Nationals

Top 25 Capsules

Top 25 Capsules

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) No. 1 Indiana had another strong offensive game on Saturday, and it looks as if the Hoosiers can play defense, too.

While Christian Watford scored 21 points and Cody Zeller had 19 points and a career-high 19 rebounds, it was the Hoosiers' suffocating defense that had the starring role in a 100-69 victory over Central Connecticut State.

Indiana is off to its second straight 9-0 start under Tom Crean. It has won 13 straight at Assembly Hall and 27 consecutive non-conference home games.

Central Connecticut State shot just 33.3 percent and Kyle Vinales, the nation's top scorer at 25.9 points per game, was just 3 of 15 from the field and finished with seven points.

Matt Hunter poured in 40 points, matching an Assembly Hall record for a visiting player, but the Blue Devils (4-4) never had a chance against Indiana's comprehensive performance.

The Hoosiers grabbed control with a 22-2 run that gave them a 37-16 lead with 8:30 to play in the first half.

NO. 2 DUKE 90, TEMPLE 67

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - Seth Curry scored 23 points, big men Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly had double-doubles and Duke got the win at the Izod Center.

Curry was 5 for 9 from 3-point range, leading Duke's 12-for-20 effort from behind the arc.

Plumlee finished with 16 points - the first time he was below 19 this season - and 14 rebounds. Kelly had 14 points and 10 rebounds for Duke (9-0).

Quenton DeCosey had 13 points for the Owls (6-1), who were looking for their best start since going 14-0 in 1987-88, a season that ended with a regional weekend loss to Duke in the Izod Center.

NO. 3 MICHIGAN 80, ARKANSAS 67

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Jordan Morgan scored a season-high 12 points and matched a season high with 10 rebounds to help Michigan remain undefeated.

The Wolverines (9-0) are off to their best start since they won the first 11 games of the 1988-89 season, when they went on to win the program's only national title.

Michigan led by 13 in the first half, but the game got close after halftime.

The Razorbacks opened the second half with an 11-2 run to pull within two points and trailed 56-55 with 8:58 left. The Wolverines went on a 10-2 run and coasted to the win, John Beilein's 100th in six seasons at the school.

Marshawn Powell had 18 points for the Razorbacks (4-4).

NO. 4 SYRACUSE 108, MONMOUTH (N.J.) 56

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - Michael Carter-Williams had 15 points and a career-high 16 assists, C.J. Fair finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds and Syracuse pounded Monmouth of New Jersey.

Syracuse (8-0) has won 28 straight home games, the longest streak in the nation. Monmouth (5-5), which had won four of five, is 0-42 against teams from the Big East.

Carter-Williams, who also had five steals and four blocks, has reached double digits in assists five times and his 83 assists are 29 more than he had his entire freshman season.

His total for the game was the third-highest in school history, behind only Sherman Douglas (22) and Pearl Washington (18).

NO. 5 LOUISVILLE 99, MISSOURI-KANSAS CITY 47

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Russ Smith scored a career-high 31 points, powering Louisville to the easy victory.

Smith was 12 of 18 from the field and 3 of 5 from 3-point range in surpassing his previous high of 30. He led Louisville (8-1) in scoring for the sixth time in nine games.

Luke Hancock added 15 points and Montrezl Harrell had a career-high 14 points for the Cardinals, who shot 56 percent in winning their third in a row.

Louisville's defense stifled Missouri-Kansas City (4-5). Besides forcing 24 turnovers leading to 35 points, the Cardinals held the Kangaroos to 27 percent shooting.

NO. 7 OHIO STATE 89, LONG BEACH STATE 55

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Deshaun Thomas had 18 points, including a 3-pointer in an 11-point run in the first half, and Ohio State cruised past Long Beach State.

LaQuinton Ross had 16 points in a reserve role, Lenzelle Smith Jr. added 14, and Sam Thompson scored 13 for the Buckeyes (6-1), who built a 42-point lead before experimenting with different lineup combinations.

Dan Jennings scored 16 points and James Ennis had 12 for the 49ers (3-6), who have dropped three straight. They lost at No. 4 Syracuse 84-53 on Thursday before taking on another top-10 team just over 40 hours later.

NO. 8 ARIZONA 66, CLEMSON 54

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) - Mark Lyons scored 20 points and Arizona used a late second-half run to improve to 7-0 for the first time in 14 years.

The Wildcats squandered a 14-point lead and were down 42-36 after Rod Hall's 3-pointer with 12:07 remaining.

