JOIN THE SPORTS ZONE LIVE – TUESDAY, MARCH 28 THRU MONDAY, APRIL 3 AT THE DESERT DIAMOND WEST VALLEY CASINO AT 9431 NORTHERN AVENUE IN GLENDALE
SUNDAY, MARCH 26, 2017
NCAA TOURNAMENT DAY EIGHT
*NORTH CAROLINA 75, KENTUCKY 73: In one of the more exciting final 45 seconds in tournament history, North Carolina advanced when Luke Maye, who finished with a career high 17 points, nailed a perimeter two point field goal with .3 seconds remaining … STATISTICALLY SPEAKING – North Carolina, the nation’s top rebounding team, won the battle of the glass 44-34 … THE BOTTOM LINE – John Calipari waited at least two possessions too late before opting for time during the late North Carolina run. Calipari finally stopped play after UK allowed 10 straight points and trailed 67-62. … CLOSING LINE – North Carolina 2, 161 .. PREDICTION – Kentucky 80, North Carolina 78
*SOUTH CAROLINA 77, FLORIDA 70: The seventh-seeded Gamecocks are headed to the Final Four after rallying from seven down at halftime and outscoring their SEC rival 16-7 over the final 3:51 … STATISTICALLY SPEAKING – South Carolina converted 24 of its 43 two-point field goal attempts (.558 percent) … THE BOTTOM LINE – Sindarius Thornwell is the MVP of the tournament thru two weeks. On Sunday, he scored 26 points and has between 24-29 in the four South Carolina wins … CLOSING LINE – Florida 3, 136 … PREDICTION – South Carolina 65, Florida 60
IN MONDAY’S SPORTS ZONE
(THIS PLAN IS TENTATIVE AND SOMEWHAT SUBJECT TO CHANGE)
*AT THE TOP OF THE SHOW, THE INTRODUCTION OF THE PIPELINE
*AT 11:15, GONZAGA IS HEADED TO ITS FIRST FINAL FOUR: with Zachary Ryder of Bleacher Report
*AT 11:30, INTERACTIVE TIME WITH PHONE CALLS … AND AT 11:45 MORE INTERACTIVE TIME WITH TWEETS … PLUS THE DAILY SPRING TRAINING UPDATE
*AT THE TOP OF THE NOON HOUR, THE LOCAL ROUNDUP: topped by Devin Booker’s 70-point explosion at Boston
*AT 12:15, FROM THE PIPELINE – SWEET 16 ANALYSIS AND PREDICTIONS: with Scott Phillips of NBC Sports College Basketball Talk
*AT 12:30. INTERACTIVE TIME WITH PHONE CALLS … AND AT 12:45 MORE INTERACTIVE TIME WITH TWEETS
*AT 1:00, THE NATIONAL ROUNDUP: topped by Headlines Across America and a TV Guide of viewing suggestions
*AT 1:15, OUR DAILY ROAD TO GLENDALE SEGMENT: Oregon is headed to the Final Four for the first time since 1939 when they somehow beat The Ohio State University in the first ever championship game – we will get the latest from Steve Mims of the Eugene Register Guard
*AT 1:30, LAST CALL AND THE BOTTOM LINE: the final interactive segment of the show with phone calls and tweets and the host answers the Pipeline questions
*AT 1:45, POLL QUESTION ANSWERS AND FINAL RESULTS … PLUS TODAY IN ROCK HISTORY
AND, INTERACTIVE TIME WITH PHONE CALLS (602-260-10-60) AT 11:30, 12:30 AND 1:30 AND TWEETS (@SPORTS ZONE 1060 OR TWITTER.COM/SPORTS ZONE 1060) AT 11:45, 12:45 AND 1:30
ALSO, A PROGRAMMING CHANGE – MLB SEASON PREVIEW (WEDNESDAY + THURSDAY)
RECENT BOTTOM LINE EDITIONS
SATURDAY, MARCH 25, 2017
NCAA TOURNAMENT DAY SEVEN
*GONZAGA 83, XAVIER 59: Mark Few is headed to the Final Four for the first time with a dominating performance from start to finish … STATISTICALLY SPEAKING – Gonzaga outscored Xavier 36-6 from behind the arc – Gonzaga was 12 of 24 from behind the arc while Xavier made just two of 16 … THE BOTTOM LINE – Mark Few advancing means that Sean Miller has the most NCAA Tournament wins of any active coach not having reached the Final Four … CURRENT LINE – Gonzaga 8, 145 1/2 … PREDICTION – Gonzaga 73, Xavier 67
