North Carolina played 15 games against tournament teams before the actual tournament

The Zags have gone up against NCAA tournament teams 11 times this season. Five of those have come in the NCAA tournament, of course, which is why they’re here. They’ve played nine different tournament teams, with three games against Saint Mary’s, a No. 7 seed who lost to Arizona in the second round.

Gonzaga was 6-0 against tournament teams in the regular season and conference tournament. That run included a five-point win against Florida, a two-point win against Iowa State, a seven-point win against Arizona, and three easy victories against Saint Mary’s, which couldn’t matchup well.

Is this a power conference slate? No. North Carolina played 15 games against tournament teams before the actual tournament, and the Tar Heels went 10-5. They had losses against Virginia and Miami, who aren’t better than some of the teams Gonzaga beat. (They also lost to non-tourney teams Indiana and Georgia Tech, while Gonzaga’s lone loss came against BYU.)
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Trevon Bluiett nearly bolted to the NBA a year ago before deciding at the last second to return to school. If he does the same thing this spring, then Xavier could be poised for yet another deep run in the NCAA tournament. If he doesn’t, Chris Mack should still have enough pieces to compete with the top of the Big East.

Game Mens Xavien Howard Jersey This year’s regional final run could be just the beginning for the Mike White era in Gainesville. The Gators lose starting point guard Kasey Hill and grad transfer Canyon Barry, but should return the other most important pieces from their surprisingly successful 2016-17 campaign. Having a healthy John Egbunu back will only make them more formidable.

4 surprising things about how UNC beat Gonzaga

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North Carolina’s 71-65 win against Gonzaga on Monday night didn’t come pretty. The Tar Heels claimed their sixth national title by beating a 37-1 opponent, and they did it on a night when they couldn’t shoot, got almost nothing from their bench, didn’t rebound all that well, and made fewer than 60 percent of their free throws.

This was unexpected, and I mean that in the most complimentary fashion. It’s a mark of a champion to be great even when you’re not, and UNC managed a six-point win despite myriad things going awry. This post is a collection of some of those things.

That montage is set to the song “One Shining Moment,” and it’s how every college basketball season has closed since 1987.
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The NCAA tournament is one of the most unique events on the American sports calendar. It features three weeks of high drama, passion, and twists and turns. In just over three minutes, CBS producers pack in a synopsis of March Madness, and cap it off with a tribute to that season’s national champion.

The song was created by a composer named David Barrett, who said he knew he had college basketball’s anthem as soon as he wrote it in the fall of 1986. But it was almost a different sport’s soundtrack. Barrett said CBS had designs on debuting “One Shining Moment” after Super Bowl 21, but it didn’t make air that night.

Instead it was used after Indiana won the national title a few months later.

30 years ago today, “One Shining Moment” made its debut on CBS. Here’s the original version that started an incredible Tournament tradition. pic.twitter.com/NTUgfVZarW

The Warriors have the formula for stopping James Harden

James Harden scored 24 points in the Houston Rockets’ 113-106 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday, but he did so with staggering inefficiency. Harden shot just 5-of-20 from the field and 1-of-9 from downtown. He made all 13 of his free throws, but he turned the ball over six times.
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In spite of his triple-double effort, Houston was outscored by nine with its MVP candidate on the floor. His struggles were not unique to Tuesday, though. They’ve been the undertone of each of Harden’s matchups against the Warriors this season.

In three games against Golden State, The Beard has turned the ball over 20 times, shot a wretched 3-of-25 from downtown, and made just 19 of 56 total field goals. Harden has recorded triple-doubles in two of those three games, but the Warriors have outscored the Rockets by 35 points in all of his minutes on the floor.

“It feels good to be in a situation where we do have the second pick of the draft. It’s one that I hope to not be in again, but it’s nice coming in and having a lot of options,” Shanahan said at the NFL’s annual meeting Wednesday. “We want to do whatever gives us the best chance as an organization and that could be anything. We could trade and grab more people, and if not, we’re going to get a good player with the second pick in the draft, and regardless of what position that is, we have to get the best player available.”

Only a handful of mock drafts believe that player will be a quarterback. It’s not for a lack of need by San Francisco, but there’s a general sense that there may not be a passer who merits a top 10 selection, let alone the No. 2 pick.

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Uffsides Week 12 previews: Broncos-Patriots features NFL’s largest collection of ‘Welker-like’ receivers

The biggest game of the NFL Week 12 slate is the Sunday Night Football showdown between the Broncos and Patriots, as Peyton Manning and Tom Brady face off for the 14th time in their Hall of Fame careers. But there are other notable games as well, games between playoff contenders, a coin flip of an NFC East battle, and a raging tire fire down in Houston. Join our ragtag Uffsides crew for offbeat previews and picks.

Philadelphia Eagles – Bradley Roby, Cornerback, Ohio State: 2017 has not been kind to Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby. He ran into trouble with the law in the offseason and he seems to have regressed a bit on the field as a junior. Still, the talent flashes at times, and at this point, it would still be a surprise for him to drop out of the first round. The Eagles have a big hole to fill at cornerback, and Roby would be a nice pickup.

