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Upon Further Review

March 21, 2013 11:37 PM

RCS Morning News: NCAA Tournament edition

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NCAA Tournament

The pro-versus-college debate is especially heated in basketball, where the college advocates claim purity of intent, and the NBA advocates have superiority of skill. Paul Flannery at SB Nation comes down on the NBA side of that debate. But in an open letter to pro basketball fans, he asks that snobbery be put aside.this month so we can all enjoy March Madness together.

Not every school in the tournament has cheerleaders or a band, and so the NCAA pays students from other teams' squads to support those teams. Not only that, those students are already at the tournament on an all-expenses paid trip to the Big Dance to support their own schools. An anonymous student dishes to Deadspin about the briefly glamorous life of an NCAA Tournament spirit squadder.

It's not just cheerleaders cashing in during the tournament. Teams receive a hefty payout for a tournament appearance, more than $1.5 million just for a single game played. Chris Smith at Forbes details how the dollars flow in as teams progress deeper into the Dance.

Marquette barely stayed alive in the tournament thanks to a clutch shot by Vander Blue.

Gregg Doyel at CBS Sports says this year's Butler isn't looking like another miracle team.

And in San Jose, the tournament got off to a poor-shooting start.

Highlights

Harvard won its first NCAA Tournament game in the school's fourth-ever appearance:

Also... Martin Brodeur recorded his third career goal on an odd play against Carolina.

Memphis' D.J. Stephens soared to the rim for an impressive alley-oop.

And the Denver Nuggets pushed their streak to 14 games in a row.

Three for Seven

The three most popular stories on RealClearSports for the past seven days. (Previous position-days on chart.)

1. Shane Ryan at Grantland lists ten teams that are toxic to your bracket. (1-3)

2. Eric Angevine at College Basketball Talk marks some high seeds who won't win the NCAA tournament. (1-2)

3. John Clay of the Lexington Herald-Leader writes that Kentucky's demise has been absolute. (NA-1)

March 20, 2013 10:02 PM

RCS Morning News: Some helmet sanity, 'I beat Duke,' and the quietest winning streak

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Football

The NFL owners put a little sanity back into the league by instituting a penalty for "forcible contact by delivering a blow with the top crown of the helmet... outside of the tackle box." Gene Collier at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes that no matter what people say about the new rule, it's a good one. 

Forbes has an interview with billionaire Jaguars owner Shahid Khan and the lessons he's learned from the NFL.

Legendary Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher has parted ways with Chicago, after a "slap in the face" ultimatum from the team.

Basketball

Duke is, by anyone's estimation, the most reviled team in college basketball. And that makes beating the Blue Devils in the tournament a milestone for the teams and players that pull it off. Alan Siegel at Slate rounds up some anecdotes about beating Duke from the players themselves.

In the NBA, the Heat's streak is up to 24 games, but there's another, much quieter streak going on that's worthy of some attention. The Nuggets have turned around under the leadership of George Karl and this season Denver has put together an impressive 13-game winning streak. They also share the honor of best record in the league with Miami.

Highlights

LeBron and the Heat came back from down 27 to beat Cleveland and keep Miami's streak alive:

Also... Anthony Davis tipped in a game-winner for New Orleans against Boston.

James White threw down a victory dunk against the Orlando Magic.

And James Harden scored 29 to lead the Rockets to victory.

Three for Seven

The three most popular stories on RealClearSports for the past seven days. (Previous position-days on chart.)

1. Shane Ryan at Grantland lists ten teams that are toxic to your bracket. (1-2)

2. Eric Angevine at College Basketball Talk marks some high seeds who won't win the NCAA tournament. (NA-1)

3. Vinnie Iyer at Sporting News writes that Wes Welker's move shifts power in the AFC. (2-3)

March 19, 2013 10:00 PM

RCS Morning News: Kentucky's NIT collapse, Klinsmann under fire, and old-school drills

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Basketball

Over the course of the past year, Kentucky has gone from winning the NCAA tournament to a first-round loss in the NIT. Paul Schofield at Pittsburgh Tribune-Review wraps up Robert Morris' stunning upset of the Wildcats, which UK coach John Calipari says "they deserved."