*OREGON 74, GONZAGA 60: The Ducks shut down the previously high-scoring Jayhawks with sensational transition defense and dominating halfcourt defense by Jordan Bell … STATISTICALLY SPEAKING – Bell finished 11 points (including five of six from the field), 13 rebounds (seven offensive) and eight blocked shots and four assists … THE BOTTOM LINE – Bill Self has now lost five regional final as a number one seed … CURRENT LINE – Kansas 7, 158 1/2 … PREDICTION – Kansas 78, Oregon 70
FRIDAY, MARCH 24, 2017
NCAA TOURNAMENT DAY SIX
*UCLA 86, KENTUCKY 75: De’Aaron Fox (39 points, four assists, two steals and just one turnover) continues to rocket up NBA draft boards as he destroyed Lonzo Ball (10 points, seven assists and four turnovers) who may have played his worst game as a collegian and immediately declared he is headed for the NBA after the season-ending loss … STATISTICALLY SPEAKING – Kentucky led just 52-49 when Thomas Welsh picked up his fourth foul with 13:39 remaining but UCLA was unable to compete the rest of the way … THE BOTTOM LINE – The Pac 12 Conference of Champions is finished if Oregon doesn’t beat Kansas … CLOSING LINE – UCLA 1, 167 1/2 … PREDICTION – UCLA 85, Kentucky 80
*FLORIDA 84, WISCONSIN 83: It took 48 games for the first buzzer beater of the tournament but Chris Chiozza hit a three-point runner to end overtime for the win after Wisconsin’s Zak Showalter forced the extra five minutes with a three pointer to end regulation after Florida blew a 68-56 lead with 5:24 remaining … STATISTICALLY SPEAKING – KeVaughn Allen finished with 35 points, the most ever for a Florida player in an NCAA Tournament game … THE BOTTOM LINE – The SEC went 3-0 on Friday night while say goodbye to the Big Ten after going 0-3 in the Sweet 16 … CURRENT LINE – Florida 1, 130 1/2 … PREDICTION – Wisconsin 60, Florida 57
*NORTH CAROLINA 92, BUTLER 79: Joel Berry II erased doubt about the status of his previous gimpy ankle with a dominating 26-point performance including some moves in which he froze Butler defenders … STATISTICALLY SPEAKING – The Tar Heels offensive efficiency was impressive – 54.4 percent from the field with 22 assists on 31 made field goals and just 10 turnovers … THE BOTTOM LINE – Next up for Butler is will they increase the low salary of Chris Holtmann or will they watch him leave for a school that will pay him … CLOSING LINE – North Carolina 7, 155 … PREDICTION – North Carolina 75, Butler 68
*SOUTH CAROLINA 70, BAYLOR 50: South Carolina cruised to victory after Scott Drew enhanced his reputation as a poor bench coach by ending any chance his team had to win by not calling a time out during a 15-0 South Carolina run … STATISTICALLY SPEAKING – South Carolina’s defense dominated with Baylor shooting 30 percent with 16 turnovers and 11 assists … THE BOTTOM LINE – Sindarius Thornwell is making a case to be the tournament’s MVP with 24 points in this game after scoring 24 and 29 last week against Duke and Marquette, respectively … ONE MORE NOTE – The game was sparsely attended with Villanova and Duke eliminated last week and the Wisconsin and Florida apparently out in the NYC streets before their late game … CLOSING LINE – Baylor 3, 134 1/2 … PREDICTION – Baylor 61, South Carolina 55
THURSDAY, MARCH 23, 2017
