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Carmody, Wildcats seek to end NCAA drought

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Carmody, Wildcats seek to end NCAA drought

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) If Bill Carmody is feeling the heat, he did a good job of hiding it.

He's back for a 13th season as Northwestern's coach after his future appeared to be in doubt, and the Wildcats are still searching for that elusive NCAA tournament bid.

That's all that matters. And, maybe, this.

``I have an endorsement from our athletic director and our president so I feel fine,'' Carmody said. ``There's always pressure to win. You always want to win and like I said keep the program where it is. Now, you've got to move forward, not just incrementally. You've got to make a jump here. I think even though you lose (John) Shurna, people say, `Whoa, that was the year.' But I think that you'll be surprised with our guys. We've got some decent newcomers.''

Carmody's future was the source of heavy speculation and passionate debate after last season. The Wildcats went 19-14 and reached the NIT for the fourth straight year, an unprecedented run for Northwestern.

So what was the problem? Well, you know.

Northwestern, the host of the first Final Four, remained among the handful of schools without an NCAA appearance, and to critics, Carmody had enough chances to fix that. Supporters could point out that with four straight winning seasons, the Wildcats are in the most successful stretch in program history.

Either way, Carmody is back, and Northwestern's quest for that NCAA bid is still going.

``I'd say the last time we talked about it was when we were in the bubble talk for last year, and we haven't talked about it since,'' guard Dave Sobolewski said. ``It's a goal for us, as it's a goal for every team in college basketball. I wouldn't say that we talk about it. We don't have anything up on our locker room wall. I'm sure it's in the back of all our minds, but we've got to take care of business each and every day, try to get better each and every day.''

As for Carmody?

``I know I wanted him to stay,'' guard Alex Marcotullio said. ``I didn't want to have to go through a coaching change. His system and his philosophy has really helped me grow as a player and has really put me in the position to succeed. I respect him as a coach and I didn't want him to leave. And I think the other guys felt the same way.''

Now, Northwestern will try again to take another step.

The Wildcats will have to get by without junior guard JerShon Cobb after he was suspended for the season for violating team policy. He started 33 games the last two years, averaging 7.1 points as a sophomore, and will have two seasons of eligibility remaining.

Cobb's suspension was another big blow for a program that was already dealing with the loss of all-time leading scorer John Shurna, who finished out his four years. The Wildcats will lean on senior Drew Crawford after he averaged 16.1 points last season.

Northwestern has plenty of size up front after adding the 7-foot-2 Chier Ajou, 7-footer Alex Olah, 6-9 TCU transfer Nikola Cerina and 6-8 Louisville transfer Jared Swopshire. But whether the Wildcats can reach that next level remains to be seen.

The Wildcats have never had a winning Big Ten record under Carmody, who is 179-191 at Northwestern after four successful seasons with Princeton. The Wildcats' best record in conference play during his tenure was an 8-8 mark in 2003-04, and when it comes to the NCAAs, all they've had are some close calls.

``It's not frustration,'' Carmody said. ``Maybe back then it was, but you move forward. I just think that the program has gotten much, much better over the last four years, and we'll get in the tournament this year and next year or maybe this year and not next year but the year after. I think that the program is stable. It's very competitive. It's stable so we're going to be in the mix every year. We're getting better and better players, and you know better players make better coaches.''

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Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman loses bet, rocks Ovechkin jersey

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USA Today Sports

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman loses bet, rocks Ovechkin jersey

Nearly two weeks have passed since the Washington Capitals defeated the Vegas Golden Knights to raise their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

With one team being a first-year expansion project that turned out beautifully and the other a franchise that had not appeared in a Stanley Cup Final since 1998, there was obviously a lot on the line.

Those away from the ice had 'a lot' on the line, too.

Prior to the start of the series, each city's mayor agreed on a bet that would force the losing team's member to wear an opposing jersey at the conclusion of the Cup.

Well, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman followed through on her end of the bargain.

Here is proof of her wearing the jersey of a man who led what was arguably the greatest post-championship celebration in sports history.

 

The Capitals announced Wednesday that the team's home opener and Stanley Cup banner unveiling will be played on October 3 against the Boston Bruins.

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American League All-Star Game Roster Projection: AL will be loaded once again

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American League All-Star Game Roster Projection: AL will be loaded once again

The 2018 Major League All-Star Game is less than a month away. Fan votes are well underway and early frontrunners are close to locking their position in the Midsummer Classic.

Yesterday, we projected how the National League roster will play out. Today it is time to look at the American League roster projection.

For five straight seasons, the AL has had the upper hand in the MLB All-Star Game. In 2018, it does not appear that will change as the American League roster will be loaded from top to bottom.

As a reminder, here is how the process shakes out, first with the fan vote, players’ ballots, and the MLB Commissioner’s Office:

  • Fan vote: nine position players in AL (DH)/ eight in NL; plus final vote for each league
  • Player’s ballots: next 17 players in AL/ 16 players in NL; (five starting pitchers, three relievers must be chosen)
  • MLB Commissioner’s Office: five AL players (four pitchers, one position player) and seven NL players (four pitchers, three position players)

One player from each team must make the initial roster (before injury withdraws, etc.). Below is how it looks the American League roster will play out, considering the latest fan vote returns:

American League All-Star Roster Projection:

C – Wilson Ramos, Rays (Fan Vote), Gary Sánchez, Yankees (Player Ballot)
1B – José Abreu, White Sox (Fan Vote), Joey Gallo, Rangers (Player Ballot)
2B – Jose Altuve, Astros (Fan Vote), Jed Lowrie, Athletics (Player Ballot)
3B – José Ramírez, Indians (Fan Vote), Yangervis Solarte, Blue Jays (Player Ballot), Mike Moustakas, Royals (Commissioner’s Office)
SS – Manny Machado, Orioles (Fan Vote), Jean Segura, Mariners (Player Ballot),
OF – Mookie Betts, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Mike Trout, Angels (Fan Vote), Aaron Judge, Yankees (Fan Vote), Michael Brantley, Indians (Player Ballot), Eddie Rosario, Twins (Player Ballot), Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees (Player Ballot),
DH – J.D. Martinez, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Shohei Ohtani, Angels (Player Ballot)

SP – Justin Verlander, Astros (Player Ballot), Luis Severino, Yankees (Player Ballot), Corey Kluber, Indians (Player Ballot), Chris Sale, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Gerrit Cole, Astros (Player Ballot), Blake Snell, Tampa Bay (Commissioner’s Office)

RP – Edwin Díaz, Mariners (Player Ballot), Craig Kimbrel, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Aroldis Chapman, Yankees (Player Ballot), Joe Jiménez, Tigers (Commissioner’s Office), Delin Betances, Yankees (Commissioner’s Office), Chris Devenski, Astros (Commissioner’s Office)

Manager: Jeff Luhnow, Astros

Based on this projection, the New York Yankees will have the most representatives with six. The Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox will both have four.

Ensuring no snubs, there will be five players selected for the final fan vote to get one more All-Star into the game for a total of 32 for the American League. As you can see, no matter how the AL roster plays out, it will be a dominant team once again as they look for six straight All-Star wins.

Four of those five wins were inside a National League stadium and that will not change as the Washington Nationals will host this season.

MORE ALL-STAR NEWS: