Rhode Island (25-7) in the A 10 final. Boy, the Rams have struggled down the stretch and should go out in the first round.
But you have to love Davidson coach Bob McKillop. While we all can agree college hoops is dirty, if there is one program and coach you could probably bet money on that it’s clean, it’s Davidson and McKillop, who has been coaching there since 1989-90. He could have taken a lot of bigger jobs over the years, but the now 67-year-old had the right idea. He’s no doubt paid well, Davidson is a great school, great area to live, and he can shape lives there. A true professional. Steph Curry sure thinks highly of the man.
Kentucky (24-10) beat 13 Tennessee (25-8) for the SEC title 77-72.
--Duke’s Grayson Allen did it again, tripping an opponent in Duke’s semifinal loss to North Carolina, 74-69. As North Carolina moved the ball up the court, Allen leaned his backside into the Tar Heels’ Garrison Brooks, causing him to fall.
I was working on that other column I do Friday night’s but had this game on and could only shake my head. It was ruled a Flagrant 1, appropriately, and at the time it put UNC up 34-27.
Coach K was furious over the call, but you know he was equally torqued off at Allen. I’m biting my tongue on what to call the kid. I’ve said it all before.
--Pitt severed ties with coach Kevin Stallings after two abysmal seasons. Stallings was hired in 2016 to replace longtime coach Jamie Dixon, who left for TCU, after Stallings had spent 17 seasons as coach at Vanderbilt, where he was 332-220 with seven NCAA tournament appearances.
But then he went 16-17 (4-14 ACC) in his first season at Pitt, and 8-24 (0-19 in ACC games) this year. And I thought Wake’s program was in the dumper.
--UConn fired coach Kevin Ollie, for “just cause,” with Ollie announcing he would fight to retain his job. The program is the subject of an ongoing NCAA inquiry. Athletic Director David Benedict called the decision “unfortunate” but “necessary” in a release on Saturday.
After winning the national title in his second season, 2013-14, success has been fleeting the last four years for Ollie and the Huskies. And going back to the days of Jim Calhoun, while the school has many national title banners (4), it hasn’t been a clean ride, if you catch my drift.
--North Carolina State has received a grand jury subpoena seeking records as part of the Justice Department’s investigation into corruption in the sport. The school only acknowledged the subpoena, which originated in the Southern District of New York, where a grand jury has been impaneled, and gave no details.
N.C. State is the seventh school implicated in the ongoing investigation, and while the connection is unclear, it could involve Dallas Mavericks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. Last month, Yahoo Sports published documents suggesting Smith received $43,500 before he turned professional after his one year playing for the Wolfpack.
--Rick Pitino told ESPN he wants to coach again, whether it’s in college of the NBA.
“The level doesn’t matter to me,” he said on Friday. “I just need it to be someone who believes in me.”
“Every night I go to bed, I’m bitter at the U.S. attorney’s office and at the ‘’board of traitors’ at Louisville,” Pitino added. “I’m not bitter at the school, but at the board of traitors.”
Pitino said he was willing to turn over all his phone records, emails and voice recordings to any school that would want to hire him. He said “I’ve never offered any player $5. I’ve been assassinated by the Southern District of N.Y. without any wiretap or shred of evidence, and the University of Louisville.”
--Paul Casey ended a 9-year drought, winning his second PGA Tour title at the Valspar Championship, Palm Harbor, Fla., with a one-stroke victory over both Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed. Casey fired a terrific final-round 65 in finishing an hour and 15 minutes ahead of Woods.
Reed had a chance to force a playoff on 18 but inexplicably gagged his birdie putt and was then forced to settle for bogey.
Which left the stage to Tiger, who came up short on his own birdie effort at 18.
But welcome back, Tiger! What a shot in the arm for the sport (as the likes of Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy failed to make the cut). I imagine NBC’s ratings today were huge.
