Bracketology 2017: One-loss Gonzaga remains a 1 seed, for now

The BYU Cougars rocked the college basketball world on Saturday night by defeating the Gonzaga Bulldogs 79-71, a result that ended the Zags¡¯ hopes for a perfect season. At the moment, the 29-1 Bulldogs remain on the top line of our latest NCAA tournament projection, joining Kansas, Villanova, and North Carolina (even after the Tar Heels lost at Virginia on Monday night).

Youth Devin McCourty Jersey But if Mark Few¡¯s team loses in the upcoming WCC Tournament ¡ª Gonzaga plays its first game in the quarterfinals on Saturday night ¡ª the door opens further for those on the two line. At the moment, that¡¯s Baylor, Louisville, Kentucky, and Oregon.

After UCLA¡¯s road win over Arizona on Saturday night, the Ducks aren¡¯t the only Pac-12 team in the race. Considering the Bruins¡¯ splits with Oregon and Arizona and the Ducks¡¯ hammering of the Wildcats in the pair¡¯s lone meeting, next week¡¯s Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas has real importance to the national picture.

Roenick: I guess they needed someone passionate behind the game and passionate behind USA hockey to go out there and make sure that the message gets relayed. And that message is making hockey strong across small towns. I mean we’ve done some real, real special things.
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Kraft is really going out across the country to find America’s most passionate hockey community. I think that says something. It shows the fans and the people that love the game of hockey and want their kids to be exposed to it, want their community to be exposed to the rest of the United States, how much they love the game.

And the winner gets $100,000 to upgrade their home arena, whether it’s towards a new Zamboni or better ice or better facilities ¡­ Some of these arenas around the country are really old and really need some tender loving care. Hockeyville is reaching out to make sure that the grassroots of hockey across the country are put out there to thrive.

NFL considering dropping tax-exempt status, according to report

The NFL is considering an organizational restructure of the league office that would drop the tax-exempt status that has been the subject of controversy, according to a report from Daniel Kaplan of the Sports Business Journal.
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With the NFL projected to make around $11 billion in 2014, many have pointed to the league office’s tax-exempt status as unfair. Among the detractors are Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn and other lawmakers, who have pushed for legislation to remove the tax exemption for the NFL.

On Sunday morning, Sanders’ NFL Network associate Ian Rapoport reported that “[49ers] veterans are grumbling already about Jim Harbaugh, and the voices are getting louder and louder.”

Rapoport claimed that some of the discontent had to do with losing — the team was 1-2 before Sunday — but that Harbaugh’s treatment of veterans was a major concern.

“Some of the complaints include the fact that he kind of treats them like children,” Rapoport said. “In fact, on planes, I’m told, they’re not allowed to play music, they’re not allowed to play cards. Small things, but these are the things that really can rankle players, even though the veterans do get to sit in first class.”

Sanders echoed that report later in the day.

“They really got some problems that we hear rumblings. We all know people inside locker rooms.”
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There is speculation that Sanders’ source is wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who he’s known to have a close relationship with, but Sanders denies it’s the 49ers receiver. Sanders was the first to report that Crabtree was ending an extended holdout after a rookie contract dispute in 2009.

Clay played under Kelly at the University of Oregon from 2009-2012, signed with the Miami Dolphins

Ryans finished with 735 solo tackles, 13.5 sacks, 44 passes defense, seven interceptions and seven forced fumbles. Ryans’ addition to Shanahan’s staff is the former linebacker’s first foray into coaching. He’ll coach under defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, who was snagged by Shanahan away from Los Angeles, where Saleh was headed to serve as linebackers coach under new Chargers DC Gus Bradley.

Another interesting name on the list is strength and conditioning coach Michael Clay, who was a holdover from previous head coach Chip Kelly’s staff. Clay spent 2015 as the Niners’ assistant special teams coach and moves into his new role under Shanahan, while Kwan fills Clay’s previous position.

Clay played under Kelly at the University of Oregon from 2009-2012, signed with the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted free agent in 2013 and joined the Eagles as a defensive quality control coach in 2014 before moving to special teams assistant in 2015.

I’ve got a family that stays on my tail and it’s for the people who love me. The people that stick with me. I stay motivated, and anybody that are haters, it doesn’t make a difference. I don’t hear those.”

If Cutler does reach the open market next month, all eyes will be on a Jets franchise searching for Ryan Fitzpatrick’s successor under center.

The team’s new quarterbacks coach, Jeremy Bates, is perhaps the foremost authority on Cutler. The two not only worked together in both Denver and Chicago, but have also maintained a positive relationship, by all accounts.

Would Gang Green attempt to reunite Cutler with Bates as well as former Bears Pro Bowlers Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte?

Stay tuned. March is desperation season in the NFL.

Sosa’s reputation was further tarnished when he denied using PEDs in congressional testimony

Pastry is cheap, so it¡¯s understandable ¡ª but it must be a vehicle for the meat. The pie is the ultimate meat conveyance system that is unencumbered with fancy toppings, lettuce and tomato the same was a burger often is.