Carolina hasn’t had the best luck with USC wide receivers, but Marqise Lee is a nice value pick here. If not for injuries bringing down his level of play, Lee may be a top-15 lock. Instead, the Panthers get him in the 20s.

When I think of a good running back I usually envision a guy who has good speed, good vision, is strong enough to get the tough yards inside and can make somebody miss in space. I believe that Trent Richardson is a good running back. I also think that might be what is hurting him in Indy.

You have to understand something about teams that run power football schemes — generally they set up the blocking to give the running back a crease that opens and shuts in an instant. The thought process is something like they get you through the hole and then its your job to get anything extra. If you never make it through that crease, however, you are shit out of luck.
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The Titans have two games remaining against Indianapolis, a game at Denver and they will host Arizona.

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Limited Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie Jersey One interesting aspect of this game is the Arizona head coach Bruce Arians can relate to what the Texans are going through right now with Kubiak. Arians was put in the position of taking over for Colts head coach Chuck Pagano on an interim basis last season after Pagano was diagnosed with cancer and had to leave the team for treatment.

There should be no reason to believe that Houston won’t play at their highest level when they travel to face the Cardinals on Sunday, but the biggest obstacle standing in their way is that Arizona defense. The best thing going for the Texans might actually be Palmer and whether or not he throws multiple interceptions to keep the game close.

Depth issues may be beginning to take a toll for the Colts, who were dominated in every phase against St. Louis. Backup quarterback Kellen Clemens torched Indianapolis, averaging 15.4 yards per attempt. The Colts’ defense now ranks near the bottom-third of the league both against the pass (19th) and the run (26th).

Andrew Luck threw three interceptions against the Rams, a week after he completed just 45 percent of his passes in a comeback win against the Texans. Luck has now had issues in both of his games since Reggie Wayne suffered a season-ending knee injury. How he and the Colts adjust moving forward could go a long way in determining if Indianapolis is a contender in the AFC.

The Titans have two games remaining against Indianapolis, a game at Denver and they will host Arizona. The loss to Jacksonville gives Tennessee very little margin of error moving forward. With Locker out, the Titans could turn to Chris Johnson and the rushing attack. Johnson had his best game of the season two weeks ago, rushing for 150 yards on 23 carries, but picked up just 30 yards on 12 carries last week.

Tennessee remains strong against the pass, but has struggled against the run and is 21st in run defense.

Most online experts are picking the Lions to beat the Steelers this week.

The Pittsburgh Steelers host the Detroit Lions in Week 11, and most people expect the Lions to come away with a road victory.

The Lions grabbed a huge divisional win over the Chicago Bears last week and are now alone atop of the NFC North at 6-3. They have a chance to extend that lead with the Bears and Packers both crippled by injuries. The Steelers are just playing out the string at this point, but they did improve to 3-6 with a solid win over the Buffalo Bills. The defense had a much better effort after getting shellacked by the Patriots, but they have a much bigger challenge going up against Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush.

Limited Kids Miguel Cabrera Jersey Detroit is the heavy favorite to win this one. They are unanimous picks on SB Nation’s panel of experts and five out of eight analysts on ESPN are going with them as well. Over at CBS Sports, six out of nine experts are picking the Lions to win.

With 4:53 left in the game and the Cardinals holding on to a 10-point lead, Mendenhall fumbles again on their 5-yard line. I say again because that was his third fumble of the year and the second one he lost.
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The Cardinals usually aren’t good enough to overcome turning the ball over, even though they hung on to beat the Texans. It behooves them to put themselves in the best position to take care of the ball and score. Somehow, I think starting a guy who is averaging 7.2 yards a carry would help accomplish both goals.

Redskins fire GM Scot McCloughan after ‘disaster for 18 months’

Ending a week of speculation and uncertainty, the Redskins fired general manager Scot McCloughan on Thursday.

McCloughan was entering his third offseason at the helm of the franchise, which hired him in January 2015. Thursday marked the beginning of the NFL’s new year and thus the opening of free agency. McCloughan didn’t attend last week’s scouting combine and was away from Redskins Park this week, the Post reported, with team president Bruce Allen orchestrating all personnel decisions in the meantime.

The Redskins maintained McCloughan had been away from his office dealing with a family matter.

Epstein, who helped end the Boston Red Sox’s 86-year World Series title drought as their general manager in 2004, saw his Cubs end their 108-year drought this past season. But he doesn’t necessarily agree with the honor.

Elite Mens Rocky Bleier Jersey In a text to ESPN’s Buster Olney, Epstein said, Um, I can’t even get my dog to stop peeing in the house. That is ridiculous. The whole thing is patently ridiculous. It’s baseball — a pastime involving a lot of chance. If [Ben] Zobrist’s ball is three inches farther off the line, I’m on the hot seat for a failed five-year plan. And I’m not even the best leader in our organization; our players are.

Authentic Youth Laken Tomlinson Jersey Wrote Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci for Fortune: This time there was no proprietary formula, no algorithm, for self-motivated, high-character players and creating an environment to allow them to flourish. [Epstein and his assistants] never stopped searching to find edges, but they made a fundamental decision early after coming to Chicago that the one edge they could exploit was found in a very old-school resource: people.