That's when Arizona got moving with a 25-7 surge that put the game away. Solomon Hill and Lyons began the charge with two free throws each.

When Lyons went in for a layup with 2:19 remaining, the Wildcats were ahead 61-49.

Clemson (5-3) scored just two field goals in the final 8:45. Milton Jennings led the Tigers with 15 points in his return from a two-game suspension because of a drug arrest.

NO. 9 KANSAS 90, COLORADO 54

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Ben McLemore scored 24 points, Kevin Young added 16 points and eight rebounds and Kansas routed former Big 12 member Colorado.

Elijah Johnson hit three 3-pointers and finished with 11 points, and Travis Releford added 10 points and six assists for the Jayhawks (7-1), who have won seven straight since losing to Michigan State early in the year.

Kansas used an 18-3 run in the opening minutes to silence a small but vocal section of Colorado fans. The Jayhawks led 43-22 at halftime.

Josh Scott had 19 points for the Buffaloes (7-2), who have lost two of three after rattling off six straight wins to start the year.

NO. 13 ILLINOIS 85, NO. 10 GONZAGA 74

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Brandon Paul scored 35 points to help Illinois extend its perfect start.

Tracy Abrams added 14 points for Illinois (10-0), and new coach John Groce is off to the best debut for an Illinois coach in the team's modern history.

Kelly Olynyk scored 16 points for Gonzaga (9-1).

Myke Henry's basket gave Illinois its first lead of the game at 44-43, and the Illini pushed that to 54-49 by making all five of their field goals to open the second half.

NO. 11 CINCINNATI 92, MARYLAND-EASTERN SHORE 60

CINCINNATI (AP) - Cashmere Wright set a career high with six 3-pointers, and Sean Kilpatrick scored 19 of his 23 points in the first half, keeping Cincinnati unbeaten.

The Bearcats (9-0) have opened the season with nine wins for only the 10th time in school history. They also did it in during the 2010-11 season, winning their first 15 games.

Wright finished with 20 points and nine assists.

Kyree Jones led the Hawks (0-9) with 25 points. The Hawks shot 29.9 percent from the field.

NO. 12 MISSOURI 68, TENNESSEE STATE 38

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Stefan Jankovic scored all 14 of his points in the second half, helping Missouri overcome a sloppy start.

Laurence Bowers had 18 points and 10 rebounds and Alex Oriakhi added 15 points and 10 boards for Missouri (8-1), which defeated its second consecutive Ohio Valley Conference team following an 81-65 win Tuesday over Southeast Missouri State.

Robert Covington scored 12 points and Jordan Cyphers added 11 for Tennessee State (4-6).

Missouri outrebounded Tennessee State 52-27 and made 15 of 19 free throws. Tennessee State only attempted five, all in the second half, and made two.

NO. 14 MINNESOTA 71, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 57

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Andre Hollins scored 14 points, and Minnesota coach Tubby Smith earned his 500th career victory.

Rodney Williams added 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Trevor Mbakwe had 12 points for the Gophers (10-1), who led all the way in winning their sixth in a row on their first trip to play USC in Los Angeles since Dec. 29, 1980. Smith became the 19th active Division I coach to reach that win mark.

Reserve Omar Oraby scored each of his 15 points in the second half to lead USC (3-6). Byron Wesley added 13 points, and Dewayne Dedmon grabbed 10 rebounds.

NO. 15 GEORGETOWN 46, TOWSON 40

WASHINGTON (AP) - Georgetown held Towson scoreless over the final 4 1/2 minutes, and the Hoyas won their second home clankfest in a row, recovering from a 17-point first half.

Greg Whittington scored 11 points, and Mikael Hopkins and Otto Porter had 10 apiece for the Hoyas (7-1), who shot 17 percent in the first half and 29 percent for the game. Georgetown won with defense, forcing 22 turnovers and pulling away - if it could be called that - with a 4-0 game-ending run.

Georgetown transfer Jerrelle Benimon had 11 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Tigers (4-5), who are rebuilding with only three scholarship players from last season's 1-31 team.

Georgetown set the school record for scoring futility in the shot clock era with a 37-36 over Tennessee on Nov. 30.

NO. 18 NEW MEXICO 65, VALPARAISO 52

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Alex Kirk scored 11 of his 12 points in the second half and New Mexico overcame a sluggish start to get the win

Chad Adams and Demetrius Walker also scored 12 for the Lobos (10-0).