Tiger looked as relaxed as I’ve ever seen him and even acknowledged the crowd from time to time, especially going up the 18 fairway. His performance on Saturday was at times magical, but after an opening birdie today, he couldn’t muster any more, save for a gorgeous birdie putt on 17 to move him to within one.
Far more on the importance of this tournament next time.
--Tiger’s caddie Joe LaCava deserves a ton of credit for Tiger’s play in his comeback. Picture how LaCava could have been on a number of high-profile bags the past two years, but Woods clearly treated him well, LaCava’s job to be on call at all times for practice rounds and such, and LaCava has nothing but unstinting praise for his boss. As he told the New York Times’ Karen Crouse: “This guy’s been great to me and I love him like a brother.”
Woods calls him “a stud. He’s positive, upbeat, competitive....he’s been a great friend over the years. But especially the last couple of years when it’s been tough. Just an unbelievable friend and just an unreal caddie.”
--If you were wondering where Johnny Miller was this week, he never does Tampa, Gary Koch being from the area, and Miller, who I forgot is now 71, works a somewhat limited schedule.
--The big news in these parts was a viral video that appears to show Giants star Odell Beckham Jr. with a beautiful woman (later identified as a French Instagram model), holding a brown cigarette in one hand while in bed with a pizza and the woman holding a credit card near an unidentified white substance. It turns out, as the New York Post reported when it caught up with the woman, that it was filmed in Paris, Beckham having met the girl at a club (according to her).
The Giants then said they were aware of the video.
Through the first four years of his career, Beckham has been the source of many on-field headaches for the team, including skirmishes with opposing players and embarrassing touchdown celebrations, but off the field he has avoided legal issues. You see from his many endorsements, Madison Ave. loves him.
But the timing of this video is potentially hugely damaging to OBJ, who goes into the December file for “Idiot of the Year” consideration, because he will be playing for $8.5 million on the team option year of his rookie contract in 2018, at least as of today, but he’s been seeking an extension in the $100 million range.
Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans, hardly of Beckham’s class, recently agreed to a five-year, $82.5 million contract, which set the benchmark for OBJ. [Antonio Brown signed a four-year, $68 million deal.] But Beckham is coming off surgery to repair a fractured left ankle.
--This is the week free-agency opens up and it appears quarterback Kirk Cousins is going to choose between Minnesota and Denver, not the Jets, which is fine with me. Draft a QB, I say, and run with that.
Minnesota had three quarterbacks last season who could have been starters – Sam Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater, and Case Keenum – and all are likely to become free agents
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said last week that all three have questions.
“Can Sam stay healthy? Is Teddy what he was? Is Case the guy that he was last year or two years ago?”
So Minnesota it would seem is ready to break the bank for Cousins.
Once Cousins signs, a number of teams will be scrambling for Keenum, or trade for Philadelphia’s Nick Foles....but it all starts with Kirk
It will also mean that Cousins’ inevitable stupendous contract sets a new bar for the likes of Aaron Rodgers.
--The Seattle Seahawks are officially dismantling their mini-dynasty, with the release of cornerback Richard Sherman and the trade of defensive end Michael Bennett to the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Seahawks aren’t New England, but they came within an ill-fated play call at the 1-year line from winning two Super Bowls and Sherman was a big part of that.
So the All-Pro, arguably the best cornerback in the game the last few years, hit the free agent market as a soon-to-be 30-year-old cornerback coming off a ruptured Achilles’ tendon and yesterday he agreed to a three-year, $39.15 million deal with the 49ers.
--Green Bay traded cornerback Damarious Randall to the Cleveland Browns on Friday and received quarterback DeShone Kizer in turn. The deal included swapping some draft picks.
Green Bay has long studied Kizer, a second-year QB out of Notre Dame who started 15 games for the Browns last season.
So this means that the job of backup to Aaron Rodgers is going to be between Kizer and Brett Hundley. Without the injured Rodgers last season, the Packers were 3-7 under Hundley, who hardly impressed with a 70.6 passer rating. I agree with Mark R. (Notre Dame alum, as is Kizer) that this is the perfect spot for him.