Basically what I¡¯m saying is that while it¡¯s a shame Wayne Shaw lost his job over a pie, it¡¯s also worth losing your job over a pie, particularly a good pie. Heck, most jobs are worth losing over a bad pie. The margin for error with a pie is so vast that a semi-soggy gas station pie is still really good, and vastly better than the wrinkly rotating gas station hot dog, for instance. Unless the hot dog is from Sheetz, because Sheetz has good hot dogs.

Sutton United v Arsenal – The Emirates FA Cup Fifth RoundSutton United v Arsenal – The Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round
Wayne Shaw, goalkeeper and pie enthusiast. Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Anyway, I digress. Really what the meat pie shows is part of a larger discussion, which is once again: Pie vs. Cake. In meat form, the pie is perfection, whereas meatloaf is meat cake and almost always disappointing.

“I never wanted to leave Chicago. I should have handled that situation differently, yes indeed,” Sosa told Wasserstrom. “I recognize my mistake. But look, I have my pride, and I know I had a tremendous career in Chicago. When nobody knew who Chicago was, I put Chicago on the map. Like you said, if I could have done it again, I would have done it differently.”

Elite Womens Marshawn Lynch Jersey Sosa’s reputation was further tarnished when he denied using PEDs in congressional testimony, and lawmakers considered charging him with perjury based on a New York Times report that he tested positive. He was not charged.

All of it made Sosa feel persecuted.
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“A lot of people say so many things, but I’m telling you — they have nothing on me,” Sosa said. “I’m not going to go out there begging, because they have no case. They had the Mitchell report trying to find something, but they had nothing on Mr. Sosa.”

I think the Pelicans are probably the best fit. Given they’re 27th in offensive rating

In the event that the Philadelphia 76ers were to hold on to Okafor through the trade deadline, I think the Bucks would be a good fit if Greg Monroe opts out of his contract and signs elsewhere this summer. Okafor could slide into that role.

Limited Womens Nate Solder Jersey For now, I think the Pelicans are probably the best fit. Given they’re 27th in offensive rating, they have less to lose by rebuilding their offense around Okafor than most teams. So it’s understandable to me that New Orleans has been linked to an Okafor trade.

New Orleans had also made inquiries about Indiana Pacers star Paul George ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline in the hopes of landing another All-Star to pair with franchise player, and newly minted All-Star Game MVP, Anthony Davis, league sources told ESPN’s Justin Verrier.

Davis was informed of the trade as he walked away from the podium following his MVP performance, greeting the news with a smile and a big thumbs-up.

“This is an unbelievable weekend,” Davis told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman. “All-Star MVP and now getting Boogie. It doesn’t get better than this.”

Davis told Goodman he hasn’t heard anything official from management or talked to Cousins yet.

Cousins, who is averaging 27.8 points and 10.6 rebounds, played only two minutes in Sunday night’s All-Star Game. He was flying back to Sacramento on a private plane with his assistants and family and is expected to return to New Orleans on Tuesday, a source told The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears.

Womens Brett Hull Jersey The Pelicans will need to add backcourt depth after this trade. Sources indicate the majority of the minutes will go to Tim Frazier. But New Orleans also has an interesting option in D-Leaguer Quinn Cook.

Did Joe Maddon break Bryce Harper?

IT’S LATE MORNING in late January in the desert. Sunrise Mountain stands guard beyond the right-center-field fence, but the craggy sentry is failing to protect Harper Field from Mother Nature’s heavy breathing.

With temps in the 40s and the wind chill well below that, it’s hardly baseball weather. Nevertheless, Bryce Harper stands in the batter’s box on the same Las Vegas High School diamond where he once dominated, the diamond that now bears his name. Cut after cut after cut, he spends upward of two hours focusing on the little things. Keeping the launch angle down. Getting to the inside pitch.

Donovan Smith Limited Jersey After the Nationals sold the farm for outfielder Adam Eaton, Washington’s biggest star made a cryptic Twitter post. What did it mean?

The occasional spectator stops by — a coach or two, some current varsity players — in hopes of witnessing a tape-measure shot from one of the most powerful hitters alive.

Instead, they leave disappointed, having seen little more than tee work and soft toss. Because Bryce Harper isn’t here to do damage. He’s here to undo damage.

“I think it’s pretty common knowledge we need to pitch better,” Molitor said. “There’s different ways I can envision that happening. One scenario would be a healthy Phil Hughes [who] gives you a chance to win more times than not when he takes the mound.”

Hughes got attention on social media with his response to Adele’s performance at Sunday’s Grammy Awards.

“I wish I could have gotten an Adele do-over on 168 pitches in my career,” he said in a Tweet that garnered more than 3,000 favorites by the end of the night.

Kids Chris Myers Jersey “I was just trying to make light of the situation,” Hughes said. “Whenever you hashtag a big event, people are going to see it. But when I woke up the next morning, a bunch of people texted me that it got picked up by a national website. It must have been a slow news night.”