NCAA TOURNAMENT DAY FIVE
*XAVIER 73, ARIZONA 71,: The Wildcats allowed the final nine points after taking a 71-64 lead with 2:54 remaining in the worst NCAA Tournament eliminating loss of the Sean Miller era … STATISTICALLY SPEAKING – The UA failed to score in its final six possessions while Xavier scored on five of its final seven possessions … THE BOTTOM LINE – The UA’s zone offense was awful making just seven of 27 from behind the arc … CLOSING LINE – UA 7 1/2, 145 … PREDICTION – UA 75, Xavier 65
HALFTIME – UA 37, XAVIER 35: The Wildcats dominated the offensive glass with 11 offensive rebounds but could not stop Trevon Bluiett who had 18 points on seven of eight from the field … STATISTICALLY SPEAKING – The Wildcats shot horribly (14 of 34 overall and three of 16 from three) against the Xavier changing zone defenses but the Wildcats had 12 second-chance points. Lawri Markkanen and Allonzo Trier were a combined four of 14 from the field, including two of eight from behind the arc … THE BOTTOM LINE – Kadeem Allen committed two fouls during the first 2:15 and did not play the rest of the half. Kobi Simmons contributed five points in Allen’s place.
*OREGON 69, MICHIGAN 68: Tyler Dorsey continued to make a case as the tournament’s best player and teammate Jordan Bell dominated inside with 16 points and 13 rebounds … STATISTICALLY SPEAKING – Michigan made just 11 of 31 three-point field goals … THE BOTTOM LINE – Michigan was scoreless the final 2:04 after taking a 68-65 lead … CLOSING LINE – Pick, 149 … PREDICTION – Michigan 78, Oregon 74
*GONZAGA 61, WEST VIRGINIA 58: Gonzaga did almost everything it could to lose but West Virginia failed to get off a shot during the final 10 seconds because of massive confusion after Bob Huggins had no time outs remaining … STATISTICALLY SPEAKING – Don’t be fooled by the close score. This was unwatchable basketball with 52 fouls and 61 free throw attempts … THE BOTTOM LINE – Here is further evidence this game was a joke – West Virginia shot 26,7 percent from the field (16 of 61) and 21.7 percent from behind the arc (five of 23) and almost won … CLOSING LINE – Gonzaga 3, 150 1/2 … PREDICTION – West Virginia 75, Gonzaga 74
*KANSAS 98, PURDUE 66: Kansas, over the final 26 minutes, outscored Purdue 73-33 … STATISTICALLY SPEAKING: Kansas is easily the best team in the nation when Devonte’ Graham is making shots. Graham, thru three tournament games, is averaging 20 points and made 18 of 32 field goal attempts, including 13 of 22 from behind the arc … THE BOTTOM LINE – Purdue coach Matt Painter, inexplicably, encouraged his team to run with Kansas, the worst strategical move during the first five days of the tournament … CLOSING LINE – KU 5 1/2, 156 … PREDICTION – Kansas 82, Purdue 71
*HEARD THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE: Eric Musselman likely decided against taking the Cal job because his Nevada team likely will be favored to win the Mountain West Conference in 2018 which could result in a better job than Cal … Danny Hurley did such a good job at Rhode Island that he is an overwhelming favorite to get the next big job in the East which could lead him to Georgetown after it parted ways today with John Thompson III … On the player front, there has been plenty of talk that Oregon’s Tyler Dorsey, the second leading scorer in the NCAA Tournament the first week, will leave for the NBA Draft.