The latest trend in college basketball, write Ben Cohen and Rachel Bachman at The Wall Street Journal, is old-school practice drills. Among advanced metrics these drills seem anachronistic, but they work. Teams like Ohio State, Butler, Michigan, and Duke run drills like the Buckeyes' "war rebounding."

Soccer

U.S. Men's National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann is coming under heavy fire, reports Sporting News' Brian Straus. Many players spoke anonymously, saying that Klinsmann lacks the tactical coaching skill necessary on game days and spends too much time on off-field activities like nutrition. Additionally, players commented on the divide between the American- and German-born players.

Highlights

The Dominican Republic topped Puerto Rico to win the World Baseball Classic:

Also.. the Portland Trail Blazers fell short against the Bucks and a combined 44 form Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings.

The Canadiens lost after a dubious high-sticking penalty.

And the Senators scored four goals in the third period to beat the Islanders.

Three for Seven

The three most popular stories on RealClearSports for the past seven days. (Previous position-days on chart.)

1. Shane Ryan at Grantland lists ten teams that are toxic to your bracket. (NA-1)

2. Vinnie Iyer at Sporting News writes that Wes Welker's move shifts power in the AFC. (1-5)

3. Pat Forde at Yahoo! Sports breaks down the 2013 bracket. (2-2)

March 18, 2013 10:25 PM

RCS Morning News: Bracket stock options, Nadal comeback drama, and Super Bowl odds


The Florida Gators are undervalued in this year's NCAA tournament

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March Madness

Want to win the NCAA tournament bracket pool in your office/circle of friends/Facebook/the world? Chris Wilson at Slate says pick like a hedge-fund manager. Like evaluating risk on the stock market, check the conventional wisdom to find undervalued teams that actually have a good chance of winning. The best bargain at the moment is Florida, with a 21 percent chance of winning as calculated by Ken Pomeroy, whom only 2.8 percent of ESPN amateur bracketologists have chosen to win it all.

Tennis

Rafael Nadal's return to dominance from roughly three-quarters of a year sidelined with a knee injury has been nothing short of amazing, agree both Juan Martin del Potro and Peter Bondo at Tennis.com. Bondo writes that perhaps Nadal unwittingly set us up with unnecessary melodrama, the product of an honest young man faced with a possibly devastating injury. 

Football

If March Madness isn't fulfilling your gambling needs, the NFL has you covered. Vegas has updated its 2013-14 Super Bowl odds with a week of free agency in the books, and Joe Fortenbaugh at National Football Post takes a look at the changes, or lack thereof, in the favorites. San Francisco, Denver, and Seattle all gained a bit of ground on the Patriots. On the other end, the Chiefs dropped despite making several big-money acquisitions.

Highlights

LeBron James dunked over Jason Terry in a big way on this alley-oop during the Miami Heat's 23rd consecutive victory.

Also... Brooklyn crushed Detroit by a margin of 37 points.

Jrue Holiday and the Philadelphia 76ers edged Portland 101-100.

And Steph Curry dropped 30 on New Orleans in Golden State's easy win.

Three for Seven

The three most popular stories on RealClearSports for the past seven days. (Previous position-days on chart.)

1. Vinnie Iyer at Sporting News writes that Wes Welker's move shifts power in the AFC. (1-4)

2. Pat Forde at Yahoo! Sports breaks down the 2013 bracket. (NA-1)

3. Mike DeCourcy at Sporting News picks some possible winners in a wide-open tournament. (NA-1)

March 17, 2013 10:09 PM

RCS Morning News: Breaking down brackets, scrutinizing NFL medicine, and a track legend's downfall

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Basketball

Selection Sunday came and went with a couple notable wins and losses. Miami, who claimed the ACC tournament title, has its highest seed ever. Defending champion Kentucky, on the other hand, is out of the tournament completely. Pat Forde at Yahoo! Sports analyzes the 2013 Big Dance bracket.