Berry backed a Comeback Player of the Year season in 2015 with an even better 2016

Dont’a Hightower, New England Patriots linebacker

New England’s decision to trade Jones — and its later decision to shockingly trade Jamie Collins to the Browns — appeared to be a decision made in preparation for Hightower’s upcoming free agency. The stud linebacker, who has been an unsung hero in two Super Bowls, has earned a big pay day. But the Patriots will almost certainly slap him with the franchise tag if they can’t negotiate a new deal.

Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs safety

Berry has made it clear already that he doesn’t want to be tagged for the second straight season, telling the Kansas City Star “I’ll sit the season out” if the Chiefs use it on him again.

Berry backed a Comeback Player of the Year season in 2015 with an even better 2016, so there’s no reason for Kansas City not to meet Berry’s requests. Still, there’s a good chance the Chiefs will tag Berry again — and get a long-term deal worked out with him before the July 15 deadline this year.

So the secondary struggled as expected, but it wasn’t getting a ton of help. Southern fell from 59th to 122nd in Adj. Sack Rate despite tons of experience up front.

That experience is no more. Seven of last year’s top nine linemen are gone, as are the top three linebackers. There’s excellent continuity in the secondary, where eight underclassmen are now sophomores and juniors, but a surge in the back could be met with a collapse in the front.

Slot receiver Myles Campbell is back and could thrive in the right system, and Georgia Tech transfer Mike Summers Jr. knows the offense and averaged 14.8 yards per catch for Tech in 2015. Little-used pieces like junior Malik Henry and sophomores Obe Fortune and Hampton McConnell are certainly fast, and redshirt freshman Darion Anderson, the jewel of the 2016 signing class, could be ready to play a role.

The Patriots were upset 17-14 by the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII

In 2013, Manning set a single-season record for passing yards (5,477) and touchdowns (55) and the Broncos became the only 600-point team in league history. The Broncos lost the Super Bowl by 35 points to the Seattle Seahawks.

Brady was behind center for the Patriots in 2007 when the team finished the regular season 16-0 and scored 589 points. The Patriots were upset 17-14 by the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII.

Brady’s Patriots also scored at least 500 points in the 2010, 2011 and 2012 seasons but did not win the Super Bowl. In 2011, three teams topped the 500-point threshold — the Patriots, Saints and Green Bay Packers — and none of the three won the Super Bowl.

Ask coaches and personnel people around the league, and the theories abound about this phenomenon, but three rise to the surface.

A few days before Super Bowl LI, Dak Prescott found himself in Houston’s NRG Stadium at an event for Pepsi.

Authentic Kids Michael Schofield Jersey He looked around, taking mental notes, thinking one day he would be in a Super Bowl with the Dallas Cowboys.
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“It just ignites a little fire in me and makes me want to get back to work faster,” Prescott said.

Dak Prescott said his touchdown pass to Jason Witten to beat the Eagles in overtime on Oct. 30, was his favorite moment of the 2016 season. Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Fifty weeks ago, the Cowboys introduced themselves to Prescott for the first time at the Senior Bowl. He was one of the South team’s quarterbacks. The Cowboys’ staff was coaching the North. As much as the coaches liked Prescott, he was still their seventh-rated quarterback in the draft.

The Bears also need help at quarterback, though, so they might not be inclined to let him go without at least getting something in return.

Ryan solidified his name among the circle of elite quarterbacks

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On that game-winning drive ¡ª the 49th of his career, and 10th in the postseason ¡ª Tom Brady was 5-for-6 for 50 yards. Four different receivers caught passes ¡ª James White (twice), Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman. Not only that, but Martellus Bennett was targeted on the lone incompletion, and on an incomplete pass that was whistled for pass interference.

After being a double-digit underdog the previous year, Denver was a 7.5-point favorite the next year against Atlanta. Denver dominated most of the game, but the total came down to the final minutes. The teams combined for 23 points in the first three quarters before scoring 30 in the fourth quarter. A Chris Chandler touchdown pass in the final minutes cut the Broncos lead to 15. But instead of going for the extra point to put the game over the total (and cut the lead to 14), Atlanta went for the two-point conversion. The pass fell incomplete, so the over/under ended in a push for the first and only time in Super Bowl history.

Ryan found an even better version of himself, particularly after throwing two costly interceptions in a 29-28 home loss to Kansas City on Dec. 4. That turned out to be the Falcons’ only defeat over their last six regular-season games. Ryan’s focus was the same mentality he brought into the regular season: Cut down on turnovers and maintain a high level of efficiency in Year 2 of Shanahan’s scheme.

Game Womens Travis Dermott Jersey Ryan solidified his name among the circle of elite quarterbacks, even if his accomplishments were somewhat overshadowed contending with Brady in the Super Bowl. His remarkable regular season, which included franchise records in passing yards (4,944), touchdowns (38), passer rating (117.1), completion percentage (69.9) and passes of 25-plus yards (42), was the primary reason the Falcons earned a first-round playoff bye. His elevated play in the first two playoff games — seven TDs against no interceptions — was the driving force behind the Falcons’ run to the Super Bowl.