THURSDAY, MARCH 23, 2017
*SWEET 16: Wisconsin over Florida … Baylor over South Carolina … West Virginia over Gonzaga … Arizona over Xavier … Kansas over Purdue … Michigan over Oregon … North Carolina over Butler … UCLA over Kentucky
*ELITE EIGHT: Wisconsin over Baylor … West Virginia over Arizona … Kansas over Michigan … UCLA over North Carolina
*FINAL FOUR: West Virginia over Wisconsin … Kansas over UCLA
*CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: Kansas over West Virginia
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22, 2017
SPREADING THE NEWS
*CAL STILL HAS A HEAD COACHING VACANCY: At least three coaches are not interested – Saint Mary’s Randy Bennett (a Mesa product), Nevada’s Eric Musselman (a former ASU assistant for Herb Sendek) and Montana coach Travis DeCuire (a former Cal assistant to Mike Montgomery).
*HEARD THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE: Tony Bennett has been to just one Elite Eight after all his regular-season success at Virginia, leading some to believe that Bennett’s next move will be to the NBA … Former Syracuse guard Jerry McNamara is now THE LATEST head coach in waiting if Jim Boeheim ever retires … Oklahoma State has a coaching vacancy and may have an athletic director opening after Mike Holder totally botched up when allowing Brad Underwood to leave for Illinois.
NCAA TOURNAMENT STUFF
*DUKE ALLOWED 65 SECOND-HALF POINTS TO OFTEN OFFENSIVE INEPT SOUTH CAROLINA: That was most points allowed by any Coach K team in any half of an NCAA Tournament game. And here’s more – South Carolina, a 61 percent free throw shooting team made 21 of 23 from the charity stripe in that pivotal second half.
*VIRGINIA’S OFFENSE WAS HISTORICALLY BAD: The Cavaliers 39 points in their loss to Florida was the lowest point total of any power conference team in the last 17 years of the NCAA Tournament.
*HOW DISAPPOINTED IS NEW YORK CITY THAT DUKE AND VILLANOVA WERE ELIMINATED LAST WEEK?: Ticket brokers have reported that the three-game ticket package for the East Region has dropped 50 percent and the people that estimate economic impact say that no Villanova and Duke may result in $500,000 loss.
*HOW MUCH DOES OREGON MISS CHRIS BOUCHER?: The Ducks, with Boucher, averaged seven blocks per game – the Ducks, in three games without Boucher, have seven blocks total.
*THE FIRST FOUR DAYS OF THE TOURNAMENT WERE HIGH SCORING: 31 of the 48 games went over the posted Las Vegas total, largely because of the excessive fouls called in many of those games … Also, 40 of the 48 favorites over the first four days were straight-up winners.
*LOOKING AHEAD: Xavier is in the Sweet 16 for the sixth time since 2008 and its Sweet 16 appearance means 31 of the 33 NCAA Tournaments since seeding started has included a double digit seed in the Sweet 16 … Also, Butler is back in the Sweet 16 for the first time since Brad Stevens left for the Celtics.
SUNDAY, MARCH 19, 2017
NCAA TOURNAMENT DAY FOUR
A SIX PACK OF OBSERVATIONS
*PAC 12 ROUNDUP: UCLA scored a season worst 30 points in the first half before Lonzo Ball took over in the second half to beat Cincinnati 79-67 … Oregon rallied from 11 down in the second half and scored the final seven points to eliminate Dan Hurley’s Rhode Island team 75-72 behind former UA commit Tyler Dorsey who scored 27 points, including the game-winning three point field goal … USC coach Andy Enfield waited at least one Baylor basket too long to call time out as the Trojans blew a lead down the stretch in a game that had some inexplicable basketball I.Q. plays by both teams.
*DUKE WAS OUTCOACHED AND OUTPLAYED: South Carolina, one of the worst offensive teams in the nation, scored at 63 points during the second half in front of its home state fans and thousands of North Carolina fans who hung around … ROY WILLIAMS ALMOST DID IT AGAIN: The North Carolina and former Kansas coach escaped yet another embarrassing NCAA Tournament loss scoring the final 12 points over the last 3:30 to win 72-65 over Arkansas which was clueless at the offensive end down the stretch.
