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Top 25 Capsules

Top 25 Capsules

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) Markel Brown scored 28 points, Marcus Smart added 25 and Oklahoma State held on to upset No. 2 Kansas 85-80 on Saturday, ending the Jayhawks' nation-leading 18-game winning streak.

Smart had a pair of key putbacks in the closing minutes, helping the Cowboys (15-5, 5-3 Big 12) go on a 13-2 run that turned a 66-62 deficit into a 73-68 lead with just over a minute left.

The Jayhawks (19-2, 7-1) took advantage of a couple missed free throws, trimming Oklahoma State's lead to 81-80 on a layup by Elijah Johnson with 18.8 seconds left.

But unflappable freshman Phil Forte, an 89 percent foul shooter, made both of his tries with 7.9 seconds to go, and Johnson turned the ball over before Kansas could try a tying 3-pointer.

Forte converted the turnover into a buzzer-beating layup, punctuating the Cowboys' first road win over a top 5 team since beating then-No. 2 Kansas 52-50 in overtime on Jan. 2, 1958.

Forte finished with 11 points, all in the second half.

Ben McLemore had 23 points to lead the Jayhawks, who also had their 33-game home winning streak snapped in their first home loss to Oklahoma State since Feb. 8, 1989.

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No. 5 DUKE 79, FLORIDA STATE 60

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Seth Curry scored 21 points, Quinn Cook added 18 and Duke cruised past defending Atlantic Coast Conference champion Florida State.

The Blue Devils (19-2, 6-2 ACC) scored the game's first 11 points, raced to an 18-2 lead and never looked back, building a 26-point advantage on the way to a 42-22 cushion at halftime. Curry, who had 13 points at the break, was 7 of 11 from the field and 5 of 7 from behind the arc. Cook was 4 of 6 from long range.

Rasheed Sulaimon added 14 points and Amile Jefferson 11 for Duke, which held its largest lead at 50-22 just 2 minutes into the second half. Duke shot 60.8 percent and connected on 11 of 18 from 3-point range as Florida State allowed a season high in points.

Aaron Thomas led the Seminoles (12-9, 4-4) with 14 points.

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PITTSBURGH 65, No. 6 SYRACUSE 55

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Tray Woodall had 13 points, four assists and three steals as Pittsburgh continued its mastery of top 10 teams at home by pulling away from Syracuse.

Trey Zeigler added six points, four rebounds and four assists off the bench for the Panthers (18-5, 6-4 Big East), who improved to 13-1 against teams ranked in the top 10 since the Petersen Events Center opened a decade ago.

C.J. Fair led Syracuse (18-3, 6-2) with 20 points and Brandon Triche scored 14 but the Orange never led in the second half while losing two straight games for the first time in nearly two years. Michael Carter-Williams added 13 points for Syracuse but the nation's leader in assists finished with just two - nearly seven below his average.

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No. 9 BUTLER 75, RHODE ISLAND 68

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Rotnei Clarke scored 23 points and Roosevelt Jones added 18 to lead Butler past Rhode Island.

Clarke scored 12 points in the first 11 minutes of the second half. The Bulldogs (18-4, 5-2 Atlantic 10) trailed 32-30 at the break, then went on a 15-3 run.

Nikola Malesevic led Rhode Island (6-14, 1-6) with 18 points in the Rams' fourth straight loss.

Butler began the game looking like the team that lost 75-58 at Saint Louis early in the week. The Bulldogs went down 25-16 in the first half - their largest deficit of the game. But they came storming out to start the second half, looking like the squad that has beaten three top 10 teams this season. They held Rhode Island without a field goal until the 13:24 mark of the half.

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CALIFORNIA 58, No. 10 OREGON 54

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - Justin Cobbs made an 18-foot jumper with 1:35 remaining and then added a pair of free throws as California hung on to hand Oregon its second straight loss to an unranked team this week.

Allen Crabbe and Richard Solomon scored 13 points apiece, and Tyrone Wallace added 12 while helping the Golden Bears (13-8, 5-4 Pac-12) win back-to-back games for the first time since December.

Tony Woods had 14 points and eight rebounds for Oregon but failed to get off a potential tying shot after grabbing E.J. Singler's missed 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds left. The Ducks (18-4, 7-2) were held scoreless over the final 4 minutes.

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No. 14 MIAMI 79, No. 19 N.C. STATE 78

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Reggie Johnson tipped in a missed shot with 0.8 seconds left to lift Miami over North Carolina State.

Johnson's left-handed tip in traffic off a miss by Shane Larkin capped a back-and-forth second half and kept the Hurricanes (17-3, 8-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) unbeaten in ACC play. Johnson finished with 15 points in his best performance since returning from a broken left thumb four games ago.

Durand Scott led Miami with 18 points and Julian Gamble added 16 to help the Hurricanes win their ninth straight game, a run that included a blowout of then-No. 1 Duke last week.

C.J. Leslie had 18 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Wolfpack (16-6, 5-4), who played without starting point guard Lorenzo Brown due to an ankle injury. N.C. State nearly won when freshman Rodney Purvis launched a heave from beyond halfcourt at the horn, a shot that hit the rim and rattled out.