Football

There's medicine, and then there's National Football League medicine, Sally Jenkins and Rick Maese write at the Washington Post. While it was eminently clear to all observers that Robert Griffin III was seriously injured during the Redskins' playoff game against Seattle, the team allowed him to play on until his knee gave out, untouched, while fans watched in stunned silence. Jenkins and Maese dive deep into the NFL's questionable medical practices.

Scandals

In 1966, Tim Danielson became the second American high schooler run a sub-four-minute mile. In 2010, Danielson was named one of San Diego's 50 greatest high school athletes. As of today, the former track star has spent over a year and a half in prison awaiting trial for murder. Jere Longman at The New York Times chronicles Danielson's rise to stardom and fall from grace.

Highlights

Ole Miss upset Florida to claim the SEC tournament title:

Also... Miami topped North Carolina to win the school's first ACC championship.

Marc Gasol used a loose shoe on defense against the Utah Jazz.

And Monta Ellis scored 25 points in the fourth quarter to lift Milwaukee over Orlando.

Three for Seven

The three most popular stories on RealClearSports for the past seven days. (Previous position-days on chart.)

1. Vinnie Iyer at Sporting News writes that Wes Welker's move shifts power in the AFC. (1-3)

2. Tim Kawakami at San Jose Mercury News says the Boldin deal is grand larceny, (2-5)

3. At Sports on Earth, Will Leitch's final predictions before Selection Sunday. (NA-1)

March 14, 2013 9:15 PM

RCS Morning News: Dirty play works; Seahawks, 49ers key in NFC; and seeding doesn't matter

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Basketball

Dahntay Jones took down Kobe Bryant Wednesday night on a play that both the NBA and legendary rough defender Bruce Bowen said should have been a foul. Bowen even mused, "You're wondering why is he continuing to walk toward Kobe at that particular moment," insinuating more than just a foul. Henry Abbot at ESPN's TrueHoop writes that, despite being distasteful, dirty play wins in the NBA.

The NCAA tournament wouldn't be March Madness without brackets, and basketball fans gleefully measure matchups and seeds in their attempts to predict winners. Ken Pomeroy at Slate analyzes the tournament each year, and writes that seeding actually has little effect on a team's title shot. Much more important than a team's seeding, says Pomeroy, is the difficulty of the region it is placed in.

Football

NFL free agency's early winners include the Broncos, Chiefs, Dolphins, Eagles, and Seattle and San Francisco. The Seahawks started with acquiring Percy Harvin from the Vikings, and followed it up by signing two additions to an already strong defensive line. Vinnie Iyer at Sporting News says Seattle's been making all the right moves, while the NFC West defending champ 49ers added wide receiver Anquan Boldin. With these moves, writes Tom Krasovic, Seattle and San Francisco hold the keys to the NFC.

Highlights

Illinois's Brandon Paul drained a buzzer-beater to sink Minnesota in the Big Ten tournament:

Also... Louisville cruised against Villanova in the Big East tournament quarterfinals.

Tennessee's Jordan McRae threw down a 360 dunk against Mississippi State.

And Iowa's Eric May threw down an authoritative slam on Northwestern.

Three for Seven

The three most popular stories on RealClearSports for the past seven days. (Previous position-days on chart.)

1. Vinnie Iyer at Sporting News writes that Wes Welker's move shifts power in the AFC. (NA-1)

2. Tim Kawakami at San Jose Mercury News says the Boldin deal is grand larceny, (1-3)

3. A.J. Perez at Fox Sports writes that former Georgetown coach John Thompson Jr. is not happy with the Big East split. (2-3)

March 13, 2013 11:06 PM

RCS Morning News: Steubenville trial starts, WBC a hit elsewhere, and 24 NHL surprises

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Scandals

Two high school football players accused of rape in the town of Steubenville, Ohio, went on trial Wednesday. Set against a backdrop of downtrodden middle America, the trial is dividing the town, writes Dan Wetzel for Yahoo! Sports. It's a place where high school football is about the only entertainment there is, and even the residents say it's "a [expletive] hellhole."

Baseball

It's not the most popular event for American baseball fans, but the World Baseball Classic has cachet worldwide. Joe Posnanski at CBS Sports writes about how different baseball fandom is in places like Japan, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. More importantly, where U.S. fans see the WBC as an exhibition, fans in other nations view it a bit like baseball's World Cup.

Hockey

The strike-shortened NHL season has already done its part in easing the painfully memory of collective bargaining negotiations. At the top of the sits the Chicago Blackhawks' record-setting streak of 24 games with at least one point.  Dan Rosen at NHL.com has a list of the top 24 surprises from hockey's 2013 season.

Highlights

Kobe Bryant went down with an ankle injury against the Atlanta Hawks and is out indefinitely:

Also... LeBron James threw down a monster dunk in Miami's 20th-straight win.

A high-school basketball player hit a game-winning buzzer-beater on her first shot attempt of the game.

And the Rockets dismantled the Suns, 111-91.

Three for Seven

The three most popular stories on RealClearSports for the past seven days. (Previous position-days on chart.)

. Tim Kawakami at San Jose Mercury News says the Boldin deal is grand larceny, (2-2)

2. A.J. Perez at Fox Sports writes that former Georgetown coach John Thompson Jr. is not happy with the Big East split. (3-2)

3. Monte Poole at the Oakland Tribune writes about the brawl that gave the WBC a black eye. (NA-1)

March 12, 2013 11:25 PM

RCS Morning News: NFL free agency, Cleveland embraces retreads, and Dwight's magical night

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Football

The Miami Dolphins opened up free agency with the signing of Mike Wallace, wide receiver formerly of Pittsburgh. Says Pete Prisco at CBS Sports, the Wallace addition makes the Dolphins an immediate threat. And after dealing away Anquan Boldin and Percy Harvin, the Baltimore Ravens and Minnesota Vikings took further hits with the losses of players like Antoine Winfield and Paul Kruger. If you're a fan of one of those teams, it feels like you've already lost, says Don Banks at Sports Illustrated.

Baseball

The Cleveland Indians have one of the most intriguing spring camps, says Gwen Knapp at Sports on Earth. The lineup includes three former heavyweights, Jason Giambi, Scott Kazmir, and Daisuke Matsuzaka. For each of them, this stint with the Indians might be the last shot at the show.

Basketball

Dwight Howard made his return to Orlando to face the Magic. Now with Los Angeles, the Lakers' star had a big night. Magic fans, as they did for previous departed stars like Shaq, booed. But Howard had the last laugh, as he scored 39 points and tied his own NBA record for free throws attempted with 39 as the Lakers cruised to victory.

Highlights

The Miami Heat won their 19th in a row, a franchise best:

Also.. Brook Lopez dunked on twin brother Robin when Brooklyn and New Orleans faced off.

Dwight Howard attempted 39 free throws against the Orlando Magic, tying his NBA record.

And Minnesota's Ricky Rubio got his first career triple-double.

Three for Seven

The three most popular stories on RealClearSports for the past seven days. (Previous position-days on chart.)

1. Lance Armstrong told Michael McCann at Sports Illustrated that every top rider doped. (2-6)

2. Tim Kawakami at San Jose Mercury News says the Boldin deal is grand larceny, (NA-1)

3. A.J. Perez at Fox Sports writes that former Georgetown coach John Thompson Jr. is not happy with the Big East split. (NA-1)

March 11, 2013 10:33 PM

RCS Morning News: NFL offseason heats up, Crean's sin amplified, and disgrace roster grows

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Football

The NFL offseason took a turn for the interesting with a couple of big-name deals to start the week. First, the Seahawks picked up Percy Harvin from Minnesota for a reported first-round pick this year. Harvin is a minor gamble but could give Seattle win-now potential to challenge the 49ers. The 49ers countered, sort of, by picking up Anquan Boldin from the Super Bowl champion Ravens. The move of a productive receiver in Boldin was motivated by cap-space clearance in Baltimore.