*THE NCAA TOURNAMENT COMMITTEE MAY HAVE SCREWED WICHITA STATE: but allowing Wichita State to play two-hand touch basketball once the tournament begins is inexcusable. UFC president Dana White should bring the octagon and promote the event if Wichita State and West Virginia ever meet in the tournament.
*MICHIGAN SAYS GOODBYE TO LOUISVILLE: Good Offense beat good defense and bad offense. The Wolverines were the better team against Louisville whose inept offense scored eight points during the final 1:10 of the first half to take an eight-point lead at intermission but managed just 33 points after halftime.
*COACHING CAROUSEL: Washington has it new coach with longtime Syracuse coach in waiting Mike Hopkins agreeing to a six-year deal to leave for Seattle.
*RANDOM STUFF: Kansas was far too skilled for Michigan State with Frank Mason running the show and Josh Jackson delivering multiple spectacular plays at both ends of the floor … IN CONCLUSION – the level of play over the weekend was thankfully far better than the almost unwatchable first two days.
SATURDAY, MARCH 18, 2017
NCAA TOURNAMENT DAY THREE
FROM THE SCOREBOARD
*ARIZONA 69, SAINT MARY’S 60: The UA played great defense without fouling and Allonzo Trier, after not scoring for the first 23:27 minutes, went on a 7-0 run to give the UA a 51-46 lead that it did not relinquish … STATISTICALLY SPEAKING – Saint Mary’s after shooting 50 percent in the first half (12 of 24), made just 43 percent in the second half (13 of 30) while the UA hit 18 of its last 19 free throws. The UA had scoring balance with four starters scoring between 12 and 16 points … THE BOTTOM LINE – The UA, and Sean Miller, will face Xavier, his previous team, in the West Region Sweet 16 for the second in three seasons. The UA beat Xavier 68-60 in 2015.
*HALFTIME UPDATE – SAINT MARY’S 30, ARIZONA 29: The Wildcats were outhustled and outcoached much of the half, clueless in the halfcourt at both ends of the floor and beaten in every hustle stat … STATISTICALLY SPEAKING – The UA made just 10 of 29 field goal attempts, including one of seven behind the arc, while Saint Mary’s hit 50 percent of its 24 field goal attempts and had an 18-17 rebounding edge … Individually, Allonzo Trier failed to score, missing on just four field goal tries and zero free throw attempts … THE BOTTOM LINE – The UA went on a 17-8 run to end the half to prevent complete disaster … INJURY UPDATE – Rawle Alkins missed 10 minutes with a finger injury on his shooting guard and did not return until after undergoing x-rays … CLOSING LINE – Arizona 5 1/2, 134 1/2 … KEMP PREDICTION – Arizona 65, Saint Mary’s 61
FOR MORE ANALYSIS, HIGHLIGHTS AND SEAN MILLER’S POST-GAME COMMENTS TUNE INTO THE 11:15 AND 12:05 SEGMENTS OF MONDAY’S SPORTS ZONE
A SIX PACK OF OBSERVATIONS
*VILLANOVA SAYS GOODBYE: The Wildcats blew a 57-50 lead and was outscored 15-5 down the stretch with Jason Hart stopped twice near the rim in two of their final three possessions. Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes (18 points and nine rebounds) was the most dominant player from start to finish.
*TONY BENNETT NEEDS TO EXPAND HIS OFFENSIVE APPROACH: The deliberate style leaves Virginia zero margin for error which is why he will never win a national championship unless he changes. Speaking of change, this might be a good time to see if Indiana would be interested in his services?