Meanwhile, it’s been tough keeping up with Cleveland. Friday, they acquired Pro Bowl receiver Jarvis Landry from Miami and quarterback Tyrod Taylor from the Bills.
Landry had signed a $16 million, one-year franchise tag with Miami, which cleared the way for the deal. He led the NFL last season with 112 receptions.
Taylor has a 23-20 record in 43 starts for the Bills since 2015. I think he got a bum deal in Buffalo last year. The guy has talent.
What’s most important at this point is that the Browns still have Nos. 1, 4, 33, 35 and 64 picks in this year’s draft.
As for the Bills, the only quarterback they have is Nathan Peterman, but they have the Nos. 21 and 22 picks in the draft. They clearly aren’t finished.
--ESPN dumped play-by-play man, Sean McDonough, from his “Monday Night Football” gig. Joe Tessitore, he of the deep voice that seems fake, is expected to replace him, even though Tessitore has never called an NFL game.
But the revamped booth won’t include Peyton Manning it seems. FOX is still in play for Manning’s services as its lead game analyst on its new “Thursday Night Football” package. FOX is looking to turn the game into a bigger deal than “Monday Night Football.” For his part, Manning prefers Thursday because he doesn’t want to work weekends.
--Jerry Jones and the NFL reached an agreement on a penalty for a series of disputes, including litigation threatened against the league over Roger Goodell’s contract, and the Ezekiel Elliott mess.
Jones will pay more than $2 million to cover the league’s legal costs.
--Free agent Mike Moustakas is returning to Kansas City, and this is hardly where he wanted to be. In the winter of deep freeze for free agents, he didn’t receive any offers. Agent Scott Boras said, “The system failed Mike Moustakas. There should be more demand for an All-Star with a World Series ring who has proven himself.”
Moustakas, 29, had his best season with 38 home runs for the Royals in 2017, though the rest of his metrics were underwhelming. As in he has a career OBP of .305, which is hideous.
But after the third baseman earned $8.7 million last season, he signed a one-year deal for $6.5 million. [There are $2.2 million in incentives to allow him to equal last year’s’ pay, and there is a mutual $15 million option for 2019.]
The Royals, who tried to re-sign first baseman Eric Hosmer and center fielder Lorenzo Cain before they departed for free agency, were elated to get Moustakas back.
--Paul DeJong, who finished second in the N.L. Rookie of the Year vote last season as the Cardinals shortstop, batting .285 with 25 homers, just signed an early extension with the team.
So the 24-year-old made a decision with, as the Wall Street Journal’s Jared Diamond put it, “potentially far-reaching implications for the entire baseball industry.
DeJong asked his agent to approach the Cardinals on an extension, foregoing the traditional years-long path leading to free agency.
And the discussions resulted in a six-year contract guaranteeing $26 million, the most ever for a player with less than one full year of major-league service time. The deal also includes two club options that increase his comp to $51.5 million – but would keep him off the market until he turns 32, two years later than he otherwise would.
DeJong said: “It was plenty of money. I’m not going to be greedy. I understand I could’ve made more if I keep playing the way I play.”
Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson inked a similar pact after his rookie campaign last March that guaranteed him $25 million, $50.5m with a pair of club options.
But the MLB Players Association is far from thrilled with such deals, arguing the player is costing himself $millions. Like look at Jose Altuve, who will earn just $6 million in 2018. [He can become a free agent after 2019 at this point, but could have become one this winter, had it not been for the early extension he signed with the Astros.]
Back to DeJong, he was a pre-med student at Illinois State and planned to become a doctor if baseball didn’t work out. He’s just appreciative, as he put it, that the Cards are paying him “a ridiculous amount of money.”
“This game seems to be trending young,” he said. “Getting the security up front is going to really help me.”
