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For coaches, no sleep 'til BCS championship game

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For coaches, no sleep 'til BCS championship game

NEW YORK (AP) Brian Kelly and Nick Saban expect many restless nights between now and the BCS championship game on Jan. 7.

Kelly and top-ranked Notre Dame play Saban and No. 2 Alabama in Miami. The coaches appeared together at a news conference on Wednesday at the Nasdaq stock exchange in Times Square.

``And in keeping with the venue where we are, you have two blue chip stocks that are going to go against each other,'' Kelly said.

Asked what about their opponent will keep them up at night, Kelly and Saban both said there is plenty to worry about.

``Are you kidding me? Really?'' Kelly said. ``Everything about them.''

Saban's response: ``For me, I never sleep well, so Notre Dame is just the excuse now.''

The Fighting Irish will have 42 days between their last game against Southern California and the BCS title game against the Crimson Tide.

Alabama played in the Southeastern Conference title game on Dec. 1, so its break is a week shorter.

This is the third BCS championship appearance in four years for the Tide - Alabama won its previous two - so Saban obviously hasn't had a problem finding a routine that works.

``Many people have asked me how you carry the momentum of winning the SEC championship game into the next game,'' Saban said. ``And I think the answer to that is, you can't. You almost have to look at any bowl game, or any layoff like you have for this length of time, as the next game is sort of a one-game season.''

Both teams will go into training-camp mode this week. The players will lift weights and do conditioning and fundamentals drills.

``Right now we're doing two weeks of offseason conditioning programs, which is always fun. Always popular with the guys,'' Alabama center Barrett Jones said Tuesday, with more than a hint of sarcasm in his delivery.

Kelly said the worst thing a coach can do about the unusually long time between games is worry about it.

``First, I think it's a self-fulfilling prophecy if you keep talking about the long layoff,'' he said. ``We don't talk about that. We talk about what's the next step here and the next stage, or it's the national championship.''

``We think we've got a plan and we don't concern ourselves with the length of that time.''

The plan is to keep the next few weeks as productive as possible.

``We try to work our way up to a routine,'' Kelly said. ``There's that space there, weight training, conditioning, some fundamental work and then try to get back to that routine that they are all familiar with as we lead into the game.''

Aside from keeping the players occupied and in shape, Kelly and Saban are also facing the possibility that members of their staffs could land head coaching jobs over the next week or so.

Kelly's defensive coordinator, Bob Diaco, was a candidate for the Boston College job that was filled Tuesday when the Eagles hired Steve Addazio away from Temple. Diaco recently won the Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant coach.

There was speculation about Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart being a candidate for the Auburn job, but the Tigers hired Gus Malzahn.

As jobs are filled others open and there are still plenty of vacancies. There is still a possibility Notre Dame or Alabama - or both - could be dealing with this issue.

``I think those folks have every right to receive positive self-gratification professionally by taking advantage of some opportunity they have created for themselves by doing a good job,'' Saban said, without talking about any specific assistant. ``And I think it's just a matter of professionalism where you can separate yourself for a day or two, not affect the performance of what you're trying to do at your job, evaluate the circumstance.''

Last year, Alabama prepared for the national championship game with its offensive coordinator, Jim McElwain, interviewing and accepting the Colorado State head coaching job.

Alabama won that BCS title game 21-0 and Saban said McElwain, ``put a great plan together'' for the Tide.

And if there is staff turnover during the layoff, and a coach needs to be replaced, Kelly said there are plans in place to deal with it.

``We can't predict it, but we know that we are prepared regardless of the circumstances, and if we were to lose somebody, we've got great coaches on board that are ready to step up,'' he said.

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Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP

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How to watch Capitals vs. Sabres NHL 20 simulation

How to watch Capitals vs. Sabres NHL 20 simulation

Monday night was supposed to be another night of Capitals action with a game against the Buffalo Sabres. Unfortunately due to the NHL’s hold on the season in response to the coronavirus outbreak, the show can not go on as originally planned. 

However, with some minor adjustments to the presentation, there is still a way to keep things going. 

