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There’s one thing I’ll never forget about the 2014 Final Four. After the confetti rained and the nets got cut, UConn’s entire team gathered in a corner of the court to crane their necks up at the giant screen at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. They were watching this:
The Tar Heels were 26-of-73 (35.6 percent) from the floor. They were an egregious 4-of-27 (14.8 percent) on three-pointers, including an 0-of-9 night from star Justin Jackson, who entered as a 38 percent shooter from deep. Their effective field goal percentage, a measurement of shooting that gives threes 50 percent more value than twos, was 38.4. This was, by that metric, the Heels’ second-worst shooting game of the year.
Elite Billy Smith Jersey The Heels had the best offensive rebounding rate in the country this year, getting back 41.3 of the rebound-able shots they missed. They had 15 such boards against Gonzaga, which sounds fine, but their overall O-boards rate was 28.9 percent. It was their fourth-worst offensive rebounding game of the year on their second-worst shooting night.
Or two fewer than Gonzaga’s overqualified backup center, Zach Collins, had before fouling out late in the second half.
Before the game, I wrote about what a UNC win would probably look like. Two of my key points were that the Heels would need to crash the offensive glass and/or hope for a better shooting night than usual. Those things didn’t happen.
Golden State doesn’t help on Harden on the perimeter — if he’s going to beat them from outside, the Warriors will live with that. What they do, however, is force him to make the right decision every time. The Beard hasn’t done that, and it’s hurt his team.
The results have spoken for themselves. In their three games against the Warriors, Houston has shot just 26-of-111, or 23 percent, from three-point range. The Rockets shoot 36 percent from downtown on the season, and that number spikes if you take away the duds against Golden State.
Houston shot just 5-of-31 from downtown on Tuesday. They sorely missed Ryan Anderson, another long-range sniper in the Rockets’ battalion who’s out two weeks with an ankle injury. When the Rockets aren’t splashing threes, Harden becomes less effective.
Houston won’t miss 84 percent of its threes again. They’re too confident and too talented of a group to break down now. But the Warriors have had their number.
Limited Womens Patrick Patterson Jersey And if Golden State’s regular season success is indicative of the potential outcome in a playoff series, Houston may have a problem.
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In March, the Cavs have given up at least 120 points five times (2-3 record) and have held opponents to fewer than 100 points twice (2-0). Cleveland wins when it defends well, but it is rare these days when Cleveland can defend well! They are ranked No. 22 in the league in defensive rating, worse than in 2017-15 (No. 20), when defense was a huge concern until the playoffs actually began.
That is the macro view. The micro view is just as ugly. Consider the guards Kyrie Irving might have to defend just to get the Cavaliers back to the NBA Finals: DeMar DeRozan or Kyle Lowry, Bradley Beal or John Wall, Isaiah Thomas, Goran Dragic or DION WAITERS. It’s a nightmare spring.
No Stevie Johnson or Robert Woods? No problem! Blazing rookie Marquise Goodwin and second-year man T.J. Graham provided enough pop to keep the passing game rolling, helping out E.J. Manuel on some flutterballs and logging a TD apiece. Safety Da’Norris Searcy got a touchdown of his own on a particularly poor Geno Smith toss. C.J. Spiller’s massive faceplant has helped to hamstring the offense, but some building blocks are in place on both sides of the ball to bring some long-overdue hope for the future home to Buffalo.
WMU was reasonably efficient on standard downs (37th in standard downs success rate) but played pretty passive, inefficient ball on passing downs; the Broncos鈥?sack rate was actually higher on standard downs (6.2 percent) than passing downs (5.3 percent), which isn鈥檛 supposed to happen. That resulted in quite a few second- or third-and-long bailouts.
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If anything, under new coordinator Tim Daoust, we might be looking at the opposite problem.
A colleague of Lester鈥檚 at Syracuse, Daoust runs the type of defense that Lester hated facing as a quarterback.
Limited Chris Culliver Jersey The attack 4-3 defense quickly came to mind as it prompts defenders to attack the offense then react to changes as they occur instead of trying to read what an offense is doing before attacking.
The system, Lester said, is frustrating to throwing quarterbacks as they need to wait to read the defense after the play has started.
The Washington Redskins appeared to be on their way to an easy victory Thursday night. The first half went about as well as they hoped. Robert Griffin III threw three touchdowns in what was arguably his best half of football this season, Alfred Morris had 88 yards rushing and the Redskins held a 24-14 lead over the Minnesota Vikings. Life was good.
The Panthers scratched out a road win against San Francisco and managed to remain relatively healthy in the process. Ted Ginn left the game briefly due to leg cramps but returned to action. Linebacker Chase Blackburn has battled a foot injury and re-aggravated it on Sunday. He did not return to the game, but head coach Ron Rivera said the injury will not require surgery according to Joe Person.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers placed running back Doug Martin on injured reserve on Friday, ending his 2017 campaign. Martin sustained a torn labrum in Week 7 against the Atlanta Falcons. It’s a shame for Martin, who had an exciting rookie season in which he earned a Pro Bowl berth. The Buccaneers are 0-8 on the season so the decision to shut him down was probably easier for that fact. Martin finished the season with 127 carries for 456 yards and a touchdown.
Linked above is the report that the Dolphins took appropriate action in regards to the incident last year in which Incognito was accused of sexually harassing a female volunteer at a Dolphins golf event. Head coach Joe Philbin said that the team took “immediate action” after being made aware of the situation.
Then there was a report that suggested Incognito was in danger of being released prior to the 2017 season. The Dolphins were reportedly concerned with the various offseason incidents Incognito was involved in, most of which reportedly involved the abuse of alcohol. At the very least, the man keeps busy.
Authentic Womens Julius Thomas Jersey The competitive balance in the NFL has been a bit skewed in 2017. There is a significant gap between the top teams and the rest of the pack, making the final seven weeks of the season tough to predict in terms of the playoff picture.
Even with the gap between the best teams and the next tier in the standings, it’s tough to count too many teams out of the postseason at this point.
Consider this; since 1990, when the current playoff format was first in place, 18 teams with a losing record through nine games have made the postseason. In 2017, two such teams snuck into the playoffs. The Cincinnati Bengals had a 4-5 record through nine games and the Washington Redskins had a 3-6 record through nine games, but both made the playoffs.
The most intriguing race is the one in the AFC West, where the 9-0 Chiefs are battling the 7-1 Broncos for the division crown. With two games remaining between each other, this one could come down to the wire.
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In the East, a lack of receivers hasn’t kept the Patriots from jumping out to 7-2, where they sit with a two-game lead over the surprisingly competent Jets.
Barring a drastic turnaround from the Steelers or Ravens, the 6-3 Bengals should be able to coast to their first AFC North championship since 2009.
The Colts sit atop the South standings, but don’t count out the Titans just yet. Down only two games, they still get two shots at the Colts over the last eight weeks of the season.
One of the two Wild Card slots will inevitably go to whoever loses the race in the West. The other is still very much up for grabs. The schizophrenic Jets currently hold sole possession of that spot, but keep an eye out for the Titans, Dolphins and Chargers, who all sit just a game back at 4-4.
If there was a bright side to the Suns’ 126-98 loss to the NBA-worst Brooklyn Nets, it’s that there will be plenty of days ahead for Phoenix to improve.
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The Suns’ starting lineup Thursday night was the youngest ever for an NBA team, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
Brown’s statement, as presented on the Browns’ website:
We鈥檙e really excited to acquire a second-round draft choice in this trade. Draft picks are extremely important to our approach in building a championship caliber football team. We are intent on adding competition to every position on our roster and look forward to having Brock come in and compete.
Welcome to Cleveland, Brock. Don’t unpack your bags.
Reports are the Browns will flip Osweiler to another team or just cut him. They have the cap room to do that.
I think he鈥檚 way faster than people give him credit for, Jackson said. People were saying 4.7 鈥?in my mind, I was like 鈥業 don鈥檛 think he鈥檚 4.7鈥?鈥?so when he ran a 4.5 I thought 鈥楾hat鈥檚 pretty fast.鈥?When people don鈥檛 expect you to run that fast it helps you out a lot.
I鈥檓 the top receiver in this draft, Smith-Schuster told Curtis Conway of NFL Network. I鈥檝e played in so many roles, I鈥檓 a physical, tough man. I鈥檓 willing to work and I鈥檓 coachable.
Limited Chris Conley Jersey For both, collegiate production and overflowing confidence are their strongest arguments against the fact that neither fits the ideal mold for the NFL. Cornerbacks should be bigger and stronger than Jackson. Wide receivers should be faster than Smith-Schuster.
Yet, neither had much of a problem beating up on the rest of the Pac-12. And both are positive they鈥檒l do the same in the NFL.
I haven’t a clue, to be honest. I will note, as have many college basketball aficionados, that the seedings seem to have been thrown together by a team of circus seals. That said, half of my Final Four is already out (thanks Nova and Louisville) and I’m not feeling great about Arizona or Kentucky either. The most impressive teams I’ve seen have been Michigan, West Virginia, and Xavier. So, Carolina? Maybe?
You have any better feel for this?
The Packers lost TJ Lang in free agency, and GM Ted Thompson is commitment to ignore free agency as much as possible resulted in another top offensive lineman leaving. Feeney fits the Green Bay prototype well.
Lawson recently said that he doesn’t believe he’ll be available by the second round, and this came after an impressive Pro Day NFL scout representation that included Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. The Steelers do need pass rushers.
Game Youth Vincent Rey Jersey It is highly unlikely that Charlton falls this far, but if so, he Would be a great fit for a 5-technique/strongside defensive end in Dan Quinn is offense. The Falcons still need to retool their defensive line.
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Finding a home for Jabrill Peppers isn’t easy, but from all I have heard, I Would be surprised if he wasn’t a first-round pick. The Saints leaving the first round with Jonathan Allen and Jabrill Peppers sounds awesome on paper.
Prior to a slate of opening round games of the NCAA tournament in Greenville, S.C. on Sunday, groups of protestors and other citizens waved large Confederate flags around the city, on sidewalks, and from the top of a parking structure next to an arena hosting the games, multiple outlets have reported.
Though the flag in the truck on the parking structure raised alarm, other citizens of Greenville were also around the arena waving Confederate flags. Some rode pickup trucks toward the arena near the games and attached flags to the back of their trucks.
Maverick Morgan, who gave that quote earlier in the season, scored four points and had two rebounds and five turnovers in 27 minutes.
March 10-12: Michigan kept winning and won the Big Ten tournament.
UM’s quarterfinal game against Purdue was a thriller, with Michigan coming back in the last minute to force overtime against the Big Ten’s No. 1 seed.
Then Michigan won against Minnesota in the semifinals, and against Wisconsin in the championship game. The Wolverines won four games in four days, with three of their wins coming against teams that had a bye on the day the Wolverines played Illinois.
Michigan found out on that Sunday night, March 12, that it was a No. 7 seed in the Big Dance. The Wolverines were only a few days removed from being a bubble team.
Authentic Kids K.J. Wright Jersey The Cowboys may be America’s Team but they could be taking a trip to London during the 2014 season. The Jacksonville Jaguars are already scheduled to play at Wimbley Stadium in 2014, and the Cowboys are the most likely opponent for them, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The Seahawks improved to 6-1 on the season after beating the Arizona Cardinals, 34-22, on the road. They were favored by five points and had no problem covering. The Seahawks are 5-2 against the spread this season and could be getting Percy Harvin back. Harvin is returning to practice this week.
The Rams’ season could be heading down the tubes after losing Bradford. They were seven-point underdogs to the Carolina Panthers and couldn’t cover the spread, losing 30-15. St. Louis fell to 3-4 in the standings and is 2-5 against the spread. Kellen Clemens will be the new starting quarterback, and the Rams are expected to sign a veteran backup this week.
Limited Mens Tommy Wingels Jersey This race is anyoneâ€™s game, though the Pelicans donâ€™t have a horse after sending their pick to the Kings in a trade package for DeMarcus Cousins.
Who has the tougher schedule? The Magic have seven games remaining against teams competing for playoff position. The Kings have nine such games, the 76ers have 10, and the Knicks have 12, though they knocked off a sixth-seeded Indiana team on Tuesday. New Orleans only has two games left against teams with a worse record.
Whatâ€™s at stake? Nothing but higher odds at landing a draft pick. Philadelphia has the option to swap first-round picks with the Kings, but it doesnâ€™t seem likely to happen. If luck falls New Orleansâ€™ way, they can keep their pick if it lands in the top three. The more they lose, the better their long shot is.
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