Epstein will be rewarded for his leadership. His first deal paid him an average of $3.7 million a year. His current deal, which he agreed to in September, will see him making nearly $10 million a year.

Epstein wasn’t the only sports figure on the list — LeBron James was ranked 11th.

Deng Adel was pegged as a potential breakout player in his sophomore year before this season began.

Louisville currently holds the No. 8 incoming recruiting class, according to 247Sports. Along with the No. 68 player in the class, point guard Darius Perry, the Cardinals will also add five-star center Malik Williams. The No. 3 big man in the class stands at 7’0 and will look to add to an already good defensive team and stretch the floor.

Williams also held offers from Michigan State, Indiana, Maryland, UCLA, Xavier, and Butler. He was a coveted add who should find immediate minutes.

He’ll join 7-footer Anas Mahmoud, who will return as a senior. He averaged six points, four rebounds, and two blocks per game.

Deng Adel was pegged as a potential breakout player in his sophomore year before this season began. Adel had barely played as a freshman, but he impressed scouts at Adidas Nations during the summer.

For the most part, Adel lived up to the hype. He averaged 12.1 points per game, hit 34 percent of his threes, and proved to be a willing passer and rebounder as well. Still, it feels like he is capable of taking another step up. If he does it in his junior year, Louisville could find itself with a star.

Bill O’Brien got rid of the expensive headache known as Brock Osweiler and is free to handpick a more malleable passer with strengths and an offensive mentality to his liking. Trubisky is much more than a big pocket passer, and O’Brien would love tailoring his unique blend of short accuracy and athleticism into a more effective, efficient package that Osweiler had no chance of becoming.
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The Wolverines will only play excellent teams the rest of the way.

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The game will be played in California, but Cincinnati is an Eastern Time team, so the body clocks of the players will be a bit off even if the tip off is 6:45 local time. And when they head back east it¡¯s really going to nail them.

These are all best-case scenario estimates, but say the game will likely end right around midnight Eastern Time. After all the media obligations and transit to the airport an optimistic estimate would have the Bearcats on their plane at 1 a.m. to travel home from Sacramento for a flight that¡¯s around four hours. Wheels down in Cincy at 5 a.m., likely not back to their dorms or apartments until 5:30 a.m. on Monday morning.

Michigan still has a ways to travel to win a national title. The Wolverines will only play excellent teams the rest of the way. But they¡¯ve got that look.

Beilein and Pitino are both among the best coaches of this era, but Pitino had gotten the best of Beilein in a couple of key tournament spots before.

In 2005, Beilein was coaching at West Virginia. He led WVU on a wonderful Cinderella run to the Elite Eight. The Mountaineers hadn¡¯t even been in the tournament in seven years, but their March was awesome. As a No 7 seed, they won by two against Creighton in the first round and by six against No. 2 Wake Forest in the second. They beat Bob Knight¡¯s Texas Tech in the Sweet 16 and were a tourney darling by the Elite Eight.

Then WVU played Louisville, and the magic looked like it would continue. The Mountaineers had a 13-point lead at halftime, but a Larry O¡¯Bannon and Taquan Dean-led Louisville came back to force overtime, where it outscored the ¡®Eers by eight.

Adam Foote Jersey We all remember 2013¡¯s game. Michigan star Trey Burke sat for much of the first half with two fouls, while reserve Spike Albrecht ripped off 17 early points in his absence.

David Baas injury: Giants C placed on injured reserve, out for the season

David Baas has been placed on injured reserve by the New York Giants and will miss the rest of the 2013 NFL season, the team announced Wednesday. Baas injured his MCL on the last play of the Giants’ opening drive during Monday night’s win over the Minnesota Vikings.

Dick Butkus Authentic Jersey Baas had just rejoined the Giants after missing three games due to a neck injury. During preseason, he injured the same knee and sat out through the Giants’ season opener before returning to the field briefly. Baas has never had a reputation for being injury prone in the NFL. He has played 16 games in five of his nine seasons in the NFL, and has never appeared in less than 11 games during the regular season:
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There’s only one problem: Alford already has one of the sport’s biggest jobs. Right now, he’s guiding a loaded UCLA team into March Madness, and it’s built for a deep run.

Would Alford really leave the Bruins for Bloomington? He didn’t exactly say no when he was pressed on Thursday:

That’s the basketball equivalent of a filibuster. Alford answered the question without really answering it at all.

Of course, it makes sense. What’s he supposed to say? “Yes, I’d love to coach Indiana,” doesn’t really play when you have Lonzo Ball, and your current team is equipped to win the national championship.

It’s just something worth monitoring because Alford’s words sound similar to what he said when he took the UCLA job from New Mexico. The Alford-to-Indiana speculation will likely only ramp up if he leads UCLA on a run through the tournament.

Our Indiana community, Crimson Quarry, is already on the record: It doesn’t want Alford to coach the Hoosiers. This is going to be the most debated job opening of the spring. Get ready for a lot more nondenials and vague responses over the next month.