The traded players' teammates were not especially pleased. 

Adrian Peterson tweeted about the Harvin trade:

And Joe Flacco said about Boldin: ''It's sad to see a guy like that go, but at the same time you want what's best for him and you just wish him the best of luck. Anquan was a big part of this football team, a big part of this offense. He's one of the many reasons we won the Super Bowl.''

Scandals

Under the increased scrutiny of social media, a coach's postgame handshake has become a suitable topic for outrage. When Tom Crean and Jeff Meyer got into a scuffle on Sunday night, the Internet sank in its collective teeth. But, writes Dana O'Neil for ESPN, coaches have been losing it for decades.

Why, exactly, do we have such a fascination with disgraced celebrity athletes? James Wolcott at Vanity Fair looks at the current roster of Pistorius, Te'o, Favor Hamilton, Amstrong, Paterno, Woods, Jones, Clemens, and Rodriguez, and analyzes the breakdown of champions.

Highlights

The San Antonio Spurs bested the Oklahoma City Thunder in a Western Conference showdown:

Also... Bruins' keeper Tuukka Rask made a ridiculous save on a spin-o-rama shootout attempt to give Boston the win.

Kelly Olynyk led Gonzaga over St. Mary's to win the West Coast Conference.

And Ty Lawson hit Kenneth Faried for a massive long-distance alley-oop.

Three for Seven

The three most popular stories on RealClearSports for the past seven days. (Previous position-days on chart.)

1. The New York Times reports that Rupert Murdoch's Fox Sports 1 is a true challenger to ESPN. (1-6)

2. Lance Armstrong told Michael McCann at Sports Illustrated that every top rider doped. (2-5)

3. Kyle Porter at Eye on Golf writes that Rory McIlroy's romance with Caroline Wozniacki hit a bunker. (3-2)

Tweet of the Day

March 10, 2013 10:35 PM

RCS Morning News: NFL testing lags, Buster Posey pitching, and the big little 'Zags

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Football

Two years ago, Roger Goodell and players union boss DeMaurice Smith ended the lockout and said an HGH testing plan could be ready in time for the 2011 regular season. That didn't happen. Latest reports are that the two sides are sill close to a deal on testing. Unlikely, says David Steele at Sporting News, as the league and the players don't trust each other.

Baseball

Ann Killion at the San Francisco Chronicle says reigning National League MVP Buster Posey is making a name for himself beyond just being the face of the Giants. With endorsement deals; one of MLB's top-selling jerseys; and roles in ads for Toyota, DirecTV, and PlayStation, Posey is coming up big as a pitchman

College Basketball

It's the little school that could. With only 7,837 students enrolled, a fraction of the number found at big state schools, tiny, private Gonzaga has made its way to the top of the men's basketball charts. Mark Whicker at the Orange County Register chronicles the Bulldogs' rise from 23 to number 1.

Highlights

Indiana claimed the Big Ten title when a possible game-winner rolled off the rim for Michigan.

Also... Chris Paul connected with DeAndre Jordan for a monster alley-oop.

Wisconsin beat Penn State with a buzzer-beater from Traevon Jackson.

And the Penguins beat the Islanders 6-1, and Sidney Crosby had five assists.

Three for Seven

The three most popular stories on RealClearSports for the past seven days. (Previous position-days on chart.)

1. The New York Times reports that Rupert Murdoch's Fox Sports 1 is a true challenger to ESPN. (1-5)

2. Lance Armstrong told Michael McCann at Sports Illustrated that every top rider doped. (2-4)

3. Kyle Porter at Eye on Golf writes that Rory McIlroy's romance with Caroline Wozniacki hit a bunker. (NA-1)

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