--In his latest outing on the mound, Shoehi Ohtani was lit up in a “B” game against the Tijuana Toros of the Mexican League; three innings, six runs and six hits, including a home run to Dustin Martin, a 33-year-ol who has spent parts of five seasons at triple-A.
Ohtani struck out six, walked one, threw two wild pitches and hit two batters. His velocity topped out at 95 mph.
In three games, covering about seven innings, he has given up 10 runs and struck out 16. Yup, it’s a “process.” But isn’t all life a process?
--And late word the Phillies reached an agreement with free agent hurler Jack Arrieta, three years, $75 million. Gotta respect how aggressive Philly has been. I like the signing. But us Mets fans also hate it that he’s now in the division.
--Friday, Golden State lost to Portland 125-108 as the Trail Blazers, 40-26, won their ninth in a row behind 58 points from their backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.
But the Warriors were playing without Stephen Curry, who rolled his ankle again the night before in a win over the Spurs. It’s the fourth right ankle injury for Curry since Dec. 4, when he suffered a sprain against New Orleans and was sidelined for nearly a month so you can imagine how Warriors fans are on pins and needles. No word on his return after this latest setback.
Golden State then lost today to Minnesota, 109-103, and at 51-16 is very much in danger of failing to secure the No. 1 seed in the West, as Houston entered its contest Sunday against Dallas at 51-14, having just had a 17-game win streak snapped on Friday at Toronto.
--LeBron James reportedly has a four-team wish list for when he hits free agency this summer; the Cavs, Lakers, Rockets and 76ers as potential landing spots.
Philly would be the right target, with its young star core that includes Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
James said the other day he doesn’t need to go to L.A. to help his brand, but it wouldn’t hurt.
He also said, rightfully so, that even at 33, his play is at “an all-time high.”
“Just because of my body, my mind, the way I go out and approach the game. And then, just the grace of God, giving me the ability to do this. I’m blessed, and I never take it for granted.”
Since returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014, James’ combined points, rebounds and assists per game have gone up every season. That total is 44.3 this season (prior to tonight’s contest), which would be the fourth-highest of his career and the most since the 2009-10 season, when he was 25 years old. Remarkable.
--In a huge contest on Saturday, Manchester United defeated Liverpool 2-1, but afterwards much of the discussion centered around Man U manager Jose Mourinho’s decision to remove goalscorer Marcus Rashford, who had scored twice in the first half, and replace him with Marouane Fellaini.
Mourinho said he had been told about television analyst Gary Neville’s comment at the break that Neville had said Rashford risked being dismissed (meaning Man U would have been playing one man down). Neville of Sky Sports said Rashford should have received a red card, or was close to one. The home fans booed Mourinho bigly for the move, which was strange, to say the least.
Also Saturday, Chelsea beat Crystal Palace 2-1, while Newcastle had a huge 3-0 victory over Southampton to put some distance between itself and the relegation line.
Sunday, Tottenham whipped Bournemouth on the road, 4-1, though the Spurs had two late goals and the contest was in doubt late. Harry Kane suffered another injury, this to his ankle, with no update yet.
But coupled with Liverpool’s defeat, Tottenham moves up to third.
Also today, Arsenal beat Watford 3-0.
So the standings after 30 of 38 matches....
1. Man City 78*
2. Man U 65
3. Tottenham 61
4. Liverpool 60 ...Champions League line
5. Chelsea 56
6. Arsenal 48
13. Newcastle 32
14. Swansea 31
15. Huddersfield 31
16. West Ham 30
17. Southampton 28 ...relegation line
18. Crystal Palace 27
19. Stoke 27*
20. West Brom 20
*Man City and Stoke play no. 30 on Monday
--Earlier this week in Champions League play, Tottenham choked mightily, again, in losing its second leg against Juventus at Wembley, 2-1, giving Juventus a 4-3 aggregate win.
The Spurs had a 1-0 lead when Juventus scored twice in three minutes in the second half, so Tottenham fails to make the last eight. Harry Kane had a chance to tie it in the 90th minute, but his header hit the post. So typical of this team that can’t seem to win any Cup titles despite top talent.