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NORTHERN IOWA 57, No. 15 WICHITA STATE 52

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - Anthony James scored 16 points and Northern Iowa beat Wichita State, sending the Shockers to their first losing streak of the season.

Seth Tuttle had eight points, eight rebounds and four blocks for the Panthers (12-11, 5-6 Missouri Valley Conference). They took control with a 14-0 run in the second half and became the fourth Valley team in the last 23 games to beat Wichita State at home.

The Shockers (19-4, 8-3) pulled to 52-50 on Carl Hall's steal and bucket with 1:18 left, but Tuttle blocked Nick Wiggins' try that would have tied it and then sealed the win with a breakaway dunk.

Hall led Wichita State with 20 points. The Shockers, who lost to Indiana State on Tuesday, have dropped a game behind league-leading Creighton.

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No. 17 MISSOURI 91, AUBURN 77

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Keion Bell scored 24 points and Earnest Ross added 23, both season highs, as Missouri used another strong second half to beat Auburn.

Ross hit five 3-pointers off the bench in his first game against his former team. The 6-foot-5, 222-pound guard played two seasons at Auburn, leading the team with 13.1 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.

The teams combined for 49 fouls and 69 free throws but the sluggish pace didn't seem to affect Missouri (16-5, 5-3 Southeastern Conference), which shot 54.5 percent from the floor after shooting 38 percent in a 73-70 loss at LSU on Wednesday.

The Tigers moved to 13-0 at Mizzou Arena, joined by only Florida in the SEC as unbeaten teams at home.

Frankie Sullivan led Auburn (8-13, 2-6) with 12 points.

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No. 21 CREIGHTON 75, BRADLEY 58

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Doug McDermott scored 25 points, including nine during a decisive 12-0 run, and Creighton overcame poor 3-point shooting in the first half to defeat Bradley.

The Bluejays (20-3, 9-2 Missouri Valley Conference) beat Bradley for the 15th straight time at home and have won 20 games for the 14th time in 15 seasons.

Dyricus Simms-Edwards had 18 points for the Braves (13-10, 5-6), who lost their fifth straight road game and eighth in a row against a ranked opponent.

Austin Chatman, who had 16 points, made a 3-pointer after Bradley had closed to 53-48. McDermott then went to work, hitting a 3, a layup and four straight free throws to make it 65-48 with 5 minutes to play.

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AIR FORCE 70, No. 22 SAN DIEGO STATE 67

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) - Michael Lyons scored 20 points and Air Force beat San Diego State, overcoming a 25-point performance by Aztecs star Jamaal Franklin.

Franklin and James Rahon missed potential game-tying 3-pointers in the waning seconds.

The Falcons (14-6, 5-2 Mountain West Conference) won their fifth straight at Clune Arena, while the Aztecs (16-5, 4-3) lost for only the second time in their last 10 games against Air Force.

The Falcons used a 19-2 run to take control at 59-47, then held on as Franklin scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half. He also pulled down 10 rebounds and was 11 for 12 from the foul line, his only miss a big one with less than a minute left and the Aztecs trailing by two.

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No. 24 CINCINNATI 65, SETON HALL 59

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Sean Kilpatrick scored 21 points, Cashmere Wright added 17 and Cincinnati held off Seton Hall after blowing nearly all of a 20-point lead.

Cincinnati (18-4, 6-3 Big East) was up 48-28 just 5 minutes into the second half but twice allowed the Pirates (13-9, 2-7) to get within four. The Bearcats, who entered 14th in the 15-team conference in free throw shooting at 64.9 percent, finished 21 of 27 (77.8 percent) from the line, making eight of their last nine.

Fuquan Edwin and Brandon Mobley both had 16 points for Seton Hall, which has lost three straight and seven of eight. The Bearcats won for the fifth time in six games.

3.22.19: Rick Horrow sits down with NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly

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USA TODAY Sports

3.22.19: Rick Horrow sits down with NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly

TO LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST, CLICK HERE

By Rick Horrow

Podcast edited by Tanner Simkins

 