Ryan Broekhoff scored 24 for the Crusaders (6-3), but the next best total was seven points for Kevin Van Wijk.

The Lobos forced a season-high 23 turnovers, and turned them into 22 points.

NO. 19 MICHIGAN STATE 73, LOYOLA OF CHICAGO 61

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gary Harris scored 20 points and the Spartans pulled away in the second half.

Adreian Payne added 14 points and 10 rebounds for Michigan State (8-2).

Down 32-30 at the break, the Spartans went on a 22-9 run to take control. Harris hit three 3-pointers during the burst.

Ben Averkamp had 25 points and eight rebounds for the Ramblers (6-3).

NO. 20 NORTH CAROLINA 78, EAST TENNESSEE STATE 55

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) - Leslie McDonald scored 14 points and North Carolina held East Tennessee State to 12 points in the first half.

Freshman Brice Johnson added 12 points for the Tar Heels (7-2). They shot 42.9 percent and used a 34-2 run to put the overmatched Buccaneers out of this one early, needing only about 15 minutes to go up by 30.

Rashawn Rembert scored a career-high 18 points and Lester Wilson added 13 points and 11 rebounds for ETSU (2-5). Its halftime point total was the fewest for a half in the nearly 27-year-old Smith Center.

NO. 22 NOTRE DAME 84, BROWN 57

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Freshman Cameron Biedscheid had a career-high 17 points to lift Notre Dame to the win.

Jack Cooley added 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Fighting Irish (8-1), who committed just three turnovers and finished with 22 assists. Scott Martin made four 3-pointers and finished with 14 points. Eric Atkins had 10 points and 12 assists.

Notre Dame dominated inside, outrebounding Brown 42-32 and outscoring the Bears 38-16 in the paint.

Matt Sullivan scored 18 for Brown (3-5).

NO. 23 OKLAHOMA ST. 62, MISSOURI ST. 42

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) - Markel Brown scored 15 points, Michael Cobbins and Le'Bryan Nash added 10 apiece and the Cowboys beat the Bears.

The Cowboys (7-1) scored 14 of the game's first 16 points.

After a dreadful first half, Missouri State (2-7) came out of the break hot and used a 10-0 run to claw back within 34-23 after Nathan Scheer's 3-pointer from the wing.

The Bears hit their first four shots and eight of their first 11 in the second half, but couldn't keep up the sharp shooting.

A turnover and three straight misses gave an opening for an 11-0 burst, and Cobbins' jumper with 8:09 left pushed the lead back to 53-31.

NO. 24 WICHITA STATE 80, NORTHERN COLORADO 54

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Cleanthony Early scored 16 points and Wichita State got off to a fast start on its way to an easy win.

Nick Wiggins had 14 points, Demetric Williams added 12 and Malcolm Armstead 11 for the Shockers (9-0).

Derrick Barden scored 19 points for Northern Colorado (1-6), while Emmanuel Ado added 11.

Wichita State played without two injured starters - center Ehimen Orupke and guard Evan Wessel - but still matched the best start in school history.

The Shockers led 14-2 about 5 minutes into the game.

NO. 25 N.C. STATE 80, CLEVELAND STATE 63

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Richard Howell had 17 points and 10 rebounds to help the Wolfpack beat the Vikings in their annual return to Reynolds Coliseum.

C.J. Leslie scored 19 for the Wolfpack (6-2), who shot 55 percent and led by double figures most of the afternoon. Freshman T.J. Warren added 16 points.

Reynolds was the Wolfpack's home for 50 years before the program moved off campus to PNC Arena for the 1999-2000 season. But the school has typically played at least one game a year at Reynolds for the past decade as a nod to the program's tradition.

N.C. State improved to 14-0 in the building since its move.

Charlie Lee scored 15 for the Vikings (6-3).

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Five baseball books to read while in quarantine

Five baseball books to read while in quarantine

The Nationals Talk podcast has been on a book run lately. Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post stopped by last week to discuss his book, “Buzz Saw”, about the 2019 Nationals season. Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal, and author of “Swing Kings”, joined us for Tuesday's episode. We’re a veritable baseball library.

So, in keeping with the book theme -- and the lack of baseball coupled with extra time -- here’s a list of five baseball books to read during quarantine. The list could include 20 other titles. But, many of these books are the reason this was a personal pursuit in the first place. Feel free to add some in the comments. And happy reading.

The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn

I don’t remember how old I was when I first read Kahn’s book, but I do remember it presented this fairy tale view of baseball in my mind.

Kahn covers his Brooklyn childhood, early reporting days at the New York Herald Tribune and follows the Dodgers to the end of the 1955 World Series. For a kid growing up in the sticks three hours north of New York City, everything about the situation delivered the grandeur you would associate with such a life. And the team was loaded with legendary names: Roy Campanella, Gil Hodges, Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Don Newcombe, Johnny Podres (who was from upstate New York).

The era has striking differences to our current baseball one. Kahn was working in a time of baseball-player-as-hero, where emotion, personal interaction and unfettered access colored the presentation of the sport and its players as much as analytics does now. Kahn also knew those players could be incomplete humans, like anyone else, and presented them as such.

This book is part nostalgia, part writing master class and part memoir. Do yourself the favor.

Ball Four by Jim Bouton

What Kahn held in eloquence, Bouton held in -- how to say this -- chutzpah.

The subtitle of the book goes like this: “The controversial bestseller that tears the cover off the biggest names in baseball.” Corny? Yes. Oversell? A bit, or so it seems now. But any time a book written about a specific sports league leads to the league’s commissioner, in this case Bowie Kuhn, speaking out against it, the book clearly sent a jolt.

Bouton’s diary of his 1969 season with the Seattle Pilots (great throwback jerseys) and Houston Astros is also a look back at his time with the Yankees. He spent seven years (1962-1968) in the Bronx, pitched well (3.36 ERA), and paid attention. What distinctly set Bouton’s book apart was his willingness to tell the truth about what happened behind closed doors. From his personal clashes with management to Mickey Mantle’s drinking, Bouton spilled secrets which were -- and would remain -- significant breaches of any “circle of trust.”

For that, Bouton was reviled and revered. Players despised him for it. Critics adored the insight. The book became a hit. Time magazine once listed it among the 100 greatest non-fiction books of all-time.

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Three Nights in August by Buzz Bissinger

This hops us into a more modern look at baseball. Beyond that, it also gives a look into what baseball is built on: the three-game series.

When writers travel to cover the NFL, it’s an in-and-out experience. You arrive in the city on Saturday and sometimes leave as soon as Sunday night. For the NBA, you drop in one place, then go directly to another, easily losing track. Baseball provides a temporary chance to unpack.

And during the settling teams blast through three games. Bissinger chose the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry to write about. Tony La Russa was still running things in St. Louis at the time, and became the central figure of the book. He’s intriguing for the obvious reasons of brand recognition, but also because his bullpen strategy in the late 1980s became the standard and remains paramount today.

Bissinger became famous for “Friday Night Lights” and his background knowledge here about La Russa allows the access to deliver even more insight. Good writing, good figures, good story.

Moneyball by Michael Lewis

This is on the list because if you somehow have not read it, why not?

We won’t spend too much time on one of the most-famous baseball books in history, if not the most well-known, period.

Quickly: The low-budget A’s force math into the equation in order to find a way to win without significant cash resources. General manager Billy Beane is the architect of this approach (and apparently good-looking enough Brad Pitt plays him in the movie).

At its core, the book is about old-school versus new-school thinking and is (gasp) already 16 years old.

The Only Rule Is it Has To Work by Ben Lindbergh

Lindbergh took the Moneyball concept a step further and crossed it with baseball kookiness.

The Sonoma Stompers, part of the independent Pacific Association, allowed Lindbergh and Sam Miller to run baseball operations strictly on advanced analytics.

The book is a functional, real-world application of a consistent baseball argument: do everything by the numbers in order to maximize outcome. So, does it work?

No spoilers here beyond saying the experiment combined with those who populate independent baseball produces a compelling read.

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The Vault: Looking back at Bullets-Sixers Game 5 of the 1986 NBA Playoffs

The Vault: Looking back at Bullets-Sixers Game 5 of the 1986 NBA Playoffs

After a two-week break for paternity leave, it's time to spin the dial, line up the combination numbers and re-open the vault. Earlier in the NBA's hiatus, we looked back at Bullets playoff games from the 1970s and the 1990s. Today, we go to the 1980s and revisit Game 5 of the 1986 first-round playoff series between the Washington Bullets and the Philadelphia 76ers.

Now, this is a game that older Bullets fans likely wouldn't want to relive. The Bullets not only lost the game, they got blown out, and it ended their season.

But it was also an interesting snapshot into an era of the NBA and of Bullets basketball and, in a way, it encapsulated what the Bullets were in the 1980s. They made the playoffs five straight years from 1983 to 1988 and lost in the first round each time. 