*FLORIDA STATE WAS THE NATION‘S BIGGEST WASTE OF TALENT: Leonard Hamilton’s group played as a team through the early portion of the ACC schedule but selfishness escalated the last few weeks. The Seminoles 91-66 eliminating loss to Xavier was embarrassing.
*UNC’S BERRY QUESTIONABLE FOR SUNDAY: Joel Berry, the Tar Heels most important player, did not practice today and is questionable for Sunday’s game against Arkansas, according to Roy Williams. Berry was injured during the second half with his team leading by 32 points on Friday against Texas Southern.
*COACHING CAROUSEL: Brad Underwood has left Oklahoma State after just one season to become the head coach at Illinois, an impressive hire for a program which should always be elite considering its Chicago and St. Louis recruiting base. Underwood, who made $1 million during his one season in Stillwater, reportedly received $18 million over six years from Illinois … Steve Lavin is believed to be a candidate at Washington which is willing to pay $2-$3 million for its next head coach.
*RANDOM STUFF: Gonzaga bullied its way to a 20-point lead before holding on to beat Northwestern which is not a one-time only team with all its important players expected to return next season … Kaleb Swanigan was the difference as Purdue beat Iowa State in the most entertaining, high quality game of the first three days … West Virginia scored the first 10 points and never trailed against Notre Dame which made just 36 percent of its two point shots and struggled with the length of Bob Huggins’ team … Butler methodically dominated Middle Tennessee State which received zero points from second leading scorer Giddy Potts.
FRIDAY, MARCH 17, 2017
NCAA TOURNAMENT DAY TWO
FROM THE SCOREBOARD
A SIX PACK OF OBSERVATIONS
*BAD BASKETBALL: The excitement level has been low and the quality of play has been poor, not that surprising since the NCAA Tournament bubble was littered with teams undeserving of tournament bids in previous years. The second round games should include higher quality with much of the trash eliminated.
*CONTRASTING STYLES: Michigan and Oklahoma State featured zero defense and a 92-91 final while Wichita State and Dayton was a game in which nearly shot was contested with a 64-58 final. The constant was Michigan and Wichita State were clearly deserving winners.
*SMU WAS ELIMINATED BECAUSE OF BAD OFFENSE: The Mustangs led 30-18 over USC 13 minutes into the game, but were outscored 48-35 the final 27 minutes. For the game, SMU made just 13 of 34 field goal attempts. In the end, SMU beat one NCAA Tournament team (Cincinnati twice).
*FOR LONG TERM SUCCESS IN THIS TOURNAMENT, KANSAS NEEDS DAVONTE GRAHAM TO SHOOT WELL WHILE KENTUCKY NEEDS THE SAME FROM MALIK MONK: Graham was four of seven from behind the arc during the Jayhawks 100-62 rout of UC-Davis. Monk was zero for six from behind the arc and three of 11 overall in the Wildcats 79-70 lackluster win over Northern Kentucky.
*THE COACHING CAROUSEL: Kevin Keatts left UNC-Wilmington for N.C. State which is paying him more than $13 million over six years … Washington is reportedly willing to pay its next coach between $2-$3 million with Tom Crean believed to be interested … Kevin O’Neill of Pac 12 Networks and Fox Sports ranked the major coaching openings in order – Indiana, NC State (before Keatts got the gig), Illinois, Washington, LSU and Cal.
*RANDOM STUFF: The Miller brothers do not like Wichita State which eliminated Sean and the UA last March and Archie and Dayton on Friday … South Carolina won its first NCAA Tournament game in 44 years … USC registered its 14th win after trailing by 10 or more points … Creighton was 18-1 when point guard Maurice Watson suffered a season-ending ACL injury and finished 7-9 after the injury …
PREVIOUS BOTTOM LINE EDITIONS
NCAA TOURNAMENT DAY ONE
FROM THE SCOREBOARD
*UA 100, NORTH DAKOTA 82: The UA scored a season high in points and coasted for much of the second half, especially at the defensive end … STATISTICALLY SPEAKING – Rawle Alkins pitched a perfect game (20 points on eight of eight from the field, two of two from the free throw line, five assists/zero turnovers) … THE BOTTOM LINE – The UA needs to improve its screen-roll defense before facing Saint Mary’s on Saturday.