Monday night at 7 p.m. ET the Capitals will be taking the ice to play the Sabres as planned, only this time it will be virtual ice on an NHL 20 simulation. 

In partnership with Monumental Sports Network, NBC Sports Washington will be airing all Wizards and Capitals games in simulated NBA 2K20 and NHL 2K20 games. The format of these games includes watching the simulated versions of Caps games based on the existing schedule with the bonus of commentary from NBCSW’s experts. 

To make things even more fun, in between the simulation and the re-air of the simulation, there is a chance to relive a classic Caps game. So don’t forget to stick around and re-watch Dowd and the Capitals dominate the Penguins from earlier this season. 

Here's everything you need to know to watch. 

When: Monday, March 30 at 7 p.m. ET

Where:

  • NBC Sports Washington (channel finder
  • Any of our 24/7 authenticated streaming platforms
  • Monumental Sports Network via its website www.monumentalsportsnetwork.com or via any of its available apps on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, and Xbox.

Broadcast schedule: 

7:00 PM: NHL 20 Simulation: Capitals @ Buffalo Sabres (P)
8:00 PM: NHL Classics: Capitals @ Pittsburgh Penguins (R) 
10:30 PM: NHL 20 Simulation: Capitals @ Buffalo Sabres (R)

Starting lineups: 

Capitals: TBD
Sabres: TBD

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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LeBron James scores 36, Wizards still top Lakers in NBA 2K simulation

LeBron James scores 36, Wizards still top Lakers in NBA 2K simulation

These 2K simulations certainly do agree with the Wizards. Coming off a stunning victory over the Bucks Friday, Washington turned around on the second night of a back-to-back and beat the Lakers 73-66 at virtual Capital One Arena. 

LeBron James was a one-man wrecking crew for LA, Bradley Beal led the scoring attack for the Wizards and Thomas Bryant got revenge on the team that waived him. 

Here's how the Wizards picked up their fourth-straight 2K win. 

Offensive rebounds

The Lakers are one of the biggest teams in the NBA with James, Anthony Davis, JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard playing heavy minutes, but it was the Wizards who dominated the boards in this one. 

Bryant led the way for Washington on the glass with seven of his 13 rebounds coming on the offensive end. The Lakers shot the ball significantly better than the Wizards (47% to 39%) but Washington was simply overwhelming them on the glass to create more opportunities. 

Washington grabbed 18 offensive rebounds compared to the Lakers' eight, and it ended being the major difference in the result. 

LeBron's one-man show

The real-life Lakers' biggest weakness is their lack of playmaking outside of James. In a game where James had everything working for him, the Lakers struggled to get anything going whenever he didn't have the ball. 

Rajon Rondo struggled mightily despite tallying eight assists (2-11 FG) and Davis had a bad game relative to his standards (10 points, one rebound, three blocks).

I'd be curious to see what virtual LeBron would have to say about his teammates after this particular game. 

Thomas Bryant's revenge

As we stated before, Bryant was waived by the Lakers after his rookie season and his virtual self took it all out on his former team Saturday night. 

He dominated the boards and once again protected the paint in a way that would make Elvin Hayes proud. He finished with eight points, 13 rebounds and five blocks. 

With Bryant playing the way he has been the last few simulations, the Wizards' defense has been exceptional. Outside of defensive versatility, having a strong defensive center anchoring the defense is paramount to an effective unit. 

Other parting thoughts

Jerome Robinson continues to play well as a starter, scoring 13 points in 19 minutes. The Wizards didn't get that long of a look at Robinson before the NBA suspended its season.

After acquiring him at the trade deadline in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, it'd be another steal by Tommy Sheppard if Robinson can play like this consistently in real life. 

Instead of erupting in the fourth quarter to help the Wizards secure a win, Beal went off for 14 points in the third this time. He finished with 24 points and went 12-for-30 from the field.

Markieff Morris made a return to DC in this one. The Lakers uniform looks weird on him. 

It's hard to capture just how quick Ish Smith is in a video game, but this spin move came pretty close. 

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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