Michigan WR Roundtree bounces back from slow start

Michigan WR Roundtree bounces back from slow start

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) Roy Roundtree refused to get discouraged about his slow start this season.

The Michigan receiver insisted he wasn't worried about it and said his time would come.

It looks as if he was right.

Roundtree has 203 yards receiving in his last two games to surpass his production from the first eight games of the year.

He leaped to tip and catch a 53-yard pass Saturday that set a field goal with 2 seconds left to extend a game the Wolverines won 38-31 in overtime over Northwestern.

``That play was for Michigan,'' Roundtree said

The 23rd-ranked Wolverines (7-3, 5-1 Big Ten) hope the fifth-year senior can help them finish the regular season with wins Saturday at home against Iowa (4-6, 2-4) and the next week at Ohio State, which is currently ranked No. 6 and undefeated.

Roundtree finished with 139 yards receiving - the second highest total of his career - and a season-high five receptions against Northwestern. With 2,102 career yards receiving, he moved past former Wolverines receiver Derrick Alexander and into 12th place on the school's all-time list.

``Everyone knows what I can do,'' Roundtree said.

Early in his career, everyone saw him do a lot.

Roundtree, who was in Rich Rodriguez's first recruiting class at Michigan, redshirted as a freshman during the 2008 season. He led the Wolverines in receiving in 2009 and 2010 by flourishing in Rodriguez's spread offense.

The slender, 6-foot, 180-pound receiver slipped statistically last season with just 19 receptions for 355 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning score with 2 seconds left to beat Notre Dame.

He didn't do much this season - making no more than three catches for no more than 33 yards - until Devin Gardner began starting in place of injured Denard Robinson against Minnesota and Northwestern.

Roundtree had 64 yards receiving in a win over the Golden Gophers and made some big plays in a comeback win against the Wildcats.

No play was bigger than the one he made to make the latest victory possible, catching Gardner's heave that put the Wolverines in a position to kick an overtime-forcing field goal.

``We practiced that exact play in practice and it worked,'' Gardner said. ``Obviously, didn't tip the ball to himself.''

Roundtree didn't get down on himself early in the season when questions were asked about his lack of production. He kept smiling and sounding upbeat in public and behind closed doors, earning even more respect from his teammates.

``It felt great, seeing the young guys come up to me and say, `Man, you always stay positive and show leadership on this team,''' Roundtree said.

Roundtree was expected to do more than just lead by example, though, when he became the first player to wear a jersey with a Michigan Legends patch, honoring Desmond Howard, last season.

Saying he felt honored and motivated while working out last summer, Roundtree vowed that he wasn't going to let Howard down while wearing his No. 21 jersey this year.

Soon after Roundtree made the pivotal catch in Saturday's win, Howard posted a message on his Twitter account: ``A GREAT play by (hash)Roundtree. (hash)neverquit.''

Roundtree said he hasn't been weighed down by expectations while wearing Howard's number, saying he knew what he was getting into when he left Trotwood, Ohio, to play for college football's winningest program.

``When I signed, I already knew there was going to be pressure,'' Roundtree said.


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The 2018 salaries of five Redskins become fully guaranteed today

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The 2018 salaries of five Redskins become fully guaranteed today

It may be the 18th of March but today could be like Christmas for five Redskins players.

The Redskins decided to use today, four days after the start of the league year, for some contract triggers. In this case, the triggers are all 2018 salary guarantees (some teams will pay out roster bonuses on trigger dates, but the Redskins rarely use that type of structure).

Here are the players whose have guarantees that kick in today 4 p.m. All data is via Over the Cap.


CB Josh Norman, base salary of $13.5 million becomes fully guaranteed—This was a window for the Redskins to move on from Norman if they were not happy with his performance after two seasons. He is 31 and he had no interceptions last season, leaving some to wonder if the Redskins might think about releasing him. But it never was a consideration.

TE Jordan Reed, $8 million of his $8.25 million salary becomes fully guaranteed—No, I’m not sure why they are leaving that $250,000 out there non-guaranteed. Fans thought that the Redskins might move on from Reed due to his injury issues. But, as with Norman, it never was a consideration.

S D.J. Swearinger, $3 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—This is a mere technicality, Swearinger wasn’t going anywhere after helping to solidify the safety position.


RB Chris Thompson, $1.996 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—His rehab is going well and after last year Thompson’s two-year, $7 million contract extension signed last September looks like a good deal for the team.