Manchester City and Liverpool advanced to the quarterfinals, and Manchester United and Chelsea attempt to do the same this week.
--It turns out Kevin Harvick’s dominating win in last Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race in Las Vegas was tainted. NASCAR announced that his Stewart-Haas Racing team was being penalized for two violations involving the rear window and rocker panels, and Harvick was docked 20 regular season points, which negates the power of the victory as far as the playoffs down the road. Car chief Robert Smith was suspended for two races, and crew chief Rodney Childers was fined $50,000.
The violations are complex but did give the car an advantage.
So what happened today in Phoenix? Harvick won his third straight over Kyle Busch.
--I get a kick out of those who say Mikaela Shiffrin had a disappointing Olympics, even though she won a gold and silver medal, with the weather screwing up the schedule royally the first week.
But on Friday, Shiffrin secured her second straight overall World Cup title with five events to spare, finishing third in the giant slalom in Ofterschwang, Germany.
Then Saturday, Shiffrin won the slalom race to take the overall slalom title.
So Shiffrin joins Lindsey Vonn as the only American women to win multiple World Cup titles, Vonn having won four, with Lindsey’s second at age 24, while Shiffrin is 22.
On the men’s side, Austria’s Marcel Hirscher clinched the overall title, his record seventh straight! Amazing.
--The Wall Street Journal’s Ben Fritz had a piece on the economics of the next Dwayne Johnson movie, “Red Notice,” which attracted a bidding war and ultimately Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures bought the future film (2020 release date) for up to $160 million (the projected cost) and to pay Johnson more than $20 million, if you were wondering what his going rate is these days.
The Journal got a rare look at the term sheet and Johnson would earn $22 million, plus profit sharing and bonuses based on the box office.
-- “A 77-year-old woman is recovering after she was attacked by a wild otter while kayaking in Florida, according to Fox 13.
“Sue Spector was kayaking with her husband and a group of people early Sunday morning in the Braden River when the otter jumped on her kayak and then jumped on her.
“ ‘I took my paddle and I tried to get him off of me and he wouldn’t let go and I kept screaming, I kept beating him with a paddle,’ Spector said. ‘When you’re [in the middle of] it you don’t have a lot of thought except you hope you survive.’
“Spector’s kayak also flipped over, causing her to fight off the animal as she was neck-deep in water.”
Her husband, the group’s guide and the others got her to safety.
Spector went to the emergency room and is being treated for rabies.
The otter is on the loose and should be considered armed and dangerous. Otter faces punishment by the All-Species List Board when it next convenes, the free-wheeler currently No. 121.
Top 3 songs for the week 3/10/73: #1 “Killing Me Softly With His Song” (Roberta Flack) #2 “Dueling Banjos” (Eric Weissberg & Steve Mandell...hard to believe “Deliverance” was so long ago...) #3 “Last Song” (Edward Bear)...and...#4 “Could It Be I’m Falling In Love” (Spinners) #5 “Love Train” (O’Jays) #6 “Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001)” (Deodato...one of the 3 or 4 worst songs of all time...) #7 “Crocodile Rock” (Elton John...just about my least favorite of his...) #8 “The Cover of ‘Rolling Stone’” (Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show) #9 “Rocky Mountain High” (John Denver...love it...Rocky Mountain spring water...Coors Light....) #10 “Daddy’s Home” (Jermaine Jackson)
NCAA Basketball Quiz Answer: 1983-84 Georgetown Hoyas (20 min. per game): Patrick Ewing (16.4 ppg, 10.8 reb., 3.2 blocks), David Wingate (11.2), Michael Jackson (10.2.), Reggie Williams (9.1), Bill Martin (8.9), Gene Smith (3.7)...Horace Broadnax, Michael Graham and Fred Brown were also in the rotation...Ralph Dalton was Ewing’s backup, but only played about 8 minutes a game.
Next Bar Chat, Thursday.