NCAA

Thompson's late TD pass decides Outback Bowl

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Thompson's late TD pass decides Outback Bowl

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Dylan Thompson came off the bench to throw a 32-yard touchdown pass with 11 seconds remaining Tuesday, giving No. 11 South Carolina a 33-28 victory over No. 19 Michigan in the Outback Bowl.

Thompson replaced Connor Shaw during the winning drive, covering the final 43 yards after the Gamecocks' starter began the march from his own 30. Devin Gardner's third TD pass of the game had given Michigan a 28-27 lead.

Shaw threw for 227 yards and two touchdowns after missing South Carolina's regular-season finale against Clemson with a left foot sprain. Thompson led the Gamecocks (11-2) to a victory over their archrival and threw for 117 yards and two TDs as a backup Tuesday.

Gardner threw for 214 yards in his fifth start for Michigan (8-5) since Denard Robinson injured his right elbow in late October. Robinson took some snaps at quarterback, but lined up mostly at running back and rushed for 100 yards on 23 carries.

Maryland vs. Nebraska: Terps look to end Nebraska's bowl hopes

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Maryland vs. Nebraska: Terps look to end Nebraska's bowl hopes

Maryland (3-7, 1-6 Big Ten) returns to action after a much-needed bye week to host the Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-6, 2-5 Big Ten) in the last home game of the season. Kickoff from Maryland Stadium is set for 3:30 p.m. on BTN.

Here are six things to know for Saturday's game.

Expect multiple quarterbacks for Maryland

Head coach Mike Locksley said both Josh Jackson and Tyrrell Pigrome will play against Nebraska saying the team needs both to win. Jackson was the undisputed starter at the start of the season, but injuries and inconsistent play have forced several quarterbacks into action this season.

In addition to Jackson and Pigrome, Locksley also said the team has packages for freshman quarterback Lane LeGendre as well.

As the old adage goes, however, if you have two quarterbacks, you have none. And now the Terps have three!

The bottom line is that if any of the four quarterbacks Maryland has played this year was playing all that well, there would be no need for the quarterback carousel.

Defensive woes plague both teams

Of course Rutgers has the worst defense in the Big Ten. That's a given. But both Maryland and Nebraska are hot on their heels ranking 13th and 12th respectively in total defense within the conference.

The Terps have given up 400 yards or more in seven of their last nine games. The passing defense does not just rank low within the conference, it ranks 114th nationally giving up 268.7 yards per game.

Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez has been shown to be inconsistent when challenged by a good defense, but Maryland's woeful pass rush could provide the sophomore quarterback too much time to pick apart the secondary.

A chance to rebound on offense

Maryland's defense is bad, but so is Nebraska's. The Cornhuskers gave up 322 yards on the ground to Minnesota and 320 to Wisconsin. They also gave up over 300 yards through the air to Indiana and Purdue. These are not the famous "Blackshirts." Whatever teams have wanted to do offensively against Nebraska, they have been able to.

But do the Terps have the offensive weapons to take advantage? Quarterback is a question mark. Dontay Demus has played well, but he seems to be the only reliable receiving option and neither Javon Leake nor Anthony McFarland have been able to run the ball with any sort of consistency this year.

The opportunity is there for a big game for the Terps if and only if someone steps up and puts the offense on its shoulders.

The Terps are trending in the wrong direction

After opening the season 2-0, Maryland is just 1-7 in its last eight. In conference play, the Terps have been outscored 303-121 and 48 of those 121 points came against Rutgers.

Granted, Maryland's last three games were against Minnesota, Michigan and Ohio State. That's a tough stretch, but the Terps were largely non-competitive in all three of those games.

Nebraska will likely be missing one of its playmakers

Standout freshman receiver Wan'Dale Robinson did not practice Wednesday due to an injury and seems unlikely to play on Saturday. In nine games, Robinson has done a little bit of everything for Nebraska with 85 carries, 40 receptions and 11 kickoff returns in nine games. He has scored five total touchdowns for the Cornhuskers and his loss will be a big one for the offense.

Nebraska's season is on the line

At 4-6, this is a must-win game for Nebraska which needs to win both of its remaining games to reach bowl eligibility. That ship officially sailed for Maryland in the loss to Ohio State, but the Terps still have the chance to play spoiler to Nebraska in their final home game of the season.

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The Wizards are playing a style rarely seen in NBA history, and it could work

The Wizards are playing a style rarely seen in NBA history, and it could work

WASHINGTON -- Chances are that you have never seen an NBA team quite like the 2019-20 Washington Wizards. 

They aren't good. In fact, only one team - the Warriors - currently has fewer wins than they do. But these Wizards are playing a brand of basketball rarely seen throughout NBA history.

That brand is essentially elite-level offense contrasted with arguably the worst defense in the league. It is a dichotomy not often seen to this extreme.

After beating the Spurs on Wednesday night, the Wizards rank first in the NBA in points scored (119.7) and last in points allowed (121.1). They are second in offensive rating (114.6) and 29th, or second from the bottom, in defensive rating (116.0).

Right now that combination is not leading to victories, as the Wizards are 4-8 and on pace for 27 wins on the season. But history shows their style can actually be successful if balanced correctly. As of now, it's tipped in the wrong direction, as the Wizards' point differential is -1.4.

No team has ever gone a full season with their offensive and defensive ratings as high as those of the Wizards. But the best comparison may be the 1981-82 Denver Nuggets, the only team ever to have both numbers above 113.

Those Nuggets, led by Hall of Famer Alex English, won 46 games and made the playoffs. They went a full season both scoring and allowing at least 100 points in every game. They were first in the NBA in points scored (126.5) and offensive rating (114.3) and dead-last in points allowed (126.0) and defensive rating (113.9). But both offensive numbers barely edged the defensive ones, so it worked.

Throughout NBA history, 38 teams have gone a full year with their offensive and defensive ratings both above 110 and 24 of them made the playoffs. Last season, seven teams had the 110/110 distinction and five of them made the postseason.

Interestingly enough, one of the most statistically similar teams to this year's Wizards were the 2006-07 Wizards, back in Gilbert Arenas' heyday. That team won 41 games and lost in the first round of the playoffs.

As statistically strange as the Wizards have been this season, their recipe could technically work. They have managed to stay in games despite their defense, as most of their losses have been narrow defeats. 

Head coach Scott Brooks, though, isn't convinced it is sustainable.

"That combination of 30th in defense and first or second in offense is not good. We all take ownership and it starts with me," he said. 

"We've still gotta focus on the defensive end to get better and give ourselves a chance to win."

What Brooks does like is the Wizards' three-point shooting. They are attempting 34.6 threes per game this season, and making 13 of them on average, both the highest numbers in franchise history.

Back in Dec. of 2017, in Brooks' second season in Washington, the Wizards tied a then-franchise record with 18 threes in a game against the Rockets. This season in only 12 games, they have already made 18 or more three times. They set a new franchise mark with 20 against the Rockets (ironically) and also made 19 against the Magic on Sunday.

"We can shoot the ball. I've been saying it all along," Brooks said.

Lots of points, lots of threes and very little defense; that is the 2019-20 Wizards in a nutshell. They aren't winning games playing that way yet, but history shows that it actually could work for them.

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