In 1986, the Bullets won only 39 games, yet they were the sixth seed. It was an especially bad year in the Eastern Conference, so bad that the Chicago Bulls set an NBA record that still stands as the worst team to ever make the playoffs. They were 30-52.

The Bullets won Game 1 against the Sixers, but fell on the road in Game 5 when basically all of their best players didn't show up. It was a major letdown.

But it was still a basketball time capsule worth looking back on. Here are five takeaways including pictures and GIFs of the best moments...

Bol's network debut

The NBA back then was not even close to what it is now in terms of worldwide reach. It was not far removed from the NBA Finals playing on tape delay and very few games were broadcast nationally. Usually, those national games featured teams like the Lakers and Celtics, not the Washington Bullets.

So this particular game marked the first time Manute Bol played on network television. The Bullets rookie was a person of intrigue because at 7-foot-6, he was the tallest player in NBA history at the time. Remember, this was before Gheorghe Muresan, Shawn Bradley and Yao Ming. 

Bol was also a fascinating player because as a rookie he led the league in blocked shots with a ridiculous average of 5.0 per game. He averaged more blocks than he did points (3.7). 

Bol playing in his network debut was a big part of the broadcast with color commentator Tommy Heinsohn remarking pregame that "when [Bol] first joined the NBA, a lot of people thought it was for freak value." Heinsohn, though, went on to twice compare Bol's rim-protecting prowess to Bill Russell.

Heinsohn also said later in the game the Bullets training staff put the roster through a strength exam and Bol tested at the level of "a child." He was tall, but extremely skinny, listed at just 200 pounds. And his thin frame was a major disadvantage against Sixers superstar Charles Barkley.

Despite being a foot shorter, Barkley absolutely dominated Bol in this game with his strength and low center of gravity.

Bol had zero points, two rebounds and one block in the game.

Bol had a song

To further illustrate the spectacle that Bol's network debut was, CBS aired a music video for him at halftime. It was called 'Bol-tending' and it was the type of video that was for some reason commonplace around sports in the 1980s and 90s.

Custom rap songs about teams and players were all the rage back then and even as a rookie, Bol had one complete with a killer saxophone solo.

The 80s were in full force

The Bol video was just one example of the remarkable 80s-ness of this game and the broadcast. There were so many things that may have been cool at the time that just aren't that cool anymore.

Like, this starting lineup graphic. It looks like a Prince album cover.

There were also a few hairstyles you just never see in today's NBA. There was the let-it-flow male pattern baldness of Gus Williams:

There was also Jeff Ruland's full and glorious mustache, which made him look like a cop who went undercover as an NBA player:

And you had Tom McMillen's moppy gray hair that made him look like a middle school science teacher:

It seems worth noting that Just For Men didn't come out until 1987, the year after this game was played. And this was actually McMillen's final NBA game. He had already announced his retirement and made it known he was going to run for U.S. Congress as soon as his playing career was over. They mentioned it twice on the broadcast.

Imagine a current NBA player's farewell tour including that as his next step. McMillen, who was a Rhodes Scholar before playing in the NBA, would win that election and two more to serve three terms in the House of Representatives hailing from Maryland's 4th District.

Sixers were loaded with stars

The Sixers had one of the most star-studded NBA teams ever assembled in 1985-86, though some of those stars were up there in age and not the players they once were. They had a whopping five Hall of Famers. That included Barkley, Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Bob McAdoo and Maurice Cheeks. 

Malone and McAdoo didn't play in this game due to injuries, Malone because of a fractured eye socket (ouch). But the other three had their way with the Bullets in Game 5.

Barkely, in particular, was unstoppable. He had a triple-double with 19 points, 15 rebounds and 12 assists. And he just jumped off the screen as the best player on the floor.

This was a different era where a lot of the players weren't athletic or skilled enough to hang in today's game. But it is pretty obvious Barkley would still be a star. He was just unbelievably powerful and fast in the open floor.

Dr. J still had it

Erving may have been 35 years old, but he was still one of the best athletes on the court. He made a series of plays that were reminiscent of the ageless wonder we see these days in LeBron James.

Erving had a few vicious dunks that did not look like a guy at the end of his career:

And this one play where he leapt over the press section really stood out:

The NBA has come a long way since the 80s, but Barkley and Dr. J were both before their time. And the Bullets may now be the Wizards, but they are still waiting to break through in the playoffs, even decades later.

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