HALFTIME – UA 53, NORTH DAKOTA 37: Lauri Markkanen dominated the first half with 16 points, all of them either near the rim or from the free throw line … STATISTICALLY SPEAKING – The Wildcats scored their most points in a first half this season by shooting 61% against one of the worst statistical defensive teams in the tournament … THE BOTTOM LINE – The Wildcats need to take care of business and get some rest for Saturday’s game against Saint Mary’s which played just seven players in a 85-77 win over Virginia Commonwealth … CLOSING LINE – Arizona 18 1/2, 147
A SIX PACK OF OBSERVATIONS
*THE S.A.T. BOWL WAS DECIDED BY A BONEHEAD PLAY: Vanderbilt’s Matthew Fisher-Davis, thinking his team was down one, intentionally fouled Northwestern’s Bryant McIntosh who converted the game-deciding free throws with 14.6 seconds remaining.
*VILLANOVA AND GONZAGA STRUGGLED FOR ONE HALF: Warning – do not let the first 20 minutes against Mount St. Mary’s and South Dakota State alter your opinion of the top seeds. Whatever your opinion was previously should remain the same.
*NOTRE DAME SHOULD HAVE LOST: The Irish played poorly against Princeton and were the most fortunate good team to win on Thursday.
*MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE IS HEADED TO THE SWEET 16: Look for Reggie Upshaw and Giddy Potts to beat Butler on Saturday.
*LIKE THE FATHER THE SON IS A BAD LOSER: Richard Pitino’s Minnesota team seemed ill prepared for Middle Tennessee State’s 1-3-1 halfcourt trap which was hardly a surprise considering Kermit Davis has used the alignment for years. Pitino’ s team shot 28 percent from behind the arc and were minus 13 in rebounding in a mismatch that concluded with the head coach called for a classless technical foul during the final seconds.
*RANDOM STUFF: Only two lower seeds won – 11th seeded Xavier beat sixth seeded Maryland and 12th seeded Middle Tennessee State, a slight favorite in Vegas, defeated fifth seeded Minnesota … Iowa State has improved at the defensive end … Florida had a 20-5 edge on points off turnovers to win comfortably over East Tennessee State.
BOB KEMP’S BRACKET (ADVANCE AT YOUR OWN RISK)
FIRST ROUND: Villanova over Mt. St. Mary’s … Virginia Tech over Wisconsin … UNC-Wilmington over Virginia … East Tennessee State over Florida … SMU over Providence/USC … Baylor over New Mexico State … Marquette over South Carolina … Duke over Troy
SECOND ROUND: Villanova over Virginia Tech … East Tennessee State over UNC-Wilmington … SMU over Baylor … Duke over Marquette
SWEET 16: Villanova over East Tennessee State … Duke over SMU
ELITE EIGHT: Duke over Villanova
FIRST ROUND: Gonzaga over South Dakota State … Vanderbilt over Northwestern … Notre Dame over Princeton … West Virginia over Bucknell … Maryland over Xavier … Florida State over Florida-Gulf Coast … Virginia Commonwealth over Saint Mary’s … Arizona over North Dakota
SECOND ROUND: Gonzaga over Vanderbilt … Notre Dame over West Virginia … Florida State over Maryland … Arizona over Virginia Commonwealth
SWEET 16: Notre Dame over Gonzaga, Arizona over Florida State
ELITE EIGHT: Arizona over Notre Dame
FIRST ROUND: Kansas over UC Davis … Miami over Michigan State … Iowa State over Nevada … Purdue over Vermont … Rhode Island over Creighton … Oregon over Iona … Oklahoma State over Michigan … Louisville over Jacksonville State
SECOND ROUND: Kansas over Miami … Iowa State over Purdue … Oregon over Rhode Island … Louisville over Oregon State
SWEET 16: Kansas over Iowa State … Louisville over Oregon
