Nationals

College hoops season starts with a military flair

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College hoops season starts with a military flair

The college basketball season gets under way Friday with a game at a Europe military base, two more aboard Navy ships and another featuring a reshaped national champion playing in a brand new building.

No. 14 Michigan State plays Connecticut, in its first game since the retirement of coach Jim Calhoun, at Ramstein Air Base in Kaiserslautern, Germany. It's the first game between Division I teams held in Europe.

Then it's on to the decks for No. 4 Ohio State against Marquette on the USS Yorktown in Charleston, S.C., and Georgetown facing No. 10 Florida on the USS Bataan in Jacksonville, Fla.

No. 3 Kentucky, the defending national champion with a heralded freshman class, plays Maryland in the first college doubleheader at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Also, one of the sport's shrines reopens. Pauley Pavilion, boosted by a $132 million renovation, will be the site when No. 13 UCLA hosts Indiana State, the alma mater of John Wooden.

A statue of Wooden stands outside the north entrance and the corridor on the east side of the 47-year-old arena has been named Wooden Way. Three large cabinets are filled with mementos of the Wooden era that includes 10 NCAA championships - seven in a row - during his 27 years in Westwood.

The big opening weekend - 21 teams from the preseason Top 25 will have played by Sunday night - will be followed by a month full of early season tournaments. Several special matchups before Christmas will dot the 2012-13 schedule leading into the start of conference play.

There will be a third game played on a ship this weekend when No. 9 Syracuse faces No. 20 San Diego State on the USS Midway in San Diego on Sunday. The game will be the first telecast of more than 100 for MSG Network.

ESPN will continue its coverage of almost 1,500 games with its annual 24-hour college basketball marathon on Tuesday. Those 12 games, including a 6 a.m. start for Stony Brook at Rider, an 8 a.m. tip for Northern Illinois at Valparaiso and a 10 a.m. start for Harvard at Massachusetts, are part of the 54 the network will show during a six-day stretch.

Early matchups between ranked teams include Michigan State against No. 7 Kansas and then No. 8 Duke facing Kentucky in the doubleheader in Atlanta that caps the 24-hour marathon; No. 23 Wisconsin at No. 10 Florida; and the Battle 4 Atlantis that involves No. 2 Louisville, Duke, No. 15 Missouri and No. 17 Memphis.

Four months of conference, nonconference and in-season tournament games all point to Selection Sunday on March 17. The NCAA tournament ends three weeks later with the Final Four in Atlanta's Georgia Dome.

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National League All-Star Game Roster Projection: How it will all break down

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USA Today Sports

National League All-Star Game Roster Projection: How it will all break down

In less than a month, the 2018 MLB All-Star game will take place at Nationals Park.

There are plenty of details that still need ironing out, but none are more important than the 64 players that will be taking the field at the Midsummer Classic.

Surely the Washington Nationals are hoping that many of their hometown stars will make the cut.

So, lets clear the air. How are the MLB All-Star rosters created? Well it is a combination of the fan vote, the player ballots, and the MLB Commissioners Office. No, it is not a 33-33-33 split, but rather a political (yet fair) process. Here is how it shakes out for there to be 32 players on each team:

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

Keep in mind, the MLB Commissioner’s Office merely is just there to ensure that there is one representative from all 30 MLB teams. Additionally, the player’s ballots are generally in-line with statistics and name recognition.

So let’s see how this shakes out for the National League All-Star Game roster. This factors in the latest fan vote returns:

National League All-Star Roster Projection:

C – Buster Posey, Giants (Fan Vote), Wilson Contreras, Cubs (Player Ballot)
1B – Freddie Freeman, Braves (Fan Vote), Jose Martinez, Cardinals (Player Ballot), Justin Bour, Marlins (Commissioner’s Office)
2B – Ozzie Albies, Braves (Fan Vote), Scooter Gennett, Reds (Player Ballot)
3B – Nolan Arenado, Rockies (Fan Vote), Kris Bryant, Cubs (Player Ballot)
SS – Brandon Crawford, Giants (Fan Vote), Chris Taylor, Dodgers (Player Ballot)
OF – Nick Markakis, Braves (Fan Vote), Bryce Harper, Nationals (Fan Vote), Matt Kemp (Fan Vote), Albert Almora Jr., Cubs (Player Ballot), Charlie Blackmon, Rockies (Player Ballot), Corey Dickerson, Pirates (Player Ballot), David Peralta, Diamondbacks (Commissioner’s Office), Christian Yelich (Commissioner’s Office)

SP – Max Scherzer, Nationals (Player Ballot), Sean Newcomb, Braves (Player Ballot), Jon Lester, Cubs (Player Ballot), Aaron Nola, Phillies (Player Ballot), Jacob deGrom, Mets (Player Ballot), Mike Foltynewicz, Braves (Commissioner’s Office)

RP – Brad Hand, Padres (Player Ballot), Sean Doolittle, Nationals (Player Ballot), Josh Hader Brewers (Player Ballot), Wade Davis, Rockies (Commissioner’s Office), Kenley Jansen (Commissioner’s Office), Jeremy Jeffress (Commissioner’s Office)

Manager: Dave Roberts, Dodgers

After this, there will be one more player chosen by another fan vote. The MLB Commissioner’s Office, along with the manager, choses five players to be selected in the penultimate vote. 

This puts three Nationals on the All-Star team with the Braves leading the charge with five selections.

Now of course nothing ever goes to plan, but heck its baseball, not everyone will be happy.

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: Suddenly the Caps are in need of a head coach

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USA TODAY Sports

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: Suddenly the Caps are in need of a head coach

Less than two weeks after winning the Stanley Cup, the Caps are in need of a new head coach.

Barry Trotz resigned as the Caps coach on Monday after he and the team failed to reach an agreement on a new contract. How did we get here and where do both parties go from here? JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir break it all down.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.