DE Terrell McClain, $3.25 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—If the Redskins sign a top free agent D-lineman or draft on early in the draft they could be in a numbers crunch. That new acquisition would be guaranteed a roster spot along with Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis, Stacy McGee, and Anthony Lanier. That makes five and the Redskins kept six last year. Ziggy Hood is a favorite of the coaching staff but he has no guaranteed money left on his contract. That could tip the sixth spot in favor of McClain if he is on the roster at the close of business today. If they release McClain after today, they would take a cap charge of over $2 million. It seems unlikely that anything will happen but it’s something to keep an eye on.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.


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It's hard to tell after three games how the Wizards and Pacers would match up in the playoffs

It's hard to tell after three games how the Wizards and Pacers would match up in the playoffs

The Wizards crossed off an important goal on Saturday night by beating the Indiana Pacers and therefore securing the season series. If the teams tie with the same regular season record, the Wizards will get the higher playoff seed. As of today, that would mean home court advantage in the first round.

Though the Wizards have beaten the Pacers in two of their three matchups this season, we only know so much about how they would match up in the playoffs. The first game between them didn't feature Pacers All-Star Victor Oladipo and John Wall didn't play in any of the three games. The Pacers were without both Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis on Saturday night.

Given the Pacers underwent so much change over the summer, there is no real data to go off of from before this season. They are a completely different team with Oladipo leading the way and Paul George now in Oklahoma City.


There are reasons to believe, however, that the Wizards would fare well against the Pacers over the course of a seven-game series. For one, they figured out how to slow Oladipo and his teammate Bojan Bogdanovic on Saturday night. Both had killed the Wizards in previous matchups.

Oladipo was held to 18 points, over five points below his season average of 23.5. He had four turnovers, shot 7-for-16 (43.7%) and finished a -18 in a game the Pacers lost by seven.

The Wizards had some success with Tomas Satoransky guarding Oladipo. Satoransky is 6-foot-7 with long arms. He was able to recover on several occasions to alter Oladipo's shots.

Satoransky and Bradley Beal also did a good job keeping pace with Oladipo on the fastbreak. The Pacers had only four fastbreak points in the game. Oladipo is especially dangerous in the open court.

“We just made sure that we were aggressive with him and made sure he saw a lot of bodies in the paint," Beal said. "The last game, he got a lot of easy ones in transition. We just made sure that we got back on the shot, loaded to the ball and forced the other guys to attack.”

For Bogdanovic, it was about limiting open shots from the perimeter. Bogdanovic had 11 points, three below his season average and had four turnovers. Beal and Otto Porter stripped Bogdanovic for steals and Marcin Gortat took a charge on one play in the third quarter.


But it was all about taking away the outside shot. Bogdanovic only hit one shot in the first half and it was a three. The only reason he got it off is because Kelly Oubre, Jr. lost his balance backing up. That gave Bogdanovic the window he needed. Otherwise, Oubre helped frustrate the former Wizards small forward. So did Gortat and Ian Mahinmi, who did a good job covering their teammates off screens.

The Pacers are an average offensive team, ranking 16th in points per game and 14th in offensive rating. They are better defensively, ranking ninth-best in opponents points per game and 12th in defensive efficiency.

If the Wizards can limit Oladipo and Bogdanovic, the Pacers' two leading scorers, they should have a good shot at beating the Pacers in the playoffs. Beyond them, the Pacers are thin in the scoring department. Turner only averages 13.6 points and no one else beyond him can consistently make an opposing defense pay for mistakes. Conversely, several Wizards players have given the Pacers major trouble through three games this season.

Gortat, who had 18 points and eight rebounds on Saturday, has averaged 13 points and eight rebounds on 57.7 percent shooting against Indiana. Kelly Oubre, Jr., who had 16 points in 18 minutes, has averaged 15.5 points and is shooting 50 percent from the field.


In addition to those guys, Markieff Morris, Porter, Mike Scott, Mahinmi and Satoransky are all shooting over 50 percent against the Pacers. Satoransky is shooting 71.4 percent through three games.

The Wizards have the pieces to counter what the Pacers do best. Indiana is seventh in three-point percentage, but the Wizards are the best team in basketball in opponents three-point percentage. The Pacers are built around an All-Star guard, but the Wizards have two All-Star guards. The Pacers have a collection of talented wing players, but so do the Wizards.

"Hypothetically, I do like Indiana," Beal said. "I like how we match up with Indiana and I feel like there is a lot of stuff that we can take advantage of. In a lot of categories, I think we can win them."

Add it all up and the Wizards have every reason to feel confident if they see the Pacers in the posteason. Keep that in mind because they very well could meet up in the spring.

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