ELITE EIGHT: Kansas over Louisville
FIRST ROUND: North Carolina over Texas Southern … Arkansas over Seton Hall … Middle Tennessee State over Minnesota … Butler over Winthrop … Cincinnati over Kansas State … UCLA over Kent State … Dayton over Wichita State
SECOND ROUND: North Carolina over Arkansas … Butler over Middle Tennessee State … UCLA over Cincinnati … Kentucky over Dayton
SWEET 16: North Carolina over Butler … UCLA over Kentucky
ELITE EIGHT: North Carolina over UCLA
NATIONAL SEMI-FINALS: Duke over Arizona … Kansas over North Carolina
CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: Duke over Kansas
MONDAY, MARCH 13, 2017
SPREADING THE NEWS
*LOCAL ROUNDUP: The Dbacks Zach Greinke was reportedly back at a more reasonable 91-92 MPH during a five-inning stints on Monday in a minor league game, this after he topped out at 89.5 in his last Cactus League start last Wednesday.
*NATIONAL ROUNDUP: Aaron Rodgers seems less than thrilled that the Packers signed Martellus Bryant after Rodgers lobbied for bring back Jared Cook and offensive lineman T.J. Lang left via free agency for division rival Detroit > In Tuesday’s Sports Zone – Are there issues in Packerland with management seemingly ignoring Aaron Rodgers wishes?
*AROUND THE NBA: Kawhi Leonard scored 31 points in his return from a concussion as the Spurs moved into a first-place tie with the Warriors atop the Western Conference with a 107-99 win over the Hawks.
*HEARD THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE: LeVar Ball wants a $1 billion shoe deal for his family from Nike, Adidas or Under Armour > In Tuesday’s Sports Zone – Will LeVar Ball get his $1 billion wish for his family from one of the apparel companies?
SUNDAY, MARCH 12, 2017
SELECTION SUNDAY OBSERVATIONS
*THE UA HAS NO CHANCE TO WIN THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP: at 3:50 Charles Barkley picked the Wildcats to win the tournament > In Monday’s Sports Zone – Does the UA reach the Final Four for the first time under Sean Miller?
*SHOULD HAVE BEEN SEEDED BETTER: Duke, Oregon (even without Chris Boucher), Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Michigan
*SHOULD HAVE BEEN SEEDED WORSE: North Carolina, Florida State, Florida, Minnesota, South Carolina
*POSSIBLE FIRST ROUND UPSETS (THESE ARE NOT ETCHED IN STONE): UNC-Wilmington over Virginia … Winthrop over Butler … East Tennessee State over Florida … Middle Tennessee State over Minnesota … Nevada over Iowa State … Rhode Island over Creighton
*BAD MATCHUPS FOR BOB (TEAMS I PLANNED TO GO AGAINST FACING EACH OTHER): Saint Mary’s vs. VCU … USC vs. Providence (a rematch from last season) … Marquette vs. South Carolina … Seton Hall vs. Arkansas
*RANDOM STUFF: Dick Vitale bitches about the mid-majors not getting in, then literally the next sentence complains that Syracuse did not make it (Syracuse did not deserve to be in the tournament with a 2-11 record away from home and zero top 50 wins on the road) … The USC argument is legitimate because of its 9-8 finish and a 2-6 record against the top 50 … Wichita State is a media darling but it had ONE win against the tournament field and that was over South Dakota State … Listening to John Calipari defend this year’s SEC is laughable … Florida Gulf-Coast has been trying to play Florida State in the regular season in recent seasons.
*WEATHER UPDATE: Heads up – there is awful weather today and the next few days in the midwest and east coast that could significantly alter the travel of multiple teams.