  • * This year, March Madness could cost employers over $13 billion. According to the annual study done by global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., every hour spent on games can cost employers $2.1 billion, for a total of $13.3 billion over the length of the tournament that will end with the NCAA National Championship game on April 8. Research done by staffing firm Office Team indicates that workers spent an average of 25.5 minutes of their workday on March Madness-related activities. And a survey by TSheets and QuickBooks showed that at least 48% of people participating in March Madness won their brackets during work hours. However, the basketball tournament can foster a little excitement among coworkers. “Streaming games during work hours, heading to a local restaurant to watch the games, filling out brackets or just discussing the games with co-workers will mean hours of distractions during the three-week tournament,” said Andrew Challenger, Vice President.  But Challenger adds that employers should use the tournament games to build morale and not restrict employees. About 97 million people watched March Madness games last year, according to CBS – tens of millions of them during work hours.
  •  The purse for the just-completed The Players Championship increased for the second consecutive year. The purse at TPC Sawgrass expanded from $11 million in 2018 to $12.5 million this year, making the purse the “largest currently on the PGA Tour schedule,” according to Golf Channel. This marks a “dramatic bump considering that last year’s increase for the Tour’s flagship event was $500,000.” The Masters and PGA Championship had $11 million purses in 2018 and the Open Championship was at $10.5 million. Golf Digest noted 2018 Players winner Webb Simpson’s share of the $11 million purse was $1.98 million while 2018 U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka “took home” $2.16 million of the $12 million purse. Based on the same formula of 18% “going to the winner,” this year’s Players champion Rory McIlroy earned $2.25 million. McIlroy, who bested 48 year-old Jim Furyk to win The Players title – Furyk pocketed $1.35 million – is clearly the man to beat heading into The Masters next month. While The Players is a benchmark win for Rory and his brand, The Masters is the sole Slam trophy missing from his extensive trophy case. 
  • * Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association agreed upon a series of rule changes that will kick in over the next two seasons, subject to ratification by all 30 clubs. Changes set to begin this year will include (but are not limited to and subject to broadcast partner buy-in) inning breaks being reduced from 2:05 to 2:00 in local games and from 2:25 to 2:00 in national games. The All-Star Game will now see fan voting conducted in two rounds, a “primary round” that mirrors the All-Star voting of old, followed in late June or early July by an “Election Day” in which the top three vote-getters at each position will be voted on by fans. In addition, total player prize money for the Home Run Derby will be increased to $2.5 million with the inner receiving $1 million, while in typical games, maximum number of mound visits per team will be reduced from six to five per game. Changes for 2020 will include an opening day roster increasing from 25 to 26, while the 40-man active roster for September will be eliminated. The changes are meant to make America’s pastime more fan friendly – and less time consuming. 

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Mike Trout raised the red flag about free agency, and Nationals players took notice

Mike Trout raised the red flag about free agency, and Nationals players took notice

WASHINGTON -- Mike Trout was everywhere, especially for the supposedly tough-to-market star of the game. 

Anaheim made Trout’s 12-year, $426.5 million extension official Sunday. Trout was the center of a large press conference in California, hopped on MLB Network, made the rounds expected of someone who signed the largest deal in American sports history.

Trout made a telling remark at each stop: He noted watching Manny Machado and Bryce Harper slog through last winter as free agents. He then talked to both. The conversations and visual prompted him to label their situations a “red flag” when he thought about free agency.  

That term, from that player, is eye-popping, despite the heft of his current extension and others being struck around the league. It holds force even after Harper set a record with a new contract that was summarily crushed three weeks later by Trout. It also turned heads when read to players in the clubhouse before the Nationals played the New York Yankees on Monday in the final exhibition game of spring training.

“To me, that’s the red flag,” Sean Doolittle told NBC Sports Washington. “We’re not talking about a veteran guy that’s, you know...we’re talking about the face of our game. If he doesn’t want to go through the free agency process the way it’s been going for guys these past few years, like if he doesn’t think the process could benefit him and he could recognize his full value on the open market, that’s really tell you everything you need to know, right?”

Free agency, once referred to by Max Scherzer as the players’ “golden egg,” has pivoted. Players previously groused about the veteran player who was left jobless. Teams moved away from paying players 30-plus for past performance, both learning a more efficient way to run their team and more financially viable one. Younger players -- unproven players in the eyes of many major leaguers -- were receiving jobs based more on market forces and perceived value than actual value. The process rankled those already in a clubhouse.

“It’s not about players,” Ryan Zimmerman told NBC Sports Washington. “It’s about the valuation or the way that they use it to say it’s going to change their organization. I’ve always said you have to have young guys come up and play. I get it. But my whole thing is to not sign legit big-league players, who you know what they’re going to do at the big-league level, because you have the best farm system in the league, two of those kids might be something. The other eight you’re never going to hear about them again once they leave Baseball America. I just think the percentage of people who become real big leaguers is not very high, and they hold it at a very high value.”

That portion of the debate is receding. What free agency has become is at the forefront. The recent cluster of extensions suggested players realized their best path under this collective bargaining agreement was to stay. The plight of Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel -- who remain unemployed just days before the season begins -- shows that premise is correct.

“[I do] recognize the free agent process has changed,” Scherzer said. “Teams used to covet players, marquee players, and be aggressive trying to bid on them -- don’t feel like that’s the case. That’s what I’ll say.”

Doolittle continued to churn through how the idea related to Trout. If he entered free agency, what could be the possible knock on him? 

It’s not on-field skill. It’s not how he interacts with fans. It’s not how he conducts himself off the field. 

“It would have been really fun to see him go through the free agency process,” Doolittle said.

Instead of finding out, Trout decided to take a lifetime deal to stay in Anaheim. The cash haul was enormous. The terms record-setting. The process? Not so good.

“We need to make some adjustments to the system,” Doolittle said. “Because, yeah, it’s good Manny and Bryce got those deals. It’s unfortunate it took so long. I think it’s very concerning and very notable the face of the game, one of the best players in the history of the game, didn’t want to have to go through that because of the way it’s been going.”

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